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Don't let me let you go

Chapter Text

“Red…..Red…..open the fuckin door I know your in there I can hear the tv.”

Franky banged on the door again.

“Fucks sake Red come on I've got to get to work sometime today we can't all take time off.”

Bea slowly opened the front door.

“What do you want Franky?”

“To make sure your alright, no one has seen ya for two fuckin days.”

“I'm fine Franky, you've seen me now so you can go to work.”

“Oh no, I'm not leaving until ya let me in, it's not good for ya shuttin ya self away like this every year.”

“Fine,” she huffed yanking the door wider and allowing Franky in.

“It's been ten fuckin years why do ya keep doin this to ya Self?”

“I can't help it Franky, every year I can't get it out of my head, you know what happened, you found me…..I just…..fuck…..I don't know anymore.” She sniffled.

“Hey, hey, don't ya start crying, the bastards gone, he's dead I know there was no body….”

“Yer exactly there was no body, I know he's still out there. I know you don't buy it but I just know he's still out there.”

“I give up, look your my friend first and my boss second, so I'm making an executive decision here and as soon as I get into the office I'm calling Liz, you're coming out tonight and I'm not talking no for an answer.”

“Franky!”

“I'm not taking no for an answer ya hear me? It's Friday night and you've hardly left the house all week so I'm gonna ask Liz to watch Deb for a little longer today, we both know she won't mind. Now I'm going to get myself to work before the boss decides to give me the bullet so get ya self upstairs and find the sexiest outfit ya can, I'll be back for ya at seven, not a second later, ya got it?”

“The boss might give you the bullet for dragging her out of the house more than for being late for work.”

“Yer well it's a risk I'll have to take ain't it?” Franky grinned.

“Ok, but I'm not staying out late.”

“Yer whateva Red, I'll see ya later.

 

 


When Bea first met Harry he had been so charming, he had followed her around school like a lost puppy always trying to find an excuse to speak to her, not that Bea was interested, she had plans, knew what direction she wanted her life to go in. Franky had a feeling about Harry but she could never quite put her finger on it. Franky had been moved once again to yet another foster home a few months before and had taken an instant liking to Bea on her first day at her new school, she was smart and funny and it didn't hurt that Franky though she was probably one of the most attractive girls in the whole school, not that she was going to tell her that, more than anything she just wanted a friend and Bea never judged her even when she had finally told her about herself. As their friendship developed Franky found herself spending more and more time with Bea often spending the night at her house until a new foster kid arrived and Franky took her under her wing, she was younger than Bea and Franky and eventually Franky spent less and less time with Bea leaving her alone and at the mercy of Harry's attentions. Bea missed the times her and Franky shared and eventually gave into Harry's frequent requests to go on a date with him, there was a party that weekend and knowing that she would only be spending the whole weekend at home alone agreed to go with him. The first two hours had gone surprisingly well although Bea had stuck pretty close to Harry, she felt out of place and wished Franky was there, she didn't know anyone except Harry.

As Franky and Bea became more distant Harry was the constant in Beas life, one night they were walking back through the park after seeing a movie and he asked her to go over to his house for a while, it was still early and she had agreed thinking that his parents would be at home, not that it mattered much if they weren't she had grown to trust him more than she usually did. The second he had closed the door he grabbed her and dragged her up to his bedroom, that had been the beginning of a nightmare that was to become her life for just over two years.

Franky missed her friend and planned to try and spend a little more time with her, the new addition to her foster family had settled in well and had made friends at her new school and now Franky was feeling guilty for spending so little time with Bea. Arriving at school on Monday morning Franky had been puzzled when Bea didn't show up, when she didn't show up the rest of the week she was really worried, skipping her last two classes on Friday she had gone over to find out what was wrong with her best friend finding her out in the garden crying. When Bea had finally managed to tell Franky what had happened with Harry she was so angry she said she was going to go over and kill him but seeing how upset Bea was the thought soon left her head. Franky stood by her, she was there when she found out she was pregnant, she was there when she had to tell her parents and she had been by her side when her dad had dragged her over to Harry's house to confront him.

The day they had got married Franky had the worst feeling about the whole thing, no one liked Harry and Franky held a special hatred for him, especially as she was the only one Bea had ever told what had happened. Bea was broken when she knew all her plans and ambitions would never come to fruition, any love Harry held for her died almost as soon as Debbie was born and he embraced his love of power that he had over her instead. He no longer listened to anything she had to say, nor did he want to be around her yet he claimed to love Debbie. He no longer had the life he wanted, having to work day and night in a job he detested to pay the bills and put food on the table only left him full of anger and rage and the only person he could take it out on was Bea. The first few times he had hit her he had genuinely felt remorse and apologised saying it wouldn't happen again but he soon gave way to his anger again and he quickly realized that he enjoyed beating her with his fists.

When he insisted that she get a job she had no clue what she was going to do, she had a six month old to look after, Franky would sneak over to the house when she knew Harry was at work, one day she told her she knew someone who owned a salon and was looking for a new receptionist, Bea had doubted that she would be able to do the job but agreed to go and meet Liz the next day after Franky had called her. It had worked well since it was only part time and even though Franky was working hard on a law degree she looked after Debbie for her while she was at work.

Right before Debbie's second birthday Debbie was with Franky while Bea was out shopping for her birthday presents, she'd lied to Harry saying that she was working a few extra hours something he would never mind if she was bringing in extra money to him that just meant extra beer money. At lunch time Harry had gone to the pub with his mates for a bite to eat and one pint was never enough for him, he returned to work drunk and was sacked on the spot, his anger exploded and he attacked his boss before taking off in his van crashing into a tree a few streets from their house. He stumbled the rest of the way home and continued drinking, Bea wasn't expecting him to be home when she entered the house bags in hand the second he saw her his temper exploded for the second time that day. The bags hit the floor as a sudden rush of pain jolted through her body, her arms lost their tension and her legs weakened before she dropped to the ground as he continued to punch and kick until she lay unconscious, a broken, bruised a bleeding mess. As he stood over her his fists still clenched he couldn't tell if she was breathing and a sudden panic ran through his body before he ran out of the house. Franky arrived at the house with Debbie at the time they had arranged when she got no answer she knew something was wrong so she let herself in with the spare key that Bea had given her, ‘just in case,’ some time ago. Seeing Bea on the floor she had run to the next door neighbour asking if they could watch Debbie for a while before running back into the house, she called an ambulance in a complete panic before calling Liz and asking if she could pick Debbie up. In a few short hours Harry had cleaned out his bank account and hired a boat, he had no idea where he was headed but he was determined not to be found, he was certain this time Bea was dead. A day later Harry's face had been all over the news and the guy at Melbourne Boat Hire had recognised him as the same person he'd hired the boat to the day before, the boat he needed to report as stolen. The police and coastguard searched for the boat, when it had eventually been spotted drifting out at sea they had bordered it finding it empty except for the empty beer bottles that were scattered around. It had eventually been concluded that he was drunk, fallen overboard and drowned. Bea never believed that, she needed proof that he was actually dead and until she had that she would always be afraid that he would return to finish her off.

 

 


Franky walked into Liberty Brown, the small investment bank where she worked as head of the legal department, deciding to head up the five floors to let Maxine know that she had seen Bea before heading back down to her office on the fourth floor.

“It's a good thing Beas not here you know, what time do you call this?”

“Cool it Maxi, our malingering CEO already knows I'm late I've just come from hers.”

“She's alright?”

“Physically yer, not sure she's got her head on straight though, anyway why are ya looking so stressed?”

“Oh where do I start, it appears the IT department has messed up the new system, actually I'm thankful Beas not here, heads would be rolling.”

“Yer, no doubt, ya coming out tonight? Convinced the boss to join us.”

Maxine looked at Franky with a questioning look. “Would that be convinced or issued an ultimatum to?”

“Ya mean there's a difference?” Franky shrugged and chuckled.

“What time?”

“Well I told old grumpy that I'd pick her up at seven, and that reminds me I gotta call Liz, I'll see ya at lunch?”

“Depends, if the IT department get a move on I may have to skip lunch if they don't.”

On her way back down to her office she pulled her phone from her pocket placing a call to the salon, she knew Liz wouldn't mind sitting with Debbie, since Beas parents had moved back to New Zealand when Debbie was one Liz had always been there for both of them. Franky's last foster family had been the best family she'd ever been placed with but after her foster mother passed away during her second year at university Liz was always the one she went to. Liz answered her phone after a few seconds pleased as always to hear from Franky, after their usual pleasantries Franky asked if she would watch Debbie for a while that evening while she took Bea out for a few drinks, naturally Liz was more than happy to help out, she loved spending time with Debbie and said she would take Debbie straight home instead of to her house.

Reaching her office she was frustrated to find that the IT problems seemed to extend to all departments, what was she meant to do without access to the file she had been working on? When the phone sitting on her desk rang she picked it up straight away.

“Franky, that must be the fastest you've ever answered the phone.”

“Allie…..now since when do ya call me at this time of day?”

“Well since I'm in town I was wondering if ya wanted to catch up tonight, it been ages since I saw ya.”

“Ya don't say, but what do ya expect ya went running off to Sydney got a great job and a bitch for a girlfriend.”

“Franky!”

“Yer, yer ok, suppose ya could come out with us tonight, ya remember Red don't ya?”

“Bea….how would I ever forget her?”

Carrying on their conversation for another 20 minutes Franky reminding Allie that she hadn't even see Bea since she was 15, just a few days before everything turned to shit. Franky wasn't even sure it was the best idea but told her where to meet them after a little encouragement.

By one minute past seven Bea found herself being ushered out of the house by a grinning Franky in the direction of the waiting taxi, Debbie and Liz waving to them from the door. The twenty minute ride over to the bar did nothing to calm Beas nerves, she hated going out at the best of times preferring to stay home with Debbie but sometimes Franky wouldn't take no for an answer and she ended up finding herself being dragged to some bar that she had no desire to be in. The second they walked through the door to the bar Beas eyes scanned the room relief washing over her when there was no sign of Harry.

“Ya gotta stop doing that Red, the fuckers not coming back, he's been gone ten years don't ya think if he was we would have seen him by now?”

Bea didn't answer, she wanted to believe Franky wanted her to be right but she still had the feeling that he was still out there, she'd never known why but she was certain Harry was still alive. Following Franky over to the bar they got a beer before making their way over to a table in a quiet corner. It was still quite quiet for a Friday night and Bea was pleased about that, she wasn't planning on staying more than a couple of hours anyway.

“Hey I forgot to tell ya Allies back, don't know how long for but I told her to meet us here.”

Bea sat studying Franky for a few moments, she remembered Allie but only vaguely, she couldn't even quite remember what happened to her, she was sure Franky had told her something but for the life of her she couldn't remember what it was. Franky could tell that she was trying to place Allie and while she was thinking of something else at least the dick head wasn't on her mind.

“Ya remember her, that annoying kid that I kinda ditched ya for….ya know I regret that don't ya?”

“Yes Franky I know, you did what you thought was right, and she needed you at the time it wasn't your fault…I…I could have done things differently.”

Before they could carry on their conversation Franky spotted Maxine and Boomer walking into the bar, Boomer went straight to the bar while Maxine made her way over to the table.

“Bea love it's so good to see you out of the house, how are you?”

“I'm fine Maxi, it's not like I had a choice anyway this one didn't give me a chance to say no.”

Thirty minutes later Doreen had finally arrived, Boomer was on her way back from the bar with a tray full of beers and shots and there was still no sign of Allie, not that Franky was surprised, Allie was always late for everything. Putting the tray down on the table Booms picked up a shot and handed it to Bea.

“Here ya borin fucker get that down ya!”

Bea obliged not wanting to offend her friend, she downed the contents before grabbing a beer and drinking half of it in one go trying to erase the taste of whatever had been in the glass. Franky suddenly jumped up out of her seat and waved to someone, Bea guessed it must be Allie and her eyes followed Franky as she crossed the bar watching her pull someone into a hug. Even though she had once known Allie she was still a kid the last time she saw her and she started to feel nervous, taking another sip from her bottle she found it almost impossible to swallow, she hadn't seen Allie in ten years and had no idea what to expect. She suddenly remembered something Franky had told her when she'd gotten out of hospital, Allie had gone back to live with her parents, why she couldn't remember the details was beyond her but she was sure that was what Franky had said. She was so lost in her own thoughts trying to remember any detail no matter how small that she hadn't even seem them walking back over to the table.

“Red ya remember Allie right?”

Bea lifted her head to look at the new addition to their small group and locked eyes with the most perfect blue eyes that radiated with mischief just like they always had, “Hi,” was all she could manage to get out before dropping her eyes back down to the table. Allie looked at Franky with a puzzled expression, she didn't remember Bea ever being that shy before, she'd always been quiet she knew that, she'd noticed everything about her when she was younger and she was so different now. Franky nudged Allie before sitting down leaving the chair next to Bea empty, the one Franky had occupied since they had arrived. The second Allie sat down Bea immediately started to feel uncomfortable and it didn't go unnoticed by Allie, picking up another bottle of Beer Bea downed it in one go. Why Franky had changed seats she didn't know and she really wished she hadn't. Everyone else around her were chatting quite happily amongst themselves but Bea just sat there only speaking when it was absolutely necessary.

Allie left the table a while later saying she was going to get more drinks and gestured to Franky to follow her which she did.

“The fuck Franky, I know ya said she'd changed but really this much?”

“And I told ya some of what happened, she's not usually this quiet though.”

“Maybe I should leave after this drink and we can catch up another day.”

“Come on Al we both know ya don't wanna do that, ya always liked her.”

“What? H…how do ya know that?”

“I'm not blind….and.”

“And nothing Franky, that was a long time ago, besides I'm with Jess now you know that.”

“Yer, what did the bitch say when ya told her ya had to come to Melbourne?”

“Franky! There was nothing she could say, I'm here because of work.”

“Ya gonna tell me the truth anytime soon? I know ya not happy, shit if I call the house she always tells me ya not there even when ya are, what the fuck is going on?”

“Nothing….its complicated, she's stressed and…”

“Fine….I’ll still be here when ya ready to tell me, ya already know what I think, she's no good for ya and one day ya gonna wake up.”

Allie paid for the drinks, grabbed two and left the other three for Franky. Placing one of the bottles down on the table in front of Bea she sat down again her leg accidentally brushing against Beas, Bea froze for a second before turning her head slightly to look at Allie who was talking to Boomer over the table. Franky noticed the passing glance Bea had shot in Allies direction and just smiled to herself, thirty minutes later Boomer, Maxine, Franky and Doreen were on the dance floor leaving Bea and Allie sitting in silence for a couple of minutes before Allie spoke.

“So do you come here often?” Realizing how that just sounded she burst out laughing. “Shit I'm sorry, that sounded like some cheesy chat up line, I meant does Franky drag you here often?”

“Don't think I've been here before, the others might have, I don't go out much, I have Debbie to think about.”

“Yer sorry, I forgot…..she's what…twelve now right?”

“Yes, twelve going on thirty, sometimes I wonder which one of us is the parent.”

Silence descended between them again and Bea found an interesting spot on the wall that seemed to be holding her attention, Allie chose that time to really study her, and even from the dance floor it didn't go unnoticed by Franky. Allie couldn't deny that she still felt the same attraction to her that she always had, she was just as beautiful as she remembered her, but she'd never know much about her the few times she'd met her she'd always been quiet but hadn't refused to speak to her. Other than knowing that her and Franky were friends and that she'd got married and had a daughter she knew very little. Franky told her something about Harry being dead but she'd never gone into details. Franky hadn't said a great deal when she'd invited her to join them but Allie doubted that Bea would be single, there had to be someone waiting at home for her. She knew she shouldn't even be thinking about it, she had someone waiting for her back in Sydney even though things were for the most part crap. She couldn't bring herself to look away, dragging her eyes from her face and over as much of her body as she could see she watched her as she picked her almost empty bottle up with her left hand, there was no wedding ring so she hadn't remarried, suddenly realizing that Bea was speaking to her she dragged her eyes away from her hand.

“Allie…..Allie, is everything ok?”

“What, um, sorry I was miles away.”

“I know the feeling, I have a tendency to zone out, I just wondered if you wanted another drink.”

“Errr, yer why not?”

Allie wanted to follow her across the bar with her eyes but she was aware that Franky was most likely watching her and she knew she'd call her out on it and she'd do it in front of Bea and that was the last thing she wanted to happen. Franky was never subtle about anything, she would always be direct and to the point and she'd even managed to embarrass her on more than one occasion. Bea returned to the table placing two bottles down on the table before resuming her seat, looking over at Allie who was watching Franky and Boomer on the dance floor she decided that she may as well try and speak to Allie a little more, what was the worst thing that could happen? She could make an idiot if herself or maybe they could be friends, the latter was preferable. Allie slowly tore her eyes away from the dance floor and turned her attention back to Bea.

“You live in Sydney now? What do you do?”

“Yer, for the last five years, i work for a finance company, not exactly where I once thought I'd end up, but….well, things change don't they?”

“They do, never thought I'd end up working for an investment bank, I was like Franky wasn't I? Wanted to become a lawyer, things just changed.” Bea sighed.

“Change isn't always a bad thing is it?”

Bea just shook her head, change wasn't a bad thing, but how Bea got her change wasn't something she'd want to repeat in a hundred lifetimes. They continued to talk and Bea for once found she felt quite relaxed, it had been a long time that she was able to relax in the company of someone she hardly knew. Allie excused herself from the conversation needing the bathroom, of course Franky had seen where she was headed and followed her leaning against the wall while she waited for her.

“Knew ya still liked her.”

“For fucks sake Franky can we drop this now?”

“Not gonna happen till ya admit it, I've been watching ya and ya still look at her the same way ya did when ya were a teenager.”

“I'm sure I have no idea what you're talking about, we were talking or would you rather we sat in silence?”

“No….but how the fuck did ya get her to talk to ya? I mean trust me sometimes she won't even speak to me and she's my best friend.”

“And that surprises you? Sometimes I wonder why I talk to you! And if you really must know she spoke to me first.”

“Well shit, ya gettin her pissed?”

“No I'm not, but tell me something, I know she's not married, but she's got a boyfriend right?”

“Red! Fuck no, she's sworn off men for life…..don't remember her ever saying the same about women though.” Franky grinned, “ya never know ya still might get a chance with her.”

Allie shook her head and left the bathroom making her way back to the table that was now occupied by Boomer, Maxine and Doreen again. Allie felt a little sad, Franky was right she did still like her and she wanted to spend a little more time alone with her but that wasn't possible now. The bar was more crowded and the music louder, taking her seat next to Bea she gave her a small smile, what she never imagined would ever happen did, Bea leaned in closer to her, her lips right next to her ear, “I thought you'd got lost, everything ok?”

Allies breath got caught in her throat and she couldn't speak so she just nodded. They didn't speak to each other after that until they all decided to leave. Once outside the bar Bea agreed to share a taxi with Maxine and Doreen as they lived close to each other and Boomer was going home with Franky since she was very drunk and Franky didn't want to leave her on her own, who knew where she'd end up if left unsupervised? Allie called a taxi to take her back to her hotel but she couldn't help glancing over at Bea who was trying to help Franky keep Boomer upright. Allie was only going to be in Sydney for another two days and most of her remaining time was going to be taken up by meetings, not something she was looking forward to but she didn't have a choice. Maxine noticed Allies glances over at Bea and went over to talk to her.

“You like her don't you?”

“Who Bea? I knew her when I was younger, I used to live in the same foster home as Franky that's all.”

“Sure hun whatever you say, she's been through a lot, give her time.”

Allie wasn't sure if she had meant that to sound as it had, Maxine proceeded to rummage around in her bag, just as their taxi arrived she found what she was looking for, slipping a card into Allies hand she left. When Franky finally managed to get Boomer in their taxi Allie found herself alone, looking down at her hand she looked at what Maxine had given her. It was one of Beas business cards, she slipped it into her bag not really thinking about it.

Chapter Text

A week later….

 

Bea was sitting in her office, her morning had been a blur of meetings and now her afternoon was full of nothing but reading through finance reports, investment reports and signing yet more documents. As much as she loved how far she'd got she dreaded days like these and the only thing that would ever give her any relief from the monotony were the emails that her and Franky would exchange throughout the day. She was just settling back in her chair with yet another report when she received an email, tossing the report on her desk she was thankful for Franky, she had great timing sometimes. She wasn't paying a great deal of attention to who the sender was as she opened the email until she suddenly realized that it wasn't from Franky.


TO: Bea Smith

FROM: Allie Novak

SUBJECT: Finance and Strategy


Dear Bea,

I just read the article you wrote on the subject above and I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your thoughts, I found it most informative.

As a member of a busy finance team I personally found your ideas inspiring and I intend to share your article with the rest of my department.

If you have any other ideas you wouldn't mind sharing I'd be more than happy to hear them.

Kindest Regards

Allie Novak

 

After reading and then rereading it she was stumped for a few moments she didn't remember writing an article for anything, a tap on the door and Maxine's head appearing brought her out of her thoughts.

“Bea have you signed off on that document I brought you half an hour ago I really need it now, the directors in a bad mood today and you know what that means?”

“Hmmmm, yer I have…….Maxi do you ever recall me writing an article on finance and strategy?”

“You don't remember that? It was about two months ago, you were asked to write a piece for ‘The Australian Journal of Financial Planning,’ you've been really busy though so I'm not surprised you've forgotten.”

“I'm always too busy, sometimes I don’t think I even have enough time to spend with Debbie.”

“I know hun you do your best, what made you ask about that article?”

“Oh, I just got an email from Allie, you know Franky's friend.”

“Ahhh, I see, well thanks for this I better get it passed on straight away.”

Maxine rushed out of her office, She wanted to ask more about the email but just didn't have the time right then, she wondered if she should tell Bea that she had given one of her spare business cards that she always carried to Allie. Bea still couldn't recall what she had written and decided that she was just going to have to track down a copy of the journal Maxine had mentioned but she had so much work to get through she didn't have the time and went back to the report she had been reading.

The rest of the afternoon passed in the usual blur and Bea felt like she might fall asleep at any minute when Franky walked straight into her office without knocking.

“Why the hell are ya still sitting here, Debs gonna forget what her mum looks like at this rate?”

“You forget how to knock?” Bea asked peering over the report she was reading.

“Since it's gone six and almost everyone else has gone home I didn't see the point.”

“Shit!”

Bea threw the papers that she was holding down on her desk and suddenly remembered that she never replied to Allies email. And if that wasn't bad enough it was Friday and Franky always had dinner with her and Debbie on Friday night. Franky just watched on from the doorway as Bea started typing.


TO: Allie Novak

FROM: Bea Smith

SUBJECT: Finance and Strategy


Hi Allie,

Firstly I must apologise for taking so long to respond, things are crazy at work.

I have to be honest I really don't recall writing the article you have read but I will track down a copy of the journal Maxine says I wrote it for.

I have plenty of ideas that may be of use to you and I'm happy to discuss them with you, or if you have any specific finance related issues that you would like help with don't hesitate to email me.

Kind Regards

Bea


“Are ya finished now, I'm starvin?”

“Yes Franky, do you realize how much you sound like Debbie?”

“What do ya expect, ya know she's half mine so stop with the complainin and let's get outta here, Liz ain't gonna be happy if we leave her there much longer.”

“Liz would keep her if I'd let her we both know that.”

Bea was more than grateful to have Liz, she left the salon in Boomers capable hands everyday so she could pick Debbie up from school and took her home with her, Bea had offered to pay her countless times and she had always refused saying that knowing Debbie was safe and happy was more than payment enough.

The next week started out much the same, she exchanged a couple of emails with Allie for the first couple of days, on Wednesday Bea had sent a reply to a question that Allie had asked the previous day and she'd checked her inbox countless times but there wasn't anything from Allie. She guessed that she was probably busy and tried not to think too much about it. By Thursday afternoon she started to get worried and deciding to ask Franky for Allies mobile number probably wasn't the best idea she'd ever had but she wanted to know if she was alright.

“Hold on, hold on…..why are ya askin me for Allies number?”

“Fuck sake Franky does it matter?”

“It does if ya want her number, I'm not in the habit of givin other people's numbers out, tell me why ya want it and I'll think about it.”

“I haven't had a reply to an email I sent her and I just wanted to check that she's ok, now can I have her number?”

Franky looked at a Bea with a quizzical raised eyebrow, Bea hadn't mentioned any emails before and she'd spoken to Allie earlier that day and she certainly hadn't mentioned anything, not that she would Franky knew that, she was having a hard time and like most phone calls they shared they were more one sided than anything. Allie needed someone to talk to but would never take Franky's advice so Franky had given up trying to give her any and just listened. She wasn't even sure it was good idea to give Bea her number, Allie had told her a couple of weeks ago that she was sure Jess was checking her phone whenever she left it laying around, and Allie always left her phone laying around, generally she would put it down and then couldn't find it. To begin with she just thought she was tired and forgot where she had left it but when it turned up in a place in the house she was sure she hadn't even been she was sure it was Jess who was leaving it in strange places after she'd gone through it.

“Ya know she has a very possessive girlfriend don't ya?”

“What does that have to do with anything? I just want to know if she received that email?”

“Whatever Red!”

Franky scribbled the number down on a piece of paper and passed it to Bea who snatched it from her before walking out of her office. Returning to her own office she was snowed under with work but fired a quick text off to Allie before she returned her attention back to her computer screen.


Hey Allie did you receive the email I sent you? Bea


Allie was sitting at her desk, she had hoped that Bea would have answered her but a full day had passed and no answer to her question. ‘Maybe she's really too busy to answer,’ she had thought to herself. ‘Why would a CEO have time for you,’ she chastised herself. She tried to get on with her work but she really couldn't get Bea out of her mind. Franky was right and she knew it, but she had to let those feelings go right? She was with Jess even though she sometimes wondered why, she saved her from a life of loneliness that now was unimaginable to her but she knew that she hadn't fallen in love with her she grew to love her and that was the problem now, she wasn't sure she wanted to stay with her. She demanded every second of her time, messaged her every chance she got and Allie was just tired of it, when they argued she gave into her demands, that wasn't what she wanted. Her phone chimed indicating she had a text dragged her back to the present. When Maxine had passed her Beas business card she'd put her phone numbers in her phone that night, not that she had intended to ever call or text her, but looking at her phone right now it was Bea, her heart pounded, how had Bea even got her number? Reading the text it was obvious that Bea had in fact answered her email, it had just got lost somewhere in cyber space. She didn't want Bea to think that she was ignoring her but she also didn't want her to think she was too keen to answer either, putting her phone down on the desk in front of her she held out for no more than a minute before she picked it back up and quickly typed out a short reply.


I didn't receive your email, sorry. Allie


Placing her phone back on her desk she didn't expect to hear from her anytime soon and tried getting on with what she was meant to be working on. She'd already had a bad morning before she got to work, Jess had accused her of being distant and not talking to her, Allie didn't think she was being distant but she knew she was trying not to talk to her, everything always had to be about her, if the whole universe wasn't revolving around her and what she had to say then it must be conspiring against her. When her phone chimed again her whole face lit up when she saw it was from Bea.


Had to happen I guess, hope you don't mind I asked Franky for your number.


I bet Franky loved that….how inappropriate was she when you asked?


Strangely she didn't say anything, except that you have a possessive girlfriend, should I be worried?


She doesn't own me you know! She just likes to think she does.


Guess I know how that feels. I have to get to a meeting, I'll resend the email later.


Allie sat at her desk for the remainder of the day in a world of her own, she could not believe that Bea had gone to the trouble of asking Franky for her number, she was even more surprised that Franky had actually given it to her, not that she was going to complain, she'd reread the texts they had sent each other at least fifty times and she knew she was going to have to delete them.

Bea was not happy, this meeting was going to be the death of her she was sure of that, just when she thought it was going to be wound up someone had to bring something else to the table and then it had to be fully discussed and all she wanted to do was escape. To make matters worse Franky in her role as head of the legal department just had to be in this meeting sat right across the boardroom table from her. Bea tried not to look at her too often but every time she did Franky's eyes were on her and she knew what she was thinking, she still wanted to know why she'd asked for Allies number even though what she'd told her had been the truth she knew Franky wasn't going to believe that, she was Franky after all. Why should she care what Franky thought anyway, she had been worried when she hadn't had a response to the email she'd sent, but if it hadn't have been for the meeting she was now desperate to escape she'd probably have spent the better part of the day texting back and forth, there was nothing in it, Franky was always telling her that she should have more friends, and Allie wasn't a complete stranger to her, she'd never gotten to know her well but maybe she thought she should change that.

When the meeting was finally over Franky had left before she had which she was glad about until the director wanted to speak to her and she found herself having to agree to going to Perth for a conference the following week, Debbie was going to love that! But there was nothing she could do about it, she was lucky really she didn't get asked to go anywhere very often, the director had always been more than understanding when she'd spoken to him about her home situation when she'd been promoted to CEO. Leaving the boardroom she found Franky leaning against the wall waiting for her.

“Novak alright?”

“Yes, seems she didn't receive the email I sent her.”

“And why are ya emailing each other?”

“She read an article I had written and she found it useful ok, anymore questions or can I go back to my office now?”

“Sure Red, but ya know girlfriend or not she's still into ya, drove me round the twist when she was a kid always talkin about Bea this and Bea that.”

“And like you said she has a girlfriend and I'm straight, now can we just drop it?”

Franky shrugged as she pushed herself off the wall winking at her, she knew Franky wasn't going to let it drop anytime soon. After returning to her office she decided that she'd better call Liz and ask her if she minded having Debbie over for a couple of days, this was going to cost her she knew that, the few times she'd had to go away in the past Debbie had always ended up getting something she wanted, the last time it cost her a new tv for Debbie's bedroom. Liz agreed without any hesitation, not that Bea was surprised by that, Liz loved spending time with Debbie, it was the spoiling Debbie she sometimes had a problem with. Turning her attention back to her computer she resent the email to Allie before sending her a text.


I resent you that email, let me know if it arrives this time. How's the rest of your day been?


You want an honest answer? It's been crap, why do I always get everything dumped on me? How did your meeting go?

Don't ask, thought it was never going to end, and to add to that I now have to go to Perth next week for a conference. I'm going to be buried up to my eyeballs in paperwork tomorrow and now I have to face rush hour traffic.

I hope you're not texting and driving, I'll either have to kill you or haunt you if you are cos I'm pretty sure all the work I have to get through is going to be the death of me.


I wasn't driving and I'm not now, just about to leave the office, don't let it get you down too much.


I'll try, your email arrived this time, I'll read it later if I get the time. Funnily enough I'm just about to leave the office, have to pick Jess up since her cars in the garage.


When Bea finally made it to her car she found Franky sitting on the bonnet suspecting that she was only waiting for her so that she could continue questioning her about Allie, taking a deep breath she told her to move and of course she didn't. Franky was like a dog with a bone and wasn't letting the whole Allie situation go, Bea had hardly ever lied to Franky and the few times she had were when things started getting really bad with Harry, she had learnt then that it was always better to be honest and sincere with Franky and from then on she had always meant every word she had said to her even when it had scared her a little. Having someone else know the whole situation had been hard at the start but having someone who she could talk to had always helped, it being Franky, her best friend, even though Harry had tried to stop them from seeing each other, only served to make it easier and Franky would never have left her side. Bea had been the only person in the school who had paid her any attention, treat her like she was and equal not some foster kid who would probably just get moved on again in a few months. Franky had hated herself for a long time when she had got the truth from Bea and had wished that she had paid less attention to Allie and more to her friend, she'd tried so hard to talk her out of marrying him because she just couldn't stand the sight of him but Bea had said it was the right thing to do and nothing Franky could do or say would change her mind. Thankfully Franky didn't ask too many questions although Bea suspected that it was only because she knew she had to pick Debbie up from Liz's.

Naturally traffic was terrible and it took her twenty minutes longer than was normal to get to Liz's house thanks to roadworks. Debbie was excited to see her mum because her school had organised a weekend camping trip and she couldn't wait to ask if she could go and after talking a mile a minute trying to tell her why she had to let her go Bea made her a deal, if she wouldn't ask for anything else when she had to go to Perth she could go on the camping trip. Debbie had grumbled saying that wasn't fair but as much as she had a list as long as her right arm of things she wanted to go on the camping trip more than anything. Once they were home Bea had gone to the kitchen to make a start on dinner while Debbie went to her room to get changed, she had just decided what to make when her phone chimed, another text from Allie she smiled before picking her phone up from the counter.


So can you explain to me why once again I'm in the wrong? I'm here in the kitchen trying to make dinner because anyone who knows Jess knows we'd starve if I didn't do it. She comes trotting in here wanting my undivided attention, nothing new there, I ask her to just give me twenty minutes then we can talk and of course she doesn't listen. So I ask her a second time but she still keeps talking so I told her to piss off and now she's sulking saying I never listen to her, all I ever do is listen to her.


Maybe telling her to piss off wasn't the best idea you've ever had!


I didn't actually say it like that, I was nice about it. She's just doing my head in every time I start to do something she wants to talk about something that's not even important.


Maybe you should order takeout and go and talk to her?


We would live on takeout if I did that everyday! She's just so clingy lately.


Think you're asking the wrong person for advice, but can I ask you you something?


I guess, do I really have to answer though cos this sounds likes it might be a serious question?


It is, and no you don't have to answer, just think about it…do you love her?


Allie hadn't expected that question at least not from Bea and it threw her for a while. She cooked dinner in a half daze. She'd asked her a question that if she was completely honest with herself she wasn't sure she could answer. When they had first met Allie felt so lonely, she had just moved into a place of her own for the first time in her life, just moved to a strange city, not that she hadn't spent plenty of time on her own in the past. When they met everything was finally falling into place for Allie and she enjoyed her company, the only real friend she'd ever had was Franky and there'd been a time that even they had lost contact with each other for a time. That's how they got together, Allie desperately found herself wanting friends since Franky was in Melbourne and she'd moved to Sydney when she got this job, they spent more and more time together and it just went from there until the day she found herself asking Jess to move in with her. Everything had been great for the first couple of years and as Allie got promotion Jess lost her job and moped around the place for weeks until she started looking for work. The promotion had meant that Allie had more responsibility and had more work to do but Jess just wanted her attention even when she had to bring work home with her.

Jess found another job but it wasn't what she really wanted to do and that just made her want more attention, when Allie got her second promotion the next year Jess wasn't happy, it wasn't the fact that Allie was doing well for herself that had bothered her that much, although she wasn't happy that she knew as long as she stayed in the job she was now doing there was no way she was getting any kind of promotion, Allie had tried telling her that maybe she should look for a job that interested her more and had better promotion prospects but she had just whined about Allie not taking her feelings seriously. The first time Allie had to be away for a few days she really became needy, texting and calling her every time she got the chance. Allie got into the habit of leaving her phone on silent or turning it off completely when she was going to a meeting and then that caused problems because she accused her of not only not wanting to talk to her but also of cheating on her. Over dinner Allie just sat and listened to Jess telling her everything that Allie had no interest in hearing but she didn't have the energy for an argument.

As Bea lay in bed that night she regretted asking Allie that question, ‘What the fuck was I thinking?’ She asked herself, she was going to have to apologise for asking such a personal question, she wasn't even sure why she had asked her, she knew she didn't sound happy but why did she have to be so stupid and ask that question? She thought about sending her a text and apologising but when she looked at the time and saw it was almost midnight she changed her mind instantly, it was far too late and she'd probably be in bed asleep.

Allie wasn't sleeping either, no one had ever asked if she actually loved Jess and she hadn't been able to get that question out of her mind all evening, all through dinner, while she was doing the dishes and listening to Jess ramble on about god only knows what because she hardly heard a word that came out of her mouth. Now it was silent except for Jess’s rhythmic breathing beside her and she couldn't stop thinking about where they were going, if they were even going anywhere. But did she really love her? That was something she wasn't even sure about, what they had together was just easy, just so normal after five years that she'd never thought about it, she said it often enough but hardly ever heard it said back to her. In that moment she would have given anything to speak to Bea, maybe she could help her sort out what was going on in her head, she couldn't speak to Franky, she hated Jess at the best of times, she always said she wasn't good enough for her and if she asked Franky to help her sort out what she was thinking she'd just tell her the same as she always did, “Kick her the fuck out Novak she's a waste of your time and energy.”

Chapter Text

Bea woke up early and not in a good mood, she was flying to Perth in a few hours and she really didn't want to go. Dragging herself from her bed she needed to get ready before Liz arrived, she would have already left before Debbie had to go to school and Liz hadn't minded one bit staying over with her but it didn't make leaving her behind any easier. It had been almost eight months since her last trip anywhere but she had to be at this conference, the only light at the end of the tunnel was that she would only be away for three days and Maxine would be with her. When Liz arrived Bea was almost ready to leave.

“Don't you worry about Debbie too much love, just try and concentrate on what you have to do and look forward to coming home again.”

“I'll try Liz, you know how much I hate leaving her, I don't know what I'd do without you.”

Maxine arrived in a taxi twenty minutes later and Bea hugged Liz before she left telling her to not to let Debbie get her own way too much. It was early morning and the airport was relatively empty something that they were both relieved about, the last time they had to travel they were leaving later in the day and it so busy that they couldn't even get a coffee before they boarded their flight. The 0630 flight was not what Bea had wanted at all but the conference started at 1pm, and the early flight meant that they arrived in Perth around 1045 giving them just enough time to relax before they had to head out of the hotel again. Bea had just sat down after arriving at her room when her phone chimed and she knew straight away who it would be without even looking.


I hope your flight wasn't too stressful, do you want to hear something funny?


It wasn't bad, just arrived at the hotel. What have you done now?


Me! What are you trying to say Bea? Ok seriously I think I made a massive error in judgement when I got dressed this morning. Of all the things I could have put on I chose the only skirt I have that rides up every time I sit down and I have a meeting later.


Yep that's a serious error in judgement! You couldn't pay me enough to wear a skirt to work so I'm never going to have that problem.


I was going to wear trousers today then I changed my mind at the last minute, still I bet hearing about my mishap cheered you up.

It did, just how far does it ride up?


Perv…..I never thought I'd hear that coming from you.


Oh hush, stop trying to make something out of nothing, do you have enough time to go home and change?


No I don't, well no rest for the wicked I better get myself ready for this meeting.


Bea sat for a while longer smiling to herself, before Maxine knocked on her door insisting that they had to get something to eat before they headed out. Bea couldn't deny that she was quite hungry and the food at the last conference they attended hadn't been that great.

“Why are you smiling so much hun?”

“Can't I be happy?”

“Of course but you're never normally this happy when you have to leave Debbie, so come on tell me what's got you smiling so much?”


“Maybe later, I thought you wanted to get something to eat.”

After grabbing a bite to eat they headed over to the conference centre, they both hated this kind of thing and spent half the time whispering to each other and quietly giggling at things they kept showing each other on their phones. It was late when they got back to their hotel and they were both tired as they walked back to their rooms Maxine decided to ask again why Bea seemed so happy.

“So come on you have to tell me, why were you smiling so much earlier?”

“You're just going to keep asking aren't you?”

“Uh huh, you know I will.”

“It was just Allie she sent me a text just after we arrived ok.”

“Allie…. I umm have a confession to make.”

“What did you do Maxi?”

“Nothing bad, just….well the night we went out and Allie was there I may have passed her one of your business cards.”

“You mean you did there's no may have about it, I wondered how she got my email address. Please tell me Franky didn't put you up to it.”

“Do I ever do anything that Franky asks me to? I just thought…..truthfully I'm not even sure what I thought, you're not angry at me?”


Bea just shook her head as she stopped outside her door, if she had found out it had been Franky that had passed her details on then things might have been a little different but Maxine always did everything with the best intentions, and if she was honest she was glad that Maxine had done it, she enjoyed hearing from Allie everyday weather it was an email or a few texts spread out through the day.

The next morning they had to be up early they had to be over at the conference centre for 7am and the thought of the long day she had ahead of her made Bea want to slip back into bed and stay there for the rest of the day. It was a nice thought but not a possibility, the director would want to know everything about the conference and returning to work on Thursday with no clue about anything she had seen or heard would not sit well with him. The only thing she knew she had to look forward to was the next day, only half a day and then they would be on their way home, even another early start wouldn't be able to make her unhappy tomorrow, but that was a full day away and she had to get through today.

Just as she had suspected the day was no more interesting than the previous day, and trying to concentrate on anything as the day wore on was becoming increasingly more difficult. By the time it was time to leave Bea was struggling to even keep her eyes open, Maxine linked their arms and led her out of the building the second the cool breeze hit her skin it felt like a light mist had just washed over her just the perfect coolness to make her feel refreshed and wide awake again. Returning to the hotel they went back to their rooms to freshen up before going for dinner, neither of them could even remember much about he day, Maxine had tried to take a few notes of the most important points that had been covered in the morning but by the afternoon she had almost given up, they both found it funny as they tried to come up with something that sounded halfway decent to tell the director when they got back, Bea knew she was in for an interrogation as soon as he got in to his office on Thursday morning. Maxine said she was going to try and catch up with one of the other PA’s who she knew and was also at the conference in the hope that they could help her out with any of the points she had missed and Bea returned to her room for a shower and to relax. She hadn't looked at her phone all day and noticed that she had two unread text messages, the first being from Franky,


Hope you and Maxi are having fun, don't be chatting up all the women over there will ya, leave some for the rest of us.


Bea shook her head before replying,


You know if we weren't friends I may take offence, its as exciting as watching paint dry. Remind me again why you never get sent anywhere!


The second text was from Allie, she was a little mad at herself for not having checked her phone at lunch time but she hadn't even given it a thought.


Hope you are have a great day, remember to stay awake won't you?

She hurriedly sent a reply.

Sorry I've only just seen you text, trust me if I'd have had to sit through much more I would have been dead to the world. What are you up to this evening?


She wasn't expecting a reply, they hardly ever sent each other texts in the evening so was surprised when she received a reply.


Sounds really interesting! I'm just making dinner and I think I'm going to open a bottle of wine. What are you doing?


I'm just staying in my room while Maxi tries to catch up with someone she knows. What are you making for dinner?


Well I had planned on something more elaborate, but now I'm just making pasta, not much point spending time cooking when I'm home alone, Jess has gone out with friends.


She's gone out in the middle of the week? Maybe next time your over in Sydney I'll cook for you, let you have a night off.


Sounds like you've been thinking about that?


Cooking for you, no not really, it was just a suggestion.


So what do you think about?


Meeting up with you again, hopefully without Franky hanging around next time.


Really? Are you sure?


Why are you so shocked?


I'm not shocked, it's just that Franky said you hate hanging out with people you hardly know, I didn't expect you to have even thought about us meeting again.


We speak to each other almost every day how do you expect me not to think about it.


I don't know, I just didn't think you would, next time I'm over we’ll have to arrange something, and I agree definitely no Franky.


They spent another hour texting back and forth until Bea said she really should try getting some sleep, if the next day was going to be half as bad as that day had been she was going to need all the sleep she could get and the next day was only going to be another half a day of torture before they flew home.

The next morning dragged, four hours felt as though they had been sat there for double that length of time. Both Bea and Maxine had got up half an hour before they needed to to make sure that they wouldn't leave anything behind, their flight left at 1600 and the conference would finish at lunch time giving them enough time to get some lunch and check out of the hotel.

As soon as they left the conference centre they had decided that it would be better to have lunch at the hotel, it would make things easier for both of them. Over lunch they chatted quite happily, Maxine filling Bea in on just how much they had missed from the previous day, her time spent the previous evening had been worth while even though it had been a little exhausting. The conversation had turned to how Bea had spent her evening, she didn't want to lie to Maxine but she also didn't want to tell her that almost her entire evening had been spent texting Allie, she knew she wouldn't read the same thing into it as Franky would but she wasn't ready to be completely honest with anyone.

Sitting in the airport Maxine watched Bea intently as she heard her phone chime, the smile on her face said all she needed to know, that smile told her who it was. It was just a brief exchange and when Bea looked up from the screen Maxine was still watching her,

“What?”

“I'm guessing that was Allie.”

“Umm yer…….your not going to give me a hard time like Franky does are you?”

“Why ever would I do that? It's nothing to with me who you choose to speak to, but you like her don't you?”

“As a friend Maxi that's all.”

It had been a long day and when she arrived home all Bea really wanted to do was fall into bed and at not quite 8pm that was unusual for her, even after a long day of meetings she was never this tired. Liz was happy to see her offering to make her something to eat before she left, Bea said she was too tired to eat, all she really wanted was a shower and her bed. After Liz left she locked up and headed upstairs looking in on Debbie who was already fast asleep before retreating to her own room.

Allie was having a bad night, the second she had walked through the door Jess had demanded to know why she was late, late Allie could have laughed, traffic was murder owing to the fact that there had been an accident the way she had seen it twenty minutes was nothing. She had a busy day at work, she was due back in Sydney the next week and it couldn't come soon enough for her, it was only for one night but a night away from the constant questioning was better than nothing, she was going to tell her when she got in but she knew there was no point judging by her mood. She made dinner listening to Jess constantly droning on about something that had happened at work, ‘what happened to being asked how my day was,’ she wondered to herself. As soon as they had eaten Allie as usual was left with the dishes as Jess disappeared off to watch something on tv. Allie sat at the kitchen table with a glass of wine for over two hours, the answer to the question Bea had asked now right at the forefront of her thoughts. Jess returning to the kitchen drug her from her thoughts asking why she was still in the kitchen, Allie didn't even want to answer her, she was tired and just wanted to go to bed but she knew that the second she said that she'd have to listen to the whining that always went with her saying something Jess wasn't happy with. After another hour of half listening to something that she had no interest in hearing she went for a shower, falling into bed a short time later she was soon asleep.

The second Beas eyes opened she was wide awake, she was glad to be home but not looking forward to going back to work, after three days away she knew the amount of work that would be waiting for her would be huge. After showering and getting ready to face the day she made sure Debbie was awake before making a start on breakfast, her phone chiming made her smile because she knew it would be Allie.

 

Goodmorning short stuff hope you slept well.


You're skating on thin ice Novak, I'm only two inches shorter than you! But yes I slept great, how about you?


When I finally got to bed I slept ok I guess.


When you finally got to bed, did someone keep you up?


Just Jess running her mouth again! So what are you doing next Friday night?


Nothing much, Deb will be away on a camping trip all weekend and just for once Franky's going out without trying to drag me along so I'll be home alone. Why do you ask?


No Franky! Well since I'm going to be over in Sydney I was going to suggest that we could have dinner or something, if you still want to?


I'll have to think about it…


Debbie coming crashing into the kitchen saying she was starving distracted her from her phone for a while, but Debbie couldn't help notice the smile on her mum's face, when her phone chimed again Bea tried to ignore it leaving Debbie for three days wasn't something she hadn't wanted to do and she didn't want her to think she wasn't paying her any attention but when she told her to just read the text she'd received she went straight back to her phone.


Ok, but don't think too long about it, I'm only offering free food. But if you don't want to that's fine.


Let me get back to you, I have to drop Deb off at school soon.


Allie knew she shouldn't even really be asking but she wanted to see her again, had to see her again. She knew that they would never be any more than friends, and she shouldn't even think about her the way she did but she couldn't help herself. Ten years without seeing her had been too long and she wished she'd gone back to Melbourne sooner but then she thought that everything was fine between her and Jess and clearly they weren't. It was crazy, they spoke almost everyday now but when other things got in the way she missed her, she missed Bea way more than she ever missed Jess.

Bea walked into her office sighing as she sat at her desk, the pile of paperwork she knew would be there was something she knew she had to tackle even though she didn't want to and Maxine walking into her office with another armful of folders left her wishing she had taken the few day off, but that would only have led to more paperwork.

“I'm sorry about this Bea, the one on the top is your notes from the conference.”

“You mean your notes, as long as I don't get too many distractions today I should get at least halfway through all this.”

After Maxine disappeared Bea sat quietly for a few minutes before picking her phone up.


Free food is too tempting to turn down, we'll have to work out the details later you would not believe how much I have to do.


As soon as she sent that text she felt her anxiety rise in the pit of her stomach, picking up the first thing on the top of the pile that furnished her desk her attention wasn't fully on what she was trying to read it was focused on actually seeing Allie again or more on the idea that this time they would be alone. She was trying to convince herself that there was nothing to worry about, it was just dinner with a friend. Just because over the last few days the only thing she had been able to think about was Allie was just a strange coincidence wasn't it? She'd been away from home and had little else that she wanted to think about. How had they gone from emails to texting to the couple of phone calls they shared while she was in Perth?

Allie read the text as soon as it arrived, she had convinced herself on her drive to work that Bea was going to say she didn't want to see her and she had to be ok with that, it was her decision and she wasn't going to push her to do something she didn't want to do. She now sat at her desk with a huge grin on her face, Bea wanted to see her and she couldn't be happier. Nothing anyone could say to her would be able to upset her, she knew she couldn't deny that she was attracted to her, she always had been and figured she always would be all she had to do was act naturally they were friends weren't they, that was all they ever would be but she couldn't deny to herself just how much time she spent thinking about her. She drifted off when Jess was talking to her and she knew she'd noticed on more than one occasion resulting in a couple of small arguments. She just didn't want to listen to Jess, didn't want her to touch her everything just felt wrong, that was nothing to do with how she felt about Bea though she'd felt like that for months. Bea listened to her, she answered her questions she'd never dismissed her as being stupid when she couldn't quite get her head round something, she took the time to explain anything she didn't understand and they had a couple of conversations about work that had left Allie slightly confused.

Bea slowly worked her way through the pileup of paperwork, she still wasn't sure why she'd agreed to meet her. “What the fuck am I thinking?” She mumbled to herself, Allie was smart and she was funny and so unlike anyone else she had ever known and now she'd agreed to have dinner with her. Every time she heard her phone or spotted an unread notification when she had to have her phone on silent she couldn't fight the smile. She couldn't allow the thought to creep back in that she'd had while she was in Perth, she had so much to do but when it hit her again she couldn't concentrate. Could she really be attracted to Allie?

“Shit, shit shit!” She said a little too loud as she jumped out of her chair pacing her office as Maxine rushed in.

“Bea?”

She stopped pacing and looked at her apologetically, “Sorry Maxi, I'm just…..I'm….oh fuck I don't know. I'm fine honestly.”

“You sure hun? Want to talk about it?”

Bea shook her head as she sat down, this couldn't be a healthy situation for either of them, and she knew that it certainly wasn't one sided, Franky was never going to let her forget how Allie had always felt about her. But that wasn't the point Allie had a girlfriend, she lived miles away and Bea wasn't gay was she? ‘You keep telling yourself that,’ she thought to herself, ‘With any luck you'll convince yourself.’ Honestly right now she wasn't certain of that statement, she wasn't even sure of anything anymore, looking over at where Maxine was still standing she knew she had to tell her something eventually but right then wasn't the right time. She had no clue how she was going to get through the rest of the day with all that floating around in her head.

The rest of her day was just frustrating, Maxine would pop in and out of her office with more things that needed her attention, some more important than others, her phone would alert her to another message from Allie sometimes she tried to ignore them for longer than she though she could but she couldn't ignore her for too long she just couldn't help it. On her drive over to pick Debbie up she went over everything they had said to each other that day, neither of them had mentioned the following day again, Bea was relieved about that but it didn't stop the anxiety she still felt. As she arrived home with Debbie she told herself that they would just have dinner together as Friends, that was it.

 

Chapter Text

Friday morning and Bea woke up to the sound of her phone.


Just getting ready to leave for the airport, sorry if I woke you.


Bea glanced at the time before she replied, it was an hour before she would have been woken by her alarm but she couldn't be angry with her, no matter how much she would like to be she just couldn't.


You did wake me up but it doesn't matter, what time is your meeting?


Lunch time….I've been thinking, if you don't want to have dinner with me you don't have to, I really won't be offended. I'm not overly keen on eating alone but I want you to know that you don't have to do anything you're not comfortable with.


Bea hadn't been expecting her to say that, of course Allie could tell it made her uncomfortable, she lay back and looked up at the ceiling as if the answer she was looking for would somehow magically appear before her eyes. Closing her eyes again for a few moments she knew what she wanted to say and sat up quickly typing out a reply.


As much as I really do appreciate your concern I wouldn't let you eat alone. I know the perfect place unless of course you want to eat at your hotel? I could meet you at your hotel.


Allie was waiting for the reply, Bea noticed that as quickly as she had sent it Allie was typing again. She wanted to put her phone down uncertain of what reply she was going to get, but she couldn't her heart was hammering in her chest as she kept her eyes on the screen.


Can I make a suggestion? And you can say no if you want to. How about I pick you up from yours and I'll drive, I always have to hire a car when I'm over for work. And I won't be drinking because Saturday is going to be busy for me and I need a clear head for that.


Ok, I'll send you my address later, guess I better be getting up and you need to finish getting ready.


I do, I'll see you later.


‘What the fuck am I doing? Why the hell did I just agree to that?’ Bea wondered to herself as she got out of bed. Should she text her back and tell her she couldn't do this, she had so many questions rushing around in her head as she got in the shower. The thought of spending the evening with Allie was exciting, and as long as Franky didn't know it would be safe enough, it's not as if Bea had actually invited her over and she remember that she had once said she'd cook for her, maybe one day she would.

“Why do you have to go again, weren't you just in Melbourne a couple of weeks ago?” Jess whined.

Allie rolled her eyes, did she think if she kept asking the same question that the answer was going to change. She'd already given her the answer to that question three times, she wanted to say something sarcastic this time but she knew that if she did that it would only end in an argument and she didn't have time to argue.

“I'm sorry, I can't help it, you know that this happens. I may not be back until Sunday, it depends on how the first meeting goes. It's my job, you know I can't tell my boss that I'm not going to go.”

Allie picked up her bag and turned to face Jess who stood with her arms crossed over her chest, a frown on her face, she wasn't happy, but that was Jess she was never happy unless she was getting her own way.

“Isn't there anyone else that can go?”

Allie shrugged as she walked passed her headed towards the door, she wanted to scream, why did it always have to be like this? Every time she had to go anywhere this was always how it was.

“No, Toms on vacation and Rebecca is in Adelaide. What's the problem, it's only for one maybe two nights at the most?”

Jess had a temper and Allie knew that, as she looked back at her she regretted what she had just said the second the words had slipped out of her mouth. As Allies eyes met Jesses the glare she was giving her made her shiver, she could see the anger on her face and she could swear that if she wasn't as close to the door as she was she would have to make a run for it.

“You don't see a problem here? You're always at fucking work, always bringing work home with you and even when you are here the last few weeks you haven't really been here. You don't want to be here I can see that, you never want to listen to me. You're always on your fucking phone and now….well off you go again doing another fucking disappearing act. What about me?”

Allies mind went blank, how could she even answer that? She wanted to laugh, she didn't listen to her? All she did everyday when she got home was listen, when she had to take work home with her she couldn't get anything done because Jess wanted her undivided attention. Bea was the only person apart from Franky who ever listened to her, was it too much to ask to be heard? Allie just stood rooted to the spot a blank expression on her face.

“It's just work, I don't have a choice, I'm going to be working the whole time I'm there, probably late into the night.” She lied hoping that she didn't pick up on it.

She wasn't going to tell her about her plans for the evening, if she thought she was spending an evening with Franky she would go mad, she certainly couldn't tell her she was spending it with Bea. When they first got together she had mentioned her and that had caused an argument, no amount of explaining that she hadn't seen her in years had helped yet it had been fine for Jess to tell her about everyone of her girlfriends, Allie just had to sit back and listen to all of that. Her phone chiming didn't help the situation much and she knew it would be Bea, she could never ignore her and now she had no choice.

“You honestly think I want to go? I don't.” Another lie, but she couldn't tell her how she was really feeling.“And I know I seem to always be working but you know how crazy things get sometimes. How about when I get back I book us a mini break in the Bunya Mountains, might be a little chilly though.”

Allie did pay attention to most of what she said, and god knows she'd dropped enough hints over the last couple of months about wanting to go there and judging by the way her face softened it had worked.

“Seriously? You promise?”

“I promise, but I have to go or I'm going to miss my flight, and if I miss this meeting I'll be in shit with the boss.”

Jess could be so easily pleased sometimes, other times nothing Allie promised her was ever going to be enough. She left the house and jumped in her car thankful that it was still early and traffic shouldn't be too much of a problem. When she reached the airport she remembered her phone, pulling it out of her pocket slowly she was a little worried what Bea may have said, had she changed her mind?


You keep asking me if I'm ok with going to dinner but are you sure you really want to? You can change your mind if you want to.


Allie rolled her eyes, she was hardly going to change her mind, she just wanted to be able to do the one thing she'd wanted to do for too long and that was spend some time with Bea alone.


Calm down would you, it's not good for a CEO to show up for work in a state. And yes I really want to, there's nothing wrong with wanting to go to dinner with a friend is there? Sorry it took me so long to reply, I kind of got into it with Jess but I sorted it out, what's the point in earning money if you're not going to spend any of it right?


How much is it costing? Not sure dinner is worth that much.


Not funny I'd pay way more to treat you to dinner than a trip to Bunya Mountains is going to cost me.


Is that so? And the ice princess caved in for that trip?


You know she usually does, I'll text you again after I land ok?


Bea spent the whole day at work in a semi panic, nothing she did was helping and she could hardly concentrate on anything after Allie had sent her a text letting her know that she was there. Maxine had been more than a little puzzled by the way she was acting but hadn't questioned her. Franky making her presence know just before lunch certainly wasn't helping, of course she wasn't taking no for an answer when it came to their lunch arrangements, it was Friday the day they usually had dinner together but not today so naturally she was insisting on them having lunch together.

Walking down the street together Franky had suddenly fallen silent, and Franky was rarely silent when they were together. Bea knew she wasn't capable of sustained periods of silence unless her brain was in overload. Right then the only thing Franky seemed capable of was walking a little more quickly than normal and looking over her shoulder every now and again. It wasn't her typical behaviour and Bea couldn't stop wondering what was going on with her. Slipping into their favourite cafe they soon ordered their food since they usually had the same thing every time they went there, Franky looked at her intently as they waited for their food to arrive and she knew she wanted to say something, and she had the feeling that Franky knew more than she was letting on. Bea had just taken a bite of her sandwich when Franky finally spoke.

“So why are you keeping having dinner with Allie a secret?”

Bea almost choked as she tried to swallow and she felt herself falling back into the grip of a silent panic her heart was racing and her brain was on fire. It took her a couple of minutes to regain her composure enough to answer her.

“How do you know about that?”

“Novak may or may not have slipped up when I spoke to her earlier, thought it was strange at first when I asked her to come out with me tonight and she said she'd had a better offer.”

“We're only friends Franky, fuck I have you over almost every week for dinner.”

“I know, I know, not like you though is it? Going out is one thing but keeping it secret, ya shock me Red.”

Bea didn't say anything, what could she say?

“So how did this little date happen?”

“Piss of Doyle it's not a date, it's just friends having dinner.”

“Yer, so how did ya get so friendly all of a sudden?”

Bea knew she wouldn't let it go and she was going to have to tell her, not that she wanted to, Franky was likely to take the piss that was nothing new. Bea wasn't going to tell her everything so she just told her that they had exchanged a few texts while she had been in Perth hoping that would be enough to satisfy Franky over enthusiastic interest.

“If ya say so, reckon it's more than a few texts but I'll leave it, never say I don't go easy on ya. She told ya about the bitch?”

“You mean Jess?”

“Yer who else, evil little bitch if ya ask me, bet she hasn't told ya she's slapped her around a few times has she? I tell ya I have no fucking idea why she's still with her. It's something new every other fucking day.”

Allie had never told her that and Bea wasn't sure she wanted to know, she could understand how she would stay with her she'd done it herself with Harry, it was the one thing that Franky would never truly understand.

Back in her office Bea really did try to concentrate but her mind was only half on what she was doing. She just wanted the time to pass quickly, she was leaving the office early she knew that and 4pm couldn't arrive fast enough. When Maxine saw Bea leaving her office early she would normally have been a little surprised but after a rather interesting conversation with Franky two hours ago she knew why she was leaving early.

“I'll see you Monday Maxi, I'm going to work from home tomorrow.”

“Sure hun, enjoy your evening.”

She was going to kill Franky!

As the time ticked away getting closer to the time Allie was due to be picking her up she couldn't remember a time she'd ever been as nervous as she she was now feeling. She had thirty minutes before Allie was due to arrive and she still hadn't decided what to wear. Hearing her phone ringing somewhere in the room she just knew it was either be Franky or Allie, she looked around for her phone before she remembered that she'd left it on the bed, trying to find it under the pile of clothes that she'd dumped on it was seeming like an impossible task as she started throwing things around. Finally finding it she answered it without even noticing who it was.

“Hello.”

“Bea, everything alright?”

“Yes, I was trying to get ready then my phone rang.”

Of all the times her mum would choose to call it just had to be right then, and her mum always kept her talking, if it wasn't something that her dad had done that she wanted to complain about then she would have to tell her every detail about her day. Bea loved her mum, she really did but since Harry had disappeared she always did this, and always managed to call at the worst time possible.

“I was just thinking about you and I wondered how everything was with you and Debbie. So what are you up to?”

Bea sighed a little louder than she had intended to, she didn't have time for this right now, she glanced at the time, Allie would be there in twenty minutes.

“Nothing much Debbie's on a school camping trip and I'm meant to be going out with a friend for dinner, she should be here soon. Not that I don't want to talk to you but I really need to finish getting ready before she arrives.”

“Dinner with a friend, I'm guessing that's Franky then?”

Bea was starting to lose her patience, why could her mum never take a hint?

“No mum not Franky, you probably don't remember her, Allie she lived in the same foster home as Franky years ago.”

“I seem to remember the name, ok sweetie I'll let you finish getting ready, you have a good evening and I'll call you tomorrow.”

“Yes mum, I'm working from home tomorrow.”

Finally she took the hint and hung up, another couple of minutes less that she had to get ready. She finally went with her first choice of what she should wear jeans and a shirt, the restaurant they were going to was pretty casual and Bea didn't want to look like she had made too much of an effort, judging by the state of her room she knew how much effort it had taken and she seriously didn't have time to put the contents of her wardrobe away now. Heading back downstairs she went straight to the kitchen and poured herself a glass of wine. Retreating to the living room she sat on the sofa looking at the time on the clock on the wall, five minutes. Taking a sip of her wine she half hoped that she'd arrive late, she could use some extra time to try and calm her already frayed nerves.

She watched the clock as the minutes ticked away, exactly on the hour her phone rang making her jump and causing wine to land on her shirt.

“Fuck, fuck…”

Jumping up off the sofa she put her glass down on the coffee table as she answered the phone.

“Hello.” She snapped, instantly regretting her tone when she heard Allies voice.

“That wasn't how I expected you to answer. I'm outside, what's wrong? Have you changed your mind?”

“What? No, no…..the phone ringing made me jump now I wearing half the glass of wine I had in my hand. I need to get changed, just come in yer, the doors unlocked.”

“Yer sure.”

Bea hadn't intended to invite her in but she didn't want to leave her sitting outside and she quickly hung up and ran back off upstairs grabbing another shirt. Pulling off her wine soaked shirt she couldn't believe how jumpy she was, it was only Allie, shit she'd spent long enough talking to her surly she shouldn't be reacting like this. Pulling on a clean shirt she looked in the mirror shaking her head, ‘pull yourself together,’ she mumbled to herself, ‘it's just dinner.’ Walking back down the stairs she could feel her heart beating and she was sure that any minute whatever remained of her lunch might be about to make an appearance.

Reaching the bottom of the stairs Bea stopped and took a deep breath trying to compose herself once more, she'd been waiting for this all day and she'd been so nervous and now she didn't know what to expect or how she really felt. ‘Breath you idiot,’ but no amount of internal chastisement was helping in the few moments that she stood there frozen to the spot. Closing her eyes she took a few more deep breaths before deciding that she was just being completely stupid, besides if she didn't move soon Allie would probably go looking for her and finding her standing there like an idiot was not going to look good. Walking into the living room her eyes landed on the top of Allies head as she sat quietly and patiently on the sofa waiting for her to put in an appearance. Allie must have heard her and she stood up and turned around.

“Hope you don't mind, I've spent half my day standing up, worst meeting I've ever had.”

“No, no course not.”

She couldn't say anymore, she didn't know what she had been expecting but as Allie stood in front of her it definitely wasn't how she looked right then. Bea was sure she looked taller than she remembered, as she walked further into the room and round the sofa her eyes traveled from her face to her feet, of course she was wearing heels, ‘idiot’ she thought to herself as her eyes stayed firmly on her feet. When their eyes finally met for the first time that day Bea was sure they were bluer than she remembered, no hint of mischief in them today just a slight touch of amusement.

“Hi, sorry about that I have no idea why I'm so jumpy today.”

“It's not everyday you meet an almost complete stranger for dinner is it?”

“No, you're right of course.”

“You really do have a lovely home, not that I'd expect any less.” Allies tone was always confident and she's always smiling, as she saw her eyes wonder over her Bea felt the blush rising and there was nothing she could do about it, and she watched her expression change to a more quizzical look.

“What?” Bea found herself asking.

“Nothing, just never thought you'd have a thing for feet.” Allie giggled.

“I…I don't, I just thought you looked taller than I remembered…”

Allie silenced her when she started laughing, noticing her obvious discomfort she stopped and apologised. Bea grabbed her jacket and pulled it on before picking up her bag.

“You ready to go?”

Allie nodded and followed her to the door.

Sitting in the restaurant Allie had hardly taken her eyes off Bea, she couldn't think why anyone could or would even want to. Sure she was shy and didn't always say a great deal but Allie was sure if they got to know each other better that would change, she had no trouble speaking to her other Friends. And she couldn't deny that when she did speak she was intelligent, quite funny and the fact that she was devastatingly beautiful didn't hurt. Allie tried to concentrate when Bea was talking to her but she was fighting a loosing battle and when Bea asked her a question that she couldn't find the answer for she thought she would think that she hadn't even been listening to a single word she had said. Her expression told Allie that try as she might to concentrate she had missed something that was probably important as she reached for her glass of water.

“Am I boring you?”

Allie could listen to that voice for the rest of her life she knew that so missing anything she had said was just irritating, she wanted to remember their conversation, especially now when she figured that she'd probably never be alone with her again after messing up.

“No, honestly, I think I just wondered off for a second and I missed the last bit.”

Allie swallowed hard, she knew that she hardly sounded convincing but hoped that she wouldn't take too much offence or realized why she'd really not heard what she had been saying.

“I asked you how bad your meeting had been, you said you'd been on your feet for most of it but you didn't elaborate.”

“Oh yer right, well I had to give a presentation on financial planning, it was meant to be short but then it seemed that everyone in the room had a few thousand questions that they wanted answering so I had to stand for the best part of the afternoon.”

“I hate that, does that happen to you often?”

“More often than I'd like, I thought I was never getting out of there, I had intended to go back to my hotel and change but if I had I'd have been late picking you up and I really didn't want you to think that I'd changed my mind, I know I could have called but I decided that I'd just come straight over.”

“Hmmmm, well I did think you were a little overdressed, I understand why now.”

Allie really couldn't miss Beas eyes moving as she looked from her face, she'd seen her do that more than once already in the last thirty minutes and had tried to not think too much about it, she couldn't really be checking her out could she? Allie couldn't allow that thought to remain in her head and she continued speaking.

“So anyway.”

Allie couldn't not notice as those brown eyes snapping straight back to hers, she could willingly lose herself in those eyes, they were every shade of brown that she could imagine, a raw umber and caramel mix with hints of dark chocolate that at times glowed with playfulness that gave Allie the shivers while giving her the feeling of being wrapped up in a warm embrace at the same time.

“God knows how bad tomorrow will be, I'm pretty certain that it's going to be a long day and I'll end up finishing late so I guess I'll be staying another night, good thing it's easy to get a flight back to Sydney at the last minute. Maybe we could do this again tomorrow?”

Bea didn't answer straight away and Allie worried that maybe she shouldn't have said that but she had, there was no taking it back. She knew she would make up any excuse to stay one more night if it meant seeing Bea again, even if it was just for a coffee.

“I think that if you have to stay I'd like that, I know I've been nervous all day about this but you really are good company. And I do enjoy talking to you.”

Allie couldn't hide her happiness, Bea wanted to see her again, she'd said it and that was more than Allie had ever hoped for. She was just about to say something when her phone started ringing, looking down at the offending item that sat on the table she frowned seeing that it was Jess.

“Shit, I better take this….Jess!”

Allie was just about to stand when Bea ran her fingers over the back of her hand instantly dragging her attention back to her.

“You stay here and talk to her, I need the ladies, won't be long.”

Allie couldn't even nod her head in response, that simple touch had set her entire body on fire. Even as she answered the phone her eyes followed Bea as she walked away, everything about her was too enticing and she knew she had to get a grip on her emotions.

“Hey Jess, I'm glad you called.”

“Really? So why did it take you so long to answer?”

Her tone of voice pulled Allie from her thoughts of Bea and she felt a little guilty, but what was she meant to do, she couldn't deny what she felt, what she'd always felt and she really didn't want to have this conversation. Her focus turned back to Jess on the phone and as much as she didn't want to speak to her she knew she had to.

“Of course I am, sorry it's been a long day.”

Allie sat listening to Jess drumming her fingers of her free hand on the table as she told her all about her day and naturally all the office gossip that Allie never had any interest in hearing. Allie gave all the answers that she knew she wanted to hear but she as always was only half listening to what she was saying.

“So where are you now, it seems a little too noisy to be your hotel?”

“One of the managers who was at the meeting asked me to go to dinner, ya know to pick my brain some more, it's all really boring and exhausting but I have to make a good impression.”

Allie knew she wouldn't really believe what she was saying and she'd dig for more information.

“I suppose you do, so what's this managers name?”

Allie wasn't stupid and had done her research before she left that morning, just in case this question cropped up. She'd told her the company name that she was having the meeting with and she knew she'd be straight online looking for information just to check she wasn't making things up.

“It's Andrea, Andrea Johnson, but don't start jumping to conclusions please, I assure you she's straight and very married with a couple of kids.”

Silence descended between them for a moment when Allie spotted Bea on her way back over to the table.

“Listen yer I better go, Andrea’s coming back and you don't want me to appear rude do you?”

“No I guess not, call me before you go to bed won't you? Just so I know you're safe.”Allie rolled her eyes, ‘You mean so you know I'm alone,’ Allie thought to herself.

“I will, I'll talk to you later, love you.” She didn't wait to hear her response and ended the call even though she knew what would happen later but she had no desire to hear anything more that she had to say. When Bea sat back down Allie couldn't help but wish she turned her phone off and left it in her bag.

“She still not happy about you being here?”

Allies eyes were drawn back to those gorgeous warm brown eyes that didn't look like they were looking straight through her like Jesses almost always did. Jess never looked at her like that, she wasn't even sure that she ever had. Jess didn't listen to her the Bea did, Allie always tried to listen to her none stop running commentary about everything she thought Allie needed to know but she never asked her how she was or how her day had been, the only time she ever knew how Allies day was was if Allie herself could slip that information into the conversation.

“She's never happy when I'm not at home, she doesn't understand that I have to travel. Sometimes I think she thinks I'm making it up and god knows there have been plenty of times I've thought about it just to get some peace and quiet for a day or two but then I know she'll call and I'll have to listen to every irrelevant detail about her day that she thinks I need to know.”

Bea just sat there quietly watching her thinking about what to say, if things were really that bad why did she stay, worse still if what Franky had told her about Jess was true she couldn't understand how Allie would do so much for her. Allie was kind and had a big heart she knew that much already, Bea had never felt this relaxed with anyone, not even Franky she thought and that scared her a little more than she suspected it really should. She had no idea what was going on with her but she needed to find out.

“If things are that bad why do you stay?”

Allie didn't even know the answer to that question. Sitting back in her chair she couldn't take her eyes away from her as she searched desperately for something to say but there was nothing other than her thoughts of just how beautiful this woman sat across from her really was. Her skin had a glow to it her eyes were so expressive and those fucking cheek bones. The way her hair framed her face left Allie wondering what it would feel like to run her fingers through it, what she would look like sleeping next to her, she knew her thoughts were running wild and unabated into very dangerous territory but she couldn't stop it.

“You ok there Allie?” Bea asked softly her tone full of concern.

“Yer, I guess I'm just tired,” glancing at her watch she couldn't believe how much time they had spent together, “Shit it's almost midnight, I better get you home.”

“Why, will you turn into a pumpkin at midnight?” Bea giggled.

Allie waved the waiter over and asked for the bill, she noticed the look of disappointment that had fallen on Beas face and as much as she didn't want to take her home and leave her alone she had to, she did have to work the next day. The thought returned as soon as she had paid the bill that maybe she wouldn't see her again and as much as she didn't want that she couldn't keep doing this could she, it wasn't fair on either of them, Jess hated Franky there was no way she would let her know she was talking to Bea. Something else that Allie hated, Jess could have her friends but Allie couldn't, when they did go out it was always with her friends never with anyone Allie called a friend.

Allie drove back to Beas in silence, Bea wasn't sure if she should say anything and when Allie didn't speak she decided that she'd just say nothing, she had so much that she wanted to say but knew she wouldn't be able to get the words out no matter how hard she tried. The shiver that ran the length of Allies spine when her hand brushed Beas leg as she changed gear almost made her jump right out of her skin. Pulling up outside Beas house and turning off the engine Allie turned to look at her.

“I'm glad you didn't chicken out on me, I really enjoyed tonight.” Allie said quietly.

“Me too, call me when you have a chance tomorrow? I'm sure I can manage to spend another evening in your company. If you still want to that is.”

As soon as the words left her mouth Bea could feel her blush rising, and she was just glad it was dark hopefully Allie wouldn't notice. Allie nodded and smiled, she wanted so much to close the distance between them and kiss her, instead she leaned closer and kissed her on the cheek letting her lips linger a little longer than she really should. If that was the only time she ever got to kiss her she wanted it to count, she wanted to remember it forever.

“I'll call as soon as I can….Goodnight Bea.”

Bea got out of the car, leaning back in she really wasn't sure why but she didn't want her to leave even though she knew she had to.

“Goodnight Allie.”

Chapter Text

After finally falling into her bed exhausted sleep didn't find Bea easily, thoughts of Allie whirling around in her head. When she eventually fell asleep her dreams were full of her and they certainly weren't the kind of dreams that she had ever experienced before about anyone. The dreams felt so real waking up a couple of hours later she was sure that she could feel Allies hands on her body. She lay in the dark and she replayed the images over and over again, Allie kissing her so confidently down the entire length of her body. She sighed into the darkness she felt so conflicted, how could she be feeling like this? She knew she'd never looked at another woman the way she looked at Allie, after Harry she swore that was it, she would be fine being alone for the rest of her life she had Debbie and she was all she needed, between her job and Debbie she was kept pretty busy anyway so any kind of relationship she though would be impossible anyway. But she just couldn't get that dream out of her head, in that beautiful place Allie was with her, but it wasn't real, couldn't ever be real. The reality that she woke up to was painful, Allie was with someone else all be it someone who clearly didn't value or appreciate her, obviously didn't see how smart and loving she was. She put her through hell and Allie stuck it out, took all the crap that she threw at her and gave her everything she asked for.

No matter how hard she tried she just couldn't get back to sleep, she had no idea where all this was coming from and it was driving her mad, she needed someone to talk to, Franky would usually be her first choice but not this time there was no way she could tell Franky what she was feeling. She knew she could talk to Maxine but she didn't want to risk Franky getting anything out of her, she had always kept everything Bea had told her in the past to herself but she knew Franky could easily get what she wanted to know out of anyone before they had even realized what they had said. Liz was the only other person she trusted enough to say anything to but she was worried, what if she didn't understand, hell she didn't even understand it herself.

Since she couldn't sleep she decided that she may as well get up, she would have made a start on some of the work she needed to get done but she knew there was no point in her even trying she'd only sit at her computer daydreaming. After making a coffee she sat on the sofa in silence thinking about every minute detail of the night before. As nervous as she had been it hadn't taken long before she relaxed just the same as that night in the bar, as soon as they were alone she relaxed. She couldn't get her eyes out of her mind, they were the most breathtaking blue she ever remembered seeing, a field of cornflower, perfect, cloudless sky blue they were so expressive and held so much emotion, sometimes she couldn't read that perfect face but her eyes betrayed her, just one look at her eyes and everything she was thinking and feeling had been laid bare right there in front of of her. She hadn't really wanted to believe Franky when she said Allie had always liked her, after so many years how could she even feel the same? But she knew it was true and that was no help with all of her confused feelings.

She had sat in the same spot for two long hours still nursing her mug of coffee that she had only drunk half of the rest was now completely cold. She knew Liz would be up early, checking the time it was 5am already, if she could just get through the next hour or so she would text Liz, she had to speak to someone before she saw her again, if she saw her again. Maybe she would change her mind in the cold light of day and just run back to Sydney, back to Jess who seemed to care so little about her. After a shower and getting dressed she returned to the living room, it was after 6am, grabbing her phone she sent Liz a text.


Do you have some free time before you have to go to the salon?



She needed another coffee and had only just got to the kitchen when she received a reply.


Is everything alright? Boomer is opening up this morning so I have as much time as you need, why don't you come over now and we can have breakfast together?


I'll be over in 20 minutes, thank you.


She decided to walk round to Liz's hoping the fresh air would help her clear her jumbled thoughts and arrange what she needed to say in her head. Knocking on the door just a little over twenty minutes later Liz soon opened the door, noticing her slightly worried expression.

“Oh love come in, what ever is the matter?”

“I'm not even sure I know where to begin Liz.”

“Well they do always say the beginning is the best place to start, come through into the kitchen breakfast won't be long.”

“I'm not really hungry but a coffee would be great.”

Taking a seat in the kitchen Liz passed her a coffee before asking if she was sure about not wanting anything to eat, Bea had just shaken her head before taking a sip of her coffee. Liz returned to the table a short while later knowing that whatever was playing on her mind must be something she didn't want Franky to know and that just worried her, they had told each other everything for so many years, and Liz had always presumed that as long as they had each other to confide in there wasn't anything for her to worry about. They sat in silence for a few minutes before Bea found the courage to start telling her everything, from the night at the bar to the previous evening. Liz sat and listened without interruption knowing that when Bea wanted to talk about anything it was always better to just let her talk.

“You think I'm being stupid don't you? I'm reading more into this than is really there aren't I?” Bea asked quietly unable to look at Liz.

“I don't think you're stupid at all and you know I would never call you that in a million years. I doubt very much you're reading anything wrong, I remember Allie, did you never really notice how she was when you were around?”

Bea looked up from the mug that she was holding looking at Liz and shaking her head.

“That's a shame love, she really did like you, Franky told me she was always trying to get your attention. I remember when she had to leave she was so upset, I didn't really know you then though, I saw you with Franky but until you came to work with me I didn't really know who you were. The two of them would come over to salon on Saturdays, I remember one day you walked past with…. well we both know who you were with, the poor thing was standing looking out of the window she looked so heartbroken when you walked past. I think you need to talk to her, from what you've told me I don't think her feelings have changed in the slightest, and as for the girlfriend she sounds to me like a real piece of work. You deserve to be happy Bea, I've told you that so many times and you've always said you don't need to be with anyone else but Deb to be happy but you know I always knew this day would come one day. Don't overthink everything love, if Allies the one you're meant to be with it'll all work out in the end, take your time, talk to her and it'll all come good in the end.”

“I'm scared Liz, what if I'm wrong?”

“I know you are love, but Allies not him, I don't think she would ever do anything to hurt you, if anything I think she's hurting herself, do you really want her to keep doing that?”

“No but….”

“No more buts, remember what I said about overthinking.”

They chatted for a while longer before said she had better get going, she was after all meant to be working from home. Walking back home she thought about what Liz had said, it made sense but she was apprehensive about talking to Allie, it wasn't as simple as Liz had tried to make it sound she knew that well enough. Allie didn't know what had happened with Harry and she hated ever having to talk about it. Even if she could explain all that to her Allie would probably think she was as crazy as Franky did for thinking that he was still alive. She hadn't quite reached the house when she received a text from Allie.

 

Good morning, I hope you slept well. I'll pick you up a 6pm again if that's alright?


I'll be ready, I've got so much work I need to get through first, I'll see you later.

 

There was no way she was telling her that she had had the grand total of two hours sleep, and even that hadn't been that restful. She had no idea how she was going to get through any of the work she needed to do, she was going to try and get something done, if not she was going to have to work the next day as well.

Sitting down in front of her computer she was determined to get as much done as possible even if that meant working through lunch, working from home was always something she enjoyed even when Debbie was at home there was still less distractions than there were in the office. Her day passed a lot quicker than it had done the day before and by 4pm she hadn't a great deal left to do, it wouldn't take her long to finish it the next day so she decided to leave it.

She had just finished getting ready when her phone rang, looking at the caller ID it was her mum, ‘why has she always got to call when I'm in the middle of something?’ She grumbled to herself before answering.

“Mum, how are things?”

“You seen a little happier today, everything's fine really I just wanted a chat.”

“Ok, but I don't have long I'm going out again in a while.”

“Two days in a row? Who are going out with tonight?”

“Oh just Allie again, she has to go home tomorrow and we probably won't see each other for ages.”

“I'm glad you're finally starting to go out more sweetie, how was working from home today?”

“Good I still have a little to finish but I can do it tomorrow before Debbie gets home.”

After chatting for a further ten minutes her mum said that she had better let her finish whatever she was doing and they ended the call.

Bea sat on the sofa with a glass of wine, the nerves of yesterday thankfully hadn't made another appearance, not yet anyway. The conversation with Liz had left her feeling more comfortable but she knew she wasn't ready to tell Allie how she was feeling, no way was she ready to divulge that much information. Playing situations by ear when she was at work was easy she had less to lose at the office, she knew her job, got things done and wasn't putting herself out there to get hurt, no she wasn't going to tell Allie anything she was going to hope that they could spend a relaxed evening together talking and laughing that was harmless and came with no risks.

The knock on the door distracted her from her thoughts as she glanced at the time, Allie was early but it didn't matter, she almost ran to the door, taking a moment before opening it, the only barrier between them being in the same space again was that door and for a second she forgot how to breath. Another knock reminded her that she had been stood there too long and that she was ok. Opening the door her eyes fell straight on Allie, her breath caught in her throat as she laid eyes on a very casually dressed Allie, that woman may be the death of her, if not she was certainly heart attack inducing material. She was so mesmerised by her appearance she hadn't even noticed that she had a large pizza box in one hand and a bottle of wine in the other but after a few moments that information suddenly registered and a look of confusion washing over her as she stepped to the side to allow her inside.

“I'm sorry, I actually only had my hotel booked for last night and there's a massive conference in town and I couldn't get another room anywhere so I've had to rearrange my travel plans, I have a flight a midnight, so I thought that maybe you wouldn't mind?” She raised the box and the bottle a little.

Taking the box from her she couldn't hide her disappointment, this meant less time together but still it was something, she walked off in the direction of the kitchen followed closely by Allie.

“You should have called, you didn't have to come over if you don't have the time.”

“Are you kidding me? What was I going to do sit in the hotel lobby until it was time to leave for the airport? But if you don't want me here I guess I can head over to the airport and sit around there.”

“What! No I didn't mean it like that I want you here honestly.”

Bea took the wine from Allie and put it in the fridge before leading the way back through to the living room, placing the pizza box down on the coffee table before taking a seat Allie sitting next to her a few moments later Allie leaned over opening the pizza box,

“I didn't know what you liked so I just got four cheese I hope you don't mind.”

“It's fine I don't really care what's on it.”

She wouldn't have cared less if the box had been empty, her stomach was filled with butterflies and her heart was beating wildly in her chest, the only thing that mattered was that Allie was there sitting next to her close enough to reach out and touch but she wouldn't she was with someone else and no matter what Liz had said she couldn't do or say anything that would result in her getting hurt. No matter what her heat was telling her her head overruled it, ‘she's unavailable, she has a girlfriend, who she'll be going home to soon,’ she told herself.

Allie had a mouthful of pizza when she turned to look at her, she didn't want to leave her, didn't want to go back to Jess, all that was waiting for her at home was well, nothing much.

“You not hungry? I'll leave if that's what you want, I…I just wanted to see you again before I had to leave.”

Beas heart almost jumped into her mouth when she heard that, she wanted to see her, for one fleeting moment she dared to hope that maybe one day things could be different, then her doubts and insecurities came flooding back, she had to let this go no one could ever want to be with her and she was so scared of actually getting close to anyone. Her brain was a muddle of conflicting thoughts that she didn't even realize what she said until it was too late.

“You could always rearrange your flight again, you could stay here.”

Allie had turned her attention back to the pizza box but as soon as she heard that her head snapped back to look at Bea, there was a burning curiosity in her eyes and her heart rate increased.

“Now that's quite a proposition, I didn't think you were in the habit of taking strays in for the night.”

Bea laughed a little, thinking out loud was something she was not accustomed to but she had just done it, she truly didn't want her to leave, what she really wanted she wasn't even quite sure of herself, she had no clue what she was even doing and knew she was going to end up making a complete fool of herself one way or another.

“I…I just meant….we have a couple of spare rooms….you could make use of one of them for the night.”

“That would be great,” she smiled, “But I wouldn't want to put you to any trouble on my account.”

“It's no trouble really….you must be tired and I just thought….”

“Well you know what I'd love to but if your not going to eat after I went to the trouble of picking up a pizza it's kinda a deal breaker.”

Bea just laughed as much as she knew she actually was hungry she still wasn't sure she could eat, she was being selfish because she didn't want her to go, really wanted to see her the next day and the next and the next. But she knew she had to leave go back to what was waiting for her, whatever it truly was waiting for her. Sitting forward she grabbed a slice of pizza and took a bite.

“Happy now?”

Happy! Allie was ecstatic, she could do this being in the same place as Bea all night keeping her hands to herself might be a problem but she'd do it, true she'd actually have to take her chances on a flight the next day because there was no way she was even going to bother trying to make any calls. Allie leaned a little closer, raising her hand she tucked a stray piece of hair behind Beas ear as their eyes locked. Bea was trying desperately to ignore her touch but it was impossible, she was so gentle and then came the overwhelming urge to kiss her, she was right in front of her, the distance between them minimal. Just once, she just wanted to experience it once, their bodies leaned into each other at an agonisingly, almost imperceptible, slow pace, Bea almost willing it to happen. Allies fingers rested on her cheek, Bea could hear her heart pounding and for a few moments she had to wonder if Allie could also hear it.

As quickly as it started it was ended abruptly when Allies phone began to ring causing them to spring apart, Bea stood up picking up her glass about to race to the kitchen to get away. Allie grabbed her free hand looking at her apologetically,

“I'm sorry, it's Jess I better take it.”

Before Allie could even say a word she heard Jess talking at her saying something about expecting her home by now.

“So are you going to tell me what time I can expect you to grace me with your presence?”

“Hey I'm sorry ok, the meeting ran late, I managed to rearrange my flight but I won't get home until late.”

“You always do this, you have an excuse for everything, well don't expect me to just sit here and wait for you.”

“I said I was sorry, I'll make it up to you I promise.”

Allie felt awful, she wanted to stay but after what almost happened she knew she had to go, how could she stay now? How could she have been so stupid? She had too many questions swimming around in her head as she sat and listened to Jess fall into her usual pattern of telling her everything about her day, not one word of concern for how she might be feeling. She watched as Bea made her way into the kitchen and she felt her heart sink, she almost kissed her, the one person she'd always wanted to be with and as crazy as it sounded the one person she knew she'd always loved and the only person she knew she would always love, no one in the entire world would ever take Beas place in her heart or in her mind and she wanted nothing more than to tell her that. If she'd never gone to Sydney then maybe they would have found their way to each other, as it stood now it was just a mess. The look in her eyes when she pulled away from her so abruptly, did Bea feel the same?

“Listen Jess I need to go, I need to get something to eat before my flight. I'll call you if anything changes that's out of my control ok?”

“Oh, ok…..I'll see you later, I love you.”

Allie swallowed hard murmuring an “I love you too,” into the phone and ending the call. That was the biggest lie of all and she knew it, she could feel her tears threatening to fall as they burnt the corners of her eyes, she knew she had to go and she couldn't stand to see the look in Beas eyes, she was sure she felt the same and she couldn't face causing her anymore pain than she knew she had already jumping up from the sofa she left leaving everything she'd ever wanted behind her. She lent up against the car desperately trying to get her thoughts in order, ‘I need to go, I can't stay,’ she told herself not that she was convincing herself in the slightest. She felt sick to her stomach, she didn't want to be with Jess, five minutes alone with Bea and she had felt more alive and more appreciated than anytime in the last five years but her life was in Sydney wasn't it? She'd wanted this for too long but it was wrong even though it felt so right. She was so caught up in her thoughts she didn't hear Bea leave the house and walk down the drive towards her stopping a couple of metres away from her.

“Allie…..are you alright?”

She didn't need to raise her head, just the sound of Beas voice calmed her down instantaneously, not trusting her voice she just nodded before looking up.

“I know you have to go but your flights not for hours, please come back in and eat.”

Allie forced herself to lift her head and look at Bea who was looking back at her as if she were last person left on earth, Allie took a deep breath before she answered.

“You're right….I'm fine honestly and we should eat.”

Sitting together once again on the sofa they ate in silence, neither of them knew what to say, all Allie really wanted to do was reach out and touch her, hold her hand and tell her she was sorry for trying to kiss her, it was inappropriate no matter how badly she wanted to be with her, no matter how badly she wanted to tell her she loved her and that she always would.

Allie looked at her watch, ‘two hours, two fucking hours,’ in all that time neither of them had spoken and Allie needed to apologise, she couldn't leave things like this.

“Bea…..I…I shouldn't have tried to kiss you, and please don't think that's because I don't want to because…..shit….i do, I really do. I know I don't know how you feel and I'm not even going to try and guess…..I'm sorry.”

Bea stayed silent for a little longer, stealing sideways glances at the only person she knew she'd ever had that level of feelings for, ‘of course she's apologising, she has a girlfriend at home, how could you ever be that stupid to think that she could ever want you, you're a fucking idiot, ugly and stupid, no one could ever want you,’ that thought alone made her want to run from the room but she wouldn't.

“Don't worry about it, it was a mistake that's all, you need to get home Jess is waiting for you.”

Allie turned her head to look at her, she wanted to commit her face to memory, burn it into her brain so could never forgot what she looked like because she'd probably never see her again, in her mind Bea would never want to see her again, not after tonight, she'd probably never answer another text or answer her phone.

“I really am sorry,” Allie whispered as she reached out and ran her fingers over the back of her hand, letting them linger a little longer than she thought she should have before she stood up.

“I'm gonna miss you but I need to get going.”

“I know.”

Bea stood up from the sofa and silently walked her to the door, she wanted to say something but she couldn't find the words as she stood and watched Allie walk to the car. Allie fought the urge to turn around and look at Bea, she knew the second she did that she wouldn't be able to make herself leave and she'd end up pouring her heart out. Once Allie was seated in the safety of her car she sighed before pulling on her seatbelt and starting the car, pulling away from the curb she drove slowly away from the house and Bea. She tried to concentrate on the road in front of her but the thoughts of the person she was leaving behind were running rampant in her mind. She turned the radio on and turned it up trying to drown out the voice in her head.

As she neared the airport she was still torturing herself, she loved Jess didn't she? Wasn't that why she stayed with her? Why she put up with her constant selfish behaviour? She didn't even know why she was asking herself all these questions, she was meant to be convincing herself that going home was the right thing to do. They used to get on, she wasn't sure what really happened between then how things turned so bad. True they never had anything in common Allie loved music, art and literature while Jess only wanted to sit in front of the tv, go out with her friends and talk about the latest gossip, she was only interested in what she wanted and at best Allie thought she only just about liked her. Her thoughts quickly turned back to Bea, the woman she had a known since being a teenager, her world felt like it was going to stop turning without her they talked about everything, Bea would listen with interest and not interrupt to tell her what happened in some tedious reality tv show. She couldn't bury the way she felt any longer could she, the further away she drove the more she needed to turn back, to tell her how she felt and even if she rejected her at least she would know and try and let it go.

She drove past the airport before finding somewhere to pull in, she should go home, now, tonight, back to Jess. She knew if she left she was going to regret it Bea didn't flinch or try to push her away when she tried to kiss her. She heard her phone chime, a text message, she glanced at the screen as it sat on the passenger seat, she started the engine and turned the car around heading back in the direction she had just come from, back to Bea.

Chapter Text

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.

“What happened?”

“When?”

“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?”

“Yes, anything.”

“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 I….”

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.

“Goodnight Allie.”

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.”

 

Chapter Text

Allie spent the whole flight home torn between what she was leaving behind and what she had to face when she got home, the only thing that she was looking forward to was going back to work, facing Jess was very low down on her list of things she actually had any desire to do. She knew the second she got home they were going to have an argument and the best outcome would be that she could talk her down with planning their trip. ‘Why the hell am I even still thinking about that?’ She thought as the plane was landing.

Pulling up outside their house, ‘their house,’ that was a joke, Jess wanted them to move Allie had been quite happy living in the apartment she had rented when she first arrived in Sydney but Jess went on and on about them needing more space and Allie had caved in, anything for a quiet life but the very same week they had moved in Jess announced that she had lost her job and proceeded to spend weeks doing nothing leaving Allie to take care of everything just like she still did.


Hey Bea, just arrived home. I hated having to say goodbye to you earlier.


Me too, have you seen Jess yet?


Allie grabbed her bag from her car and headed towards the house, she was guessing Jess was in after all her car was there but that didn't mean anything, and she had said she wasn't going to sit around waiting for her.


Just walked in the house, no sign of her so I'm guessing she's out with friends. Do you think I'm crazy because I miss you?


I miss you too, but you had to leave, you have your own commitments there.


I know, one of them I really don't want you to remind me of, this is such a shit situation.


I know, sorry.


Hey don't be sorry, I'm just tired and cranky. Really not looking forward to Jess getting home.


I know, wish I could help you out with that. Maybe we shouldn't talk for a while.


Are you crazy? Listen I know this isn't ideal, hell I didn't expect things to be like this but I will talk to her, not sure how much she's going to listen to me though, and you know I really don't want to go anywhere with her but I'm an idiot and I promised.


I know I have to go, gotta pick Deb up from school, I'm going to be spending all next week listening to every detail of this camping trip on repeat.


You love it! Maybe one day I'll get to hear her stories.


Yer maybe, I'm sure she'd bore you to tears. Speak to you later if you can.

 

Allie could do nothing but sit and wait until the inevitable happened and Jess walked through the door.

“You actually remember where the fuck you live.”

“Jess….I”

“Shut the fuck up, you said you'd be home last night, where the fuck where you?”

“My flight got cancelled and my battery died so I couldn't call.” Allie hated lying but she had to try and calm her down somehow and she'd spent less than five minutes thinking up that excuse for not being home when she had expected her to arrive.

“You must have been in the only airport in the world then that doesn't have a pay phone.”

“Listen I never even though of that…I'm sorry.”

“Sorry! You're sorry! Oh well that makes everything alright then doesn't it?”

“Jess please, I've been sitting here waiting for you for hours I thought we were going to start planning our trip but if you don't want to go anymore…” Allie trailed off when she saw her expression change.

“You really did mean that?”

“Course I did, now are we planning this or not?”

Of course Jess wanted to go for the most expensive place they could find somehow Allie managed to convince her that at that time of year the most expensive and most secluded place probably wasn't the best place to go. Eventually they managed to come to an agreement and Allie booked it before Jess had a chance to change her mind. Now in just under a week she was going to have to spend the weekend cooped up in a cabin with Jess and that was the last place she wanted to be but for a quiet life it had to be worth it, what she had planned after they got home was certainly not something she was looking forward to.

 

 

 

Monday morning Bea was sitting in her office reading yet another report when Franky walked in.

“Sup Red?”

Peering over the top of what she was reading she rolled her eyes and sighed knowing exactly why she was there, dropping the report down on her desk she sat back in her chair and waited for the barrage of questions she was sure she was going to get. Franky sat in the chair opposite her with a grin wide and bright enough to light up the entire room.

“So have ya heard?”

Bea hadn't been prepared for that kind of question she was sure that she was going to start asking questions about Allie. Not that she had the first idea what she was going to say but this was out of the blue.

“Have I heard what?”

“Shit! Ya kiddin right? You're the CEO how can ya not have heard about us taking over a finance company based in Sydney.”

“That's all you came in here for to tell me that? I heard something but I've been busy.”

“Not paying attention more like. You have heard of Fletcher and Gordon Finance?”

“Yes, what about it?”

“So you know Allie works for them? If this takeover goes through all the staff from Sydney will be relocated here, some of em in this building!”

Beas mobile just had to chime right when Franky was sitting in her office, picking it up she completely ignored Franky for a few minutes.


Good morning, I hope works not too busy for you this morning. It's total chaos here, I came back to a nightmare and we've got an urgent meeting in 30 minutes.


Good morning, my morning so far means I'm up to my ears in reports, and I have Franky sitting right here. I have a feeling that I know what your urgent meeting is about.


Franky sat watching Bea closely her eyebrow raised, she was sure she knew who that was going to be but she knew Bea wasn't going to give in to her questioning, anyway she didn't need Bea to find out what she wanted to know Allie would tell her she was sure of that.

“I didn't know Allie worked for them, it never came up in conversation. It doesn't mean she'll want to relocate.”

“No course she won't Red, if she ever gets rid of queen bitch she'd run all the way here if she could to be closer to ya and ya know it.”

“Yer sure Franky, have we finished? I do have work to do you know.”

As Franky was just about to leave Beas office she turned and winked at her before closing the door behind her. Bea had heard something or other about a take over but she hadn't been paying attention, she'd gone over the notes from the conference before she'd tackled anything else that morning. There had been talk for some time that they were about ready to enter negotiations with a finance company but that had been a while ago and she'd heard no more about it, Liberty Brown although a small investment back had grown its client list over the last two years and every department had grown except the finance department there had been one or two new additions to the staff but nothing major.

Busing herself with the report she had been reading it was soon lunch time and if Maxine hadn't been around she would have worked straight through without a second thought, she did it all the time.

“I brought you lunch.” Maxine said softly after entering Beas office.

“Thanks Maxi, you going to stay and eat with me?” Bea enquired as she looked at the clock.

“Sure Hun if that's what you want, I'll only be a sec.” Maxine disappeared for a few seconds before returning with her lunch and sitting in the seat across from Bea.

“Fill me in Maxi, on what you know about this takeover, I have to admit I wasn't really paying any attention to anything but this mountain of work that never seems to ever get any smaller.”

That was a half truth she knew that, she'd found concentrating on anything other than the thoughts of Allie that would enter her head at the most unfortunate times, unfortunate since they always seemed to appear when she had got to something that was important and needed her undivided attention she'd start reading and there she was.

“As I understand it Gordon and Fletcher have two offices, their head office is in Sydney and a smaller office here. The plan seems to be to expand our financial department, taking some of the staff from head office and some from the office here and merging them with our finance office.”

“Only some of the staff?”

“That's all I know, but you have a meeting with the director in an hour so you should find out more. Now tell me how Debbie's trip was.”

They spent the remainder of their lunch break talking about Debbie's trip and laughing at some of the things Debbie had told Bea. They used to eat their lunch together everyday but as work had become more chaotic Bea worked through lunch most of the time only remembering to eat if Maxine brought her something. The few times they did eat together were usually when they were working on something together so a day like today when Bea pushed work to one side and ate and chatted was always a pleasant surprise. Their lunch break came to an abrupt end when Maxine glanced at the time and told Bea that she had better get up to the directors office.

Arriving on the top floor of the building the directors secretary smiled at her and nodded towards his door, she was early and he was already waiting for her that was never a good sign. Entering his office she noticed the small smile playing on his lips, ‘encouraging’ she thought to herself as she took a seat and waited for him to speak.

“I'm sure I don't need to tell you about our taking over Gordon and Fletcher Finance do I?” Bea knew it was a rhetorical question and was just grateful for Franky and Maxine otherwise she would have been sitting there without a clue. “I've already picked a team from their head office that will be joining us here, the deal will be finalised over the next couple of weeks, obviously they can't be expected to move here overnight so they will be given three months to make their arrangements.”

“I'm guessing then that the adjustment period is going to be a little difficult.”

“I'm hoping not, unfortunately the director of Gordon and Fletcher has waited until today to tell his staff about this and I hear that it hasn't been taken very well by some of the staff.”

“Understandable when he's left it this late.”

“True, what I need from you is to work closely with the CFO and the HR manager’ I'm sure you know the CFO Will Jackson and I know you know the HR manager, I think everyone knows Vera. Currently we have no head of finance I've heard only good things about one employee who I'm hoping is going to jump on bored since it's a promotion for her, I hear you know her already Allie Novak.”

Beas eyes went wide, she knew they had no head of finance or deputy head of finance, Allie was already the deputy head of finance and hadn't expected to hear her name, she certainly hadn't expected him to know she knew her already.

 

 

 

Allie sat through the meeting in a half state of shock, ‘Melbourne, move to Melbourne,’ she thought to herself and her mind wondered straight to what or rather who was waiting for her in Melbourne. The meeting dragged and all she wanted to do was get back to her desk and text Bea although from her earlier comment she guessed that she already knew what was happening. Then she remembered Jess, that was not a conversation she was looking forward to, ‘maybe not tell her,’ she wondered to herself, get the weekend over and then tell her she was leaving, Jess hated Melbourne but she also knew that she'd try talking her out of leaving although even without the move Allie was determined that she was leaving Jess, meeting Bea again had only made her realize that it was over, had been for the last two years and she couldn't keep living like that.

Making it back to her desk she forgot about work and grabbed her mobile straight away.


Guess who's moving to Melbourne?


Let me think……I'm guessing that would be you!


How long have you known about this? You could have let me know then I could have saved myself a weekend of torture with Jess.


Honestly I only found out this morning, I had heard something but that was ages ago, Franky mentioned it first then I had to quiz Maxine.


You're forgiven then since you weren't keeping secrets from me.


If I'd have known I would have told you.


I know, do you think it's too late to cancel this weekend away?


Pretty sure it is, I need to get back to work I'm so behind now.


One last thing. Maybe you were right, I think we should stop texting each other all the time. I know I said I didn't want to stop but shit I have so much going on now and I'm not saying I don't want to speak to you I just need to sort my head out, that meeting kind of threw me and I have the whole Jess situation to sort out.


Bea sat staring at that last message, what the hell was she actually saying? She had suggested it but Allie didn't want that, one minute she's texting her like she normally did and now she wants to stop. She started typing out a message then deleted it, that text didn't require an answer did it? She wanted space and Bea would let her have it.

Concentration seemed to be something that was completely eluding her now, she had sat staring at the same page for an hour completely lost in her own thoughts. Just after 6pm Franky opened her office door and stood watching her for a minute or so, she didn't turn the page, never looked up and Franky started to worry, Bea was always so focused on her work, it never mattered what drama or office politics was playing on around her Bea Smith stayed focused.

“Ya gonna tell me what's wrong?”

Bea never raised an eyebrow, didn't say a word she just closed the report and dropped it back down on her desk.

“What do you want Franky?”

“Nothin, but you're making a habit of staying here late.”

 

 

 

By Wednesday afternoon Bea had cleared her desk of every report that had been left on it trying to fill every second of the day so that she wouldn't think about Allie or keep checking her phone for a text that she might have missed, a text she knew wasn't going to come but she still hoped for it. Keeping herself overly busy had a downside and one that she didn't appreciate, she had a headache that just seemed to be getting worse, she was a prisoner to it, helpless and stuck inside a cage of pain. Maxine had noticed first and when Bea had said it was nothing returned to her desk and called Franky who said she would take her home no matter how much she argued. Sitting at her desk with her head in her hands all Bea craved was darkness, silence and stillness, none of which she was going to find while ever she was a work. In usual Franky style she breezed into Beas office, although much quieter than she usually would.

“Alright Red I'm takin ya home and I'm not arguing with you about it.”

Bea looked up, she couldn't argue if she tried the pain throbbed so violently in her head she was left wondering if it might crack open any second. Franky never saw Bea push herself this hard, her usual approach to work was always paced, never rushed and she had never known her try and get through a weeks work in two days. Something was going on and Franky was certain she was going to get to the bottom of it if it killed her but now was not the time, her friend was in pain and didn't look well, right now she was taking her home even if she had to carry her from the building and down to her car.

The drive over to Beas had been in silence and when they arrived she was grateful that Franky had a spare key, there was no way she was going to find hers.

“Get ya self to bed and don't worry about Deb, I'll call Liz and let her know that I'm going to pick her up.” She turned to leave before hearing Bea speak, she knew the tone, something was really wrong she hadn't heard her voice sound so small since Harry disappeared.

“Franky…….thank you, I don't know what I'd do without you sometimes.”

“I'm always here for ya, now get to bed and sleep.”

Franky sat in her car for a couple of minutes, Bea never had headaches like this, she'd seen her power through everything at work without even flinching, one bad investment a couple of years back that nearly ended in disaster saw plenty of people calling in sick and Bea had just thrown herself into the thick of it paced herself and pushed on taking on more work than Franky had thought one person could handle but she'd got through it and everything worked out, Bea got the promotion that everyone knew she deserved everyone knew she was the best CEO they had ever had, sure she was stressed but in all the time Franky had worked with her she'd never had a headache so bad that she ended up having to be taken home, and even more unusually for Bea she hadn't even tried to protest, something was wrong and she had to find out what it was.

Bea sat on her bed looking at her reflection in the mirror and she was shocked by who she saw looking back at her, she looked so tired. Reminding herself that she'd hardly slept the night before she knew was probably the reason for that but apart from that she looked ok, just her normal self. There wasn't a problem with her on the outside, inside, inside she was aching and it wasn't a feeling she was used to and she certainly didn't like it. She'd never missed Harry, she was always glad when he wasn't around, happier than anything when he would disappear with his mates and not reappear until Monday evening when he got back from work. This was all too new and scared her a little, how could she ache for Allie like this? As she lay down on the bed, covering her eyes with her arm she was the only thing she could think of, that ache gnawed away at her but she would do as Allie asked, she wouldn't text or try calling her and she'd get through it, she got through everything didn't she? When she went back to work she would pull her lips into a smile and everyone around her would mistake that lacklustre smile for happiness, she would look like her ordinary self even though she felt like she was crumbling inside.

When she woke up few hours later it was dark and the house was quiet, dragging herself from her bed she was happy that the pain in her head was now bearable. Reaching the kitchen she found a note from Franky,


Bea,

You were still asleep when we got back so we decided that it was best to let you sleep. Debs going to stay over at mine and I'll bring her back in the morning, hope you're feeling better by then.

Franky


She still felt tired and wasn't hungry, the house felt so empty as she walked around trying to decide what to do with the alone time, she wished Debbie was there, hell she even wished Franky was there to help occupy the loneliness that she felt eating her up. Returning upstairs she pushed open the door to the spare room that Allie had spent the night in, the bed was still unmade and her perfume still lingered in the air, every recollection from the weekend came racing back at her like a huge slap in the face and drenching her in a cold sadness. Torturing herself like this was pointless she thought and then she remembered there was every possibility that Allie would soon be working in the same building as her, and if Jess agreed to move with her…..Allie said she was going to talk to her but maybe she wouldn't, maybe she didn't really want to, Bea felt lost and confused and the only thing she wanted to do now was sleep.

 

Chapter Text

Friday lunch time arrived and Allie drove home knowing that Jess would already be waiting for her since she wasn't working that day, Allie had no choice but to work until lunch time, she had a financial report to complete and it had to be finished by the end of the day, she promised her boss that she would have it ready for lunch time she'd even gone into work an hour early that morning so she had extra time to finish it, naturally Jess had gone off into a huge speech about why she couldn't go to work Allie pointing out that their flight wasn't until 1500 and she would be home just after 1200. Jess was still in a bad mood when Allie walked back into the house, she'd hoped she'd calm down while she was out but deep down she knew she wouldn't have. She had nothing to do, Allie had done their packing, all she had to do for the morning was keep herself occupied for a few hours.

“We're going to miss the flight if you don't hurry up.”

Allie just walked past her, all she wanted to do was get changed without any drama and she wasn't going to give her anything to argue about, not that she ever needed an excuse. All the way to the airport Jess found something to find fault with, she caused a scene at the check in desk, Allie walked away from her embarrassed, why she even thought of this was now well and truly beyond her. Their flight was only an hour and a half from Sydney to Dalby Airport, from there they were picking up a rental car and making the 60 minute drive the Bunya Avenue Chalets, yet one more thing that Jess was not happy about, within two hours of Allie booking it she had changed her mind again and wanted her first choice.

Arriving at dinner time they went straight to Elz Bistro and ordered dinner to take back to their chalet, for the first time that day Jess didn't cause a scene or complain about anything. After dinner Jess found everything to complain about until she sat herself in front of the tv completely ignoring Allie. Sitting looking at her phone that she'd left on the coffee table she almost willed it to ring even though she knew that it wouldn't. Allie had thought about going to bed early but instead she went and sat out on the deck with the rest of the bottle of wine they had with their dinner. The Bunya Mountains were beautiful, romantic even but Jess didn't even notice her surroundings once she was watching tv, as soon as they got home on Sunday evening Allie was going to tell her about her imminent move to Melbourne, she was still undecided if she should tell her about Bea but the more she thought about it the more she realized that there was no need to bring Bea into it, she would just tell her she was leaving and that she didn't want to be with her anymore. She was sure there was a time she loved her but she was tired of the drama, once she would have crawled over hot coals to keep her happy now she didn't even want to walk to the end of the street for her. There was no reason for them to stay together anymore, she'd already called Franky and asked her to look out for an apartment she could rent and Franky had told her there was no need to she could stay with her for as long as she needed to.

Jess could have the house, Allie had first thought that they should sell it but she didn't want to make her homeless along with everything else. As soon as she was back at work she was going to find out when she could move to Melbourne, she just hoped that she could go by the end of the week but she wasn't holding out much hope and if Jess didn't want her in the house she'd have to find somewhere else to stay. She needed to speak to Bea it was no use, she shouldn't have sent her that last message and told her that they shouldn't speak. Looking through the chalet window Jess was engrossed in whatever she was watching, she hadn't even noticed that Allie wasn't even in the same room. Realizing that she'd left her phone inside she went in to retrieve it and returned to the deck without so much as a single word from Jess. She tried to rehearse everything that she needed to say in her head before placing the call she had desperately wanted to make all week.

“Hello,” came Debbie's cheerful voice throwing Allie off the conversation she had rehearsed in her head.

“Errr, hey….can I speak to Bea please?”

“Yer one minute mums in the kitchen.”

‘Of course it's Debbie, seriously who did you expect it to be?’ Allie thought to herself, then she completely lost her train of thought when she heard Bea,

“Hello.”

“Bea…I…..”

“Allie…..what's wrong, are you ok?” Beas worried reply rang in her ear.

“I'm fine…..I just miss you….I'm sorry, about that text, that fucking meeting threw me so much I thought it would be better if we didn't speak to each other…..I was wrong.”

“Allie, you're away for the weekend, lets just leave it there, enjoy yourself and I'll speak to you when you get home.”

“Enjoy myself! You remember who I'm here with don't you?”

“Yes your girlfriend.”

“Who happens to be paying more attention to some fucking reality tv show than me, yer right enjoy myself…….I didn't mean to push you away, meeting you again was the best thing that has happened to me in years I don't want to lose you.”

“I'm not going anywhere am I? But you need to concentrate on what's important, and right now Jess should be your priority.”

The conversation lasted a couple more minutes until Debbie needed Beas attention and she said she had to go. Allie felt so miserable when the call ended, she didn't even want to be there and Bea told her to pay attention to Jess, that was a joke it was all she ever did and all Allie felt was loneliness, they were in the middle of one of the most stunning landscapes she ever thought she would ever see but she felt so alone. Draining the remainder of the contents of her glass she went back inside finding Jess still watching tv and talking to someone on the phone, Allie announced that she was going to bed and Jess just looked her way for a few moments before her attention was snapped back to the tv.

 

 

 

The next morning Allie woke earlier than usual for her on a Saturday morning, getting up she made coffee and went to sit on the deck, it was a little chilly but she didn't care as she scrolled through her emails, most of which were from work and they could wait, everyone knew she was away and if they expected her to answer anything work related until Monday that was tough, as much as she would have loved to throw herself into work and pretend she was anywhere else but stuck alone with Jess the argument that would follow meant she resisted that temptation. Her attention moved to scrolling through her old text messages threads, most of which she thought she should have deleted a long time ago until her eyes landed on a name that instantly caught her attention, Bea Smith. Seeing her name alone left her heart pounding in her chest, she debated with herself if she should read them, start at the beginning she longed to be back there when their conversation was continuous, not how it was now and she had no one to blame but herself. Tapping the screen she scrolled through message after message as she smiled remembering the first email she ever sent, she'd tried to be professional in the beginning but once it turned from emails to text messages everything had changed. They had talked about everything work, friends, books, movies. There were so many messages, some short some went into minute detail, one message caught her eye and she started reading the exchange.


Hey there, how's your day been? Did Debbie finally get her homework finished last night?


It was uneventful thankfully, I spent most of the day browsing YouTube. Hard to believe there are so many idiots in the world. She finished it eventually, I didn't think she was ever going to finish and this is a girl who tells me history is her favourite subject!


Someone has to like history, I hated it! There will always be idiots in the world, you're lucky you don't have to live with one.


No I don't, you want to tell me about it? You don't have to obviously.


I'm sure you'd fall asleep reading about my home life, but thank you for caring.


Don't be silly…anyway if I fall asleep I'm in the right place since I'm already in bed, I've done nothing useful all day so I may as well try to be of use to someone.


Well if you're sure, I've been with Jess for 5 years and things are just going from bad to worse nothing I do is ever good enough. All we seem to do is argue the only time we aren't arguing is when she's glued to the tv. I'm beginning to wonder why I ever thought we were right for each other, and I'm certainly wondering why I ever wanted to live with her….sometimes I can't even stand the sight of her, does that sound really bad?


I didn't think you were going to go on that much….zzzzzzzz


Told you you didn't want to know.


I was kidding with you, it's too easy to wind you up you know. Seriously, I know I don't know her but I think you need to talk to her, if things are that bad and you do nothing it's never going to change.


I know you're right but do you have any suggestions as to how I get her to actually listen to anything I have to say?


Have you asked Franky?


Yes and her answer was, and I quote, ‘less talk more action, kick her the fuck out!’


Sounds like the Franky we both know and love.


True, I'll speak to you tomorrow, let you get some sleep.


She continued reading, it was always so easy talking to Bea, so different from most of her conversations with Franky.


So I just got in from work, you know I have to work until lunch time on Saturday right? And I get in to listen to a lecture about why I never make enough time for Jess. She's done nothing while I've been out, there's still last nights dishes to tackle and a huge pile of laundry and she wonders why I have no time for her!


You have to try and talk to her Allie, you really can't keep going on like this. Tell her how unhappy you are she may be just as unhappy as you are.


I've tried honest I have, she just gets in a mood and causes an argument or she gets upset, actually half the time I think that's an act, but when she gets upset it always costs me more money than I want to spend.


How on earth does her getting upset cost you money? Shouldn't that only cost your time?


Ok well it costs me both, I hate arguing with her but when she gets upset I feel guilty and end up buying her something that she wants, I'm not sure my credit card can take the strain for much longer. She always wants the best of everything but hates to part with her own money. She's very materialistic, bags, shoes, new phone! The last time she got really upset at me I bought her a new car.


Did I read that correctly, you bought her a new car? What did you do go missing for a whole week? As Franky would say your whipped my friend!


Fuck off I am not!


That response just proves it.


I think you've spent way too much time with Franky!


And you keep coming back everyday for more…..need I say anything else?


Allie couldn't keep from smiling, they had settled into that kind of conversation everyday, it was comfortable and they made each other laugh no matter what they had started out talking about. Bea listened to her complain for hours when they had finally started calling each other. She offered advice and comfort but she'd tell her straight when she thought she was being stupid or she was wrong about something. The ache was still there, no amount of rereading what they had talked about could change that, she missed her and nothing was going to stop that. Since she'd got home every night she'd slept with her back turned to Jess, she couldn't stand to be near her and she really didn't want her to touch her, Allie had pulled away from Jess more times than she wanted to think about over the last week, she made her skin crawl and she really needed to get away from her.

“What's got you smiling this morning?” Jess asked as she strolled out onto the deck.

“Nothing much, just thinking how nice it is to be away from the city for a while. How did you sleep?”

Jess walked across the deck and sat in Allies lap, dipping her head to kiss her softly before Allie could turn away.

“I slept amazingly well, must be the time difference.”

“What time difference?” Allie shook her head, Jess was extremely thick at times, even she should know that they were on exactly the same time as they were in Sydney.

Allie pushed her off so she could stand up, she hated her being that close to her and she had to get away from her.

“Let me go for a shower and then we can go out and get some breakfast. And we need to decide what we're going to do today.”

“Want some company?”

“Another time, I thought you really wanted to come here to explore not spend the whole weekend inside.”

Allie made a quick getaway grabbing what she needed from the bedroom and locking the bathroom door behind her. This couldn't continue, she couldn't wait to get home she needed to end this, it was just a mess and the person she really wished was there with her was miles away.

Once Allie was ready for the day she suggested that they head to the bistro for breakfast, surprised when Jess didn't actually argue, sitting out on the veranda Allie admired the view, they were overlooking the National Park and Allie was curious to find out what the large tree that grew nearby was. When Eleanor, the owner of the bistro came to take their order Allie asked her a few questions and she told her that it was a Bunya pine going on to explain that they are more rounded on top than a normal pine tree and that they produce large pineapple shaped cones and edible nuts. When their breakfasts arrived Allie chatted with Eleanor a little more much to the annoyance of Jess but Allie didn't care. Eleanor suggested that the might like to start their day on the popular scenic circuit walk, Jess rolled her eyes the second Allie showed any enthusiasm for anything and today was no different.

“This weekend is supposed to be about us.” Jess snapped when Eleanor was out of earshot.

“If you don't want to come with me you don't have to, you were the one who always raved on about wanting to come here and now we are all you're interested in is watching tv. Maybe we should have just stayed at home.”

Jess went back to the chalet as soon as she had finished her breakfast leaving Allie alone to do whatever she pleased. The scenic walk was stunning, it passed through pine forest and rainforest, eucalypt forest, every so often she would stop and snap a few pictures. She knew Bea would love it there, maybe not so much in winter but she would love it, passing the Tim Shea Falls she pulled her phone out determined to call Bea, she looked at her phone for a couple of minutes before she decided that now was really not the time, putting it back in her pocket she carried on walking. Finding a cafe she stopped for lunch before retreating back to the chalet finding Jess sitting out on the deck in the sun.

“You didn't forget I exist then?”

“I'm not arguing with you I asked you to come with me and obviously that wasn't good enough don't start blaming me for everything Jess.”

Jess walked off leaving Allie alone again to sit outside, there was no way she was going to go inside just to argue. She wasn't sure how long she'd even been sat outside alone but when the temperature really started to drop she headed back inside to sit by the fire with a glass of wine as Jess did what she always did.

“Do you want to go out for dinner?” Allie asked knowing that she wasn't going to get an answer but at least she'd asked.

Jess didn't even look in her direction, her eyes were firmly fixed on the tv, Allie just sighed and decided to walk over to the bistro to pick something up, if Jess chose not to eat after she'd made the effort then it wasn't her fault although she knew she would get the blame. As she walked back to the chalet she was glad that they would be going home the next day, the entire weekend had been a disaster from start to finish. As she guessed Jess ignored her and didn't eat anything choosing to sit drinking the beer that she had picked up after she left Allie alone that morning.

“I'm going to bed if you're even interested where I am.”

No response at all so Allie just left her to do whatever she was going to spend the rest of the night doing, forgetting that she hadn't picked her mobile up.

 

 

 

Debbie had chosen to spend the night with Franky after she'd promised her pizza and any movie she wanted to watch, not that Bea minded her spending time with Franky she knew she was safe with her. She'd tried to read but couldn't concentrate, tried to watch tv but nothing interested her all she felt was emptiness, she couldn't tell anyone how she was feeling especially the only person she really wanted to tell because she was the one person who was making her feel like this. She'd never had to deal with feelings like this before and she was restless. Allie had to make this decision on her own and Bea suspected that she probably hadn't even told Franky otherwise she would have been trying to answer questions that she didn't think she could even find an answer for. This was crazy, how she ended up right where she was actually missing another person that wasn't Debbie she had no clue, she knew she didn't want to feel like this. Picking up her phone she glanced at the message icon, she'd done that all week just hoping to hear from Allie but each time there was nothing, after their short conversation she thought that maybe Allie would text her but then they went back to silence and it was killing her. She hadn't meant a single word she'd said to Allie during that conversation but saying anything else would have made her selfish wouldn't it? She felt like an idiot, she shouldn't be thinking or feeling the things she was she wasn't a teenager. Pouring herself yet another glass of wine she just wanted to feel numb for a while but all that did was make her feel even more lonely, ‘fuck it,’ she thought to herself as she picked her phone back up tapping the message icon, selecting Allies name she began to type out a message. Reading her first miserable attempt she quickly deleted it before starting again.


I know I told you that you needed to enjoy your weekend away, and I know that things are difficult for you right now but I needed to tell you that I miss you and I can't stop thinking about you and I know I shouldn't, I'm pathetic aren't l? Speak to you soon I hope.


The second she sent it she regretted it but it was too late now, taking her empty glass back to the kitchen she decided to just go to bed otherwise she'd keep drinking and that was the last thing she needed to be doing.

Finally slipping into bed she checked that her phone wasn't on silent, she had such a nasty habit of forgetting that it was because of work and just in case Allie did text back or call and she fell asleep she wanted to know that she'd given herself at least a chance of being able to answer or text back. Checking one last time that she hadn't had a reply she put her phone down on the bedside cabinet and lay down, her head sank into her pillow and her eyes closed a few minutes later.

Her phone ringing a couple of hours later woke her up, for a second she thought it was her alarm then she realized that it was still dark and that she hadn't set her alarm. Reaching over she grabbed her phone to look who was calling her in the middle of the night, seeing Allies name on the screen brought a smile to her face as she tried clumsily to answer it.

“Allie, is everything alright?” She asked without even a second thought to the text she had sent earlier.

Sitting up she was puzzled by the silence, Allie was never quiet all she could hear was the wind, she was just about to say something else thinking straight away that maybe she was upset and finding it hard to think of something to say when she heard an unfamiliar voice.

“Who the fuck do you think you are? And do you mind telling me why you miss my girlfriend?”

Beas blood ran cold, it was Jess, ‘think you idiot, think.’ What was she meant to say?

“Who is this?”

“Don't play dumb with me, you heard what I said Bea whoever you are….just listen to me don't call or text Allie anymore she's not interested and do you know how I know this? Shall I tell you? I know she's not interested because she just asked me to marry her after dinner so just fuck off.”

The line went dead and she just sat there holding her phone to her ear. ‘Married…..Allie asked her to…marry her?’ That made no sense, but it had to be the truth didn't it? What did Jess gain by lying about something like that? Dropping her phone on the bed she wanted to cry but no tears came, she wanted to call back and speak to Allie but if Jess had her phone that wasn't going to happen. Why didn't Allie just tell her herself that that was what she was going to do? Would they be moving to Melbourne? All she had were questions that she wasn't going to get the answers to, not now. All she had now was emptiness, she felt like a first class idiot, why the hell had she let herself get caught up in the middle of this? She'd be fine she knew that, she'd get over whatever the hell she was feeling and move on. ‘Whatever I'm feeling,’ she could have laughed if she hadn't wanted to cry so much, she knew exactly what she was feeling and now it just hurt. Allie had made her mind up what she wanted to do, her life had to go on even if she was alone she couldn't keep dwelling on it she had Debbie to think of.

 

Allie woke up early the next morning, Jess was even further away from her than she usually was and she couldn't help but feel relieved, getting out of bed she made herself a coffee and sat out on the deck admiring the calmness of the forest that surrounded her as the dawn light kissed the colours into being, just being surrounded by all that beauty made her feel relaxed. Every fragrance was fresh just like the pages of a new book, each burst of birdsong was unique, the most enchanting chorus that awoke her mind and helped shake off the last bit of sleepiness that still remained. Finally it was Sunday morning and she couldn't wait to get out of there, get back to work on Monday morning and work out the details of when she could move and get away from Jess, start a new life that she could only hope would include Bea.

Chapter Text

As soon as they arrived home on Sunday evening Allie thought Jess was acting weird, ‘is she trying to actually be nice?’ Allie wondered to herself when she had told her to sit down and relax. This was the side of Jess that Allie was certain hadn't put in an appearance in the last four years and she didn't quite know how to react. She sat on the sofa and waited for her to show any sign of her usual attitude towards her but for the rest of the day it never materialised. It wasn't until after Allie had gone to bed that she remembered that she wanted to talk to her.

The next morning Allie had found breakfast waiting for her when she had gone downstairs, something else that threw her. When she arrived at work she had gone straight to her bosses office, things may be strange at home and she hadn't told Jess that she was leaving but if she was trying to at least be pleasant she was going to use it to her advantage and get her move to Melbourne organised, and also try and find out if she actually had any friends left, she just might need one by the end of the week. Her boss was shocked the deal hadn't been signed and wouldn't be until at least the end of the week but Allie was adamant that she wanted to leave as soon as possible, after promising that he would make a call and enquire how soon his staff could could start moving over to Melbourne she left his office she still had work to do and sitting in his office wouldn't get anything else accomplished.

She sat at her desk, a financial report in front of her but it wasn't holding her interest so she gave in and tried to call Bea, getting no answer she left a message on her voicemail, the few times that had happened before she always called back as soon as she had the time. By lunch time Allie was worried and sent a text.


I know you must be busy but I really need to speak to you, call me when you're free.


The rest of the week had carried on in the same way and she didn't like it, Bea had never just disappeared like this, never ignored her and now Allie thought that she was ignoring her and she couldn't work out why. She called left messages and texted her numerous times through the week and nothing, ‘what the fuck did I do wrong?’ She wondered to herself as she walked to her bosses office after being told he wanted to see her. Stopping outside his door she hesitated before knocking, this could be bad news and not something she was sure she wanted to hear.

She could leave as soon as she wanted to, the deal would be signed later that day and she could leave! But instead of feeling really happy she felt empty, the one person she wanted to pass the good news onto was ignoring her and she still hadn't found out why. Sitting at her desk she looked out of the window before deciding that she'd better call Franky.

“To what do I owe the pleasure Novak?” Franky answered in her usual cheerful tone.

“Did you mean it when you said I could stay with you?”

“Of course, ya know when you're leaving, how did queen bitch take that? Shit she ain't comin with ya is she cos that's a deal breaker, I ain't havin that in my house.”

“Fuck sake Franky one question at once.”

“Oh yer right, so come on fill me in.”

“I haven't told Jess yet, I only just found out I can leave as soon as I like the deals being signed later.”

“I know that already and…..”

“No she's not coming with me, I’ve been meaning to tell her all week that I'm leaving and that I'm done but I haven't yet.”

“Why the fuck not? Jesus Allie just get it over with.”

“I will…..Franky I need to ask you something.”

“Guessin this is gonna be about a certain someone?”

“What!….I….”

“Beas fine, grumpy as fuck and chewing everyone's ear off whenever she gets the chance but she's fine, what the fuck has happened with you two? I mean I've been in her office when her phone rings and she's ignoring it.”

“I don't know what happened Franky, everything was fine, I tried calling her on Monday, fuck I've tried calling her everyday and she won't answer me.”

“What happened before you went away for the weekend?”

“I told her we shouldn't talk, but she didn't ignore me when I caved in and called her.”

“And exactly what is going on with you two?”

“I'm not sure, you know how I feel about her Franky, and...I may or may not have kissed her when I stayed at hers.”

“Hold on, rewind that part, you stayed at hers and ya kissed her? She didn't kick ya out?”

“I stayed in the spare room!….And no she didn't kick me out.”

“Leave it with me I'll try and talk to her, and when I say try that's exactly what I mean doesn't mean I'll get any answers. I know what she's like though, you haven't found that side of her out yet."

The rest of the day was hard, Allie had more work to do than she wanted and not hearing from Bea felt like she was being crushed from the inside out, she'd felt like that all week but now it was too much and she was in two minds weather to just leave work and make the 9 hour drive to Melbourne to find out what was wrong. She couldn't though could she, if she told her to get lost it would be the worst thing ever. She had to sort this out, her life had turned into a great big shit storm and she wanted to put it behind her and just move on, whatever she'd done wrong she could fix it, and she knew what the first thing was she needed to do and that meant talking to her boss again.

Franky finished off what she was working on, it was almost lunch time, she knew Bea was snowed under with meetings and paperwork, Vera had been heard complaining that Bea wanted everything in place the second they knew exactly who was going to be working there, working from the list of possible new employees Bea had told her to make sure that their new employment contracts were ready to be signed and Vera had not taken kindly to being told what to do by the CEO, she'd been overheard talking to one of her colleagues saying she didn't know who Bea thought she was throwing her weight around since she knew nothing about what HR did.

Franky called Maxine to check that Bea was in her office before she went out to get lunch. Arriving at Beas office she unceremoniously walked in just as Bea slammed her phone down muttering something about someone being incompetent.

“Calm down there already Red, lunch time!” Franky grinned as she held up what she had brought with her.

“It's that time already, fuck where did the morning go?” Bea sighed as she watched Franky sit down.

“You're working too hard…..and I reckon there's more going on here than just work, had a very interesting conversation with Allie earlier.”

“I don't want to talk about Allie!” She snapped back.

“Fine….ya know ya gonna have to tell me sooner or later.”

“There's nothing to tell now can we just drop this?”

"Red come on, ya can't bottle it up, that does ya no good, never has and it never will."

"I don't want to talk about Allie, she's made her decision now just drop it."

Franky was confused by that, Allie had made her decision, 'What the hell is she talking about?' She wondered to herself, she knew she wasnt going to get anything out of her now, if she pushed anymore she would completely shut down and stop talking to her.They spent an uncomfortable 45 minutes in each others company before Franky made her retreat, stopping at Maxine's desk to ask her if Bea had said anything to her about Allie, she said she hadn't and Maxine said even she couldn't work out what was going on.

Allie had it all worked out in her head now, she had a week off to make her arrangements, she was leaving the office early, going home to pack her clothes, she didn't want anything else from the house Jess could keep it all the only thing that really worried her was actually telling her it was over and that she was leaving. If Jess kicked her out of the house she would stay in a hotel for a couple of nights, leaving the office she soon arrived home and went straight to the bedroom to start packing, Jess wouldn't be home for a few hours so she had plenty of time. Once everything was packed she took the overnight bag she'd packed just in case she need to make a quick exit and put it in the boot of her car.

She didn't want to be home when Jess got in from work and decided that she was going to go out, she hadn't had any lunch and she was hungry so it was just as good a time as any to get something to eat and try and calm her nerves. Sitting in her favourite cafe time was dragging every time she looked at the time it seemed that time was standing still. After eating she decided that she'd go across the street to her favourite book shop, she could spend hours in there and never get bored and if she found something that caught her interest all the better. Her phone ringing as she was browsing the shelves snapped her back to reality, pulling her phone from her pocket she hoped it would be Bea, seeing Jess’s name on the screen just left her feeling deflated, switching her phone to silent she jammed it back in her pocket hoping that Jess would just assume she was in a meeting and couldn't speak to her. She turned her attention back to browsing the shelves and before she knew it was time for her to leave, after paying for the books she'd chosen she left and went back to her car. Driving home she started to feel guilty, she was about to turn both their lives upside down but she had to do this. Giving herself a mental slap as well as a good talking to she felt calmer than she had all week.

Pulling into the drive she sat and looked at the house, it had been home for the last four years and she would miss the house but not the person she would be leaving behind. Entering the house she called out,

“Jess.”

Getting no reply she walked down the hall the smell of cooking invading her sense of smell the closer she got to the kitchen. ‘The fuck is going on?’ She wondered to herself, Jess never cooked, the kitchen was Allies domain always, in five years she remembered how many times Jess had cooked, the grand total being twice was hardly something she'd forget, the first time had been for her birthday the first year they were together, the second was the year after and Allie had been ill, that memory wasn't so pleasant, she'd felt too ill to eat but had tried her best but when she'd only managed a few mouth full’s Jess had flown into a rage snatching the plate from her and throwing it at the wall telling her that she was nothing but an ungrateful bitch.

Walking into the living room she found Jess standing there wearing the smallest black dress that Allie thought she had ever seen, whatever game she was playing it wasn't going to work Allies mind was made up and she was going to tell her no matter what the consequences. Her heart was miles away and Jess standing right in front of her only confirmed what she already knew, she felt nothing for her anymore.

“We need to talk Jess.” Her voice sounded calm but inside her stomach was in knots, her palms were clammy and her heart was pounding so hard in her chest that if she hadn't have know what the cause was she would be sure she was going to have a heart attack.

Jess took a step towards her and held out her hand, “I agree we do, I have something that I need to ask you.”

Allie frowned a little, this wasn't how this was meant to be playing out right now and what the hell could Jess even need to ask her? Allie folded her arms across her chest and looked right past her, she couldn't look at her right now, she needed to say what was on her mind. Jess dropped her and back down to her side and took another step forward.

“Allie what's wrong? What have you done run over the neighbours cat?”

Allie took a deep breath before finally looking her in the eye.

“I'm leaving, this isn't working anymore and we both know that.” Finally she had said it, she got it out there and now all she was waiting for was the backlash that was to come.

Just as she expected Jess’s whole demeanour suddenly changed, no longer was she looking at her more like straight through her as her mouth twisted with distaste for the words she had just heard. She pushed her shoulders back as she took another step towards her.

“The fuck you are, you're not leaving me I won't allow it, we're getting married….i was going to ask you but now I'm just telling you.” The anger evident in her voice scared Allie a little but it took her a few moments to actually process what it was that Jess had just said, married and she wasn't asking she was telling her. Allie couldn't help but find the situation hilarious the laughter built up inside her so much that she couldn't keep it in any longer.

“What the fuck are you laughing at?” Jess spat.

Trying to regain her composure Allie straightened herself up and looked Jess in the eye seeing the icy cold distant look that looked right back at her, that look instantly snapped her back to reality and she suddenly forgot why she had found it so funny, she wasn't joking and the seriousness of her words hit her like a hammer blow to the guts.

“It's never gonna happen Jess, I'm moving to Melbourne I have to go or have no job, and this, us…it's not been working for a long time and we both know that, you can keep the house I don't…”

Jess cut her off before she could finish, “Yer right, your going to Melbourne to be with her aren't you?”

“What the fuck are you talking about?” She couldn't know about Bea, unless….she knew her phone hadn't done any vanishing acts the past couple of weeks but that didn't mean she hadn't looked and now she could kick herself because she really had meant to delete their messages but she couldn't bring herself to do it.

“That bitch in Melbourne, Bea wasn't it? I've seen your messages. I spoke to her on Saturday night, told her to fuck off. You belong to me do you hear me? You're not going anywhere, your staying right here.”

“Jess I….I…..”

Jess suddenly closed the remaining gap between them one hand flying into Allies hair yanking her head back so hard that tears sprang to her eyes.

“Jess, please.” Allies pleading tone just seemed to enrage her more and her right fist connected with her cheek. Allie was stunned, Jess had a temper but she'd never actually punched her before thrown things at her and thankfully missed, a couple of slaps, but this was on a whole new level even for her. Long before what was happening registered in Allies brain jess’s hands were round her throat, squeezing tightly as she forced her backwards into the wall, the back of her head connected with the wall so hard that the pain ricocheted through her head and travel the length of her body as she tried to croak out a plea for her to stop but she had no intention of stopping even when Allie managed to claw at the back of her hands she wouldn't stop as she watched her struggle to breath.

“I love you Allie, you're not leaving me, I won't allow it and tomorrow you'll quite your job, your mine and I'm never letting you go.”

Loosening her grip on her throat she eventually removed her hands altogether only to start punching her as Allie tried to defend herself but it was no use and each punch landed just where Jess wanted it to, as Allie started to slide down the wall she couldn't think of anything other than trying to get away from her but she couldn't and Jess kept punching and screaming at her. When Jess eventually stopped she stepped back looking down at her telling her to get up because dinner would be ready soon. As soon as the torrent of abuse had started it ended, her thoughts traveled back to what Bea had told her about Harry and she knew she had to leave. Every inch of her body ached and she was still struggling to breath, ‘you have to get up, you have to move,’ she told herself.

Trying to push herself up the first time she collapsed back against the wall, closing her eyes she tried to ignore the pain that was coursing through her whole body, she could feel the panic rising and she knew she had to get out of there if she came back and found her still on the floor she would no doubt take her anger out on her again and she knew she couldn't take anymore, taking a slow painful deep breath she tried again to push herself up off the floor, grabbing the chair that was directly to the side of her she managed to pull herself up, it was a struggle but finally found the strength and she made it to her feet, she could taste blood in her mouth and she knew her face must be swollen. She felt dizzy and she found it hard to focus on anything for a minute, looking around her she managed to focus on a picture that hung on the wall, after taking a few deep breaths she made herself move, her legs felt like they would give out on her any second but she focused on the door, picking up her bag that she had dropped as she walked into the house she opened the door and made her way outside as quickly as she could. Digging into her bag she found her car keys and unlocked it, getting in she saw Jess at the front door, closing her door and locking it her hands were shaking so much that she struggled to slide the key into the ignition. Jess hammered on the window screaming something that Allie couldn't quite make out over the pounding in her head and part of her was relieved that she couldn't. Starting the car she threw it into reverse before turning to look at Jess wondering how she could turn so violent when she claimed to love her, she couldn't spend a great deal of time thinking about that she had to leave before she did any more damage, reversing out of the drive she had no idea where she was going but anywhere would be better than where she was.

Allie drove a couple of miles from the house before she pulled over and her tears began to fall, what was she going to do, call Bea? No point in that she thought she wouldn't answer. Call Franky, not a great idea she'd fly over there on the next available flight and kick Jess into next month never mind next week. She knew she should probably go to hospital but if she did they would call the police and she didn't want to deal with that. ‘Think, think….who can help you?’ She wondered out loud. There was only one person from work who she thought she could really call a friend, Simon, he'd listened to her before she had Bea to talk to, always asked her to join him for a drink after work even when he knew she would say no because Jess wouldn't like it. They had lunch together most days and they always joked around when things in the office were slow. She was going to have to go out of her way to get to his house or turn around, ‘turn around!’ That thought accelerated inside her head, she needed it to slow down so she could breathe but it wouldn't because turning around could lead to running into Jess, her rhythmic breathing turned into gasps and she started to feel as if she were going to pass out. Her heart hammering in her chest felt like it could belong to a rabbit running for its skin, everything inside the car started to spin as she lent over the steering wheel trying to slow everything down to a pace that she could cope with but it wasn't working. Her phone rang and she grabbed it from her pocket she accepted the call without looking who was calling and she couldn't speak, hearing Franky speak started to calm her down.

“Allie……Allie……Allie you're scaring me now, can't you speak? Shit Allie what's going on?”

“Franky!” She managed to croak out.

“Allie where are you?”

“In the car.”

“So where's queen bitch?”

“At home I guess.”

“You guess, the fuck happened?”

She didn't want to tell her but if she didn't Franky wasn't above calling Jess and laying into her verbally, she'd done that once when they'd had a huge argument and Jess had locked her out of the house. Franky was ready to fly over to Sydney the next morning with Boomer and kick the crap out of her, Allie pleading with her not to make things worse than they already were finally convinced her to stay where she was.

“What are ya gonna do?”

“I'm going over to Simon’s, he'll let me crash there tonight I hope, then I don't know, I've got the week off next week so maybe I'll come over to you…..if you don't mind.”

“Course I don't….hang on one sec.”

Allie could hear Franky talking to someone, at first she didn't recognise the voice but then she remembered where she had heard that voice before the last time she spoke to Bea it was Debbie.

“Ok, so I've gotta go, got Deb staying for the weekend, wish you'd sort this shit out with Red she's all over the fucking place. You make sure you stay safe yer? And I'll call ya in the morning.”

Now she was calmer she knew what she had to do, firstly she had to go to Simons, get herself cleaned up and find out just how much damage Jess had really done.

 

 

 

 

After a lot of pestering from Debbie Bea had finally agreed to let her stay with Franky, she knew she was cranky and Debbie was sick of it, she needed to sort her head out, forget about Allie and get on with her life but she couldn't, she couldn't get her out of her head and more importantly she couldn't get that phone call out of her head. Allie had been calling and leaving messages and texting her all week and none of the messages had said anything about her getting married, but it had to be true, didn't it? Maybe if she called over the weekend she would answer and ask her to tell her the truth she deserved that much didn't she? And how she was going to cope with her working in the same building if it was true she really didn't know, if I fact she now wanted to move at all. She'd thought about blocking her number but every time she was going to do it she just couldn't bring herself to do it, what if Jess had been lying and Allie knew nothing about what she'd told her? 'Fuck why didn't I just answer her and let her explain?' She said into the quiet empty room.

She knew she'd spent the whole week moping around the house and her office feeling sorry for herself, that morning she had woken up and she had just been pissed off, hurt and angry, pissed off because she knew she was falling for her and she couldn't tell her, hurt because Jess had been the one to tell her the one thing she'd never expected to hear and angry with herself because she just couldn't forget about her. ‘No wonder Deb doesn't want to be around you,’ she said to herself as she sat in the kitchen, but as angry as she was she really didn't want to even begin to imagine what life would be like without Allie in it. She tried to push her feelings to one side, she just wanted to stop thinking about it and there was only one way she could think of to block it out for a while at least and that was by finishing the bottle of wine that sat in front of her on the table and if one bottle didn't work she had reserves.

Finishing the bottle she didn't want to drink anymore and she wondered through to the living room falling onto the sofa before switching the tv on, she flicked mindlessly through the channels, her eyes fixed on the screen when she eventually dropped the remote down beside her, she had no idea what she was watching and didn't really care. She was tired and didn't have the energy to drag herself up the stairs, eventually she fell asleep on the sofa.

Someone banging on the front door a few hours later pulled her abruptly from her sleep, rubbing her eyes she checked the time, just after five in the morning, she wanted to just ignore whoever it was but the banging started again, getting up from the sofa she walked slowly to the door intending to tell whoever it was to fuck off unless it was a matter of life or death. Opening the door slowly the person standing there was the last person on earth she expected to see especially at that time in the morning, when she saw the bruises she was sure she felt her heart drop to her stomach.

“Allie…what happened?”

“Jess, Jess is what happened……can I come in?”

“Y…yes, sorry I…”

She stepped to the side to allow her to pass, closing the door behind her she followed her into the living room.

“Did she do this to you?”

Allie just nodded, she was a mess but the only person she wanted to be with was right in front of her and she didn't even know what to say. Her left eye was bruised and swollen, she had a cut above her right eye and her bottom lip was swollen and split not to mention the bruises that covered the rest of her body.

“Can we talk?”

Bea shrugged her shoulders before she sat back on the sofa gesturing for Allie to do the same. As happy as she was to see her she was still angry, she turned up looking like she'd lost a boxing match and she wanted to talk, Bea wasn't sure there was anything to say but she would hear her out.

“I told Jess I was leaving, that we were over and she went mad and did this. I've been trying to call you all week why didn't you answer? Why didn't you at least answer one of my messages?”

“I thought under the circumstances it was better this way.”

Allie looked at her like she hand no clue what she was talking about.

“What circumstances? What are you talking about?”

“Jess called me in the early hours of last Sunday morning, she told me to leave you alone because you were getting married, I just did what she wanted me to do.”

“You didn't wonder why I was trying to get hold of you? She lied to you and you fell for it, everyone always falls for her shit. You didn't think that I would have told you myself if that was what I wanted?”

“I don't know….I…”

“I told you I didn't want to be with her, I told you I was going to leave her, you have no idea how bad that weekend was, all I could think about was you, how much I wished it was you there with me and you don't even try to hear me out and find out my side?”

“I'm sorry….I…I wasn't thinking straight, I just heard what she said and I thought that was it, that you'd changed your mind and you wanted to stay with her.”

“Now you know the truth…..what do you want?”

“What do you mean what do I want?”

“You pushed me away because of her and Franky said you were all over the place last night, tell me what you want Bea because if you just want to stay friends then I'll deal with that. You already know how I feel about you, so please just tell me.”

Bea swallowed hard and looked anywhere but at Allie who she knew was waiting for an answer, an answer that she wasn't sure she wanted to give her but knew she had to, she had no clue what she was doing or where it would lead but she couldn't let her go just because she was so stupid and too stubborn to hear her out, if she had maybe they wouldn't be sitting here right now like they were.

“I want you……I just want you!”

Chapter Text

“Bea I…I…” Allie knew what she wanted to say but how could she, it was only a few hours ago that she'd told Jess that she was leaving her, she knew how she felt but she couldn't say it, at least not yet…she wasn't even sure if Bea meant what she had just said.

“You really need to get some sleep Allie, spare rooms still free….you don't have to stay if you don't want to but Debbie's at Franky's so it might be best if you don't go over there today. And…well…I'd prefer it if you would stay here, you shouldn't be on your own right now.”

“Franky called me last night, I heard Debbie talking to her. I'd really rather stay with you but only if you're sure.”

“Course I'm sure, it's not like you haven't stayed here before, I just wish you were here under better circumstances, and I wish I hadn't been so stupid. If I hadn't ignored you…I don't know maybe Jess wouldn't have done what she has to you. How did you even get here?”

“I drove, I have to admit I'm exhausted but I'm not sure I'll be able to sleep, I just can't believe she ….” She trailed off not wanting to remind herself of the previous day, not that she could really get away from it, she'd seen what she looked like. “She would have done this no matter how I told her I was leaving, I told you she has a temper, guess I never really thought she would take it this far.”

“You drove, after everything she's just done to you? Allie…I'm so sorry, I should have answered you, I…I'm so fucking stupid sometimes. Please go and lay down, you never know you might fall asleep.”

“You didn't make her do all the crazy shit she has, and I would have been happier if you'd have screamed down the phone at me at least then I could have tried to explain things to you but that's done with, no point worrying about something we can't change. I…I don't want to be on my own, can't I just stay here with you?”

“It's not an ideal place to fall asleep trust me I fell asleep here last night. Are you hungry?”

“Not really….are you sure you don't want me to leave? I can always find a hotel until Monday if you want me to go.”

Bea had no intention of letting her go anywhere, trying to convince her that she needed to sleep was slightly challenging and she could understand completely why she didn't want to be alone, she'd felt like that so many times when Harry was around but she would never let anyone into the house even after he'd left for fear of what he'd do if he found out.

“I really don't want you to leave so please stop asking me that. How about I make coffee you go upstairs and get ready for bed and I'll sit with you until you fall asleep?”

“I did think ahead, I didn't think she would go quite this far,” pointing at her face, “But I figured she'd throw me out so I did pack an overnight bag, I'll go and get it.”

Allie returned to the living room almost as fast as she had left, not seeing Bea anywhere she walked through towards the kitchen stopping in the doorway finding her making coffee, Bea turned around and smiled at her.

“You know where everything is, maybe a shower would make you feel a little better. Then get ready for bed I'll be up in while….if you still want me to sit with you.”

“I want nothing else.” Allie replied before she extracted herself from the kitchen doorway and made her way upstairs.

Twenty minutes later she walked into the spare room finding Bea sitting on the bed.

“Feeling any better now?”

“Much better, thank you.”

“I know it's not exactly an ideal breakfast but I made you a sandwich, I'm guessing you didn't eat a great deal yesterday.”

“I didn't have anything since I had lunch,” she replied as she sat down on the bed swinging her legs up and leaning against the headboard.

Passing her a coffee and the sandwich she had made her Bea sat back against the headboard and watched her as she ate, she hated what Jess had done to her and a big part of her wanted to drag Franky and Boomer over to Sydney with her to give her a taste of her own medicine but she knew that that would solve nothing, staying right where she was with Allie was more important. Allie hadn't done anything that deserved what Jess had done to her, they had only been friends but right now she wasn't even sure if she could say that anymore after the way she had acted. Maybe they shouldn't have gone any further than emails and Bea felt completely responsible for that, she had been the one to ask Franky for Allies number, she had been the one to text her if she had never done that then maybe none of this would have happened but then if Allie had never been placed with the same foster parents that Franky had she probably would have never ended up with Harry and then she wouldn't have Debbie, as violent as those two years had been she had never once regretted having Debbie so maybe, just maybe something good could come from what Allie had just gone through. Allie finished her sandwich and placed the plate down on the bedside cabinet before picking up the mug of coffee and taking a sip.

“I better not drink too much of this or I'll never sleep.”

“Sorry I never thought of that, do you want me to get you something else?”

“No it's fine honestly just don't be offended when I don't finish it.”

“I won't be, honestly I never gave it a second thought, I could drink a bucket full of coffee and still sleep.”

Placing the mug back down Allie yawned.

“I'll leave you to get some sleep.”

Bea was about to get off the bed when she felt Allies hand on her arm.

“Stay with me please, you did say you'd stay with me until I fell asleep and I don't want to be alone right now.”

Bea couldn't deny her that and she had said she would stay, she'd been awake the entire night driving over there and she looked so exhausted. Bea laid on her back not expecting Allie to lay down on her side and rest her head on her shoulder, closing her eyes she fell asleep almost instantly. Bea still felt tired, sleeping on the sofa was never a great idea and she hadn't meant to fall asleep on the sofa she had just been too tired to drag herself to bed. Beas eyes were slowly closing when she felt Allie move her arm draping it across her stomach. Bea tried to move a little further away from her before trying to move her arm but Allie just snuggled in closer to her, this was a new feeling for her and she had to admit that she actually liked laying like that with her, her eyes eventually closed and she fell asleep.

Bea woke up a couple of hours later a little startled when she found herself snuggled up to Allie their arms tightly wrapped around each other. She froze for a few moments no quite sure what she should do, letting herself relax she had never felt so comfortable laying next to anyone. Harry crossed her mind for a few seconds and she pushed those thoughts away, Allie wasn't Harry and she wanted to be right where she was, as soon as Debbie was home she knew that Allie would be staying with Franky, if she was really honest with herself she didn't want her to leave, she didn't want her to be that far away, and even though she would only be a few streets away from her that may as well have been a million miles away. Checking the time it was almost time for lunch and she was hungry, carefully extracting herself from Allies embrace she headed to her room, she needed a shower before deciding what she was going to make for lunch.

Allie stirred a little while later stretching her arm out across the bed finding it empty and cold she popped her eyes open, sitting up she looked around the room wondering where Bea had gone. After getting out of bed she made her way downstairs hearing the radio on in the kitchen she smiled to herself stopping in the kitchen doorway when she got there and watched Bea moving around the kitchen. Bea stopped what she was doing feeling like she was being watched and turned around finding Allie standing there.

“How are you feeling?”

“Better thanks, but when I woke up I missed you.”

“Sorry, I woke up and was hungry, it is lunch time!”

“Already? Did you have any plans for today? I mean if you have things to do I can find something else to do I guess.”

“Plans, me? I never have any plans unless Debbie's at home on the weekend and I have no work to finish she always has things she wants to do, I do have some work that I need to get finished but it's nothing that can't wait until later.”

Bea went back to what she was doing and before long she slid a plate across to table to where Allie was now sitting. They sat and ate in a comfortable silence before eventually retreating to the living room where they spent most of the day.

 

 


Franky was getting worried about Allie after breakfast that morning she had tried calling her the call going straight to voicemail, she guessed that she was probably sleeping she had waited a couple of hours before trying again. Getting her voicemail again Franky was getting frustrated and she hoped that Allie hadn't gone back home. Debbie wanted to go to Old Melbourne Gaol the next day and Franky had agreed, Debbie always thought of something interesting to do and Franky was more than happy to go along with whatever she wanted to do, they decided that they would leave after breakfast the next morning and take the tour of the old prison.

“Shall we ask mum if she wants to come with us?”

“Yer why not, I doubt she'll be doing anything interesting we both know how boring she is.” Franky laughed as she placed the call to Bea. Bea had gone to the kitchen to get her and Allie a drink when her phone rang and she had called through to Allie asking her to answer it for her.

“Hello.”

“Oh hey sorry Allie I meant to call Red, but since I've finally got hold of you how are you and where are you?”

“You did call Bea, I'm…..well I drove over here last night….in my defence you did tell me to sort things out with her.”

“Well shit I know what I said, don't remember tellin ya to drive through the night. But since ya did how's it goin?”

“She didn't kick me out did she? She had every right to after what happened, listen I'll see you Sunday night and I'll tell you everything then you called Bea not me remember?”

“Oh yer, give her the fuckin phone then would ya!”

After coming back through from the kitchen Bea took the phone from Allie and after talking to Franky for a few minutes told her that she was going to stay with Allie, as much as she loved going to interesting places with Debbie she was safe with Franky and would enjoy herself weather she was there or not, Franky loved Debbie and always spoilt her rotten, something Bea and Franky had had words about numerous times in the past but Bea just left her to it now no matter how much they had disagreed in the past it had made no difference and Franky always let Debbie get her own way when they were alone, right now though Bea wanted to make sure Allie was taken care of and that she would recover from the injuries Jess had inflicted upon her. Debbie had been a little disappointed when Franky had said that Bea wouldn't be joining them after she explained that her mum was helping a friend of theirs she let it drop and soon forgot about it.

Allie had fallen asleep again a little later her head resting on Beas shoulder and as much as Bea wanted to finish the work she needed to get done before Monday morning she had no desire to leave Allie, it was a strange feeling actually wanting to be close to someone but one she wanted to get used to. Allie moving beside her and her hand coming to rest on Beas thigh made her a little more nervous than she thought she should be but when Allie didn't move again until she eventually woke up her nerves settled and she settled back into feeling comfortable.

Later that day Bea had finally finished what she needed to do and had left Allie watching a movie while she cooked dinner. Allie had offered to help but Bea wouldn't hear any of it, she wasn't really interested in what she was watching but she was comfortable where she was sitting and really couldn't be bothered to reach for the remote. Bea shouted through from the kitchen to let her know that their food was almost ready, it felt strange to her someone else taking the time to cook, she was so used to cooking every meal that her and Jess shared she was sure that no matter what happened she would never get used to that. Getting up from the sofa she wondered through to the kitchen just as Bea put her plate on the table.

“Hope you're hungry, I forgot Deb wasn't at home, I don't know how that girl eats so much.”

“Good thing I'm starving then,” Allie giggled.

They sat and chatted about Allies new job as they ate, Allie was a little worried about it, head of finance was a big step and she didn't want to mess up. Bea assured her that she was perfect for the job but Allie still wasn't convinced, she'd always worked hard but working for the same bank that Bea did was daunting, working in the same building even more so. After dinner they spent the rest of the evening sitting together talking, their conversations always flowed so easily that time just flew by, before either of them knew it it was turned midnight and Bea suggested that they should really head to bed. Allie really didn't want to be alone but didn't say anything, the last thing she wanted was for Bea to think she was too clingy.

Sunday was quiet, they spent the day doing nothing much of anything at all, the more time they spent together the more comfortable Bea became having Allie around and she knew she was going to miss her when she left that evening, she had thought of suggesting that she could stay there with her and Debbie but then changed her mind after Allie had said she was looking forward to spending more time with Franky, since she'd been with Jess they hadn't seen much of each other, Franky had once gone over to Sydney for a few days and Jess had gone out of her way to make Franky feel unwelcome, after the first day Franky had gone to stay in a hotel and hadn't spent that much time with Allie because Jess kept coming up with reasons that she needed Allie at home.

Franky had called Bea letting her know that she would be bringing Debbie back home before dinner and Bea decided that they may as well all have dinner together before Allie went over to Franky's, she knew she was going to miss her and was trying to think of any reason to keep her around for a little longer. Debbie as usual for her asked Allie loads of questions but never once asked why she was covered in cuts and bruises, they seemed to get on quite well and Bea was more than happy about that.

“Looks like your girls get on well Red.” Franky said as she walked into the kitchen.

“I think you'll find Franky only one of them is mine.”

“Sure Red one is and the other one wants to be, I'm not gonna keep repeating myself, but ya know ya ain't in such a bad mood since Allies been here, sure ya don't wanna keep her?”

“Piss off Franky, she's staying with you and that's an end to this conversation.”

 

 


Bea entered her office on Monday morning once again finding a pile of paperwork already waiting for her before she sat down Maxine walked in with a coffee for her.

“Do I have you to thank for all of this Maxi?” Bea asked as she pointed to the pile of paper on her desk.

“Kind of, it was sent up from HR on Saturday technically you have Vera to thank for it.”

Maxine retreated back to her own desk wondering what had happened over the weekend to change Beas mood so much. Bea got stuck into her work with a new found enthusiasm, working her way through the pile that Vera had so nicely sent up on Saturday knowing that none of it needed attention until Monday.

Maxine had made a point of calling Franky when she had gone back to her desk wanting to know if she knew why Bea was in a much better mood, hearing that Allie had stayed with her all weekend was a surprise but answered everything she wanted to know. Maxine decided that they were going to go out for lunch and walking into Beas office was surprised when she saw that she had already finished with the paperwork and was currently working on something on her computer.

“Is it true that your change in mood is down to a certain person?”

“Let me guess Franky told you that? Do you believe everything she tells you?”

Maxine shot her an unconvinced look as Bea sat shuffling the papers on her desk getting them ready to hand over to her. She could feel her eyes watching her and she really wanted to avoid her gaze. She held out the pile to Maxine who took it from her before Bea stood up collecting her things and was about to walk out of her office,

“I'm going to lunch, you want to come Maxi? I've got so much to do this afternoon, three reports to go over for Will Jackson and a conference call with someone from the HR and Financial Departments in Sydney, something about staffing levels in both offices, guess they belong to LB now since the deal was signed it's unavoidable although I'm pretty sure that it isn't my job. Maybe I should have pointed out that Will Jackson and Vera Bennett should actually be taking care of it.”

They walked out of Beas office, Maxine knew that Bea asking her if she was going to lunch with her wasn't an invitation she should pass up.

“You know what the directors like, think he trusts you more than anyone else to say the right thing.”

Dropping the papers down on her desk they walked to the elevator, Maxine was grinning at Bea.

“What?”

“So, you and Allie.”

“She stayed at mine over the weekend after her girlfriend…sorry, ex girlfriend beat her up. Fuck, I probably shouldn't have told you that.”

‘Shit,’ Bea thought to herself, just the thought of Allie made her heart rate increase, she got stuck into her work that morning but she still consumed almost all of her thoughts, who was she kidding Allie was ever present in her thoughts. Allie was a complication to her life that she hadn't expected and she had gotten under her skin from the beginning. Looking at Maxine who she could clearly see wanted to say something she thought she'd better try and stop the office gossip, Maxine wasn't one to gossip but she would set people straight.

“We're just friends Maxi, she needed help so I let her stay.”

“You want some advice Bea?” Maxine asked softly as Bea rolled her eyes wishing this conversation was over already.

“Since you asked me so nicely I suppose so, but don't go making a habit of this.”

“I hear that Allies ex was a nasty piece of work, Franky never liked her.”

“And how is that advice? It's more of a statement M…”

“If you'll give me a chance to finish, Allie deserves better than that, and I've noticed since that night at the bar, except for last week anyway, you've changed, you seem….lighter. And I think that has a lot to do with Allie, you seem to have a renewed purpose, everyone knows she likes you, so if you do want to be more than just her friend, let her know and don't let her go. You could spend the rest of your life going over the what if’s if you don't take a chance on something that you want, the heart wants what the heart wants Bea and you can't fight that.”

Over lunch Bea was only half listening to anything that was being said to her. ‘The heart wants what the heart wants,’ those words kept reverberating around her mind, she knew she wanted to be with Allie and even though she had already told her that she still had Debbie to consider and she was scared to get that close to anyone again, and Allie had just gone through the worst breakup she didn't need some insecure woman with more baggage than she thought she could handle herself sometimes. Allie had called her not long after she'd got into the office telling her that Jess had started hounding her, telling her she was sorry and that she wanted to talk, what if Allie decided that she'd made a mistake leaving her?

Franky joining them for lunch ten minutes later gave Bea some time to her thoughts when her and Maxine started chatting about how long they thought it would take to get all the new staff to Melbourne. Bea wasn't sure she could ever be in another relationship, and it wasn't because Allie was a woman, she'd made her mind up a long time ago that she would be single for the rest of her life but Allie made her feel things she'd never felt before and she was too selfish to give that up, she couldn't just walk away and give Allie the chance to meet someone else even if someone else could give her everything she was unsure she could give her. She loved having Allie around, wanted nothing more than to be able to spend more time alone with her but wasn't sure if she could give her everything. Allie made her laugh, gave her comfort and there were never any uncomfortable conversations or silences. She needed to find a way that she could enjoy spending time with her without feeling like Allie would expect more than she was ready to give she knew she couldn't fight the feeling that she got every time she thought about her, or when she sat close to her. She was certainly the only person who had ever made her heart beat faster, she was constantly conflicted but she couldn't deny the facts, she was was crazy about her and she made her want to do things that she'd never wanted before and the more she thought about that the more she found herself actually considering them having a future together. She couldn't stop thinking about what it would be like to go home to her, to wake up every morning with her laying next to her. Thinking about that made her smile, she wanted that so bad that it hurt but then she couldn't stop herself worrying that she would hurt her.

Looking across the table both Maxine and Franky were looking at her.

“What?” She shrugged.

“You were thinking about Novak again and don't bother trying to deny it,” Franky grinned.

“I wasn't, I was thinking about….” She trailed off, She couldn't think of anything else she could say she was thinking about because it was true. “We need to get back to the office some of us have work to do.”

The conference call dragged on for what seemed like forever, she managed to find the time to read through one of the reports choosing to leave the other two for the next day, she did think about taking one home and reading through it in bed but then she knew she would fall asleep reading it and only have to start reading it from the beginning again so forgot about that idea almost as soon as it entered her head.

After picking Debbie up from Liz they went home, Debbie made a start on her homework while Bea had a shower before making a start on dinner, her phone rang and it was her mum, ignoring it she carried on what she was doing, she really did have the worst timing she always called when she didn't have time to talk and feeding Debbie was more important. After dinner Debbie had gone back to her room leaving Bea alone. She knew she should really call her mum back but she'd much rather speak to Allie, eventually deciding that she'd call her mum first and think of some excuse to end the call as quickly as possible. She was in luck when she called her mum they were getting ready to go out and she didn't have time to talk.

The time it took to dial Allies number and her answering always seemed to take too long.

“Hey you, I was just thinking about calling you, how was your day?”

“Busy, but that's nothing new. What have you been doing?”

“Apart from getting about a hundred calls and texts from Jess you mean? Nothing much, I'll actually be glad to get back to work, although I think I need to go shopping all my clothes are still at the house and I'm not going back there.”

“Why don't you ask Franky and Booms to go and get your things for you?”

“Franky already offered but it'll only cause trouble and I don't want that.”

“You could be right, I could go with you. Shopping I mean, if you want me to.”

“I'd like that we could go on Saturday. Shouldn't look like something from a horror movie by then, and you could bring Debbie along.”

“I don't remember you looking like anything from a horror movie.” ‘You still looked beautiful to me,’ she thought to herself before continuing, “Are you sure about that, having Deb tag along? She's a nightmare when you take her shopping, she's the only 12 year old I know who goes in every shop and then drags me back to the first shop we went to to buy what she saw first.”

“Then we'll get along really well, I do the same thing!”

Bea groaned, one of them dragging her around the shops was enough never mind both of them.

Chapter Text

The week had dragged Bea had sat through more meetings than she cared to remember, read more reports than she though was humanly possible and had almost fallen asleep through more than one conference call. Maxine had tried more than once to get her to leave her office at lunch time and she had refused, taking her own lunch to work with her was something Bea very rarely did but since Tuesday that was exactly what she had been doing. The news that Liberty Brown were now expanding and opening an office in London had sent the whole office into a panic at first and then everyone was waiting to find out if any of them were going to be asked to transfer to the new office, not that Bea was worried she knew she was never going to be asked to relocate.

Maxine entered her office, coffee in one hand and a large file tucked under her other arm,

“Here you go Hun, something to help you stay awake while you get through this.” Maxine passed her the coffee and placed the file on her desk, “And Franky says she will be up in a while, some legal stuff or other that needs your attention, I forget what she said exactly, maybe something to do with the new London office. And the director wanted a meeting tomorrow morning but I managed to persuade him that it could wait until Monday.”

She was so grateful to have Maxine, she was always so sweet and kind and she knew Bea better than most people, sometimes better than Franky ever would.

“So you have plans tomorrow?”

“Yes, nothing to get over excited about I'm afraid I'm taking Debbie and Allie to the Emporium and you know how much I hate shopping centres.”

Maxine chuckled, “Who’s idea was that?”

“I guess mine, I offered to take Allie shopping, you know all her clothes are still in Sydney, all except what she brought with her, Allie said I should take Deb along so when I mentioned it she was all up for it as long as we go to the Emporium…..I think I'm going to wish I kept my mouth shut.”

“They get on?”

“Debbie and Allie? They seem to.”

“That's a good thing isn't it? I mean if Allies going to be around more.”

“You don't think she's going to be around too much? I mean we're going to be working in the same building?”

“Oh hun, don't let yourself get caught up with all that, it's not like you're going to see her every second of everyday although that look on your face tells me that wouldn't be such a bad thing.”

She knew that was true, every time anyone mentioned Allies name her face lit up and she couldn't stop it, not that she wanted to. Even though she wouldn't admit it to herself at the time she'd known she was in trouble from that first night she saw her again, that look of mischief that lurked on her lips and in her eyes was just how she remembered only instead of ignoring it like she once had she found she couldn't and she didn't know why. It had always been there and had never changed, it was as plain to see as the autumn leaves as they fell from the trees. And now things seemed to be more complicated than ever, they would be working in the same building, although Bea spent most of her time hidden away in her office she did have regular meetings with the finance department, with no head of finance she had always had meetings with Will Jackson now they would be with Allie instead, the opening of a London office meant that those meetings would be a regular thing. She became so preoccupied with those thoughts that she didn't even notice when Maxine left her office and she'd received two text from Allie before she even noticed them.


Hope you're not too busy today, I'm just bored, why can't it be Monday already?

Are you busy or just ignoring me?


When she finally read them she couldn't help the smile that spread across her lips, Allie knew she had no meetings that day and that was really the only time she didn't answer her.


I'm sorry I wasn't ignoring you and I have no excuse because I'm not that busy, just a file to work my way through, and I'm waiting on Franky to show up.


Is that a regular thing?


The file or waiting for Franky?


Since I already know how much paperwork you do I guess I'll have to go with Franky.


She shows up from time to time with the odd legal thing that half the time I have no clue what what she's talking about, and getting her to explain it in simple terms, well, banging my head against a brick wall might be easier!


She does kinda do that doesn't she?


She does. What time do you want me to pick you up tomorrow?


As early as possible!


I'm going to live to regret this I just know it, see you tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

Debbie was up long before Bea even opened her eyes, she was excited it was rare that that her mum would venture into any of the shopping centres in Melbourne and she had already made her mind up that if Allie was the reason for her doing something so far out of her comfort zone then Allie was worth keeping around. She tried to keep herself occupied for the first hour before she grew impatient, she knew the Emporium didn't open until 10am and that was almost two hours away and she was tired of waiting for her mum. Heading back upstairs she tapped on her mums bedroom door getting no response she opened the door slightly and peeked in, from the door she looked asleep, laying on her side facing the wall Bea hadn't been asleep for the last twenty minutes she just hadn't wanted to get out of bed, it wasn't the shopping so much that was bothering her more the place they were going. The Emporium was 188,000 square metres of places that Harry could hide himself out of sight and when it was full of shoppers if he were to reappear she would never spot him. She knew she was going to be nervous and all her senses would be on high alert but she couldn't back out now she'd promised to take Allie and Debbie would probably never speak to her again if she changed her mind.

Debbie slowly and quietly crept in to Beas room eventually coming to a stop at the side of the bed that she was laying on, Bea had always said that Debbie was mischievous, Liz said that she just had a great eye for fun, Franky…she liked to take all the credit for Debbie's behaviour and sometimes Bea could believe that. Mischief is in the eye of the beholder, it certainly was with Debbie, but she always forgot that Bea always knew what she was going to do before she did, it was in her eyes. Debbie had a busy brain it would fire off a million ideas for rocking the boat that she very rarely got away with. From the position she was laying in she watched the look on Debbie's face change from neutral to a wide grin she knew exactly what she was thinking of doing, just as Debbie was about to launch herself on top of Bea she rolled over and Debbie hit the mattress just as Bea moved again and sat up sending Debbie into a fit of giggles, something she always did when she was happy. Bea would swear that every time that girl giggled even the birds would fall silent to hear that beautiful sound that emerged from deep within her chest filling the air with her infectious giggling.

“Muuuum……that's not fair I thought you were asleep!” She gasped between giggles.

“Haven't I always told you you're like a bull in a china shop Deb?”

“I was being quiet!”

“You were trying, maybe kicking the foot of the bed wasn't the best plan.”

Debbie frowned, that would never have woken Bea up so she knew that she must have already been awake before she walked into her room.

“That's cheating, you were already awake when I knocked on your door weren't you?”

“I was half awake that's true, now if you want breakfast, and I'm sure you're going to tell me that you're starving, let me get up and have a shower.”

“Then are we going to pick Allie up?”

“I'll have to text her first, she might not be awake. What time did you get up?”

“Just before seven, I'm too excited to sleep…I've been to the Emporium with Franky but you've never wanted to go.”

Bea had always avoided taking Debbie to any of the shopping centres in Melbourne, she had tried to explain a year ago about Harry when Debbie had asked about him again and she had done her best to not blurt out that she didn't believe he was dead, Debbie didn't remember him and she didn't know if she remembered anything she had probably heard but Bea wanted it to stay that way, the thought of him getting anywhere near Debbie again scared her the most, keeping Debbie safe and happy until now had been her only priority.

“I'll go watch tv but you better be getting up!”

“I will, I'm sure Allie doesn't need to see how you act when you're hungry and you know there's no McDonalds at the Emporium don't you?”

“Yer,” Debbie grumbled, “Franky won't take me there anymore because I complained.”

Debbie got up from the bed and left the room telling Bea to hurry up as she closed the door behind her. She knew Debbie would be back if she didn't make a move so she quickly got out of bed, showered and dressed before going to make a start on Breakfast, reaching the kitchen she found Debbie sitting at the table eating a bowl of cereal.

“You couldn't wait?”

Debbie just shook her head since she already had a mouthful, Bea smiled at her and decided that it was probably best she didn't think she could manage anything more than coffee and toast that morning and if Debbie had insisted on a big breakfast she would have seen how nervous Bea really was when she hardly ate anything. Sitting across the table from Debbie she was only half listening to her excited chatter her thoughts wondered back to a time when Debbie young and learning to walk, the way she would move as if her knees were nothing more than hinges, she'd wobble to a fro before falling back onto her padded bottom and it wouldn't faze her, she'd sit there clapping her hands with a cheeky grin plastered on her face just as if it had all been part of her plan before she'd roll over onto her stomach so she could get up again. She was so cute, not that Bea would say she had changed, as soon as she'd lay her eyes on Bea she'd giggle and wave her arms in the air as she waited to be picked up. Memories like that had kept her going, kept her working hard so that she could give her daughter the life she wanted her to have.

“Mum……mum…”

“Sorry Deb, I was miles away.”

“I noticed, I asked if you'd texted Allie yet?”

“Not yet.”

“Can you just do it already? It's after nine.”

“Alright bossy.”

Debbie just rolled her eyes as she watched her mum closely as she got up to retrieve her phone.


Sorry if it's too early for you but I'm being badgered by my impatient daughter, what time do you want us to pick you up?


Bea poured herself another coffee after putting her phone down, Allie would probably be up but that didn't mean she would want to go early, they hadn't arranged a time and Bea wondered if she should have asked her the previous day.


Good morning, I've been ready for ages. Franky says a shopping centre with Debbie in tow is not the best idea for a first date!! She's so full of herself this morning, I'm ready when you are.


Franky needs to wind her neck in! We’ll set off as soon as I've finished my coffee if that's ok?


I'll be waiting…I'm sure you know who will be too!

 

 

 

 

It was only a five minute drive over to Franky's and as soon as Allie saw Beas car pull up outside she was out of the house hoping Franky wouldn't notice she'd left as hastily as she did. She had just opened the passenger door when Franky called out to her as she was walking down the drive.

“Not saying goodbye there Novak?”

“Piss off Franky, we're going shopping, don't remember you offering to come with me.”

“Didn't need to did I? I remember ya saying Red had already offered, still reckon Deb should stay with me while you two spend some time together….alone!”

Reaching the car Franky winked at Allie before leaning down to speak to Bea.

“You sure ya wanna do this? When was the last time you went to a shopping centre?”

“I'll be fine Franky, I do appreciate your concern but aren't you the one who's always telling me I should get out more?”

“Yer, well I've already told her that she better take extra care of ya, ya need me call and I'll be right over ya hear me?”

“Yes Franky, I'm sure I'll be fine, is that it can we go now?”

 

 

 

 

Every shopping centre was the same to Bea, the temperature inside was always the same no matter what the season, the lighting was the same, the polished floors and the tense faces of the shoppers. The only things that ever changed were the music and the fashions. People were no longer individuals the second they stepped inside they were just consumers, although entering the Emporium made you a certain type of consumer since nothing there was for anyone on a tight budget. It was a friendly enough place if you could afford what they were selling. Allie noticed a sudden change in Beas demeanour the second they walked in, instead of being relaxed and happy she seemed tense and nervous and she knew why, placing her hand on her shoulder she leaned closer whispering in her ear.

“He's not here Bea, but if you'd rather leave we can.”

Bea shook her head, “I'll be fine, besides Deb would never forgive me if I didn't stay.”

“I thought I'd make it easier for you so I booked an appointment with the styling team so there's no need to drag you round all the stores, we just need to walk over to concierge desk and let them know we're here.”

“Styling team?”

“You really never come to places like this do you? Maxine told Franky about it and she told me, so she said they give you advice and help you find a style that reflects your personality. Maxine said that it's the best service you'll find so I booked a two hour shopping session, they'll just take us to the stores they think are most relevant, no need to wonder around looking like we know where we're going and then I thought I'd treat you both to lunch.”

“You know Debs going to want to look around.”

“I already thought of that, I was going to ask you over lunch but since you brought it up…. so I was thinking you could find yourself a quiet place to have a coffee or something and I'll take her where ever she wants to go.”

“I can't let you do that, I mean she can be a real handful sometimes.”

“Shall we just ask her and let her decide?”

“If you're sure you want to?”

“That's settled then, we'll ask her at lunch.”

Bea was still uncomfortable and couldn't stop herself from looking around as she followed Debbie and Allie as they were talking to the member of the styling team who had appeared a couple of minutes ago, introducing herself to them all as Sally, she wasn't paying any attention to the conversation she just followed. The stress and fear that she had felt earlier had returned and the only thing that ever achieved was to make her remember how much she still feared Harry, a fear that locked her mind back in with all her demons making her want to find somewhere to hide and get ready to fight if she needed to. She usually hid it well the only person she had never been able to hide her fear from was Franky, sometimes she thought Franky knew her better than she knew herself when it came to her fears not that that had ever surprised her, when Franky had first told her what her mum had put her through Bea hadn't known how to react she couldn't imagine how her mum had thought it was acceptable to do what she did to her, after Harry she was grateful for the support and understanding that she had given her.

The day Franky had tried to explain to her how she ended up in the foster system they were sitting in Beas room studying when Bea noticed she was miles away and that was when it all came bubbling to the surface. As Franky recalled it, the first time her mum had ever hit her there was so much hatred in her eyes but she had been remorseful afterwards. Franky had believed her when she said it wouldn't happen again, what else was a young child ever going to do? That first time was barely a warm up for the violence and neglect that was to come, being beaten and burned with cigarettes became normal to her until the day she was taken away. As Franky got older moving from one foster home to the next she began to understand her mum better, her life was hard after her dad left so who else was there left for her to vent her rage and frustration on? The young Franky was the only one there, she tried to be more lovable and more servile but it made no difference. She wasn't the cause of her unrestrained anger, her dad walking out had caused that and of course her mum blamed Franky for his sudden departure, ‘he left because you're such a little shit,’ she would tell her everyday. As a young child Franky had taken her words as the truth, believing that he had walked away from them because she was unlovable and that was why her mum turned to drink and drugs, to forget what an awful child she was and Franky blamed herself for everything. When she reached her teenage years she blamed her mum for everything, but now as an adult she knew how futile it was to blame anyone, a truly bad parent will always be just that and will always shift the blame onto someone else. Franky had long since let go of that part of her that was dysfunctional and angry and she had always said that was because of Bea, she had shown her that not every parent would blame their only child for everything that was wrong in their life.

Allie suddenly realized that Bea was in a world of her own when she asked her opinion about something, turning to face her she reached out for her hand taking it in hers dragging Bea from her thoughts her downcast brown eyes finally meeting blue that held nothing but care and concern.

“Is everything alright? Do you want to leave?”

“No…I…it's fine.” Bea said barely above a whisper as she tried to smile but Allie looked unconvinced by the gesture.

Allie kept a tight hold of Beas hand for almost all the remainder of the two hours they were with Sally and it didn't go unnoticed by Debbie but she didn't say a word, she didn't want to upset Bea or embarrass Allie, she liked her and she could tell that Bea did, apart from Franky she was never as relaxed around anyone else and she knew that had to be a good thing even if she wasn't sure exactly what was going on. The remainder of the two hours had passed quickly Allie managing to get Bea to have a little input on her choice of work attire put her mind at rest that she had finally forgotten what was bothering her apart from the Harry situation, deciding to leave the subject alone until the next time they were alone she promptly marched them off in the direction of the food court. Reaching the top level where the food court was located Bea was stunned, she knew they didn't sell the usual McDonalds and KFC there but was amazed at the variety they had to choose from, it was unlike anything she had ever seen before where you find the eateries on the edge of the space and the the seating areas in the middle. Debbie knew where they should get their lunch from straight away and told them both that they had to go to Tank.

“And that is?” Bea asked clearly puzzled by the name.

“Mum honestly….its only the best fish and chippery in the whole city!”

“I believe you, I'm guessing you've been with Franky?”

“Yer…but if you want to go somewhere else I guess that's ok,” Debbie frowned and slumped her shoulders.

“I think it's a great idea Debbie, I don't think your mum was expecting that suggestion that's all.”

As they sat and ate their old school fish and chips, naturally Debbie's suggestion once again, the three of them chatted until Debbie asked if they could have a look around before they had to leave, Bea froze for a second, she knew she was going to ask but she really wasn't sure if she wanted to move. Allie looked over at Bea before turning her attention back to Debbie.

“Me and your mum thought you might like to explore the shops with me, let your mum grab a coffee or something, we both know that this isn't really her kind of place.”

“Yer….we can leave mum at Chokolait, it's only over there,” Debbie pointed over in the direction of Chokolait, they serve some really great cakes too…you wouldn't mind if I go with Allie?”

“No I don't really want to be wondering around for longer than I have to.”

After finishing their lunch Debbie and Allie walked over to Chokolait with Bea promising that they would only be an hour. They spent an hour mainly window shopping until something caught Debbie's eye and Allie said they really should have a better look heading inside the shop. When they headed back to find Bea Debbie was carrying two bags and Bea frowned when she saw them walking towards her.

“I said you could look around not con Allie into buying you anything.”

“Bea it's fine its only a pair of jeans and a couple of shirts, honestly I don't mind and besides we both love to shop.” Allie giggled.

“I'll pay you back, she does this to Franky all the time.”

“Honestly it's fine, we enjoyed ourselves.”

Allie went to get more drinks returning to the table a couple of minutes later. After sitting down Bea watched as Allie and Debbie were joking around with each other, Debbie looked so happy and it made Bea happy to see her enjoying herself with some else, apart from the few school friends she had she spent most of her time when she wasn't at home with either Liz or Franky and she was pleased that she seemed to get on with Allie so easily. As she watched them she felt like she wanted to protect the scene right in front of her, throw a force field over them and keep them like that forever like a living ocean of light and happiness. Looking down to pick up her coffee she smiled to herself before her eyes wondered in Allies direction as she started laughing at something Debbie had just said, she looked so carefree in that moment, it said everything that had happened to her before she reached this place in her life didn't matter and she thought for a second that it was like watching a living work of fine art, something she would never be able to replicate in a thousand lifetimes. Allie was a reminder to her that most people are inherently good and loving, the feeling of doom she had let herself dwell on earlier in the day just seemed to vanish giving way to a light in her heart that had been missing for so long. Allie was a spark of hope, and that was something she didn't feel very often, ‘maybe this is what real optimism feels like,’ she thought to herself. That was a feeling she hadn't had in a long time and even though it felt foreign it was a very welcome feeling.

Chapter Text

Allie was about to start her second week at Liberty Brown, the finance department had undergone a complete overhaul in the previous week and was now the finance and strategy department and as a few more of her coworkers had arrived over the previous week she had found settling in easier than she thought she would have. Oliver starting the same day she had had gone a long way to calm her nerves, not that she had expected anyone to start that week, he had explained that his family were all in Melbourne and like her he couldn't wait to get out of Sydney as soon as he had heard about the move. The previous week Allie had been snowed under with paperwork and apart from the odd call and text message she'd had barely any contact with Bea and that was was just getting frustrating, try as they might their schedules were way out of sync and Bea had tried to tell her that it was only to be expected for the first couple of weeks until things fell into place but Allie couldn't wait that long for things to fall into place so much so she had chosen to work through the weekend trying to get everything in order.

“Ya need to slow down Al, the works not going anywhere and neither is Red.” Franky said as she slid a fresh mug of coffee over the kitchen table to her.

“I know that, but…I miss talking to her, for weeks we've done nothing but talk and now, well now I can't get five minutes with her.”

“Al she's not going to up and go anytime soon, everything will settle down.

“And now you sound like Bea, what has she been saying to you?”

“I saw her once all last week, didn't even go over to hers on Friday like I usually would, you're not the only one who has a mountain of work piling up ya know. Maxi told me Reds been takin work home with her every night.”

“I know, I know….shit! Why does nothing ever get any easier?”

“If it helps I heard Will Jackson is over at the other office all week.”

“Oh yer that makes my life a whole lot easier.”

“Yeah it might, ya know who ya have to go to if ya need help right?”

“Go on enlighten me.”

“Let me think….oh yer that hot red head you've been drooling over since you were a kid.”

“Piss off Franky I don't drool….hmmmm.”

“Nothin stoppin ya from inventin a reason to go to her office, all ya gotta do is give Maxi a call and find out if she's free.” Franky winked. “But come on what exactly is going on with two?”

“We're friends Franky, that's all we'll ever be I know that I'm not stupid.”

“And ya sure of that? I mean have you actually asked her how she feels?”

“Yeah like I'm going to do that, can we just drop it?”

“Fine but I reckon she thinks and feels more than you think she does, just cos she didn't notice ya years ago doesn't mean she doesn't notice ya now, don't rule her out just yet.”

 

 

 

Liberty Browns finance department was a world away from what Allie was used to and she still couldn't work out why she been chosen as head of finance, with new staff moving over from Sydney and the overhaul there were bound to be some growing pains Will had tried to reassure Allie but she was unsure of herself and all she really needed was to speak to Bea. Expanding operations to the U.K was a big move and she had heard that they were already attracting a lot of interest from a selection of blue chip clientele. Her week already looked like it would be busy, she may have cleared up a lot of work that she needed to get through the previous week but she had been handed the task of updating their revenue sharing model, having looked through the old model that had existed for at least the last ten years she knew it was going to take up a lot of time and she was looking forward to Simon arriving, there was a lot of research that needed doing and with Oliver and Simon on her side she was sure that would take care of itself, everyone else in the office had other things that they had to care of.

Reaching the third floor she walked into the large open plan office finding Linda the office manager already on the phone, Allie smiled at her as she walked past heading to her office to drop her jacket and bag off before getting a coffee. On her way back to her office Linda was clearly unhappy about something.

“Well tell I.T that they had better get this sorted out within the next hour….no I can't tell them that, we had this problem a few weeks ago and it's just not good enough.”

Linda slammed the phone down looking over at Allie with an apologetic look.

“Seems the I.T department has messed up the entire system again, I hope you don't need to get straight on to your computer this morning.”

“Is it just us that's effected?”

“No…no one in the building can access the system, honestly it's only 8:20 and already we have problems, I hate Mondays. Apart from this mishap I hope your Mondays looking a little better.”

“I've had worse, if you need me I'll be in my office I'm sure I can find something to do that doesn't require a computer.” Allie started walking away before stopping a few feet from her office door, “Would you ask Oliver and Simon to come straight to my office when they get in?”

“Simon?”

“From Sydney, he starts this morning and I have a few jobs for them.”

Linda smiled and nodded as she watched Allie disappear into her office and close the door behind her.

“Just because she knows the fucking CEO doesn't make me her general dogs body.” She mumbled under her breath.

Linda Miles had not been keen on the idea that the new head of finance should come from Sydney, as she saw it there were far more deserving people who already worked there. Finding out that Allie not only knew the head of the legal department but the CEO had left a bitter taste in her mouth, and of course the rumours about Bea and Allie had already started to circulate, she'd overheard one of the secretary's from the legal department telling someone over lunch the previous week but for a change she'd chosen not to say anymore about it until she saw it with her own eyes. She knew Bea though and honestly didn't think it was true, if it had been Franky they were talking about, now that was believable but not Bea.

 

 

 

Bea arrived early spotting Allies car already in the car park, Franky had told her over the weekend that Allie had been working late and was working all weekend, that hadn't surprised her, the department was a mess and she knew that the only thing that kept it running efficiently was Will and he would get to work before anyone else and stay late. This week was going to be Allies chance to prove what she could do without anyone watching over her, Will was away at the other office across the city and Allie was completely in charge.

Maxine was already there when Bea arrived at her office having just left another stack of files on her desk.

“You are kidding me right?” Bea groaned seeing the pile.

“Sorry hun, wish I was, on a lighter note your meeting has been cancelled, the director is out sick.”

“Playing golf more like! Gives me a chance to give the finance department the once over.”

“Finance and Strategy department now Bea,” Maxine corrected.

“Whatever, they still do the same job as they always did. Do you have any real work to do Maxi or are you just here to torture me?”

“Nothing that can't wait….oh almost forgot I.T have screwed the system up again!….Coffee?”

“Again? Are we expecting anyone from Sydney for the I.T department?”

“I believe there are three starting this morning, another six by the end of the month.”

“Maybe they know what they are doing, sorry Maxi, a coffee sounds like just what we could both use.”

Oliver and Simon arrived in the office at the same time Linda telling them both that Allie wanted them in her office. Linda did not like the way things seemed to be shaping up Allie in her eyes clearly favoured people she had worked with in Sydney for certain jobs and watching the pair just walk into her office without knocking was not going to improve her opinion of her.

“Hey, you two forget how to knock?” Allie asked as she looked up from what she had been reading.

“Sorry Al, ya want us to go out again and make a proper entrance?” Oliver chuckled.

“Very funny I don't think, just don't make a habit of it, Linda already hates my guts.”

“Linda, na, all ya gotta do is give her a few racing tips and she's a pussycat, had her sussed out in the first couple of days, but you've been too busy to notice.”

They sat in Allies office for an hour while she filled them in on what she needed them to do, the research that needed doing was a big job and she told them to team up with a couple of others, Will had filled her in on every existing employee and even though she hadn't had the chance to actually spend a great deal of time getting to know most of them she knew who would be more than capable of getting the task accomplished as quickly as possible. The current I.T mishap would mean a slow start to the day and Allie intended to speak to as many of the finance team as she could while she had little to do.

The first person she decided she was going to actually speak to was Matthew Fletcher, he had been there the longest and did excellent work on the new budgets according to Will. She found him sitting at his desk, pen between his teeth looking somewhat frustrated.

“Are you busy?”

“What?” He snapped before realizing who was actually speaking to him, turning his head and seeing Allie there, “I'm sorry Ms Novak…..this….ugh.” Pointing at his computer screen.

“I.T fuck up! Drives me crazy too, and it's Allie, I'm interested in seeing your budget model for the year Matthew.”

“Call me Matt, I have it printed out here somewhere, it would be so much easier to show you if the damn computers were working, I worked so hard on building some killer macros for the bloody thing.”

“There's no rush really, give me a shout when I.T have everything sorted out.”

“Sure, will do Ms….Allie.”

Allie rolled her eyes as she walk away from his desk, ‘seriously does that guy think he's the only one who knows how to build macros?’ She wondered to herself. Working in a finance department she would hope that the whole team knew what they were doing, she was interested to see how his spreadsheet skills compared to her own though and Allies spreadsheet skills were solid. She spent the next hour and half wondering round the office talking to as many people as she could until Linda caught her attention.

“I.T has finally got themselves sorted, they assure me that everything should be working correctly.”

“Thanks,” she muttered as she wondered back to her office.

Sitting down she turned her attention to her computer screen and tried to turn her brain back to the research she needed to do herself. She read through the existing revenue sharing model and to say it needed updating had been an understatement, she knew that no matter what she eventually put together it wasn't going to be an easy message to deliver. Their existing methods were fine when the bank was smaller and only had low revenues but anyone who thought they could keep working as they were were sadly mistaken. The end result was going to be the same no matter what she came up with and that was smashing the existing model into a million pieces and building it back up into something that would hopefully work no matter how much the firm grew.

All investment banks could have troubles related to performance reporting, some hit it dead on other really struggled and Allie didn't want to be the person responsible for them struggling. Every banking business is built on the relationships it develops and in investment banking every banker wants to be the one who can claim the credit for finalising that all important deal and getting their well earned bonus, that can lead to a great deal of bad behaviour on the part of some bankers and she knew that what she had to do was going to be a thankless task, made worse by her being new. Allie sat working away at her computer for around half an hour when she checked the time, it was almost lunch time but she had no intention of leaving the office deciding that she needed a coffee she quickly left her office, it was 1157 and she had work to be getting on with, walking past the printer room on her way back to her office she heard Simon.

“Fucking stupid printer!”

Poking her head round the door she had to laugh when she saw him picking a pile of paper up from the floor.

“Oh yer that's right Al laugh at me, next time you need a place to crash or clean yourself up don't come to me.”

“Sorry Si, but it's usually me that you end up laughing at remember?”

“Yeah….so tell me what or who made you take off that night so fast?”

“I can't tell you here, I'm not saying I won't tell you but she works here and…well…”

“Oh like that is it? Who is she the boss?” He smiled at her as he tried to sort out the papers in his hands, he was just about finished when they heard a commotion out in the office.

Allie popped her head out of the printer room and almost felt her heart jump into her mouth the second she laid eyes on Bea stood speaking to Linda who did not look happy. Simon had moved and was standing next to her and judging by the look on her face he knew exactly who was causing it.

“Wow Al…so that's the reason you ditched me to drive over here.”

“What?….Thats Bea…..she's the CEO!”

“And obviously the reason for your inability to move right now.”

“Shut up, I've known her for years, we…we just lost touch that's all,” she sighed, “actually that's a lie, she didn't even notice me back then.”

“And now?”

“I thought, well….oh shit I don't know anymore, we get on really well and I think she likes me…it's complicated alright.”

“Yer well jumping into bed with the boss does complicate things,” Simon grinned at her.

“It's not like that….honestly it's not!”

“Ok Al whatever you say, but you have to tell me more when we're not at work.”

Allie went back to her office but she couldn't concentrate anymore, just knowing that Bea was on the other side of the door was playing havoc with her emotions, ‘pull yourself together your at work,’ she scolded herself. Spending the whole weekend tucked away in her office probably hadn't been the best idea, she'd not heard from Bea and had been so wrapped up in what she was working on she hadn't thought once about calling her until she was laying in bed completely wiped out and just about too exhausted to speak. A knock on her door made her jump before she even said anything Bea walked in closing the door behind her.

“Why are you hiding in here? Don't want the boss to know that you only pretend to work?” She laughed.

“What…I..I..”

“I'm kidding, I think you single handedly cleared up about a months worth of paperwork last week. Are you going to lunch?”

“I was just going to work through and get as much research done before I start on t..”

“Don't even think about it, I did have an ulterior motive for coming down here, so….will you come for lunch with me?”

“I guess since it's the boss asking I can't really say no can I?”

“You can but then I'd be unhappy, come on my treat.”

As they left the department together they both saw the look that Linda shot in their direction. Linda was a fantastic office manager and had arrived there a couple of years before Bea was promoted, they used to get on quite well but after her promotion Linda had started ignoring her only speaking to her when it was absolutely necessary, at the time Bea hadn't know why she had changed so quickly towards her until she found out that she had been hoping the guy she was with at the time would get the promotion, he had worked there longer than she had but had never been willing to put in the extra hours that Bea had, he had left not long after to work at another bank only to be fired a few months later.

Heading to the car park Allie looked at Bea puzzled, Franky had told her that they usually went to the diner that was only a short walk from the office but she wasn't going to argue they hadn't seen each other in over a week, Bea didn't say anything she just got in her car and waited for for Allie to get in. Pulling up in a small car park five minutes away Allie was still no wiser and was surprised when Bea lead her by the hand across the street and down one of the inner city alleyways Melbourne was famous for.

“Don't look so worried I'm not kidnapping you, I found this great little cafe not long after I started working at LB, I was alone one lunch time, I was usually alone at lunch time back then, and I was wondering around when I saw a ‘we're open’ sign so I wondered in, now when I want to get away from the office and everyone in it I come here. That first time I couldn't believe what I had found when I walked through the huge wooden doors.”

“So if it's your hiding place why are you bringing me along?”

“You'd rather go to the diner with Franky?”

“No!”

“Here we are, Krimper Cafe.”

Walking through the old wooden doors Allie was amazed by what lay behind them, the minimal lighting against the backdrop of brick and Japanese stained wood gave the place a real sense of warmth and gave the place it's very own unique character. The chairs and tables were all made from recycled lift doors and timber that had been found in the old warehouse when it was being renovated, it gave her the sense that somehow it had been left unfinished giving it a rough rustic look that made it perfectly imperfect and she understood why Bea liked it. It was pretty quiet for lunch time and they sat at a table in front of the the window.

“When the office got busy I would come down here with my laptop and work, it always felt like the rest of the world came to a standstill…the specials are usually worth having see anything you like?”

‘Only you,’ Allie thought to herself before shifting her gaze from Bea to the board behind the counter.

“I'll have whatever your having.”

Bea left the table to order not noticing that Allies eyes never left her as she walked across the room, she watched her the whole time she was standing at the counter. She watched as she laughed at something the guy taking her order said and for a split second she felt a little jealous, ‘get a grip girl your just friends, that's all this is two friends having lunch together,’ she told herself as she moved her head to look out of the window before Bea caught her staring. Returning to the table a couple of minutes later Bea wondered if she had had done or said something wrong when Allie didn't turn away from the window.

“Everything ok?”

“Hmmm, yeah….I…he likes you…the guy behind the counter.”

“Marcus?” Bea laughed. “I hope not or I'll have his boyfriend chasing me round the kitchen, Marcus is very gay and very much spoken for.”

“Oh…sorry…I…can we just start again?”

Bea shrugged, Allie looked flustered and that made Bea want to giggle, not that she would, they were meant to be having lunch and catching up, Bea was concerned that Allie was working too hard and she'd realized the second she had walked into the finance department that Linda was unhappy. Bea had already decided that she would call her to her office to speak to her, she was aware that there was a rumour already about her and Allie and as much as it didn't bother her she didn't want anyone thinking that was the reason Allie had been given the job, the final decision had been nothing to do with her and if nothing else she was going to make sure that everyone knew that she had been given the job based on her own merits and work ethic. When their lunch arrived they ate and chatted quite happily, the best thing about the cafe was that it had always seemed like a great place to just sit and chat but until today Bea had never gone there with anyone, it had always been a place to escape for an hour.

When they finished their lunch they sat for a little longer having a coffee, their lunch breaks had been over a full twenty minutes ago but Bea was in no rush to leave as she sat and studied a now very quiet Allie. No one feature alone made Allie beautiful, though she thought that if she had to choose one her eyes would be the one thing that came close. She'd heard people speak about the colour of someone's eyes as if it were the of the greatest importance but she thought that it wouldn't matter what colour eyes Allie had they would still be beautiful. There was an intensity, an honesty and gentleness in Allie eyes never any sign of weakness or trite politeness like so many people's held. Everything she was, what made her beautiful, it came from deep within her, and it made her want to feel her lips against hers again, feel her hands follow the curves of her body, feel her skin next to hers.

Leaving the cafe Bea felt a little sad, she knew Allie would be busy for the rest of the week, she was due to give a presentation on Friday afternoon and the chances of them seeing each other again outside of work before the weekend were near zero and she didn't like that thought at all. Arriving back at the office they went their separate ways, as soon as Allie walked back in to the finance department she felt Linda's eyes on her, she'd seen her leave with Bea and knew she was going to make some snide comments throughout the rest of the day. Sitting in her office her mind wondered back to Bea and why she would take her to a place that she only ever went to alone, deciding that she couldn't dwell on that for too long she went back to what she should be doing.

Bea was working her way through her sixth or was it her seventh file of the day, she'd lost count a long time ago, when her phone rang. Glancing at the screen she saw that it was Debbie and wondered why she would be calling her. Answering the call it was soon apparent that Debbie was excited about something and getting to the bottom of it was hard work, finally finding out that Debbie was excited about a project she had to do and asking if she could stay the night with her best friend, Grace, so they could start working on it straight away Bea agreed after speaking to Liz who said she didn't mind taking her home first to get what she needed and dropping her off. Picking the file back up an idea suddenly hit her and she dropped it back on her desk before grabbing her phone and sending a text to Allie.


How do you feel like coming over to mine tonight for dinner?

Falling back into her chair she kept hold of her phone hoping not to have to wait too long for a reply. Allie heard her phone and groaned expecting it to be Jess, over the weekend she'd bombarded her with texts all of which she ignored and she had left her alone all day so far, picking her phone up she was surprised that it was from Bea, after she read it she answered straight away.


Sure, I'll be over at 7 if that's alright with you.


That's fine, see you then.

Chapter Text

Bea decided that she was leaving early, she planned on cooking dinner and needed to call in at the supermarket on her way home. Maxine looked up from her computer screen as Bea closed her office door behind her before she glanced at the time.

“Calling it a day already? You have something special planned?”

“Not really, just can't take any more reading today, why is it all I seem to do these days is read through files?”

“Must be driving you mad hun, still once everything gets sorted out things will settle down and you'll be complaining you have nothing to do.”

“You might be right Maxi, I'll see you tomorrow.”

Picking up what she needed for dinner she headed home wanting to make a start on preparations as soon as she could leaving herself plenty of time to have a shower and get changed. She wasn't even sure she was doing the right thing inviting Allie over when it would just be the two of them but she'd done it now and wasn't about to back out. She was madly aware of how her body reacted to Allie and there was nothing she could do to stop it, not that she'd really had a minute to think about anything but work for the past week. Seeing her at lunch time had just made her realize just how much she missed her. Thinking back to what both Liz and Maxine had said to her she knew they were both right, the past few weeks had felt so unreal to her, she'd never thought for a second she would would ever feel close to anyone again, she'd never wanted to until Allie reappeared.

Heading upstairs she couldn't think about anything else, she was almost 32 years old, she had a 12 year old daughter and as far as she was concerned she was still married, until the day Harry's remains were found and he was finally six feet under she would always live in his shadow, so what the hell was she thinking, was this just a crush or something more? She really had nothing to compare her feelings to, all she knew for sure was that she'd never felt this way before and it scared her as much as she wanted to explore it.

Allie found herself running late, she had told herself that she needed to be out of the office no later than five giving her plenty of time to get home have a shower and get changed, she'd become so engrossed in going over Oliver and Simon’s research that before she knew it it was almost six thirty. ‘Fuck!’ She said out loud, jumping up and grabbing her things, she didn't want to make an excuse and not turn up and she didn't have time to go home, she just hoped that Bea wouldn't mind her showing up straight from work.

Making a quick stop on the way over to Beas she hoped she would still get there before seven, she hated turning up empty handed especially when she knew Bea had spent time cooking. Pulling up outside her house she took a deep breath and checked the time, two minutes to seven, ‘made it,’ she breathed before getting out of the car, leaning back in she picked up her bag the bottle of wine and the flowers she'd bought. Walking up to the door she suddenly felt nervous when she realized that she'd completely forgotten about Debbie. Taking another deep breath she walked up to the front door and knocked. She wasn't waiting long, the door swung open as soon as she saw Bea standing there her face lit up.

“Hi.” Bea smiled.

“Hi yourself, sorry I came straight from work.”

“Where are my manners, come in?” Bea stepped to the side to allow her in.

Closing the door she turned round and watched as Allie ran her eyes down her body and back up to meet her eyes,

“You look stunning.”

“I'm wearing jeans and an old t shirt, I think you need your eyes testing.”

Allie shook her head, “doesn't matter what you're wearing you'll always look stunning.” Holding out the bunch of flowers and the bottle of wine her smile widened when Bea took them from from her.

“Such a charmer aren't you? Thank you.”

“Where's Debbie, doing her homework?”

“She's not home, staying at a friends because they have a school project to do.”

“Oh, so it's just us, did you already know that when you asked me to come over?”

“That would be telling.”

Allie followed her through to the kitchen and watched her as she put the wine and the flowers down on the counter before she retrieved a vase and filled it with water and started arranging the flowers in it.

“How was the rest of your day?”

“The usual, busy…Oliver and Simon came up with the goods and I had to read through everything they brought me, I had meant to leave the office by five but I got carried away.”

“Sounds like I did you a favour then, you'd probably have still been sat in your office now. Why don't you and sit in the living room and I'll bring us a glass of wine while we wait?”

Allie just nodded and silently made her way out of the kitchen noticing that the dining room door was open she couldn't help but take a peek, seeing the table perfectly set for two. She knew Bea must have gone to a lot of trouble and she was mad at herself for not keeping a closer eye on the time, turning up in her work clothes was not what she had in mind but there was nothing she could do about that now.

She had just sat down on the sofa when Bea wandering through from the kitchen with a glass in each hand passing one to Allie before she sat next to her.

“What are you making?”

“Nothing special, just a roast dinner why?”

‘Nothing special!’ Allie thought to herself. “Smells amazing, you didn't have to go to that much trouble for me.”

“It's no trouble, I have Deb to feed every night remember, besides I left work early I couldn't stomach the sight of another report so I had plenty of free time when I got in.”

Sitting close to each other they discussed their days, Bea noticed that Allie seemed worried about having to update their revenue sharing model and Bea suggested that she should call Maxine the next morning and get her to pencil her in to her diary for a meeting.

“You don't have to do that.”

“I know, I want to help you if I can, it can't help to talk your ideas through can it? And you only have until Friday afternoon to get it finished, if you need extra time I can…”

“I can get it done that's not a problem not now I have extra help….I don't think Matt or Linda like me very much, I reckon Linda thinks I only got the job because I know you and Franky.”

“Fletch thought he would eventually be head of finance, don't get me wrong he's good at his job and if you ever need help he's a good guy to ask but he's not willing to put extra hours in if and when the need arises. Linda, well, between me and you she doesn't like anyone very much if they don't show show an interest in the latest gossip or the races, bit of a problem for her. I already know what she thinks and I plan on putting her straight when I have the time.”

“Don't go out of your way because of me I'm sure I can handle her.”

“I don't doubt that you can, but I won't have her rocking the boat. And since Will isn't here it's down to me to sort out any problems. Now I think our dinner should be ready.”

Allie excused herself to the bathroom while Bea returned to the kitchen, looking at herself in the mirror she knew the late nights were catching up with her, the dark circles under her eyes were the biggest giveaway, she really was going to have to make herself leave the office on time, she could always do a little work at home if she really needed to. Turning the light off she headed back down stairs finding Bea hovering close to the door to the dining room.

“Great timing, it's all ready.”

Following Bea into the dining room it was impossible not to notice that she'd gone to more trouble than she first thought, the lights were lowered and there were a couple of candles lit casting their orange glow across the table. No one had ever gone to that much much effort for her, Bea pulled out one of the chairs for her and she slipped in to it before Bea sat in the chair on the opposite side of the table.

“This…it's…you didn't…”

“Too much?” Bea asked as she sat down slightly worried that she done something wrong as the thought of Harry found its way back into her head and she prepared herself to hear something that may well break her all over again.

Allie shook her head as she reached across the table for Beas hand gently entwining their fingers as her eyes looked around the room, down at her plate and back to Bea.

“No, one ever did anything like this for me before, but I thought you just wanted to be friends. You mean a lot to me, more than I can ever tell you and…”

“Is that what you want?” Bea asked fearing that somehow Allie had come to her senses and realized that she wasn't worth the time or the effort, she certainly wasn't the same person she remembered from ten years ago and no matter how hard she tried after everything she couldn't be that person again.

Allie smiled at her softly seeing the mixed emotions in her eyes.

“You're amazing you know that…..I'd be lying if I said that was what I wanted because I know you know I don't. I've always thought about you, when I was at my lowest point and wished more than anything that I wasn't here I'd think about you and for a second at least things didn't seen so bad.”

A big part of Bea just wanted to jump back up out of her chair and pull Allie into her arms but she couldn't move, instead she just looked shyly across the table at her.

“We should eat….before it gets cold.”

“Yeah.” Allie grinned at her.

They ate in a comfortable silence stealing glances at each other. Allie couldn't remember the last time she'd actually had a home cooked meal that tasted that good, she was so used to doing all the cooking herself that she rarely ever enjoyed a meal.

“I made dessert if you still have room.”

“That sounds good, but do you mind if we wait a while, not sure I could eat anything else just yet.”

Clearing the plates away Allie insisted that she wanted to help much to Beas annoyance, before they retreated to the living room with a glass of wine, they chatted quite happily, Allie making sure to keep the conversation away from work, they had plenty of time to discuss that when they were at work she wanted to enjoy the rest of the evening without thinking about it. Once they finally had dessert they did the dishes and cleaned the kitchen, Allie was sure that if she didn't already have feelings for Bea after that meal she would have, no one had ever made her feel so relaxed and wanted the way Bea had and she just wished that she had her own place so she could do the same for her.

“I should get going it's getting late and you need to get some sleep.”

“You could always stay…if you want to.”

“If your sure…I'll have to let Franky know I won't be home.”

Bea nodded but didn't look at her, Allie placed a quick call to Franky letting her know that she was staying over at Beas hanging up quickly not giving her a chance to start asking questions. Getting up from the sofa Bea pulled Allie up gently and lead her upstairs stopping outside her bedroom door.

“I'll see you in the morning.” Allie whispered before leaning in and kissing her on the cheek.

“When I asked you to stay I didn't mean in the spare room, I…I thought you could stay with me.” Bea looked down at her feet not daring to look back up at Allie.

“Ok, only if that's what you really want, I'll need to borrow something to sleep in.”

Bea grabbed her hand and led her into her room, no one had ever shared her bed with her except Debbie since they moved there and she tried not to question her decision, she wanted Allie there she knew that and no matter how nervous she was feeling she wasn't going to change her mind now. Grabbing what they needed from a draw Bea headed straight into the en suite to get ready for bed leaving Allie to get changed in the bedroom. Wandering back through into the bedroom Allie was sitting on the bed waiting for her.

“I left you a spare toothbrush out, I think you'll find everything you need.”

Allie disappeared into the en suite for a few minutes finding Bea already in bed waiting for her when she had finished, walking over to the bed Bea pulled the covers back for her and she slipped in beside her, snuggling in close to her she rested her head on her shoulder.

“Are you ok with this?”

“Yeah.” Bea managed to whisper before turning off the light.

Allie was soon asleep, Bea was not so lucky, she didn't regret asking her to stay but when Allies hand slipped under her shirt and rested on her stomach her entire body and mind were on high alert and it had nothing to do with how nervous she had previously been feeling. She had no idea if Allie knew the effect she had on her or not. Eventually she did fall asleep, her alarm jolted her awake the next morning, finding herself cuddled up to Allie when she first opened her eyes stunned her a little and she couldn't think of a time that waking up to someone had felt so right. Turning her alarm off she didn't even want to get out of bed but she knew she had to. After carefully getting out of bed, not wanting to disturb Allie, she grabbed what she needed and headed for a shower before heading downstairs to make breakfast.

Allie woke up a short time later and wondered where Bea had gone until she noticed the time, she got up and quickly used the bathroom before getting dressed and heading downstairs to find Bea.

“Please tell me I didn't freak you out, if I did anything in my sleep I'm sorry.”

Bea turned to face her with a smile, “No, I think you were very well behaved, well apart from the snoring!”

“Hey, I do not snore!”

“Yeah, whoever told you that must be hard of hearing then.” Be giggled and she put a plate and mug of coffee down on the table for her.

“I'm going to have to eat and run, I can't show up for work in the same thing I wore yesterday.”

“No I guess not, that really would give Linda something to talk about.”

Bea was a bundle of nerves this morning and she had no idea why, they'd eaten breakfast together before, she'd even spent the night sleeping next to Allie, but it felt different, not bad just strange. After almost spilling coffee all over herself Allie sat and looked at her.

“Your overthinking things, nothing is going to happen unless you want it to you believe that don't you?”

Bea just nodded, she wanted to say something but she couldn't even think of the words she wanted to say.

“I'll never hurt you and I'll never do anything that makes you uncomfortable, if you don't want to do something you don't have to, I'm just happy being with you.”

“I know, it…it's just that…I've never felt like this before, it's all new to me and I don't have a clue what I'm doing.”

“We can just carry on as we are, although I think I probably should try and have more time away from the office, not much point if we never get to see each other is there? I'm not going anywhere any time soon, you set the pace.”

“Why did I never notice how you felt before?”

“I was a kid as Franky likes to remind me, why would you? You had other things going on.”

“Yeah….the only good thing to come out of that was Debbie.”

“As much as I really don't want to I better go if I'm going to get to work on time.”

Bea followed Allie to the door, as much as she really didn't want to admit it she didn't want her to leave even though she knew she had to. Turning round when she reach the door she was surprised when Bea stepped closer to her bringing their lips together in a kiss that Allie felt down to her toes. Breaking apart Allie brought her hand up to her face running her fingers down her cheek.

“Where did that come from? Not that I'm complaining.”

Bea shrugged before leaning back in and reconnecting their lips.

“I really have to go.”

“I know, don't forget what I said about calling Maxi if you need anything.”

“I won't, maybe I'll see you later!” She winked as she spun round opening the door and walking out of the house.

When Bea finally arrived at the office Maxine was waiting for her with a concerned look on her face.

“Is everything alright hun? It's not like you to be late.”

“Yes….I'm fine, just running late that's all, bit of a late night.” She replied as she hurried off into her office.

Maxine was puzzled, Bea rarely had a late night when it was a school night, she'd left early the day before, both things were out of character for her and she was concerned that something was wrong. Standing outside her office door she was going to knock but then decided that it was a waste of time and she walked in. Bea looked up but didn't say anything.

“What's going on Bea? Something to do with Allie maybe?”

Bea moved uncomfortably in her chair, of course Maxine would guess she always did.

“Deb was over at Graces doing a project and Allie came over for dinner and….we spent the night together.”

“She's stayed at yours before that's old news hun.”

“She didn't stay in the spare room, I didn't want her to…fuck Maxi, I've never felt like this ever and I'm scared.”

“I think you've already fallen for her.”

“I don't know Maxi, I just know that when's she's around I don't want her to leave and when she's not there I can't stop thinking about her.”

“Listen to me, I don't know Allie very well but if she really has always had feelings for you I'm sure she's not going to pressure you into doing anything, so just see what happens. You've been on your own for so long and I know you said you were never going to have another relationship but if you really want to see where this goes just take your time and make sure you tell her how you feel.”

“I'll try, but Maxi I'm older than she is, and I've got Deb, what if she gets bored with me, she could have anyone she wants.”

“You seem to be forgetting one thing Bea, she never forgot about you, and she already knew you had Deb, it's hardly a shock to her. Stop driving yourself crazy with what if’s that may never happen.”

 

 

 

Friday arrived too soon for Allie and even though she had her presentation ready she still wasn't happy, she doubted herself and was sure that someone was going to wonder why they gave her the job in the first place. Bea had tried to convince her that no one was going to think that, she'd spent about four hours in Beas office the previous day running ideas past her all of which Bea had said were great but still she couldn't help but doubt herself. She was convinced that Bea had said everything she'd said just because she didn't want to make her feel bad.

Bea was waiting for her outside the boardroom when she arrived.

“You'll do great, the director isn't here so you don't have to worry about him.”

“I'm so nervous what if I mess up?”

“You won't believe me, you've got this.”

The presentation passed in a blur, Allie managed to talk through it and she guessed what she had said must have made sense when she noticed other people nodding and commenting on everything she had said. Bea had said nothing but every time she looked over at her she knew she was listening. When Allie wasn't talking she couldn't help looking over at her and at one point she found her eyes wondering to her lips and couldn't help thinking about kissing her again.

What was left of her day she managed somehow to get through, she couldn't get Bea off her mind and she couldn't wait to see her again.

“So how did it go?” Simon asked as she walked out of her office.

“Jesus Si, do you have to scare me like that?”

“Sorry, didn't mean to Al, so…..was your friend there?”

“Fuck off Si, we’re working it out…but keep that to yourself.”

“You didn't answer my question, how did it go?”

“Ok I guess…shit I don't know, haven't been fired yet have I?”

Simon walked away and after getting a coffee Allie went back to her office, she was just about to call Bea when she heard someone walk into her office, ‘Simon again!’ She inwardly groaned dropping her phone back on her desk without looking up.

“What do you want now dickhead, don't you know some of us have work to do?”

“Well I'll try my hardest not to be a dickhead, I only came down here to ask you a few questions, and then maybe ask you if you wanted to come over for dinner later, unfortunately Deb will be around this evening so be prepared for her going on and on about that bloody history project.”

“Shit, sorry I thought it was Simon coming back to give me a hard time. I wouldn't have called you a dickhead if I'd have known it was you.”

Bea just smiled at her. “Maybe you don't know me all that well yet.”

“I know you're not a dickhead, that's just Simon and speaking of Simon, he kinda knows about us, I didn't tell him anything he guessed.”

“I doubt we can keep anything secret for long.”

“So what can I do for you?” Allie grinned, all kinds of images popping into her head and for the first time she felt herself blush.

“Hmmmm, yeah, I had a few questions about your presentation, I just didn't follow some of your calculations, I was hoping you could make sometime next week and come up to my office and talk me through it. Actually I have Monday morning free so block out Monday morning in your diary.”

“Sure, for you anything.”

“So dinner, yes or no?”

“That's a yes, and I don't mind Debbie telling me about her project, it might be interesting.”

The moment Bea walked out of her office Allie started finishing up for the day, they hadn't arranged a time, ‘shit,’ she thought to herself, grabbing her phone she sent her a text getting a response almost straight away telling her to go over when she was ready, Franky had already told her that she was going out and wouldn't be over, and that puzzled Bea because Friday night had always been the same for so long. Allie put everything away she'd left laying around on her desk before heading out deciding that she was going to pack a change of clothes, just in case, it wouldn't hurt to have a bag in the boot of her car.

 

Chapter Text

On Monday morning Franky caught up with Bea as she was crossing the car park on her way to her car, stopping to talk to her for a couple of minutes Bea spotted Allie walking to her car and for a few moments nothing Franky was saying was registering in her brain. Franky waved her hand in front of Beas face.

“Are you listening to me or just staring at Novak?”

Bea shook her head and blinked, “I wasn't staring….was I?”

“More like drooling,” Franky said with a shake of her head and a huge grin on her face, “l get it, you've finally come to your senses, and all this time you've been telling me that you weren't interested in anyone, and now ya go and fall for Novak, who I might add has been pining for ya for years.”

Bea held her hands up in surrender. “I wouldn't go that far Franky I wouldn't say I've fallen for her, I'm still trying to figure everything out, I do know that night at the bar it was like a switch was thrown in my head when you lot left us alone, I have no point of reference you know that, it's confusing the hell out of me, I like her…a lot, that much I do know.”

“Ya ask her to stay over at yours the minute Debs away for the night, ya call that figuring things out? Just do me one favour if ya figure out that all this is going to come to nothing don't hurt her, she's been through enough already, ya know that, she went straight to ya after what queen bitch did to her. Maybe you won't want anything more than just friendship after you spend more time together, let her down easy if that's what happens, promise me that much.”

Bea felt a little hurt that Franky would dismiss her feelings so easily, she wasn't stringing Allie along she knew that, she wanted Franky's support and right now she got the impression that she was once again more concerned with Allies feelings than with hers.

“If you think so little of me that's fine, but don't try saying that what I'm feeling is a phase or something stupid like that Franky. I just need time to really work it all out, if Allie can understand that why can't you, I'm not a fucking teenager anymore, I don't have crushes or phases or whatever it is you're trying to say.”

Franky looked at her with a stunned expression, “I didn't mean it like that Bea. I…I…fuck! I don't want either of ya to throw yourselves into something that's not going to work, I don't want either of ya to get hurt. You've both been through enough shit, more than most people ever have, you're my best friend and I love ya.”

Bea got in her car leaving Franky standing there, she had no intention of either of them getting hurt and if she couldn't understand what she was trying to say then Franky could keep her opinions to herself. All those years ago it felt like Franky had bailed out on her and left her to end up with Harry, even though she understood why she had spent so much time with Allie it hadn't made the situation any easier for her, she didn't want to to be angry at Franky but right now she didn't want to talk to her anymore.

 

 

 

Franky arrived home twenty minutes before Allie and she was slightly puzzled since they had seen her in the car park. Walking straight into the kitchen Allie found Franky making a start on dinner.

“I thought you said you were going out tonight.”

“Ahhh yer, slight change of plan. Where have you been anyway we saw you heading for your car.”

“Yeah and? I needed to stop off somewhere I'm going over to Beas for dinner.”

“That's twice in one week, what's really going on with you two?”

“We're working it out…slowly, its complicated ok, I know she likes me, a lot, and I get what that fucking idiot put her through so I understand why this is difficult for her. We'll work it out, eventually, I know we will.”

“But ya wish she would make her mind up.”

“Maybe, but I'm not going to force her into something she's not ready for, fuck Franky she's constantly on my mind, how I ever get any work done I just don't know, and this afternoon during my presentation…never mind.”

“Well if you've got nothing better to do right now you could help me get dinner ready, let my insane culinary skills distract your thoughts for a while.”

“You're having someone over for dinner aren't you? Who is she? And since when did you ever have anyone except really good friends over for dinner?”

“Yeah, like I said slight change of plan, in my defence you did tell me you would be working late again, I think your exact words were ‘don't expect me home while you're still conscious. And if you really have to know I've met someone, she's different ok, now stop asking questions.” Franky sighed.

“So…what are you making?”

“An array of middle eastern delights, and since you have no clue what I'm even talking about you can make the salad.”

Allie wanted to be annoyed at her for that remark but she couldn't, she wasn't a complete failure in the kitchen but for some reason her highly tuned multi tasking abilities always seemed to evaporate into thin air the second she tried to make anything too complicated. Picking a knife from the block she made a start on cutting the pile of vegetables Franky had placed next to the chopping board.

“So why the change of plan?”

“Hey, more work less chatter, not sure ya can chop and talk at the same time, I don't have time to deal with missing fingers right now.”

Allie threw a piece of chopped up red pepper at her, “Wouldn't want to spoil your evening by losing a finger now would I?”

“Bitch,” Franky muttered.

Picking up a cucumber that was sat next to her on the counter top Allie pointed it in Franky's direction, “Don’t make me stick this someplace the sun doesn't shine Doyle .”

Franky wiggled her eyebrows and grinned at her and Allie couldn't hold back the laugh, “Fuck off Franky,” she laughed before attacking the cucumber with the knife she was holding.

Franky moved from the stove to inspect Allies handy work, “Well that's certainly a fine dicing job you're doing there Novak.”

Allie rolled her eyes and smiled back at Franky as she kept chopping, Franky slid a red onion over in her direction, “So what's the plan? Like how on earth do you actually think you can get that wall that Reds built round herself to crumble?”

“I don't need to think I can, it's already coming down slowly, not that's it's any of your business, but you have been trying to push us together and don't deny it.”

“Fine, fine, but I honestly never thought you'd be anything more than just friends, I mean come on she said she would be alone for the rest of her life, how the hell did you get under her skin so easily?”

“I haven't done anything, must be my natural charm. I'm not pushing her into anything, if it's what she really wants it's her decision, although we both know I've only ever had one specific outcome in mind.”

Franky returned to the stove and poured lentils into a pot before turning her attention back to Allie, “And that outcome would be?”

“Same as it always was, happily ever after,” Allie replied without any hesitation, “But if that's not what she wants then I'll deal it with it, but I think deep down she already knows what she wants.” Allie could never deny that even after all the years and everything she'd been through she had always wanted the ‘for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health’ life with Bea even when all it had ever been was a fantasy, one she'd tried to bury deep within herself, but now she thought there was a possibility, a slim one but still a one in a million chance was still a chance right?

Franky's eyebrows shot up. Allie ignored the look and kept talking, “I'm not stupid I know we're wondering into the unknown and I know Bea may decide that it isn't what she wants, but if there's a chance then I'm going to take it and hold onto it.”

“I think in all probability Reds never going to fall for that outcome, she was married to the biggest dickhead on the planet, and ya know she's convinced he's not dead. Sounds like bull to me and I did manage to convince her to get a declaration of death, but after she had to wait seven years it was a tough time for her, luckily the police investigation into his disappearance was enough evidence to support her case and she got the death certificate issued but she's not convinced?”

Allie sniffed a little as she chopped the onion, “You know I reckon Beas a bit like this onion, a puzzle that needs to be solved one layer at a time.”

Franky disappeared for a few moments returning with a tissue that she handed to Allie who accepted it, wiping her eyes then blowing her nose. “We just need to get to know each other better, the better we know each other it gets easier to understand, for both of us, we have a lot in common that much we already know, like I said we're taking things slowly and I have all the time in the world for her.”

Franky stood motionless just watching her as she went back to chopping the onion, “We'll figure out the hurdles together, we might find temporary obstacles but I don't see any ever being totally immovable.”

“Remember Reds a wildcard, she might never change let alone go along with this little plan you've so carefully constructed for the two of you.”

Allie shot her a death stare.

“Ok, I take it all back!” Raising her hands in submission, “You've got a fantastic plan, so now we're agreed, what date do I need to block out in my diary for the wedding?”

“Oh you know I was kind of thinking Byron Bay in the spring!” Allie said with a grin. “Now if you don't require my services anymore I need to jump in the shower and get ready.”

 

 

 

Allie had already stopped off at on her way home from work to pick up a bottle of wine for her and Bea and stopped off again on her way over to Beas to pick up ice cream, she'd racked her brain while she was in the shower what she could take over with her with Debbie in mind and suddenly remembered while she was drying her hair what Bea had said about Debbie's favourite foods being pizza and ice cream, especially chocolate ice cream.

She felt nervous when she got out of the car and it made no sense to her, it wasn't like she hadn't spent time with Debbie, they'd wondered round the Emporium quite happily together, but this felt different, it wasn't a public place it was her home and there was always a chance that Debbie wouldn't want her there, they'd first met there the evening Franky had brought her home but that was a completely different situation and she hoped that Debbie would be alright with her being around, if not she knew that no matter how either her or Bea felt they would be fighting a losing battle because she was very aware that Bea would always choose Debbie over anyone else, not that Allie would ever hold that against her, it was just how it should be. Nearing the door she couldn't help but wonder how different her own life would be if she'd had a mum who cared for her as much as Bea cared for Debbie. Knocking on the door she tried to push her nerves to one side, the door opened and the second she saw Bea standing there she forgot about everything else.

“Don't just stand there come in, Debbie's upstairs and dinner should be ready in about 40 minutes.

Allie smiled at her, “I brought wine for us and ice cream for Debbie.”

“You didn't have to do that, I invited you over remember.”

“And your cooking so I wanted to bring something.”

Following Bea into the kitchen it was difficult to concentrate on anything else other than the site of the most amazing woman she'd ever met in her life as she walked in front of her. Her thoughts returning to the possible outcome of the evening, when she heard footsteps coming downstairs.

“Hey Allie, mum said you were coming over tonight, I wanted pizza and she said no, you wouldn't have minded pizza for dinner would you?”

“No, no, I love pizza.”

“See told you Allie wouldn't mind.”

“Ok, you win, next time we'll order pizza…Allie brought chocolate ice cream if that helps.”

“Can you invite Allie over instead of Franky on Fridays? Franky never brought ice cream.” Debbie giggled.

“Hmmmm, Allie might have other plans on Friday evenings, I doubt she'll want to spend time with you always complaining about something, have you finished your home work?”

“Yes….you haven't forgotten that Graces mum is picking me up after dinner have you, we have to get this project finished by Monday.”

“Seriously how could I forget, you've been telling me since I picked you up.”

Debbie wondered off out of the kitchen mumbling something about getting her things for the weekend ready, which Allie thought she had heard incorrectly until Bea told her that she was staying until Sunday afternoon, the project they were working on was about the Federation of Australia and since Bea was generally always working on something over the weekends when she wasn't needed in the office Debbie and her best friend Grace would spend whole weekends working together over at Graces house if they had school work to complete.

“I think you're just sneaky.”

Bea just smiled at her, “Honestly I knew nothing about it until I picked her up from Liz’s.” Closing the distance between them before wrapping her arms around her waist and pulling her close.

“Ok I'll believe you, I think I see a pattern starting to emerge here though.”

“Yeah...maybe.”

Moving one of her hands from Allies waist to the back of her neck, pulling her closer, bringing their lips together in a gentle kiss before pulling away for a moment.

“And I don't think I'll ever get tired of doing that.”

“I hope you don't….but you might change your mind.”

Bea looked her straight in the eye searching for something, doubt maybe, she wasn't sure, “Have you changed your mind?” Uncertainty evident in her voice.

“No and I doubt I ever could, but what if Debbie…” she trailed off, she tried so hard not to think about it but if Debbie didn't want her to be with Bea she knew that whatever they both felt wouldn't matter, Bea would have no choice and the thought of that scared Allie more than anything else life had ever thrown at her.

“Debbie will be fine, believe me, she doesn't trust many people but I'm certain that she trusts you, it might be a little strange for her but she's not stupid. She wouldn't leave the house and leave us alone if she didn't trust you.”

Debbie reappeared in the kitchen a few minutes later plopping herself down in one of the chairs at the table spreading some of her project out wanting to show Allie what they had been working on. Allie sat in the chair next to her and listened to everything that she told her. Bea watched quietly from the other side of the kitchen, she could understand why Allie may have concerns about Debbie but if she could only see through Beas eyes right at that moment she knew she would stop worrying, Debbie rarely ever showed anyone her school work much less explain what she was working on.

“Can you put that away Deb? Unless you don't actually want me to feed you.”

“Muuum….i haven't finished telling Allie about the Australian labour movement being opposed to the federation.”

“What's more important food or talking?”

Debbie frowned, she was hungry and she didn't think it was a fair question, “Fine, Allie better be here on Sunday when I get home so I can finish telling her.” She huffed as she gathered her work together and put it back in her bag and taking it through to the living room.

“See I really don't know why you're worried about Deb, she really likes you.”

“I hope so, I know she'll always be your priority and I completely understand that, but if she doesn't want me around….”

“Hey she will, I promise, you heard what she said about when she gets home.”

“I did, but you also know that I like you as so much more than a friend, I may not have a great deal to offer you but I do. But if friendship is all you decide you want then I'll be ok with that, I've waited this long to get close to you….as long as you don't shut me out completely then that's all that matters to me.”

“As much as I've tried since that night at the bar I can't ignore how I feel about you, I do have feelings for you and that scares the hell out of me. You know the only relationship I've ever had was with Harry and that was….you know what that was. I'm just struggling to work it all out and I don't want to hurt you Allie.”

“Yeah…really I'm fine with whatever you decide, it might sting a little but I'll be fine.” She knew she wouldn't be fine if Bea decided that she couldn't handle the whole relationship thing but she couldn't imagine not having her in her life so she'd deal with it if the worst happened. If all they ever had was what they had now she could do that no matter how frustrating it might be.

“He would beat me if I was late home, bought the wrong beer, if I didn't cook what he wanted for dinner or if I said something he didn't like. I never thought I could ever let myself feel anything for anyone ever again….Then Maxi said something to me as we were going to lunch one day and I was sure what I was feeling wasn't just something that I would get over, even though I've never felt like this before and really I have nothing to compare it to…..” she trailed off when they heard Debbie heading back in the direction of the kitchen.

The three of them ate together, Debbie telling Allie enthusiastically more about her project, Bea watched the interaction between them, never in her life did she ever think that she would see Debbie so relaxed and happy with someone she'd only known for such a short time. The only other people she ever spoke to in such an animated manner were Franky and Liz but they had always been in her life. She loved Boomer but she was a big kid at heart and was always ready to do the fun and sometimes stupid things that Debbie insisted she wanted to do and she got on great with Maxine, Doreen was a different story she had always avoided her and told Bea many times she just didn't like her very much. After dinner Allie helped do the dishes even when Bea said it wasn't necessary, telling her that she wouldn't go over for dinner the next time she asked soon changed her mind. Grace and her mum soon arrived after dinner and Debbie insisted on introducing Grace to Allie, after they left Bea and Allie settled on the sofa together.

“You know I would never intentionally hurt you don't you?”

“I know you wouldn't.” Beas gaze fell to the floor, “Harry…he didn't just beat me, I didn't think it was possible to be as terrified of anyone as I was of him, I can't ever be sure that he wouldn't have eventually turned on Debbie after what he did to me when he saw that I had bought Debbie presents for her birthday, she was turning two what kind of father says his own daughter didn't need any presents because she wouldn't remember anyway? I couldn't bare him to touch me, about six months after Debbie was born he'd gone out with his mates and came home drunk, Debbie was teething and had kept me up most of the night before so I'd gone to bed early, I woke up to find him on top of me, after that night he took what he wanted whenever he wanted. It scares me…that I'll never be able to give you what you want. You deserve better than that Allie.”

Allie gently placed her fingers under Beas chin and softly turned her head to face her.

“There is no one better than you, there never was. All these years I tried to forget about you but it was always a loosing battle, it didn't matter that I was with Jess you were always there. If I could have done anything to stop him from doing what he did to you I would have, but you don't need to think about him. I told you already, we'll just take things slowly, nothing ever has to happen that you don't want to happen, we can just carry on as we are, there's no pressure. I've always wanted to be with you, I'm happy just to carry on as we are, as long as I get to spend time with you that's all I care about.”

“You say that now.”

“And I'll always say that, if this is all we have then I'm fine with that.”

Allie knew she had to go into work the next morning but the thought of leaving Bea filled her with sadness, any time they spent together was precious to Allie, fond memories of every moment they spent in each others company grew as fast as clover in the grass and when they were apart Allie savoured every memory. They kept them together even when they were apart all she ever had to do was reach out with her mind and there she was. Leaving was still the hard part because their lives were like circles and spirals all rolled into one glorious mess. There could be no stronger glue in the entire universe than love and even though Bea said she was uncertain of how things would evolve between them Allie was sure she could see it in her heart and mind that it was something that they shared, any separation would only be temporary because love was the path that Allie was following and she was certain that they would stay together as long as Debbie didn't object.

“I guess I should get going, I just hope whoever Franky had over for dinner has gone.”

“You don't have to, you could stay here again…I mean have you any clue who she's having over, you wouldn't want to disturb her would you?”

Allie stood up taking Beas hands in hers, “Do you want me to stay?”

Bea just nodded.

“I won't be long, I planned in advance,” Allie giggled.

Bea looked confused as Allie let her hands slip from hers and she headed to the door, returning a couple of minutes later with a bag in her hand. “What? You didn't think I was going to get caught out again did you?”

“You thought of everything didn't you?”

 

 

 

An hour later they were laid in bed, Allies head was resting on Beas chest as she ran her fingers through her hair. Allie had gone quiet a while ago and as Bea looked down she saw that she had fallen asleep, she smiled before kissing her on top of her head, reaching over she turned the lamp off, closing her eyes she was soon asleep.

A few hours later Bea opened her eyes finding herself wrapped up in Allies arms, surprising herself when she realized that it didn't feel strange anymore, waking up tangled together with Allie felt natural and for the first time in a long time she felt safe. Moving a little she had no intention of getting up right then so she just lay watching her sleep, it was too early to wake her up anyway she was determined that she was going into work but Bea didn't know why she wanted to nothing she had to do was overly important.

She almost found it impossible to believe that someone like Allie could even want to be with her, she was younger, smart, funny and beautiful, Allie she thought could be with anyone she wanted but instead she just wanted to be with her and no matter how hard she thought about it she couldn't understand why. What if she got bored with her? If she couldn't be who she needed her to be, she was so lost in her thoughts that she hadn't noticed that Allie had woken up and was watching her.

“Penny for them?”

“Ummm, what?”

“Your thoughts…what are you thinking about?”

“Nothing much.”

“You're an awful liar you know, you don't have to tell me if you don't want to.”

“Sorry…it's not that I don't want to, I was thinking about you, about us. Why do you want to be with me?”

“I haven't told you often enough already?”

“I guess you have, you seem to tell me almost everyday.”

“I think I better get up, some of us have to go to work, we can't all lay in bed all day.”

Bea laughed, “I have no intention of staying in bed all day, not unless I can convince you to stay with me, I kinda like laying here with you like this.”

Allie knew she could really spend the day with Bea but wanted to make sure everything was ready for their meeting on Monday, she knew Bea wouldn't be mad at her if she didn't have everything in order straight away but she wanted it to be, sometimes she was just too much of a perfectionist and making herself look stupid in front of Bea was not part of her plan.

After breakfast it took them almost half an hour to say goodbye to each other, Bea finally let her leave after she promised that she would go straight back after she had finished whatever it was that was so important. Falling onto the sofa Bea couldn't stop smiling, Allie would be back later and all she had to do was find something that would keep her occupied until after lunch when Allie promised she would be back.

Chapter Text

Bea had spent most of the morning just slumped on the sofa, Allie really didn't need to have gone into work she was sure of that, she knew she had everything in hand. She tried to read but she couldn't concentrate and kept reading the same line over and over again. Flicking on the tv she flicked through the channels hoping to find something that would take her mind off being alone, this was all new to her, she'd spent plenty of Saturday mornings sitting at home alone and it had never bothered her before, but that was before Allie and now she just missed her. ‘How the hell is this even possible?’ She wondered, settling on some random cookery show she stumbled across she sat and waited her thoughts firmly stuck thinking about Allie sat in her office.

Allies drive over to the office had passed in a blur and as soon as she had arrived she started to wonder what the hell she was even doing there, she could still be laying in bed in the arms of the woman who had held her heart for longer than she even wanted to think about, but no she had been stubborn and stupid and she now found herself walking into the office and was greeted by Linda's glare as she breezed passed her. Going over everything that she already had prepared for her meeting with Bea on Monday morning she needed a coffee and as she neared the kitchen area she stopped when she heard voices instantly recognising Linda and Vera's voices surprised that Vera was there since she worked on a different floor, she held back a little before turning and heading back to her office, no way was she going to stand there and listen to what Linda was saying about Bea, she could say what she wanted about her but causing a scene in the office wasn't an option.

A loud knock on the front door made Bea jump, glancing at the time it was almost lunch time so she figured it had to be Allie. Allie just wanted to see Bea to forget her morning and the shit she'd heard come out of Linda's mouth, none of it was true and she knew it, Bea was taking longer than usual to open the door and she was just about to knock again when it opened.

Bea took one look at Allie and knew there was something amiss, gazing at her eyes they were like two endlessly swirling oceans, the dark and light blues cascaded over one another making them appear cold and icy but Bea knew that wasn't usually the case because they were always so warm and inviting like sinking into a hot bath after a particularly bad day at the office.

“Allie what's wrong?” Bea asked her voice full of concern.

She didn't answer and just walked in straight past her dropping her bag on the floor and pulling off her jacket before almost throwing herself down on the sofa. After closing the door Bea followed her, sitting down next to her she knew there was something really wrong and she needed to find out what it was.

“I'm sorry, bad morning, I shouldn't take my bad mood out on you.”

“Tell me what happened, it can't be as bad as all that.”

Allie sighed, she didn't want to really tell Bea what she'd overheard Linda saying but she wasn't going to lie to her either. Bea had said she would have a word with Linda before but up to now she knew she hadn't and this now had the potential to cause trouble and that was the last thing Allie wanted to do.

“As soon as I walked into the office I was pretty sure Linda was going to say or do something by the way she was looking at me but I ignored her and went to my office. You know how it gets sitting there over a mountain of paperwork and I needed a coffee. Never did get that coffee, I overheard Linda telling Vera that I only got this job because we were sleeping together and that anyone who thought otherwise was an idiot. I stuck around long enough to hear a few more things she had to say before I just went back to my office. I don't care what she says about me, I've probably heard it all and much worse in the past but I'm not just going to stand there and listen to her say shit about you, if Vera hadn't have been there I would have ripped her head off.” Allie hung her head and looked at the floor, she was sure that Bea didn't want to be the brunt of the office gossip and felt certain that she was going to say they shouldn't see each other anymore outside of work.

“Hey…Allie look at me…” Allie lifted her head slowly and turned to look at her trying to avoid her eyes she couldn't stand to see what would be looking back at her. “I don't care what Linda Miles says, everyone who's important knows how you got your job, she's had a chip on her shoulder ever since I was made CEO. She's not important, I won't have her upsetting you though, and I know what you're thinking and I'm not about to let her or anyone who can't keep their mouths shut change anything between us, ever.”

If Allie had stuck around a little longer she would have heard what Vera had to say but she had become so angry that she'd gone back to her office with one thing on her mind and that had been beating Linda unconscious. Vera had listened to Linda and she couldn't believe what she was hearing coming out of her mouth.

“Found out one or two things about our precious head of finance, turns out she used to be a fucking junkie a junkie street whore no less. Heard smith knew her when she was a kid, makes you wonder how long it's been going on, probably seeing her before her husband disappeared no wonder he beat her until she was almost dead. Guess it must pay well being a CEO, would have to to pay for her little whores services.”

What had happened between Bea and Harry had never been common knowledge around the office although Vera had vaguely remembered seeing something about his disappearance and the circumstances surrounding it in the papers but even when it was news she had never paid that much attention to it, not that it mattered that all happened before Bea even started working there. Vera liked Bea most of the time, they clashed once or twice in the past but nothing that bad that would make Vera believe a word that was being said to her, and she liked Allie, they'd had a long chat during the week and Vera had found her to be intelligent and very personable, and it didn't hurt that she made Vera laugh something she didn't seem to do very often, and as she saw it everyone was entitled to make a mistake, she had when she'd let herself get caught up with Fletch, not her finest hour, but no one had gone around bad mouthing either of them when things ended so badly.

“Im sorry Linda but I just can't agree with you on this…and I'm pretty certain that it's none of our business anyway, if Bea chooses to have a relationship with another woman that's between them, not them and the whole office.”

“Yes but Vera, a junkie, and she has a 12 year old daughter, what mother would have that kind of person around a kid?”

“People make mistakes, we all have a past that maybe we aren't so proud of, you can't tell me you've never done anything wrong your whole life. If you let yourself get to know Allie you'd see that she's not what you say she is.”

Vera had stormed off after that not wanting to get into it anymore with Linda, Allie or Bea for that matter had done nothing to deserve what she was saying about them.

Bea was mad at Linda, how dare she make Allies working environment unpleasant she was the best choice for the job and besides that the decision to promote her to head of finance had come straight from the director himself who knew nothing about their relationship, he had known they knew each other and that was it. She had been handed the job on her own merit and work ethic and Bea was going to put Linda Miles in her place.

 

 

Monday morning Bea woke up and rolled over suddenly remembering that Allie had gone home not long after dinner the previous evening, although it hadn't gone unnoticed that she had left her clothes there. She had made her mind up as soon as Allie had told her about Linda that she was going to go into the office early and as soon as Allie had left she'd called Liz asking if she could drop Debbie off at school for her because she needed to get into the office a little earlier, Liz had agreed without any hesitation and said she would be over before breakfast.

Bea knew that Will was always in the office early and she really needed a word with him, after all Linda did technically work for him. Crossing the car park that morning she felt her anger rising again when she thought about everything that Allie had told her. Heading straight to Wills office, his door was wide open and she found him already on the phone, beckoning her to to go in she sat across from him waiting until he had finish his call. Explaining what had happened on Saturday Will said he was more than willing to let her deal with Linda, he'd had a few run ins with her over the last few months and he was getting fed up with complaints about her attitude. He assured Bea that he would try and keep a closer eye on her when Allie was around, he knew Allie knew her job and the last thing he wanted was to lose her because Linda couldn't stop running her mouth.

Allie was having a completely different morning, when she first woke up after a particularly x rated dream involving Bea and she really wished she hadn't gone home, although she suspected the images running riot in her brain would have made keeping her hands to herself next to impossible if she had woken up beside her. She lay back in her bed for a while longer thinking about how well they got on, they picked up on each other's obscure references without a struggle and could joke with each other so easily even at work where she had thought Bea would be completely serious all the time. Everything about her was perfect to Allie and she was sure that it didn't hurt that she was completely delicious to look at, and Allie looked at her a lot.

Franky found her in the bathroom about half an hour later almost on the point of hyperventilating as she was getting ready to go to work.

“The fucks up with you?…oh I get it ya gotta sit in Reds office all mornin and ya gotta be a good girl.” Franky chuckled.

Allie flipped her the finger and rolled her eyes. “It's not funny Franky, look at me I look a complete mess.”

Franky looked her up and down before shaking her head. “Ya look fine from what I can see, the perfect mix of professional and sexy, exactly how ya always dress for work, and stop fiddling with ya buttons would ya?”

“I haven't left too many open have I?”

“No, no everything is just right trust me don't change a thing. Honestly if we weren't friends….Now piss off to work and go and turn some heads.”

“Heads?” Allie shot her a glare, “You know as well as I do there's only one head I'm interested in turning and I have to spend all morning with her.”

Franky rolled her eyes as she ushered her out of the bathroom, “Just get goin already would ya?”

Allies drive to work was over in a flash, when she got to the finance department she was half expecting Linda to get a few more digs in or throw her a few dirty looks but surprisingly she was nowhere to be seen, shrugging her shoulders she went to her office and began gathering up everything she needed for her imminent meeting with Bea.

Bea sat in her office waiting for Linda to arrive, everything Allie had told her swimming around in her head, every word Linda had said stung and fuelled the fire that was burning inside of her. When Linda finally arrived she sat opposite Bea who looked her in the eye, she looked a little scared but just as alert as she always was, sitting back in her chair Bea crossed her arms over her chest her eyes firmly locked on Linda before she began to speak. Twenty minutes later Linda was on her way back to the finance department a lot less cocky than she had been when she first arrived at work. Bea just couldn't work her out anymore, a few years ago she was the life of any room she found herself in. She'd heard her tell the same stories over and over again even though every rendition always seemed to become just a little more sensational, eventually they became such tall tales that the truth behind them became blurred by fiction. She could have called her out on her lies so many times, taken her down so hard that she would have had a nosebleed and her ego would have shattered. Under that mask of a clown that she wore she didn't seem to know where she belonged anymore, yet Bea knew it was more than that, she was scared that if people didn't think she was interesting she wouldn't have any friends. The most stupid thing about it was that Bea knew that when Linda spoke about things that really mattered everyone listened to her.

Allie made her way up to the 5th floor, her heart pounding in her chest, something she thought was totally crazy since they'd only been apart for a few hours. After saying good morning to Maxine she knocked on Beas office door.

“Come in.”

Opening the door Allie was stopped in her tracks, how was it even possible that she looked even better than she had the day before. Bea had a huge smile on her face until she spotted the pile of files and folders Allie was carrying. Kicking the door closed behind her Allie walked over to her desk and dropped everything down watching as Beas eyes drifted from her face eventually coming to rest on her cleavage, lingering there for a second or two longer than they probably should since they were at work, not that Allie was going to say anything.

Sinking into the chair Allie winked at her.

“You did say that you wanted to see everything I have, so here it is…you can share my pain.”

Beas eyes moved from the pile on her desk to Allies eyes and she held her gaze, “I thought you were going to go easy on me or at least give me the edited version and let me cruise through it.”

“Ha, honestly that doesn't sound like something you'd enjoy at all, we both know you like everything laid out completely naked for you.” Allie giggled when she realized the innuendo behind that sentence hoping Bea may not have actually picked up on it.

“Hmmm, maybe not…so just how much pain should I expect? I'm completely in your hands on this so be gentle with me.”

Allie grinned at her as she scooted forward in her chair, “Well,” grabbing a folder that was almost on the bottom of the pile, “Lets just start with this shall we and see how we go?”

For the next two and half hours Allie went over the complete history of the banks revenue sharing model, showing her the research that had been done and dancing quite in step with each other over the intricate facts and figures. Just before 1pm Bea slumped back into her chair.

“I think we need a break how about lunch?”

Throwing the folder back on the desk Allie knew she was right. “ I guess that's not a bad idea and you did manage to keep up, honestly I wasn't sure you would.”

“Hey you did all the hard work I just rode shotgun.”

“I'd hardly call this work Bea, sitting in your office with no distractions certainly doesn't feel like work.”

“So lunch? My treat.”

Allie rested her chin on the palm of her hand as she leaned her elbow on the desk pretending to think about it even though the smile on her face was very evident.

“Ok, I guess we need to eat so why not.”

Leaving her office they went to the elevator, of all the things Allie thought she couldn't be imagining this now, she could have so easily just pushed her up against the wall and kissed her but they were at work and she tried to push that image out of her head for the time being at least. Leaving the building they both decided that they would just go to the deli and grab a sandwich to take back to Beas office. Once they were back in the office Allie moved all her files from Beas desk and dumped them on the floor out of their way.

“Do you want me to get your suggestions incorporated into the model straight away? I think I can get it finished by tomorrow if you do, I'll have to take it home with m…”

“There's really no rush, take your time, your final presentation isn't until Friday with all the heads of department, unfortunately this time the director will be in but you'll walk it.”

Allie couldn't take her eyes off Bea as she ate, she was pretty convinced that she could just sit there and watch her chew all day and never get tired of watching her and anyone who said differently in her opinion was an idiot.

“So You have any idea what's going on with Franky?” Bea asked trying to think of something that was safe enough for work to talk about.

“No idea really, I do know I don't see her very often, but it can't be anything serious we both know she doesn't do relationships.”

“Yer, she never has.”

“She told me it's because they end badly, that everyone leaves. You have fun, it gets complicated and then they end. Her view is that she's just going to have fun while she can and damn the consequences.”

“Sounds so fatalistic when it's put like that. But I know why she says it, her dad leaving, well I guess you know all about what she went through.”

“Yer I do, but I don't think she should use that as a model for her own life. She says she's just being realistic, that romance is only meant for the pages of a book because romance can never last.”

“Even I wouldn't say that it's always like that, I think she just needs to meet the right person.”

“Are you saying that you disagree with her?”

“Maybe, I don't really know, maybe there is someone out there for her and she just doesn't know it yet.”

“And is there someone out there for you?”

“I think that's a stupid question don't you?”

Allie let out a breath, she wasn't quite sure if she was saying what she hoped she was saying, “Hmmm, so kinda abandon all hope all he who enter here then?”

“Nothing that dramatic Allie, but for now she just wants to have fun and move on. Not that it makes for a great night out when you bump into a certain ex of hers, God I can't even remember her name, that sounds really bad doesn't it?”

“So you'd never just have fun an move on?”

“NO!…I mean I guess there's fun and then there's fun, fuck I don't even know what I'm talking about.”

A hundred and one ideas flashed through Allies mind, each one becoming more raunchier than the last and none were work appropriate, one thing she didn't doubt though was that Bea could well be the death of her, she'd either explode from frustration or she'd have a Bea induced heart attack in the bedroom.

“Guess I've always had faith that we all have a soulmate, you know that one person who understands you completely, who you share everything with and who you just can't be without the same way you understand them and can't be without them.”

Bea shook her head, “How did we ever get onto this topic?”

“You brought it up.”

Bea sighed, “I did.” Looking across her desk at Allie she smiled shyly, she got what she was saying, understood it completely for the first time in her life and Allie was the only reason she understood it.

Allie screwed up her sandwich wrapper looking around the room for the bin, seeing it in the corner of the room she threw it over as Bea watched her.

“She shoots, she scores.” Allie said looking pleased with herself.

“Bet you couldn't do that again.” Bea laughed.

“Oh no, how sure are you of that? What's it worth?”

Bea thought for a few moments before she answered. “Lunch tomorrow, on me of course.”

“You're on….you’re gonna owe me lunch.”

Bea just shrugged, grabbing a blank piece of paper from the desk she screwed it up and and aimed for the bin again, another direct hit.

“You're cheating you've done this before.”

“Have not, but a free lunch is a great incentive especially if I get to spend my lunch hour with you.”

“Is that your way of saying you wouldn't mind having lunch with me everyday?” Bea already knew what her answer would be and being completely honest with herself she wouldn't mind spending every lunch time with Allie, except work had a nasty habit of getting in the way, meetings overran, someone would call at the worst time with a problem that they thought was of the upmost importance when really anyone with half a brain could have sorted it out or she'd have so much work piled on her desk that going to lunch just wasn't an option.

‘Fuck I'd spend every second of everyday with you if I could,’ Allie thought to herself before answering confirming what Bea already knew.

Thirty minutes later and a whole load of screwed up paper later Allie had just thrown yet another great shot straight into the bin.

“I don't care what you say Allie you've done this before.” They both started laughing as Bea picked up the stapler from her desk just as Maxine walked in.

“You two having fun on company time? I hope you realize lunch was over an hour ago.”

“In our defence Maxi we were late going to lunch.” Bea laughed as she looked at the stapler in her hand.

“Allie thinks I have a bad aim, I'm just trying to prove her wrong. She thinks I'll miss the bin.”

“Again!” Allie giggled.

“Oh, so what's a steak if you miss may I enquire?”

“An end to world poverty.” Allie chuckled.

“Hardly anything that big, just lunch again. How many do I owe you now two?”

“Three that I counted, you're such a bad loser.”

“Am not!” Bea exclaimed.

Maxine shook her head as she looked at the stapler in Beas hand and then back at the bin next to the wall. “You know if you do any damage to your office you'll have to pay for it.”

Bea thought for a moment before turning her attention back to the bin and launching the stapler across the room, all three of them held their breath as it flew across the room, hitting the wall and dropping into the bin.

“Now you're showing off Bea.” Maxine laughed

“Didn't count though, the deal was that it had to land straight in the bin not bounce off the wall, that was what we agreed.”

Maxine just watched the pair for a few more moments, she knew she'd never seen Bea so happy, stranger still she hardly ever let anyone in her office for longer than was necessary and she knew Allie had been there since 9am. “I did actually have a reason to come in here, Franky was looking for you Allie, so when you've finished this little contest I'd get down there unless you want her to come looking for you.”

Maxine smiled at them both before retreating back to her desk.

“I guess I better get going, if she ends up coming up here she'll never shut about it.”

“I know…” Bea sighed “On a completely different topic though I didn't do any damage to the wall did I?”

Picking up her folders from the floor Allie couldn't help imagining what it would be like to have Bea push her up against any of those walls in her office kissing her until she couldn't breath.

“Allie…Allie…you better not keep Franky waiting for much longer.”

“Huh! Oh yer, sorry…thanks for lunch.”

“Little earlier tomorrow I think, how many do I owe you? Three?”

“Four, you're an awful shot Bea and you know it.”

As she reached the door she looked back over her shoulder for a few seconds, ‘Why does leaving her behind always have to feel this bad?’ She wondered to herself, it made no sense really they were still in the same building and they'd spent a little over five hours together. “See you later I guess.”

She was just about to close the door behind herself when Bea called back to her.

“I demand a rematch Novak.”

“Really, what's in it for me?”

“What do you want?”

Allie swallowed hard, ‘I want you in my bed naked,’ she thought to herself. “I'll leave that up to you, I'm sure you'll think of something.”

Chapter Text

For the rest of the week they hardly saw one another, meeting after meeting dragged on or they found themselves having to work through lunch, Thursday had been the only day that they had actually found the time to eat lunch together and Allie had joked that Bea must be thinking of excuses so she didn't have to pay up after losing their bet. Bea had never hated being kept so busy as she did now, they shared more than a few text messages and a couple of phone calls but that had been all they could manage and Bea hated it. Every day she had sat in her office just wishing that it was Friday already, at least then even though they would be sitting in the board room while Allie delivered her final presentation they'd at least be in the same room for a couple of hours.

When Friday morning arrived after only a couple of hours sleep Allie woke up in a panic, she was afraid of stuffing up in front of everyone especially Bea, but as fearful as she was she couldn't deny that the anticipation of knowing that she would be in the same room as Bea excited her more than a little. She hadn't slept well and had tossed and turned all night, she'd got up for a drink of water, got up to use the bathroom but most of the night she found herself laying in bed just staring at the ceiling with so many jumbled thoughts in her head, she knew she was going to look like crap when the morning finally arrived.

Now though it was Friday and she had to get up and face the day no matter how tired she still felt. Franky once again found her in the bathroom this time pacing up and down.

“Calm down there Novak….ya look like shit by the way.”

“Oh Cheers Doyle just what I needed to hear this morning…didn't sleep did I?”

“It's just a presentation, you've done it before…Red’s gonna be there so why ya so worried?”

Allie stopped pacing, Bea would be there and she didn't want her to think she was a complete idiot and right now she knew she was certainly acting like one. Franky scuttled off returning a few minutes later with a mug of coffee and handed it to Allie.

“Can I make a suggestion?”

Allie eyed her up, Franky was not known for saying anything helpful in moments like this but right now she was all Allie had and she needed someone to help her pull herself together.

“Wear ya hair down and wear your glasses, the sexy librarian look will take everyone's mind off what ya talkin about, might cause Red to blow a fuse but it's a chance ya gotta take right?” Franky chuckled pretty sure that Bea would notice everything about Allie.

Allie thought for a moment, she rarely ever wore her glasses unless she was alone in her office or at home and she wasn't sure that was the best suggestion Franky had ever had added to the fact that Bea didn't even know she wore glasses but what was she going to do call Bea and ask her advice about how she should dress so she knew what a mess she was? No that was something she really didn't want to do so Franky was her only hope.

After arriving at work Allie sat in her office, still surprised that all week Linda hadn't made any snide comments, she had been polite and Allie wondered what was going on, still as long as she didn't have to deal with anymore bullshit from her she could deal with how unnerved Linda actually being slightly pleasant left her feeling. The meeting wasn't until 10am and as she sat in her office she was too preoccupied to concentrate on anything work related. Before Franky had threatened to actually throw her out of the house that morning she had thought about calling in sick when her anxiety had risen up again and now she was just trying to think of a way to keep herself calm through this meeting. ‘Maybe it's not too late to say I don't feel well and go home now,’ she thought out loud before her phone caught her attention and she looked at the screen, a huge smile on her face, a Bea induced smile no less.


I'll meet you by the elevator on the 6th floor, don't be late.


I wouldn't dream of it, don't want to be in your bad books do I?


No you don't, I can make life very unpleasant for people who don't do as their told.


Do tell


Maybe you'll have to wait and find out, see you soon


Now she couldn't think of anything but Bea waiting for her to get there, that last comment had her brain skating from one very suggestive thought to the next like a pond skater skimming across the surface of a pond. Staring at the wall in front of her desk she decided that she had better make sure she looked ok, it wasn't just Bea that was going to be in the board room, but god she wished it was, what she wouldn't like to do to her if she ever got her alone in there. Shaking her head she knew she couldn't keep thinking like that, ‘Mind out of the gutter Novak, this is not the time.’ She couldn't help but wonder though if there would ever be a right time to think like that when it came to Bea. ‘Slow and steady,’ she told herself as she walked to the bathroom.

After touching up her makeup and brushing her hair she took a long look at herself in the mirror, ‘Presentable,’ she thought to herself, but she couldn't help wondering what Bea would think when she saw her. Looking herself up and down in the mirror she was sure that she'd made the right choice of outfit, her favourite black heels, black skirt, white blouse topped off with a tailored black blazer. Not that it mattered now, she didn't have time to go home and change, and then she remembered Bea had never actually seen her in a skirt, until that morning she had always worn trousers and she'd never worn her glasses in front of anyone in the office yet, she was a little nervous about what she would think.

 

 

 

Bea was standing by the elevator leaning against the wall waiting for Allie to arrive, checking the time again for what felt like the hundredth time in two minutes she was impatient, it was still five minutes before the meeting was due to start and she hoped that they would get at least a couple of minutes alone. In her impatience to see Allie her eyes had become glued to one spot on the floor so when the doors opened and she stepped out the first thing she saw were her feet. Her eyes traveled from her feet that were firmly implanted in the same black heels as that first night they went for dinner, up her long toned, tanned legs and it was only then the realisation hit her that she was wearing a skirt. When their eyes finally met Allie couldn't hide the hint of amusement in her eyes.

“Hi.” Allie breathed.

“H…hi…thought you were going to be late.”

“Would I ever keep you waiting?”

Bea smiled and laughed a little because she knew that even though Franky had said that Allie was always late for everything she had never kept her waiting once.

“Y…you look…stunning, but since when do you wear glasses?”

“Thank you, you look absolutely gorgeous but then you always do…I don't normally wear them when other people are around, they look stupid I'll take them off.”

“Stop it….i don't but thank you and you don't look stupid…you look…kinda hot…”She knew she was blushing, Allie always had the ability to do that to her, which was fine when they were alone but right then it wasn't helpful they had to sit through Allies final presentation.

“Only kinda, gee thanks Bea way to knock a girls confidence.”

“Sorry I didn't mean it like that…fuck…you know I'm useless at this.”

“No you just need more practice at saying what you think or feel, don't worry about it…I don't.”

They had become so much closer, even at work, they were more familiar with each other both physically and emotionally and most people didn't even seem to have noticed. As they walked down the corridor to the board room they nudged each other's shoulders, Bea swatted Allies arm when she said something that reminded Bea of the kind of remark Franky would make, no doubt Allie may have spent way too much time with Franky than was good for her. To most people around them they just looked like casual interactions between two friends but Allie always found it thrilling, just one look or the slightest touch from a Bea left her heart racing. Allie had been a little surprised when she first noticed how relaxed Bea had become around her even at work, she'd settled into them being around each other more comfortably than was normal for her and just as Allie had always said she had never pushed, never wanted her to feel even the slightest bit of discomfort or embarrassment.

Stopping outside the bored room door Bea smiled at Allie, “Don't look so worried, you got this, I know you have, we've been over everything so many times you couldn't possibly go wrong.”

“Easy for you to say what if I stuff up?”

Bea brought both her hands up and rested them on her shoulders, “You won't, and you're not alone I'll be right there.”

“I know.” Allie whispered.

Finally walking into the bored room together everyone else was already there, Franky had a devilish grin on her face when she saw them walk in together looking more closely at them both she had half expected them to be holding hands. Taking their seats that were directly opposite each other they listened to the director speak for what felt like forever, Franky and Will were both paying more attention to Bea and Allie than anything that was being said and when they noticed them both stealing glances at each other they both tried to hold in a laugh but failed, earning them a disapproving look from Bea and the director. Allie did well, getting all the important points across, her nerves were still evident to Bea but no one else seemed to notice and when she had finally finished and retaken her seat everyone seemed more than happy with the new model.

As soon as everyone started leaving the room the director asked Bea and Allie if they would stay for a few minutes as he needed to speak to them both.

“You think he has a problem with us?” Allie whispered.

Bea couldn't answer that, apart from Franky and Maxine she was sure that no one else really knew how close hey were, surprisingly for Bea though she found that she didn't really care what other people thought, it had nothing to do with them. When she'd first thought about that she'd thought it should make her more nervous but it never had, it wasn't as if they brought their personal lives to work with them. When everyone else had left the room the director closed the door.

“I have a really big favour that I need to ask both of you, as you know we're opening a London office and right now the team we have over there is really small, no more than a couple of dozen people. At the moment we have Sonia Stevens heading up the team, I think you know her quite well Bea.”

Bea sighed, “I am very familiar with Sonia unfortunately.”

Allie had never met her and judging by Beas demeanour she was guessing she wasn't one of her favourite people.

“I know Bea, she does have a tendency to be very arrogant. What I'm asking may seem like a lot but I need you both to go over to London, they need filling in on a lot of things not least the new revenue sharing model. I just wish this could coincide with school holidays then you could have taken Debbie and Liz with you but it just can't wait.”

“You know I can't give you an answer right now, I have to speak to Liz. Not that she'll mind Debbie staying with her, but I have to check.”

“Yes, yes of course I completely understand, my only problem is is that Will Jackson pushed for the model to be updated and then he had no input, seemed to lose interest, I know you've worked closely with Allie and I'm also sure that you know just as much about it as Allie here. I'd rather not have to send Allie with Will, there's also the whole Will and Sonia incident so it's really not ideal. Anyway I'll leave it with you, you two better go for lunch I've kept you way too long, just let my PA know if you're going and Maxine can sort out all the details if you are.”

Walking down the corridor back to the elevator Beas mind was racing, Debbie wouldn't be happy but a week almost alone with Allie in London was something she really didn't want to pass on, of course Maxine would be there with them but they would have plenty of time alone. She was pretty certain Liz wouldn't mind having Debbie stay with her, she never did, she'd spoil her rotten for a week and then Debbie would play up for a few days when she got back.

“I'm going to miss you if I have to go with Will.” Allie finally said as they stepped into the elevator.

“Don't think you'll have to do that.” Bea grinned back at her.

“No…Liz still has the salon to run how can you be sure?”

“I don't go away that often and Liz loves Deb, her and Booms always work round it somehow, Deb won't be happy but she'll understand that it's important because it part of my job.”

 

 

 

After lunch Allie spent the rest of the day cooped up in her office, the trip to London was a big deal and if Bea couldn't go for any reason she really didn't want to go either, the thought of not seeing her at all for a full week was killing her, she knew they'd still text and call each other when they got a chance but it wasn't the same and she really didn't want to go back to that plus there was a big time difference, she wasn't sure how big but a time difference would complicate things. She also knew she was being selfish, Bea had Debbie and she couldn't expect her to just be able to take off at the drop of a hat even if it was work related.

Bea was sat in her office her head buried in a report that had just been sent through from London and none of what she was reading was filling her with confidence about how Sonia was running things making her even more determined to go with Allie. Thinking back she remembered how Sonia had almost got Will fired when she made a huge mistake with an investment for a client, but Sonia had had a problem with Will long before that and had made things difficult for him. No one had seen her for a couple of months and Bea had presumed that she'd probably been fired but now she knew that wasn't the case and Sonia was difficult to deal with, she couldn't let Allie deal with her alone and with Will in tow she may as well be on her own, Will always found it more difficult to stand up to Sonia than anyone else. She really didn't know why anyone would put her in charge of the new office, she was arrogant and self centred, unfortunately Bea knew she was also able to talk her way out of any situation she found herself in and she generally always got whatever she wanted.

Maxine tapping on her door got her attention.

“A trip to London, sounds exciting, need some company?”

“I'll already have some Allie will be there, but you already know you'll be tagging along, I don't take notes remember?”

“The way I remember it neither of us do.”

Bea laughed. “True…I just need to speak to Liz even though I know Liz will jump at the chance of having her stay for a week…I'm lucky really, having an understanding boss. Did you know it's Sonia Stevens running the show over there?”

“Are you kidding me?”

“I only wish I were, did you just want a chat or do you have more work that I can pile up on my desk and try to ignore?”

“I just need your signature and then you can get out of her it has gone five.”

Arriving in the car park Allie was lost in her own thoughts, digging her keys out of her bag she felt like shit, she was being stupid she knew that, a week without seeing Bea wasn't the end of the world she'd lasted ten years without seeing her but that was completely different and there had been nothing that would or could ever change that. She'd dragged Bea into her shit with Jess and she'd never meant to do that. She knew she'd made some big mistakes, the biggest of which was not listening to Franky, she'd only been telling her for the last two years to get rid of Jess but she hadn't listened choosing having someone there rather than being alone.

Walking into the car park Bea saw Allie just standing by the side of her car and she couldn't help but wonder if there was something wrong, she expected her to get in her car but she didn't move. Walking over in her direction she didn't notice Franky and Will enter the car park.

“Allie…Allie…hey…”

“Huh…Bea…sorry I was miles away.”

“Everything ok?”

“Just thinking…I'm being stupid, forget about it.”

Bea was still a little worried about her and took a step closer, “You can talk to me you know that.”

“Yeah, it's just…I'm gonna miss you while I'm in London.”

“Hey, I haven't said I'm not going yet, Liz would do anything for Deb and will understand that I have to go.” Taking another step closer she pulled her into a hug before placing a gentle kiss on her lips. “You know I'd miss you too right?”

Franky elbowed Will in the ribs and pointed over in their direction, “See told ya, that's fifty ya owe me.”

“Well shit, honestly I didn't believe you, never thought Bea would have it in her.”

“Ha…ya just a sore loser cos she always turned ya down.”

Will frowned, it was true though he'd asked Bea out on more than one occasion and every time she'd turned him down, he'd seen a change in her from the moment he heard about the whole Allie thing and at first had thought no more about it until Franky had told him that she was positive there was way more between them than either of them would admit.

Bea was completely oblivious to anything or anyone else around her until Allie spotted Franky and pulled away from her leaving her slightly confused until she heard Franky laughing. She half expected some crude remark from her as she turned to look in her direction only to see Franky getting in her car.

“Come over for dinner, I just need to pick Deb up from Liz, you know she loves having you around.”

“If you're sure.”

“I am, give me an hour, need a quiet word with Liz.”

 

 

 

Forty five minutes later Bea was in the kitchen preparing dinner and Debbie was in her room sulking, she hated Bea leaving her even though she knew sometimes she had to. This time was different though she would be going to another country and Debbie wasn't happy. Ten minutes later Allie knocked on the door, Bea glanced at the time, ‘always late my arse,’ she said to herself as she went to the door.

“I really need to give you the spare key, this is getting ridiculous. Frankly has one just in case but I think you really need one you're here almost every day.”

“I am…but wouldn't you find that a little intrusive knowing I could walk in whenever I wanted?”

“Not really, actually I think I'd like it. Although knowing you you'd likely sneak in in the middle of the night.”

Allie laughed, “You know me too well, it's not my fault though, I love falling asleep laying next to you.”

That was something else Bea knew she was going to say because she knew exactly how that felt, she loved falling asleep with Allie almost as much as she loved waking up with her. It felt right and Debbie didn't seem to care, she'd marched into her room one morning demanding that one of them needed to get up because she was starving and never battered an eyelid or asked why they were both sleeping in Beas bed.

During dinner Debbie hardly said a word and Allie knew that was unusual but didn't mention it, she figured it had to do with the London trip and didn't want to upset her by saying anything about it. Debbie retreated straight back to her room as soon as she'd finished eating and once the dishes were done Bea and Allie retreated to the sofa to watch tv. Bea had rested her head against Allies shoulder but hadn't said a great deal and she was getting more than a little worried.

“Come on tell me what's wrong?”

“It's nothing really, it'll be fine.” She tried to sound convincing but Allie knew her well enough to know when she was putting on an act.

“That's crap and we both know it, you can talk to me.”

“I know…it's just Deb, Liz is fine her staying with her while we're away but Deb, she's sulking, she seemed fine until I told her we were going to London and she has hardly spoken to me since. It'll be fine, honestly.”

“Want me to try talking to her? I won't if you don't want me to but maybe she'll tell me what's worrying her?”

“You can try, doubt she'll say much.”

Allie got up and headed upstairs arriving outside Debbie's door she knocked lightly, “Deb can I talk to you for a second?” Allie said softly.

Hearing movement inside the room she waited until the door opened and she knew Debbie had been crying the second she laid eyes on her. “Want to talk about it?”

Debbie nodded her head slowly and walked back into her room and sat on the bed followed by Allie.

“You know Londons 10,497 miles away?”

“I didn't know exactly how far away it was no, is that what's worrying you because your mums going to be that far away?”

Debbie nodded again, “It's just so far…and I know she has to go but what if something happens to her?”

“You know I'll be with her and Maxine as well and I would never let anything happen to her I promise.”

“You'll look after her for me?”

“Of course I will, I happen to think she's very special. Why didn't you tell her what was worrying you?”

“I don't know, guess I didn't want her to think I was being acting like a brat…but, well I guess that backfired because not talking to her just makes me look like a brat.”

“She would never think that, probably wasn't the best idea not talking to her because she's worried about you, she loves you more than anything you know that.”

“I know…but…my dad I don't remember him and I'm glad I don't, no one will tell me what he really did to mum but I know he hurt her and I get scared when she has to leave because if something happened to her.” A tear rolled down Debbie's cheek, “Mum's all I have.”

Allie wrapped her arms around her, “I promise you I would never let anything happen to her, I…” Allie paused, ‘not what you need to say idiot,’ “I care about her a lot.” Allie whispered.

A few minutes later Debbie had stopped crying and had gone downstairs to find Bea before she finished her homework. Allie guessed they must be in the kitchen when she walked back into the living room and sat down on the sofa not wanting to intrude. A minute or two later Debbie almost skipped through the living room and headed back to her room. A few minutes passed and there was still no sign of Bea, getting up she went to the kitchen seeing her gazing out of the window.

“Are you ok?” Allie asked as she crept closer.

“Yes, thank you…I don't know why but Deb seems to find it easier to talk to you than she does to Liz or Franky.”

Stopping right behind her Allie wrapped her arms around her shoulders, there was a time Bea would have bolted and she knew that if it had been anyone other than Allie she knew she still would have but it felt different with Allie, she longed for her touch, craved the way their eyes would lock and as scared as that sometimes still made her feel she knew she had already fallen for her. Turning to face her she snaked her arms around her waist suddenly feeling more confident than she ever had before she trailed one hand up under her shirt, her fingers gently tracing a pattern across the soft skin on Allies back.

“Bea.” Allie breathed before their lips met, she had no idea what had come over her but she wasn't going to complain especially when both her hands traveled up her back dancing lightly over her skin. When they finally and reluctantly parted both gasping for air the smile on Beas face told Allie everything she needed to know.

“Will you stay?” Bea asked knowing that Allie rarely ever said no.

“You know I'd do anything for you."

Chapter Text

The next morning before the alarm had gone off Bea woke up wrapped up in Allies arms, snuggling in closer she wished it was Sunday already just so they could lay there together for much longer and then she remembered that next week they would be in London and an idea suddenly hit her, smiling to herself she decided that after she had seen the directors PA she was going to handle their travel arrangements herself, Maxine would be happy to do it and it was part of her job so she should really let her but Bea wanted to do something special for Allie, something she never thought in a million years she'd ever find herself thinking about but there she was daring herself to let the unfamiliar feelings she was having take over, take a chance and step far out of her comfort zone for the first time in her life.

Moving her head slightly on her pillow she let her gaze linger on Allies face as she let her fingers trace a path to her face gently tracing her lips with her thumb, watching as she pouted slightly as the sudden urge to kiss her washed over her. She would give anything just to wrap them up in the covers and stay there all morning listening to their gentle breathing. Allies lips felt so soft under her feather light touch, she gazed so intently at her lips that she never noticed that Allie had woken up, she didn't want to peel her eyes away, scared that if she looked up she'd find Allie awake and find herself at the mercy of her questioning eyes begging to know what she was doing because she really had no idea what she would say because she simply wasn't sure. ‘Is this what love really feels like?’ She wondered, not that she was able to form an answer when she heard Allie sigh.

“How long have you been awake?” Allie asked quietly.

Before Bea could answer the alarm screamed in to life causing her to peel herself away from Allie to silence the noisy intrusion.

“I…I don't really know, you looked so peaceful. How did you sleep?”

“Same as I always do when I'm with you, wonderfully.”

“Good…unfortunately we have to get up.”

“Let's just stay here a little longer, as long as we get Deb to Liz’s on time work can wait for a few minutes can't it? And why are we even working on Saturday anyway?”

The ‘we’ in that sentence didn't go unnoticed and she liked it, somehow it sounded right and it felt even better, she could get used to mornings like this, ‘If only every morning could be like this,’ she found herself thinking as she snuggled back into Allies body. Bea was really only going into work because she had a conference call to make but that wasn't until 10am so staying in bed for a while longer wasn't going to hurt.

“Is someone going to get up and feed me I'm starving!” Debbie's voice sounded from the other side of the door before it opened and her head popped round it making them both laugh.

“Sounds like I better get up before she raids the fridge, you have no idea how quickly she can demolish its contents if I don't get there in a hurry.”

“Guess I better get up and go back to Franky’s, need to get ready for work.” Allie sighed.

“Oh…you must have forgotten that you have clothes here, I made space in the wardrobe for you…just incase you feel like leaving more of your clothes here, have a shower while I go and make breakfast.”

When they arrived at work Bea went straight to the 6th floor, she was a little early but she knew that the directors PA would be there already. She was always at her desk at least half an hour before anyone else was ever in the office and had worked for the director long before Bea ever started working there. Bea had hardly ever spoken to her, usually when she had to go to the directors office he would already be waiting for her by the door, yet when he had gone down to Beas office he would spend at least ten minutes talking to Maxine before he would knock on her door. Janet was already busy at her computer when when walked in, glancing over at her she stopped typing and removed her glasses, flashing her a smile.

“A little early even for you this morning Bea.”

“Hmmm, yes maybe just a little, I just came up to ask you to pass on a message.”

“You're going to London I take it?”

Bea nodded and smiled back at her, she'd never really paid a great deal of attention to her, never noticed anything about her really until that morning for some reason, of course she'd noticed her shoulder length hair and that she was always impeccably dressed and had a cheerful care free manner about her but it wasn't until that morning that she even noticed that her hair was curly, dark brown, almost black she thought, streaked with the odd hint of grey and deep dark brown soulful eyes, she was definitely one of those women who wore her age well.

“The director said Maxine would be taking care of the details, I guess that gives you one less headache.”

“There does only seem to be myself and Maxine that he trusts to take care of travel arrangements these days although I generally have that unfortunate job unless it's you that's going out of town, had a few…” she thought for a moment, “Over extravagant hotel rooms booked over the years, he expects you to be comfortable I'll admit, but when you have people like Sonia Stevens who expects a little more than just comfort it gets a little costly.”

“No doubt…I better get to my office, no doubt Maxine will already have my desk piled with paperwork that demands my attention.”

They both laughed and Bea headed down to her office surprised to see Maxine just taking off her jacket when she walked in.

“I'm sorry Bea traffic was a nightmare, roadworks seem to have sprang up over night.”

“Don't worry about it, when you have a minute can I have a word with you?”

Maxine wondered to herself if Bea was about to tell her that her presence in London with them was not required, the one thing that Bea had no idea about was that Maxine and Janet shared most things that were work related, not the office gossip neither of them had time for any of that it was all nonsense to both of them but the Bea and Allie situation hadn't gone unnoticed by Janet, she sent Maxine an email the second Bea had closed the door behind her letting her know that Bea was definitely going to London. Maxine had just walked in and as habit would have it the first thing she ever did was check her emails before she even took her jacket off, urgent emails had a nasty habit of appearing in her inbox at the strangest of hours, after sending a reply she was just removing her jacket when Bea walked in. Getting them both a coffee before going to Beas office she was quite convinced that she was going to be told that she didn't need to go with them.

“Maxi you're a life saver.” Taking the coffee from her she took a sip before continuing, “I know this may sound like a strange thing but I want to handle our travel and hotel reservations myself.”

“Oh…well I guess that's one less thing for me to worry about, when do we leave anyway?”

“A week today, worst possible day I guess, but I decided that at least that way we get a little time to recover from the flight before we meet with Sonia, although I think we may need more time to recover from spending time with her when we get back.”

“I'd say that's a given…so anything else you need me for?”

Bea thought for a second and after deciding that she didn't Maxine left, a little puzzled by Beas eagerness to make the arrangements herself, not that she was going to question her, whatever she was up to had to have something to do with Allie and since she hadn't told her that she didn't need her to go with them she guessed that she would find out what she was up to when they arrived in London.

Bea absolutely hated working on a Saturday, she was always glad when her presence in the office wasn't required and she could work from home if she had anything that needed finishing. Turning her attention to her computer she was determined that she was going to find the best hotel she could in London. She spent an hour looking at the different hotels before she found the one she thought was perfect, checking the time she had to get the conference call out of the way. For two hours she she sat trying not to completely lose her temper with one idiot she had to speak to while all the time most of her concentration was still on her computer screen as she booked their hotel before turning her attention to their flights. By the time she ended the call she had everything arranged and was quite pleased with herself, when Allie arrived at her office at lunch time she noticed how happy she seemed to be.

“You've either just finished the best conference call you've ever had or you're up to something?”

“That was defiantly not the best conference call I've ever had, but it's over with now…shall we grab lunch before we pick Deb up?” Bea answered trying to avoid the last part of what Allie had just said.

Allie wasn't going to turn that offer down, she'd left her car at Beas since Bea had pointed out that it was ridiculous taking both cars when they were going in the same direction, in truth Bea had really said it in the hope that Allie wouldn't want to go straight back to Franky’s as soon as they left work, there was no denying that the house had started to feel so much more empty when Allie wasn't there.

 

 

 

The next week was passing excruciatingly slowly, Bea had hardly any time to leave her office and most nights had taken work home with her, by Thursday she was in a bad mood, she hadn't seen Allie in two days hadn't spoken to her either and Maxine had noticed the change in her mood the moment she had passed her a file that needed her attention.

“Why don't you just meet Allie for lunch hun?”

Bea threw her head back against her chair, “Is it that obvious?”

“Huh huh…or…and don't bite my head off because I'm only making a suggestion, I could pop out and get you both something for lunch before I go for mine.”

“I don't know Maxi, if the amount of work I've had all week is anything to go by Allies probably just as snowed under.”

“You need a break, and I know you'll get some free time when we get to London but that's next week…and while I'm thinking about it where are we staying, you told me what flight we are on but never mentioned the hotel.”

“You don't trust me Maxi?” Bea asked raising an eyebrow.

“I do you know I do, although I heard from the directors PA that only our flights have been paid for through the expense account want to fill me in?”

“I will, when we get there, we both know that spending more than necessary on hotels causes trouble so I paid for it myself.”

“What did you book a suite at the Hilton?”

“Maxi!”

“Ok I'll drop it…now call Allie and arrange lunch, since you haven't given me an answer I'll run out and get you both something.”

Allie was sitting in her office staring at her computer screen, she was trying to concentrate on what she was working on but she just couldn't. She had a huge argument with Franky that morning when she'd eventually arrived home, Allie really wouldn't have minded being woken up at 5am if she hadn't have been having a particularly interesting dream about a certain redhead. Franky slamming the front door and racing up the stairs was a very unwelcome wake up call and she'd made sure she knew that when she burst into Franky’s room seconds after she closed the door behind herself. When she had gone back to her room and couldn't get back to sleep she had lay staring at the ceiling eventually deciding that as soon as they got back from London she was going to start looking for an apartment to rent, maybe a house if she could find one closer to Bea than Franky. She loved Franky really she did but she could be so inconsiderate at times. The fact that Allie had been home every night that week had thrown Franky's plans for Wednesday evening out with the trash, Franky had worked it out Allie usually ended up staying at Beas on a Wednesday night and when Franky had found out she was going to be at home she had to make a phone call and rearrange everything.

Allies phone ringing made her jump before she grabbed it seeing Beas name brought a smile to her face, being asked if she would go up to her office at lunch time was too good a opportunity to pass up and she agreed the second Bea had fallen silent. After ending their call not long after Allie felt finally able to concentrate, just hearing Beas voice always gave her a renewed purpose and by the time she had finished what she had been working on it was almost lunch time and she could no longer sit still, getting up she grabbed her bag and her phone and headed for Beas office, she was in a rush to get there and completely forgot that she was still wearing her glasses.

Expecting to run into Maxine Allie was a little shocked when she wasn't sitting at her desk, Beas office door was open and the second she laid eyes on her it felt like the whole world finally came back into sharp focus again.

Bea looked up seeing Allie standing hovering in the doorway she smiled as she rose from her chair, “Hey, don't just stand there come in.”

“Thanks…I've missed you, think I need a hug.” Allie grinned even though right then she wasn't sure why she even said that, they were at work and she was sure Bea wouldn't want to get that close even though they were alone.

Bea walked towards her quickly pulling her into a hug, “Better now?”

Allie snaked her arms around her and pulled her closer resting her head on her shoulder, “So much better.” To Allie nothing had ever felt so perfect in her entire life and given that they were stood in the middle of Beas office with the door open she was sure Bea would realise where they were any second and pull away from her.

“I like it when you wear your glasses, why do you usually take them off before you come up here?”

Allie pulled her head away from her shoulder and looked her right in the eye a look of disbelief on her face, “I hate them they make me look like a dork.”

Maxine walked back in at that very moment, “Lunch is served ladies.” She simply stated as she she walked past them depositing the sandwiches and coffees on Beas desk before walking out and closing the door behind her a smile on her face.

“They suit you and for what it's worth I doubt very much that you could ever look like a dork.”

“Yer whatever!” Allie scoffed. “I guess we should eat since Maxine seems to have gone to the trouble of going out to get something for us.”

Pulling apart they stood looking at each other for a few more seconds, Bea was certain that the temperature in her office had increased by a few degrees and even though they were at work she couldn't stop the the urge to kiss Allie suddenly crashing into her brain but she held back feeling completely unsure of herself. She knew Allie felt the same thing there was no way to mistake the hungry look in her eyes as she kept her gaze on Bea, she knew that it was only a matter of time before she felt brave enough and being at work wasn't going to stop her from doing what she wanted so badly to do but right now no matter how much she had missed Allie and how badly she wanted to kiss her again she just wasn't brave enough knowing that anyone could walk in on them.

Sitting in silence for a few minutes Bea couldn't think of anything other than what Allies reaction may be on Sunday morning when they arrived in London, maybe her idea hadn't been such a great one after all and she thought about changing her booking. Looking at Allie though she couldn't deny that the level of intimacy they shared when they were alone had escalated over the last couple of weeks. Feeling comfortable sitting next to Allie in the beginning had been enough but now every morning when she opens her eyes when she wasn't there felt like torture and she was pretty certain that Allie must feel the same. When they were sat in meetings together the feelings that were awoken in her when she saw Allies eyes on her were now welcomed, her own eyes were never far from wherever she was sitting and she knew Allie knew that she'd been looking at her.

“So you haven't told me anything about this trip yet, not that we've had any time to speak to each other, what time is our flight?”

“1420, we land in Hong Kong at 2150 local time.”

“This is going to be confusing and very tiring I'm sure.”

“Maybe just a little, if you can time getting some sleep right then it won't seem as bad when we land at Heathrow, I'm sure arriving at 0450 sounds way too early.”

“Are you kidding me that's the middle of the night still!”

“In London it will still be pretty early but remember that here it would be almost 2pm.”

“I am never going to get my head round the time difference, how can 9 hours earlier be a good thing?”

“You're going to complain the whole flight aren't you?” Bea laughed.

After spending an hour together Allie had said she needed to go and leave her to get on with whatever she was busy with. Bea had asked her if she'd have time for lunch on Friday and was slightly disappointed when Allie had said that she'd already arranged to have lunch with Franky but when she reassured her that she was still planning to stay at Beas on Friday night as was quickly becoming a regular thing she felt much better, the week was becoming too long for her liking and Friday at 5pm couldn't arrive soon enough for Bea. The thought of having to leave Debbie behind on Saturday still didn't sit well with her but there was nothing she could do about it and after receiving their schedule of meetings that they had to attend she was pretty pleased with the amount of free time they would have together, they could really have done it in three days yet the director had insisted on them being there the full week, but she'd be mad to complain.

Friday morning had started pretty much the same for Allie although this time Franky had at least tried to be quieter when she got home. Allie hadn't even tried to go back to sleep, she'd started packing the night before only to find that she wasn't sure what she should take and had called Bea to ask if they would be doing any sightseeing while they were there. Bea had already got quite a few things in mind that she wanted to do and after running a couple of them by Allie that had helped her decide what she needed to pack. Getting out of bed she'd finished her packing, although she could have quite willingly throttled Franky for waking her up an hour before her alarm was due to wake her up but getting into another argument with Franky wasn't going to help her find out what she was up to.

Bea had woken up in the middle of the night once again, rolling over onto the side of the bed where Allie would sleep when she stayed and sighed into the darkness, it was ridiculous how much she missed her and she found herself wondering if Allie ever felt the same way, not that she was ever going to ask her, in her mind that just sounded way too clingy and knowing that Jess had never wanted Allie to have any time to herself that was the last thing she ever wanted her to think she was. She lay awake trying to reason with herself, she'd never been clingy ever, never wanted to hold onto anyone the way she she wanted to hold onto Allie and she was struggling to find a reason why she craved having her there, why waking up in the middle of the night alone now bothered her so much when it never had before, why she could snuggle into Allie when she was there and simply fall asleep the second her eyes closed but when she wasn't there nothing seemed to soothe her back to sleep. And if that wasn't bad enough when she was alone the dreams she found playing out in her head were like an unending movie of something she had never thought she would ever want to experience.

She lay awake for at least another hour trying to get all her thoughts and feelings under some semblance of control, nothing would change the fact that whenever they were together the energy between them continued to increase no matter where they were or who they were with. They had found their own little space in the universe where when they were together they were in complete synchronicity, when they were apart for Bea anyway she felt an emptiness that right now felt like a monster that was hiding under her bed. She really hadn't allowed herself to think too much about what she was feeling because her feelings she had told herself didn't matter, never mattered but laying there in the dark she knew exactly what she was feeling, she known she was falling for Allie but had tried to push that feeling away, to deny that it was possible but she couldn't deny it anymore, she wasn't just falling for her she loved her and as crazy as she thought that was she knew it was the truth. Until this trip to London they had just stumbled along finding ways to spend time together their need to see each other drove both of them to find excuses to spend time together, fortunately at work they often found plenty of opportunities to spend time together but Bea was well aware of the amount of teasing Allie had taken from Franky about her staying over, thankfully Bea herself hadn't been subjected to as much as she had expected.

Lunch with Franky was just as Allie had expected it to be, they had joked and poked fun at each other, Franky had teased her about spending the next week hiding in one of their hotel rooms and sending Maxine to every meeting alone. Even with all the teasing Allie always enjoyed spending time with Franky, she was one of the most genuine people she had ever known once she really got to know her and she was naturally funny. Once the plates had been cleared from their table and they were both on their second coffee Allie decided that she would steer the conversation in the direction of what she really wanted to know.

“There's something I have to ask you.” Allie said before taking a sip of her coffee.

“I've told ya already Novak the answers no I ain't gonna marry ya no matter how much ya beg.” Franky looked at her completely expressionless for a few seconds. “I'm just not the setting down type.” She grinned.

“Ha ha.” Allie put her cup down and and looked at Franky. “Seriously, what are you up to? I mean I know you've had someone over, not that it matters it's your house but you've been sneaking around and that's not just like you so are you going to tell me who she is?”

“Ya got me, you've stumbled on my plan for world domination, damn I thought I could hide it better.”

“Are you ever serious about anything Franky?”

“Not if I can help it, life's too short to be serious.”

“Well can you just try for five minutes, I'm going to be away for a week.”

“You're pushing your luck Novak.” Franky drained her coffee cup. “I'll do you a deal, you've got serious Franky until, I get another coffee,” she said as she gestured to the waitress who was two tables away

Chapter Text

Allie almost ran into her office slamming the door behind her and falling into her chair before grabbing her phone from her bag, she had to text Bea, she might burst if she didn't tell her what Franky had actually told her.


Are you sitting down? If not you really need to.


Bea was sitting in her office with absolutely nothing to do, she had lunch with Maxine and they had talked about how best to handle the whole Allie meeting Sonia for the first time situation, Allie wasn't easily intimidated but anything could happen with Sonia. Picking her phone up from her desk and reading the message had her puzzled and she quickly typed out a reply.


Since I'm in my office I wouldn't be doing anything other than sitting down, something tells me whatever you want to tell me may be a little shocking.


Strangely shocking I think you'll find.


Are you going to tell me or do I have to try and guess? Wait, does it have anything to do with Franky?


How did you guess? Are you busy? I could be in your office in two minutes.


Times ticking…


Allie practically ran out of her office as Oliver and Simon watched on laughing.

“Reckon she been summoned to the bosses office.” Simon chuckled as they watched her disappear.

“Yeah right, Al wouldn't need summoning to run off like that, that girls got it bad you've seen the way she rushes off when they're going for lunch.”

Arriving on the 5th floor she almost ran into Maxine who was waiting for the elevator, after apologising she couldn't get to Beas office fast enough. Sitting down opposite Bea she couldn't wait to tell her what Franky had finally admitted.

“Ok so we both know Franky doesn't do relationships, or at least that's what she's been telling us since forever right? That night she ditched dinner at yours because she was going out she went out with Boomer. Boomer met some random guy and left Franky and she went to Alia bar, apparently she met someone that night, not that she's going into details but from what she did say that's who she's still seeing.”

“Wait hold on…that was weeks ago.”

“I know, not like her is it? Actually I'm glad we're going to be away for the next week, she's woken me up the last two mornings sneaking in and Franky doesn't sneak.”

“Oh I know, she's almost as bad as Booms.” Bea giggled.

“Guess I'll be looking for somewhere else to live when we get back, I don't think she's going to want me around getting in her way…anyway I'll be finished in just over an hour are you still finishing at five?”

“I should but….I have nothing to do, it seems the mountain of work that I usually get landed with on a Friday has evaporated today. Are you still coming over for dinner?”

“Don't I always?”

“Yes but we'll be together all next week and I just thought you might want to spend tonight on your own.”

“No….besides I'm guessing Deb would only call me if I didn't come over, tell me to piss off if I'm over stepping, I could run home grab everything and stay over….its up to you though.”

Allie suddenly felt like the worst person ever for even asking, she always waited for Bea to ask her to stay and now she felt like she was pushing her into doing something she didn't want to. “Forget it…I'll just come over for dinner then leave you and Deb to it, I shouldn't have asked.”

“I think that's a good idea, you won't have to risk being woken up by Franky tomorrow morning and I'll only be alone anyway, Deb decided that she wanted to stay over at Liz’s from tonight, apparently Liz told her she was going to Queen Victoria Market early in the morning and she'd rather go there than stay with me.”

 

 

 

Just before four Maxine let Bea know that she was leaving early making Beas decision to leave early much easier, without Maxine there there was even less chance that anything urgent would find its way onto her desk. Bea headed home a few minutes after Maxine had left, walking into the empty house all she had to do was wait for Allie to arrive later after getting changed into something more comfortable she made a start on dinner preparations, opening a bottle of wine as she did, not that the day had been stressful because just for once it had been the most stress free day she'd had in a long time.

Allie had let time get away from her as she had double checked everything of importance was on her laptop, she didn't trust that she hadn't forgotten to include every file she needed to have with her and as she glanced at the time she knew she'd spent way too long worrying about it. Shutting down her laptop before stuffing it back in her bag she placed a file she'd left on her desk back in the draw grabbing her things and the notes she needed to take to London with her she left her office. Being Friday evening she was surprised that Linda was still there as she walked passed her desk hoping that she wasn't going to start running her mouth again, she had been rather quiet for a while though.

“Hope it all goes well in London.” Allie heard Linda say as she passed her desk, she stopped and turned to look at her.

“Thanks.” Allie mumbled not really sure if she could trust the sincerity she thought she heard in her voice.

Arriving home she went straight upstairs after dropping her bag on the floor and hanging up her jacket, she came face to face with Franky at the top of the stairs.

“Thought you'd have been home ages ago.”

“Yeah well we can't all slack off can we?”

“Funny that Red was definitely slacking off this afternoon…so you in or out tonight?”

“Not that it's any of your business but I'm going out guess I'll see you when we get back.”

Allie went to her room throwing the last few things into her suitcase she needed to pack as Franky sat on her bed watching her.

“What ya worried about?”

“I'm not…maybe a little about the flight, I'm fine Franky what's to worry about?”

“Getting Red to finally go for your wicked plan for her between the sheets.” Franky chuckled.

“Fuck off Franky, I'm not worried about anything of the sort.”

“Oh!” Franky grinned, “Never gonna happen so no point in worryin I guess, ya don't have the Doyle magnetic charm.”

“Hasn't ever worked that well for you has it? I mean when did you ever get Bea into the same bed?”

“Ya shock me…she's my best friend, but now that you mention it…na wouldn't be fair to tell ya.”

Allie frowned as she closed her suitcase, Franky always had to try to get her to bite and today she decided it wasn't working, Bea had never been interested in being anymore that just a friend to Franky she was sure of that or was she? For a few seconds she let that thought run freely round her head, Franky as everyone knew always had women throwing themselves at her but Bea…Allie couldn't even entertain that idea for too long.

“You're an asshole I'll never know how we're such good friends.” Allie didn't want this conversation turning into one of their bitching matches, Franky knew what buttons to press and Allie just didn't have time, she needed to get everything ready that she had to take to London and get to Beas before seven, Franky taking what little time she now had was not appreciated.

“Just remember.” Franky said after getting off the bed and walking to the door, “If Red leaves ya feeling a little too frustrated my rooms right there.” Franky pointed across the hall.

“That's just wrong ya know…now get out of my room before I have to throw my suitcase at you.”

Franky winked at her and chuckled as she walked out.

Bea sat on the sofa willing the time to pass more quickly, there was something about Allie not being there even when Debbie was home that just didn't feel right, she knew she missed her had done since the first night she'd left to go to Franky's but it was more than that now. The sudden knock on the door interrupted her thoughts as she jumped off the sofa, almost running to answer it. Stopping for a moment her heart rate had increased and any logical thinking seemed to have ceased momentarily, opening the door she was greeted by Allies bright smile. Stepping out of the way to let Allie in before she closed the door, as she turned around expecting to follow Allie through to the living room she was stunned when she felt two arms wrap tightly around her and her back hit the door before Allie planted a soft kiss on her lips, not that she was about to complain it may have been a shock but a good one.

“I've missed you so much this week.” Allie whispered in Beas ear as she ran her hands up her back she felt her tremble under her touch.

“I missed you too, but you don't have to whisper there's only us here remember?”

Bea wrapped her arms around Allie pulling her closer reconnecting their lips breaking apart a short time later when breathing became an issue.

“Come on dinners nearly ready.” Taking Allies hand she led her through to the kitchen, pulling out a chair for her before going to check on the food and pouring them both a glass of wine.

“I thought Debbie would have wanted to be at home tonight it being your last night.”

“Honestly I think she doesn't want to be around when I leave, Liz goes to the market at the crack of dawn and I think Deb wanted something to do rather than just sit here.”

As they sat eating dinner together Bea knew something was bothering Allie, “What's wrong? Are you worried about the flight?”

“Not really, its a little daunting I guess…Franky was just trying to wind me up earlier, it's nothing really.”

“Doesn't seem like nothing, want to talk about it?”

“I'm being stupid…she was going on about…we'll never mind what she was saying you know what she's like and well…she was just messing with me I know that, then she said it wouldn't be fair on you if she told me.”

“Oh no you can't not tell me, pretty sure I've heard everything Franky can possibly say as crude as most of it is.”

“Well, you sure you want to hear this?” She looked at Bea who just nodded. “She said I was worried about my wicked plan for you between the sheets and then she seemed to imply that you'd slept with her.”

Bea laughed causing Allie to frown. “She's always going to be the same Franky but I think I know what she was talking about. You know I don't go out very often, a couple of years ago it was Boomers birthday and I let myself be dragged out, cut a long story short we all got very drunk, I woke up the next morning with Booms at one side of me and Franky half laying on top of me.”

“Hmmm, doesn't sound very funny to me.”

“Hey.” Bea reached across the table taking Allies hands in hers, “It was nothing, you know I've never looked at Franky like that, never thought I'd look at anyone again like that.” She dipped her head slightly, “Then you walked back into my life and everything changed and I really don't know what you did but I'm really glad that you did it.”

As they lay in bed a few hours later Beas thoughts turned to Allies reaction when they finally got to London and again she doubted her decisions. Maybe Allie would really have preferred to have a room to herself but it was too late to change her mind now if Allie really did object she'd just have to hope that maybe they had another room free, a small part of her was sure she'd made the right choice because she was certain that if they had separate rooms they would only spend every night in one, but as soon as her doubts crept in she couldn't help but worry. She knew the more time they spent together the more she was unwilling to let her go but Allie had always said that she was happy just spending time with her and Bea was starting to struggle. She'd never thought it could be possible to want someone the way she wanted Allie and she surprised herself when she realised that that feeling no longer scared her.

That week had been one of the hardest weeks of her life and she never wanted to spend that much time without them seeing each again and she knew what she needed to do, she had to take the final step, she also knew that she needed to talk to Debbie and she wasn't sure how that conversation was going to go and she wasn't even sure how she was to going to say what she wanted to tell her but the longer she left it the harder she presumed it would be and the longer she left it she knew she'd talk herself out of it and that wasn't really an option if she wanted things to work out with Allie.

Feeling Allies fingers trace down her neck she turned her head.

“I thought you were asleep.”

“Guess I'm more nervous than I thought I was.”

“You won't be alone I'll be right there.”

“You might end up regretting that, I've only ever been out of Australia once before and even then I was a bit nervous.”

“Piece of cake, it might be a long flight but it'll be worth it when we get there.”

“You sound really sure of yourself, is there something you're not telling me?”

Bea turned on her side to face Allie and pulled her close. “That would be telling.” Bea mumbled as she connected their lips, hearing Allie moan into the kiss set her mind racing and her body on fire, she wanted more even though she had no clue what she was even doing. Running her hand under Allies shirt she trailed her fingers lightly up her side feeling Allie shiver slightly under her touch when her phone started ringing.

Pulling away slightly Bea was a little pissed off, “Ignore it,” she mumbled.

“It might be important you should answer it.”

Bea sighed and moved to grab her phone hearing Liz’s voice.

“Bea love I'm sorry but Debbie wanted to say goodnight to you.”

“It's alright,” she sighed, after speaking to Debbie for a couple of minutes she hung up before turning her attention back to Allie.

“Sorry.”

“It's fine, we better make sure to call her before she goes to bed while we're in London.”

“You're amazing you know that?”

“I'm not, Debbie's more important to you than anyone else, I would never try to get in the way of that…not everyone has had a mum like you.”

“You deserved so much better than that, you know that right?”

“Can't help what you get handed can you? But without my shitty parents we would probably never have met so I have something to thank them for.”

They lay in silence cuddled up together both falling asleep within a few minutes.

Bea woke up a couple of hours later completely tangled together with Allie but she needed to get up she was thirsty, it took a few minutes to work out how she was ever going to untangle their arms and legs without waking Allie up, when she finally managed to get out of bed she crept to the door and went downstairs completely unaware that Allie had woken up. Returning to the bedroom a few minutes later completely oblivious that Allie was no longer in bed until she closed the bedroom door and felt her arms wrap around her waist.

“Where did you go?” Allie whispered in her ear not expecting an answer as she planted soft kisses down her neck.

Bea spun around in her arms pulling Allie closer as their lips connected before letting her hands wonder to the hem of her shirt pulling it up slightly before breaking the kiss and pulling it up and off letting it land on the floor, her hands returning to Allie as soon as she dropped it allowing them to roam over as much of her exposed skin as she could as Allie crashed their lips together again. Allies hands quickly found their way to the hem of Beas shirt pulling up as far as she could needing to feel her skin against her own. Bea pulled back allowing Allie to remove her shirt completely, Allie could hardly think straight but she knew that whatever happened it had to be up to Bea. Bea stepped closer again walking them both back towards the bed leaning back in locking their lips together once more before they fell back onto the bed. Beas hands soon found their way to the waistband of the shorts Allie was wearing and began tugging them down.

“Bea….are you sure you want this?”

Not really trusting her voice she just nodded before moving herself off Allie and back onto the bed. Allie sat up and pulled her shorts off completely throwing them onto the floor to join her shirt wherever that had landed.

“Can I?” Allie asked as her hands found her way to the waistband of Beas shorts.

“Yeah.” Bea breathed.

Pulling them down faster than she thought she could before Bea kicked them off, Allie straddled her hips leaning forward she kissed across her chest, her collarbone and up her neck feeling Beas hips buck.

“Allie…” Bea breathed just as her phone started ringing again for the second time that night, Bea sighed. “I better answer it.”

“Yeah.” Allie groaned slightly breathlessly as she rolled off her allowing her to scoot back up the bed and grab her phone.

Answering it she heard Maxine's voice.

“Bea I'm really sorry, I forgot to ask car service or taxi?”

“What?” Bea asked even more frustrated than before.

“Are we getting picked up or getting taxis?”

“Standard for flying business class Maxi, car service will pick me and Allie up then we'll swing by for you.”

“Sorry…I didn't mean to disturb you, I'll let you get back to whatever you were doing.”

“Yeah…its called sleeping Maxi, I’ll see you later.”

“Ok hun, whatever you say…sorry.”

Ending the call she looked back at Allie apologetically who had got back into bed.

“I think someone somewhere is trying to tell us we need to get some sleep.” Allie giggled.

Bea sighed as she got back under the covers, “Yeah, or maybe Maxi just has shitty timing.” Bea lay down pulling Allie back into her arms and kissed her softly on the lips, she couldn't be angry with Maxine really but she was going to have to ask her not to call after midnight she decided as she drifted off to sleep.

 

 

 

Allie woke up first the next morning her head resting on Beas chest and her arms tightly wrapped around her, she loved waking up like this there really was no better feeling in the world than waking up with her arms wrapped round her but it was different this morning there were no shirts getting in the way of their skin contact and Allies thoughts drifted back to what could have happened. ‘Maybe it was for the best,’ she thought but she couldn't deny that if the phone hadn't rung for the second time she would have struggled to stop if Bea changed her mind or panicked.

Moving her head slightly she glanced at the clock seeing that it was almost 10am, ‘Fuck!’ She said under her breath as she wriggled out of Beas embrace waking her up.

“Hey where are you going?” Bea asked sleepily.

“We have to get up, you didn't set the alarm, shit what if we miss the flight?”

Be looked at the clock and sat up, “There's plenty of time, were in business class so it has a dedicated check in desk, besides the cars not picking us up until 1215….loads of time.”

Allie opened the wardrobe pulling out some clothes that she left there, “Are you kidding me? Look at me I'm a mess, I need a shower and…..”

“You look absolutely gorgeous from here…although I wouldn't recommend going out dressed like that.” Allie standing there in nothing but her underwear a few weeks ago would definitely have made Bea uncomfortable but now she could take her eyes off her.

Bea got out of bed and walked over to her wrapping her arms around her shoulders before kissing her gently completely making Allie freeze, she may be having a minor melt down but just one touch from Bea was enough to calm her down and make her see that nothing was as bad as it had originally seemed to be.

“Still in a hurry?” Bea asked a slightly amused tone in her voice.

“Yes and no.” Allie replayed as she captured her lips in another kiss before pulling back slightly. “I still look a mess and I still need a shower, we both need a shower…we could always shower together.”

Allie felt Bea tense slightly in her arms, “maybe not such a good idea, shit I'm sorry I'm getting ahead of myself it's just…fuck sorry.”

“Don't be…I'm just not used to this, any of this….last night I…”

“We have all the time in the world for that but right now we have to get ready.”

Breaking apart Bea watched as Allie disappeared to have a shower, she just wasn't quite brave enough to join her yet, she knew that if Maxine hadn't called what would have happened and she knew that she'd wanted it to happen, her need to touch Allie was just getting stronger every minute even though she wasn't sure if Allie touching her was really something she had really thought about, Allie wasn't Harry she kept telling herself, it wouldn't ever be the same.

Sitting in the business lounge at the airport Maxine informed Bea that their next flight had been upgraded from business to first class.

“When did that happen?”

“I don't know hun, but I just got this email from Janet letting me know that we had been upgraded. And the director wants to know why our hotel wasn't booked through the expense account, how am I meant to reply? I mean you handled all the details.”

Allie had gone to get them all a coffee, Bea knew there was no point in keeping secrets from Maxine for longer than was necessary and if she didn't give her an answer she'd never hear the end of it until it was all made clear once they arrived in London. Telling her what she'd done quickly she was surprised when Maxine wasn't the slightest bit shocked.

“Don't worry I’ll think of something to tell her, I know she doesn't gossip but there's always a first time…and….about last night, I'm really…”

Bea cut her off, “Maxi it doesn't matter, we….we should have been asleep anyway, Allies nervous about this flight.”

“That makes two of us, but it will be nice to see London I've heard so much about it, pity we can't stay longer if you ask me.”

“Stay where longer?” Allie asked as she returned with their coffees.

“London, I think Maxi’s hoping she can find some well off British guy.” Bea laughed as she took the offered coffee from Allie.

“Oh right, maybe you should try New Zealand Maxine, if the women are anything to go by the guys must be pretty special too.”

Maxine looked at Bea with that knowing look that Bea knew too well guessing that she had a hundred questions that she really wanted to ask but wouldn't. Unlike Franky Maxine wouldn't ask awkward questions or embarrass Bea in anyway, she was a lot like Liz when it came to finding things out from Bea, she'd wait until she had something she wanted to tell her, although she knew Maxine had already know they hadn't been asleep or even trying to sleep the night before when she called.

 

Chapter Text

Bea had fallen asleep far earlier than she had intended to completely failing to heed her own advice to Allie and Maxine about trying to sleep on London time as much as possible and she had spent the last six hours wide awake watching movies and trying everything she could think of to fall asleep again, but her body was still on Melbourne time even though her brain knew she now had a full London day to face, she was going to be struggling to keep her eyes open in a few hours but it was far too late to try and sleep now. Getting up to stretch her legs she looked at Allie who was still sleeping peacefully, they would be landing at Heathrow within the next thirty minutes and she needed to wake her up soon and she pretty sure she wouldn't be happy being woken up not long after 4am.

“Allie…Allie…”

“Hmmm…Bea its too early…go back to sleep…” Allie grumbled as she turned over suddenly remembering where they were. “Shit…for a minute there I thought we were still at home.”

“Sorry to disappoint you, but we'll be landing soon.” Allies reference to home didn't go unnoticed and Bea smiled making her thoughts suddenly return to wishing that they could wake up together every morning.

Allie sat up and rubbed the sleep from her eyes, “How long have you been awake?”

“Too long I think but it's fine, we don't have to face Sonia until tomorrow.”

“You say that now, I think you'll be asleep by lunchtime and then I'll just have to amuse myself.”

From the moment they were picked up at the airport Maxine could only hazard a guess at the hotel Bea must have booked them into. As they pulled up at the curb side outside The Goring hotel Bea was sure she had made the right decision if the look on Allies face was anything to go by although she couldn't quite remove the nagging doubt that their rooms might be an issue. They were first met by the doorman who introduced himself as Peter before he escorted them to the front desk where they were introduced to George who quickly took care of checking them in. It was still very early but they were all offered a glass of champagne before being given the tour of the ground floor, Bea yawning cut the history lesson they appeared to be receiving short and they were shown to their rooms.

Maxine was slightly shocked when she entered her room, one of the garden rooms that had a balcony, opening the doors she stepped out onto the balcony and looked over the gardens below before going back in to unpack, Maxine wasn't going to waste any of her day so decided that getting that out of the way first seemed to her to be the logical thing to do.

Arriving outside another door a floor above Maxine’s room Allie had expected to be taken to another room until she spotted both their cases waiting for them.

“Bea…is this the surprise?”

‘Way to go she hates the thought of spending all week with you, why would she even want to?’ Bea couldn't stop her doubts clouding her thoughts as she looked at her feet not sure what she was going to say anymore.

“Hey…” Allies fingers rested under her chin and gently raising her head up so they were looking at each other. “What's the matter?”

“I…I…I can ask…”

“Hey, I know what you're thinking you know and I don't want to be anywhere else but here with you…although I'm pretty sure it's a good thing Maxine isn't right next door.” Allie giggled.

“Yeah, you're sure?”

“Why would I want to be anywhere else? Am I going to have to tell you every hour of every day for the rest of our lives that I want to be with you? It might be a little difficult to do but if that's what what you need I'll give it my best shot.”

“The rest of our lives could be a long time.”

“I hope it is because I'm never going to want anyone else.” Allie grabbed her hands, “But right now I think you need a nap.”

“I'll be fine, honestly.”

After finally convincing Bea that she should at least lay on the bed for a while Allie looked round their suite, it was going to be home for the next week. They had a separate lounge area with a sofa, armchair and tv, the bathroom was something Allie had only ever seen in magazines or in movies it was all marble with a built in bath tub and walk in shower. Returning to the bedroom she found Bea had fallen asleep, kicking off her shoes Allie lay next to her flicking on the tv and turning the sound down a little, she didn't think she was tired until she opened her eyes a couple of hours later.

“Good morning sleepy head.” Bea smiled.

“Is it still morning?”

“It's just after nine, they serve breakfast until ten hungry? We can call room service.”

Allie didn't care what they had even though she was quite hungry, she would have spent the rest of the day quite happily laying on the bed watching tv, it was Sunday and they had nothing to do until Monday morning when they went for their initial meeting with Sonia Stevens. Allie wasn't looking forward to meeting her after what she'd heard about her from Bea and Maxine. She'd heard even more about her from Maxine while Bea was asleep on the plane and nothing she heard filled her with confidence, she was glad that Bea would be there otherwise she wasn't sure she could get herself to that first meeting. After they ate they had decided that a shower and a change of clothes was the best idea and and a walk round the local area before lunch might help clear some of the fog from their heads.

After meeting Maxine in the lobby they headed out finding themselves in Hyde Park a short time later. After the chilly Australian winter weather they were used to it was a surprise to find that it was quite warm, as they wondered around the massive park that covered 350 acres. In a city like London it was hard to believe that there were eight royal parks like this across the city. While walking around the Serpentine Lake Allie said they should get lunch while they were out instead of going back to the hotel, it was much too nice outside to spend the day in the hotel and trying to keep Bea awake until it was reasonable for her to sleep had become her mission, if they went back now chances were she would fall asleep and then be awake most of the night, hardly a great way to start their first meeting with Sonia.

 

 

 

After dinner that evening the three of them sat outside in the gardens until Bea started yawning, it was just after 8pm when they finally went back to their rooms after agreeing to meet the next morning in the hotel restaurant for breakfast.

“You should go to bed Bea, catch up on some sleep.”

To Allies surprise she had said that she wasn't actually all that tired anymore she just wanted to go back to their room so they retreated the sofa to watch a movie after kicking off their shoes, Allie curled into Beas side while Bea ran her fingers through Allies hair, Bea wasn't paying attention to the tv she was more inclined to just watch Allie as her thoughts traveled back to Friday night and what might have happened if only her phone hadn't rung. Allie turned her head slightly knowing that she was being watched greeted instantly by brown eyes that radiated with desire. Leaning in Bea captured her lips in a gentle kiss that pretty soon became more heated and her hands started to roam over Allies back as she pulled her closer.

“I hate it when you're not with me.” Bea said as skimmed the fingers of her left hand up Allies side.

“I hate not being with you.” Allie replied before kissing her again.

Pulling back Bea reached for the remote flicking the tv off before getting to her feet and taking Allies hands in hers and pulling her up from the sofa and connecting their lips again, being in an unfamiliar room didn't stop Bea from walking them backwards towards the bedroom door that she knew wasn't too far away although tripping over Allies bag that she dropped on the floor when they had got back to their suite wasn't something she'd had in mind, causing them both to giggle as they broke apart for a moment to steady themselves their lips soon reconnecting as they stumbled through the bedroom door. Bea felt an unfamiliar pang of confidence as she kicked the door closed behind them, one hand in the centre of Allies back the other trailing up her side and brushing against her breast, all her nervousness seemed to have disappeared and had been replaced with the desire to touch the woman in her arms, the woman she knew she loved. Her hands found the hem of Allies shirt as she pulled it up and begrudgingly pulled away just long enough to pull it over her head dropping it on the floor as she reconnected their lips letting her hands roam over the soft skin that she wanted so much to touch again. Finding her way to the waistband of her jeans she quickly popped the button open and slid the zip down, as much as she loved seeing Allie dressed casually in jeans and a t shirt she needed to rid of her clothes right now, dragging her jeans down her legs as far as she could Bea got frustrated leaving Allie to wriggle her way out of them.

Bea took a small step back allowing her eyes to wonder over every inch of Allies body in the half light of their bedroom as she tried to swallow the moan that she felt rising in the back of her throat, seeing Allie in just her underwear was almost too much to take. ‘Fuck.’ She thought as she stepped forward again their eyes locking in the half light, Allie grabbed the front of Beas shirt pulling her closer allowing her fingers to slowly wrestle with the buttons, sliding it off her shoulders she dropped it in a heap on the floor before leaning in to softly kiss down her neck and across her collarbone as her hands trailed down her sides, across her stomach to the button of her jeans. Looking into her eyes she searched for anything that would tell her she wanted her to stop she saw nothing but pure lust looking back at her. Sliding the zipper down she hooked her thumbs in the waistband and slowly slid them down her legs moving her hands back to Beas hips as she stepped out of them.

Beas entire body was on fire and the only thing she could think about was how badly she needed to touch Allie, wrapping her arms tightly around Allie she crashed their lips together in a very heated kiss as she spun them around walking them slowly back towards the bed. Allie could hardly believe that this was happening again and half of her was expecting Beas phone to ring again as she tried to remember what time it actually was back in Melbourne, finally working out that it was the early hours of the morning she let herself be guided back towards the bed not that she would try to stop her anyway, she loved Bea more than she thought was ever possible and as long as nothing interrupted them she planned on showing her just how much. As soon as she felt the back of her legs hit the bed she felt them falling onto it.

Bea never thought it was possible to feel like this, to let another person consume almost every thought in her head, that she could ever want another person the way she wanted Allie, to want to touch and be touched by someone else was foreign to her but she knew she wanted this, needed this more than anything. She wasn't going to allow the thoughts of Harry to enter her head and ruin this, Allie wasn't Harry she knew that and judging by the effect Allie had on her she couldn't stop even if she wanted to. Allie was so gentle with her and even when they were interrupted on Friday night she'd seen her hesitancy after she'd finished the call with Debbie and given her the space she needed and just held her and talked to her, but now her nerves started creeping up on her again.

Looking in each other's eyes Allie saw her hesitate slightly before she flipped them over.

“Hey, we don't have to do anything you aren't comfortable with, we can just get into bed and go to sleep as long as I'm with you I don't care.” Allie said softly as she looked into her eyes.

As Allie leaned down to kiss her again Bea couldn't remember a time when anyone had ever made her feel so safe, so loved and wanted. Allie never expected anything from her except her time, Bea was sure that Allie really must have the patience of a saint to be able to put up with her awkwardness and occasional meltdowns. Allie moved and lay further back up the bed leaving Beas body to instantly miss the warmth that had engulfed her even though it was a particularly warm night given the country they were in. Bea moved up the bed a sudden surge of confidence coursing through her body as she straddled Allie, her hands coming to rest on her hips as she leaned down kissing her way down her neck and gently sucking on her pulse point.

“Bea…are you sure?” Allie whispered as she closed her eyes as her head sunk further into the pillow as Bea kissed across her collar bone and down her chest.

“I want this…I want you.” Bea whispered back as she reached around Allie to unhook her bra, slowly she slid the straps down her arms before dropping it on the floor with the rest of their clothes.

The moonlight shone like a diffuse ocean through the window, lessening the inky blackness of the night that had descended illuminating them both as Bea looked down at the most beautiful women she had ever seen and she felt so lucky to be there with her, lucky that someone like Allie would give her the time she had needed to work things out for herself. Hooking her fingers under the waistband of Allies panties she slid down her body slowly taking the last offending item of clothing from her body before inching her way back up beside her kissing her as she went, the need to feel all of Allie becoming almost unbearable. Crashing their lips together again Bea trailed her hand down her ribs, across her stomach and along the outside of her thigh, breaking the kiss Bea kissed down her neck as she trailed her fingers up the inside of Allies thigh. Kissing across her chest she inched her head a little lower flicking her tongue across her left nipple before sucking it into her mouth.

“Oh fuck Bea.” Allie almost growled.

As Beas hand slid slowly up the inside of her left thigh on her way back to her hip she skimmed over her wet folds.

“Bea…please.” Allie moaned.

“What do you need?”

“You, I need you…I need you touch me.”

Bea felt her heart rate increase even more than it already had. “Allie…I want to…I…I don't have a clue what I'm doing.” Bea replied as her hand brushed over her folds again skimming her already swollen clit, feeling Allies hips jerk up off the bed she pulled her hand away scared that she'd hurt her in some way.

“Bea…baby please, don't stop.”

“I thought I hurt you?”

“Fuck no…”

“Tell me what you need Allie.”

“Babe I…I need to feel you…inside me.” Allie gasped as she felt Beas thumb graze softly over her clit.

Bea hesitated, still unsure of herself but she didn't want to stop when it felt so right. Slowly entering her she she stilled her movements for a few seconds afraid she was going to do something wrong or worse still hurt Allie.

“Babe it's ok…you aren't going to hurt me trust me there's no way that's gonna happen.”

Bea moved her hand, thrusting in and out of her so painfully slow that Allie thought she might explode if she couldn't convince her that she wasn't going to hurt her.

“I'm not gonna break Bea….please.” Allie almost pleaded with her as she held eye contact.

Gradually increasing the speed of her movements she kissed her softly before trailing kisses down her neck and chest before before sucking one of her hardened nipples into her mouth as her thumb brushed her clit.

“Bea…” Allie moaned softly.

Bea pushed all her uncertainty to the back of her mind as she pulled her hand away to add another finger, thrusting back into her faster than before, feeling Allies hips move in time with her movements and hearing the low hum of the moans that escaped her made her confidence sore as she continued to increase the speed of her movements and circled her clit with her thumb.

“Bea…d…don't stop……oh fuck….”

Allies head sank harder into the pillow as she closed her eyes and her back arched off the bed as a tidal wave of pleasure spread though every inch of her body moaning Beas name over and over. Stilling her movements Bea withdrew her hand, laying down next to Allie as she gasped for breath, pulling her in close Bea just held her as her breathing returned to normal several minutes later. Allie couldn't compare that to anything she had ever experience before, it sounded cheesy even to her but she could swear she saw fireworks. Slowly turning on her side she lay her arm over Beas hip as she looked into her eyes, she didn't know what she had expected but the look of pure want that was looking back at her told her everything she needed to know as she gently pushed Bea onto her back her hand trailing from her hip across her stomach as she felt her muscles twitch under her fingers.

“It's pretty hard to believe you've never done that before.” Allie whispered as she kissed her shoulder and across her collarbone.

“It was ok?” Bea asked as her doubts slowly started creeping back in.

Resting her head on Beas shoulder Allie sighed. “Are you kidding me? That was so much more than ok, I've never felt like that before, I only have one question.”

“What's that?”

“Why am I completely naked and you aren't?”

“I guess we ran out of time.” Bea giggled slightly as she lifted her head and sent Allie a challenging look, a playful smile on her lips, before Allie could even think of a reply Bea had sat up unclasped her bra and thrown it on the floor, “Better now?” Bea asked as she looked at Allie who's mind was racing all over again.

“You look like you've forgotten what you wanted to do.” Bea teased her, not even sure why she had just said that.

Allie cocked her eyebrow and bit her bottom lip as Bea sank back into the mattress. Crashing their lips together again for what felt like the hundredth time that day Allies hand trailed a painfully slow path down her body stopping briefly to trace patterns across her stomach before moving lower, feeling Bea tense up under her touch she pulled her hand back resting it on her stomach.

“I told you we don't have to do anything you aren't comfortable with…I would never hurt you Bea I hope you know that.”

“I know…I'm just being stupid…I know you wouldn't hurt me, I'm sorry.”

“You're not being stupid and you should never apologise for what you feel, if you want to stop I'm fine with that.”

“What if I don't want to stop?” Bea whispered.

“It's gonna be like that is it?” Allie giggled as she moved so she was straddling Bea. “Just tell me to stop and I will.” Allie whispered as she leaned down kissing across Beas chest, moving a little lower kissing her left breast before sucking her nipple into her mouth.

Allie kept her eyes on Bea as she descended further down her body covering her in soft kisses as she trailed her fingers lightly down her sides her fingers coming to rest when they reached the waistband of her underwear.

“Can I?” She asked as she tugged gently on the last item that still covered any part of Beas body.

Bea just nodded slightly if Allie hadn't have been still looking at her she wouldn't have noticed. Bea swallowed down the lump in her throat as she watched as Allie slowly moved further down sliding the last remaining barrier between them down her legs before they were added to scattered clothes that littered the bedroom floor.

Kissing her way back up her legs, covering them with feather light kisses Allie slowly made her way back up her body, across her hip and back up her stomach and between the valley between her breasts. Beas body was on fire from the inside out as she struggled to focus on anything other than the growing hunger to feel something she never imagined she would, blue eyes coming back into focus before their lips met once again sent her head into a spin as she lost herself once more in a hot hungry kiss.

“Allie….please…” Bea moaned breathlessly as their lips parted.

“What do you want Bea?”

That question again, the one she'd asked the morning she turned up on her doorstep, that question that had scared her so much then but now everything was different between them that question had a different meaning this time. No one ever took the time the ask what she wanted, Harry certainly never cared what she wanted or didn't want as long as he was happy that had been all that ever mattered to him and Allie was nothing like him, she was sweet and patient and she loved her that thought alone could always bring tears to her eyes.

“I need you…I need you to touch me…”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah…please Allie.” Her voice barley above a whisper, Bea Smith would never beg anyone for anything but as much as she knew Allie wanted her to be sure it was what she wanted Bea was sure she wasn't above begging right now.

Allies hand slowly ran down her body leaving a trail of heat in it wake and leaving Bea quite certain that she might spontaneously combust if she went any slower, even though she had always been great full that Allie had never tried to pressure her in any way but right now she didn't want slow.

“Fuck.” Bea moaned as she felt Allies fingers brush softly over her clit and travel lower to enter her gently.

Feeling Bea tense up slightly Allie stilled her movements.

“Sweetheart do you want me to stop?”

“N…no…Allie please.” She knew Allie had always meant everything she had said, knew she would stop the second she felt uncomfortable but she didn't want to stop, something had changed on Friday night when they were alone and she was sure that there was no way she would want her to stop ever again.

Bea became restless, her hands finding their way to the back of Allies head pulling her into an intense kiss when she couldn't find the words to tell her what she wanted, that kiss telling Allie all she couldn't voice as she slowly began to thrust her fingers in and out of her, increasing the speed of her movements as they broke the kiss. One of Beas hands slid down her back the other landed on the bed gripping the sheets as Allie increased the speed of her movements and circling her clit with her thumb. Leaning back in Allie recaptured Beas lips as she increased the speed of her movements again circling her clit with her thumb.

“Oh fuck…Allie…I…”

“I've got you…just let go for me babe.”

A few seconds later Bea crashed over the edge, her whole body shaking as her orgasm tore through her body her head sinking deeper into the pillow as she moaned Allies name over and over again. Stilling he movements before completely removing her fingers Allie placed a gentle kiss on Beas shoulder before laying down beside her and pulling her in close. Bea was completely quiet for a few minutes and Allie started to get worried, pulling herself up the rest on her elbow she looked down at her seeing tears in her eyes.

“Shit…Bea I'm so sorry, did I hurt you? I didn't me…”

“You didn't hurt me Allie…I've just never…I've never…fuck why can I never just say what I mean?…I've never felt like that…ever.” Bea lifted her head and placed a soft kiss on Allies lips. “You're amazing you know that that?”

“I'm not…I just lo…care about you so much I'd never want to hurt you.”

Pulling Allie back down she pulled her closer even more certain of her feelings, they both drifted off to sleep a short time later.

 

 

Chapter Text

The next morning when the alarm on Beas phone had gone off it dragged them both from a very deep sleep and neither of them had wanted to get out of bed, they had been awake almost all night and they both knew that the lack of sleep would catch up with them later in the day. Allie rolled back onto her side and pulled Bea gently into her arms.

“You think anyone would notice if Maxine went to this meeting alone?”

“Sonia would, I doubt we could think up any excuse that she would believe, and believe me she's an expert in making excuses herself.”

Bea couldn't deny that the thought of spending the whole day in bed with Allie was a great deal more appealing than spending even ten minutes in Sonia's company. Laying in Allies arms made her feel wanted and safe and just the thought of spending any time in Sonia's company already made her feel slightly anxious and tense and that didn't go unnoticed by Allie, although she somehow jumped to a completely different conclusion when she had first felt Bea tense up slightly in her arms.

“Do you regret last night?” Allie asked her voice so low that if Bea hadn't been paying attention she wouldn't have heard her.

“Why would you even ask me that? I don't regret anything…Allie I…I…” She trailed off unsure of herself in that moment, the feeling was very real for her but as much as she wanted to say it right then she couldn't, it didn't feel real most of the time when she thought about it, not that she was even sure that she knew how anything was meant to feel anymore, everything was different with Allie and saying it out loud actually scared her.

“I know.” Allie whispered before gently kissing her.

Untangling themselves from each other a little later Allie got out of bed and wondered off in the direction of the bathroom, looking back over her shoulder and winking at Bea before she closed the door behind her making Bea smile. Allie was always so confident and self assured but Bea also knew the vulnerabilities that she hid well, something most people would never see, and even that cheeky wink had told Bea just how nervous she was about this meeting.

Allie stood in the shower telling herself that everything would be ok, she wasn't going into this meeting alone Bea and Maxine would both be there but after everything she'd heard about her she couldn't stop herself from worrying, not that she cared if the woman didn't like her, after this week she was probably never going to see her again, and she was there to do her job unfortunately she still doubted herself.

Bea was still laying in bed when her phone rang, after arranging that they would meet Maxine in the restaurant for breakfast she got out of bed and went to the bathroom. Allie was just about to turn the water off when she heard the shower door open.

“What are you doing?”

“I need a shower, we have to meet Maxi for breakfast.” Bea replied as she wrapped her arms around her waist.

“Oh, and you couldn't wait a little longer?” Allie asked trying to hold in a giggle.

Turning around in Beas arms she found herself being pushed up against the cold marble wall, she knew it was a stupid question the second she had seen the look in Beas eyes, breakfast was quickly forgotten when they couldn't keep their hands to themselves. Finally making it down to the restaurant they found Maxine trying to hide her smile when she spotted them walk in hand in hand.

 

 

As soon as they arrived at the London office they were shown to the empty conference room, something that didn't sit well with Bea, this wasn't the most important meeting they would be having they were only meeting Sonia for what was supposed to be an informal chat, outlining the new model and getting a little information from Sonia regarding how things were progressing mainly with hiring staff. There had been some interest from a couple of Allies old colleagues who were willing to relocate to London and that was something else they needed to discus so the setting for this meeting was a little odd. They sat in silence for ten minutes not quite sure what to expect anymore when the door opened and Sonia breezed in announcing her presence in a manner that both Bea and Maxine knew too well.

“Good morning ladies, so sorry to have kept you waiting, but it's all work, work, work you know how that is I'm sure Bea.”

“Hmmm, yes.” Bea rolled her eyes as she looked over at Allie giving her a reassuring smile, Sonia was so full of her own self importance, the handful of staff that worked there and the few clients they already had were hardly enough to give Sonia a great deal to do except sit in her office and plan extravagant dinners, shopping trips and how to take all the credit for the next deal that someone else managed to close.

Taking a seat across the table from them she placed a notebook at precisely a ninety degree angle next to the laptop that was already sitting there. That was Sonia, Bea thought back to the few times she'd had to venture to her office, her desk was always orderly, unlike Beas that always seemed to be full of paperwork, Sonia did have exceptional organisational skills that was true, at work she always seemed to be in full control but everyone who knew her knew that outside of work she had a very haphazard way of arranging things. Bea was sure that if they actually got to see the inside of her office it would be the same as she remembered it, everything would have its pre determined position, everything would be in the exact location that she wanted it, not one thing would ever be out of place leading Bea to believe that Sonia never actually did any work at all, with that level of attention to detail she couldn't picture her ever having anything work related on her desk.

“Maxine, it's so good to see you again.” The fake smile didn't last long as she turned her attention to Allie. “And you must be Allie Novak, I've heard good things about you, maybe I could persuade you to come and work for me?”

Allie smiled, “Thanks but I couldn't do that.”

“Oh well, we'll see…now I must introduce you to my PA when she gets back, you know how it is Maxine, had to send her out on a little errand for me.”

Maxine actually shuddered a little at the thought of anyone wanting to work that closely with her, most people couldn't deal with her level of organisation, Maxine had spent a few days working for her a couple of years previously and she had struggled. She was just strange, her work life was so well regulated, everything had to be categorised to her exacting standards and she'd never had anyone work for her for more than a couple of months, Maxine had given up and told the director that she couldn't work with her.

Completely ignoring the three of them she logged onto the laptop opening the database that she had compiled the week before, she wasn't above using dirty tricks to get what she wanted and the database was populated with a list of potential people she wanted to get to work at the London office, Allies name was high on that list, all the information she needed was right there at her fingertips, contact information, qualifications what position they already held at the bank it wasn't as exhaustive as she would have liked but she hadn't had the time to really work on it, a few google searches had helped her fill in a few blanks but try as she might she'd found nothing on Allie, at least not yet. To anyone else a database like that would have seemed more than a little obsessive but to Sonia it was perfectly natural, as natural as storing phone numbers in her cell phone.

Bea was irritated by Sonia's obvious lack of interest in anything, her whole attitude towards what Allie was trying to explain to her would make no sense to anyone who didn't know her. She may have all the airs and graces of royalty but psychologically she acted like a spoilt child, she thought the whole world revolved around her and the only correct point a view was her own. Bea recollected a time when she'd seen her in a meeting, Will Jackson had been in a bad mood and when she'd asked him a question he'd snapped at her making her assume that he was mad at her, no other thought had occurred to her and she had become defensive and stormed out of the room and stayed in her office refusing to speak to anyone for the rest of the day. The next day Will had gone to apologise for his behaviour and found himself on the receiving end of one of her tantrums, and Sonia's tantrums were legendary, from then on Sonia had had it in for Will and had wanted to get rid of him although every plan she ever devised always backfired.

Allie tried her best to explain the most important points of the new model but the notes she had prepared for the initial meeting failed to please Sonia and Bea was sure she saw the first glimpse of one of her temper tantrums creep into Sonia's expression. She nodded and tapped her foot on the floor making Allie completely forget where she was, stopping abruptly she looked at Bea and then Maxine, they had told her how difficult this woman could be but she hadn't expected this. Starting from the beginning again she tried to concentrate on her notes and the view from the window that was right in front of her, determined that this time she wasn't going to be put off by Sonia's childish behaviour.

“Yes well…that all sounds…hmmm…adequate.” Sonia finally said after Allie had finished. “Although I do feel there are one or two improvements that need to be made.”

Allies eyes shot straight to Bea who's eyes were firmly on Sonia not that Sonia even seemed to notice the glare that was being directed at her.

“I think you'll find that this model has already been approved or do you not read your emails?” Bea said, the agitation in her voice clear for anyone to pick up on, anyone except Sonia.

“That maybe, but I don't find it satisfactory, there's still room for improvement.”

“And maybe when you hear the full presentation when Allie gives it to you and the handful of people who are working here you'll find it more than adequate, you may be running things here for the time being Sonia but you have no say in what does or does not receive approval. Allie and her staff worked tirelessly to get that model ready and I won't sit here and listen to you finding fault with it especially when you know nothing about revenue sharing in the first place, but we both know why you have to find fault with everything don't we?”

“Bea I…”

“I don't want to hear it.” Bea snapped back.

Allie was stunned, she'd never heard Bea speak to anyone like that yet Maxine just sat back in her seat a smile playing on her lips, it wasn't the first time she'd heard Bea admonish Sonia and she was pretty certain that it wasn't going to be the last.

Sonia was angry, how dare she speak to her like that in front of people so low down in the pecking order, a department head and a PA, to Sonia it didn't matter who they were, she was the boss in her mind, she had her own methods and they worked things went her way and everyone else was inferior to her. It was the only reason she had chosen her own PA carefully, she was someone she thought she could trust, someone who had the same mindset as her. Rubbing her hands together she got up from her seat mumbling something about getting someone to show them round the office and giving them the time to meet the staff before she walked out of the room.

“You alright there Allie?” Maxine enquired as she sat forward.

“Huh…yes I'm fine, just wasn't expecting that I guess.”

Bea reached over and took one of her hands in hers, “I'm sorry about that, she gets me so angry, added to the fact that she's not as clued up on the financial side of the business as she thinks she is. I hope you won't let her get to you, we both know how hard you worked to get that model finished and she had no right saying what she did.”

“Honestly it's fine, I just wasn't expecting you to speak to her like that.”

After being left alone for another ten minutes the same person who had shown them to the conference room reappeared apologising for Sonia's sudden departure trying to explain that she had gone home with a migraine, Bea wasn't buying that for a second and asked when her PA would be back, receiving the answer that she had expected, she'd been given the rest of the day off, Sonia clearly didn't want them speaking to her when she wasn't there and that left Bea and Maxine with an uneasy feeling. There was clearly something going on that Sonia was trying to hide.

“Since when do you give your PA the rest of the day off when you feel unwell?” Maxine whispered to Bea as they were shown out of the conference room towards a large open plan office.

“You don't, I know it's very rare I've had to leave work early but even if I told you to go home early you wouldn't go.” Bea whispered back.

After meeting with the small yet very knowledgeable team that they had working there they found out a little more about Sonia's seemingly mysterious PA, Allie was more curious and a lot more chatty than Bea or Maxine and had asked about her, a couple of the guys clearly didn't like the woman and couldn't tell her fast enough what their thoughts were while Bea and Maxine just listened.

Once they arrived back at the hotel they had a light lunch before heading back to their rooms a little after 12:30pm.

“You haven't called Debbie yet, will she still be awake?”

“I haven't called her since we arrived, I called Liz and apparently she was out with Franky, but I guess I better call her.”

Debbie was still awake and quizzed Bea about how it was in London until she asked to speak to Allie, hearing her mum's voice was one thing and she'd looked forward to it but she'd tell her everything was alright even if it wasn't so that Debbie wouldn't worry, Allie promised she'd look after her and she wanted to make sure that she was.

 

 

Maxine said that she wanted to stay in her room reading quietly, the uneasy feeling that she'd had that morning during and after their meeting with Sonia just wouldn't let go and she wanted some time to herself. She was certain that she'd heard the name of Sonia's PA before but she couldn't think how she knew it. Bea and Allie decided that they were going to have a walk around Belgravia where their hotel was located, it was after all one of the most elegant and exclusive areas in central London and until now the most they had seen of the area was on the drive over to Canary Wharf that morning for their meeting with Sonia a walk seemed like an ideal thing to do especially as the weather was so warm.

Walking around the streets of Belgravia was like being in a whole other world to the one they were used to they passed elegant townhouses, foreign embassies and upscale hotels although Allie was quite certain that not one of the other hotels could be compared with the one they were staying at, she was also convinced that Bea was paying far too much for their suite, she hadn't said anything but she knew that there was no way a hotel like that came out of the expense account. As they walked down Eaton Place they passed by grade 2 listed stucco fronted terraced houses seeing one that was for sale.

“I wonder how much a house like that sells for.” Allie thought aloud.

“Let's put it this way I'm guessing way more than you and I could ever both earn combined and then some.”

“Seriously?”

Bea nodded, “Sadly yes…why would you want to live here?” Suddenly she found herself worrying that Allie may consider the possibility of relocating to London to work with Sonia.

“What no…do you know what the weather is like here? The way I heard it if its hot for a full week during the summer people think they're being spoilt and then there's the rain, no thank you and besides that would mean leaving you and I couldn't do that…not again.”

“Rain aside this country does have some spectacular places with stunning scenery.”

“And maybe we could visit with Debbie one day and see more than just London, the only way you'd get me back here is if you were with me.”

“Yeah? Even if someone could give you so much more that I ever could? Move you to one of the wealthiest districts in the world and give you a house like that?”

“I don't need a house like that Bea.” Allie reached for her hand and entwined their fingers half expecting Bea to pull her hand away. “All I need is you, all I've ever needed was you.”

Bea glanced down at their hands and couldn't care less who might be around, looking back at Allie she saw a slight hint of worry in her eyes as they turned into Lyall Street she gave her hand a slight squeeze in the hope that it would give Allie a little reassurance seeing the worry vanish from her eyes in an instant she looked around realising where they were.

“Fancy some window shopping?”

“I fancy you so as long as you're staying with me I don't mind looking around.” Allie grinned.

“It's strange really Elizabeth Street back home is nothing like this.” Allie said sadly as she remembered the night Kaz found her there high as kite not caring if she lived or died. “You look round here and it all seems so leisurely, like another world entirely and you certainly would never find a shop like this.” Coming to a stop outside the hat lovers shop that was Philip Treacy Allie giggled as looked in the window at some of the outlandish couture creations that were on display.

“Oh god, do people really buy that stuff?”

“I'd say they must or why would any of it be for sale…you going to tell me you're into hats?”

“No! Especially not at those prices, who in their right mind would pay almost two thousand pounds for a hat…especially that hat!” She laughed pointing to a overly dramatic red hat that was covered in silk poppies.

“Hmmm, well you have a good point, but I guess they are good for ladies day at Ascot.”

“And that would be what exactly?” Allie asked puzzled suddenly feeling rather stupid when Bea clearly knew more about the country they were in than she obviously did.

“So I was once told it's the forth day of Royal Ascot, everyone dresses up for the whole five days, like the men wear morning suits, on ladies day if I recall it's not just about the clothes or the racing it's all about the hats, not something I'd ever want to do.”

“Me either if you have to wear anything that looks that bad.”

Bea gently pulled Allie away from the store front it wasn't that she minded listening to her ridiculing and laughing at the hats in the window but she was in need of a coffee and maybe a snack, they were still hand in hand when they walked into Baker and Spice, Bea had overheard one of the other hotel guests talking about the amazing pastries that were freshly baked on the premises and had decided that she wanted to go there at least once, finding themselves on Elizabeth Street that afternoon had been unexpected as neither of them had a destination in mind when they left the hotel. They ordered their coffee and a pastry each and looked around inside it did seem a little cramped with long tables that seemed to be just slightly too tightly packed together and they agreed that they were going to sit outside.

“We should come back with Debbie you know, did you see the ice cream shop?”

“You just want an excuse to eat way too much ice cream I think.”

“Ok you got me, but Debbie would love it.”

“And the pair of you would live in there and not see anything else and if you have the time there's really a lot to see here.”

“Hey I know that, when do you want to go to the Tate gallery? I was looking on the website and they have an exhibition marking a hundred years since the end of World War One on right now, we need to book tickets though.”

“Wednesday would be good, we have the whole day free and I'm certain Maxine won't be interested but we should ask her.”

Taking a different route back to the hotel may have been a mistake rush hour in London for anyone as unaccustomed to it as they were seemed like madness, the pavements flowed like a river of humanity, the roads a river of cars and buses. On occasion they found themselves stopping dead in their tracks the buildings that surrounded them standing in silent witness to the ultimate chaos that was playing out. Allie was just glad that almost as soon as they had started walking again Bea had taken hold of her hand again because she was quite certain that she could have easily lost her in all the hustle and bustle, this city felt so much more claustrophobic than Melbourne at rush hour. Bea pulled her towards a shop window, nothing had caught her eye she just needed to get out of the crowd for a few minutes, together they gazed through the crowd of people, business people, students, tourists, mothers with young children, everyone seemed to know exactly where they were going and what they were doing and even though Bea knew how to get back to the hotel from where they were she couldn't help feeling as if she were a little lost.

“I'm glad that you're here with me.”

“Hey, don't I tell you all the time there's nowhere else I'd rather be?”

 

 

Maxine had waited impatiently outside the hotel restaurant for five minutes after Bea had called to let her know that they would be back soon and agreed that they would have dinner together and maybe a couple of drinks. Sometime in the afternoon while Maxine had been sitting quietly reading she realised where she'd heard that name before and she needed to tell Bea.

“Sorry Maxi, remind me never to try walking the streets of London at rush hour again it's madness.”

“Sounds like it's a good thing you were in walking distance, I'm certain that you wouldn't have survived the underground. Did you both enjoy your afternoon?”

“We did.” Bea answered as the three of them walked into the restaurant and were quickly seated. “We’re going to the Tate gallery on Wednesday could we interest you in joining us?”

“I was thinking of finding my way to Skoob books in Brunswick shopping centre and I have it on good authority that they have a resident skeleton there named pelvis.” Maxine laughed. “Actually I believe it's not that far from the British museum and you both said you wanted to go there, maybe we could meet there after lunch?”

They agreed that it sounded like a good plan as they were ordering, when the waiter slipped away Maxine looked at Bea very seriously.

“I need to tell you something.”

“What did you break?” Bea said trying to break the sudden tension that she felt radiating from Maxine.

“Very funny Bea, you remember hearing the name Joan Ferguson earlier, Sonia's PA?”

“Yes, should that mean something to me?”

“No hun I don't expect you to know who she is but I do, as soon as I heard that name I knew I recognised it but it didn't hit me until you had gone out where I knew it from. Do you remember 10 years ago when Grant and Willis went bankrupt? One of their financial consultants got greedy and brought the whole thing down, she walked away without a mark against her name all the blame was placed on another banker and if I remember correctly he went to prison until today it was never something I thought about, not until I heard that name, it was Joan Ferguson who caused that to happen but there was no proof.”

“Shit…hang on Maxi, she's not listed as an employee.”

They chatted quietly while they ate, Bea knew that she couldn't keep this information to herself and Sonia wasn't even meant to have a PA, as far as they all knew everyone she had interview had been unsuitable so exactly when and how Joan Ferguson had gotten herself that title was now anyone's guess.

 

Chapter Text

Bea had woken up twice during the night worrying about what Sonia was up to but each time she'd pulled Allie closer and fallen back to sleep within a few minutes, she didn't want to worry about Sonia and having Allie so close made her forget about what she was thinking, Sonia wasn't worth losing sleep over not when they had to face her again the next day.

Over breakfast even Allie became a little worried about the rest of the day after Maxine informed them that she had received an email from Janet giving her the information that she had asked her to find for her, nothing had ever been uncovered to connect Joan Ferguson with the fraud that had taken place at Grant and Willis everything had pointed towards another employee even though many of the other financial consultants had pointed the finger at her and given them the same theory as to how she had pulled off the pyramid scheme to cheat investors. Over a ten year period she had relied on referrals from an unsuspecting colleague but had managed to put his name to everything. He was later arrested for securities fraud all the records pointing solely at him showing that he had used investor funds for trading in foreign currency and had purchased luxury cars and expensive jewellery that had then been sold and the money seemingly disappeared into thin air.

“So there's absolutely no proof that she was part of it?” Allie asked.

“Not that anyone ever found but Joan hasn't been heard from for years according to Janet, it would seem she disappeared along with the money. We can't let her know that we know any of this though, something tells me that whatever is going on here Sonia is up to her eyeballs in it.”

The drive over to Canary Wharf took just a little over half an hour Allie was nervous, even though she'd given this presentation twice already after the way Sonia had acted the day before she was more nervous than either of the previous occasions and expecting her to need to have her criticisms of it heard loudly was making her feel ill. Bea turned her head from the window and could see that second that Allie was struggling, she loved Allies generally confident nature and absolutely hated it when she saw it washed away faster than a sand castle by the incoming tide. The doubt in her eyes was painful to watch as she grasped her hand gently as she raised it to her lips and kissed her fingers.

“It doesn't matter what Sonia says beautiful, everyone that matters knows how hard you worked.”

As much as Maxine disliked sitting in a black cab traveling with her back towards their destination it afforded her the time she had never been allowed before to really watch Bea and Allie and to see her friend so at ease and clearly so in love with another person was the most precious thing she thought she had ever witnessed. She'd seen that love in Allies eyes the first time they met that had made the decision to pass on Beas business card so easy, she had never regretted doing that for a single second, turning her eyes back towards the passing London streets even she began to worry again what the day was going to have in store for them.

“I know, I just never know how to handle people like her, she's…she's…full of her own self importance and clearly doesn't think before she speaks.”

“You hit the nail right on the head there hun.” Maxine smiled at Allie. “She thinks hers is the only correct opinion no matter what the circumstances, in her mind no one else holds a valid point of view unless of course it's consistent with her own.” Thinking for a moment Maxine looked at Bea who's eyes had never moved from Allie. “You won't be on your own, Sonia may not like having a lowly PA sit in on your presentation but she'll have to have me arrested to have me removed and we both know Bea won't sit quietly if she goes off again.”

 

 

 

The building seemed quieter that morning than it had the previous day as they were this time escorted to Sonia's office, standing outside the door waiting for Sonia to finally respond to the knock that a few seconds ago had seemed deafening in the silence.

“Enter.” Sonia's voice sounded like thunder even with the solid wooden door between them.

As they walked in the same fake smile greeted them, she only ever really smiled when she was pleased with herself, she directed them to sit in the chairs that were so carefully placed on the other side of her desk, Sonia didn't speak, her eyes falling back to her computer screen the second they approached to sit down, nothing in that office was inviting, everything was placed with military precision but Bea couldn't help notice that the furnishings seemed way more expensive than customary for someone in her position, even the pictures hanging on the wall seemed way too grand. Her own office although well furnished was what it was, a functional office space not a place to try and impress whoever was to enter it. Sonia seemed to have the belief that she was there for good and Bea now knew that that was not the case after reading an email before breakfast, it's contents she had kept to herself as the director had requested, for the time being at least.

Sonia's eyes slithered away from the screen and landed directly on Bea for a few seconds.

“Ladies, I must apologise for my sudden departure yesterday, I trust your time was well spent meeting the staff?”

“Very productive actually.” Bea shifted a little in her seat her leg brushing against Allies trying to reassure her that she wasn't leaving her side. “Your staff seem to all be very competent and are all very knowledgeable.”

“Yes well they were all hand picked by myself and I only work with the best.”

‘So you can take all the credit for their hard work.’ Bea thought to herself as she narrowed her eyes a little. “Will we be expecting your PAs company today or will she be out of the office running errands again?”

“Yes, Joan will be here promptly she's just…taking care of a little problem for me at present.”

Bea glanced to her side at Maxine before she spoke again giving herself a little time to try and calm the anger that was slowly building deep in her chest. “I was wondering if you could tell me why her name doesn't seem to appear on the list of employees.”

“Really, it must be an oversight I will have to look into that.”

Silence descended in the room again and was only broken by the sound of heels clicking as they hit the floor in the corridor, stopping right outside the door, a few seconds later it opened and revealed a tall, all too stiff looking woman, her slightly greying hair pulled back in a tight bun dressed in a tasteful business suit. Her face seemed almost expressionless, her eyes narrowed, cold and hard as she scanned the three of them sitting there.

“Ah Joan, perfect timing as always, theses are our guests from Melbourne, Bea Smith, CEO.” A new harshness entered her voice as she almost spat out Beas official job title. “Allie Novak, head of the finance department and Maxine Conway Beas Personal assistant.”

“Pleased to meet you I'm sure.” Joan's eyes narrowed a little more as she looked at Allie, ‘Well look what we have here.’ She thought to herself. “The conference room is ready for Ms Novak to set up what she needs, I’ll escort her there now and leave you to take care of whatever you have to take care of, then I’ll escort Ms Conway to the staff room.”

Bea frowned, “We know where the conference room is, we will go with Allie there's no need to trouble yourself and Maxine will be staying as I'm sure you will Joan.”

Joan scowled, Bea Smith was going to be trouble she was certain of that, ‘The sooner she and her little whore go back to Melbourne the better.’ She sneered at the three of them as she moved towards the desk, “Very well, as you wish.” Her tone harsh.

Making their way to the conference room they finally heard sounds of life and one of the people Allie had been speaking with about Joan the previous day almost ran down the corridor his arms full of files, he said good morning to them all before disappearing. Joan was just like Sonia, arrogant and Bea firmly believed that if either of them could actually do half the things that they no doubt believed they could they might have a winning team. But Joan was a master manipulator, on all accounts she'd be raised to believe that she was superior to everyone else, her sneer made her the ugliest thing Bea thought she had ever seen. When she'd received the information about her background straight from the director himself it had come with a warning to be careful, the digging he and Janet had done and what it truly revealed left little in doubt that she had almost left all her humanity behind somewhere in her past, she wanted power and would do anything to get it, the woman was in short utterly toxic.

Arriving at the conference room Allie quickly busied herself getting everything ready as Bea and Maxine watched on for a few minutes in concern.

“I'll go and find us all some coffee, they don't appear to be very hospitable here, and I think the two of you could use some time alone.” Maxine gave Beas forearm a gentle squeeze and turned and left.

“Allie, sweetheart come here for a second.”

“Bea I have to get this right, just give me a few more minutes.”

“Allie…Sonia's not worth making yourself ill over, I know how uncomfortable she makes you feel believe me I do.”

Bea quickly crossed the room no other thought in her head other than needing to give Allie the comfort that she knew she needed, wrapping her arms around her she pulled her in close.

“Sweetheart nothing she will say is the truth, I know who you are, your intelligent, hardworking, funny and so fucking beautiful that even now I can't believe sometimes that you want to be with me, but I know you do. I'll be right here sitting right next to you, and you know Maxi isn't about to leave either you heard what she said.”

Maxine slipped back into the conference room closing the door quietly behind her.

“I found coffee…do you need to be alone for a little longer?”

“It's fine Maxi.” Bea smiled at her. “I know you'd already guessed we were together, just keep it to yourself for now, I need to speak to Deb first.”

“I'm not one to gossip you know that. Now what can I do to help?”

The three of them worked together to finish setting up, when Sonia and Joan finally arrived they were sat drinking their coffee and laughing at a text message Debbie had just sent Bea complaining that it wasn't fair that it was summer where they were when she had to freeze. Bea quickly answered her telling her she'd call her at lunch time.

Sonia had not looked happy for a second when she had realised that their seating arrangements were remaining unchanged as Allie was about to start her presentation, she had presumed that Maxine would remove herself from the table, she didn't need to take notes, but no she stayed exactly where she was sat to the right of Allie and Bea sat to her left. Joan seated herself across from Maxine in what she assumed was her attempt to intimidate her but Maxine wasn't going to let her have the satisfaction of seeing anything but calmness as she sat looking at the woman directly in front of her. She could see it in her eyes Joan Ferguson thought she was better than her, the look in her eyes daring her to turn away, to show her some weakness but Maxine was unflinching. She wasn't a personal assistant, she was nothing more than a greedy failed financial consultant who somehow had managed to distance herself from her past crimes and get close to Sonia who no doubt knew all about her and would use that to make as much money as she could at the expense of unsuspecting investors.

In between her note taking Joan glared at Maxine her mind racing with thoughts that only served to further underpin her feelings of superiority. ‘I could beat that in my sleep, yes that, whatever that is sitting there because I am far superior. Look at you, the way you dress, trash.’

Sonia's fake smile returned to her seemingly pristine face making her appear even more arrogant.

“Very good Ms Novak, I still firmly believe that your model needs improvement and I will give you my notes for you to incorporate into it.”

Bea slammed her fist down on the table, this woman was a piece of work.

“I told you yesterday Sonia nothing will be changed in the model it has been approved and you have no authority over it, Jesus you barely seem to have any authority over this office, you sit in your perfectly decorated office closed off from everyone, do you actually know each persons name who is sitting around this table? I do and I only met them yesterday, but you believe you are better than everyone else.”

“How dare you speak to me like that.” Sonia stood up from her seat and stormed out of the room quickly followed by Joan muttering to herself.

Bea looked around the table suddenly feeling more than a little embarrassed by her outburst, apologising to everyone she was caught a little off guard when she was met by words of approval for her outburst. Allie sat her mouth hung open and not this time because she hadn't expected Bea to explode she wasn't exactly sure how she was going to get through the rest of the day because an angry Bea Smith was hot as hell and the images in her head right now were certainly not safe for their current environment.

After their afternoon meeting with the various members of staff that thankfully didn't include Sonia or Joan they made their way back to the hotel, stopping at the restaurant to have dinner before returning to their rooms. Bea had asked Maxine if she could email the director personally letting him know all the days events including her own behaviour. Maxine had questioned her but Bea was adamant that he needed to know everything. Bea rarely lost her temper with anyone so why it was important that the director know she had she wasn't quite sure but she wasn't going to argue.

Maxine said goodnight to them both as she got out of the elevator before heading to her room, she had an email that needed sending straight away, it was late the in Melbourne so it wouldn't be read until the next morning but it needed to be sent straight away. She had no idea why Bea wanted every small detail including but if that's what Bea insisted upon that was what she would do.

“We have the whole day to ourselves tomorrow, what time do you want leave for the gallery in the morning?” Bea asked as she reached for Allies hand interlocking their fingers.

“We don't have to rush it doesn't open until ten, I have our e tickets. We're still meeting Maxine later aren't we?”

“I forgot to check, we'll see her in the morning, if not I'll call her and check.”

“You sound like you're planning on not getting out of bed early.”

“Why would I want to?”

Walking out of the elevator Bea knew that she wasn't interested in getting out of bed early the next day, and right now she'd much rather they were going to bed but she wasn't going to say that especially when it was only just after six but her thoughts trailing off to their previous activities just made her want to drag Allie straight back to bed or the shower she didn't really care. The corridor was completely empty except for the two of them and Bea pulled Allie close kissing her tentatively on the lips the second Allie started kissing her back it became passionate. Breaking apart Bea grabbed Allies hand and pulled her towards the door a little further down the corridor, after fumbling in her bag to find the key she finally managed to unlock it, pulling Allie in with her and kicking the door closed behind them they both dropped their bags before Bea quickly found herself being spun around and pushed up against it Allies hands finding their way to the back of her neck and kissing her deeply. Breaking apart again they both shrugged off their jackets throwing them in the direction of a nearby chair and both missing. Allie fumbled with the buttons on Beas shirt after only managing to undo the first three she changed her mind and pulled it up over her head, sparks of static dancing over Beas skin leaving her unsure if they were from how quickly her shirt had been removed or from how Allies hands had gently skimmed her skin, either way she didn't care it was a magical feeling causing her to shiver.

Bea had much less trouble removing Allies as she slid it off her shoulders letting it fall to the floor as they both kicked off their shoes. Bea made quick work of undoing Allies trousers and they slid down her legs as she pulled her back in to hot passionate kiss moaning into the kiss when she felt Allies fingers sliding across her skin unfastening the button and sliding the zip down of her trousers before pushing them over her hips and leaving them to slide down her legs, she stepped out of them momentarily breaking the kiss. Allie stepped out of her own trousers before kicking them away from her feet as she pressed their lips together again with passion, affection and love as she trailed her hands over Beas almost naked body leaving a trail of goosebumps in their wake.

Beas hands traveled down Allies back stopping as she reached her ass and pulled her closer before lifting her up, Allie wrapped her legs around her waist and her arms around her neck as she carried her across the room laying her down gently on the sofa. Pulling Bea down on top of her Allie moaned loudly with the increased contact before she flipped them over.

“You're so beautiful.” Allie whispered, Bea could feel her warm breath in her ear, wrinkling her nose up in protest.

“Shut up and kiss me.” Bea whispered back.

Their lips brushed gently together and Bea could still smell a slight hint of the red wine they had drunk with dinner on her breath as their bodies pressed together, Allies hands lightly trailing over her skin as they made their way slowly to her breasts, running her fingers over her bra clad breasts Bea arched her back and moaned softly into her mouth as they kissed. She rolled her head to the side the moment their lips parted, her chest rising and falling dramatically. Allie smiled as she kissed down her neck, Beas fingers of one hand running through her hair the other scratching slightly at the back.

“Do you have any idea how much I've wanted you since you got angry with Sonia?” Allie asked between kisses as her lips trailed across her collarbone.

“Really?”

“Yeah…” Allie said with a slight giggle as she massaged one of her breasts with her hand. “Every time I've looked at you since then all I've wanted to do was rip your clothes off and fuck you.”

“So what are you waiting for?” Bea asked as she moaned arching her back off the sofa desperate for more of Allies gentle touch.

Allie pulled herself away from Bea, as much as she really didn't want to wait the sofa wasn't the place for this, anyone passing by in the corridor would be able to hear them she didn't care who heard them but she knew that when Bea was thinking clearly again and she realised that anyone could have heard them she would be embarrassed beyond belief and probably not want to leave the room for the rest of the week. Getting to her feet Allie took hold of both her hands pulling her up from the sofa and walked her to the bedroom, closing the door behind them suddenly feeling herself being spun around and pushed up against the wall.

“Why did you stop?” Bea mumbled before trailing kisses down her neck.

“Babe…its more…fuck Bea…more comfortable….in here.”

“Yeah…” Taking hold of Allies hands again she pulled her to bed falling back onto it, Allie landing on top of her.

Allie trailed her fingers up Beas sides before reaching around and unhooking her bra, sliding it down her arms and dropping it on the floor at the side of the bed before kissing her way down her chest and continued trailing her lips further down her body.

“Allie…” Bea whined.

“Have a little patience babe.” Allie slid further down her body eventually dropping to her knees at the foot of the bed and hooking her fingers under the waistband of her panties sliding them slowly down her legs and dropping them on the floor beside her.

“Drag that sexy body further up the bed.” Allie said as she stood up climbing back on the bed to lay beside Bea.

Beas head sank back into the pillows as Allie lent in closer kissing her briefly then turning her attention to her breasts, massaging each nipple with her tongue as her hand slid down her body at a painfully slow pace before reaching her destination and plunging her fingers deep inside her.

“Allie…fuck…oh god…don't…don't stop.” Bea pleaded between moans as she thrust into her.

Increasing the speed of her movements Allie knew she was close, since the moment they had got back to their room nothing else had mattered except their need to touch each other leaving them both extremely worked up but Allie didn't want this to end just yet and she pulled her fingers completely out of her.

“Allie….”

Adding a third finger she plunged back into her as her thumb circled her clit, she could feel her body start to tremble and knew she wasn't going to last much longer.

“Let go for me.” Allie whispered in her ear.

Bea crashed over the edge a few seconds later moaning and calling Allies name as wave after wave of pleasure crashed through her whole body. An hour and many orgasms later they had both collapsed on the bed, exhausted and covered in a sensual sweat tangled together in the middle of the bed. Bea had no idea how she'd gone from someone who truly had no desire to have any sort of physical contact with anybody to someone who craved and actually desired even the slightest touch from Allie. She made her think and feel things that she honestly didn't know existed.

“I love you.” Bea whispered as their eyes connected stunning Allie for a second or two, she had never expected her to say that.

“I love you too, more than I can ever say.” Allie whispered back as they held each other.

Beas phone ringing somewhere in the other room grabbed Allies attention.

“Babe you need to get that it might be important.”

“And it might be Maxine who still has shitty timing.” Bea giggled as she slowly extracted herself from Allie and got off the bed going in search of her phone that stopped ringing only to start again almost straight away. Finding her bag she retrieved the offending item and answered it.

“Maxi what's the matter?”

“I'm so sorry to disturb you but I just received an email from the director, he'll be arriving tomorrow evening, he said he'll get Janet to give me a call when they arrive and fill me in on the details.”

“That's all he said?”

“Not quite, he said you have to call Sonia tomorrow and tell her you have to change your meeting on Thursday to the afternoon.”

“Ok, before I forget are you still meeting us at the British museum or have you made other plans?”

“I'll meet you there after lunch, say around one thirty?”

Ending the call she wandered back to the bedroom collapsing back on the bed with Allie, she didn't know what exactly was going on but right now she didn't care, tomorrow was still far enough away that she wasn't going to think about it.

 

 

Chapter Text

Bea woke as the sun was rising the next morning the shimmering rays bathing Allie in its golden light highlighting her hair as it lay on the pillow and accentuating her beauty if that was even possible. Bea knew as she held her watching her sleep that each day she fell in love with her a little more and each time it was harder than the last. Her feelings were deeper, becoming more complete and more bewitching. There wasn't a single thing she wouldn't do for her, she'd surprised herself when she'd raised her voice to Sonia the previous day, it wasn't that she never did anything like that she never did it in front of other people but something in her had snapped as soon as she said anything negative to Allie.

Allie opened her eyes surprised to see Bea already awake, looking right at her but seemingly lost in thought.

“As much as I don't mind you're staring.”

“Hmmmm.” Bea hummed before blinking and smiling, “Sorry, I just don't seem to be able to help it.”

“I'm not complaining, I never will.”

They lay in bed a while longer talking, Bea hadn't said anything about her conversation with Maxine when she'd gone back to the bedroom and Allie was more than curious now.

“Does this mean he doesn't think you can handle Sonia?”

“More than likely he's found something out that he needs to be here for, but we don't have to worry about that right now, we have the whole day to do as we please so let's just try and forget about it.”

An hour and a half later Allie announced that she was going for a shower and even though Bea protested that it was too early and they had no need to get up Allie just wouldn't listen. Wriggling out of Beas arms she got off the bed and walked over to the bathroom door, looking back over her shoulder and giggling when she saw the frown on Beas face.

Bea stayed laying in bed for a while, turning over to face the window she hadn't wanted Allie to get up, it was just after 6am and they had nowhere to be, the gallery didn't open until ten so what was the point in getting up so early. Rolling onto her back she smiled to herself as she threw the covers back and got off the bed, Allie hadn't closed the bathroom door behind her properly and she could hear the water running and Allies voice as she softly sang to herself, something Bea had noticed she did a lot. Leaning on the door frame for a few seconds she watched as Allie stood under the water just allowing the water to cascade over her body. Allie was so preoccupied that she didn't hear the door to the shower enclosure open and close and she jumped a little when she felt Beas arms wrap around her pressing her firm body into her back.

“I thought you didn't want to get out of bed.”

“I didn't…but…” Bea ran her hands up her body massaging her breasts gently as she kissed her neck, “I thought you might like some company.” Bea mumbled against her neck.

Allie pushed back into her needing to feel her body against her own moaning as she felt Bea roll one of her nipples between her thumb and finger her other hand softly inching its way down across her stomach. Allie tried to reach behind her wanting desperately to touch her but Bea pressed her closer to the wall as she grabbed her hands holding them down by her sides, “Not yet.” She whispered in her ear, letting her hands go as she trailed her right hand up her side and back down across her stomach again this time moving lower and gently massaging her clit.

“Bea please…”

“Please what baby?”

“I need you.”

“Here?” Bea asked as she moved her fingers down to her entrance. “Tell me Allie, what do you need?”

“Bea…I need you…please…I need you to fuck me.” She moaned loudly as felt her fingers enter her as soon as she'd got the last word out.

Pulling out again she spun her around slamming her back against the wall before pushing her fingers back into her as she kissed her neck and shoulder as she listened to the moans that escaped Allies perfect mouth, moving her thumb to circle her clit.

“Have you got any idea what you do to me? How much I want you…how much I love being inside you?” Bea mumbled against her neck.

“I…think…I…do…” Allie answered her breathlessly.

Allie ran her hand down Beas body, she was so close but she knew what she wanted as she pushed her fingers into her.

“Allie…oh fuck…” Bea gasped as she thrust into her curling her fingers, she already knew the second she felt Allies fingers enter her she wasn't going to last long, just watching and hearing Allie was enough to drive her crazy and this morning it felt like that alone would be enough to send her over the edge wether she touched her or not.

“Come with me babe.” Allie moaned, they both crashed over the edge a few seconds later repeating each other's names as they slid down the wall breathing heavily and holding onto one another as they sat on the shower floor.

Five minutes later they were both able to stand, Bea suggesting that they should actually shower, it was still another forty minutes before they turned the water off after taking longer to wash each other's hair and bodies than they had intended. Allie grabbed a towel and passed it to Bea before grabbing another one for herself, wrapping it around her body and walking back into the bedroom flopping down on the bed.

“I wish we could shower like that more often.” Allie giggled.

“Yeah…who says we can't?”

Allie sighed, “While we're here I guess…when we go home I really have to find my own own place, I love Franky to bits but…she's so annoying.”

Bea sat on the bed beside her, she didn't want to think about going home, they had to, she had responsibilities and she wouldn't change having Debbie for anything but she also knew she wanted Allie there all the time, now even more so.

“I need to talk to Deb when we go home…I can't hide us from her and I don't want to, I don't want to hide us from anyone anymore because that just complicates things and we don't need any more complications.”

Allie sat up looking Bea in the eyes, she knew she was serious. “Are you sure?” Allie swallowed the lump her throat, “I mean what if Debbie…what if she hates me?”

“She doesn't hate you now, she spends more time talking to you on the phone when I call her than she does to me. She's not going to hate you just because I tell her we're together.”

Allie looked away for a few moments, this was what she wanted, what she'd always wanted but it scared her, Bea might be convinced that Debbie would be ok with them being together but what if she wasn't? She was her mum after all and she was nothing she couldn't imagine them not being together now.

“Hey Allie look at me…I know what Deb asked you.”

“She told you?” Allies eyes scanned Beas face for anything, she didn't even know what she was looking for but the only thing she saw in her eyes was understanding and so much love that she thought her own heart might actually burst.

“She did, she usually does unless she's sulking, then she tells Franky or Liz before I get to know, this time she spoke to you…Still want to deal with a 12 year old who sometimes has an attitude?” Bea laughed a little.

 

 

 

They had a leisurely breakfast with Maxine in the restaurant before heading out to walk over to the gallery, the weather was perfect for the time of day, later on they both knew that the heat would be unrelenting and wanted to get a little fresh air while it was still a little cooler. The world around them as they wondered through the streets that an hour earlier would have been full of commuters on their way to work seemed to be painted vividly in the suns rays, like a new painting with still wet oils.

They wondered round the gallery looking at the pictures many of them quite disturbing to look at, the first room seemed nothing more than a wasteland of body parts and churned mud, flooded bomb craters and discarded helmets. They had both stopped to read the history of a sculpture called the fallen man, it was a heart stopping sculpture created between 1915 and 1916 and had originally been created for a war cemetery. It was a shocking but fascinating display of art work pot marked landscapes, gas masked infantry soldiers, tangled barbed wire and pastel portraits of soldiers with terrible facial wounds but even with all the horror there was also beauty.

Leaving the gallery they both felt warm and drained even though they had hardly done anything, the temperature outside had risen and they decided that there was no way they walking anymore, getting a cab they headed over to the British museum, there were plenty of cafes and restaurants in the area and they had plenty of time before they were due to meet Maxine. After looking at the options they had they settled on The Blue Door Bistro, choosing to sit on the terrace that actually is indoors but decorated to make you feel like you are outside.

Maxine was already waiting for them on the steps outside the museum when they arrived and she couldn't help but notice that almost every time she saw now them they were holding hands.

“Did you remember to call Sonia hun?”

Bea rolled her eyes, of course she'd forgotten who in their right mind would give her a second thought when they Allie by their side? Retrieving her phone from her bag she wondered a little way from Maxine and Allie to make the call. Sonia was not happy demanding to know the reason why she would change their schedule so late in the day, thinking fast Bea said she had been landed with an important conference call and that obviously given the time difference it was unavoidable which seemed to settle Sonia a little. She sounded more than irritable and Bea couldn't help but wonder what was really going on, the director would be well on his way to arriving later that day, nothing was making sense. She wasn't going to dwell on it though and ruin the rest of their day, nothing was more important right now than forgetting about work and spending time with Allie.

The British museum had an atmosphere all of its own, the massive ornate pillars outside were just a preparation for what they were going to experience once they stepped inside. Bea was clearly taken aback by the blue glass ceiling the moment they stepped into the atrium, blue like a midwinter sky an hour or so before it's pitch dark, the kind of colour you associate with velvet no matter what the texture.

The museum was home to the Rosetta Stone, getting close enough to actually see it was a challenge as it seemed that everyone else wanted to congregate around it. The Egyptian room was Allies favourite and they spent longer there than Bea had wanted to but watching the way her face lit up when she started talking was something she didn't want to miss a second of. After three hours of looking around in the overly warm building they all decided that they needed to go back to the hotel for a shower and dinner.

The cab ride back to the hotel was not overly pleasant the muggy heat pressed in on them and Allie had joked that the pavement was probably hot enough to fry a full English breakfast on.

 

 


“Are you joining me?” Allie asked as she started stripping herself of her clothes the second they entered their suite.

Beas mind instantly went back to their extremely pleasurable shower from earlier in the day. “As much as I'd like to, and trust me I really would like to, I don't think that's the best idea do you? We have to meet Maxine for dinner and god knows what will happen later when the director gets here.”

“You could have just said said no I wouldn't have been offended.” Allie smirked.

“Yeah…sorry, old habit.”

Allie crossed the room to where Bea was standing and pulled her gently into a hug. “Never feel like you have to explain everything to me all the time, sometimes yes you might need to but I think a simple yes or no will work most of the time.”

After showering and dressing they went down to the restaurant surprised that Maxine wasn't already waiting for them, it was unusual since they always took much longer to get to the restaurant than she ever did and Bea had to wonder what could possibly keeping her. It was still hot and sitting in the restaurant wasn't helping as it filled up with other hotel guests. Their waiter had asked twice if they were ready to order both times they had said no, the third time he appeared Bea was getting agitated and to get rid of him asked for some iced water.

Allie stared at her with a raised eyebrow. She was sitting tense in her chair, he back slightly arched and her eyes firmly on the door.

“Bea, are you ok?” Allie asked as she reached out over the table to take her hand.

“Yeah, fine,” she mumbled absently, he eyes still on the door.

“Bea, look at me.”

Before she had a chance to turn her head she saw Maxine walking through the door and her demeanour instantly changed, smiling she turned her attention to Allie.

“Sorry…I was just getting worried.”

Allie smiled, Bea was always concerned about everyone she was close to, even more so when something wasn't how she expected it to be, and Maxine being late was out of the ordinary, she got to the table at the same time as the waiter did with the water.

“I'm really sorry to have kept you both waiting, you have ordered without me…” sitting in the empty seat at the table she sighed. “It appears the director is bad at time keeping he said they were arriving late evening, well they couldn't have been off the plane for more than five minutes when I got a phone call.”

“He's here already?” Allie sounded surprised.

“Apparently so, according to Janet as soon as they get to their hotel they are going to freshen up and have a bite to eat, and…well I hope you had no plans for the rest of the day because they are coming over here.”

“Shit.” Bea mumbled.

“You had plans?”

“No, no, we hadn't planned on doing anything…much.” Bea looked across at Allie who had a smirk on her face.

Bea picked up her glass, suddenly the temperature in the room seemed to have increased even more and taking a drink of the ice cold water right then felt like the greatest luxury on earth. The ice fell against the glass and her fingers slid on the condensation almost dropping it as Allie tried to hold in a laugh.

 

 

 

Maxine retreated to the garden followed by Bea who had gone to get them some drinks while Allie had gone to get her sunglasses.

“Janet didn't give you even the slightest clue about why they need to see us so soon?”

“No…strange I know but I guess we'll find out soon enough.”

“Miss me?” Allie walked out into the garden in the goofy oversized sunglasses with neon plastic frames that she'd bought earlier in the day causing both Bea and Maxine to burst out laughing.

“What they don't suit me?” Allie asked laughing as she took them off replacing them with a different pair. “I knew that would cheer you up, I reckon Franky will look a million dollars in them though.”

“Oh I'd love to see that.” Maxine laughed, “That would ruin her reputation for always being so well dressed.”

“She'd lose all her credibility as a bad ass you mean.” Bea joked.

The three of them sat chatting as the heat of the day slowly ebbed into a comfortable warmth, the sun lost its brightness and the colours in the garden had softened. Beas eyes drifted to the cool glass of wine in her hand and then back to Allie, not knowing when the director would eventually show up was playing on her mind and she found herself wishing that he would just hurry up, say what he needed to say and leave them to it. Nothing ever went according to plan did it? She hadn't lied to Maxine when she'd told her they had no plans, they didn't really, except maybe an early night and laying wrapped up in each other until the small hours but that wasn't going to happen if he didn't hurry up.

Just before 9pm they were informed that they had a visitor, when the director of Liberty Brown eventually appeared he looked tired and worried, this was a conversation Bea was not looking forward to mainly because she didn't have the first idea what was even going on.

“You have exceptional taste in hotels Bea, I see why you didn't put it through the expense account.”

Bea smiled nervously, she wasn't in the mood to discuss hotels she just wanted to know what was going on and since he was here what he was going to do about it. He sat quietly for a few minutes looking around the garden before starting to explain why he'd decided to make the trip, he needed to be there, he refused to leave Bea and Allie to deal with something that he should have known about long before now and Sonia shouldn't have been given the role that she was currently in, Sonia Stevens should be in a prison cell along with Joan Ferguson not walking around a free woman in his opinion. It seemed the whole financial world had heard of Joan and even though she had walked away and disappeared she had still been under investigation by the fraud investigation squad in Melbourne, when her name had come up in a conversation with a friend of his he'd been told that she was wanted and had been for the previous 9 years when new evidence had come to light proving her involvement, there were still doubts about the man that had been sent to prison, either Joan really did do a great job at covering her tracks or he was fully aware what was happening. And then came his biggest problem, Sonia had known Joan for years and there were now questions around any involvement she may have had. He didn't want to involve Bea or Allie but he had a plan to look through some of the records before he did anything else.

“How can we help?” Allie asked, her curiosity had peaked and she was intrigued.

Explaining that he had already spoken to Sonia and was meeting with her and Joan at his hotel in the morning, she would never turn down the opportunity to be in a top hotel, it was part of her image to have the best of everything, be seen at the best places so she hadn't been hard to convince. Bea wasn't sure that turning up at the office first thing in the morning since she'd cancelled her meeting was the best plan but it was going to have to work, Maxine could find anything that was hidden away on a computer and she suspected that Allie was just as good.

“What happens after that?” Bea wasn't convinced that they shouldn't have anything to do with it.

“Nothing…I don't want any of you involved, finish your meetings like you have planned and go home, I'll be following you a few days after you leave….Thats the plan, but you never know.”

He left a few minutes later saying he'd call the next evening, he knew he should have just gone straight to the police but he had to know, Will Jackson was looking through everything Sonia had ever been involved with in Melbourne and he hoped that nothing untoward would surface there, just because nothing until now had thrown up a red flag didn't mean that nothing was buried under the mountain of financial records that they kept.

Bea flopped down on the sofa the second they got back to their suite.

“I don't like this, what if someone tells Sonia what we've been doing?”

“Come to bed and I'll tell you exactly why no one is going to tell her or Joan anything.”

Allie knew she was worried and wanted to try and reassure her that no matter how bad it might seem nothing bad was going to happen. Allie was already in bed when Bea eventually dragged herself away from the sofa, her thoughts had descended into a swirling darkness of confusion and chaos. Money can corrupt even the best people she knew that, Sonia was greedy and always had been, it wasn't beyond the realms of possibility that she could be tempted to do just about anything to get what she wanted. A few minutes later she slipped into bed beside Allie laying on her back at looking up at the ceiling certain that as tired as she felt she wouldn't sleep.

“Everything will workout, want me to tell you why I'm sure no one will tell either of them anything?”

“Ok smarty pants tell me the Novak theory.”

“It's quite simple, you know I spoke to everyone in the office, some for longer than others and they all said the same thing, no one likes either of them, or trusts either of them. A couple of them went into detail about how incompetent they thought Sonia was, so why would anyone want to say anything?”

“I guess…I'm still going to worry about it though, you never know people lie, it's in our nature to lie even if it's just to save someone else's feelings from getting hurt.”

Bea was trying to be logical trying to stop her mind from tipping back into a place where she didn't want to go until Allies fingers touched her skin. Then something stirred in her and took over her thinking, the rest of the world became a blur and was banished to a place somewhere in the recesses of her mind, and the only thing of any importance was laying right next to her. Her heart rate accelerated when she felt soft fingers tracing patterns across her stomach and that had nothing to do with fear and everything to do with what her body wanted. She looked towards the window trying to find anything else that could hold her attention other than Allies touch, she'd never wanted another person this much and didn't think it was possible before, Allie could read her like a book, she was sure of that not that she needed to try very hard right then.

Gentle fingers ran over her cheek reorienting her face so that they held each other's gaze, seeing the passion in Allies eyes only magnified the spark that her touch had created. There was only the hint of a smile playing at the corners of her lips, the hot intensity of her gaze was the start of the inferno that was to come and they both felt it.

Allies finger tips were electric, at least Bea thought that they must be, every time she touched her her skin tingled in a burst of static. As her fingers trailed over her skin her body had a transitory paralysis, her mind couldn't process the pleasure she felt fast enough. Allie leaning in to whisper in her ear suddenly threw her body out of pause mode and Bea pulled her in for a kiss that was both soft and hard, both of them now in an intoxicated dance of limbs and lips that had the possibility to last all night.

 

Chapter Text

There was something so soothing about waking up in Allies arms, even when she knew that this day could turn to shit as long as they were together she had to believe that she could get through anything with her there.

“You're miles away again.” Allie mumbled as her eyes slowly opened. “What are you thinking about?”

“You…” Bea ran her fingers down her cheek. “Always you.”

When they arrived at the office the receptionist was surprised to see them but said nothing, everyone knew Sonia and Joan weren't going to be in the office until after lunch, Sonia had given some strange explanation about the director of Liberty Brown being impressed with her work and wanted a meeting leaving everyone else in the office puzzled but then nothing that either of them ever did would really surprise anyone, from the moment Sonia had arrived she was rarely present throughout the whole day when Joan arrived two weeks later it seemed that neither of them were ever there.

“What are you going to do?” Bea whispered to Allie who just winked at her before smiling at Maxine, if she didn't know better she would swear that the two of them had already planned something.

“Just trust us, you go and find someone to talk to and we'll be in the conference room.”

Bea didn't want to leave them alone but they obviously weren't going to share whatever it was that they were up to so there was no point in arguing even though she still had that uneasy feeling again. Walking into the office that was slowly becoming familiar the office manager, Kelly, greeted her enthusiastically before asking if she needed anything.

Bea found the person she thought was the best person to speak to, Anthony, the accounts manager, she was sure that if anyone would spot any irregularities it would be him, she quizzed him for a while but hearing nothing of great significance she decided that he actually didn't seem all that interested in his job anyway, not that she thought accounting was very interesting. The rest of the team seemed more than willing to speak to her and answer any questions she asked but after all the great comments about the new revenue sharing model she came to one conclusion, the accounts manager probably knew more than he was letting on since he didn't have a bad word to say about either Sonia or Joan.

Bea returned to the conference room finding both Allie and Maxine still staring intently at the screens of their lap tops, Maxine looked up smiled and went straight back to whatever she was engrossed in. They needed to leave before Sonia got back to the office but watching Allie so completely absorbed in the task she was undertaking with a fierce look of concentration on her face made her even more adorable and she sat down quietly for a few minutes. Bea sat and watched her chew on her bottom lip as she frowned a little then her eyes seemed to light up a little more if that was even a possibility.

“I've got something….Maxi I…shit Bea when did you come in?”

“A few minutes ago, what have you found?”

“I can't tell you, we shouldn't really be looking at some things.”

“And what exactly are you looking at that you shouldn't be looking at?”

“We may or may not have stumbled on Sonia's password and maybe took a look at some of her personal files. In my defence some of the things she has files for shouldn't be saved on the server to begin with.”

Bea frowned and looked at them both. “How did you just stumble onto her password?”

“Oh that wasn't difficult given that we know Sonia, after all she does think she is above everyone else.”

“So what is it?” Bea was baffled.

Maxine and Allie looked at each other and nodded. “God.” They both said in unison.

“And how did you manage to work that out?”

“Seriously Bea sometimes you are clueless have you never heard that the most common passwords are love, sex, secret or god? Have you been living under a rock?” Maxine chuckled.

Bea wasn't going to ask anymore questions, not right then anyway, the priority was leaving, grabbing lunch and heading straight back for their meeting. There were so many ways they could get caught out all it needed was for the receptionist to mention that they had been there all morning. Allie naturally came up with a plausible reason, if she did know they would just tell her that it had been easier to make the conference call from the office than their hotel. Bea had tried to argue that they had conference rooms at the hotel that they could have used for that until Maxine pointed out one fact that she appeared to have overlooked, Sonia didn't know where they were staying, and not every hotel in London had conference rooms available at short notice if they had them at all.

Their afternoon meeting dragged, Sonia spoke more about their morning with the director telling them what a great job he thought she was doing. ‘She is so full of herself,’ Bea thought knowing that the director had never once ever said anything good about Sonia even when she was in Melbourne. When they finally arrived back at the hotel they were all tired and decided to call it a day opting to order room service rather than sit in the stuffy restaurant.

The director chose to call Bea while they were right in the middle of eating, informing her of everything that he had spoken about with Sonia before asking to speak to Allie. Maxine had already sent the files that they had copied over to Janet before they had left the office for lunch and though no irregularities had shown up on any of the accounts they had checked there were a great deal of suspicious emails between Sonia and Joan, some of them dating back to while she was still in Melbourne. Handing the phone back to Bea she was slightly surprised that he told her to make sure that they all took Monday off to recover from the flight home, they were due to arrive back in Melbourne at 0615 on Monday morning, Bea tried to tell him that it wasn't necessary but he was adamant that everything was running smoothly under the watchful eye of the chief operating officer, and that one more day without her presence in the office wasn't going to make a great deal of difference, she needed to be alert when she got back to work and certainly wouldn't be if she was jet lagged.

Friday was full of meetings and Bea was actually thankful that the director had decided that he wanted to be present at them meaning Sonia was a little more guarded with the things she said and Allie was relieved that there were no more of her outbursts to deal with.

After finishing their packing after breakfast on Saturday morning they decided to spend a few hours wandering around London and Allie insisted that she had to find a perfect gift for Debbie.

“She'd be happy with anything, and you really don't need to buy her anything I'm sure Liz has spoilt her rotten, Franky too.”

“But I don't want to give her just anything and I want to get her something so don't argue with me.”

“Fine!” Bea huffed, there was no point in arguing, when Allie made her mind up about something she wasn't easily swayed and that reminded her of Debbie.

Maxine followed behind them quite happily as they looked around shop after shop, Bea had forgotten just how much Allie was like Debbie when it came down to shopping and she almost expected to be dragged back to the first shop Allie had spotted something in that she liked. After lunch they had continued to look around until Maxine spotted Foyles bookshop and said she was popping in for a few minutes, Bea didn't want to lose her so rather than just letting her catch up with them they went with her. The gift section of the book shop stood out to Allie straight away and finally found something that she though Debbie would like, the London memory game, designed for people who had never visited but wanted to learn more. There'd talked on the phone every time Bea had called her and she'd asked for something different and Allie hadn't found anything that wasn't overly touristy until now.

Later that day they were sitting in the first class lounge waiting for their flight to board, none of them were looking forward to taking a late flight but at the time Bea had booked their flights it had seemed like a good idea.

“Back home its already Sunday morning.” Allie frowned when she thought about the two flights that they were going to have to take to get home, and a late flight wasn't what she was looking forward to now at all, her and Bea had slept in the same bed for a week and now they had to spend god knows how long apart. She didn't know what to expect when they got home except that it would be 0615 on Monday morning when they finally landed in Melbourne.

 

 

 

Getting off the plane in Melbourne on Monday morning the three of them were exhausted, none of them had had a great deal of sleep and now all they wanted to do was get home and sleep. Knowing that she didn't have to get herself into work that morning had made Bea stay awake longer than she had intended talking to Allie who still wouldn't tell her about what her and Maxine had found, she just kept on saying that it was better that she didn't know. Dropping Maxine off first Bea didn't want Allie to leave.

“Ummm, come back to mine…I mean it's better that way you won't disturb Franky.”

“I wouldn't care if I did she's woken me up often enough, but if you really want me to…”

“I do…I don't want you to think you have to though, if you want to go home I wouldn't mind…l”

“Bea…you're rambling, I'd much rather be wherever you are.”

They both left their suitcases in the hall, kicked off their shoes and pulled their jackets off.

“I forgot how cold it would be here, want a coffee?” Bea asked and Allie just nodded as she yawned. “You sound like you're ready for bed, go up I'll bring them up, that's if you can keep your eyes open that long.”

“I won't fall asleep straight away, not unless you're there.” Bea rolled her eyes and went to the kitchen leaving Allie to go upstairs. Stripping off down to her underwear she slipped into bed, sitting up against the headboard she flicked on the tv, she had no intention of falling asleep until Bea was right beside her, for all she knew this might be the last time they fell asleep in each other's arms if Bea really was going to tell Debbie about their relationship.

Bea nudged the bedroom door open a little more before kicking it closed and walking over to the bed handing Allie her coffee, putting her own down she stripped off and got into bed. The coffee had been a waste of time since they both lay down without drinking a mouthful or turning the tv off and fell asleep almost as soon as their heads hit the pillows.

Waking up a few hours later Allie picked her head up slightly to look at the time, almost 11am, they had nothing to get up for but they also couldn't sleep for the rest of the day, they had to be back at work the next day. Getting out of bed she used the bathroom and freshened up a little before pulling on a t shirt and collecting the still full mugs of coffee Bea had made them earlier. Heading down to the kitchen she made fresh coffee and went back to the bedroom to wake Bea up. Getting back in bed she lay down running her fingers softly down Beas face before she opened her eyes.

“Good morning beautiful.” Allie smiled.

“I bet you say that to all the women you wake up with.”

“Hmmm, no, there's only one I've ever said it to and really meant it.”

“Lucky woman.” Bea giggled.

“Na…I'm the lucky one since I have her right here.”

“Is that right…what time is it?”

“Just gone eleven, I made fresh coffee.”

Bea sat up reaching for the mug taking a mouthful, “I needed that…shit I have so much to do before I pick Deb up from Liz.”

Allie had no intention of leaving Beas side until she really had to, the prospect of sitting around alone for the rest of the day at Franky's while she was at work wasn't very enticing anyway and she'd much rather help Bea do whatever she needed to do even if it was something as simple as going to the supermarket.

When the time came for Bea to go and pick Debbie up all Allie felt was sadness, everything else just felt like ash on the floor.

“You want to come with me? I know Deb would love to see you.”

“I don't want to be in the way, beside Franky will wonder where I've got to she knew we were due home today.”

“She didn't know what time though did she?”

“No that's true, I guess another hour wouldn't hurt, ok, I'll come with you.”

When Bea knocked on the door they heard Debbie running to the door telling Liz she'd get it.

“Mum!” Debbie squealed as soon as the door flew open, throwing her arms around her she hugged her tight until she saw Allie standing behind her, letting go of Bea almost immediately she jumped in to Allies arms. “I'm so pleased to see you…how was it? Did it rain? Did you see the Tower of London? Buckingham Palace?”

“Slow down kiddo, one question at once.”

“Sorry…I'm just want to know everything.”

“I'm sure Allie will tell you everything if you let her go Deb.”

“Oh yeah…come in Liz is making coffee and I want to show Allie my history essay that I did while you've been away, I got an A.”

Bea shook her head as she looked at Allie before they both went in, Allie was nervous she knew Bea had spoken to Liz about them but Allie hadn't seen her the whole time she'd been back and didn't know what she was going to say to her now. Liz walked out of the kitchen a huge smile on her face seeing Bea first since Allie was still following behind.

“It's good to have you home love, now what is young De…..Allie is that really you?”

“I'm afraid so.”

“Well haven't you grown up since the last time I saw you? I believe Debbie wants you in the living room, Bea will you help me with the coffee?”

They stayed for an hour before Bea drove home, as they walked into the house Allie got her suitcase saying that she had better be getting home or Franky would be sending out a search party for her.

“Mum, tell Allie she's got to stay for dinner.”

“Deb, she hasn't been home for over a week, and after all your talking about school and your essay she'd probably enjoy the peace and quiet.”

“But I don't want her to go, why can't she just call Franky and tell her that's she's here?” Debbie pouted as she folded her arms across her chest. “And it's getting late so we can have pizza and I know that's Allies favourite.”

Allie laughed, “I can't argue with that can I?”

“You can but something tells me you aren't going to.”

 

 

 

Bea woke up the next morning after a restless night, Allie not being there hadn't helped and she was sure she would never get a good nights rest again when she wasn't sleeping beside her. Getting out of bed an hour before her alarm was due to wake her up she had a shower and went to make coffee. She felt like she was stuck in a vortex of stress and nervous energy, still feeling tired wasn't helping either.

Debbie walked in to the kitchen an hour later and looked around surprised that Allie wasn't there.

“Allie went home?” She asked sadly. “Why can't she stay here with us I miss her, Franky doesn't miss her she’s got Br…” Debbie covered her mouth with her hand, she hadn't meant to slip up, Franky wanted to tell Bea herself.

“Franky's got who?” Bea asked with a raised eyebrow, she knew Franky was up to something but surly she hadn't actually met someone that she would actually contemplate a real relationship with.

“Mum I can't tell you, can you forget I said that.”

“Since you didn't actually say anything I guess I'll have to wait, but I do need to talk to you Deb.”

Slipping Debbie's breakfast and a glass of juice down on the table she sat down opposite her daughter watching her for a few minutes trying to figure out how to say what she needed to say to her.

“Mum just spit it out already or we'll sit here all day and I have to go to school.”

“Yeah…I…well…how would you feel about…how would you feel if…” Taking a deep breath. “If Allie and I were together?”

Debbie sat looking across the table looking at her chewing a mouthful of food.

“Deb?” The silence filled her with dread.

“Mum you always tell me not to speak with my mouth full…you mean Allies your girlfriend like…never mind. Does that mean she'll be over more?”

“I guess, but you didn't answer the question.”

“Oh yeah….its cool, I like Allie, she's way better at helping me with my homework anyway.” Debbie shrugged.

“That's really all your going to say?”

“Mum, I'm 12 not 5, what did you think I was going to say?….Oh I get it…you were waiting for me to say that I don't like it and I don't want Allie in the house or something like that?”

“Well, no, I was hoping not but…”

“It stopped being strange weeks ago, she's always here anyway, and I'm kinda guessing you've been together that long.”

 

 

 

When Bea walked into her office that morning she hadn't decided if she should call Allie or just go to her office, looking at her desk her heart sank, there was a huge pile of paperwork waiting for her. ‘Fuck it.” She thought to herself as she walked back out of her office running into Maxine.

“Where are you off to?”

“Just need to go and see Allie for a few minutes.”

“Of course you do hun, I doubt that pile of work is going to disappear, there's every possibility that it may get bigger so take your time.”

Walking into he finance department Will was talking to Matt and he smiled at her before saying something to Matt and walking over to her. “So.” He said a bright smile on his face. “How was the London trip?”

“Seemed to go well…everyone seemed to buy into the new model.” Bea looked around noticing that Linda was obviously listening to what they were saying. “Actually I just came down to have a word with Allie about it, why don't you join me in her office?”

“Yes sure, just give me a sec.” Will winked at her before walking back over to Matt.

Allie was sitting at her desk staring at a pile of files that had appeared on her desk while they were away, she was thinking about calling Bea just to hear her voice, she'd missed her when she woke up and she knew talking to her would give her the motivation she needed to tackle the pile of files cluttering up her desk.

“Looking at it won't make it go away.” Bea giggled.

“Hey…what are you doing here?”

“Oh that's nice…I missed you this morning and…well, I spoke to Deb.”

“You did?” Allie found herself feeling nervous, what if Bea had come to tell her that they couldn't see each other anymore.

“Don't look so worried Allie…I told you she'd be fine, actually when I dropped her off at school she said I have to tell you that you have to come over for dinner.”

“What if I have other plans?”

“Then I'll have a very grumpy daughter to deal with.”

“Good thing I have no plans then.”

Will knocked on the door and waited, hearing Allies voice he opened the door.

“I know it went well except for the whole Sonia, Joan Ferguson show, sorry Allie that's what all that's for, I have an even bigger pile on my desk if that helps, Matts working on a pile of old account files also, we've got to double check. Anyway did the new model go down well?”

“With everyone but Sonia, seemed that the only questions they had really were about reporting, that's not been finished being built into the new accounting software yet but it should be done by the end of the week…shit!” A sudden thought occurred to Allie, “That's why Sonia wanted changes making to the model, the new reporting system would make it next to impossible to hide anything untoward.”

“The new models perfect Allie, and I heard Bea lost it with Sonia as soon as she opened that mouth of hers, with any luck she'll be replaced soon. Well I need to get back to my desk, don't forget we have a management committee meeting on Friday, you two should free up some time to prep for the meeting since I know you spent a lot of time working on the new model together.” Will gave Bea another wink before leaving to go back to his own office, it was getting old now and she wished he'd just knock it off but didn't want to make a big thing out of it.

“Before I go and tackle the pile of work that's waiting for me on my desk has Franky said anything about anyone new in her life to you?”

“No she was a bit cagey, she asked what we'd been doing while we were away, and you know what she's like trying to get to know everything, by the way she asked if I saw you first if we could cancel our normal Friday night dinner plans, she wants us to go to hers, and by us I mean Debbie as well.”

“Debbie knows something, she almost slipped up this morning, what do you think we should do?”

“If we want to know what's going on then we better have dinner with her.”

Bea returned to her office, she had to at least try to do some work, not that her mind was on anything other than Allie, occasionally her thoughts wandered to what Franky wanted the three of them for. Halfway through an overly boring financial report Maxine brought her a coffee.

“Sorry to spoil your day but tomorrow is going to be crazy, your presence has been requested in two client meetings in the morning, you have a strategic planning meeting with the finance department after lunch and the director has requested a conference call with you, Allie and Will after that, he also said to let you know that he won't be back until next week.”

“So I won't have a minute to myself tomorrow?”

Maxine shook her head, she'd seen Franky first thing, it was strange for her to be in the office early and as far as she could make out from what little Franky was giving away there had been some developments on the Sonia and Joan saga, she had tried to get her to say more but she got the impression when she fell silent before changing the subject that she might have already said more than she should have. It was a little troublesome that the director had requested a conference call, although it might help to get to the bottom of things.

The rest of the day dragged for everyone it seemed, Maxine had been up and down to various floors so many times she lost count, she'd seen Allie to let her know about the conference call, ran into Franky a couple of times and now she was just relieved that it was almost 5pm, the first day back at work was always the worst even when they had only been gone for a couple of days, the London trip had been hard work and she really had no clue how Bea managed it, just slipping straight back into work without batting an eyelid, not that Maxine couldn't usually just settle back into her usual routine but this was a little different, with Janet now in London Maxine was relaying things back to her that needed taking care of and it was already getting monotonous.

Bea had contemplated taking a couple of files home with her until she remembered Allie was going over for dinner, with any luck she'd stay the night and after the previous nights lack of sleep she really wanted her to, falling into bed next to Allie she knew she was guaranteed to fall asleep.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Work was crazy until Thursday, everything seemed to have returned to normal when Bea and Allie had walked into their offices that morning, the only thing Bea found out of the ordinary was that Franky was waiting for her in her office.

“So, gonna tell me why Allie is hardly ever home?”

“I don't know have you tried asking her?”

“Piss off Red, there's only one place that girl would be and that's with you.”

“So why do you need to ask if you know where she is?”

“Well shit…sooo…it's serious then? I mean you finally came to your senses?”

“Fuck off Franky…Now do you actually want something?”

“Haven't seen ya in ages what with ya being in London, this situation is fucked up…but yeah, are ya all coming for dinner tomorrow or what?”

“I believe so, unless you've changed your mind.”

Franky stayed for another ten minutes until Maxine had to practically kick her out, Bea and Allie had a meeting to go over everything before the management committee meeting and Franky would only distract them from working, not that Maxine expected them to keep their minds on work or their hands off each other the second they were alone, she liked the new version of Bea, having Allie in her life had changed her for the better, she'd seen that spark between them long before Bea even realised it was there and had encouraged her to spend more time with Allie even though she was sure that she hadn't really needed encouragement, she'd have worked it out for herself eventually but Maxine hadn't been prepared to wait that long. Bea deserved to be happy and she was most definitely happy.

“Have you seen Franky?” Allie asked as she turned to close the door behind her, getting the shock of her life when Bea walked up behind her, spun her around and pushed her up against the wall, kissing her like Allie had always fantasied about.

“Did you miss me that much?” Allie asked when she regained her composure.

“I always miss you.” Bea said as she walked back to her chair, “Now sit, we have work to do.”

“Ohhh, bossy…I like it, you know I think bossy Bea is almost as hot as angry Bea.”

“Is that right? And to answer your question yes I have seen Franky.”

Right before lunch Maxine knocked on the door wanting to know if they were going out or eating in the office, neither of them answered straight away and Maxine already knew the answer as she watched them looking at the computer screen running yet another simulation of the distribution outcomes of the new model. Neither of them had even thought about testing it until now, not that either of them was going to complain about spending their day together, because the morning meeting they had scheduled was fast becoming an all day meeting. When Maxine finally got their attention Allie asked if she would mind picking up sushi for her and Bea had agreed.

Walking out of the building she heard Franky calling out to her.

“You goin to lunch or just to the deli?”

“Bea and Allie are still working so I guess we're all having lunch at our desks, did you actually want something Franky or are you just fishing for gossip?”

“Na Maxi ya know I don't gossip…are they actually working though?”

“Francesca Doyle what kind of a question is that? Of course they're working, might be for the rest of the day.”

Taking a break when Maxine returned Bea had asked her to stay but she excused herself, she had emails to reply to and her morning had gotten away from her when she again been running around the building doing anything other than her own job, she'd be relieved when Janet returned from London, doing the jobs of two people was getting tiring.

Allie playfully teased Bea about her lack of chopstick skills as they set the remnants of their lunch to one side before turning their attention back to the the table of outputs yet another simulation had created and Allie had printed. Allies eyes shifted from one table to the next as she muttered numbers under her breath.

“A hundred basis points isn't really that significant Allie.” Bea frowned a little as she scanned the same tables.

“Hmmm, maybe not but think about the big earners we have, it's definitely significant then.”

Bea sighed. “You just had to say that didn't you? Now we're going to have to do more work and I really can't think of anything I'd rather not do.”

“Come on you know you're a glutton for punishment, you don't want to get caught out in the meeting tomorrow do you, I mean a one percent gap is still a gap and we don't want to look like we don't know what we're doing do we?” Allie sat in Beas chair and turned her attention to the computer, resetting the model and the parameters for yet another simulation as Bea leaned in over her shoulder.

“You're a back seat driver you know that? I can do this without your help you know.”

Bea giggled, “ You don't want my help or are you trying to say I'm a control freak?”

“I'm not saying anything of the sort, you know I love it when you help me, but I need to focus and you're not helping me do that. You are way too distracting you do know that right?”

Allie had gone over the model so many times that she knew it off by heart and she checked the assumption variables off one by one in her head when it hit her what was wrong.

“We locked in inflation and never unlocked it that's what's wrong.” Bea looked at Allie puzzled. “Remember earlier, we ran the model with inflation locked to get a worst case scenario assessment.”

“Fuck! I forgot about that, it couldn't be anything else could it?”

Allie changed the inflation variable before setting the model running again and sat back waiting for it to finish.

“Maybe we should leave early today, pick Deb up and go out for dinner.”

“And when do you ever leave early?”

“I do sometimes…next you'll be saying I'm a workaholic.”

“Well if the shoe fits…actually if this works out this time I think its a fantastic idea, I know a great Italian restaurant that does the best pizza I've ever had, Debbie will love it.”

Just when Bea thought that it was impossible to fall in love with Allie anymore she'd do or say something that would prove that assumption wrong, most people would have run a mile from someone who came with a 12 year old daughter but Allie wasn't most people and she'd done everything she possibly could to prove that to her.

“I think she'd love that.”

“I think I love that picture, your mum and dad haven't changed a bit.”

Allie had never sat at Beas desk before so had only ever seen the back of the frame, it was a great picture of Bea and Debbie with her mum and dad.

“I'll have to take you over to visit them, we don't see them that often, they moved after dad retired, that was taken last Christmas.”

“Hmmm, maybe…it would be nice to see them again but…”

“Hey mum remembers you, dad too probably I haven't spoken to him for a while.”

“Yes but…”

“But nothing, you worry too much about what people think, you were convinced that Deb was going to throw a tantrum when I told her, she loves you, mum and dad will too.”

“If you say so…” Allie noticed that the model had finished running and hit print, getting up from the chair she walked over to the printer grabbing the new table before walking back over to Bea.

“I do say so, mums always told me not to rule out meeting someone else, then there you were. Actually I think they'll be more shocked about Franky meeting someone than us being together.”

Bea took the piece of paper Allie was holding and looked at it, “You cracked it.” Bea waved the piece of paper in front of Allie. “Only a five basis point gap now.”

“Great.” Allie sighed.

They sat and talked about a couple of other things that they needed to go over before tomorrow's meeting when there was a knock on the door and Franky walked in.

“Knew you'd both be in here.” She grinned as she pulled up a chair.

“Can we help you?” Allie asked before Bea was able to say a word.

“Thought you'd wanna know, the police investigation into Joan Ferguson has thrown up all kinds of crazy shit, turns out Sonia knew all about what Joan has done, sounds like she might have even helped her hide the profits.”

“Shit, so what happens now?” Bea asked.

“All I know is that a couple of detectives from the fraud investigation squad have flown over to London to work with a fraud team from the city of London police. Seems those files you sent to Janet have set all types of alarm bells ringing and the police over there are looking into both of them, they already have enough evidence to bring Joan back but it seems they want both of them. Anyway can't sit here talking to you two all day, work to do and all that…guessing I'm not going to be seeing ya at home tonight Allie?”

“Maybe, depends.”

Franky left leaving them to it, she needed to go and see Will and if she was honest she really didn't care if Allie went home or not anymore, it had been obvious that they were together since they had got back but neither of them had said anything to anyone, either way she was going to ask them on Friday, she felt like she deserved to know the truth and Allie had been correct when she said that she'd been trying to push them together, although she had only really thought that they'd be friends, she'd never imagined that Bea would feel the same way about Allie as Allie had always felt about her.

“You ready to get out of here?”

“It's not even 3pm yet are you sure?”

“I am, haven't you had enough for one day?”

“Yeah your right…I'm going to go home and I'll pick you and Debbie up about six.”

 

 

Allie arrived early as usual, knocking on the door she heard Debbie running to the door.

“Where are we going? Mum said something about pizza.”

“Oh she did did she, what if I've changed my mind?”

“You wouldn't!”

“No of course not, where is your mum anyway?”

“Still getting ready…we might have to go without her, I'm starving.”

“Oh that's just typical, forget about your mum just think about your stomach.” Bea said as she walked into the living room.

As soon as Allies eyes landed on Bea her heart felt as if it was thumping out of her chest. She took a deep breath but before she could say a word her phone beeped, pulling her phone from her bag she quickly read the text message.

“Franky! Come on let's go before Deb starves to death.”

It didn't take long to drive over to the restaurant, Debbie talked excitedly all the way there after Allie told her where they were going. Allie glanced over at Bea who looked completely lost in thought, reaching over she took her hand in hers entwining their fingers, Bea turned her head and smiled at her. When they got to the restaurant Debbie was already out of the car and through the door before either of them had taken their seat belts off.

“Think someone's hungry.” Allie laughed.

“And excited…we don't, I mean I never really take her out to eat much, this means a lot to her, she's never really had this…I mean Franky takes her out and Liz does all the time but this…the three of us….”

“Hey, I get it ok…I know how it feels remember.”

As soon as they walked through the door Debbie was right there waiting for them, they soon found themselves seated at a table, a waiter seemed to materialise from out of nowhere.

“Here are your menus.” He said as he handed them out, looking at Bea first. “Would you like to order something to drink?”

“I'll have a white wine, Deb you want a Coke?” Debbie nodded as her and Allie were both scanning their menus, Allie asked for water and the waiter disappeared for a few minutes while they decided what they wanted. After he returned with their drinks he took their orders and vanished again. The three of them chatted quite happily until their food arrived, Debbie had almost fallen silent after her first mouthful of pizza, by the time their pizzas were finished Bea and Allie had had yet another long and entertaining conversation, earning them a few laughs from Debbie especially when they had started talking about Franky, she'd never seen her mum get on with someone as well as she got on with Allie and she was enjoying spending time with them, it felt different, like something she'd been missing all her life without even knowing it.

The waiter now seemed to have done a complete vanishing act and Allie was becoming annoyed, she was very aware that they needed to leave as Debbie had school the next morning and on reflection she shouldn't have suggested going out to eat on a school night. Allie got up and went in search of the waiter leaving Bea and Debbie alone and Bea couldn't quite fathom how she could miss her already. Allie reappeared a few minutes later saying that she paid the bill and asked if they were ready to leave, laughing a little when Debbie started to yawn.

On the drive back to Beas Debbie was slightly quieter than before, the second Bea had unlocked the door she was on her way to her room saying goodnight to them both and saying she'd see them in the morning.

“Seems I don't need to ask if you're staying someone has already made that assumption.”

“I'm not sure I should, I mean we have a meeting in the morning.”

“And if you don't I know I won't sleep properly and Debs will be disappointed in the morning.”

“Right, guess I've run out of arguments to go home then.”

“Strangely I don't recall you putting up much of an argument.”

A while later they were sitting on the sofa, Beas head leaning against Allies shoulder as they talked about the meeting they had the next day, Allie, as Bea had come to expect, was more nervous about it than she should be. Bea was just about to tell her why she really had no need to be nervous when Allies phone started ringing, she looked at Bea apologetically as she pulled it from her pocket.

“Hello….yes Franky….No….Fucks sake Franky don't call me again.”

Bea had already sunk back against the sofa expecting it to be a much longer conversation until Allie abruptly ended the call.

“Sometimes she's just impossible… I'm really going to look for a place of my own.”

“Oh! What did she say this time?”

“Ya know, the usual, complaining.”

 

 


Early Friday morning and Debbie woke up excited keeping Franky's secret had almost been too much to bare and in a few hours time she wasn't going to have to worry about slipping up again, she jumped out of bed and almost ran to Beas room, opening the door slowly and quietly pleased to see that Allie was still there. She hadn't intended to wake either of them up and as she was about to close the door she heard Allies voice.

“Something wrong Deb?” She asked sleepily.

“No, sorry I didn't mean to wake you up, just wanted to check that you were still here.”

“Aren't you awake a little early?” Allie asked as she glanced at the time.

“Couldn't sleep, I'm excited about tonight, are you sure you really have no clue what Franky wants to tell you?”

“Well I've figured out that it has something to do with someone she's obviously met.” Allie sat up and patted the space beside her, “Come on, get in you'll get cold.”

Debbie smiled as she got into the bed and cuddled into Allies side. “Can I ask you something?”

“Of course sweetheart you can ask me anything.”

“How long have you known mum and Franky?”

“Since before you were born, I lived in the same foster home as Franky, then I got sent back to live with my mum and dad.”

“You kept in touch with Franky though.”

“Not always, I got myself into a bad situation my mum died and I left home after I left school, I haven't seen my dad or my brothers for years.”

Bea woke up, closing her eyes again she lay and listened to them talking.

“Don't you miss them? Your brothers I mean, I would…I always wanted a brother or sister, mum always said she was happy just having me.”

“I miss them sometimes, I don't even know where they are now.”

They talked for another ten minutes before Bea opened her eyes making them both jump a little when she spoke.

“Why are you in our bed Deb?”

“Mum don't do that…I couldn't sleep and Allie has a habit of sneaking off when I go to bed so I wanted to know if she was still here, but Allie woke up.”

“So your pestering her?”

“Debs not pestering me at all, I happen to love talking to her almost as much as I love talking to you.”

Debbie stuck her tongue out at Bea and got out of bed saying she was going to have a shower and get ready for school, “and you need to get up and feed me.” Debbie giggled as she walked out of the room.

Bea got out of bed ten minutes later, prising herself away from Allie always felt like the hardest thing in the world to do and if Debbie hadn't already been awake she would have dragged her into the shower with her but she knew she needed to hurry up before Debbie came back looking for them.

Allie sat in her office for ten minutes staring at the wall when Will knocked on the door reminding her that the meeting was due to start in twenty minutes, he knew that she was never late but he knew Bea always waited for her by the elevator. Bea had changed so much that much was clear, she never waited for anyone not even Franky, she stayed shut in her office and rarely visited any other floor but that was before Allie and Will couldn't deny that the way Bea was now had to be how she was when she was younger, full of life and happy. Allie had changed her for the better and it was a wonderful thing to see. He'd been a little shocked when Franky had first pointed out to him that Bea and Allie were clearly way more than friends and then he'd felt a little disappointed because he'd always liked Bea, asked her out for drinks or dinner so many times that he'd lost count but he was happy for her for both of them. And he'd recently met someone who he planned on introducing them all to on Saturday night, the director had called Will at the beginning of the week asking him to organise something to thank the finance team for all their hard work, and more importantly Allie. Bea never went to things like that, ever, she avoided their annual Christmas party but she'd been more than happy to accept the invitation as soon as he'd told her about it.

As predicted Bea was leaning on the wall waiting for Allies appearance and as usual Allie was nervous, there was always something about meetings that got under her skin not that she'd ever been able to work out why they made her so nervous, Bea had been in everyone she'd ever had to speak at something she was thankful for because her presence always calmed her.

“I was beginning to think that you'd got lost.” Bea smiled.

“I was trying to think of an excuse not to come and that's not easy when I know you'll be waiting for me.”

“Good because if you didn't show up I'd come looking for you myself.”

Franky hated management committee meetings, she'd rather not go to them at all because when talk turned to financial matters that she didn't understand or even want to try to understand she switched off. Today was not an easy day to get through, in a few hours she was going to be introducing Bridget to Bea and Allie and that made her nervous. She'd never thought for a single second that she would meet someone like her, someone who understood her the way Bridget did, never in her life had she thought that she would ever want to settle down with someone but then again she'd never expected Bea to fall for Allie, she'd always been so adamant that she was fine on her own and all she needed was Debbie and the few people she called friends.

Franky loved Bea like a sister and inviting them over for dinner was a big deal, not that she hadn't cooked for Bea in the past because it used to be something she regularly did, she'd often invite her and Debbie over during the week when she knew she was exhausted and wouldn't want to bother cooking, but this was so different, a good different but she was so nervous.

“Are we boring you Franky?” Bea asked a slight hint of amusement in her tone.

“What?….Sorry, umm…things on my mind.”

“Hmmm, if you could try and concentrate for a few minutes I would appreciate it.”

“Yeah sorry Re….Bea.” She shook her head all she wanted to do was get out of the bored room and go home, she had so much to do, she'd worked later everyday that week, took work home and only seen Bridget once. Allie had questioned her a few times since they got back and not telling her about Bridget had gotten harder as the week had gone on, thankfully she hadn't seen Allie a great deal outside of work so hadn't had to keep making excuses for her recently changed behaviour. Debbie had promised not to say anything to either of them and she obviously hadn't or she knew that Bea would have been in her office asking countless annoying questions. Maybe it had been a mistake introducing Debbie to Bridget while they were away but Franky had wanted to take her out for the day and couldn't think of anything more perfect than having Bridget with her.

As soon as the meeting wrapped up Franky bolted out of the bored room, running into her office she gathered her things together and left, it was almost lunch time and she was expecting Bridget over at five, Bea, Allie and Debbie at six. She had carefully planned what she wanted to make for dinner and needed to stop off on her way home to pick up the fresh ingredients that she needed. She wanted everything to be as perfect as she could, it was a big deal, Bea, Allie and Debbie were the closest thing she had to a real family, Liz and Boomer had already met her and they both loved her but Bea was as protective over Franky as Franky was over Bea, added to that Franky had insisted that she wasn't the type to settle down, ever. But hadn't Bea said exactly the same thing?

 

Chapter Text

Franky was all over the place when she finally arrived home and she couldn't sit still, it was too early to start cooking so she occupied herself cleaning the kitchen, not that it needed cleaning, if there was one room in the house that was always spotless it was the kitchen, the rest of the house was generally another matter altogether especially Franky's bedroom although she had been spending more time trying to keep it tidy.

At five o'clock on the dot there was a knock on the door, Franky stopped to check how she looked in the mirror in the hall before opening the door.

“Hey, come in, I think I'm going insane.” Franky chuckled.

“Before you go anywhere do you want to talk about?” Bridget asked as she stepped into the hall and brushed passed Franky.

“Can you remind me again why I thought tonight was a good idea?”

“You said that if Bea could finally take a chance on a relationship then so could you…but if you don't want me to meet your friends I can go.”

Bridget followed Franky through to the kitchen, she'd never seen her so nervous and she was sure that it wasn't just about this being the first time she was meeting her best friend, Franky had introduced her to Liz and Boomer and although she had seemed unsure how they would react she wasn't pacing the floor like she was now. Franky had told her a little about what Bea had been through before she introduced her to Debbie and Bridget was certain that if Bea was as much like her as Franky said she was they would get on well.

“Gidge…I don't want that, I want you to meet them, ya know my history, I've never had to do this before, Reds like the sister I never had, I'm being stupid, tonight will be great because you're right here with me.”

Debbie practically ran to the door as soon as she got out of the car. “You think that's a good sign?” Allie asked as they followed her up the path.

“She doesn't take to new people easily so I'm guessing that's a yes.”

Franky opened the door giving Debbie a hug who quickly disappeared into the house in search of Bridget finding her sitting on the sofa.

“You alright Franky?” Be asked seeing the slightly worried expression on her face.

“Yeah…I guess…it's…well shit Red when I have ever introduced ya to anyone?”

“Hmmm…” Bea thought for a few seconds, “Honestly, this is a first…unless you count bumping into someone while we're out and you trying to avoid them.”

“Yeah well, this time it's different…so ya coming in or standing here all evening?”

Following Franky through to the living room they found Debbie and Bridget sitting on the sofa chatting away quite happily.

“So….Red, Allie this is Gidge. Gidge, Red and Allie.”

Bridget got up from the sofa, “Its Bridget, pleased to meet you both I've heard so much about you both.”

“Franky loves to give everyone nicknames, I'm Bea funny how she's never found one for Allie yet.”

“I have.” Franky quickly jumped in, “But none of em were ever appropriate to say in company.”

An hour later Franky had completely forgotten why she had been nervous in the first place as they all sat down to dinner together and chatted liked they had all known each other for years. Bea seemed to be completely comfortable and Franky knew that had everything to with Allie being there she was certain that if she'd invited just her and Debbie over to meet someone before she had Allie around she would have flat out refused or showed up and made an excuse to leave early.

“So come on then Franky are you going to tell us how you met or is it too embarrassing?”

“Shut it Novak.”

“Oh come on you have to tell us, did the Doyle charm not work first time around?” Allie giggled.

Franky frowned, she couldn't avoid telling them forever and if she didn't tell them Bridget would tell them and probably make their first meeting sound way worse than it really had been.

“Ok, ok….so Booms ditched me for some loser, some friend huh? Long story short I went to Alia bar, I walked in and saw Gidge standing by the dance floor on her own and ya know I figured I'd talk to her, blew me off when I asked her if she'd like another drink. I'm not bragging but come on we all know every time I walk in there I always had someone all over me.”

Bridget elbowed her gently, “You are bragging, shall I tell them the story or are you going to tell it how it was?”

“Gidge I've never lied to ya, ya know exactly how I was.”

Bridget just nodded and left Franky to continue with her version of how they met, waiting to jump in if she needed to.

“I wasn't going to give in that easily but she just let me ramble on for a few minutes before she said it was nice to have met me and that maybe she'd see me around. I spotted her again an hour later and asked if she wanted a drink again, ya know me never give up just cos I get one knock back, she told me a pack of lies saying she wasn't much of a drinker, drained the rest of the wine from her glass and walked off. I knew she was way outta my league but she was a challenge, when I walked outside she was waiting for a taxi so I gave it one last shot.”

“And I told her that she was clearly too young for me.” Bridget grinned. “Unfortunately I didn't know just how persistent Franky was at the time.”

“Yeah, persistent should be her middle name.” Bea laughed.

“Right so can I tell you the rest or are ya just gonna make fun of me?”

“Oh that's nice, how many times a week do you make fun of me? But please carry on it's just getting interesting.”

“The week after I'd gone out for a drink, and wouldn't ya know it there she was again sitting at the bar with an empty wine glass sitting in front of her, she looked a little more comfortable this time so I walked over to the bar, ordered a beer and another glass of wine. She looked a little shocked when the barman put a fresh glass in front of her but she did at least talk to me. We talked for over an hour and had a couple more drinks I asked her out for dinner and she agreed, but then something happened with one of her patients and she called me to let me know she wasn't going to be able to make it so I offered to cook, that was the day Allie came home and kinda got under my feet.”

“Hey, that's the last time I make you a salad, and you implied that I can't cook.” Allie frowned.

“Yeah well ya ain't as good as me are ya? Anyway I reckon I reeled her in with my cooking skills, sorry I didn't tell ya both about us sooner, I just kept thinking that I was gonna wake up one morning and it had all been a dream.”

“I know how that feels.” Bea looked at Allie not really sure what else she was going to say.

“So I'm right then?” Franky's eyes shot straight to Bea. “You and Allie, it's not just a figment of my wild imagination?”

“Something wrong with that?” Allie shot back, suddenly even she was relieved that Debbie was with them knowing just where her line of questioning would have gone if she wasn't there.

“I'm my defence if you remember Franky you kinda did try getting us together in the first place.” Bea smiled as her eyes drifted back to Allie.

“Hmmm, well yeah what else was I gonna do, ya kinda were a misery to be around half the time Red, gotta admit ya’ve chilled out a bit recently.” Franky chuckled as she got up to clear their plates away, she wasn't going to say anymore but Bea was going have to tell her more than that when Debbie wasn't around.

 

 


Saturday afternoon Bea dropped Debbie off at Liz's and Allie went back to Franky's, Bea had tried to argue that it was only a casual thing and that she had enough clothes at her house to find something to wear but Allie had insisted that she needed to go and Bea had eventually given in trying to persuade her otherwise.

Allie walked through to the kitchen to find Franky sitting with her head in her hands.

“Ok, spit it out what's going on? Don't tell me you've had an argument with Bridget already, Jesus Franky.”

“Oh hey…an nothin like that, it's just….shit Allie I've never done anything like this before.”

“Anything like what before?”

“Ya know, taken anyone with to any kind of work thing, what if I stuff up?”

Allie sat down across from her, she knew how she felt, Jess would never go with her to anything that involved being around her work colleagues, and she could only try and imagine how Bea must be feeling, a sudden rush of guilt rushed through her, how could she leave her to arrive on her own when she didn't exactly like going out?

“I don't know if it helps but I've never done this before either, just because I was with Jess for years doesn't mean we went to my work functions together.”

“Ya kiddin me right?”

“Would I joke about something like that? Beas the first person who actually ever wanted to be seen with me and I think I've already stuffed up, you're gonna do just fine, you're Franky Doyle the biggest bad ass I've ever known…I've got to go, sorry.”

Allie ran up to her room grabbed what she needed and ran out of the house jumping in her car, stoping off on her way back to Beas. How could she have thought that telling Bea she'd meet her there was a good idea? Pulling back into the drive Beas car was still unmistakably absent so she sat and waited, thirty minutes later her car pulled up next to Allies. Allie didn't even notice she was so lost in her own thoughts, why had she thought that it was fine to expect Bea to turn up to the party by herself, why the hell was there even a party anyway, all she and the rest of the finance department had done was their jobs but everyone kept congratulating her on a job well done. A light tap on her window made her jump and she turned her head to see Bea standing there looking slightly worried, Allie had been so caught up in her own head that she hadn't heard her previous three taps on the window. Bea took a couple of steps back when she finally got her attention giving her room to open her door and get out, not expecting her to throw her arms around her apologising for being an idiot.

“Allie, you going to tell me what brought this on?”

“I shouldn't have left, you were right I do have plenty of clothes here…I don't know why I though it was a good idea to say I'd meet you there.”

Bea reached down into her pocket, she had no idea how long Allie had been sitting there waiting for her to get back and there was something she'd meant to do since they got back from London.

“I have something for you.”

Allie pulled her head away from Beas shoulder and looked at her no clue what Bea was talking about, peeling herself away from her completely she saw the key Bea was holding out to her.

“It's stupid you having to wait around for me when I've had to go somewhere, how long were you waiting anyway?”

“I don't know, not too long…Franky was freaking out about stuffing up tonight and then I realised I'd been an idiot so I came back, wait I have something for you as well.” Allie turned and leaned back into the car. “I got you these, to apologise, you might not believe it but it's not only Franky who's scared of stuffing up, Jess…Jess never wanted to go to anything work related with me, I always ended up going with Simon, and I…shit I just thought you wouldn't want to show up with me…”

“Your an idiot.” Bea said as she took what looked like the biggest bunch of flowers from Allie that she had seen in her life. “Now take this, I want you to have it, and just so you know I'm nervous but not because I'm going to be there with you, you know how I get. Now come on we aren't going to get ready standing out here are we?”

 

 

 

Simon was waiting outside when they arrived, Allie hadn't told him if her and Bea were arriving together and since she hadn't really said much about Bea to him since they had got back from London he had just decided to hang around and wait. He'd not actually spoken to Bea since he started working there, he'd seen her around the finance department plenty of times and he knew that they seemed to be really close but after what Jess had done he'd doubted that Allie was seriously considering a relationship with anyone, until he'd seen them walk through the finance department together. Even then he'd worried a little that maybe she was rushing into something too soon but he'd never said anything not wanting to offend his friend. When he saw a taxi pull up a short distance from where he was standing he wasn't surprised to see Bea get out and Allie follow close behind her, he was surprised when he saw Bea take hold of Allies hand, no one at work had ever seen them that close, except for Franky and Will and they had never said a word.

“Can you believe Will booked this place?” Simon asked as they approached him.

“I know, crazy isn't it?” Allie looked at Bea unsure if she was ready to go in, she hated things like this at least that was what she'd always said.

“So…are the two of you going in?”

“We weren't planning on standing out here all night, least I don't think we were.” Allie grinned.

“Right so what are waiting for?” Simon looped his arm through Allies and the three of them walked in together.

Will saw them arrive and gave Bea then Allie a hug, he thanked Allie for all her hard work and congratulated her on a job well done. Will would be the first to admit that he had been sceptical a little at first when Allie had been made head of the finance department but he had been so impressed with the way she had handled everything from the first day she'd walked into the office. He'd seen how nervous she got when she had to speak at a meeting but when he saw her in the management committee meeting anyone watching her would have thought she'd been speaking in meetings like that her entire working life. The thing Allie loved the most about her job was being able to solve problems and Will joked that one day she'd be in line for his job, Allie had laughed but Will had been deadly serious, she had everything it took to become the CFO. The place was packed with people from all the different departments and Allie really hadn't expected that, Will spoke to them for a few more minutes before he said he had to meet someone outside.

Bea spotted Franky and Bridget arrive and left Allie with Simon while she went to speak to her, as soon as Bea walked away Allie missed her but introducing Simon to Maxine and a few other people soon took her mind off Beas absence. Simon nudged Allie when he saw Will walking back over to where they were still standing, “Think he must have pulled.” He whispered to Allie who turned her head and was immediately stunned.

“Kaz?”

“Allie, it that really you?”

“If I'm not me then I don't know who else I am…wait, you and Will?”

Will stood back in disbelief, he'd mentioned Allie but Kaz had never thought for a second that the Allie he had told her about could be the Allie she knew, the last she heard of her was about a year after she went to Sydney. They'd stayed in touch for the first year but then Jess had given her an ultimatum, it was either her or Kaz and Allie hadn't tried to contact Kaz again, she even changed her number, Franky had been the only person Jess couldn't force out of her life because Franky wouldn't back off.

“You two know each other? How?”

“Long story Will, maybe I'll tell you one day, but yes we know each other, let's just say Kaz helped me out of a bad situation a long time ago.”

Simon spotted Bea walking back in their direction with Franky and Bridget following. Bea walked straight over to Allie and wrapped her arm round her waist.

“Well shit Red, no one else here wants what ya got ya know.”

Bea frowned at her and Bridget slapped her shoulder.

“Ok, I'm sorry, but ya know Novak doesn't look at anyone else.”

“Ignore her Allie, she's just being her normal self, shall we get a drink?”

Franky just watched on as they walked away, she still couldn't quite get her head round them actually being together, course she thought about it and hoped that everything would work out the way Allie had always wanted but this was Bea, her best friend who nearly died at the hands of her prick of a husband, who'd sworn to Franky that no matter what she was never going to have a relationship with anyone, even when Franky had teased her and told her that if she ever met the right woman she'd change her mind, and of course Bea had told her she was idiot because she was straight. Franky laughed to herself for a few moments, she'd been joking when she said it, then along came Allie waltzing back into Melbourne and Bea had done the one thing she said she'd never do, she'd fallen for her. Maybe Allie would get her happily ever after after all, Franky couldn't picture it yet but she had to admit it looked more like a possibility every time she saw them together.

They spoke to Maxine for a while who was more than happy to finally see Bea out at a work function, it was the first time she ever remembered her going to one and sticking around for more than ten minutes, and then she only remembered her going out once.

“That didn't take long.” Maxine pointed over to where Simon was talking to one of the guys from the legal department.

“That's Simon for you.” Allie giggled, “He's never been known to be shy, something tells me they'll be leaving pretty soon.”

Allie turned back to look for Franky and Maxine nudged her gently. “I think you might be right.”

After another hour of chatting to various people, half of who Allie had no idea who they were Bea said that it was getting late and that they should leave.

“We do have the house to ourselves tonight.” She whispered in Allies ear.

“Let me just find Will and Kaz and say goodnight and I'll be right back….don't move from that spot.”

 

 

 

By the time they reached the front door Beas hands were shaking, not through fear like they once had now it was pure anticipation, they were completely alone for the first time since they got back from London and she knew what she wanted, now she just had to get inside the house and that was proving to be a problem. Allie couldn't hold in the giggle when she watched her struggle.

“Let me help you with that.” Allie took the keys from her hand and unlocked the door.

Bea knew the second they walked into the house that she wanted to kiss every part of Allies body, but even now she wasn't brave enough to say what she wanted and resorted to pushing Allie against the hallway wall, kissing her passionately in the hope that Allie would understand.

Stumbling through the dark house, removing items of each others clothing as they went was accompanied by a lot of giggling and more kissing. Finally falling onto the bed they just stared at each other.

“Are you all out of Kisses already?” Allie asked

Bea didn't answer, she leaned in and kissed her delicately on the cheek. “Like this?” She whispered before kissing her forehead, “Or like this?” Allie closed her eyes waiting to see where she was going with this as Bea moved her head once again and trailed kisses down her neck, across her collar bone and up the other side of her neck. “I think I have plenty more kisses for you.” This time it was Allies turn not to reply because her head felt like it was spinning. Bea reached for her hand and brought it to her lips kissing her fingers and the palm of her hand, “But I'd rather be kissing your lips.” She whispered as she dropped her hand and ran her fingers through her hair as she leaned in and kissed her lips. “You have no idea how much I wanted to do that all night.” Bea mumbled against her lips and they kissed again, their tongues danced as their mouths melted together.

“This isn't going to work ya know.” Allie giggled as she gracefully peeled her own bra and panties off her body. “Now let me show you how good a kiss can really be,” Allie whispered as she leaned in and Kissed Bea again, a kiss that felt like electricity passing between them a kiss that started a fire in both of them. Bea reached out and caressed every inch of Allies naked flesh that she could reach.

“Allie,” Bea whispered, “Do you have any idea how much I want you?”

“If you want me as much as I want you then I do.” Allie answered with a smile as she reached behind her, unclipping her bra and sliding it gently from her body.

Allie massaged and kissed each breast, circled her tongue around each of her hardened buds as Bea closed her eyes and arched her back. This felt different but she didn't know why, maybe she thought she'd work that out eventually or maybe she didn't really need to, all she knew for sure was that there was an electricity in ever touch and every kiss. Allie moved to kneel beside her, her gentle delicate fingers hooked the waistband of her panties, her fingers brushing gently against her skin as she pulled them off. She crawled back beside her caressing her skin, every gentle touch caused Bea to gasp, she felt so completely free when she was with Allie and part of her wished that their lives could always be like that.

“I've always loved you, I'm sure I always will…forever.” Allie whispered as she ran her hand delicately over her skin and gently slid her fingers inside her circling her clit with her thumb making Bea moan loudly.

“Don't ever let me let you go.” Allie mumbled as she kissed her neck.

“Never.” Bea said with a gasp as she ran her fingers through her hair, she'd never imagined that allowing herself to be so vulnerable could feel so delightfully good.

“Allie…please don't…don't…..” she trailed off as her body began to shudder and her orgasm took over her like a firework exploding somewhere deep inside of her.

“I love you so much Bea.”

Bea collapsed back against the mattress, her heart beating wildly in her chest as she tried to say what she wanted to but her brain wouldn't cooperate, she couldn't properly string two words together let alone a whole sentence as Allie lay beside her and held her, never wanting to let her go. As the fog in Beas brain subsided she looked down at Allie, her head resting against her shoulder, she knew she loved her for who she was, that her feelings ran deeper and stronger than she thought could be possible.

“I want you Allie…I want you to stay here, don't look for an apartment…you'd never be there anyway.” She tenderly ran her fingers down her face. “Deb wants you here, I want you here…”

“And what happens when you get sick of me?”

“That's never going to happen…think about it…please.”

“You know I'd say yes in a heartbeat, but I need you to be sure.”

“You think I'd ask if I wasn't sure? I've thought about nothing else since you mentioned looking for an apartment.”

Bea cradled her head in her arm as her hand caressed her body, trailing her fingers up and down her arm she leaned in to kiss her gorgeous lips.

“Think about it, you don't have to say yes straight away, I wouldn't expect you to.”

Allie didn't need to think about it, not really, she knew there was no place else she'd rather be, the thought of living alone scared her not that she was about to admit it and she knew she couldn't stay with Franky for much longer, but then she worried that if she rushed into moving in with Bea it may end up like things ended up with Jess. She knew Bea was nothing like her, she encouraged her to do the things she wanted to do, supported her when things at work were a little hard, and if Bea could trust her after everything she'd been through shouldn't she take that same leap of faith?

“Yes.” Allie whispered as their lips parted.

Bea smiled so much after hearing just one word she thought her face might crack, “You're sure?”

“Yes.”

 

 

Chapter Text

A week later…..

 

Allie had argued her point for an hour with Bea who really didn't want to let her go, Allie had tried to point out that the sooner she packed the remainder of her things up at Franky's the sooner she she could move in. Not that Bea was convinced by that argument at all, as she pointed out most of her clothes had found their way to her house already so what could she actually have left there. The second part of her argument Bea couldn't really deny was true, she did have to tell Franky that she was moving out but she couldn't understand why she had to do it today of all days, it was Saturday afternoon and Bea had planned on the three of them spending the whole weekend together.

“I haven't even told Franky I'm leaving yet.”

“So leave it until next week.”

“And we'll have this same conversation again then, it's one night, I'll be at Franky's for one more night, you can cope without me here for one night.”

“I guess.” Bea frowned.

“You know the whole point of moving in means I actually have to move out of Franky's, if I don't actually move out properly how can we say I moved in?”

Bea couldn't argue with that logic, and she knew she was being clingy, but she really didn't want to spend the night without her. She found that actually laughable, how could she have changed from a person who wanted nothing more than to live alone, just her and Debbie, to a person who didn't want to spend a second longer than she had to without Allie there.

“Sorry…it's not like one of us isn't going to have to travel again we both know that's on the cards.”

“Yeah, I heard a rumour that they need someone in Sydney in a couple of weeks, not a place I want to go anytime soon.”

“Yeah, there's an investment conference or something, Will usually finds an excuse not to go and Fletch takes his place.”

An hour later Allie had let Franky know that she would be on her way over soon, not that she wanted to give anything away over the phone, she hadn't been back to Franky's for a week and hadn't seen her much, an irregularity on an old account had caused a major headache for Franky because she'd been dealing with all the anticipated legal fallout that it might cause. It was the only irregularity that had been found in anything that Sonia had been involved with but it looked remarkably like what Joan had pulled off, all be it on a much larger scale, and Franky was trying hard to cover them on the legal side from every possible angle.

After walking into the house she eventually found Franky slumped over the kitchen table laptop sat in front of her and a pile of papers spread out across the table.

“Has the illustrious Francesca Doyle not worked everything out yet?”

“Hmmmm.” Franky hummed. “Can't help but think I'm missing something….you're the financial genius round here wanna help a girl out?” She glanced over at Allie looking completely drained.

“I think genius is a bit strong, but I do know finance well enough, what's the problem?”

“Take a look at this, I can't see any discrepancies.” Franky turned her laptop so Allie could see the screen.

Allie sat down and pulled the laptop closer to her scanning the screen something jumped out at her, nothing huge but she saw it, continuing to look down the document there it was again only on a different account.

“Franky I hate to tell you this, the discrepancies are barely noticeable to the untrained eye but as far as I've got there's about seventy thousand dollars missing already, thought they were going to hire a forensic accountant to go over all this.”

“Can't start until Monday can he, said he's in high demand because he's the best there is.” She rolled her eyes.

“Then you need to leave this alone, these are Wills accounts and only a few years old, I know Will can't have done this….does the London office have full access to our servers?”

“Would need to ask IT that.”

“Franky as much as I'd love to help you I can't, this is out of my league….and I did come round to talk to you amongst other things.”

“Yeah, guess ya right, so where ya bin all week….wait hang on stupid question right?”

Allie laughed, “Just a little.”

“Ya stayin or is this just a flyin visit?”

“Thought I'd stay the night if that's ok with you but if you're expecting Bridget I'll just do what I've got to do and leave you to it.”

“Na, she's been having a bit of a bad week, said she needs some alone time, don't know how she does her job sometimes…so do tell you seem…I don't know, like you have something on ya mind so spill.”

“Later, put your feet up and I'll order in.”

“Great pizza and a movie, bout time you agreed to watch girls trip with me.”

“Think I'll just have the pizza, how many times do I have to tell you I prefer movies that are a little more intellectually stimulating? “

“Fine! The man who knew infinity it is then, ya really have been spending way too much time with Red ya know.”

Allie settled herself down on the sofa, Franky always lost when they were choosing a movie to watch and Allie figured that she secretly always enjoy whatever they watched not that Franky would ever admit to it. Franky finally sat herself down beside Allie actually finding herself wondering why she was even there, she'd expected to be alone for the whole day trying to figure out a spreadsheet that Allie had deciphered seconds after looking at it.

“Hand over the remote Novak.”

“No not happening Doyle, last time I did that ya made me sit through Baywatch, I'm not falling for that again.”

“Yeah, the way I remember it ya slept through most of it!”

“And you're never going to let me forget it are ya?”

“Nope.” Franky grinned.

Halfway through the movie that they both finally agreed on Franky was distracted by her phone, grinning from ear to ear when Allie glance at her.

“And who may I asked has got you smiling like that? As if I couldn't guess.”

“Oh ya know, just a friend.”

“Yeah, I'm your friend and I hope you never grin at your phone like that when I text you.”

 

 


Franky spun around to look at Allie a look of pure disbelief etched on her face.

“Red asked ya to move in? Seriously?”

“Yes, seriously, what's wrong with that?”

Allies phone chiming indicating a text message grabbed her attention, expecting it to be Bea she pulled it out of her pocket and groaned internally when she saw Jess’s name. Sitting down she opened the message not expecting to read what she did.


I know you won't believe me and honestly I don't expect you to but I need you to know that I'm leaving Sydney, for good. I may travel for a while, something you always wanted to do and I always stopped you. The house is yours anyway so I needed to let you know that you'll need to arrange to sell it or rent it out, whatever you decide. I won't try and contact you again, I'm changing my number and will delete yours after I send this. I'm sorry for what I did to you, you deserved better than that, better than me, and from what I've heard you've found who makes you happy! I was wrong and I screwed it up, I always knew you didn't trust me, I gave you no reason to and if I'm honest I never really trusted myself, I've done things I'm not proud of but I want you to be happy, that was all I ever wanted.


Allie read and reread the message, something told her that she couldn't believe a word she said, how could she? Jess had lied so many times in the past and after reading the message again she was pretty sure that something she had suspected had been true weather she admitted to it or not.

“I'm guessing that's not Red?”

Allie slowly shook her head holding her phone out for Franky to take. Reading the whole text once then twice Franky was of the same opinion as Allie, Franky had never trusted anything Jess had ever said. She'd always been convinced that Jess had cheated on her, she'd never raised those suspicions with Allie not wanting to hurt her feelings or cause an argument with her but something told her that she was half heartedly finally admitting it. Handing Allie her phone back she placed her hand on her shoulder giving it a reassuring squeeze.

“Ya gonna show Red?”

Allie nodded, “I have to…she's left me alone for weeks, I thought she'd given up and now I get this, not sure if what she's saying is true and I'm not planning on going to find out either.”

“We'll work something out, ya still got friends back there ain't ya, could get someone to check it out.”

“I guess.” Allie sighed. “I didn't want the house so if it's really true I'm guessing I'll have to sell it, I don't want to hang onto anything that she was part of.”

“Hey come on….todays meant to be a good day yeah? The first day of the rest of your life with Red right?”

“Yeah.” Allie smiled, what did it matter right then that Jess was trying to get under her skin again, when she left Franky's she was going home to be with the two people who meant the most to her in the world, she just wished she could have got to this point in her life sooner, that she could have saved Bea from going through over two years of hell at the hands of Harry but she couldn't turn back time no matter how much she wished she could and her main priority now was making sure that Bea knew just how much she loved her, how much she always had and always would love her.

After breakfast she packed the last of her things and put her bags in her car after telling Franky that she'd catch up with her at work the next day she left. Pulling up into the drive it was still a little early but she didn't care, she wasn't going to disturb anyone as she quietly let herself into the house surprised when Debbie came bounding out of the kitchen closely followed by Bea.

“Hungry?” Bea asked with a bright smile.

“Not really, Franky made me eat already but why are you both up so early?”

“Debs going over to spend the day with Booms, so trust me when she gets back she'll be bouncing off the walls because Booms will let her eat junk all day.”

Once Debbie had left with Boomer Allie was quieter than usual, she wanted to tell Bea about the text message but wasn't sure how to, after quietly debating with herself she pulled out her phone opened the message and handed her phone over telling her to read it. Just like Franky had Bea had to read it twice not sure herself if after everything she was saying was the truth.

“Are you going to go back to Sydney?”

“Not unless I can find out if it's true and she's gone, and even then I'm not sure I want to go anywhere near that house again.”

She knew she still had a few friends left who might possibly go over to the house and find out once and for all if Jess was telling the truth, but if she was still there there was every chance that she would cause a scene and that was the last thing she wanted. Picking up her phone she sent a text receiving a reply within five minutes.

“Sorted.” She announced as she walked into the kitchen.

Bea turned around, “I knew you'd think of something, so what's the plan?”

“My solicitor, well she's more of a friend really, Simon told me she was the best conveyancing solicitor in all of Sydney when I was buying the house and well I'll put it this way it wasn't my first choice but she saved me from a nightmare and we became really good friends. So Michelle has agreed to go over to the house, funny I forgot I left a spare key with her after a rough patch with Jess and she still has it, says she'll go over tomorrow after work.”

 

 


It was late the next day when Michelle finally left her office, as eager as she was to get home she had made Allie a promise to find out if Jess was still at the house. Pulling up right in front she glanced out of the window, it all seemed to be in darkness and there was no car parked in the driveway. Getting out of the car she checked that she had the key before making her way to the front door and knocking, getting no response she knocked again when a neighbour across the street called out to her.

“If you're looking for Jess she's not been here for two weeks and I've not seen Allie for for a long time.”

Michelle walked down the drive when she saw the man crossing the street. “Allies in Melbourne she asked me to check on the house, Jess isn't here?”

“Last I saw of her she putting stuff in her car, that was, well I guess a little over two weeks ago, not seen any sign of life since then.”

She thanked him and made her way back to the door, retrieving the key she opened the door and stepped inside, flicking on the light in the hallway she was shocked when she saw the mess that was already laid out before her. She hadn't asked Allie that morning when she'd called her to go into details so all she knew was that Allie had split up with Jess and moved to Melbourne when she'd been offered the job at Liberty Brown, looking around it was obvious that something more had happened.

Making her way through the house she knew Allie would never have left the place in the state it was in and when she noticed dry blood on a wall in the living room she could only try to guess what must have happened before Allie left, the thought made her blood boil. She'd agreed with Franky that Jess was completely wrong for Allie and had gone into great detail on a number of occasions explaining her reasons why they shouldn't be together but Allie had never agreed and just said it was a rough patch and they'd get through it.

Standing in the middle of the kitchen that Michelle had decided looked like a bomb site on steroids she placed a call to Allie wanted to let her know that Jess had in fact left the house all be it left the place in the worst state possible. Allie was still at work, going over more recent accounts with Will on the hunt for any more discrepancies, they may have a forensic accountant working on it but Allie wanted to help and like she had said two heads were always better than one when Will and Matt had both said they wanted to help. Hearing the news that Jess had been gone for a couple of weeks did surprise Allie, the news about the state of the place hadn't not really but it still annoyed her, Jess was never the most tidy person in the world and really she should have guessed that after what had happened she wouldn't have cleaned the place up. Michelle said she would organise a professional cleaning crew to clean the place up after Allie had told her what she needed from the house. Not that she wanted a great deal, after hearing everything all she wanted were the suitcases that were still apparently right were she had left them the night she had left.

“Everything alright Allie? You look a little pale.” Will asked as she placed her phone back down on the desk.

“Yeah, just a friend…she going to help me sell my house back in Sydney only it appears to have been left in a bit of a mess.”

Will nodded, Franky had told him that things had ended badly with her ex and even though she'd not gone into detail Will hated to think that anyone could or would ever treat Allie badly.

“Kaz was wondering, well she suggested that maybe you and Bea could have dinner with us one evening? If you want to that is.”

Allie sat back in her seat, it had been so long since she lost contact with Kaz thanks to Jess and she wasn't sure if she wanted to face her questioning. “I'll have to ask Bea first before I agree to anything, we have Debbie to think of.” She glanced at the time. “Shit, I better get out of here before they both come looking for me, I said I'd only be here an extra hour.”

Will dropped Allie off at home after she realised her car was at home, her and Bea had decided that it there was no point them going in separate cars but now Allie was starting to rethink that, right now there was a lot going on and if she was going to end up staying late she'd rather not have to rely on other people to get home. Walking into the house she kicked off her shoes, hearing Bea laughing she hoped that her late arrival home wasn't going to cause an argument, she'd only meant to stay an extra hour and that had turned into three, she always got caught up and lost track of time when she was working on something important.

Shrugging her jacket off she didn't realise Bea was right there until she turned around, slipping straight into her waiting arms, in that moment she was sure that time didn't even exist, it was like having no time and all the time in the world, the best feeling in the world was melting into to her arms as their lips met.

“I kept your dinner warm…you are hungry aren't you?”

“Starving!” Allie smiled, “I'm really sorry I'm late, lost track of time like I always do.”

“I figured as much…come on you need to eat and you look tired.” Taking her by the hand she led her through to the kitchen as Debbie followed them through a few minutes later sitting next to Allie.

“I thought you'd forgotten where you lived, I told mum she should call Franky and ask if you'd gone back there.”

“No kiddo, I was just busy and wasn't paying attention to the time.”

“Hmmm…mum said you do that too, I hope you're not going to keep doing that.”

“I'll try not to.”

“Good because mums useless at geography.” She giggled as she got up saying she was going to bed.

 

 


Allie was not happy when she was informed that her and Will would be attending a conference in Sydney for three days, the director had returned later than expected and had thrown them both in at the deep end. She was glad she wasn't going to be there alone because part of her wasn't convinced that Jess had left Sydney, leaving the house didn't mean that she had gone altogether. Michelle had already let her know that the house had been cleaned up and put up for sale as she had requested and she expected a quick sale since it was in a great area.

The day before they were due to leave for the conference Allie was sitting in her office when she received a call letting her know that an offer had been made on the house, she accepted it straight away when she was told that it was a cash buyer she asked that all the paperwork be sent through to Michelle.

“That can still take 30 days before the paperwork is complete, could mean another trip back to Sydney.” Bea sighed as she sat and looked out of the window while they ate lunch.

“That's usually the case I know but Michelle reckons the buyer wants the house pretty bad, they even offered above the asking price, no idea why?”

“Then we better keep our fingers crossed that your friend can work miracles.”

“She's pretty good at her job, but you're right I don't want to have to make another trip to Sydney if it can be avoided, not unless you can come with me.”

“Not sure that would be possible anytime soon not with everything that's going on. The detectives from the fraud investigation squad are going to be interviewing everyone at the office who worked there while Sonia was there.”

Bea was relieved that she'd never had a great deal to do with Sonia unlike Will and this conference couldn't really have come at a worse time for him, he had a lot to worry about and absolutely no answers to the questions that he knew he was going to be asked when he returned to work. Nothing that had been uncovered so far was looking good for him and he didn't even seem to know who he could trust anymore, going to a conference was the last thing he wanted to do, the only thing that lightened his mood a little was that Allie would be the one going with him, Allie could always lift his mood even if it were only for five minutes.

Allie really didn't want to get out of bed the next morning, it was way too early, she hadn't even left the house and part of her already missed Bea. She was trying to convince herself that three days would fly by even though she knew that they wouldn't, every conference she'd ever been to had been boring and time had dragged.

The flight hadn't been as bad as she'd expected, falling asleep twenty minutes into it had helped, arriving at the hotel they were staying at still half asleep wasn't such a great thing when she knew that they had a full day of listening to other people talk she thought that there was every possibility that she might just fall asleep again. Will seemed wide awake and ready to get on with the day ahead and Allie couldn't understand that, he'd had to get up just as early as she had, he didn't fall asleep on the flight yet he was already to get on with it.

Sitting in the conference room Will nudged her, “You don't have to stay all day.” He whispered, Allie turned to look at him puzzled. “Bea told me you had things to sort out with the sale of the house, if you need to go and get things organised.”

“I might take you up on that.”

“So go, get out of here, no point in us both being bored, by the time we get home you'll know everything I know.”

She really was glad to be getting out of there, she did have a couple of things she needed to take care of while she was there, the first thing on her mind though was calling Bea, the morning had been crazy and she'd not found the time to call, the texts they'd sent each other after they landed just weren't enough anymore, it had only been a few hours but she missed her voice, missed just knowing that there were only two floors between their offices when they were at work. She knew that Bea had no meetings planned for that morning so as soon as she got back to her hotel room she took a chance that hopefully she wouldn't be too busy to talk to her, even if it was only for a couple of minutes, a couple of minutes were better than nothing at all.

 

 

Chapter Text

Allie was pleased that it was their last day in Sydney, Will had told her over breakfast not to bother going to the conference since she'd heard from Michelle letting her know that the sale of the house was going ahead faster than even she had anticipated and she had paperwork to sign. She was thankful really, the previous day had worn her out, listening to people drone on about everything and nothing, none of which was remotely interesting or new.

“Come on Al keep up, just a couple more signatures.” Michelle pointed to the papers that she had just slid across her desk.

Allie sighed and signed where she needed to, if she'd have known that morning that she was going to have to sign that much paperwork she might just have taken her chances at the conference. It was strange the sale going through this quickly she knew that but Michelle had told her that it did happen sometimes especially when the buyer had the cash ready and waiting and wanted to complete quickly.

“You are sure you didn't want anything else from the house, you still have time before I send these through.”

“No nothing, I don't need reminders of Jess.”

This was the first time they'd seen each other in almost a year and Michelle knew Jess was the reason for that so after all the paperwork was complete they'd agreed to catch up.

“I still can't believe you moved back to Melbourne without telling me so tell me was it just the new job or did you want to get away from Jess?”

“I needed to get away from her but that wasn't how things happened.” She wasn't sure what Michelle was going to say when she told her about Bea but she wasn't going to lie to her, they'd been friends for long enough and she deserved the truth.

“Wasn't expecting that…so things are good?”

“Yeah, I can't thank you enough for this.” Allie handed her the pen back. “You saved my ass when I first bought that house and here you are again getting everything covered.”

Michelle laughed. “You should pay me more, I don't usually do rush jobs.”

“Yeah you're probably right.” Allie giggled, “But if you insist on billing me at ridiculously low rates and refusing to accept more what am I supposed to do?”

“So then, apart from landing yourself a dream job and jumping in feet first with, what is she your first love? Have you though any more about what we talked about the last time I saw you?”

Allie remembered their last conversation very well, Michelle was one of the only people she was able to talk to at the time and that evening everything had come bubbling to the surface about her parents, she wasn't even sure why she had needed to talk about them since she rarely thought about them, maybe it was because things were getting more difficult with Jess and she remembered being told by her mum how she met her dad. It had always seemed like a fairy story even when she knew first hand how bad things had really become and at the time she just didn't see the point in trying to stay with the first person you ever fell for when everything had turned to shit. Michelle had tried to talk her into contacting him she was certain that he must want to know that she was doing well and wasn't the total screw up that Allie so often saw herself as.

“I wouldn't even know how to contact my dad now, he'll have most likely moved since I left.”

“But you want to, I know the story Al remember you told me, you don't have questions that you need answering now? Don't you want to hear his side?”

Allie looked away but nodded, “They went through so much, after they both got sober they changed, maybe that was who they were before, dad did try to tell me things after mum died but I wouldn't listen, I chose to do my own thing, cause as much trouble for him as I could…it's a little sad that when they finally got back to a good place mum died, and kind of beautiful in a way that they got that time together, I guess I get it now.”

“Hold on one minute!” Michelle sat forward in her seat, “What do you mean you get it now? What have you been taking?”

“Nothing, I would never go back there you know that, it's just…since finding Bea again I guess I just see things a little differently now, never thought I'd see her again, I always thought about her, I l knew I'd always love her…maybe my perspective has changed.”

“So she's definitely nothing like Jess?”

“The complete opposite.”

“Come on then don't keep me in suspense tell me the good bits.”

Allie shook her head, she was sure that it would be impossible to pick out the good bits because everything was good with Bea. From the moment they saw each other in the bar that night Allie couldn't get her out of her mind, she'd never thought for a single second then that they would be right where they were now. Every email, then every text or phone call had just brought them closer together. Right until they went to London Allies heart had run circles round her head making taking things slowly even more of a challenge for her, somehow she had managed to hold on to the promise to go at Beas pace which was difficult because the more time they spent together the more she wanted to be with her completely.

“The good bits?” Allie finally answered after realising that her mind had wondered off down the path of reminiscing. “There are no good bits, it's all been good from the moment I first saw her again to where we are now.”

“And exactly were are you now?”

“She asked me to move in with her…so I did.” Allie shrugged.

“Shit…not about to let the grass grow under your feet then ay Al?”

“It wasn't like that, I was at her house more than I was at Franky's, especially since Franky finally met someone who she's totally fallen for. When I wasn't there I couldn't stop thinking about her, and her daughter was always pestering Bea to ask me to stay over.”

“Wait…she has a daughter? You didn't mention that, so was she married?”

“Yeah, to a disgusting excuse for a human being, he disappeared when Debbie was two, never been seen since.”

“So she's divorced?”

“No, he was presumed dead, I'm not going over the circumstances, it's not my story to tell, maybe you'll meet her one day…she doesn't like to talk about it though and honestly I can't blame her.”

“How did she feel when you had to come back to Sydney?”

“Same as I did I guess, we weren't sure Jess wasn't playing games but I had to come for this bloody conference, luckily my boss Will has been great about letting me play hooky. I just hate only being able to talk to her on the phone, but I'll be heading home tonight.”

Michelle's eyes widened, “Hang on you always hated talking to anyone on the phone unless it was work related, what's with the change?”

“Shut up I used to talk to you all the time, Jess permitting. Besides I just love hearing her voice.” Allie grinned, the longer she was away the greater her constant need to hear Beas voice became. Seconds melted into glorious minutes as time seemed to slow down when they spoke and then time dragged and a minute felt like an hour after their conversation ended, sleep was the only way to get away from the torture of not being with her, and even then Bea invaded her dreams.

“You have a picture right? Come on show me, I have to see what kind of woman has held your heart forever.”

Allie had plenty of photos, some with Debbie some without but she really wasn't in the mood to share something that only her and Bea had ever seen. “Actually no I don't think I have, but you can easily look on the Liberty Brown web site if you're that interested.”

Michelle instantly turned her attention to her computer and searched for the website. “Well shit Al you don't do things by halves do you? She's absolutely stunning…and the CEO? You didn't give that piece of information away freely did you?”

“Yeah well, certain people seemed to think that she was the reason I got the job, she's the most beautiful woman I've ever know, how was I supposed to resist, couldn't years ago and definitely can't now.”

“So it's all good?”

“Yeah, everything's great.”

Michelle stood up, “Right well, call me, and don't leave it so long next time.” She grinned at Allie as walked to her office door before turning back to look at her. “Promise me one thing, Bea isn't going to stop you from having friends.”

Allie sighed, “Didn't I tell you already she's nothing like Jess…where are you going anyway?”

“I'm going to Azuma, I need some time out, after everything I think I'm in need of sake and some great Japanese food.”

“Not like you to be having a liquid lunch.”

“I think I need it, I'm happy for you really I am but it's hard to get my head around you being with someone with a kid, you never said you wanted kids.”

“Not sure I do, but this is different you have to see that…I'll come with you, I'll buy don't feel like going back to the conference.”

“Great then you can tell me more, lunch, sake, great conversation what more could a girl ask for ask for?”

“To be back at home already with my girlfriend.” Allie hit back sarcastically.

Michelle was a regular at Azuma and always got one of the best tables, especially at lunch time when it was quieter. Allie wanted to know who the buyer of the house was but all she could tell her that it was a man who was prepared to offer even more than Allie had accepted. Allie knew what the house was worth and had thought it was strange when she was offered way more than that on the first offer but since she didn't want want to hang onto it made sense to sell, even if she'd been offered less she wouldn't have cared. Four hours later they finally made their way out of the restaurant.

“Shit I have to get back to the hotel, that was way too much sake, now in drunk.” Allie giggled.

“You leave in a few hours you can sleep it off on the plane.”

“Yeah sure I have to catch up with Will and try and learn the details of this conference, you're a bad influence you know that don't you? How am I meant to concentrate when I've drunk more than I should have?”

“I don't remember you complaining at the time, anyway it's not like you have to drive or anything your hotels just round the corner, I'll come with you, tell your boss that you needed the distraction.”

“Not a chance, I'll be fine you better go home though, I'll call you in a few days.”

Allie really hadn't realised the time when she got back to the hotel and was surprised when she found Will sitting in the lobby waiting for her.

“Good day? Get everything sorted?” He smiled as he stood up.

“It was good to get the paperwork signed but I've got a strange feeling that something is going to go wrong….how was the rest of the conference?”

“Just great.” Will said sarcastically as he rolled his eyes. “Go have a lay down you look like you need it, I'll come and get you when it's time for dinner and fill you in, oh and Allie…” He paused for a second. “Maybe next time skip the liquid part of the lunch.” Allie giggled a little, he was right and she knew he was.

Two hours later there was a knock on her door and Allie reluctantly dragged herself off the bed and looked at the time knowing straight away that it would be Will. Opening the door she told him to go down without her while she freshened up, she wasn't really hungry but she needed to know what she had missed, although judging by Wills reaction when she asked him earlier she guessed there probably wasn't really a great deal to tell her.

An hour later Will had skimmed over what she had missed as they ate before they went back to their rooms to finish their packing. They were on a late flight and Allie was looking forward to getting home, it didn't matter how many times they spoke on the phone or how many texts they sent each other Allie still missed Bea like crazy, the only time she had been happy when they couldn't speak to each other the whole three days she was away was when she was telling Michelle about her, and then she still missed her. Finally arriving at the airport their flight couldn't bored soon enough for Allie.

 

 


Turning over once again in the blackness of their room, a blackness with such completeness that it obliterated the memory of the previous day, Bea glanced at the alarm clock that now read 0132. ‘For fuck sake,’ she sighed heavily. She had been in bed for almost three hours and had spent the majority of that time tossing and turning unable to shut her mind off and allow her body to actually rest. Allies flight was due to land soon and she knew there was no way she was getting any sleep until she was laying in he arms again, the last two nights she had hardly slept and that morning she had even snapped at Maxine when she asked her if she wanted a coffee. She was pretty sure that Allie would have been having the same trouble sleeping while she had been away because they had both admitted that they hated trying to sleep without the other there. Picking up her phone she decided to send Allie a text, she knew as soon as she landed she would get it.


Call me as soon as you can xx


Dropping her phone back down she rolled over again, since waking up on Wednesday morning alone she'd hardly slept and as tired as she now felt she still knew that there wasn't much point in trying to get to sleep until Allie finally arrived home. She was glad that Debbie had wanted to spend the night with Franky and Bridget really, she couldn't help but be snappy with everyone but had managed not to snap at Debbie, with her little outburst the previous morning at Maxine she knew it wouldn't be long before Debbie asked yet again when Allie would be back, and the last thing she wanted to do was take her frustrations out on her. She missed Allie more than she thought possible. Bea rarely ever lost her temper with Debbie and couldn't actually remember off the top of her head the last time she had.

Allie hated night flights, especially when she was tired, the flight between Sydney and Melbourne wasn't long enough to actually get any real sleep, she tried to have a nap but the thoughts of getting home and slipping into bed next to Bea kept her awake. Allie rubbed her eyes, she needed coffee and she glanced over at Will who was seemingly sleeping quite happily until she left her seat, opening his eyes he scowled at her before pulling the blanket over his head and muttered something about hating night flights.

Allie headed to the bathroom first before grabbing a coffee on her way back, it made more sense than disturbing Will again, and with the time she still had left of the flight she decided once she was back in her seat that she may as well go over Wills notes from the conference again, not that her mind was really on what she was going to read she just wanted something to help pass the time until they landed that wouldn't disturb Will.

Looking out of the window she hadn't noticed that they had already started their descent until she saw the lights from the airport, the closer they got her thoughts drifted back to Bea, she had monopolised her thoughts almost the whole time they had been away, and now she was so lost in the thoughts of her gorgeous girlfriend who she knew would be laying in bed waiting for her to crawl in beside her she didn't even notice that they had landed. They made their way off the plane, got their luggage and made their way to the waiting taxis before Allie even realised that Will had spoken to her.

“Huh….sorry, miles away.”

“Yeah.” Will grinned, “I said I'll see you on Monday, enjoy your weekend.”

“I intend to, just as soon as I get home to my two favourite girls.” Allie giggled because as much as she missed Bea she missed Debbie just as much.

How she ended up in the back of a taxi she really wasn't really quite sure the only thing on her mind was the thought of kissing Bea again. Grabbing her phone she was suddenly aware that it was turned off, when it finally came back to life she smiled when she saw the text message that Bea had sent an hour before. Calling her she was surprised when she answered within a few rings.

“Hi.” Allies mouth went dry the second she heard her say ‘hi,’ she could hear her answer the phone like that everyday for the rest of her life.

“Allie…is everything alright?” Bea waited a few seconds and still didn't get a reply. “Allie…are you still there?…Allie.”

“Sorry…I missed you.”

“I missed you too, how was your flight?”

“Boring, but I'm almost home now…I can't wait to see you.”

“Snap, and it's only been three days.”

Allie groaned, three days might have well have been three months, it had certainly felt like it. “There had better be no more conferences that I need to attend for the next year or I might have to rethink working at LB.”

“You wouldn't?”

“Trust me I would, and I'm sure I could get another job that doesn't involve having to leave you for more than eight hours a day…I'm serious I hated the last the three days.”

 

 


The weekend was over far too quickly for Allies liking, although having the house to themselves until lunchtime on Sunday had proved that neither of them had cared how much sleep they had missed, the second Allie had crawled under the covers with Bea any tiredness either of them had been feeling was soon forgotten and Franky had taken great pleasure in teasing them both about how tired they looked when she dropped Debbie off.

Monday morning rolled around again and the three of them fell back into their usual routine, dropping Debbie off at school then heading to work Allie looked like something was bothering her.

“What's wrong?” Bea asked as she parked her car.

“Something and nothing, I don't really know…it's just…the house sale, they never go through that quickly, Michelle said that the guy buying it really wanted it but…I don't know, something doesn't feel right.”

“You have his name don't you? Ask Franky if she can dig around a little for you, I know she's busy but I'm sure she'll find some spare time if it's bothering you that much.”

Allie agreed it might be a good idea even though it was now a little too late to change her mind, she didn't even really know why it was bothering her, she wanted rid of the house and if someone else wanted it that badly they could have it. Walking into the finance department Allie was a little shocked to find that Wills office seemed to have been taken over by a couple of detectives who were busy getting ready for interviewing more of the employees.

“Bet your glad you missed half of last week.” Linda said as she looked towards Wills office.

“Honestly I'd rather have been here…have they spoken to you yet?”

“Yes, not that I could tell them anything.” Linda paused and Allie was going to go to her office, “Allie!…I…well I…I wanted to apologise, for what I did before…it wasn't right, I made coming to work uncomfortable for you and I know you got this job because it's where your talents lie, I…I just wanted to clear the air.” Linda hung her head, she had never apologised to anyone at work ever, she ran her mouth and carried on like she had never said anything but didn't want things to be difficult around the office anymore, they were bad enough right now and her previous behaviour she found wasn't something she currently felt very proud of.

Allie turned back a little shocked that she had even tried to apologise, “Its fine.” She lied. “As long as we can work together without it causing anymore problems then…” she shrugged, it wasn't fine, not really, she wasn't going to forget what Linda had said but if she was going to apologise Allie saw no reason not to accept her apology.

Linda smiled, “You have a meeting in half an hour, sorry to spring that on you.”

Allie sighed, “Just a typical Monday morning then?” She said as she turned and walked to her office finding Simon waiting for her. “Please do not tell me you are going to be a drama queen this morning I don't think my head can handle drama this early in the day.” She laughed.

“Na just thought I'd fill you in on what you missed while you were away but if your not interested…”

She was, the lack of time she had to spare before her first meeting was her current issue arranging to spend some time with him after lunch he left her to it. If there was one thing Allie hated more than Monday morning it was having a meeting first thing on Monday morning, they seldom did anything to lighten her mood and she knew that she already had a meeting scheduled at eleven with the director and two more in the afternoon. Thankfully her first meeting only lasted forty minutes giving her some time to sit in her office and make a quick call to Franky.

“To what do I owe the pleasure Novak, bored with Red already?”

“Piss off Franky, actually I need a favour.”

“Yeah…it'll cost ya.” She chuckled.

“Oh yeah, and what's the going rate these days for a Francesca Doyle favour?”

“Depends on what's involved.”

Allie explained what was bothering her about the sale of the house and giving her the name of the guy who was buying it Franky agreed to do a little search. She didn't see why it seemed to be bothering Allie so much after all she was getting rid of a house that held more than a few bad memories for her but if would put her friends mind at rest that there wasn't anything untoward going on then it was worth doing a little digging around.

Allie was on her way up to the directors office when the elevator stopped on the fifth floor and Bea walked in. Allie was a little surprised to see her until she told her that she'd been asked to attend the same meeting.

“I wish this day was over already, I've got meetings all day…” Allie grumbled.

“I know, so do I and I'm not looking forward to the one I have after lunch, seems I'm required to go over the discrepancies that have been found in Wills accounts.” Bea frowned before leaning in and whispering in Allies ear. “You'll just have to count down the hours until you can ravish me again.”

“Jesus Bea! Have you forgotten where we are?” Allie sucked in her breath.

“Hey, there's only us here, besides that's what you get for running off to Sydney with Will for three days. When I did sleep the only thing I did was dream about you, honestly, those dreams seriously needed censoring.”

Allie giggled, “I thought they said that absence makes the heart grow fonder not hornier.”

Bea dipped her head as she felt the heat rise in her cheeks, “Just wait until tonight.” She whispered.

“Huh…”

“I have plans for you later so you better hope the day passes quickly.” Be grinned as the doors opened and she walked out leaving a stunned Allie behind, turning her head she held her hand out, “Come on it's never a good idea to keep the director waiting.”

Chapter Text

Just before dawn Bea opened her eyes, the sky was starting to fill with the blended tones of rosy pinks and sandy yellows, in the semi darkness of their room she looked at Allie and knew that something was different although she wasn't exactly sure what had changed. She knew she had absolutely no desire to leave the warmth of their bed or the woman laying right beside her. For so many years all she'd ever wanted to do was keep as much distance between her and everyone else as possible, sex had never been something she'd been interested in, with Harry she did everything she possibly could to avoid it and she'd convinced herself that it was something she would gladly live the rest of her life without. But that was before Allie, and after the previous night she couldn't even put what she was feeling into words, that was something that had been happening a lot and she knew it was all due to Allie, no one had ever cared about her in the way she did, even the smallest things she did for her often left her lost for words.

Bea ran her fingers down Allies cheek and lightly brushed her lips with her thumb, her heart felt like it was going to explode, she loved her and she didn't hold back from telling her so everyday now. She'd asked her to move in and she had and now she just wasn't sure what should come next, she ran her hand down her arm until it came to rest on her hip and noticed that Allies eyes were open.

“You should still be asleep.” Allie said sleepily.

Bea smiled softly, “Sorry I didn't mean to wake you.”

Allie instantly felt more awake than she thought she should be, she loved the sound of Beas voice first thing in a morning, it had the most wonderful low rumble to it that she though she would never get tired of hearing.

“You didn't.” Allie assured her as she smiled back at her.

“No?” Was all Bea could say, her brain seemed to stall every time she saw that smile, no matter where they were or who they were with the second she saw that smile she forgot about everything else.

Allie lay studying her face for a few seconds, in the low light it was difficult to really work out if something was bothering her. “Babe, what's wrong?”

No matter how many times she called her that it still felt strange, all be it a good strange, and every time she heard it slip out of Allies mouth she craved hearing it again. If anyone but Allie ever called her babe she was sure that she would have bit their head off but it felt so right when Allie said it. “Just don't seem to be able to sleep this morning.”

Tucking the loose hair that had fallen over Beas face behind her ear Allie never took her eyes from hers before she moved and perched on her elbow causing the covers to fall completely distracting Bea when her breasts came into view, she tried not to stare but it was too difficult not to, the view was mesmerising.

Allie looked at her, a slight smirk on her lips when she realised exactly where her gaze had moved to. “Hey, you can look at those all you like later, first you have to answer a couple of questions.”

Beas eyes reluctantly wondered straight back to her face and she nodded wondering where this line of questioning might go.

“Is it bothering you that Debbie was at home last night?”

“No.” Bea answered honestly straight away, “It was a little difficult reminding you to be quite though.” A grin spread across her lips and lit up her entire face as she tried not to giggle.

“Are you saying I was the only one who needed reminding we weren't alone?” Allie frowned for a few seconds, “Are you going to tell me what's really bothering you?”

It was Beas turn to frown, it wasn't even really something that was bothering her, it was strange, and she knew Allie was never going to stop asking her what was on her mind if she didn't tell her. “It's just…this…us…I never wanted anyone like I want you…I want you all the time and I don't want you to think that's all I want because you know sex was never something I wanted before.” Bea turned her head and buried her face in the pillow.

“That's it?” Allie asked, “Does it help if I tell you I feel the same? I always promised that we'd go at your pace and I still mean that, but you know I would never think that's all you wanted me for because I know it isn't, not unless you've suddenly turned into Franky.” A soft giggle escaped Allie as she watched Bea turn her head to look at her.

Bea scrunched her nose up and giggled along with her, comparing Bea in anyway to Franky was pretty funny because everyone knew they were polar opposites in most ways yet so similar in certain ways. “I love you.” Bea said as she traced a path with her fingers down Allies cheek.

“Good, because I happen to love you too.” Allie responded before leaning in and kissing her softly on the lips.

“Its way too early to get up.” Bea mumbled against her lips.

“Hmmm, it is…” Allie tilted her head and smiled, “But I'm certain we can think of something to keep ourselves from getting bored don't you?”

“Oh I don't know…I was thinking of trying to get some more sleep.” Bea said playfully.

“Is that right?” Allie asked as she rolled on top of her, “I'm sure you can think of something much better than sleep right now can't ya?”

“I can.” Bea flipped them over and kissed her.

“What…times…your…meeting?” Allie asked between kisses.

“Hmmm.” Bea hummed she didn't want to think about work.

“Babe, concentrate for one minute, you said you had an early meeting this morning what time is it?” Allie asked again as Bea kissed her neck.

Bea dropped her head on Allies shoulder, “You want to talk about work…really?”

“No but you said…”

Beas brain suddenly engaging with the question Allie had asked her. “Shit!” Bea suddenly picked her head up, “I meant to call Liz and ask her if she'd mind taking Deb to school this morning.”

“You don't have to worry about that I'll take her to school.”

“Really?…You wouldn't mind?”

“Why would I? So what time is your meeting?”

“Eight…you really wouldn't mind? I can't believe I forgot to call Liz, I never forget to make sure I have everything arranged rea…”

“Stop already…I really don't mind, you don't even need to ask me that ok? I'm here for both of you, I always will be.”

“Sorry…It's been just the two of us for so long, I'm not used to having someone else here who wants to help.”

“I know, now forget about it….I believe you said you could think of something better than sleeping.”

Bea leaned in again and kissed her as Allie moaned into the kiss, Bea had a much better idea than sleep right then as she trailed her fingers down her neck and down further until they pressed gently against her clit, Allie sighed and shifted underneath her. Beas eyes lingered on Allies that held nothing more right then than desire as Beas fingers began to slowly caress her clit as Allie moaned.

“I've always loved waking up with you.” Allie whispered as her hips slowly moved against Beas fingers.

“I love waking up with you too.” Bea leaned in and kissed her again, ‘But this is so much better than just waking up with you,’ Bea thought to herself.

Allies breathing became more erratic as Bea kissed her way down her body, replacing her fingers with her tongue, Allie moaned deep and low, grabbing Beas forearm and pushed it back down her body, “Bea, please.” Bea didn't need any more encouragement and she gently slid her fingers into Allie. Biting her bottom lip Allie tried not to moan but it was impossible with Bea and she grabbed Beas pillow burying her face into it as she writhed and shuddered as she went crashing over the edge.

Bea crawled back up her body, rolled onto the mattress and wrapped herself around Allie as she tried to regulate her breathing again. That Bea induced heart attack that Franky had once joked about right then felt very much like a possibility and Allie let out a small giggle when she remembered that. A few minutes later she leaned in kissing Bea as one of her hands slipped between their bodies and began its masterful assault on Beas clit.

“Fuck…Allie…..”

“Can't have you falling asleep on me.” Allie softly giggled in her ear as she gently pushed her back against the mattress.

“I doubt I'll ever get tired of doing that.” Allie announced later as Bea lay back trying to catch her breath.

“You better not,” Bea breathed, “Although I recall you did that multiple times last night.” She said with a breathy laugh.

Allie bit her bottom lip, “That was your fault, if you weren't so damn sexy maybe I could keep my hands to myself.”

“Ahhh…so I'm to blame, maybe I should send you back to the spare room.” She grinned.

Allie squinted her eyes at her, “Really! Do want another reminder why that would be a bad idea?”

“No…you already know I wouldn't do it.”

Allie propped herself up on her elbow and shook her head, her silky blond tresses falling over her face, “Maybe I do…you'd only come and crawl into bed with me anyway, but I can't help it if it's a particularly pleasurable experience making the most gorgeous woman in the office completely melt under my fingers.”

“I knew that's all you wanted me for all this time.” Bea giggled.

“Hey…” Allie giggled as she playfully swatted her arm, “You know I like every little thing about being with you, your very enticing virtues to one side, I still have to pinch myself some mornings when I see you looking back at me, you are everything I ever dreamed of and then some, I'll never want to be with anybody else.”

“Good thing I don't want anyone else then, you're stuck with me, all five foot six of me.”

“I'm so lucky…even if you are a midget.” Allie chuckled.

Bea lost all motivation to actually get out of bed the second Allie started kissing her again, she had to get up and be in the office by 0730, but leaving their bed was proving to actually be very difficult, if they could stay right were they were all day she wouldn't have had the slightest complaint. When her phone started ringing a few minutes later she suddenly started to develop a great distaste for technology.

“Just ignore it,” she mumbled against Allies neck.

Allie tilted her head a little to get a good view of the clock, “Might be Maxine.”

“Then Maxi can go to hell.” Bea mumbled against her collarbone, having taken the opportunity to move her kisses lower when Allie moved. Her phone ringing again did nothing to make her stop what she was doing, “Bea!” Allie huffed, “It might be important.”

“It's stopped, now come back here, it's not even six in the morning it can wait.” Bea wrapped her arms around her again, she could have answered the phone but why the hell should she at that time in the morning, she also knew that she really had to drag herself out of bed and that was the last thing she wanted to do, she wasn't going to say it out loud because she still struggled to find the right words but every day they were together she felt their connection growing stronger and she guessed that Allie must feel it too. Wrapped up in Beas arms Allie had never felt safer or so loved in her life and then her bloody phone just had to ring again.

“Babe just answer it, whoever it is obviously isn't going to give up anytime soon.”

“Whoever it is is going to get a piece of my mind.” Bea said as she dragged herself away from Allie and sat up, grabbing her phone seeing the director calling made her nervous. He apologised for disturbing her but had news about Sonia and Joan that couldn't wait, he hadn't wanted to tell her over the phone and had intended to wait until she got into the office but things had moved on more rapidly than he had expected and Bea needed to know. Informing her that they had both been arrested and were currently occupying a cell each in Bow Road police station. Bea was a little shocked, the last she heard they were still being investigated, maybe new evidence had come to light the director wasn't going into much detail but she knew she needed to get to the office.

“I hate to do this but I've got to go, Sonia and Joan have been arrested.”

“Already?…That didn't take long, I'll catch up with you at work.”

Bea leaned in and kissed her, “I don't know what I did right to ever find you again but I'm so glad I did, you sure you don't mind dropping Deb off.”

“For the last time no, just get ready and get gone before your phone starts ringing again.”

 

 


Sonia paced her cell floor, she had never thought for a moment that she would end up here, if being arrested in front of the whole office wasn't embarrassing enough being placed in handcuffs and walked out of the building was even more disconcerting. This was not how things were supposed to work out, Joan had got away with this before how could anything have gone wrong unless Joan had got greedy, but Sonia was sure that wasn't the case they had worked closely, hadn't moved huge sums of money, as far as she knew no one had ever noticed any money missing in Melbourne and if they had Will would get the blame it was that simple. Being in police custody in a cell that was nothing more than four walls and a concrete slab with a mattress laid on it, everything was grey. The artificial lighting was too bright and she found herself wondering how long a person would have to spend locked behind a solid steel door before they forgot what the outside world looked like. When that door closed behind her it was loud, as she heard the jangle of keys and the lock turn she had felt hopeless, there was no way out unless someone let her out. Every passing minute felt like an hour, claustrophobia now seemed like a curse, the walls felt like they were closing in on her and she wanted to ball her fists up and punch her way out. If she could think clearly for a few minutes she knew they weren't really moving but clear thinking wasn't anything she would have until she was out in the fresh air, her heart was beating erratically as she tried to search for an answer to her her current predicament with all the grace of a bouncing ball. She wanted to scream, let the fear out that was building inside of her, scream so loud that the walls surrounding her might just collapse. There couldn't be a person alive who didn't fear being closed in, of being trapped it was never something Sonia had ever given much thought to until now, but soon she thought, soon they would realise that they had made a mistake, see how totally wrong they were, she could not have done anything they said she had done. They would have to apologise to her and set her free, she sat down on the cold mattress and waited as the minutes ticked away second by agonising second.

Joan had been placed in a cell across the corridor, unlike Sonia she had not caused a scene when she was escorted from the custody suite into the the cells, she walked calmly into her hollow cube of concrete. She was familiar with the inside of a police cell, one way in, no windows. Having no idea how much time had passed or even if it was day or night didn't shake her, it was designed to be disorientating but not for Joan as she sat quietly. The isolation was total and the stimulation zero, the only sounds that could be heard were the unlocking of doors as another detained person was led away for interviewing, the occasional shout as they were walked down the corridor but even that didn't faze her. Surrounded by four grey walls she had nothing else to do but stare at them and think, she looked at the paint that had started to peel, the gouged out messages left by other prisoners, ‘some people will do anything to pass the time,’ she thought to herself, maybe sitting there was enough to drive others mad but not her, she liked the solitude. She wasn't stupid, she knew that the police only had the power to hold them for eight hours, at least an hour must have passed, they could only be questioned for no more than four hours, she was sure the evidence once more could only point to someone else and her scapegoat was Sonia. If they thought they could prove anything she would soon know if they went to a magistrate to apply for an extra twelve hour detention, something she wasn't expecting them having the grounds to do.

 

 


Bea almost ran into her office, actually saying goodbye to Allie had proved more difficult than it should have when she'd walked to the door with her after making sure that Debbie was getting ready for school. There was no sign of Maxine yet and she hadn't expected there to be, she did wonder if she should call her but decided that there was no point in disturbing her routine, just because Bea had walked into her office just after 7am didn't mean that anyone else needed to be there, she was quite capable of getting her own coffee and making her way up to the directors office and she really needed coffee.

Walking back to her office thirty minutes later Bea hadn't expected Maxine to be there, filling Bea in on the rest of her day did nothing to make her feel better about being in the office early. It was going to be a long day and if she wanted to get through it and get home at a reasonable time she was going to have to work through lunch, her 8am meeting thankfully had been set back to 8:30am giving her time to get everything she needed sorted out and get another coffee.

She had no idea how she got through her day, somehow she managed to get through all her meetings, receiving an occasional text from Allie who was not pleased about her skipping lunch, they were used to not always seeing each other during lunch breaks but when Bea had said she was working through Allie had assumed that she would eat at her desk, finding out from Maxine later on that she had actually skipped lunch altogether had not sat well.

Between Allies texts and Maxine's constant interruptions somehow she managed to get through various meetings all on topics that were instantly forgotten about as soon as she walked out of the door. Cleared her inbox and worked her way through the stack of reports that were piled on her desk, leaving the grand total of two for the next day. Time had passed quickly and at 5pm when Allie walked into her office she was just shutting down her computer.

“Why don't you go straight home and I'll pick Debbie up from Liz's.”

“I cant ask you to do that.”

“You aren't asking, I'm offering, you've been snowed under all day, you look tired.”

“Are you saying that you've been sat in your office doing nothing?”

“I wish, haven't you heard Will went home sick before lunch, not that I'm surprised.”

What had surprised Allie more was that he hadn't gone home sooner, the news of Sonia and Joan's arrests had been the talk of the office as had Wills imagined involvement in the whole thing. Everyone who knew him well knew that it had been staged to look as if he was complicit in the whole thing but it didn't stop the gossip filtering to every floor of the building although somehow Allie guessed that it must not have arrived in Beas ears or she was sure everyone would have by now heard her views.

Leaning against the door frame Allie waited while she got everything together, finally pulling her jacket off the back of her chair she couldn't wait to get home.

“So?” Allie shot Bea a questioning look.

“What?”

“Are you going to go home and let me pick Debbie up?”

Bea just nodded.

 

 


Franky finally managed to catch up with Allie as she was just about to get into her car after she'd watched Bea drive away.

“Hey Novak wait up a second.” She huffed as she jogged across the car park, “Shit thought I'd missed ya.”

“This better be important Franky, I've got to pick Debbie up.”

“Well shit, Reds got ya whipped….seriously though, what ya asked me for…well the guy buyin ya house is a fuckin ghost but I ain't stopped lookin. Ya dad though, he was easy to find, hasn't moved from the address ya gave me. Honestly Al ya could have tracked him down without my help.”

“Thanks, I think…I'm not even sure if I want to see him again, I mean I kinda just left and we both know how that turned out.”

“I reckon he'd like to know that ya didn't end up a total screw up, I mean look at ya head of finance, ya turned it all around…think about it, talk to Red yeah.”

Allie stuffed the piece of paper that Franky had handed her into her bag, he hadn't moved, why hadn't he moved? Was he still hoping all these years later that she might reappear? Did he even care what she had put herself through because honestly she had been in self destruct mode since the day she had arrived back home. Her mum dying was the worst thing possible but he had tried to keep her from doing anymore damage to herself and she hadn't listened, hadn't wanted to. She hated him, hated her mum for leaving her, even hated the brothers that in reality she loved so much, she chose to numb everything with drugs and alcohol, didn't that make her just like her parents, always using something to hide behind?

She sat in her car for a couple of minutes trying to figure out why the hell she even cared, they had made her life a living hell, the three of them had been taken away and split up, put in different foster homes but Allie had found Franky, she helped her, talked to her, held her when she'd cried because she'd done that a lot, being at home was hard but it was all she'd ever known and being away from everything was just even harder. She smiled, because she knew that deep down if none of that had ever happened she'd never have met Bea, everything happens for a reason right? No matter how strange things may seem, no matter the distance that she'd put between them here they were, ten years might have been a long time but to her it was nothing more than a blink of an eye because nothing of great significance as far as her feelings were concerned had changed, ‘yes everything happens for a reason,’ she thought to herself, ‘even if you don't know it at the time.’

Chapter Text

Laying in bed Bea could tell that something was bothering Allie, she'd been quite through dinner, she'd hardly answered Debbie and that was something unusual for her, never mind that she'd hardly eaten anything.

“Tell me what's wrong.” Bea said quietly.

“It's stupid…the last time I saw Michelle I said I wanted to see my dad and she reminded me of that. I asked Franky to look for him and she's found him, wasn't hard really he hasn't moved like I thought he would have.”

“You know if you want to see him I'll support you…is it really that scary wanting to see him again?”

“I walked away…he tried to help me but I wasn't interested, thought I knew best didn't I and look where that got me.”

“Hey you don't have to think about that, it's in the past, you should concentrate on what you've achieved, not many people would find their way back and you've more than done that. I never thought I would ever be ok again, never thought I'd be laying here with someone who's my whole world but here you are.”

“What if he doesn't want to see me?”

“How will you know if you don't try? Maybe he didn't move because he thought you'd turn up one day, he doesn't know what happened to you…you did say you missed your brothers, even if things don't work out with him maybe you'll get to see them again.”

“Yeah…didn't think of that, I have his email address maybe I could email him, if he doesn't want to see me at least it won't be so bad not getting a reply as getting the door shut in my face would be.”

“You have nothing to lose.” Be snuggle closer to Allie, “And if he doesn't want to see you then he's an idiot because you Allie Novak are the most special person I've ever met.”

“And you kinda have to say that.”

“Maybe…its the truth though…get some sleep beautiful we can work something out tomorrow.”

Allie couldn't sleep, she'd walked away from her family, she still remembered the day she had packed a bag and just left with nothing but a few clothes and few dollars in her pocket, she'd been racked with a sense of guilt walking away from her younger brother but she didn't see any other way out. She'd felt engulfed with nothing but defeat and despair, she'd spent three years trying to fit in and the only way she'd ever felt part of something, found herself some friends was to do drugs, she could have studied harder, made more of an effort to make friends like everyone else did but she'd taken the easy way out and then walked away. The first night she found herself sleeping on a so called friends sofa and then spent the next few weeks moving around from house to house until everyone turned their backs on her. Her lowest point was the night Kaz found her, she didn't care what happened to her that night, she hated herself, hated what her life had become and hated the world in general. She'd sat down at some point and memories of Bea had come flooding back, she missed her like crazy even after all that time, after everything she'd been through she was the only person she wanted to see one last time but why would she ever want to see her, she was a mess. She'd often thought about going home but didn't want to prove to her dad what a real disappointment she really was. Laying in Beas arms was the only time she ever remembered feeling safe, actually felt really loved for the first time in her life and she couldn't stop the tears from falling. She lay in the dark questioning if it really was true that everything happens in life for a reason, was every mess she made really a message? Every trial a triumph in the making? When she felt like a victim was that just a path to victory? There had to be a reason for it, at the time she couldn't see it but right now she'd live through it all again if it meant that right where she was would be where she'd end up every time.

She'd failed at so much in her life and had always been overcome by a sense of defeat, wasn't that just a part of life, everyone goes through failures and it doesn't make anyone feel good but life can't always been rainbows and sunshine. The greatest lessons in life are always born from failure, she had that thought way too often so why the hell was she always so afraid to fail? She spent so much time trying to hide from failure and she knew she should do the opposite, she knew she should embrace and welcome it because who ever learnt from success? You don't improve yourself if you always live on easy street, true strength and progress are gained from living outside of your comfort zone, that knowledge still didn't make her feel any better. Both her and Bea had been through pain, had faced failure stood strong through their most trying experiences and then for some inexplicable reason they had met again and something really wonderful had been born, something that had renewed them both, rejuvenated them both and given them both a belief that there were greater things to come.

“Why aren't you asleep?” Bea asked as she pulled her closer kissing her forehead.

“Just thinking…I never though anything good would happen to me, then there you were. The only reason I was ever with Jess I think was because I was scared to be alone, I didn't think I could make it, thought I'd fall back into my old life if there was no one there to give me a reason not to. I haven't told you this, never though I would, but I still had cravings, the whole time I was with Jess I still had times where I just wanted to forget everything for a few hours, I did everything for her and she just took advantage of that.”

“And now?” Bea asked unsure if she really wanted to hear the answer.

“I haven't even thought about drugs since that night at the bar, I don't need them anymore, the only drug I need is right here beside me.” Allie answered honestly.

Bea was quiet for a few moments, it was hard to think that Allie could have thrown herself into a relationship that clearly hadn't been healthy from the start, given her recent confession it wasn't an ideal situation for her to be in but she hadn't caved into her cravings even when things had been bad and Bea admired her for staying so strong.

“After Harry disappeared Liz told me that we're all meant to thrive not just survive. I'd been living in survival mode for so long that I couldn't see any other way of living, I guess I was on survival autopilot. I was trying to survive all the emotions that had engulfed me for so long, everything that happened changed my perspective and I guess I thought that was just how life was meant to be. When I first got the job at LB I was so afraid that people would know who I was because it had been in the papers for months, one day I realised while I was sitting by myself over lunch that everything I had experienced had actually made me thrive. It's funny how certain things can alter your life's trajectory if you embrace it rather than run from it. I look at things differently now, I've learnt to approach the things I find hard in a completely different way and having you in my life has changed me for the better I think.”

“I'm going to do it…contact my dad, I'll email him while I'm at work in the morning. You don't think I'm being stupid do you?”

“I would never think that, I think you should do whatever you need to do, I know it's been a long time but I'm sure he'll be happy to hear from you, you said it yourself he hasn't moved so maybe all this time he's been hoping you'd go home. I can't imagine not having my mum and dad around even if mum does always call just because she has nothing better to do and assumes that neither do I.”

 

 


Monday morning arrived once more, Allie was sitting mulling over the report in her hands when her thoughts turned to her dad. She emailed him a few days ago and had heard nothing, she'd tried not to think about it but Bea had called her out on Saturday afternoon when when they'd taken Debbie to the beach. Franky and Boomer had tagged along and the three of them were happily messing around further down the beach while Bea and Allie were sitting by themselves watching. Allie had been quiet all morning and Bea was getting more than a little concerned. Bea of course had reasoned that maybe if he was anything like her dad he might only check his emails every now and again, it wasn't like they were constantly checking their inboxes like they had to do, and that had settled Allie a little.

Throwing the report to one side she turned her attention to her computer, there would always be emails that needed answering, especially on a Monday morning and she'd been putting it off knowing that there was always the possibility that at least over half of them that were waiting for her had arrived over the weekend.

She scrolled down to where they had begun on Saturday and was stopped in her tracks when she looked at the second one, her dad had replied and she didn't know if she wanted to read what he had to say in reply. She'd used her work email instead of her personal email in the hope that when he saw that he would see that she wasn't the complete failure that she still sometimes saw herself as. She took a few moments to decide if she was going to just skip right over it and leave it for later, curiosity got the better of her and even if it were a rejection she would have to deal with it, it wasn't like she wasn't used to feeling bad about herself, it just happened less and less since she'd found Bea again.

She read it through once relieved that he'd said nothing bad, it was completely the opposite of what she had expected, reading it again she decided that she wasn't going to answer straight away. He wanted to see her and said he was happy to meet her anywhere she felt most comfortable. She panicked a little then, she'd hidden so well who she really was even though she'd known she was gay since before she could even remember and she didn't know how she was going to approach that subject, she didn't want him not to know that she was with Bea, she was the most important person in her life and if he couldn't accept that then there was no point in even seeing him, and that fear of rejection cut her like a knife the more she thought about it. She needed to speak to Bea but she knew she had meetings all morning.

 

 

 

Right before lunch Franky walked back into her office after receiving some particularly good news, all the connections had been made between Sonia and Joan's long standing association.
First thing that morning she had been ready to let go of the dwindling ray of hope that had flickered inside of her, she was sure that they would both be released without charge due to lack of evidence. That blanket of blackness that had started to descend had now been replaced by a burst of light that pierced through that darkness. It the first time since this whole mess came to light that she had felt any kind of optimism, Joan was staying tight lipped, every question that was thrown at her was met with the same words ‘no comment,’ but Sonia was not Joan and Sonia had started to crack revealing a few details. Every question to Sonia was like a punch in the face and she was showing more signs of wanting to cooperate, she hadn't been offered a thing so it wasn't a simple matter of getting what she wanted in return for what she could give which was standard for Sonia.

Allie instinctively knew Bea was watching her as she looked up from her computer screen, Allie rarely closed her office door preferring to still feel part of the office as a whole and also because she had concluded that it made her more approachable if she wasn't closed off from everyone else.

“What?” Allie asked in amusement when she saw the smile Bea had plastered on her lips.

“Oh you know, thought I could take you for lunch, I believe I still owe you one.”

“Is that so, well since you've taken so long to remember that bet how about we make it two?”

Bea shrugged, “I can live with that, I'll buy you lunch for the rest of the year of it means getting away from my office for an hour.” Bea grinned before half turning away and looking back, “Are you coming or not?”

“Maybe later.” Allie threw back with a cheeky wink earning her an eye roll from Bea.

Sitting at their usual table in the diner Allie was still trying to process the email from her dad, Bea watched her with interest clearly something was on her mind.

“Bad morning or something else?” Bea asked as Allie picked her head up to look at her for the hundredth time in ten minutes.

“I got a reply from my dad.” She sighed.

“Oh…what did he say?…He wants to see you right?”

“He does…he said he was happy to meet me anywhere so that's a relief because I didn't really want to go over to the house…”

“That's not all that's bothering you is it?”

Allie fell silent again, she'd kept part of what made her who she was so well hidden from her family, her dad had asked a few times about boyfriends and she brushed it off, never sure what might happen if she revealed the truth and now she felt right back where she started from, needing to hide but not wanting to anymore.

“He doesn't know.” She finally said.

Bea looked confused for a minute until it all fell into place and reached across the table taking her hands in hers.

“He clearly wants to see you, that should mean something, that he's willing to listen to anything you have to say. If he truly wants you back in his life he'll accept anything you tell him.”

“I don't know what to do.” Allie admitted, she felt conflicted, she wanted him to know the person she was now and that meant telling him everything.

“If it helps any I'm still trying to find the right time to tell my mum and dad…I know that's a different situation and I'm sure they'll be ok with us but it's still not something that I ever thought I have to tell them. I was the one who said they were done with relationships.”

“Maybe I should call him?”

“I think you should do whatever you feel most comfortable with, whatever you decide I'm right here with you.”

Franky bursting through the door and jogging over to them soon put an end to that conversation.

“Come on love birds stop pawing each other, Jesus, it's enough to make ya puke.”

“Fuck off Franky…if Bridget were here you'd be no different.”

“Nah Red ya got me all wrong, altogether wrong…”

“Whatever Franky, do you need something or are you going to sit and eat with us?”

“You been hidin under a rock? Shit ya haven't heard have ya?”

“Heard what? Fucks sake Franky, why can you never just say what you want to say without going round the houses ten times?”

“Huh?…Yeah well…Sonia and Joan, ya know they were arrested? Well they're toast, gonna be brought back here for trial, turns out Sonia, I'm so fucking good at everything, Stevens was in on it all along….an the best bit she ain't even denyin it, shit honestly she's telling the cops everythin.”

“Seriously?” Allie asked, “Shit, you didn't just come over here to tell us that though sit down already would you?”

“Thought ya’d wanna know, forgot ya so fucking wrapped up in each other that a bomb could go off an ya wouldn't notice.” Franky finally sat down and carried on telling them what Sonia had revealed so far, their previous conversation was soon pushed to side.

Allie was worried and Bea was worried about her, she paid no attention to the meeting she had to spend the afternoon sitting through. All she wanted was the day to be over so they could go home, she wasn't interested in what was going to happen to Sonia and Joan really, wasn't interested in the new big client that they had just gained and she clearly wasn't in the mood to listen to some random person she didn't recall ever meeting before dragging out his IPO pitch for a smaller business client, nope not the slightest bit of interest at all.

Allie sat quietly in her office, this time behind a closed door, debating if she really should just get it over with take the plunge and call her dad. She picked up her phone and stared at the screen, ‘Its not like he can call you.’ She said to herself before putting it back down on the desk and then picking it straight back up, grabbing the paper with her dads number on it from the draw, her thumb hovering over the numbers on the screen. She quickly tapped out the number and pressed call, stunned when it was answered almost straight away as if he knew it was her and he'd been waiting on the call.

An hour later she sank back into her chair her phone still in her hand, she wasn't sure what had just happened and replayed the conversation in her head, he really wanted to see her, didn't care what she may or may not have done after she left, not that she'd gone into any great detail and shit he wanted to meet Bea and Debbie. “Are you happy?” He'd asked and she was sure that if it were possible he could hear her smile as she told him about her two favourite girls. Arranging to meet him the next evening, she'd hung up still unsure if he really meant everything he had said but happier knowing that she'd been honest with him, she would have handled him slamming the phone down on her but he hadn't and she hadn't expected it to go so well. Still she had to get past the nerves she was feeling now she had agreed to meet him for dinner.

“What's got you smiling?” Bea asked as she walked into Allies office thirty minutes later than she'd intended, like all meetings this one had been no exception and had overrun and Bea was not happy about it.

“I called him…my dad I mean…I'm meeting him tomorrow for dinner.”

“And?”

“I sort of told him everything, mainly everything about you, and Deb too, he wants to meet you.”

“Ok…I…wasn't expecting that.”

“Don't look so worried, I told him we needed to see each other before I decided if I wanted to let him loose on you, and if you don't want to you really don't have to.”

Bea had never honestly given it any thought, she just wanted Allie to be happy, Harry as she remembered had always kept her as far away from his own parents as possible choosing to visit them every now and again by himself, and he hated her parents, if either of them called and he answered he'd tell them she wasn't home, they'd turned up uninvited once right after they argued and Bea was in no state to see anyone, Harry had carried on drinking and ignored their knocking on the door, she would never forget that day she was sure of that. As soon as they'd left he'd dragged her from the bedroom by the hair and told he she'd better call them later and tell them never to show up a the house again. She'd wanted so much to tell them the reason why but she couldn't with Harry standing right behind her listening to every word. She'd finally managed to think up the only weak excuse she could, that Harry liked them to do things with Debbie and they were rarely at home in the evenings and weekends, her dad had wanted to say something, it was obvious they were at home but her mum had shot him a look and he'd stayed quiet. The second they'd ended the call they'd called Franky demanding that she tell them the truth, she'd always promised never to say anything and she hated being put on the spot like that by Beas parents, they'd always been so good to her, never minded that even though Bea was married she still went over to see them, spent Sundays lounging around their house when she was tired of studying and needed a break. Somehow she'd managed to tell them only the half truth and then she hadn't been able to face them for months, not until the day she had to face them at the hospital not knowing if her best friend was even going to make it. She wasn't sure how they were going to take the news that she'd finally found someone she was certain she wanted to spend the rest of her life with, they'd always been fine with Franky but this was different she wasn't Franky she was their daughter and if they weren't supportive it wasn't going to change a thing, she wasn't letting Allie walk out of her life just to keep them happy.

“Bea…Bea…”

“Sorry, did you say something?”

“I asked you if you were ready to leave, want to tell me what you were thinking about?”

“I'll tell you later, come on let's just get out of here.”

Bea listened quite contentedly to Debbie telling Allie that the geographical low point of Australia was Lake Eyre at -15 metres and that the geographical high point was Mount Kosciuszko at 2,229 metres as she cooked dinner. It wasn't that Bea wasn't interested in everything Debbie had to tell her she just didn't always have the time she would like to spend with her and until Allie had walked into their lives she'd always felt that Debbie was missing out not always having her full attention. Allie would sit and listen for hours if necessary, making her decision to finally tell her parents that she had in fact met someone easier than she imagined even if she was worried about how they would react.

After dinner Allie and Debbie ushered Bea out of the kitchen refusing to let her help clean up, sitting on the sofa she listened to Debbie telling Allie more about her geography homework, the whole conversation was very one sided but she loved how Allie would listen to her constant chatter about school. Beas phone started ringing somewhere in the kitchen where she'd left it and she just couldn't be bothered to go in search of it, she was sure it wouldn't be anything of great importance until Debbie appeared her phone pressed against her ear chatting to whoever had called.

“Grandma wants you.” Debbie cheerfully said as she handed over her phone before skipping back back off to the kitchen.

“Mum, hi…I have been meaning to call you.”

“Of course you have sweetie, I know how busy you get with work and Debbie, don't worry about it.”

Bea did feel a little guilty for not calling, not that she ever called them much anyway and the last couple of times her mum had called her she'd been in a hurry because the three of them had been going out. They chatted about what had been happening at work before her mum got to the reason that she had really called.

“We were wondering if you'd like to come over this weekend, maybe stay over we don't get to see you as often as we'd like.”

“Mum…I…err…I'm not sure, maybe I could bring Deb over.”

“That's not the answer I wanted…”

Beas mind was racing, she knew she had to tell her something, she's was planning on doing it but thought she be able to prepare what she wanted to say in her head before she had to have this conversation. Right then Debbie and Allie reappeared from the kitchen laughing.

“Yeah…sorry mum, it's just…well…”

“You can bring Allie with you if that's what's on your mind.”

Bea almost choked, how the hell had her mum even thought that her reluctance was anything to do with Allie, making her wonder if Debbie had said anything.

“Lost your voice?” Her mum asked, “You do seem to spend an lot of time with her, I just thought she might like to come with the pair of you, but if you've already made plans we could make it the weekend after.”

Allie sat down next to Bea wondering why she seemed to have fallen silent, especially since she knew she was talking to her mum.

“I…errr…I don't know, I'll have to ask Allie…not sure she could stand your constant stream of questions, she's not a hard ass like Franky.”

“Franky's a pussy cat you just have to know how to talk to her.” Her mum laughed, “Besides Allie was always tagging along everywhere with Franky, I seem to remember that it always annoyed you at the time, I'd like to see for myself what's changed so much, other than the obvious.”

“Obvious?” Bea mumbled.

“The fact that she's not a kid anymore, you always seem to be so much happier with her around. Ask her she might surprise you and want to hang out with two old people more than you do.”

“Mum!…I'll ask her.”

“Good, don't leave it too long.”

When Bea finally ended the call she wanted to kick herself, but then maybe telling her mum over the phone wasn't the best idea. All she knew was that she was going to do it, secrets never did her any good in the past and she didn't want to keep their relationship secret from anyone.