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Only Us

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"Only Us" 

Elly: 

I don't need you to sell me on reasons to want you

I don't need you to search for the proof that I should

You don't have to convince me

You don't have to be scared you're not enough

'Cause what we've got going is good

I don't need more reminders of all that's been broken

I don't need you to fix what I'd rather forget

Clear the slate and start over

Try to quiet the noises in your head

We can't compete with all that

So what if it's us?

What if it's us

And only us

And what came before won't count anymore or matter?

Can we try that?

What if it's you

And what if it's me

And what if that's all that we need it to be

And the rest of the world falls away?

What do you say?

 

Chloe:

I never thought there'd be someone like you who would want me

So I give you ten thousand reasons to not let me go

But if you really see me

If you like me for me and nothing else

Well, that's all that I've wanted for longer than you could possibly know

So it can be us

It can be us

And only us

And what came before won't count anymore or matter

We can try that

 

Elly & Chloe:

It's not so impossible

Nobody else but the two of us here

'Cause you're saying it's possible

We can just watch the whole world disappear

'Til you're the only one I still know how to see It's just you and me

It'll be us,

It'll be us

And only us

And what came before won't count anymore

We can try that

You and me

That's all that we need it to be

And the rest of the world falls away

And the rest of the world falls away

The world falls away

The world falls away

And it's only us 

Songwriters: Benj Pasek / Justin Paul

 

Chapter One

Chloe and Elly sat on the couch at Aaron and David's house watching TV. They sat far enough apart that they weren't touching and simply stared at the movie they were watching. Chloe wasn't paying attention to the movie at all as her mind kept bringing her back to the thought if anyone saw the two women sitting on the couch they would look like nothing more than friends. 

The pair had been more than friends for nearly 5 weeks now but no one would know it by looking at them. 

Elly had done a lot of damage to the Brennan clan. Two months earlier she had been caught out lying that the baby she was pregnant with wasn't her husband, Mark's, baby and had been forced to tell him truth after she had suffered a miscarriage when she'd taken a fall at home. Mark had rushed her to the hospital, terribly afraid that he was going to lose his second unborn child. Their brother-in-law, David, took an ultrasound and the grim news of their babies passing was then overridden when David noticed the baby was close to a month smaller than the dates both Elly and Mark were giving him.

When Mark had taken a few minutes to himself to grieve, Elly knew that David knew the baby wasn't as old as they claimed and didn't need to be the one to explain to David why she was lying. David was surprisingly nonjudgmental that Elly had cheated on Mark for a second time but he was upset that Elly was trying to play the baby off as Mark's and now her husband was grieving for a child that wasn't his.

When Mark returned Elly broke down and confessed all, Mark was furious. As Mark stormed off to head to Toadies' office to immediately ask for annulment papers be drawn up, Elly was left alone to grieve for a baby that whilst she loved with all her heart had been created in a moment that she was desperate to keep her marriage alive after her first cheating scandal involving Mark's sister, Chloe.

Elly was also struggling to deal with what her feelings for her best friend were. Elly had never had romantic feelings for another woman before and was trying everything she could she avoid that she did have feelings for Chloe. 

Alone in the hospital, Elly had called Chloe, giving her very little details as to why she needed her. Chloe had dropped everything and turned up for Elly and whilst she was disgusted that Elly had lied to Mark about the baby been his she still stood there by the bed and held onto Elly as she cried all night long. Chloe didn't leave her side.

Despite everything that her sister-in-law had done, Chloe loved her with every fiber of her being. She'd been in love with Elly for half a year. They had one drunken night where the pair had slept together two nights before Elly's wedding to Mark when he had abandoned Elly and called off the wedding with Elly using Chloe's feelings for her for comfort but aside from that Elly had shown no romantic interest in Chloe.

Until nearly 5 weeks ago. 

Since that day in the hospital 8 weeks ago Chloe had been the only person to stand by and support Elly, not even Elly's sister Bea or the aunt and uncle whom she lived with, Susan and Karl, could fully forgive her for trying to trick Mark into raising a baby that wasn't his. They were right not to forgive her completely but it still hurt Elly to feel like she didn’t belong with her family anymore.

After Elly was discharged from hospital she and Chloe had spent an increasing amount of time together. When Chloe was at work, Elly hid herself away in her bedroom at Susan and Karl's house unable to face the world especially since she lived on the same street as her soon-to-be-ex-husband and all their close friends and family.

When Chloe wasn’t at work, Elly was at Chloe's place hanging out with the blonde as they tried to regain their best friend status. It was still difficult as Chloe lived at her other brother, Aaron's, house who he owned with his husband, David, the doctor who had convinced Elly to come clean to Mark about the pregnancy.

The Brenarka household although a new place for them all, it still came with memories due to the people living there.

Aaron was not happy that Elly was at his house spending time on his couch with Chloe, feeling like Mark thought he was choosing his soon-to-be-ex-wife over him but he could also see that absolutely no one wanted anything to do with Elly for the first few weeks since her secret was revealed and despite the horror that she had put his brother through, Aaron theoretically understood Elly's desperation to save her marriage. He also knew she did need support through her own grieving process and didn’t want her to go through that alone.

As those first few weeks went on, Elly couldn't help but depend on Chloe. They hung out every moment the sun was shining bright in the sky when Chloe wasn't at work. Elly been unemployed didn't have such distractions. Despite grieving at the time for her marriage ending and losing her unborn baby, within days of spending time with Chloe, Elly knew it was more than friendship.

Elly had been fighting it for longer than she cared to admit. She knew her feelings for Chloe had been sparked by their night together but Elly was so desperate to be married to a man and start a family that she pushed those feelings deep down. 

As they spent more time together, Chloe set clear boundaries knowing how much she loved Elly and didn't want to cause her heart anymore pain if she was to get her friendship with Elly back on track. After the night at the hospital where Chloe had held Elly all night long as she cried, Chloe wouldn't allow any kind of physical comfort between the pair and wouldn’t let Elly in her bedroom if she was in there. So they spent all their time hanging out at the Brenarka household in the living room, kitchen or out the back by the pool but never in the pool or spa.

But after 3 weeks of spending time together, one night Elly had gotten up from the couch to fetch them some more snacks only to come back and see Chloe had laid out on the couch and fallen asleep. With Aaron and David away for the night, Elly took a chance and laid down on the couch next to Chloe, allowing herself to be spooned protectively by the blonde as she fell asleep in her arms.

When the pair awoke the next morning, Chloe freaked out apologizing for holding her during the night, until Elly had hushed her and admitted that she was the one who curled into Chloe's arms because she wanted to feel the love Chloe had for her again. Before she could hesitate, Elly kissed Chloe very delicately and admitted that she did have feelings for her but had been fighting them for months.

Chloe could barely believe the words from Elly’s mouth until Elly kissed her again gently and wrapped her arms around Chloe. Chloe gave into the embrace, her mind spinning as she kissed the brunette.

Elly had taken Chloe into her arms and then led the blonde to Chloe’s bedroom where Elly initiated every single moment between them as they made love to one another. Curling up into Elly’s embrace, Chloe couldn’t believe that her dream was coming true.

Chloe still knew they had an uphill battle ahead of them considering Elly was in the process of annulling her marriage to Chloe’s brother and their family and friends had yet to fully forgive Elly for lying to Mark about the baby’s paternity.

But as they lay there together in Chloe’s bed as Elly held her after they had made love to one another, Chloe couldn’t help but feel excited and proud that Elly had admitted she did have feelings for her.

Then Elly had uttered the words to Chloe: “Let’s keep this between only us.”

Chloe raised her eyebrow as she continued allowing Elly to hold her gently against her. Chloe questioned why Elly wanted to keep their feelings hidden but she needn’t have asked, Chloe already knew all the answers as Elly rattled them off to her.

Elly was still trying to come to terms with her feelings for Chloe, Elly’s marriage wasn’t officially over, Elly was still grieving her unborn child and didn’t know how to accept that happiness could find her so soon after, most of Elly’s family and friends were still unhappy with her and Elly didn’t want them to shift those feelings to Chloe for beginning a relationship with her and of course Chloe’s ‘favourite’ excuse, secret relationships are just more fun.

Elly promised they wouldn’t have to hide their relationship for long, she just needed a couple weeks to start putting her life back together and then she’d be comfortable been out in a relationship with the blonde.

Though she was hesitant, Chloe agreed. She was completely in love with Elly, what could a couple weeks of enjoying a secret relationship with Elly between “only us” do to harm a long-term relationship for the pair?

Weeks had passed and still Elly would not tell anyone they were in a relationship. Chloe was getting frustrated at how different Elly was with her depending on the circumstance. When they hung out as ‘friends’ it was like Elly had an ‘off switch’ to their relationship and they were strictly best friends only.

Then the moment they were alone with little chance of been caught out, Elly was a loving and passionate girlfriend completely comfortable with putting Chloe’s needs before her own.

Chloe knew that coming out was a process and Elly was on her own journey to accepting her sexuality wasn’t as straight as an arrow. But the flipping between her best friend who hung out with Chloe watching movies and reading magazines versus her girlfriend who was content to share Chloe’s bed and make love to her was beginning to do Chloe’s head in.

So here they sat on the couch, playing best friends watching a movie at the Brenarka household whilst Aaron and David were hanging out in the kitchen having some boring financial, paying bills, night in.

Chloe sat there next to Elly waiting for her brother and brother-in-law to head to bed and knowing that as soon as they did Elly would flick the ‘on switch’ to their relationship.

Chloe was growing impatient with their routine but it had been her decision to keep their relationship between “only us” and she had to remind herself to be patient with Elly if their relationship was to last forever.

One day soon Elly will flick the ‘on switch’ to our relationship and never turn it off right…?

Chapter Text

Only Us

Chapter Two

Chloe and Elly sat on the couch just waiting for Aaron and David to go to bed so they could have the privacy together and Elly would be comfortable showering her girlfriend Chloe with affection.

After what felt like hours to Chloe, though before the movie ended, the boys headed to bed, wishing Chloe good night and telling Elly to be safe during her walk across the street to go back home to Susan and Karl’s. Whilst it was such a short distance, it was late at night.

Chloe closed her eyes as she sat on the couch and countered the seconds.

Within 60 seconds of the boys’ bedroom door closing, Elly would bring her legs up to curl them out on the couch next to her and then she would lean over and cuddle up to Chloe wrapping her arms around the blonde. Chloe would re actively bring her right arm around Elly’s shoulders and Elly would gently run her fingers across the skin exposed near Chloe’s hip between her skirt and shirt. Elly would then nuzzle her face against Chloe’s neck, kissing trails along Chloe’s neck and jawline before bringing her lips to Chloe’s and deepening the kiss.

Three, two, one…                                

Chloe opened her eyes as her predicted scene played out before her eyes. She knew this move by now off the top of her head that she could pick the exact second Elly would curl up to her and their lips would be melding against the others. Every night played out the same way. The pair would hang out on the couch as friends and their movie or TV show would always end up running later than Aaron and David would stay up. 

Within 60 seconds of the boys’ bedroom door closing the ‘on switch’ would be flicked and Elly would begin the same process of cuddling up to her girlfriend because in an instant Chloe would go from supportive best friend to loving girlfriend. 

And yet Chloe fell into Elly’s embrace every evening and kissed her passionately because all she wanted was to be Elly’s loving girlfriend even if that meant waiting a few more days…for Elly to come to terms with their relationship.

But if it was going to be longer than a few more days as Elly kept promising her it would be then Chloe didn’t know what she was going to do.

Chloe opened her eyes as Elly looked up at her and asked Chloe, “Can we go to bed now? I want you.”

Chloe had to stop herself from sighing but it didn’t stop her asking, “Will you be in my bed when I wake up in the morning or will you already be gone like usual?”

“Chlo,” Elly whispered, “I just need a few more days then we don’t have to hide our relationship anymore.”

Chloe did end up sighing; knowing deep down Elly was lying to her but also knew that she herself kept allowing this relationship to continue in secret and that she would spend the night in bed with Elly only for her to be gone by the time the sun rose the next day.

Unwrapping her arm around Elly’s shoulder, Chloe stood, turned the TV off and then taking Elly’s hand in hers led her girlfriend to her bedroom.

But not before standing at the entry way of the house for a minute, opening the front door and yelling out a ‘convincing’ goodbye to Elly before closing the door. Yes, Chloe rolled her eyes every time Elly made them fake that Elly was going home for the night in case Aaron and David were still awake. 

Elly stood behind Chloe every time, wrapping her arms around her girlfriend, pressing gentle kisses against Chloe’s shoulders as she once more promised in a ‘few days’ they wouldn’t need to keep up the appearance that Elly had gone home for the night before Chloe snuck Elly into her bedroom.

Despite the ridiculousness of acting out the scene, Chloe still went along, trying to believe Elly that in a ‘few days’ they would be in a relationship that was shared with their friends and family.

Chloe took Elly to her bedroom; they kissed passionately as they stripped each other of their clothes before crawling into Chloe’s bed where they quietly and delicately made love to one another before Elly would spoon Chloe as the pair fell asleep in each other’s arms.

The next morning as the sun was just rising on the horizon, Chloe was surprised to be woken up for the first time whilst Elly was still there. Elly was standing by the bed putting her bra back on and reached down to the floor for her dress before slipping it over her head. But still she was there. Chloe was used to waking up in her room completely alone.

Alerting Elly to her conscious state, Chloe mumbled in a whispered voice, “Come back to bed, baby.” 

Elly was surprised to see her girlfriend awake at this early hour and immediately sat back down on the bed next to Chloe but didn’t join her back in bed like she had asked. Elly lent down and captured Chloe’s lips with her own, “Go back to sleep, love, you don’t need to be awake for work for hours.”

Chloe pouted as she gently sat up next to Elly, wrapping her bed sheet around her body. Remembering back to the moment they shared after their first night together before Elly’s wedding, and that they looked like they were in the same position, Chloe shivered. “Please can you just stay here with me?”

Elly lent forwards once more, kissing Chloe deeply, “I can’t. But I will see you tonight. I heard David and Aaron talking last night and David is on the night shift at the hospital tonight and Aaron thought he’d go over to Mark’s to hang out with him for the night and spend some quality brother time together so you and I will have the house to ourselves to be as loud as we want to be."

Chloe couldn’t resist moaning softly as Elly continued kissing her, before breaking the kiss and asking, “Why can’t we just tell Aaron and David about us? I know you want to keep this relationship quiet but this constant lying that you go home, sneaking you into my bed, and you leaving every morning before the boys’ or your family wake up it’s starting to get to me okay. If we can just let Aaron and David know about our relationship then if you need more time…you know a few more weeks…before we tell other people then I will be fine with that.”

Elly grimaced before admitting, “I’m just not ready.”

Chloe couldn’t help her frustration growing, “Aaron and David will be completely supportive of our relationship. This way we can stop hiding this in the house and then when you are ready for people to know we can let them know then…whenever that is.”

Elly stayed silent, unable to describe how hard it was to admit to even herself that she was falling in love with Chloe let alone the idea of announcing it to the world.

Chloe shifted forwards and took Elly’s hand in her own, “I know you don’t want to spend time at Susan and Karl’s and well…we do have a spare room here now that Kyle moved back in with Sheila and Gary…what if you were to move into that spare room? Aside from Aaron and David knowing why you've moved in here with me the rest of your family would be less suspicious over the time you spend here with me and I would be more than accommodating to allow you to take whatever length of time it takes you to be out in this relationship with me.”

Elly thought for a moment about Chloe’s offer, “I don’t think moving in here would…help this. If I move in here I want to move in here with you, not just move into the spare room and sneak into each other’s rooms each night.”

Chloe sighed at the thought that Elly and her wouldn’t need to sneak around if they would just let Aaron and David know instead of keeping their relationship between “only us.”

“I’m sorry,” Chloe apologised, knowing she was pushing Elly a step too far for now even though it made her doubt more that Elly would ever be ready to be in a real relationship with her, “I just thought it might help you because I know how much you can’t stand been at home since Susan and Karl got Finn to move in with you all to help with his recovery.”

Elly ran her hand through her hair, “I hate Finn with a passion and can’t stand the idea that I live with him now but I want nothing to do with the man. He’s retrograde amnesia does not erase the things he put me through. I don’t trust him in my house. It’s one of the reasons I spend so much time here but I don’t think I’m ready to move in with you because people will ask questions and you know what that means.”

Chloe felt her heart sink, “Is that why you’re in my bed every night? Because you don’t want to be in the same house that Finn lives in but you can’t move out on your own?”

Elly reached out and stroked Chloe’s face and kissed her forehead, “Babe, it is not like that at all. I’m in your bed because you are my girlfriend and I love being with you. Yes, I don’t like been in the house with Finn and avoid him like the plague when I am at home but I could never use you like that. I am falling for you, Chloe.”

Chloe couldn’t help the smile that Elly could admit her feelings for her, even though she was a completely different person when they weren’t alone, “Okay. I just wish we didn’t have to hide away. If we told Aaron and David it would change so much for us.”

“Give me a few more days and I promise we can tell people,” Elly pleaded but deep down she was continuing to push away the idea of been in a public relationship with her best friend.

Chloe nodded silently, her heart wondering if Elly would ever tell her the truth.

Elly lent forwards and kissed Chloe passionately, stroking her hand around Chloe’s shoulder, “I have to go. I’ll see you tonight. Hey at least with the house to ourselves we won’t have to bother hanging out on the couch tonight. We can go straight to bed and I can spend all night long reminding you all the reasons why I’m in your bed every night, okay?”

Chloe half-smiled, realizing for now that was the best Elly could offer her, “I’ll see you tonight.”

Kissing Chloe one last time gently, Elly broke away from her girlfriend and slipped out of the room as quietly as she could.

Holding her shoes in her hands, tiptoeing down the hallway and exiting the house, closing the door behind her quietly, Elly didn’t notice Aaron standing in the kitchen sipping on a glass of water but he definitely did not miss the sight of her leaving Chloe’s bedroom and sneaking out of their house.

Back at Susan and Karl’s, Elly snuck into the house and curled up in her bed, wondering if the day would ever come that she really would be ready to tell the people that cared about her that she was in a relationship with her soon-to-be-ex-husband’s sister.

In a few days…

Chapter Text

Only Us

Chapter Three

After getting ready for work, Chloe walked into the Brenarka kitchen and was surprised to find Aaron at the dining table reading a sports magazine and drinking a protein shake, “Morning Aaron, I thought you were opening the gym this morning.”

Aaron didn’t look up at his younger sister as she started making herself a coffee, “Yeah I already went down there to open and thought I’d head back here for breakfast as one of the personal trainers was there for the early shift. David will be up soon for the morning before going back to bed so he’s had enough sleep for his night shift at the hospital.”

Chloe smiled at her brother, “That’s great that you take time out of your day to spend time with each other when you get a chance.”

“Did you sleep well last night?” Aaron enquired.

“Always do,” Chloe answered as she opened one of the cabinets and reached up to grab a bowl for some cereal.

Aaron’s eyes gazed above the magazine he was reading as he watched his sister hoping to catch her off guard, “And how did Elly sleep last night?”

Chloe grabbed the bowl from the cabinet, “Elly slept fine, had a kink in her neck that I massaged out--” Chloe caught herself, “I mean how would I know how Elly slept last night and the neck thing was when she was on the couch before she left. It was totally innocent.”

Aaron wiggled his eyebrow adorably calling out Chloe for trying to get out of what she had admitted, “Oh so that was a different Elly that I saw this morning leave your bedroom and tiptoe out of our house?”

Chloe sighed as she left the cereal, realizing she couldn’t get herself out of this without explaining things to her brother and that Elly would be mad at her for telling him when it was against Elly’s between “only us” need, “Crap.”

Chloe poured herself a mug of coffee and sat down opposite Aaron at the table, “What did you say to Elly?” 

Aaron shrugged, “Nothing, I was surprised to see her wandering from your bedroom and didn’t really have time to react to say anything to her.”

Chloe sipped on her coffee waiting for Aaron to be the one to ask.

Aaron stared at his sister, realizing she wasn’t going to give anything away, “So did Elly stay over just because she’s having difficulties been at Susan and Karl’s what with them moving Finn in to help with his recovery? You know we have a spare room that already has a bed. She doesn’t need to stay in your room. I know after everything that went down between the pair of you Elly really hurt you.”

Chloe shook her head but didn’t elaborate.

Aaron raised his eyebrow as he remembered, “Wait didn’t I hear you say good night to Elly as she left the house last night?”

“Sort of,” Chloe answered.

Aaron narrowed his eyes at Chloe’s hesitation to talk to him, out of the four siblings Aaron and Chloe were easily the closest, “Did you sneak Elly back into the house so she could spend the night with you?”

Chloe nodded but again stayed silent.

“Did you two…?” Aaron started to ask before getting to his point, “Did you and Elly hook up last night? Is this just a comfort thing because of everything Elly had been through the last few months because Chlo, we know how you feel about Elly and I do not want to see her use you again like she did right before the wedding? You deserve so much more than that.”

Chloe breathed deeply, “If I ask you to simply forget that you saw Elly leave my room last night and never bring it up with her will you?” 

“Absolutely not,” Aaron replied in stubbornness, “Why would you even ask me that? Are you afraid that Elly is going to go off the rails for hooking up with you again? Or are you afraid of what Mark will think of you after everything Elly put him through?”

Chloe was getting frustrated, “Look Elly just does not want anyone knowing about us so could you please just not mention it to her and let me handle what happened between us?”

Aaron rolled his eyes, “Fine but Elly’s doing a pretty crappy job at keeping your hook-up a secret if she was caught out doing the walk of shame from your bed immediately after your first time together since before the wedding.”

Chloe took a giant gulp of coffee as she avoided Aaron’s eyes.

Aaron thought to himself then shared it with Chloe, “Unless this isn’t the first time you and Elly have hooked up since before the wedding…is Elly using you for comfort or to feel loved? Please don’t tell me this is a ‘friends with benefits’ thing because you know you are just going to end up hurt the second Elly meets another man that’ll put up with her. She’s never going to feel the same way about you.” 

Chloe groaned at her brother’s persistence and repeated, “Elly doesn’t want anyone knowing about us.”

“Well tough crap, Chlo, ‘cause I do know,” Aaron stated, “I just don’t want to see Elly hurting you again.”

“Elly is not hurting me, Aaron, it’s not another one-night-stand for comfort, it’s not a ‘friends with benefits’ thing and it is not just one-sided anymore, okay,” Chloe admitted before sighing and sharing with her brother, “I am in a relationship with Elly.”

Aaron was surprised, “A relationship? You and Elly are in a relationship?”

“Please don’t say anything to anyone,” Chloe pleaded, “The only reason why Elly is allowing herself to express her feelings for me is because she does not want anyone knowing we’re together. I am getting frustrated at keeping it a secret from everyone but I love Elly so much Aaron and if the only way for Elly to be comfortable in a relationship with me is for our friends and family not to know then for now…I’m keeping it a secret.”

“How long has this been going on for?” Aaron asked, hoping his sister would continue opening up to him as despite all the pain Elly had caused Mark he was saddened to hear that what Chloe really wanted from Elly was not something Elly was ready to give her.

Chloe took another sip of her coffee, “We’ve been together for nearly five weeks now.” 

Aaron was surprised, “Have you been sneaking Elly into your room for five weeks and she takes off every morning before we wake up?”

“Yes,” Chloe answered, “I know you and David own this place and I should not be sneaking anyone in here without your knowledge…Elly is just really struggling with the idea of people knowing about us that the only way this works is by lying to you.”

“No, Chloe, the only way this works is Elly gets what she wants and you don’t,” Aaron insisted, “You deserve so much more than been a dirty little secret. If Elly can’t come to terms with the fact she’s in a relationship with another woman then she should be sorting that out on her own.”

Chloe shook her head, “Aaron, Elly doesn’t know how to cope with rejection, and she never has. Or well she does know how to cope with it by getting drunk and having sex with random men and we all know how that turned out three months ago. I’d rather not drive her into the arms of a man if I can help it.”

Aaron started shaking his head, “This isn’t healthy for you. Elly using you like this, I know you want to believe that it’s more than that. We’ve both dated people in the past who are stuck in the closet but if Elly is going as far as pretending to leave our house each night, then bedding you only to leave before the sun rises, to me it sounds like Elly is having a lot of difficulty coming to terms with her sexuality. Five weeks is a long time to be in a relationship when no one knows about you. It still sounds to me like she is using you because of your feelings for her and to help her deal with her grief over her unborn baby.”

“Elly is not using me,” Chloe insisted, “Believe me I was as shocked as anyone when she initiated our relationship with me five weeks ago. And yes Elly is 100% struggling with her sexuality when it comes too been out with me in public or letting our friends and family know we’re together. But when we are alone she is completely open with her sexuality to me. Yes, Elly is still very much hurting over losing her unborn child but she is not using me to deal with her grief. She does have feelings for me. Aaron you haven’t seen the way she is when we’re alone. She is a completely different person when no one is watching us. Elly is the most loving and respectful person I have ever been with. I feel that it’s real every time we’re alone together.”

Aaron could sense Chloe’s frustration at something, “But…?" 

Chloe sighed and repeated, “Elly is a completely different person when no one is watching us. When someone is watching us or not even watching us just when there’s a chance of someone finding out about us. It’s like there’s this switch for her. Whenever you guys are home or your around...you know before you go to bed, the switch if off. Elly is stone-faced just friends with me, she won’t go near me in any way that could be interpreted as been my girlfriend.”

Aaron nodded at his sister, feeling strangely okay that Chloe referred to Elly as her ‘girlfriend.’ 

Chloe continued, “The moment we are alone, Elly flips this switch so quickly and she immediately transforms into someone who is so good to me, Aaron, and makes me feel so loved. She takes me in her arms and is not shy about kissing me. She’s very handsy—oh God I didn’t mean it like that…I just meant with the holding me in her arms…and well I guess handsy does kind of explain it…she wears me out every night with how much she---oh God why am I saying all this to you? You do not need to hear about this.”

Aaron screwed up his face as the thought of his sister having a very active sex life with his soon-to-be-ex-sister-in-law, and then he realized one day if Elly could actually be honest about her feelings for Chloe she could end up been his sister-in-law all over again, “I really don’t need to hear about that. I guess it just surprises me is all to hear about how…handsy…Elly is with you. She sounds like a completely different person than when she was with Mark.”

“In what way?” Chloe asked quietly, not sure if she wanted to hear about Elly and Mark been together, even though she was not naïve to Elly’s brief marriage with her older brother.

Aaron shrugged, “Just in some of the conversations I had with Mark after the wedding debacle and before he found out the baby wasn’t his. Mark and Elly were just a completely different couple to what you’re telling me you and Elly are. They were more the once-a-week kind of relationship. Mark thought it was because Elly was a little bit shy due to all the people living in the house and he looked forward to them living in the home alone. After hearing you say…it sounds like shyness in a house full of people is not the reason her and Mark didn’t have the best sex life.”

Aaron continued, “Mark had a lot of trouble trying to get past your tryst with Elly and he couldn’t even touch Elly even after they got back together. They never even slept together after the wedding; hence why Mark knew there was no possible way the baby was his when Elly told him it was conceived weeks after he thought it was. If you and Elly are all over each other every night…maybe this is real between you because when you meet the person you really love the first few months are meant to be all-consuming…and Mark and Elly never were.” 

Chloe chewed on her lip, trying to ignore the thoughts trying to tell her that Elly was so much more into her than Mark because then she would end up wanting to push Elly to talk about her sexuality even though it would probably end with Elly proclaiming her straightness again and push her further into the closet.

“What Elly and I have does feel all-consuming. I just wish I knew when Elly would be ready to tell people about us,” Chloe said sadly, “Elly has been putting it off for weeks now and keeps telling me that we’ll tell people ‘in a few days’ but she won’t even let me tell you and David. I live with the two of you and I know after everything Elly did lying to Mark I know you are both not going to be the biggest fans of Elly and I been in a relationship but I know eventually you’d support us if you saw how happy we make each other. Even if we don’t tell the rest of our friends and family for another few weeks, I just want to be able to be with her as a couple when we are here and not have to sneak around the house around you and David.”

“Yeah I get that,” Aaron replied softly, “Maybe me knowing about the two of you won’t be so bad. If I can suggest that you two give me some warning to tell Mark about the pair of you before you decide to take your relationship public then I’ll support your relationship. If Elly can see that you have my support then maybe she’ll be comfortable to make this thing real with you and take things public.”

Chloe sighed, “Maybe but I don’t have my heart on it. Elly is so not ready for people to know about us and whilst I’m comfortable with taking things slow in that way for a few more weeks because I don’t want to hurt Mark with this and I don’t want people thinking this is just a rebound thing for Elly…I also don’t know how much longer I can keep my relationship with Elly between “only us”.”

Aaron got up from the table, walked around to Chloe, reassuringly placing his hand on her shoulder, “Just give it time, Chlo. Elly will come to her senses one day soon. It’s not like she can hide this relationship with you forever.”

Chloe nodded, “I guess you’re right.”

Aaron left the kitchen to go wake up his husband.

Left on her own, deep down Chloe wondered if Elly would ever be ready to be in a public relationship with her.

Chapter Text

Only Us

Chapter Four

After a draining morning at work, Chloe headed to Harold’s to pick up some lunch. As she entered the café, Chloe heard her phone beep with a text message. Checking the message was from Elly, Chloe sighed for a brief moment as she read it – ‘What time are you coming home tonight? Do you know when the boys will be gone for the evening?"

As Chloe stood in the line behind a lightly brunette woman, she replied to Elly’s message, “After 7pm. Not sure. Do you want me to bring dinner to my place?”

A minute later, Chloe blushed as she read Elly’s reply, “Don’t bother, we won’t get around to eating it. Kidding, I’m grabbing lunch so I’ll pick us up something for dinner that we can have after I’ve tired you out. XOX.”

As she thought about replying to the message, Chloe was caught off guard when the woman in front of her bumped into her accidentally as she turned around to exit the café. Chloe shot her free hand out to help hold the woman’s coffee in her hand to stop it from spilling all over the pair of them. Chloe blushed as her hand grazed the strangers on the coffee cup.

Chloe’s eyes locked with the stranger and she didn’t notice that Elly had entered the café behind her. Elly stood back as she watched her girlfriends’ interaction unable to do or say anything as soon as she noticed the way the woman looked at Chloe.

The woman smiled at Chloe and looked her up and down, licking her lips, “I would apologise for bumping into you there but I am not at all sorry.”

Chloe blushed deeper as she noticed the woman obviously checking her out, stuttering, “I should…go…order…food. Duh…I’m sorry for running into…I mean…you running into…me.”

The woman continued looking Chloe up and down.

Chloe let go of the coffee cup and the woman’s hand and ran her hand through her hair, “I’m just going to pretend I didn’t know how to talk a minute ago and let you past me.”

“Okay,” the woman grinned as she let Chloe walk past her to the counter, and looked back at Chloe smiling as she admired the blonde from behind. Turning away from Chloe so she wasn’t in Chloe’s earshot but happened to be in Elly’s, the woman admitted to herself, “I do have a thing for beautiful blondes.”

As the woman exited the café, Elly felt sick to her stomach. She had just witnessed a very good looking woman flirt with her girlfriend; Chloe was clearly trying not to flirt back and turned into a nervous wreck even if it was only for a brief moment. And Elly couldn’t bring herself to do a single thing to stop it.

Elly wanted to stop the woman before she left and tell her not to flirt with her girlfriend again. Elly wanted to have gone up to Chloe as soon as she saw the pair of them together and place her hands on Chloe’s hips, cuddle up to her girlfriend and make it clear that Chloe was not a free agent. Elly wanted to be as brave and confident as that woman had been in the way she had so publicly checked Chloe out.

But Elly couldn’t do any of those things. She was far too scared to acknowledge her feelings for her girlfriend in public for her to stop the flirtation Chloe was given by the stranger.

Breathing deeply, Elly walked up to Chloe who was waiting at the counter for her order. Nudging her arm against Chloe’s as she stood next to her, Elly shyly greeted her, “Hey, Chlo.”

Chloe immediately smiled up at her, “Hey you, I didn’t know when you said in the text you were picking up lunch a minute ago that you’d be here.”

Elly bit her tongue for a few seconds before asking, “So who was that girl that bumped into you?”

Chloe was distracted for a moment as she was handed her lunch and handed over her card to pay for the meal, “No idea, I’ve never seen her before.” 

Elly leaned in closer to her girlfriend so that the girl at the counter couldn’t hear her before realizing that the girl went off to get an order from the cook and serve it to one of the tables seeing that Elly wasn’t ready to order yet, “It looked like she was flirting with you. Did something happen between you?”

Chloe raised her eyebrow, whispering back to Elly, “Don’t be silly, she may have been flirting with me but it was just harmless random adorableness. You’re the only person I want to flirt with if you’d let me.”

Elly grimaced at Chloe calling it ‘adorableness,’ sparking a fear in her that Chloe was attracted to the woman but she couldn’t verbalise her fear to Chloe or provide Chloe with assurance that she wanted her girlfriend to flirt with her in public, “You heading back to work or do you want to have lunch with me here?”

Chloe felt terrible that she was so busy at work when for the first time Elly was asking to spend time with her in public knowing that even though having lunch together as friends wasn’t going to push Elly out of the closet with their relationship but it was a still a small baby step to people seeing them hanging out again, “I have to go back to work, I’m sorry I really wish I could have lunch with you. Maybe another day this week?”

Elly nodded, “Sure. I probably should’ve texted you to ask if you were free. Another time later this week for sure,” then Elly lent closer to Chloe to whisper in her ear, “I’ll see you tonight, text me when you get home and I’ll come over, babe.”

Chloe held back from showing affection to her girlfriend as she whispered back, “I’ll see you then,” before exiting the café.

Elly looked up at the girl at the counter who had returned and ordered her lunch as well as dinner for her and Chloe to have later that evening. As the girl went to get the food, Elly ran her hand through her hair as she kept replaying the way the woman had openly checked out her girlfriend and then called her ‘beautiful’ as she had walked past her on her way out of the café. 

My girlfriend is beautiful…why can’t you be brave enough to admit that to anyone else?

Later that evening, Chloe arrived home and before she was even inside the house she sent a text to Elly letting her know she was home. As she dropped her handbag in the living room, Chloe was surprised to hear Aaron in the kitchen, “Hey Aaron, you’re still going over to hang out at Mark’s tonight for a bros night, right?”

Aaron called back to Chloe, “Yep, don’t worry you’ve got the house to yourself tonight so you and Elly can…you know. I’m heading over there in a few minutes.”

“Okay, thanks,” Chloe yelled back, then headed to the front door as she heard Elly knocking on it, somehow unsurprised that Elly had immediately left her house the second she had texted her. 

Chloe opened the door and was pleasantly surprised when Elly immediately reached out; placing her hands on Chloe’s hips and lent forwards to kiss her. Before their lips met, Chloe gently revealed, “Aaron’s still here.”

Chloe immediately shook her head as Elly dropped her hands from her hips and ducked away from the almost kiss, clearly spooked at showing her girlfriend affection thinking that they were alone only to find out they weren’t. Elly pretended that she didn’t see the hurt look across Chloe’s face at her immediate rejection but it pained her to think that Chloe was so surprised at her near spontaneous affection.

Wanting to avoid dealing with her moment of fear, Elly pointed to the bag in her hands, “I’ll just put our dinner in the fridge.”

Chloe nodded, closing the door behind Elly and then walking into the living room she kicked off her shoes and laid down on the couch, putting her feet out on the couch.

Elly greeted Aaron when she entered the kitchen, placed the meals in the fridge as she felt the strange need to justify what she was doing because as much time as she spent at the house with Chloe over the past two months it wasn’t her home, “I bought dinner for Chloe and I to have later during our movie marathon.”

“Cool,” Aaron offered quietly now knowing that there was unlikely to be any movies viewed between the pair that night and he kind of hated that Elly couldn’t admit the truth to him about her relationship with his little sister.

Elly headed back into the living room. Chloe sat up on the couch as Elly approached her and went to shift her legs off the couch but was surprised when Elly instead lifted Chloe’s feet and sat down on the couch right next to Chloe and placed Chloe’s legs on her lap. 

As Aaron entered the living room, Chloe was even more surprised when Elly seemingly unaware of her movements began giving Chloe a foot massage. As simple as it was, Chloe was so used to Elly sitting a distance away from her on the couch so they weren’t touching whenever Aaron or David were home. She felt happy at the fact that Elly was gently needing her hands into her feet, massaging them softly, and was not prepared to mention the act to Elly, afraid her girlfriend would freak out at such a simple moment between them whilst Aaron was there.

Aaron watched the pair on the couch for a moment before he announced, “I’m heading over to Mark’s to hang out with him and get him out of the house.” 

Elly hesitated for a moment before looking over at Chloe and then finally asking, “How is Mark doing…? I know I have zero right to know but I still care about him.”

“Mark’s doing better than he was 8 weeks ago when you tore his life apart,” Aaron answered honestly then watched as Elly looked away guiltily, “Mark did ask me to let me know if I saw you that all the annulment paperwork was lodged by Toadie last week. You’ll get a letter in the mail confirming when it’s done.”

Elly nodded silently at the knowledge her marriage was nearly officially over. Chloe shifted uncomfortably on the couch knowing she was part of the reason Elly and Mark’s marriage was over.

Aaron picked up his phone and wallet before looking back down at Elly, “Are you doing okay…Elly? I know despite everything you still wanted the baby and wanted to be a mum. I’m sorry you haven’t had much support through your grief.”

Elly looked over at Chloe, needing to see the support in Chloe’s eyes as she tried to be strong as she acknowledged her loss, “I’m…doing okay…taking each day as it comes…I did want this baby…I guess it just wasn’t meant to be and it probably never would have been easy raising the baby as a single mother. I know it took far too long for me to tell Mark the truth but I knew deep down I couldn’t keep the secret forever. I’m dealing with this…and I have Chloe for support.”

Chloe nodded, “I’ll always be here for you.”

Elly smiled nervously at her girlfriend as she continued running her hands against her feet continuing to massage them, surprisingly feeling moderately more comfortable with the act instead of completely ignoring her girlfriend’s needs when they weren’t alone.

Aaron raised his eyebrow at the thought that Elly wasn’t aware that he knew the kind of support his sister was to Elly, “I’ll see you tomorrow, Chlo. Enjoy your…movie marathon night, girls.”

As Aaron closed the front door behind him, Chloe closed her eyes and begun counting down the 60 seconds until Elly would take her in her arms and kiss her. Chloe was completely caught off guard when she’d barely uttered the number 57 in her head and Elly had dropped her feet from her hands and immediately scooped one arm under Chloe’s legs and the other behind Chloe’s hips and pulling her up into her lap, claiming her lips before Chloe could even open her eyes.

Elly reached her arm from under Chloe’s legs and shifted it behind Chloe’s neck as she drew her girlfriend into the embrace. After her immediate surprise, Chloe soon wrapped her hands behind Elly’s neck, kissing her girlfriend passionately. Elly slipped her tongue into Chloe’s mouth, exploring every inch of Chloe. Chloe moaned gently into the kiss.

Finally needing to breath, Chloe broke the kiss, and stared down at Elly as Elly held her seated on her lap, “Wow, what bought that on?”

Elly pressed her lips against Chloe’s gently, “What do you mean? I always kiss you like that.”

Chloe nodded, “Yes, you do but I was still counting down from sixty before you would kiss me.”

Elly held Chloe close to her, confused by her answer, “Counting down from sixty?”

Chloe blushed before admitting, “Have you not noticed that whenever the boys leave the house or go to bed that you’ll wait exactly sixty seconds before flicking the switch and shifting into girlfriend mode?”

Elly frowned, “I do? What do you mean about a switch and girlfriend mode?”

Chloe ran her fingers gently across the back of Elly’s neck before she told her, “There’s this thing you do…when we’re not alone you…aren’t really…I just feel…like I’m just a friend…and then once we’re alone and you’ve given this 60 second gap in case Aaron or David come back…it’s like you switch…into girlfriend mode.”

Elly thought deep about Chloe’s words, realizing that she couldn’t deny Chloe was wrong, “You’re right; I can’t believe I didn’t know it. I’m sorry. You deserve so much better. I shouldn’t be treating you like I’m switching between friend and girlfriend mode. I should be showering you in random adorableness…I wish I wasn’t so scared by how I feel about you. I do want you to know how much I want this to work…I just…still need a bit of time…but I’ll get there…I will, I promise.”

Chloe couldn’t help but notice Elly repeated her words from earlier in the day and focused on them instead of Elly’s promise, “’Random adorableness?’ Is your sudden change of tune with the foot massage whilst Aaron was here talking to us and the making out with me the second Aaron leaves the house all because of what happened at lunch today?”

Elly shook her head, “Don’t be silly. So a girl who thinks you’re beautiful flirts with you and gazes at your body…I might not be confident enough to do that…yet…but it doesn’t mean I’m not confident in us as a couple. I know it’ll be us that end up together tonight.”

“How do you know that woman thinks I’m beautiful?” Chloe enquired.

“I overheard her say it as she walked past me out of Harold’s,” Elly admitted, “Now can we forget all about little-miss-harmless-random-adorableness and enjoy our night toge--?”

Chloe couldn’t hide the smirk on her face, “Are you jealous, Elly?”

“Why would I be jealous? I spotted a girl harmlessly flirting with you. It doesn’t mean anything. I know who you love and that you’ll be in my arms making love to me tonight,” Elly insisted.

Chloe kissed Elly softly, “I do love you and will be making love to you tonight but there is nothing wrong with feeling jealous. I know you’re still struggling with our relationship and the idea of seeing someone flirt with me…and you can’t bring yourself to--”

Elly broke Chloe off by kissing her passionately, “It’s not jealously. I shouldn’t have even bought it up. Can we please just forget about little-miss-harmless-random-adorableness and concentrate on our evening together? We have the house to ourselves, so let’s take advantage of it.”

Chloe fought with herself for a minute wishing she could push the issue of Elly’s jealously further in the hope that it could possibly be a catalyst for Elly to realize that she would risk losing her if she never came to terms with their relationship. Not wanting to give it too much thought about how long she would put up with keeping their relationship between “only us,” Chloe gave into Elly’s request and kissed her girlfriend softly.

Allowing Elly to help lift her off the couch, Chloe held Elly’s hand in her own as she took Elly to her bedroom.

Chapter Text

Only Us

Chapter Five

Elly stared at the gorgeous blonde she held in her arms, she was completely smitten with her girlfriend as Chloe laid there in her arms, quietly eating the dinner Elly had finally gotten around to getting out from the fridge. As they laid there on Chloe’s bed, their naked bodies entangled under the sheets, Elly smiled at Chloe as the younger woman held up the fork giving Elly a bite of the food.

Chloe giggled softly as Elly nearly spilt the mouthful of food, “Sorry, am I hogging all the food?” 

Elly shook her head and ran her hands along Chloe’s arm, “Not at all, you’re adorable eating like that. I want to spend more nights like this with you.”

Chloe took another bite to eat before replying, “Babe, in case I’ve been imagining it, we’ve spent every night for the past five weeks in my bed. Even those couple days a month we are on our cycles you still wouldn’t sleep anywhere else and maybe you were faking it but I absolutely applaud you for putting up with my grumpy moodiness those nights.”

Elly giggled back at Chloe, “You aren’t that bad those days. I know we haven’t spent a night apart since we got together. I just mean in the future I want to keep spending every night with you like this. Making love to you for hours and then eating food as we curl up in each other’s arms. It’s just perfect to me.”

“You’re perfect to me,” Chloe told her as she passed Elly another mouthful of food which Elly took gladly, “I agree that we should have more nights like this. Especially when you run out to the kitchen for dinner when you’re all hot and sweaty and naked…and then forget the cutlery and have to go back for it. Adorable.”

Elly smirked down at the woman as she held her in her arms, “The things I do for you. Good thing Aaron and David aren’t home otherwise I’m pretty sure you’d be starving right now.”

Chloe pouted up at Elly, as she took a final bite of the dinner, lent over to the bedside table and placed the container on it before snuggling back up to Elly.

Elly smiled, “Okay so I would’ve gotten you your dinner if the boys were home, I just would’ve done it with some clothes on. You make me feel confidant to be myself when we’re alone, you know that. Nobody has ever made me feel like this. I wish I could be confidant enough to flirt like mad with you and eye off your gorgeous body in the middle of a café but--”

Chloe rolled over so she was on her side next to Elly, her leg entangling with Elly’s and her hand stroking Elly’s hip, “Are you bringing up that girl again because if you are jealous of her you can tell me you know? It was nothing more than a harmless interaction with a woman I'll never meet again.”

“It’s not jealousy,” Elly once more insisted, “It’s just…is that what you’d expect of me if…we were out as a couple to our friends and family?”

Chloe leaned up and pressed her lips gently against Elly’s, “Not at all. I don’t need you to be checking me out and flirting up a storm with me in front of people to know how you feel about me when our relationship is made public. I don’t need any grand PDA gestures. Some genuine sweet hand-holding and not been afraid to hug me and put your arms around me is all I would want from you when you’re ready.”

Elly nodded before explaining, “I really am trying to get there for you. I do want this as much as you do. I messed up everything with Mark so badly I’m terrified people will react badly to me moving on with you. I’m scared people won’t think it’s real between us and that I’m using you because I’d rather be with you than be alone. And I’m still unsure what this means personally for my sexuality. I know I don’t have to label myself but I just never expected to fall for a woman and it’s still scary to me what that entails. I will get past all this one day soon I promise. More nights like this and maybe been reminded that I’m not the only person in the world like little-miss-harmless-random –adorableness who thinks you’re attractive and we can begin telling people.”

Chloe chewed on her lip as she continued stroking gentle circles across the skin of Elly’s hip, “Aaron knows about us…our relationship.” 

“Oh,” Elly reacted.

Chloe’s eyebrows narrowed as she looked into Elly’s eyes, “Oh? That’s it? I was expecting a freak out considering you wouldn’t even contemplate it this morning.”

Elly reached out her hand, entangling it with Chloe’s, trying to remain as calm as what Chloe was taking her as been, “You told Aaron about us? I felt like he was looking at me differently when I was on the couch earlier with you so I should’ve guessed he knew something was going on between us.”

Chloe snuggled against Elly’s body tighter, already feeling like her girlfriend’s heart was racing, “Aaron saw you leave my bedroom this morning so I kinda ended up telling him when he asked me about it. He’s supportive okay, I know he still hasn’t forgiven you completely but he wants to see both of us happy.”

“How much did you tell Aaron?” Elly asked, still trying to ignore the panic rising in her that she still wanted to keep her relationship with Chloe between “only us.”

"I told Aaron the truth," Chloe whispered, "That we've been together for over a month and that it's real between us when we're alone. He knows that I've been sneaking you into my room each night and that you go home before the sun rises every morning."

"Okay," Elly whispered quietly as she closed her eyes, rolled over to her side so she was lying side by side with Chloe and buried her face against Chloe's neck, terrified to face the fact that she was panicking at the thought that their relationship wouldn't be a secret for long. 

"Are you sure you're okay with this?" Chloe asked quietly, "I didn't mean to tell him and I asked him not to ask me why you were in my room last night but you know how stubborn Aaron can get, he just needed to know I wasn't been used again. He'll keep it quiet, Elly. We don't have to worry that other people will find out until you are ready to tell people."

"I'm tired, Chlo, I need to sleep," Elly muttered back.

Chloe took a deep breath as she held her girlfriend tightly, kissing her cheek goodnight, wishing Elly would just talk to her about her feelings instead of bottling them up inside.

A few minutes later the pair fell asleep in each other's arms.

The next morning, Chloe was extremely surprised to be woken by Elly kissing her lips along her shoulders softly. Chloe rolled over to face Elly, then looked back over her shoulder at her alarm clock on the bedside table then she looked out the window of her room to see the sun was shining.

Chloe looked back at Elly, "You're in my bed..."

Elly frowned as she lent forwards and started kissing her lips against Chloe's jawline.

"And the sun is shining," Chloe continued before repeating, "You're in my bed and the sun is shining."

"Yes, I had noticed that," Elly mumbled in between her kisses.

"But you're in my bed and the sun is shining," Chloe repeated once more, before saying, "You're never in my bed when the sun is shining. You always disappear into the night and I wake up alone."

Elly nodded, feeling ashamed at the way she treated Chloe and having had some time before she had woken Chloe to really think about some of the things Chloe had told her the previous night.

Breaking the kisses Elly stared down at the blonde, "I've been awake for a few hours; I guess my body clock is used to waking me up before the sun rises. It gave me some time to think...I've been treating you like crap since we got together--"

Chloe tried to interrupt Elly but Elly hushed her before continuing, "Aaron was right to ask if I'm using you because I have been so selfish the past five weeks sneaking into your room every night, making love to you without anybody knowing and then abandoning you before you wake up. The way you just reacted to me not abandoning you this morning proves my point as to how crap I've treated you. You deserve so much more."

Chloe nodded unable to disagree with Elly's assertion.

"I want to try and be better at this for you," Elly told Chloe, "I'm not ready for us to be out as a couple but since Aaron knows about us it won't be long before he tells David so..."

"So?" Chloe pushed Elly to finish her sentence.

Elly stared into Chloe's eyes, "Maybe I would be okay been seen in a relationship with you whilst we're at your place with Aaron and David around and I won't resort to flicking that switch you were talking about where I change from friend to girlfriend within 60 seconds of us been alone."

"Really?" Chloe asked in surprise.

Elly nodded gently, trying to convince herself that she wouldn't freak out at the reality of been able to show her affection for her girlfriend in front of Chloe’s housemates.

Chloe kissed her softly, "I should get up for work. Aaron and David will probably be home soon."

A few minutes later the pair were standing in the kitchen making coffee and getting some breakfast. Elly was wearing one of Chloe's silk dressing gowns. She smiled softly as Chloe handed her a cup of coffee and used her free hand to wrap it around Chloe's waist, bringing their lips together.

Chloe pulled away as she heard the front door open but was surprised when Elly still held her arm against her waist believing her girlfriend was finally making progress.

Aaron and David walked into the kitchen both surprised to see Elly was there with Chloe, David more so than Aaron. 

"Morning ladies," David greeted, then after a few seconds of awkward silence finally asked, "When did this...happen?"

Aaron nudged his husband's arm, "I was going to tell you."

Chloe was genuinely shocked, "Aaron did you actually keep a secret for once?"

Aaron smiled but it didn't last long when he noticed that Elly couldn't look either of them in the eyes, she had her head down letting her hair fall in front of her face and looked like she was struggling to keep her hand on Chloe's waist as she placed her cup of coffee down on the kitchen bench, "I take it you had a good night...and no movies were watched during your movie marathon." 

Chloe sniggered at her brother, before answering David's earlier question, "We've been together for a few weeks but we're just keeping it between us for now. Do you mind keeping our secret until we're ready to tell other people?"

David agreed, "No problems at all. As long as you’re happy."

"We are," Chloe smiled brightly but then the smile dropped from her face as she started feeling weird that Elly's hand was shaking against her hip, she looked up at her girlfriend and her heart sank as she realized that Elly was just about having a panic attack. She tried not to take it personally that Elly was clearly not ready to have their relationship in the open to her brothers but it really hurt her that Elly could be so uncomfortable been seen as a couple to her housemates, "Are you okay, babe?"

Elly couldn't look Chloe in the eyes, feeling so ashamed at her reaction to be unable to assert her relationship with Chloe to her girlfriend's brother and brother-in-law. Elly's phone beeped and she immediately dug it out of the pocket of the dressing gown, unable to stop herself from mumbling, "Thank God," under her breath, not loud enough for the boys to hear but she felt Chloe pull away as she did hear it.

Elly read the message, then again without looking at anyone, announced, "Bea is wondering where I am, she knows I didn't come home last night. Amazing she hasn't noticed I've been turning up at 5am every morning for weeks and the first time I stay over and she notices. I should get dressed and go home."

Without another word, Elly raced out of the kitchen and back to Chloe's room where she sat on the edge of the bed, running her hands through her hair for a few seconds as she struggled to deal with the emotions of her panic attack. She hated herself that she wasn't ready to come to terms with her feelings for Chloe.

Back in the kitchen, Aaron went straight over to Chloe and gave her a hug. Chloe shook her head into her brother's shoulders, "Why am I bothering to try anymore, Aaron? Elly is so not ready to be in a relationship with me. She keeps saying she is but I'm nothing more than a secret she doesn't want anyone to know about."

David looked on feeling awful for what Chloe was dealing with.

Aaron held his sister gently, "Only Elly can answer your questions, give her a minute and try to talk to her again."

After a couple minutes of been consoled by Aaron, Chloe went to go talk to her girlfriend only to sigh loudly to the boys as she heard the front door open and close. Chloe shook her head, “Guess I’ll have to talk to her another time. I’m going to work.”

With that Chloe didn’t bother chasing after Elly and instead put the conversation she needed to have with Elly out of her mind and headed back to her room to get ready for work.

Chapter Text

Only Us

Chapter Six

Chloe groaned as she glanced at her phone on her desk as it beeped again at her alerting her to another text message, she picked up her phone and unlocked it seeing Elly’s name flash on the screen. Chloe opened it and saw that there were three messages in a row from her girlfriend, apologizing for what happened this morning, telling her she was an idiot for the way she acted and asking if they could meet for lunch.

Chloe did want to talk to Elly about Elly’s rejection of her this morning as she had happily announced their status as a couple to Aaron and David but she wanted some time to think about how much more rejection from Elly she could handle before it got too much for her.

Chloe had been willing to allow Elly more than a month to come to terms with her feelings for her and continued their relationship in secret. Chloe wasn’t at the point of asking Elly to come out of the closet to everyone in their lives but she did want them to be a couple when they were in her home instead of sneaking around her house. 

Chloe was unsure how to deal with the fact that Elly still didn’t want to be comfortable with her in her own home when her housemate and brother Aaron had found out about their relationship by accident and it was only going to be a matter of time before Aaron’s husband, David, was clued into their relationship. It made perfect sense to Chloe that they inform David themselves instead of letting him find out like Aaron did by accident and then they could be a couple in front of them at her home.

Dealing with Elly's rejection of her in front of Aaron and David was a conversation Chloe had to have with Elly in person, not over the phone and not in the middle of a busy cafe during lunch hour. Whilst Chloe knew she was been selfish ignoring Elly’s messages and should at least tell Elly she would speak to her later that evening at home, she just needed some time to figure out exactly what she wanted to tell Elly and was ready to talk to her about it. 

Hoping not to be distracted by it as she ploughed ahead with her work for the day, Chloe threw her phone across the desk.

At that moment, Terese entered the office, “Something wrong with your phone, Chlo?”

“Nothing I can’t handle,” Chloe answered as she looked up at her boss and then was surprised to see the woman standing behind Terese, the lightly brunette woman she’d bumped into the day before and had called the moment between them as harmless-random-adorableness, “Ahhh…hi.”

Before Terese could introduce them, the woman winked at Chloe, “Hello. It’s good to see you, again.”

Terese looked between the pair, “I didn’t realize the two of you have already met.”

The woman shook her head, “Oh we haven’t officially been introduced. I ran into Chlo yesterday at lunch and nearly tipped my cup of coffee all over her but she managed to catch me...I mean the coffee cup.”

“It's Chloe,” Chloe asserted her name to the woman, feeling weird that she had immediately started using her nickname just because Terese had.

Terese continued glancing between the two women before introducing them, “This is Chloe Brennan, my EA. Chlo, this is Pierce’s EA, Haley Campbell.”

“It's Hales,” Haley jumped in with her own nickname.

Chloe raised her eyebrow, “Pierce has an EA now?”

Terese nodded, “Yes, she’s been working for Pierce for a few months now as he continues buying up businesses, I'm surprised he hasn't mentioned it to you that she's been helping him organize his businesses. Now that Pierce is back in town and taking over a stake in Lassiters from Paul, he has asked if his EA can work out of the hotel office for the time being.”

“Okay,” Chloe nodded, and then ignored looking at her phone as it alerted her to two messages in a row.

“I thought Hales could work with you on some of the contracts we’ve been drawing up and I hope you wouldn’t mind letting her share your office for a couple days until we find her an office of her own,” Terese explained, “I’ve got to run to that meeting so if you don’t mind showing Hales everything she needs to start working here, wifi password etc, that would be a great help, Chlo.”

Chloe planted a smile on her face, still unsure how to feel about her near-flirtation with the woman the previous day, “Got it, boss.”

As Terese left the pair alone, Haley winked at Chloe again, “Bet you never thought you’d see me again, Chlo.”

“Chloe,” re-iterated her name preference to the woman who was practically a perfect stranger, before standing up and pointing to the meeting table in her office opposite her desk, “Would you like to set up over here, Haley?”

“Hales,” Haley also re-iterated her name preference to Chloe, “If it’s cool with you, I’m actually eyeing off this couch in your office and would be a lot more comfy to get some work done sitting on the couch, Chlo.”

“Chloe,” Chloe repeated, “I thought EA’s were meant to be professional, Haley, you can be comfy at home on the couch, not at work.”

“Hales,” Haley repeated, “I guess Pierce as my boss is a little less professional then most bosses and I don’t see him having an issue with me working from your couch, Chlo.”

“Chloe,” Chloe repeated once more, getting ticked off at the woman, “Whatever, work from the couch if you want,” then scribbling on a post-it-note, “Here’s the wifi you can access from the hotel and the password, Haley.”

“Hales,” Haley smirked finding herself enjoying their banter over refusing to call each other by their preferred names, thinking it was completely adorable. Haley reached out and took the post-it-note from Chloe, not apologizing for grazing her thumb against Chloe’s fingers as she took it.

Chloe shivered at the brief contact then sat back down at her desk and turned her attention to her work on her laptop, and tried to ignore her ex’s EA as Haley sat down on the couch, pulled out her own laptop, battery charger and booted her laptop up.

Chloe rolled her eyes as she heard her phone beep again with another text message but she ignored it then glanced over at Haley who was clearly curious why she wasn’t checking her phone.

Ignoring the look Haley gave her, Chloe concentrated on her work, as Haley also turned back to her own laptop to work.

An hour later, Chloe nearly jumped when her phone rang but she didn’t bother to answer it. Haley looked up at Chloe, her own concentration from work broken, “You going to answer that or just let it ring, Chlo?”

“Chloe,” Chloe shook her head, “I’m too busy to answer it, Haley.”

“Hales,” Haley rolled her eyes at the thought that Chloe was clearly avoiding someone who was trying to contact her, “Do you want to take a break and get some lunch, Chlo?”

“Chloe,” Chloe shook her head again, then lied to avoid the fact that she didn’t want to go to Harold’s for lunch in case Elly was there as she still wasn’t ready to talk to her girlfriend, “I’m not hungry, Haley, but feel free to go get your own lunch. I could use some peace.”

“Hales,” Haley was curious, “Peace from me or the person trying to get hold of you, Chlo?”

“Chloe,” Chloe avoided Haley’s eyes, “Peace from everything right now, sorry I’m not really used to having someone else in the office working away on their laptop. I’m used to Terese, Paul and Leo waltzing in here asking for one thing or another…are you going to go get lunch or not, Haley?”

“Hales,” Haley looked back at her laptop as another few emails from Pierce had come through, “Pierce is sending me through some urgent matters. You wouldn’t happen to have the phone number and menu for Harold’s so I can order and pick up my lunch to save me time from standing in line again and bumping into another gorgeous woman. I don’t have time for that kind of distraction right now, Chlo?”

“Chloe,” Chloe blushed at Haley’s comment, then dug out a menu to Harold’s from her desk and threw it over to her newest co-worker.

Chloe got back to her work as Haley called Harold’s to place her order but was soon distracted by her phone alerting her to another two messages though she continued to avoid them, wanting to wait until the evening before she talked to Elly.

A little while later, Haley had returned from Harold’s with her lunch and without a word placed a sandwich on Chloe’s desk as she sat down on the couch and started eating her own lunch. Chloe rolled her eyes at the woman for getting her lunch without been asked and then gave in and ate it in silence.

Hours later, Chloe’s phone was still dinging with text messages and she had ignored a handful of calls from Elly. When she let another call go to voicemail, Haley was getting a little frustrated, “Could you please just answer your damn phone and put the person out of their misery, Chlo? It sounds like it could actually be important.”

“Chloe,” Chloe shook her head, “It won’t be, and I’ll deal with it when I’ve finished work. If it was urgent my brothers have my office number and would call me directly, Haley.” 

“Hales,” Haley rolled her eyes at the blonde.

But no sooner had Chloe mentioned her office number, a call from the hotel reception desk came through on Chloe’s intercom, still typing away, Chloe put it on speaker, “Hey, Ned, what’s up?”

“Hey, Chlo. Elly’s called the reception line to speak to you as she doesn’t have your direct number, can I put her through?” Ned asked.

“Oh for frick’s sake, Elly, take a hint,” Chloe groaned, ignoring the look Haley was giving her at the knowledge of the name of the person who was trying to get a hold of her, “Ned, can you tell Elly I am way too busy here at work and I’ll talk to her at home tonight…I mean I’ll call her at her home when I get to my home tonight?”

Before Ned could respond, Chloe cut the call and avoided Haley’s gaze.

“Elly, huh?” Haley nodded somewhat knowingly that it was a girl chasing after Chloe.

Chloe ran her hand through her hair, ignoring Haley, and then ignoring another text message that came through.

Hours later, Chloe was completely drained from the day at work, finding out she’d be working alongside the stranger who had flirted with her the previous day and had subtly continued flirting with her all day long whilst she had continued to ignore the multiple calls and messages that were no doubt from Elly. Chloe began shutting down her laptop, trying to ignore the thoughts about the conversation she needed to have with Elly.

Chloe looked up and noticed Haley was also taking her lead and finishing up for the day. 

Haley looked over at Chloe, “Busy day, huh? Any chance you’d like to continue avoiding this Elly chick for a little while and grab a drink with me at the Waterhole, Chlo?”

“Chloe,” Chloe shook her head, “I should head home and…deal with some stuff, Haley. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Hales,” Haley seemed surprised that Chloe turned her down, “16 messages and 5 phone calls, Chlo.”

“Chloe,” Chloe looked at Haley confused, “What?”

“If you check your phone I’m pretty sure you’ll find 16 messages and 5 phone calls, that’s how many times you’ve avoided Elly today and hey it could be more since I left the office for 10 minutes to get lunch, Chlo,” Haley stated, “Are you sure you don’t want to put it off for another half an hour and have one drink with me?”

“Chloe,” Chloe finally opened her phone and screwed up her face as her phone listed 16 messages and 5 missed phone calls, all from Elly, “What were you keeping a running total the moment you walked into my office, Haley?”

“Hales,” Haley bought up her hand in defense, “Sorry, it’s a force of habit to pay attention to everything that’s going on, it’s what Pierce likes about me been his EA. What about that drink, Chlo?”

“Chloe,” Chloe picked up her handbag, “Another time, Haley.”

“Hales,” Haley pushed Chloe again, “It’s just a drink and you’ve been avoiding Elly all day long. What difference is half an hour going to make? Tell you what, if that phone of yours doesn’t ring or beep with another message from Elly for 30 seconds then you can go home and if it does you come out with me for a drink, Chlo.”

“Chloe,” Chloe was getting frustrated that Haley could clearly see that she was worried about going home to speak to Elly, “I am not going to bet going out for a drink with you on—damn it.”

Chloe’s phone lit up with another message.

“17 messages, yeah you definitely need one drink before you deal with whatever it is that you’re dealing with. I’m not going to hold you to it but what do you say?” Haley asked Chloe gently.

Chloe rolled her eyes, “Fine, one drink…if you can stop calling me Chlo and start calling me Chloe.”

Haley nodded, “Okay then…Chlo…e…but you have to stop calling me Haley. It’s Hales.”

“Good to have that sorted…Hales,” Chloe gave in.

As the pair left the office, Haley winked at Chloe, “Damn, I think I was kind of enjoying our Chloe-Hales banter that we had going on all day long.”

Chloe once more rolled her eyes, but couldn’t help but feel the same.

Why is it so easy to banter with this woman when it is so difficult to have a simple conversation with Elly?

Chapter Text

Only Us

Chapter Seven

Chloe sighed as she drove up her driveway and immediately saw Elly waiting for her at the front of her house. Chloe had finally given in and read the numerous text messages and voice mail messages from Elly after she left the Waterhole. They were littered with multiple apologies about that morning and many of the messages pleading for Chloe to give Elly another chance to make their relationship work.

Elly waited for Chloe to get out of the car before approaching the blonde, “I was worried when you didn’t come home from work when you normally do.”

Chloe nodded, “I had…kind of a weird day at work. I got all your messages; can we just get inside the house first before we talk about what happened this morning?” 

Elly followed her girlfriend up the driveway, “I called Ned again at the hotel and he said you left work over an hour ago with your newest colleague. I came over here expecting you to be home soon...am I allowed to ask where were you?”

Chloe distracted herself from Elly’s question, pulling out her key, she moved to open the front door, then finally answered, “If you must know I was having a drink at the Waterhole after work with…what did you call her yesterday…little-miss-harmless-random-adorableness.”

Elly rolled her eyes as she stood behind Chloe on the front door step, thinking that Chloe was trying to be funny, “Okay, I went very overboard into nearly stalkery territory with the amount of messages and calls I sent you today. I get it, I should’ve respected that you weren’t ready to talk to me and that you were busy at work, but you don’t need to joke about having a drink with little-miss-harmless-random-adorableness who thinks you're beautiful.”

As Chloe opened the front door, she glanced back at Elly, “I wasn’t joking, Elly. Terese introduced me to her today; she’s Pierce’s EA and is going to be working alongside me for the unforeseen future since Pierce is basing himself out of Lassiters what with buying a stake in the hotel. I’d had a stressful day and she asked me out for a drink at the Waterhole after work.” 

Elly’s eyes bulged at the thought of her girlfriend working alongside the woman who had carelessly flirted with her and that Chloe didn’t hesitate to have a drink with her at the Waterhole, “Wait, you’re serious? She's your ex's employee?”

As the pair walked into the house, they were immediately greeted by the smell of dinner cooking, David popped his head into the living room from the kitchen, “Hey, ladies. We’re cooking up a BBQ for dinner outside by the pool; do you want to join us?”

Elly glanced at Chloe as Chloe answered, “Maybe in a bit, I need to talk to Elly first.”

David nodded, “Okay, well there’s plenty of food and we’ll be right outside if you need anything.”

Chloe smiled hesitantly as David went back outside to be with Aaron before Chloe kicked off her shoes, threw her handbag on the single sofa chair and sat down on the couch. Elly joined her, sitting down on the couch next to her. Chloe couldn’t help but reactively place her hand on Elly’s knee.

“What are we doing, Elly?” Chloe asked.

“I don’t know,” Elly replied as she stared over at the blonde, “I want to be able to show you what I told you in bed this morning that I can be ready for this…showing my affection for you when we’re here regardless of whether we are alone or Aaron or David are home but there’s just something holding me back. I need to apologize for this morning and the way I overreacted when you told Aaron and David about us.” 

Chloe sighed, “Elly you didn’t overreact, you had a freaking panic attack. Do you have any idea how much that hurt me? I want this to work between us but I cannot continue to be your dirty little secret that you bed every night and then won’t tell anyone about. I would never force you to tell other people until you are ready but Aaron was the one that saw you leave my bedroom; I didn't betray you by telling him on my own accord. I couldn't lie to him when he asked me why you stayed over. I needed to be able to tell the people that I live with so we're not sneaking around behind their backs. When I saw you have a panic attack over the idea of been seen with me by my own housemates…it made me see you may never be ready for this and I can’t put my life on hold waiting for forever.”

“I know I hurt you,” Elly agreed wanting nothing more than to press her lips against Chloe’s forehead but couldn’t bring herself to act, “I had all day sitting around to think about it. I just wanted to be able to talk to you about it. I really struggled today when you didn’t return my messages and I had to stop myself from just going down to the hotel to talk to you. I know I have some serious issues to deal with. But I don’t know how to not run away from them. I want to be here with you and find a way to work through them but I don’t know how.” 

“I’m sorry I ignored all your messages, I just wasn’t in the right head space to deal with this and I don’t even know if I’m in the right space to deal with this now,” Chloe moaned in frustration before changing the subject, “Because now it looks like I’m sharing my office with this chick Haley for at least a few days until she gets set up properly. That woman is damn bloody annoying, acting like she owns the place, kept calling me Chlo all day long like we’ve been besties for years, insisting that I had to call her by her nickname Hales instead of her name Haley, she just had to buy me lunch when I told her I wasn’t hungry and just had to point it out just about every time I got one of your messages and didn’t check it.”

Elly swallowed her pride, “Why’d you have a drink with her after work then, Chlo?”

“I don’t know,” Chloe responded, “I was upset that you’re not ready for us to be in a relationship.”

Elly grimaced but she felt thankful that Chloe was still gripping her knee tightly, “Did little-miss-harmless-random-adorableness flirt with you when you had your drink together?”

Chloe ran her hand against Elly’s knee and inner thigh, “Haley, her name is Haley...or Hales...Yes, she did…and she asked me if I was single…”

"I'm sticking to calling her little-miss-harmless-random-adorableness because I don't like her even though I haven't really met her," Elly insisted then asked, “How did you answer?”

Chloe stared into Elly’s eyes, “I told her I’m not in a public relationship but there is someone I care about very deeply and I'm not looking for any kind of serious relationship from anyone else.”

“I can’t disagree with that statement,” Elly announced before asking, "Are you interested in her?"

Chloe shook her head then hesitated, "If I was officially single, probably yes. Are you jealous that I had one drink with another girl?"

"Not in the slightest," Elly lied, knowing deep down she was extremely unsure how to feel that her girlfriend was now working with the woman who made her flirtatious advances known to anyone who had paid enough attention.

Chloe wasn't sure if it was doubt that was written across Elly's face and couldn't help but push back once, "So say I did want to have drinks with her again...as a colleague getting to know her new co-worker...you wouldn't be opposed to that...at all?"

"I would never tell you who you can and can't spend time with," Elly stated, trying to convince herself the idea of Chloe spending time outside of work with Haley could ever be a good thing, “You can go out with whomever you want to.”

Chloe sighed, “I am not going out with Haley. I am with you, okay. I want us to forget all about Haley and focus on us. I want this to work between us but I can't be the only one making that effort. I need you to give me something to show me that you really want this."

"I don’t know how, I’m so scared that people will think it’s wrong or that I don’t deserve happiness after what I did to Mark," Elly whispered.

"Aaron and David already know about us. If you can stop been scared and you want this relationship to work then right now it is a non-negotiable for me that you're comfortable been with me as my girlfriend when we are here in my home, no more been afraid of cuddling up with me, no more sneaking in and out of my bed, it's your call what you want to tell your family where you are. I'm not asking you to come out to your family or take this relationship public to our friends; I'm still willing to wait for you to be ready for that just as long as you can promise me that I'm not waiting around forever. I love you but it has been long enough that you need to start making these steps to us been a couple otherwise this will never work between us," Chloe laid out her feelings.

Elly nodded nervously, "I know, I know I made promises this morning that I would take these steps and then I had that panic attack but I get it okay, I'm going to end up losing you if I can't stop been so afraid of my feelings for you. I’m trying to do this, I really am. I know you don’t want to hear it…but I still need a bit more time before I can be comfortable been your girlfriend in front of Aaron and David."

“I’m not sure I can give you that,” Chloe decided, feeling her own heart break as the words left her mouth.

Elly squeezed Chloe’s hand on her knee before standing up.

“Where are you going?” Chloe asked.

As Elly walked around the couch she turned back to Chloe, “To bed.”

“You’re going home? You’re not even going to try and finish this conversation?” Chloe sighed continuing to be frustrated by their situation.

Elly looked down at Chloe, making her own decision, “No, Chloe, I’m going to your bed.”

"What?" Chloe spluttered in confusion, "I just told you what I wanted from you and you can't give me that. What makes you think we're not breaking up right now?"

"I may not be comfortable been seen as a couple with you in front of Aaron and David let alone other people and need more time to deal with that but I am comfortable knowing that I still want to go to bed with you every night and make love to you. I'll still hang out here with you when you're at home but I won't be all lovey-dovey couplely with you until I'm ready to be. I won't sneak into your bedroom nor disappear before the sun rises. I will tell my family I'm sleeping on your couch as I can't be in that house with Finn anymore. I may not be able to offer you what you want but I know you, Chloe Brennan, and you are not breaking up with me," Elly declared.

Chloe ran her hand through her hair, trying to convince herself she could resist Elly.

Elly added, "If you decide to start dating this new chick because you need to be with someone who is not ashamed to be dating you in public then that's your call, you can date her if you want. I won't stop you because I know at the end of the day you're in love with me and I'll be the one you crawl into bed with. I'm aware that I can't hide my relationship with you forever and I will find a way to work through my issues so we can be together properly but for now this is all I can offer...take it or leave it."

Elly turned around and walked down the hallway to Chloe's bedroom, leaving Chloe sitting on the couch dismayed that Elly could still have such an effect on her and yet couldn't give Chloe as much as she needed from her.

Chapter Text

Only Us

Chapter Eight

Chloe headed outside alone to meet Aaron and David at the BBQ to get some dinner still frustrated at Elly.

"Hey, Chlo, where's Elly?" Aaron greeted as he handed his sister a plate with a burger on it.

Chloe shrugged, "In my room. Not joining us for dinner." 

David walked over to Chloe, "How'd your talk go with Elly? Is she going to start telling people about the pair of you?"

As Chloe began eating the burger, she rolled her eyes, "Not even close. I've somehow managed to push her further into the closet and not break up with her so instead of going home she's in my room."

"I thought you didn't want to end things with Elly this morning, has that changed?" Aaron asked.

"I don't want to break up with her but I thought I wasn't going to be left with any choice when she is still asking for more time before we can start acting like we're a couple when we're here," Chloe groaned in frustration, "It's not like I can't handle a few more weeks before we tell the rest of our friends or family because it has nothing to do with that right now and I understand how difficult it is to come to terms with your sexuality. I just want us to be able to be a couple when we are here which I don't think is unreasonable since you two know about us.”

Chloe took a breath before continuing her rant, “Elly seems to think that she can't be seen as a couple with me when we're here in front of you guys but she somehow has it in her head that she's comfortable for you two to know that we're sleeping together and wants to continue taking me to bed with her each night with the only change to our current relationship been that she'll be in my bed when I wake up in the morning and she'll tell her family she's living on my couch as a permanent arrangement to avoid living with Finn. What am I supposed to make of all this?"

"Finish the rest of your dinner," Aaron advised, watching as Chloe bit into the burger again after her rant, "I don't know what Elly's thinking. Staying over here and not sneaking out before the sun rises is progress but I am still worried that she's just using you for comfort and she'll drop you if someone else is in the picture for her."

David sighed, "Elly can't hide away with you like you're in your own little world and then just treat you like a friend whenever you're not alone. I don't know if she's using you for comfort but she's definitely going through something and it might be better for her to deal with it on her own."

Chloe continued eating, and then shaking her head at herself, "I don't know how to turn her down and let her deal with it on her own. I've wanted this for so long. It's not perfect but it still could be one day."

Aaron put his arm over Chloe's shoulders, "How long are you prepared to wait for Elly to make your relationship perfect?"

Chloe finished her burger, "I don't know. All I know is the world falls away when it's “only us” and maybe that's enough for me to put up with been treated like this for a little while longer at least."

Chloe then shifted to the BBQ and started making another burger.

"Feeling hungry tonight?" Aaron asked the blonde.

Chloe rolled her eyes, feeling more annoyed at herself, "No, I'm making Elly one for dinner 'cause I'm an absolute fool who can't say no to her for tonight at least. Don't @ me Aaron, I know I'm a fool for not been able to break things off with her if she won't give me what I want. I won't put up with this for much longer but for now if I want to be with her then I play by her ridiculous rules. Elly's told me her rules mean I can date whomever I want to date if I want a relationship that isn't a secret but she still wants me to end up in bed with her each night so maybe I'll start playing by her rules by dating someone new and she'll be the one to end things or deal with her feelings for me enough to fight for me."

"Chlo, that might not be the best way to handle this situation," Aaron erred caution, "Dating someone else to force Elly to fight for you? What makes you think she didn't just make this offer to see if you would be able to resist dating someone else and continue to fight for her instead?"

Ignoring Aaron, Chloe took off back into the house, leaving Aaron and David looking at each knowing this was not going to end well for the pair.

Chloe entered her bedroom to find Elly lying naked under the sheets in her bed, facing away from Chloe on her side. Chloe walked around to that side of the bed, placed the plate of dinner on Elly's bedside table, "I've had a long day and need a shower before I go to bed with you." 

Elly looked up at Chloe, "Can I join you?"

Chloe wanted to resist Elly's advances but couldn't manage it, "I need a few moments alone first so eat the dinner and then you can join me."

Chloe turned to her wardrobe and grabbed two of her silk bathrobes, throwing one next to Elly on the bed. Elly had immediately sat up; digging into the burger Chloe had bought her. Chloe left the room.

As Chloe stepped under the water of the shower, she ran her hand through her hair and bought her hands to hold her face as she tried not to cry as she felt the feeling of weakness fall over her at been unable to resist Elly's in explainable request that they couldn't act like a couple in front of her brothers even though they knew the pair were sleeping together.

Chloe felt like she was stuck between having what she'd dreamed of by been with Elly but Elly couldn't allow them to truly be in a relationship and Chloe didn't know how much longer this could go on for before she would end up breaking things off.

Chloe bought her hands back to running them through her hair the second she heard Elly enter the bathroom. Elly threw Chloe's bathrobe from her body and slipped into the shower wrapping her arms around Chloe's hips and pressing her body against Chloe's back.

"You're so beautiful," Elly whispered into Chloe's ear as she started kissing Chloe's shoulder.

Chloe hated herself for once again falling under Elly's spell, turning around she wrapped her own arms around Elly's waist and bought Elly's lips to her own. The pair were soon in the throes of passion as they slipped their fingers inside one another, making love to one another as they showered, then after drying off they put their bathrobes back on for a minute and moved things back to Chloe's bed to continue their passionate encounter.

The next morning, Elly was surprised to find herself waking up in Chloe's bed alone with no sign of her girlfriend. Donning Chloe's silky bathrobe, Elly headed out to the kitchen to find her.

Elly found Aaron alone in the kitchen drinking a protein shake and approached him, “Aaron, do you know where Chloe is?”

Aaron smirked at the desperation in Elly’s voice, unable to believe the way she treating his little sister, “Chloe’s pulling an Elly Conway move.” 

“Meaning?” Elly asked in confusion.

“Chloe left you in bed alone for once, pulled the move you’ve been doing for more than a month,” Aaron told Elly, irritated at her, “She got a text from a new co-worker for a coffee meeting before work so she showered, got ready for work and headed out nearly an hour ago.”

Sensing Aaron’s frustration at her and knowing full well who Aaron was talking about even if he didn’t know, Elly quietly asked, “A coffee meeting about work or…a coffee date?”

“Don’t know but I hope for Chloe’s sake it’s not about work,” Aaron answered honestly.

“Aaron if you have something to say to me, just say it,” Elly decided to be direct.

Aaron raised his eyebrow before taking a verbal swipe at Elly, “You’re not good enough for Chloe.”

Elly was taken aback, “Right…okay…I know I still have some work to do to make my relationship work with Chloe but I’m--”

Aaron shook his head, interrupting Elly to give her a piece of his mind, “What relationship, Elly? How can you possibly call what you have with Chloe a relationship? You spend all your time pretending to just be her friend when anyone else is around, you sleep with her every night, promise if she’ll give you a few more days then you’ll tell people about this relationship and then you leave her bed every morning so she wakes up alone. That’s not a relationship. Chloe is too afraid to tell you what she really wants but I’m not.”

Elly looked away, unable to look Aaron in the eyes as everything he said was true, “What won’t Chloe tell me?”

“That she’s too good for you and it’s killing her hanging on to the little that you offer her because she doesn’t know how to stop loving you,” Aaron told Elly.

“What am I supposed to do? I don’t want to lose her, I’m just not ready for people to know about us,” Elly admitted.

“Elly, you need to mean it the next time you tell Chloe it’ll only be a few days before you’ll be ready to tell people about the two of you. Whatever it is that is making you so scared, sort it out and don’t lie to my sister again and get her hopes up that what you feel for her is real if you are not ready to be with her in a real relationship,” Aaron declared.

Elly nodded in understanding but didn’t respond.

“Chloe deserves better and if by some reason she doesn’t kick you to the curb if you keep stringing her along then I really hope that Chloe does meet someone new that’ll treat her like she needs to be treated and then you can see what it’s like to be strung along,” Aaron admitted.

Elly nervously started thinking that maybe that had already happened, “I don’t want to keep stringing Chloe along, I need to be with her but I can’t bring myself to share that with people. What if there is someone who can give Chloe what she wants?”

Aaron sighed at the state Elly was in, “Chloe is in love with you, Elly. If you keep stringing her along, Chloe may not have the strength to break things off between the pair of you…she won’t have to because I am not about to watch you tear apart the life of another one of my siblings. I may be out of line here but it’s not going to stop me. Do not lie to Chloe again about telling her you’ll be ready in a few days to tell people about you…do whatever it takes to sort yourself out and either get ready for everything that comes with this relationship been out in the public or allow Chloe to let you go.”

Elly nodded sadly, “Okay, I’ll try and sort myself out.”

“Don’t try, Elly, do sort yourself out,” Aaron encouraged, “Chloe deserves that and if you want to be happy with her then you deserve that too.”

Elly nodded once more before turning away from Aaron and heading back to Chloe’s bedroom to get dressed before heading back home.

Chapter Text

Only Us

Chapter Nine 

As Chloe packed up her office that she was currently sharing with her new co-worker, Haley, Chloe was surprised to read the text message Elly had sent her ten minutes ago.

“Hey baby, can you come to my place when you’ve finished work? XOX”

Chloe also couldn’t help but feel impressed that after Elly had spent the previous day bombarding her with texts and missed phone calls and taking into consideration that Chloe had left Elly alone in her bed that morning that Elly had managed to back off that day and this was the only text message she had gotten.

Haley had been quite surprised to not have the interruptions of Chloe’s phone going off all day long with Chloe ignoring it but Chloe still hadn't explained anything about Elly to Haley.

Fifteen minutes later, Chloe was back in Ramsey St, parking her car in her driveway before walking across the street to Susan and Karl’s house that Elly shared with her younger sister Bea, their aunt and uncle as well as Finn, Elly’s awful ex-boyfriend who was recovering from a coma and Susan had taken him in despite everyone else in the house hating him with a passion.

Chloe knocked on the front door and was surprised to see Elly looking a little more casually dressed than normal in a pair of jeans and tight shirt when her girlfriend answered the door, “Hi, I feel a little overdressed here and that maybe I should go change out of my work clothes and come back.”

“Don’t you dare, I adore been the one who strips you of your work clothes,” Elly immediately told Chloe without any hesitation.

Chloe blushed at Elly talking about taking her clothes off considering they were standing in the entryway to Elly’s house. Chloe was then completely taken aback when Elly pulled her inside the house, closed the door behind her, pushed Chloe up against the door and kissed her passionately.

“Wow,” was all Chloe could say as their kiss finally broke then regaining her focus, “You’re kissing me at your house…this is new…and unexpected.”

Elly wrapped her hands behind Chloe’s waist, holding her close, “I thought we could use a different scenery for a change after everything that’s happened the last few days.”

Chloe placed her hands on Elly’s hips, “I’m guessing we’re alone.”

Elly nodded, “We are. Bea is staying at Ned’s tonight like she does every night recently and Susan wanted to get Finn out of the house for once and dragged him and Karl to the movies so whilst we don’t have too long to be alone, I thought maybe it would be a change for us to hang out at my place for a couple hours. I’ve got a movie set up we can watch, we could curl up on the couch together and then when everyone gets back we can maybe move this back to your place and make this evening a little more romantic.”

Chloe eyed Elly suspiciously, “What's brought all this on?”

"I've had a surprisingly good day and I wanted to share it with you by spending some quality time with my girl here instead of hiding away in your bedroom although I do hope we can do that later tonight," Elly revealed, then taking Chloe's hand she lead her over to the couch, sitting down next to her, pressing play on the DVD even though they didn't even look at the screen, grabbed a blanket folded on the arm of the couch and threw it over their bodies, snuggling up to Chloe.

Chloe held Elly's hand under the blanket as the pair cosied up to one another, "What made your day good?"

Elly lent forwards pressing her lips against Chloe's cheek before resting her head on Chloe's shoulder, "After I got up this morning at your place Aaron gave me a bit of advice to start sorting my crap out. I came home and I got that letter in the mail confirming my marriage to Mark is annulled so I am officially single--I mean I’m off the market and I’m with you but I’m no longer married.”

Chloe smiled sweetly.

Elly continued, “Anyway normally when I come home here after spending the night with you I just end up moping around waiting for you to finish work so we can hook up again, but reading that letter that I’m no longer married, it kind of spurred me on to take Aaron’s advice and start sorting my life out. I finally started to get some stuff sorted for my career. I have two interviews lined up for next week and though the schools are both a fair distance away and I may not be the best suited to them I'm going to give these interviews a good go and aim for a lot more positivity than I've gone into my previous interviews."

Chloe smiled at Elly, "I'm proud of you, you'll get one of them, I'm sure of it."

Elly grinned up at Chloe, "I'm hopeful but I'm not sold on absolutely getting either of them. Before I even lined up the interviews I was talking to Susan when I got home this morning and she encouraged me to look into joining this so-called 'gig economy' as you put it and start tutoring students at home who need extra assistance. Susan spoke to a handful of parents this morning before school started and passed along my phone number to the parents of students that could do with some extra tutoring at home. I've already had 5 sets of parents call me and I've lined up 3 sessions back to back for different students tomorrow afternoon and evening and a couple for over the weekend. I'll go to their houses for the tutoring and they are all so far in our area so it shouldn't take too long out of my day.”

Elly continued, “If the job interviews go nowhere then I might look into starting my own tutoring sessions, kind of like my own little business. The hours won't be too long and it won't be a full time wage but it'll at least be something so I can start chipping back in for all the bills here. Plus you work late most nights so it shouldn't affect the time we spend together. It might mean less time hanging out on the weekends because obviously the tutoring would be outside school hours and I'd need to see some students across the weekend, is that okay that I'd be cutting into our weekends together?"

Chloe pressed her lips softly against Elly's, "Babe, I couldn't be more proud of you getting your career back on track and I would never have an issue with it cutting into our weekends. It's actually rather sweet that you thought about me when deciding to accommodate the students' needs."

Elly squeezed Chloe's hand, "Of course I thought about you. How could I not?"

Chloe rested her head back against Elly's not wanting to tell her she was still so confused over where they stood with one another and if they would ever be able to make their relationship work.

"Oh and there's one more thing I looked into today," Elly grinned happily, "Teaching English as a second language to foreign students. It's a lot of online courses that students from around the world can take, I emailed my resume to one company and they said it looks promising. It's not much money wise but I would be able to be there to lead courses online during school hours here to keep me busy during the day for at least a couple hours a day. I've been unemployed for so long, even though the pay won't be anywhere near what I was on before I got made redundant, it's so good to finally be sorting out my life instead of putting it on hold. I kinda have Aaron to thank for it. I mean this morning he told me to sort my crap out but I don't think he was talking about my career."

Chloe was curious, "Aaron told you to sort your crap out, what was he talking about? Did he mean us because I am--"

Elly hushed Chloe, "You don't need to worry about what Aaron said to me, I'm not sure if it worked but it's helped so we can just enjoy this evening together?"

"Of course," Chloe agreed, kissing Elly softly, then pulling back, "Sorry, I'm not used to been here. I guess I'm just so used to been in our zone at my place."

Elly nodded, "Well...maybe...one day...it won't be weird for us to...be here together like this...one day."

Chloe nearly bristled at Elly's non-committal assertion but instead simply held Elly close to her. 

Realizing that her comment hadn't been as confidant as she wanted it to be, Elly wrapped her left arm around Chloe's shoulder, pulling her closer against her then bought Chloe's lips to hers. Chloe slipped her right arm behind Elly's hip and fell into the embrace with Elly.

Completely ignoring the movie that was playing on the TV in front of them, Chloe and Elly began making out with each other heavily, both taking their time to explore each other's mouths with their tongues. Chloe felt Elly drop her hand under the blanket and was surprised when she felt Elly drag it up her body. Elly undid the top two buttons on Chloe's blouse quickly.

Chloe blushed as she broke the kiss for a moment and stared into Elly's eyes, then couldn't help but giggle, "Here? You're trying to get me half naked here on Susan and Karl's couch?"

Elly grinned back, "I so want your shirt off right now, I don't really care where we are," then immediately changing her mind, "Oh screw it, I just want to feel your skin against my fingers."

Chloe moaned gently into the kiss as Elly's hand glided inside her shirt and she desperately slipped her fingers inside Chloe's bra and began stroking her nipple gently. Chloe's moan only increased at the contact.

The pair sat there for several minutes making out with Elly feeling up Chloe's breast, until Elly removed her hand from Chloe’s breast and dragged it back down Chloe’s body and began trailing her fingers inside Chloe’s skirt along the inside of Chloe’s thigh, feeling the hotness between Chloe’s legs as her fingers grazed Chloe’s underwear. Chloe moaned loudly.

All of a sudden they both jerked apart at the loud sound of the security door and then front door opening as Finn, and then Susan and Karl returned to the house. 

As the three entered the house they were too distracted to notice Elly pull her hand out from Chloe’s skirt, yank her arm from Chloe's shoulder and shuffle a couple centimeters away from her girlfriend. Chloe was left dismayed as she was forced to attempt to subtly redo up the buttons on her blouse and put her skirt back into place as Elly stared into the distance at the TV.

“Are we going to keep going over this?” Karl asked Susan in frustration, “You’ve been admonishing me the whole car ride home.”

“Karl, how could you not look at the movie reviews before choosing that movie?” Susan asked equally frustrated.

Karl put out his hands in apology to Finn, “I thought it was a comedy romance drama movie and would be more suitable than a violent action film for you, Finn. I didn’t know that the male lead would turn into a stalker and take his girlfriend hostage. That movie switched from romantic comedy to terrifying drama quicker than I’ve ever seen.”

“Karl, that movie was completely inappropriate for Finn to see and I cannot believe we sat through what we did,” Susan was still angry.

“We walked out halfway through the movie, Susan,” Karl reminded them.

“Its fine, Karl, you weren’t to know that the movie would turn out that way,” Finn accepted the apology, and then finally acknowledging Elly and the blonde woman on the couch whom he’d noticed hastily moved away from each other as he had entered the house and Chloe had appeared to be fiddling with her clothes whilst Karl and Susan were arguing over the movie.

Finn greeted her, “Hi, Elly!”

“What did I tell you about talking to me?” Elly growled at her psycho ex.

“Don’t talk to you,” Finn answered, and then trying to be polite addressed the blonde, “You must be Chloe, I’ve heard so much about you. I’m--”

“Do not ever talk to Chloe or look at her,” Elly snarled protectively, “Finn, if you go anywhere near Chloe I will--”

“Chloe, what are you doing here, love? It’s so nice to see you and Elly hanging out together,” Susan interrupted to try and dispel the tension between Finn and Elly but had completely missed noticing her niece had been heavily making out with and fondling her best friend when they had walked into the house.

Chloe blushed as she was still trying to get her feelings in check, then lied to Elly’s aunt and uncle, “We thought we’d try movie night here for a change.”

Elly stood up, dragging the blanket off them and took Chloe’s hand in her own to bring her to her feet, and then walked around the couch with her, “Chloe, you do not need to be in this house with Finn,” then telling Susan, Karl and Finn, “I’m going to Chloe’s to go to bed with her.”

Without giving Susan and Karl a second to react to her statement, Elly immediately realized what she had said and backtracked, “I’m going to Chloe’s for the night and sleeping on her couch. If Finn is going to continue living here then I might permanently relocate to Chloe’s couch.”

Too busy focusing on Elly’s anger at Finn Susan didn’t notice Elly’s slip up, Susan tried to reason with her niece, “Elly I don’t want you to move out and live on a couch.”

As Elly held onto Chloe’s hand tightly for support, Elly led the blonde past her aunt and uncle and Finn, “Wake up, Susan. No one wants Finn living here. Bea is never at home anymore, Karl’s always working and I’m hooking up—hanging out with Chloe all the time. Take the hint, Finn; we don’t want you here no matter what Susan says. Living on a couch would be a much more comfortable arrangement for me than staying in a house with you here.”

Chloe tried to offer her apologies to Susan but Elly grabbed both their handbags with her free hand and then still holding onto Chloe’s hand, Elly led her girlfriend out of the house as they walked down the driveway and over to Chloe’s place.

Chapter Text

Only Us

Chapter Ten

Elly held Chloe against her chest as they laid together in Chloe’s bed.

Breaking the silence that had existed between them since they fell into bed together and made love to one another, Elly said, “I can’t believe I nearly told my family we were going to bed together. Do you think they knew what I did actually mean or did they accept the excuse of sleeping on your couch?”

Chloe sighed as she rested her head on Elly’s chest, “Is there a part of you that did want them to find out? Maybe not that way with Finn pushing your buttons just by talking to you but did you want them to know?”

“I don’t know,” Elly whispered still unable to commit her feelings for Chloe, “Of course a small part of me wants them to know about us. I just don’t know how to have that conversation with them. And I suddenly realize that I do not want Finn to know about you. If he does and he gets his memories back or he truly is faking his amnesia, he’s going to target you and I couldn’t live with myself if he hurt you. I need to protect you.”

“So are you keeping us in the closet because you’re still afraid to tell people about us or because now you think it’s protecting me by not telling people so Finn doesn’t find out and tries to hurt me?” Chloe asked sadly.

Elly couldn’t answer her girlfriend.

“You can’t keep doing this, Elly,” Chloe whispered, “You can’t keep raising my hopes up that we will be a couple, making love to me and then just come up with another reason why you don’t want people to know. I can’t keep doing this every night. I want more from you.”

“I know,” Elly whispered back as she ran her hand across Chloe’s lower back but didn’t reassure Chloe that she could give her more.

Chloe ignored the fact that Elly couldn’t assure her more, then suddenly remembering what happened before Finn had tried to introduce himself to her, “As much as I didn’t like meeting Finn after everything he’s done to you…I guess we were lucky that Karl and Susan came home when they did. Two minutes later and I never would’ve been able to look them in the eyes for the rest of my life. I can’t believe you almost did that thing to me right there on their couch.”

Elly giggled unashamedly, “I can’t believe I almost did that thing to you right there on their couch. I’m not capable of resisting you no matter where we are though I should’ve had enough sense to move it to my room. Two minutes later and you wouldn’t have been the only one unable to look Susan and Karl in the eyes for the rest of your life. I am sorry that I pulled away from you the way I did. I kind of left you to fix up your clothes alone when it was my desperation for you that left you sitting there like that.”

“Yeah, that was a little awkward,” Chloe confessed.

Elly nodded, “Right, I’ll restrain my desperation for you and keep that just for your bedroom and shower as that is not the way I would want to come out to my family.”

Chloe smiled at the thought that Elly may have thought of ways that she could come out to her family and took that as a sign that maybe one day her girlfriend will be ready to have that conversation with them.

Elly pressed her lips against Chloe’s forehead, asking a question that was playing on her mind, “Chlo, will you be here with me when I wake up in the morning? I know I shouldn’t even have a right to ask if you’ll be here when I wake up after the way I treated you for weeks but I…I really want you to be here in the morning. I don’t ever want to wake up without you in my arms.”

“I’ll be here,” Chloe whispered but didn’t look Elly in the eyes as her mind wandered to the reason why she had abandoned Elly in bed that morning; she left to go have a coffee with Haley.

Elly finally asked her the question that had been playing on her mind all day but she’d been avoiding it, “Aaron told me you left me in bed this morning as you got a message from little-miss-harmless-random-adorableness…my words, not his…and had coffee with her. Was it coffee between work colleagues or a date?”

Chloe felt her heart racing as she felt uncomfortable talking about another woman whilst she laid there on top of Elly’s naked body but she eventually answered, “I thought it was just a coffee between work colleagues…but there were definite date-like-qualities about the coffee meeting.”

Elly breathed deeply, trying not to show her jealousy, “Do you want to date her?”

Chloe still couldn’t look Elly in the eyes, “I’m having drinks with Hales after work tonight and I think that might be a date.”

“Right,” Elly whispered, trying to hide her pain, asking again, “Do you want to date her?”

“I want to date you,” Chloe reminded Elly, “But you won’t let me. I told you that I can't keep hiding this relationship forever and I want to take our relationship public one day soon and you don’t want to. You told me I could date other people if I needed to be with someone in a public relationship as long as I still come to bed with you each night. Have you changed your mind about stopping our relationship been a secret and that it will eventually in the near future be known to our friends and family?”

Elly couldn’t answer Chloe.

Chloe sighed, “I want to be with someone who isn’t afraid to be seen with me when we are in the community. I love you and I love been with you every night but if you can’t give me what I want…I’m not giving you an ultimatum but yes if drinks tonight with Hales is a date then I want to date her. She’s not afraid of been seen with me and she doesn’t keep me at a distance the way you do.”

Elly felt a tear prickling her eye but refused to let it slide down her cheek, “Will you come home tonight and still be with me or will you go home with her tonight?”

“It’s just a date, Elly, I’m not ready to sleep with her and I don’t see myself been ready to anytime soon, you’re the only person I’m sleeping with tonight,” Chloe decided.

“Okay,” Elly whispered sadly, hating herself that she was driving Chloe towards another woman for needing something that Elly couldn’t bring herself to give Chloe, “I’ll be busy tonight with the tutoring anyway so I’ll come over here when I’ve finished and we can have some dinner together. You…go have drinks with her.”

Chloe sighed as she closed her eyes, wishing her girlfriend would find a way to fight for her and prove once and for all that she wanted to be in a public relationship with Chloe.

The couple quietly fell asleep in one another’s’ arms, both worried how the next evening could end up affecting their relationship.

The next evening, Chloe and Haley headed straight to the Waterhole after work. It was Friday night and they were both looking forward to the upcoming weekend and not having to work. Haley was new to the area and was hoping Chloe would offer to show her around the place.

Haley still couldn’t get a read on Chloe, she was very good at her job, had Paul, Terese and Leo all organised so they could do their jobs and not have to worry about other problems that had popped up at the hotel. Haley didn’t know how Chloe managed to be three executive’s assistants even though technically she was only meant to be Terese’s. Haley only had Pierce and his businesses to worry about.

Haley was still working out of Chloe’s office but after the first day had migrated to the meeting table sitting opposite Chloe’s desk so she could stare at the blonde during moments of boredom. This morning Terese had offered to organise Haley an office of her own but Haley was surprised when Chloe backed her up that they were comfortable working together in the office and Terese didn’t need to go to any trouble to find another room.

Chloe didn’t spend any time at work discussing her private life and whilst Haley didn’t push her too much on the issue, she was still curious to learn Chloe’s story. Chloe had opened up a little bit during their coffee the previous morning and Haley had learnt that Chloe was the third of four siblings and had 3 brothers, 1 that she currently lived with, 1 that lived across the street from them and the youngest was back in Adelaide where she grew up.

Haley and Chloe walked into the Waterhole and sat together on the bar stools at the corner of the bar so they were facing each other with Chloe facing the entrance to the bar. Haley still couldn’t get a read on Chloe when they sat close enough together that their legs grazed against each other’s but Chloe didn’t say a word or move her leg away.

“Do you come here often, Chloe?” Haley asked.

“The Waterhole is just about the only place I visit for a drink and good meal. There is a good nightclub in the city, Back Lane Bar, that we hit up when the occasion is good but I like to stay local, Hales,” Chloe explained.

“I like what I’ve seen so far,” Haley flirted, “Of the town, it seems like a good place to be. Pierce raved about this place for so long I’m not surprised he decided to move back here when the chance came up to. Do you want to get dinner too, or just drinks, Chloe?”

Chloe shook her head at the prospect of dinner, “Just drinks…I think I’m supposed to have dinner with a friend tonight, I can’t really remember what the plan was. Work was long and tiring today and I have no idea what I decided on this morning. Is just drinks, okay, Hales?”

Haley nodded, curious as to who Chloe would be having dinner with, “No problem. Are you free for dinner tomorrow night, Chloe?”

Chloe blushed at the thought that Haley was asking her out again before they had barely started this date, if it was actually indeed a date, and then tried not to think of Elly as she agreed, “Sure, that sounds nice, Hales.”

“We could go to a nice restaurant in the city, get away from the Waterhole for at least one night, Chloe,” Haley offered.

Chloe nodded, “I’d like that, Hales.”

A few minutes later the pair had ordered a drink each from Shane and were starting to delve into a conversation about how they came to be working their respective jobs, Haley’s past of growing up in a small country town before moving to the city to study at university and then moving across the country in search of better career opportunities, Chloe’s past travel adventures, her desire to come home to Australia to spend time with her brothers and her living situation with Aaron and David on Ramsey Street and how much Chloe loved living in a house that had both a pool and spa.

Chloe wasn’t prepared to reveal much of her past, returning to Australia after Mel stole all her money and abandoned her in a foreign country owing money to local businesses, Chloe’s Huntington’s diagnosis, let alone the debacle of her relationship with Mark due to sleeping with his fiancé. Though she felt bad for concealing some of her past misdeeds and misadventures she also reasoned if this was a first date then she couldn’t scare Haley off immediately and she was sure Haley had stories of her own she wasn’t sharing yet.

Chloe was surprised by how free-flowing their conversation was going with no awkward breaks what-so-ever and it became evident quickly that this was definitely a date. Elly was still on Chloe’s mind as she always was and Chloe felt bad that she was on a date with another woman. Chloe was still trying to convince herself she wasn’t making a mistake by wanting to date someone who was comfortable dating her in public. Though Chloe was still waiting for Elly come to terms with their relationship and was prepared to keep waiting for Elly she knew she couldn’t wait forever and when Elly had insisted that Chloe date other people Chloe had taken Elly at her word that it wouldn’t come between them.

As the pair found themselves ordering a third round of drinks, Chloe suddenly realized that the pair had been talking for more than an hour and she was enjoying the company of her co-worker. Haley was doing all the little things right, the ones that Chloe desperately wanted Elly to be capable of, staring deep into her eyes like they were the only two people in the bar, leaning towards Chloe when she was talking, clearly captivated and giving her complete attention, flirting obviously but not outrageously with Chloe, and didn’t hold back in regularly placing her hand on Chloe’s knee when Haley was keeping Chloe’s attention to her own stories.

After more than an hour of conversation, it was finally broken momentarily when Chloe’s phone beeped with a text message. Chloe waved it off that she didn’t need to check it but Haley insisted that she did as she knew that Chloe had some kind of dinner plans and didn’t want to keep her from them. Chloe unlocked her phone, and saw the message was from Elly.

“Hey baby, I’ve had a terrible evening, can you call me? I need to hear your voice. XOX”

Chloe hesitated for a moment before looking back up at Haley. She was completely torn in the moment to immediately call Elly and find out what had happened whilst also fighting the urge because she had spent the better part of the last two months dropping everything for Elly despite Elly continuing to hold her at a distance. Not to mention the fact that this minute Chloe was getting to know Haley.

“Looks like my dinner plans are on, I’ll have to head out in ten minutes after I’ve finished this drink," Chloe lied to Haley, reasoning that Elly could wait ten minutes and she would call her as soon as she was out of Haley’s earshot, "I’m sorry Hales, I was really enjoying myself,”

“No problems at all, I can’t keep you all to myself all night long even though I want to,” Haley flirted with Chloe and placed her hand on Chloe’s knee squeezing it to show she meant what she was saying, “Do you still want to have dinner with me tomorrow night?”

Chloe couldn’t help but smile back at her, “That’d be nice. Do you want to pick me up or decide on a restaurant and I’ll meet you there?”

“Text me your address, I’ll pick you up,” Haley offered, “Besides I wouldn’t mind checking out this pool and spa of yours, not to get in them but it’d be nice to see your place more than your front door.”

“Are you doing anything on Sunday, Hales?” Chloe asked before she could stop herself and upon Haley shaking her head, Chloe asked her, “I was planning on spending Sunday by the pool as the weather looks to be fantastic which is surprising for a Melbourne autumn and need to take advantage of it…do you want to come over to my place and hang out with me by the pool?”

"I'd like that," Haley agreed.

The pair soon found themselves back into their conversation about their past as they decided to enjoy the last few moments of their date before Chloe had to leave.

A few minutes later Elly was outside walking through the Lassiters complex headed to the Waterhole to drown her sorrows with a drink or two after a rough night before she wanted to head to Chloe's place for dinner and the evening with her girlfriend. Trying not to take it personally that Chloe hadn't called her back immediately as she had asked, Elly reasoned that Chloe hadn't seen the message.

Debating to herself over whether calling Chloe would be too much especially after the number of times Elly had tried contacting Chloe earlier that week. Finally, unable to avoid the desperate need to hear Chloe's voice even if it was only her voicemail message, Elly pulled up Chloe's number in her contacts and called the number.

Elly held her phone to her ear as she opened the door to the Waterhole.

The next minute seemed to slow down for Elly as she entered the bar and saw Chloe sitting at the bar with Haley.

Elly smiled for half a second at the sight of her girlfriend despite the fact Chloe was there with another woman.

Elly suddenly became aware of the song playing in the bar in the background and as she listened to the lyrics as the next minute passed the song resonated with Elly as it somewhat reminded her of the situation she had put Chloe in.

"Dancing with a Stranger" - Sam Smith

"I don't wanna be alone tonight

It's pretty clear that I'm not over you

I'm still thinking 'bout the things you do

So I don't want to be alone tonight, alone tonight, alone tonight"

The smile was wiped from Elly's face when she watched on as Chloe, who hadn't noticed her across the room, heard her phone ringing, picked up her phone, checked the caller ID, put the phone face down back on the bar and from what Elly could make out from lip reading, said to Haley, “I don't need to answer, it's not important, I'll call her back in a little while.”

"Can you light the fire?

I need somebody who can take control

I know exactly what I need to do

'Cause I don't wanna be alone tonight, alone tonight, alone tonight"

Elly's face fell at Chloe's action. Elly felt her hand droop back to her side, her phone no longer near her ear.

Though she wanted to leave the bar immediately Elly couldn't walk away and whilst at first it looked promising for Elly, as she watched Chloe and Haley say goodbye to one another, it only got worse when Elly had to stand there unable to do anything as Haley lent forwards and captured Chloe's lips in a deep kiss.

"Look what you made me do, I'm with somebody new

Ooh, baby, baby, I'm dancing with a stranger

Look what you made me do, I'm with somebody new

Ooh, baby, baby, I'm dancing with a stranger

Dancing with a stranger"

Elly’s mind raced with thoughts - Why can't I be brave enough to do that? I wouldn't be standing here watching my girlfriend kiss another woman. Chloe deserves someone who can do that for her. This is all my fault.

Chapter Text

Only Us

Chapter Eleven

As Chloe pulled away from her kiss with Haley, she immediately noticed her girlfriend standing at the entrance to the bar, "Elly?"

"Not quite the reaction I was hoping for," Haley joked as she then saw that Chloe was looking past her and turned around to find an attractive brunette that if she wasn't mistaken had spotted her before at Harold's cafe a few days earlier.

Chloe assumed that Elly was going to run out of the bar and Chloe was already torn wondering if she would go running off after her or leave Elly to finish her date with Haley properly before going after Elly. To Chloe's surprise, Elly walked up to the two women at the bar, greeted them and ordered herself a drink from Shane.

Elly couldn't stand the idea that she was pushing Chloe into the arms of another woman who was clearly comfortable showing her affection for the blonde but she was determined not to run away and make a fool of herself even though she wanted to know if Chloe would chase after her.

If Chloe was on a date with Haley getting to know her, then Elly thought it wouldn't hurt to find out more about her competition even if Haley didn't know about her and Chloe's relationship and try to work out exactly what it was about the other brunette that she did to be so comfortable showing her affections for Chloe in public.

"Do you mind if I join you?" Elly asked the pair, not really waiting for an answer as she sat down on the bar stool next to Haley, putting the new girl in the middle of the couple. Elly didn’t even bother introducing herself despite not officially meeting Haley until now.

"We were just about to head off, but sure, if it'll keep Chloe around, I don't mind sticking around to get to know her better," Haley offered, winking at Chloe, before scooting her chair back a few inches so she could look between the pair.

Chloe smiled back at Haley and then addressed Elly, "What are you doing here, Elly?"

Clearly realizing that Chloe thought she was interrupting her date on purpose to crash it, Elly told the pair, "Chlo, I didn't even know you were going to be here. You didn't tell me where you were having drinks this evening. I came here for a drink alone until I spotted you here. I can go sit elsewhere if you'd prefer."

"I guess I just meant you knew I was going out for drinks after work...it shouldn't be a struggle to work out I'd be here," Chloe pointed out, then not wanting to get into an argument over if Elly had come by to see her with Haley on purpose, she added more positively, "It's fine for you to join us. You don't need to move. How was your evening?"

Elly took a sip of her wine, unsure how to read Chloe if she had read her earlier text message and ignored it like she did her phone call or if she genuinely didn't know, "It was terrible."

Chloe immediately showed Elly concern for her and Elly nearly bristled that Haley gave her the same response by feeling compassion for Elly who was a perfect stranger to her. Chloe asked with concern, "I'm sorry to hear that, what happened, babe--Elly?"

Elly took another sip of wine, "This whole tutoring thing sucks. Two students cancelled on me before I even got there and I had to reschedule them for next week and the third student didn't care about the tutoring at all and only wanted to talk about the gossip of my failed marriage which has clearly made its way to the school yard. Guess that means a lot of the parents will find out how badly I messed things up with Mark and this whole tutoring idea might be down the drain before I even started."

"Mark? Is that the same Mark that is Chloe's older brother?" Haley asked, clearly trying to find a link to talk to the pair as she tried to work out what Chloe and Elly were to one another as she wasn't blind and could see there was some serious tension between them especially after her first day at Lassiters when Chloe had ignored all of Elly's attempts to contact her.

Elly nodded, "That's the one. First marriage and I screwed it up in record time."

"Do you mind if I ask what happened? You don't need to tell me if you don't want to. I'm just trying to get to know Chloe better and if that means getting to know Chloe's..." Haley trailed off feeling like 'friends' was not the word for the pair.

"It's a long story," Elly muttered.

"I'm from a country town and we drove four hours each way to go to the city shopping centre to actually be able to buy the things we needed growing up once a month, try me," Haley offered.

Elly watched as Chloe's eyes bulged gently and without Haley seeing, Chloe shook her head to Elly making it clear that she was not ready for Haley to know she had cheated with her brother's fiancé.

Elly took a few seconds to consider blowing up Chloe's chances with Haley, thinking that Haley may not want to be involved with a woman who had slept with her brother's fiancé despite Elly knowing that Mark's disappearing act to Silverton was also a catalyst in the matter let alone Elly's second one night stand, getting pregnant to another man and then lying to Mark that the baby was his.

Resolving to be the bigger person and not put Chloe on the spot to have to explain her actions to her prospective new girlfriend, Elly answered, "I wasn't ready for marriage but I was so determined to start that perfect ideal life I had in my head, great career, great husband, wanting to have three kids and juggle my perfect life that I went ahead with the ceremony knowing my heart was torn."

Haley nodded sympathetically, "Ah yes that perfect life we all grow up wanting. We've all been there...except I had a wife where you had a husband...but then life throws some curve balls at you and what that perfect life looks like can change."

Elly watched as Haley placed her hand on Chloe's knee as the mention of the word 'wife,' clearly indicating she was comfortable with her sexuality and talking about it to a near perfect stranger and wondered if she would ever feel confident to sit with Chloe like that in public. As she looked at Chloe it was painfully obvious Chloe was wondering the exact same thing.

"Life threw some curve balls at me and I dealt with them by cheating on Mark. There's a lot more to it but at the end of the day I made some bad choices and Mark had every right to annul the marriage. That is the short version to a very long story," Elly confessed, "Sorry, I didn't mean to make your evening all about me, let's talk about something else."

"Don't be sorry at all, I pushed you to tell me what had happened," Haley insisted, "I just guess I really want to know more about Chloe and her...friends. So I guess it makes sense that you and Chloe are so close considering the pair of you are--"

"Friends!" Chloe interrupted at the exact moment that Elly jumped in and inexplicably announced, "Housemates!"

"I was going to say ex-sisters-in-law," Haley muttered as she stared between the pair and noticed that Chloe looked stunned and she wondered how Chloe didn't know they were housemates.

"Housemates?" Chloe questioned.

"You two live together too?" Haley asked then realized that Chloe and Elly were about to have a conversation that didn't include her.

Elly was shocked by her answer, unable to explain to herself let alone to Chloe why 'housemates' was the second thing that came to her mind after the truth 'girlfriend,' and she had blurted it out but realizing she needed to come up with an explanation for her unexpected answer to Chloe, "Duh...yeah...housemates...um...as of...ah...Sunday anyway."

Chloe stared at Elly in confusion.

Fumbling for a minute, Elly finally stated, "I spoke to Aaron this morning about it. You have that spare room at yours and I can't keep living at home with Finn been there. I know we joked about me living on your couch permanently but it just made sense to me that I move in with you...and Aaron and David...into that spare room. So, I asked Aaron earlier today and he said the room is mine. I might not be able to let go of that whole tutoring gig so I can afford to pay rent. I still currently have some sessions booked for tomorrow and Aaron agreed I can move in with you on Sunday so I can live with you."

Chloe's eyes widened wondering how she was supposed to react to the news that her girlfriend who didn't want their relationship to be known was moving into the spare room in her house and telling her whilst she was on a date with another woman whom Elly had insisted that she go on as Haley was someone who did want a relationship to be public.

All Chloe could respond with was, "O...kay..."

Elly took another sip of her wine, staring deep into Chloe's eyes the way that she had noticed Haley doing since she'd been sitting with the pair, "I mean I should've asked you about it...you want to live with me, right Chloe?"

Chloe tilted her head to the side, "Yes...I want to live with you...I'm just...surprised is all."

"I know this whole thing with Finn and me refusing to live in the same house as him may have forced my hand sooner than I would've liked but...I really want to live with you, Chloe," Elly told her girlfriend, unsure if she was been subtle or if Haley was picking up on it.

Bouncing between staring at both of the women next to her, still trying to work out what their deal was, Haley asked, "So is Finn your ex, Elly? Or another long story?"

"Technically my ex but I didn't realize he was a psychopath at the time," Elly admitted, "Finn is a bad guy and I want to keep him as far away as possible from Chloe...although with me moving into Chloe's we'd be living together across the street from him...that doesn't really help us...maybe we should move out and get a place of our own much further away from Finn and make sure he can't track us down."

"Are you asking me to move out and get a place with you?" Chloe asked Elly in complete surprise, unable to work out what Elly was doing crashing her date and now suggesting that she move in with her in front of Haley when she won't even act like a couple at Aaron and David's place.

Chloe suddenly couldn't help but wonder if she was to move in with Elly to a new place on their own, would this just be another way for Elly to hide their relationship away from everyone because then they wouldn't be sneaking around their neighbours or arise suspicions as to why they spent so much time together.

Unless it was a 1 bedroom apartment where it would be pretty obvious to their friends and family that they were sharing a bed together, was Elly so concerned with people finding out about them that hiding away in their own little place could possibly make their relationship work long term without them ever coming out as a couple?

"Yes...well I guess that would be too quick, I just want to keep you safe from Finn," Elly said protectively.

"I've been living across the road from him for a few weeks now, Elly, and he knows we hang out as friends," Chloe pointed out.

Elly reasoned Chloe was right then realizing this wasn't a conversation to be having in front of Haley, "You're right, never mind. We can talk about it later at home. Do you want to help me move in to the Brenarka household on Sunday? Hey, does this mean we need to rename it to add in my name? Brenarkaway? Conbrenarka? Maybe we’ll get Aaron or David to choose."

Chloe continued staring at Elly, completely flummoxed by her girlfriend since Elly had spotted her kissing Haley, "I will...would love to help you...but I kinda made plans for Sunday."

"What are you doing Sunday?" Elly asked immediately, "I can try and move in Saturday night after the tutoring if that's better for you."

Chloe tilted her head once more this time tilting it towards Haley hoping Elly would get the hint, "Again...I have...plans tomorrow night...do you need my help to move in or...?"

Elly was surprised at the knowledge that Chloe had clearly made plans to see Haley twice over the weekend, already lining up dates two and three before date one had ended. Realizing that she had a lot of work to do if she was ever to win her girlfriend back, Elly backed off rather than act jealous in front of Chloe’s date even though she was desperate to be strong enough to fight for her girlfriend, “All good, I don’t have too much stuff to move. You do your thing, Chlo. I’ll be right.”

The three women sat at the bar awkwardly for a moment, before Elly decided she should back off and leave Chloe to finish her date properly, “I should leave you two to your date. Chlo, do you still want to have dinner back at yours? I can get some food here and meet you back there later?”

Haley nodded suddenly realizing, “Oh so it was Elly you were leaving to have dinner with before? Ok that makes sense…wait before when you said you got a text that your dinner was still on, Chloe, you needed to leave and we said goodbye…were you planning on having dinner with Elly here after drinks with me…? I mean that’s…cool or whatever. I don’t see why you couldn’t have told me that.”

Chloe squirmed in her seat realizing she’d been caught out in a lie to her date about her evening plans with Elly.

Elly also realized quickly that Chloe had tried to hide their dinner plans from Haley but was also stung by the knowledge that if Chloe had told Haley she got a text about leaving for dinner right before she got there then it was likely that Chloe had seen her message earlier, ignored it and pretended it was an entirely different message.

Taking the moment for what it was, Elly came to Chloe’s rescue, “Oh that was my fault entirely!”

“Okay,” Haley said confused how it could be Elly’s fault.

Elly stumbled for a moment before settling on, “See I’d texted Chlo to check if we were still on for dinner at hers after your date…we weren’t planning on having dinner here straight after your date…I mean…that would be…weird.”

“So Chloe said that she had to head home in ten minutes to meet you for dinner, Elly, but you came here to the bar…?” Haley found the flaw in Elly’s claim.

“Yeah ‘cause I’m a total ditz,” Elly continued, “I forgot it was my turn to get dinner so I rushed over here to get it and I was just calling Chlo as I got here to let her know what a ditz I was and that I would be quite a bit longer than I expected before I got to hers…and that call Chloe got just as I got here that she didn’t answer and if I was lip-reading correctly said to you wasn’t important…and then I was here and so were you two so I guess I forgot all about our dinner plans until just before.”

Haley nodded, still deeply trying to understand the relationship between the two women, “Okay then that’s cool…”

Chloe was hurting for Elly when she realized that Elly had seen her dismiss the phone call without much regard and getting Elly’s attention mouthed silently to her, ‘I’m sorry, thank you.’

Elly forgave Chloe immediately as she understood why Chloe would lie about her text and call to her date. Elly mouthed back to her, ‘I love you.’

A few seconds later Elly stood up from the bar, “I’m sorry I shouldn’t have interrupted your date, I’ll head back to yours Chlo and pick up dinner elsewhere if you still want to hang out tonight, you two stay here and finish your date properly like you should’ve before I turned up.”

Chloe smiled at Elly, “Dinner at mine sounds nice as long as I get to pick the movie we watch tonight.”

“You can pick anything you want,” Elly grinned back, “Hales, it was nice to meet you.”

“You too,” Haley offered, wondering if one day soon Chloe would be inviting her over to their place to hang out and watch movies then remembered that the pair would be having dinner the next night and hanging out by the pool at Chloe’s on Sunday, “Enjoy the rest of your evening.”

Elly waved the pair goodbye, stung by the feelings of jealously that Chloe had met this woman and she could seemingly give Chloe something Elly wasn’t ready for as she wondered what it would take for her to be ready to allow her relationship with Chloe to be out in the open.

As Elly walked out of the Waterhole and through the Lassiters complex, she pulled her phone out and dialled Aaron’s number.

“Hey, Elly,” Aaron greeted politely.

“Hey, Aaron,” Elly greeted before telling him, “I need a huge favour.”

“Sure, what’s up?” Aaron asked.

Elly took a deep breath, “I was really hoping that I could move into your place into the spare room if that’s okay.”

“Sure, if you want to move in that’d be fine,” Aaron agreed, hoping that maybe Elly was beginning to cement her feelings for his sister and if she was living in the same house with Chloe then maybe it would help their relationship along.

“Great,” Elly replied then nervously asked, “The huge favour I need…if Chloe asks…you and I had this conversation this morning…because I kinda had this total moment of panic when I bumped into Chloe on a date with her colleague and I told Chloe already that I was moving in on Sunday and that I’d spoken to you about it this morning…can you cover for me if she asks?”

“Okay, no problems,” Aaron decided, silently intrigued that Elly had panicked at seeing Chloe on a date and Elly's reaction to it had been to tell Chloe she was moving into the house with her. Aaron wondered if that would help Elly finally come to terms with her feelings for Chloe.

“Thank you, Aaron,” Elly exclaimed, hoping she was finally getting through to Aaron how much Chloe meant to her, “I’m on my way to your place to meet Chloe for dinner when she finishes her date, can we talk how much rent you’ll need when I get there?”

“Sure thing, see you soon,” Aaron replied.

Chapter Text

Only Us

Chapter Twelve

Elly knocked on Chloe’s front door. It was Saturday night and though she knew Chloe was going out to dinner with Haley, Elly was hoping to catch her girlfriend before she left to remind her she was still the one Chloe was coming home to after her date.

As Chloe opened the front door, Elly’s mouth dropped, “Damn! Chloe you look…stunning! Wow!”

Chloe blushed at the look Elly gave her, “Elly! I wasn’t expecting you…um…sorry I thought you were…”

Elly couldn’t take her eyes off Chloe’s dress and the way it fit her as she exclaimed, “Wow! I can’t wait to take that dress off you tonight…wow! You look so beautiful!”

Chloe blushed even deeper as her mind ventured to images of Elly removing her dress from her body and wishing that the only person in the world she was wearing this dress for was Elly, before she awkwardly stood aside and let Elly into her living room, “I…um…me too babe.”

As Chloe closed the door behind her, Elly wrapped her arms around Chloe and bought her into a gentle kiss, “God! You’re so beautiful! How did I get so lucky?”

Chloe pulled back from the kiss, taking Elly’s hand and leading her to the couch where they both sat down, “Okay you do know that I got dressed up to go to dinner with Hales…right?”

Elly nodded confidently, “Yep, don’t worry I’m not here to crash your date. I want you to have an amazing time with a woman who wants to give you what you need and I also want to be here when you get back so I can be the one who takes that stunning dress off your body and takes you to bed tonight.”

Chloe bought her hand to the bridge of her nose, not able to really believe how she had managed to get herself into this situation and wondered if maybe she should have just continued been patient with Elly before accepting that Elly had made no real progress to opening up about their relationship with anyone in her life and Chloe couldn’t wait around forever.

“Are you sure that you’re comfortable with me going on another date with Hales? That you’re not at all jealous about this?” Chloe asked her girlfriend, thinking just how much a part of her wanted Elly to fight for her and ask her not to go on this date.

"I've told you that I still need time to come to terms with our relationship and if you need to date someone else who isn't afraid to show her affections for you in public then I am A-ok with that. I know at the end of the day we'll be together and I have full confidence that nothing will ever come between our relationship," Elly declared, though deep down it was killing her to think that if only she could accept her relationship with Chloe her girlfriend wouldn't need to seek affection elsewhere.

Before Chloe could try once more to get Elly to see that all she wanted was Elly to fight for her, Chloe went to answer the door when she heard a knock. Elly lent forwards on the couch, grabbed the TV remote and switched the TV on as she overheard the conversation between Chloe and Haley.

"Damn! Wow! Chloe you look incredible!" Haley announced, echoing Elly's words.

Chloe blushed once more, "Thanks, you look great too."

Haley lent forwards, pressing her lips against Chloe's cheek, "You ready to go to dinner?" and then noticing Elly sitting on the couch, "Elly...you're here at Chloe's...hi...have you moved in yet?"

Elly stretched her neck to look at Haley, "No, had some tutoring sessions today so the plan is still to move in tomorrow. Oh, I'm just here to watch some TV and crash out on Chloe's couch for the evening before I head home."

"Avoiding that guy you mentioned last night...Finn...was it?" Haley asked politely, still trying to shake the feeling that Elly had quite the dependence on Chloe.

"Ah...yeah...that's the reason I'm here," Elly lied as she thought to herself that she really just wanted to tell Chloe how jealous she was and that she was there to wait for the end of Chloe's date so she could end up in bed with her girlfriend, "Don't mind me. Go and enjoy your date. You two deserve to have a nice evening."

"Right...ah...thanks Elly, we should go Hales," Chloe awkwardly led Haley out of her house, trying to fight how affected Elly made her by turning up right before her date and still couldn't show any kind of jealousy that she was dating someone else.

Several hours later, Chloe returned home as Haley dropped her off at her house. Haley had been the perfect date and had walked her to the front door before the pair spent several minutes kissing goodbye on the porch. Chloe's mind was spinning in circles. The only thing Chloe wanted in the world was for it to be Elly that had taken her to a romantic restaurant for dinner, shower her in affection all night long, not be ashamed to show that affection in a room full of people and then make out with her out the front of her house.

Kissing Haley goodbye for several minutes didn't feel wrong to Chloe but it also didn't feel right. She knew it, she was certain Haley knew it too. She had again reiterated to Haley that she wasn't looking for a serious relationship and Haley had surprisingly acknowledged she too was in the same head space having ended her own relationship recently. It was never going to be a serious relationship between either of them and Chloe was glad they were both on the same page.

Chloe just wished that she could get Elly to be on the same page as her as to the relationship she wanted with her girlfriend instead of dating someone else casually hoping it would be a catalyst for Elly to fight for her.

Chloe slipped inside the dark house, realizing quickly that Elly wasn't waiting for her on the couch and Aaron and David had already gone to bed, she wondered if her date had gone on longer than it had felt. Kicking off her heels, Chloe held them in her hands as she quietly made her way to her bedroom and entered her room.

Elly was lying on her side of the bed, with her hands behind her head staring up at the ceiling. Chloe breathed deeply at the sight of her. Chloe smiled at the recognition that she had thought that Elly already had a specific side of her bed despite them not formally dating or anyone not living at the house knew they were sleeping together.

Elly glanced over at Chloe, hoping to see a look of disappointment on her face that would tell Elly her date wasn't great but Chloe looked calm and happy.

Without a single word that needed to be spoken between them for now deciding to wait until later that evening to discuss what was on both their minds, Elly slipped off the bed, walked over to Chloe, kissing her softly as they gripped their hands around each other’s' bodies. Elly relished the feeling of removing Chloe's dress from her body as Chloe also disrobed Elly from her clothes.

Within minutes the couple fell into bed with one another.

Hours later, Elly and Chloe were curled up together in the bed, with Elly spooning Chloe gently.

Pressing her lips against Chloe's shoulder, Elly finally spoke up, asking the question that had been on her mind all evening, "How was your date?"

Chloe entangled her hand with Elly's, "It was good, great actually. I just wish it was you there with me instead."

"I know," Elly whispered.

"Are you ever going to get to that stage that we can go out to a romantic restaurant for dinner together and be a couple?" Chloe asked, trying to mask the sadness in her voice.

"I don't know," Elly admitted, "I know that I do wish it had been me on the date with you tonight."

"Elly, are you jealous that I'm dating another woman?" Chloe asked softly.

"A little bit, yes," Elly confessed.

Chloe felt relieved before telling Elly, "Elly, I love you. I want to be with someone who is not ashamed to be dating me and wants to have everything with me. I don't want to hide away anymore. I want more than that and I want it with you. I can’t help that I feel so strongly about this now. When you are ready for that then please just tell me that you're 'all in' and I will end things with Hales and I will be all yours. Completely, not just like we are now, spending our nights together, I want to share everything with you."

Elly nodded, kissing Chloe's shoulder once more, "I want to...I really want to. I'm still scared."

Chloe held back tears threatening to well up in her eyes, "I can't wait forever, Elly. I don't know how much longer I can wait to be honest."

"I know," Elly whispered, "Will you keep dating Hales until I'm ready to tell you I'm 'all in'?"

"For now, yes, but it will never be a long-term thing between Hales and I, she knows that too and isn't looking for anything long-term from me either," Chloe replied, "But just because Hales and I dating is not a long-term thing it doesn't mean we can keep doing this forever. I want to be with you and not have to hide it from anyone. I can't help how I feel."

"I know," Elly replied once more, "I know I sound like a broken record but I do want this as much as you do. Maybe me moving in to the spare room will help me with my confidence. I don't want to lose you."

"If you keep holding me at a distance you're going to lose me," Chloe whispered sadly, "I know you're scared and think you don't deserve happiness after everything that went down with Mark but you do Elly...you deserve so much happiness...and so do I...what we have now is amazing...but it's not the happiness we deserve. We deserve so much more happiness that we could give each other in a fully committed relationship."

"You do deserve happiness," Elly confirmed, "I'm trying to get past my fears for you."

"You've been saying that for weeks, more than a month, Elly, and I am not trying to hurt you but you haven’t made any real progress in coming out about this relationship," Chloe reminded her gently, "What is it going to take for you to be 'all in' with me?"

Elly closed her eyes, unable to answer Chloe's question.

Leaving the question hanging in the air, the couple eventually fell asleep in one another's arms.

The following morning Elly kissed Chloe goodbye as she headed back to her place to start packing her things to move into the spare room at the Brenarka's household.

Elly had been in her room clearing out and packing her possessions most of the morning when her sister Bea knocked on the door, "You're really leaving this place?"

Elly nodded, "I cannot wait to get out of here...no offence to you, Susan or Karl but..."

"Yeah, I know...I've considered moving in with Ned myself to avoid living with Finn but I thought it was still too early to live with Ned even though I guess technically I spend nearly every day of the week at his place," Bea admitted, "It's a pity I didn't even think of the spare room at the Brenarka's."

"If you're desperate to move away from Finn but don't want to live with Ned, I'm sure you could join me," Elly offered, "All those guys would love having you around."

Bea sat on Elly's bed, "And where exactly would I sleep in that house...the couch, Elly?"

"You could take the spare room as I would be with--" Elly stopped herself then tried to recover, "I would be with you, ah, bunking in with you in the spare room...sisters hanging out together to avoid Finn."

Bea eyed her sister suspiciously, "Yeah I'm not sharing a room with you...as much I hate Finn. I love you, sis, but not that much. I love my independence more than that."

Secretly thrilled that Bea had knocked her back suddenly realizing she wouldn't be able to sneak into Chloe's bedroom if she was staying in the same room with Bea, Elly then took a chance to gauge Bea's response, and hesitantly made the suggestion, "If you hate Finn that much...I could stay with Chloe in her room...for a few days..."

Bea was surprised, "I know you hang out with Chloe all the time but what if she still has feelings for you? Plus Chloe looks to finally be moving on from you, she has some serious chemistry going on with her new co-worker. Ned has been talking about it all week; it's the hotel gossip that has been going around the complex. Hales has been there for less than a week and she and Chloe are totally into each other. I'm sure Chloe doesn't want the pair of us bunking in her house let alone her room to kill the mood of her getting her grove on with Hales. I was just out the front of the house and Hales showed up to Chloe's in a towel and bikini top and even my reaction was 'damn!' It would take a lot of strength for Chloe to turn her down. I see what Ned was talking about."

Elly immediately turned away, folding some of her clothes away from Bea's prying eyes as she wanted to scream at the knowledge that people working with Chloe could see the chemistry between her and Haley and wanted them to hook up. Having her own sister telling her this was starting to make Elly see just how much she was about to lose if she didn’t make some changes to progress her relationship with Chloe.

"It's good that Chloe is moving on from whatever she felt for you, right?" Bea asked innocently.

"Mmm hmm," Elly mumbled.

“Is everything okay, Elly? You seem…I don’t know…not yourself,” Bea commented.

“I’m fine,” Elly lied, as she continued wondering what she could do to find a way to show Chloe she was committed to their relationship in a way she hadn’t before.

“Do you want any help moving?” Bea offered.

“Don’t worry, I’ve got this, I can do this move on my own, you go hang out with Ned for the afternoon, Bea,” Elly decided as she had a thought about what she could do to prove herself to Chloe.

Chapter Text

Only Us

Chapter Thirteen

Elly knocked on the front door of the Brenarka household whilst holding a small box of some of her belongings. Chloe answered the door in her bikini.

"Damn! Chlo you look fierce--" Elly started before realizing Haley had joined Chloe from the kitchen, putting her head down she finished, "Fiercely like you’re going to get sun burnt outside today. You covered in sun screen?"

Haley nodded at Elly, still trying to work out what was going on between the pair as she flirted with Chloe, "Yep, we already got that covered and lathered each other up in sunscreen. We just had some lunch and there are leftovers if you wanted any. Are you going to join us out by the pool once you've moved in, Elly?"

Elly shook her head, "No, on both fronts. I'm all good. Don't mind me at all; I'm just going to be in and out of here most of the day moving my stuff. You two just go and enjoy each other’s company out by the pool for the afternoon. When I'm all moved in, maybe I can order us some pizza for dinner and we can all hang out then."

"Okay," Chloe agreed, "Are you sure you don't need any help?"

Elly couldn't help staring into Chloe's eyes, "It's all good, Chlo. Just go and enjoy the day out in the sun with Hales. Don't even worry about me. I'll be in and out of here you won't even notice me."

"You know where the spare room is?" Chloe asked quietly.

Elly nodded, "I know this place well enough by now, seriously go and enjoy your day."

Chloe reached for an item on the entryway table, handing it to Elly, "Ah here's your key for the house, Aaron organised it for you. David's at work today and Aaron is spending some time catching up with Mark by the way. If you have anything heavy we might have to wait until they get back this evening."

"Great, thanks, I don't have anything heavy since the room already has a bed in it, mostly just clothes, shoes, trinkets and some work things," Elly thanked her girlfriend, then nodding politely to Haley, "Enjoy your day in the pool, I'll catch up with you two over pizza tonight when I'm settled in."

Chloe nodded then led Haley outside by the pool, leaving Elly to begin moving into the household.

Ten minutes later Chloe was lying outside on one of the sun beds next to the pool with Haley lying on the one next to her.

Curiosity finally getting to her, Haley asked Chloe, "What's your deal with this Elly chick?"

"What do you mean?" Chloe asked innocently.

Haley looked over at the woman she was casually dating before closing her eyes again and enjoying the sunshine on her face, "You two just seem...I can't put my finger on it and I know I've only seen you two together a couple times but...you seem like you're a little co-dependent on each other--or well Elly really seems to have a dependence on you. Doesn't seem to have a lot of self-reliance...it's not a bad thing. I'm just curious."

Chloe swallowed hard at the thought that it was becoming obvious to Haley already that there was more to her friendship with Elly, "Elly's just been through quite a lot in the last few months and she's probably turned to me a few times but she's my best friend and I'm here to support her however she wants."

"Right that whole marriage debacle with your brother couldn't have been easy," Haley realized, "How's your brother Mark coping with it all?"

Chloe kept her eyes closed as she squirmed in the sun bed, "Ahhh...I'm not sure...exactly...Mark and I don't really hang out or talk...or have any interaction with each other at the moment."

"You don't talk to your brother? I thought he was the one who lived across the street from here...or is Mark the brother who moved back to Adelaide? Is that why he moved, his marriage to Elly ending?" Haley questioned in surprise.

Chloe shook her head, wondering how she was meant to re-direct this conversation away from its inevitable conclusion of Haley finding out Chloe was one of the major reasons her brother's marriage ended. Chloe was unsure how Haley could react to the knowledge that she and Elly did have a liaison which has now spiraled into a complicated and secretive relationship, "No, Mark's the one who lives across the street...Tyler, my youngest brother moved back to Adelaide."

"Is there a reason you and Mark don't talk to each other?" Haley questioned, "Sorry if I'm banging on about this, I just want to get to know you better and I grew up without siblings so the idea of not talking to a brother who lives across the road from me is a bit foreign."

Chloe paused for a moment trying to work out the best way to not go into any detail about her family’s turmoil, "Mark and I just didn't see eye to eye on a few things and he kicked me out of his house a few months back. It's not his fault, I was a pretty shit sister to him. Aaron bought this place with his husband David and allowed me to move in with them. Mark keeps to himself and has dug himself back into his career but Aaron sees him quite a bit. My issues with Mark might blow over one day but for now I just stay out of his way."

"Okay," Haley nodded getting the strong hint that Chloe didn't want to talk about it, changing the subject slightly, "Do you think Elly moving in with you is the best way to address her self-reliance on you?"

Chloe shrugged, "It's Elly's life, Aaron's the one that agreed to let her move in to the spare room. I mean if you and I are going to keep seeing each other casually then yes you probably need to expect Elly and I hanging out most nights on the couch watching TV or movies and having dinner together but that doesn't mean I can't make room for both of you in my life. I do need to give Elly some of my time but I don't have to spend every night hanging out with Elly."

"I'm glad to hear that. I don't want to take Elly's place and I get you two are close so I have no issues with you spending time with her," Haley whispered, "I like dating you casually and knowing this won't be a forever kind of deal. I don't need the pressure of a serious relationship. I think this is exactly what we both need."

"Good, I'm glad we're on the same page," Chloe agreed, still feeling bad that she was lying about her relationship with Elly, "And if either of us do meet our 'forever kind of deal' person whilst we're casually together will there be any hard feelings if we were to end things--"

"Not at all," Haley clarified breaking in immediately, "I can easily go back to working with you just as friends."

Chloe breathed deeply before approaching Haley gently, "I'm not looking for a friends-with-benefits-thing either...I kinda want to take this casual dating thing slow...if that's okay...the last person I slept with...emotionally hurt me...and I'm not yet in the place to go there with anyone else. Is that a problem for you? I'm not your girl if all you’re looking for is--"

Haley calmed Chloe by placing her hand on Chloe's, "I'm not looking for that. I mean I can't say I haven't imagined it...you're beautiful and I'm only human. Thanks for been honest with me about this. We can take things slow; I'm perfectly fine with that. You just tell me when you are ready."

"Thanks," Chloe whispered, holding Haley's hand.

Haley squeezed Chloe's hand, "Okay I just have one question and this may be intrusive but I wouldn't be me if I didn't just ask it to get it off my chest and then we can never speak of it again."

Feeling the shift in seriousness in Haley's tone, Chloe opened her eyes, lifted her sunglasses up and looked over at Haley, "What's your question?"

Haley also removed her sunglasses, "Did you and Elly ever...you know have a thing?"

Chloe's eyes bulged for a moment before she lied, "What? Elly and I? No way! No, no, no. Elly is not our way inclined, straight as anything that one. No, no, no, no, no... no."

"Wow 9 'no's,' got that message loud and clear," Haley decided, "Sorry if I was way off base, I was just thinking Elly said she cheated on your brother and you said you don't see eye to eye with Mark and he kicked you out. Plus, when we first got to know each other you said there was someone you were interested in but they weren't ready for a relationship. I'm sorry I shouldn't have even thought that could've happened."

Chloe shrugged, "No hard feelings...I can see what it would look like. Elly's issues with Mark were a lot deeper than that. I won't get into them as that is hers to share but Elly would be the first one to tell you that she is not in a relationship with me."

"Great, glad we got a few things off our chests and we are on the same page," Haley smiled.

"Same," Chloe said quietly, wondering why she had flat-out lied to Haley about her initial liaison with Elly considering the entire town knew about it, then wanting to forget all about how it would look if Haley did find out, she offered, "I don't know about you but I'm going into the water for a swim now. You want to join me?"

Haley lent over, kissing Chloe gently, "Try and stop me."

Elly stood in the kitchen, she'd found herself caught up for the past couple minutes, watching Chloe and Haley's interactions, wishing she knew what they were talking about. Elly grimaced as she watched the pair get off of the sun beds and the way Haley immediately wrapped her arms around Chloe's hips and the blonde didn't seem put off by the embrace as they both jumped into the pool. Seeing the women embracing as they stood in the water, kissing one another gently was enough to make Elly turn away and head back to her place for another box.

Elly couldn't be annoyed at her girlfriend for flaunting her new squeeze since Chloe didn't even know Elly was watching them and Elly was the one who had pushed Chloe into the arms of another woman who had zero issues embracing a relationship with Chloe. But seeing Chloe holding onto Haley and kissing her softly, Elly didn't know how much more of this she could take before the walls surrounding her fears finally broke down.

Until they did, Elly resolved to not let Chloe know how much it affected her, as she continued moving her belongings out of Susan and Karl's.

Hours later, Chloe and Haley were hanging out on the couch lounging out on either side of the couch eating the pizza that Elly had ordered half an hour ago. They had spent the afternoon embracing one another in the pool, kissing each other softly and then later on lying on one of the sun beds together to dry off, and were actually enjoying not been as close as they lounged on the couch.

As Chloe took another bite from her slice of pizza, she finally yelled out to her girlfriend, "Elly, the pizza is getting cold, have you not moved all your stuff in yet? How much did you have to set up?"

Elly walked back down the hallway, "All done, Chlo."

"Well come and join us for pizza," Haley offered, "We're hanging out with you for dinner. For a little bit anyway, I should head home after this next slice."

Elly picked up a slice of pizza, didn't hesitate as she immediately sat herself on the couch in between the two women, ignoring the free single sofa chair and placed her arm around the back of the couch on Chloe's side. Elly willed Chloe to lean into the embrace and let her put her arm around her but realizing how that would look, Elly left her arm on the back of the couch as she bit into the pizza, "Good pizza."

Chloe bit her lip at how close Elly was to having her arm around her shoulders, "How does the room look? Comfy enough for you?"

"It's perfect for me, exactly where I want to live," Elly announced, "How about you? Get enough sun out there? You two enjoy getting to know one another more?"

"We did," Haley answered for the both of them, "We had a good chat and we're on the same page. This isn't a serious relationship for either of us, it's just casual dating and if 'the one' for either of us turns up around the corner, no hard feelings to end it quickly and go back to working together. We'll just take things slow, no need to rush any hooking up."

Elly nearly rolled her eyes – ‘turns up around the corner’…I’m already here!

Instead Elly nodded, and then tried to hide the thrill she felt that Chloe wasn't rushing into a serious relationship that would end up hurting them all, then facing Chloe without Haley been able to see, Elly mouthed the word, 'Slow?' to her girlfriend.

Chloe raised her eyebrow in confirmation that yes, she was taking things ‘slow’ with Haley as Elly was obviously asking if her relationship with Haley was sexual yet or would be soon.

"Great!" Elly exclaimed, not able to hide the feelings rushing through her that Chloe wasn't planning on sleeping with Haley yet, then realizing she'd yelled it out loud instead of saying it in her head, Elly turned back to Haley forcing a bit of enthusiasm, "That's so great that you two know exactly what this relationship is. Don't you just hate jumping in with both feet thinking you’re head over heels in love and the other person couldn't care less? Duh…not that either of you couldn’t care less…"

"Yeah, been there, done that, it's not fun," Haley admitted, as she finished eating her slice of pizza, "Anyway, I've been here most of the day and I should get home. Big day at work tomorrow, and Elly I'm sure Chloe can't wait to see your new room."

"I'll walk you out," Chloe decided, not feeling the need to try and keep Haley there, as much as she liked her, this was a stop-gap relationship until Elly was ready to be 'all in' in a relationship with her.

Elly rolled her eyes and ate another slice of pizza as she sat there trying to avoid the sounds of Haley kissing Chloe goodbye for several minutes.

Elly finally looked up when Chloe closed the front door, “Hales sure likes making out with you.”

Chloe rolled her eyes and teased, “Jealous?”

Elly stood up and walked over to her girlfriend, kissing her gently before admitting, “Very.”

Chloe held Elly softly, “All you have to do is say the words Elly and I’m yours.”

“Let’s take this to my room,” Elly whispered as she then surprised Chloe by moving behind the blonde and placing her hand over Chloe’s eyes so she couldn’t see. As she pressed her body against Chloe’s back, Elly gently led Chloe down the hallway with Chloe in front of her. Elly distracted Chloe by trailing kisses up and down Chloe’s shoulder and neck with Chloe moaning at the contact.

As they entered the room, Elly wrapped her arm around Chloe’s waist tighter, “Open your eyes, baby.”

Chloe opened her eyes and looked around, “I don’t get it.”

Elly pressed her lips against Chloe’s shoulder once more.

Chloe continued scanning the room, “This is my bedroom, I thought you were taking me to yours…”

“I did…I told you…I moved into where I want to live,” Elly whispered, “I want to live here with you.”

Chloe’s eyes widened as she suddenly started recognizing all the different things in her room that Elly had added to it. Trinkets and knick knacks on the bedside tables and dresser. Chloe's wardrobe door was open and there was decidedly a lot more clothes in it that belonged to Elly. A basket of Elly's shoes in the corner next to Chloe's pile of shoes. Elly's laptop and work stuff on the bedside table of Elly's side of the bed. A photo frame on the dresser that had a photo of Elly curling into Chloe's arms looking at her lovingly. Chloe remembered Elly taking the photo of them a few weeks ago but had no idea Elly had gotten it printed and then framed.

“I’m ‘all in’,” Elly announced softly.

Chloe couldn’t stop the smile crossing her lips, “You’re ‘all in’? Really?”

Elly squeezed Chloe’s hips, “Yes, I want this with you. I want to share this room with you and I want to be as lovey-dovey-couplely with you in this house as I can possibly be. I don’t want to hide this from Aaron and David anymore. I want to shower you with affection every moment we spend here. I’m ‘all in.’”

Chloe hesitated for a moment before clarifying, “’All in’ when we’re here in this house…or ‘all in-all in’ you’ll tell your family about us and we can be in a real relationship that isn’t hidden from the people outside these walls?”

Elly swallowed hard, feeling like she had made a wrong move, “Just here in the house…and in a little while we can-”

Chloe groaned in frustration, “That’s not ‘all in,’ Elly. Progress, yes, but I thought I made things clear to you last night when I explained that I want more from you and this…you moving into my room and been a couple with me in this house…that’s great but I cannot stop how I feel about this…I want more. I don’t want to hide you or how I feel about you anymore. I’m so tired of not been able to share our relationship with our friends. I want everything with you and I need you to be ‘all in-all in’ with me to do that.”

Elly loosened her grip on Chloe’s hip, “If you just give me a few days…”

Chloe finally turned around to face Elly, slipping her hands very loosely on Elly’s hips, “Please stop making that excuse with me…it’s been six weeks now, Elly, I can’t keep hiding how much I love you. I need you to come to terms with your feelings for me. Unless you can tell me that you really truly are 100% ‘all in-all in’ with me…our relationship isn’t going to work.”

Elly glanced away from Chloe’s eyes, unable to give Chloe the answer she wanted.

“Right, okay,” Chloe whispered, then bravely, “It’s my fault; I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up that you’ll ever be ready to be with me. I need some time to deal with this. I think you should stay in the spare room, tonight, to give me some space to work through whether or not I can keep doing this secretive “only us” relationship.”

Elly pressed her lips against Chloe’s forehead, “Don’t say that, Chlo. I can get there for you…I can…I just still need time to…you can’t end this…I love you…please don’t turn away from me tonight…we haven’t spent a single night apart since we got together…I can’t imagine falling asleep without you in my arms.”

“Elly, please,” Chloe pleaded, “I’m not saying that I am ending this but I need a moment to think about everything and how much longer I can keep doing this for. I need you to spend the night in the spare room tonight and let me figure this out on my own.”

Elly felt tears sliding down her cheeks but she couldn’t find a way to give her girlfriend the relationship she needed.

Chloe kissed Elly’s cheek, “Goodnight, Elly.”

Chloe shifted from Elly’s embrace, and then sadly closed the bedroom door in front of Elly before rushing over to her bed, slipping under the covers of her bed and collapsing in a pile of tears.

Elly stood at the bedroom door, crying that she had once more messed up a chance of true happiness before she wandered sadly towards the spare room, praying that Chloe could give her another chance until she could be ‘all in- all in.’

Chapter Text

Only Us

Chapter Fourteen

An hour later after Chloe had turned Elly away for the evening; Chloe was still curled up alone in her bed. Tears were splotched against her cheeks but were no longer trickling down them. Chloe had heard Aaron and David arrive back home half an hour ago. Aaron had knocked on her door but she had ignored him, she then overheard him knocking on the door of the spare room where Elly was and he had promptly been ignored by her too. Aaron and David soon went to bed themselves.

Chloe wished she could be stronger, that without any doubt she could make the decision immediately to continue hiding her relationship with Elly until the older girl was ready to tell their friends and family about them but she was so in love with Elly and wanted to share that with the world. Chloe reasoned if Elly wasn’t so completely terrified at the prospect of their relationship been out in the open then she could continue been patient.

As it stood, Elly wanted to live with her in their room at Aaron and David’s and be a couple with Chloe when they were there but Chloe didn’t believe that was enough for her anymore. If Elly could just make one more step forward to coming out as a couple then Chloe could have hope to believe they would eventually be together.

Chloe whimpered as she heard a light knock at the door and then without waiting for an answer, Elly nervously entered the room, closed the door behind her but slunk back against the door, her hand still gripping the door knob.

Chloe looked over to her girlfriend, suddenly acknowledging to herself that there was no possible way to resist Elly. Chloe was kidding herself to think she could actually say the words to end their relationship just because Elly wasn't ready to take it public, she knew in that moment she would do anything in the world to feel Elly's love.

As Chloe looked at how distraught Elly appeared, she realized for the first time that Elly was completely convinced she was going to break it off between them. Though she knew she should tell Elly it was never going to be over between them, that she really would wait forever for her, Chloe couldn't say those words, as she prayed maybe just maybe Elly had changed her mind about telling the world they were in love.

"Chlo," Elly whispered, "Baby I can't fall asleep without you...please baby don't make me sleep in the spare room...I need to be with you."

Chloe's voice cracked with a tinge of sadness at the way Elly had pleaded with her as she replied, "Come to bed, baby."

The look of relief on Elly's face said so much to Chloe but she still whispered, "Thank God," as she pushed herself from the door, clearly terrified that she was going to be rejected.

Chloe sat up in their bed, the sheets still covering her lower body. Instead of crawling into bed with her, Chloe was a little surprised when Elly immediately walked over to Chloe's side of the bed, and without hesitation Elly found herself immediately on the bed, straddling Chloe. Her hips pressed into Chloe's lap as she wrapped her legs behind Chloe's backside and Elly sat up over Chloe bringing their lips together in a desperation Chloe had never experienced from Elly before.

Elly's hands gripped the back of Chloe's neck tighter than they ever have. Chloe knew she should reassure Elly she wouldn't ever break up with her but this desperation in Elly not to let her go left Chloe feeling like if she didn't say a word then Elly would get over her fears and give Chloe the real relationship she desperately wanted.

"Please baby, give me one more chance," Elly pleaded softly in between kisses, "I need to be with you. I love you so much."

Chloe hushed her girlfriend, "I love you too. I'll give you another chance, of course I will, I'll never give--"

Elly broke off Chloe's assertion that she wouldn't ever give up on her, not realizing what she was saying, so desperate to take what she was positive was her last chance, kissing her deeply, exploring every inch of her girlfriend's mouth with her tongue.

With Chloe's own desperation for Elly taking over, she resolved to tell Elly she could never break up with her and to reassure Elly that she would wait for the rest of her life for Elly to come to terms with their relationship, after the pair made love to one another.

As Elly ground her hips against Chloe’s, Elly broke their kiss to untie the back of her dress, and as she sat up for a few seconds she pulled it over her head, discarding it on the floor. Elly bought her lips back to Chloe’s. Chloe was still in her bikini from the time spent in the pool that day. Elly pulled at the strings of the bikini top, removing it from Chloe’s body. Without another moment, Elly removed her own bra and then pressed her upper body against Chloe’s.

Chloe moaned at the contact of Elly’s nipples against her skin. Chloe broke their kiss and ducked her head down to take Elly’s nipple in her lips.

Elly groaned at the contact and as she sat there straddling Chloe. Feeling the wetness between her legs, and the desperate need for Chloe to make love to her, Elly lifted her body and was hovering over her girlfriend’s frame. Chloe had moved with her as she lent up with her lips and tongue stroking Elly’s nipple. Elly slipped her panties from her hips. They slid down her thighs but stayed entangled on her legs. Elly was too impatient to remove her body away from Chloe’s in order to free her legs of the garment.

As Chloe kissed and sucked on Elly’s nipple, she felt Elly take her hand in hers and slid Chloe’s hand to between her legs. Chloe broke her lips away from Elly’s breast as she stared up at her girlfriend, her hand lingering at Elly’s opening.

“Please baby, make love to me,” Elly pleaded as she began grinding her hips into Chloe’s torso.

Chloe smiled at the look of pleasure on Elly’s face as she slipped two fingers deep inside Elly. Elly moaned at the contact and then bought her face down to kiss Chloe passionately. Chloe began gently stroking her fingers in and out of Elly’s center.

Chloe was taking her time making love to her girlfriend. Chloe knew exactly where to find Elly’s clit but she was happy to keep stroking her fingers in and out of Elly away from Elly’s clit so Elly wouldn't reach orgasm too quickly.

Chloe felt Elly’s body contract against her fingers and Elly began grinding her hips against Chloe’s fingers, desperate for Chloe to give her the pleasure she desired. Chloe gave in and began using her fingers to stroke Elly’s clit, feeling her own pleasure at the sounds Elly was making.

Elly was usually restrained and uptight in her moaning, spending valuable energy to ensure she barely uttered a sound louder than a whisper, too scared of Aaron and David overhearing them for fear of been caught in bed with a woman. Chloe was unsure if Elly had remembered that Aaron and David had come home this evening whilst they were apart but it became apparent that it didn’t matter to Elly either way if they were alone in their house or not. Elly was not going to bottle up her emotions no matter what.

This Elly with a newfound desperation to be with Chloe was unrestrained and beginning to scream at full volume without burying her face in Chloe’s neck. This Elly was turning Chloe on more than ever before.

“God, baby, right there, yes, baby, please, harder, that’s it!” Elly yelled.

Chloe obliged to Elly’s wishes, continuing to stroke her girlfriend’s clit until she felt Elly’s body react entirely as Elly’s orgasm ripped through her.

“Chloe!” Elly moaned loudly, no longer afraid to verbalize her pleasure loudly for fear of been caught.

Chloe felt Elly whimper as she removed her fingers from her, gently tasting the wetness from Elly on them.

Elly quickly slipped off Chloe’s lap, bringing herself to lie next to Chloe as she immediately took the opportunity to remove her own panties from her legs, throwing them to the floor of their bedroom before gently spreading her legs.

Elly then stared at Chloe, not afraid to tell her exactly what she wanted, “I need you inside me again, baby. That talented tongue of yours…I want it so badly. Please let it take me…all of me.”

Chloe obliged, feeling incredibly turned on by this Elly who was not beating around the bush with subtlety of asking Chloe to “you know” because she didn’t want to say the words.

Chloe gently rolled on top of Elly, kissing her lips softly. Elly immediately ground her hips up into Chloe’s pelvis, clearly telling Chloe where she wanted her. Chloe gently began shifting her body down Elly’s kissing every inch of Elly’s skin as she went but she could sense Elly’s impatience as she kept grinding her hips up against Chloe’s body.

Chloe eventually nestled herself between Elly’s legs, the wetness seeping out of Elly’s center was a lot more than normal.

Elly tousled her hand through Chloe’s hair, “Come on, baby, your tongue…I need it inside me…don’t make me keep waiting.”

Usually one to kiss her lips against every inch of Elly’s thigh before settling into her destination, Elly’s desperation for her and clarity to beg Chloe for exactly what she wanted, Chloe ignored her usual torturous technique and immediately pressed her lips to Elly’s opening. Chloe began licking her girlfriend’s center, her tongue moving in and out of Elly at a rapid pace.

“Oh yes, that’s…God Chlo…I need you to…yes Chloe…please can you take my clit in your lips…God that feels so good, right there baby!” Elly yelled out as her hips bucked at the contact Chloe was giving her.

Unable to resist for any longer or refuse Elly’s wishes, Chloe stroked her tongue against Elly’s clit, taking it in her mouth. Chloe bought Elly to orgasm within minutes. Elly’s scream as the orgasm ripped through her body was unlike anything Chloe had ever heard.

Chloe gently removed her lips and tongue from Elly, staying down there for a moment to lick up the juices seeping from Elly. Chloe eventually made her way back up Elly’s body and was surprised when instead of allowing them to kiss passionately, Elly immediately rolled Chloe to her side.

Elly quickly hooked her fingers into the edge of Chloe’s bikini bottoms and dragged them down her legs. Before Chloe could barely react, Elly had found herself nestled in between Chloe’s legs, spreading them in front of her.

Chloe blushed gently as Elly made eye contact with her, “It’s my turn, baby, I’m going to pleasure you so much. I want you to scream for me…don’t hold back. I want to hear you moan and scream in pleasure.”

Without giving Chloe time to react, Elly slipped two fingers inside of Chloe and then seconds later her tongue joined them. Chloe bucked her hips at the incredible feeling of Elly’s complete desperation to pleasure her two ways at once.

As Elly’s fingers glided in and out of Chloe, Elly immediately began stroking her tongue against Chloe’s clit. She was impatient as anything to bring her girlfriend to pleasure and Chloe couldn’t hold back her emotions as she found herself taking Elly’s advice by moaning at full volume and yelling out Elly’s name at the top of her lungs.

“Oh yes! Oh…oh! Right…God…yes that’s it! Keep…yes that! I don’t need to tell you…you know what I want before I want it…Elly! Elly!!!” Chloe screamed.

Chloe was a mixture of emotions, completely letting go with Elly for the very first time. Their love making had always been passionate and filled with love but this lack of restraint to bottle up her emotions at their act was the most incredible feeling for Chloe.

Chloe’s orgasm tore through her body and she moaned even louder as she completely let go experiencing the full weight of the pleasure Elly had given her. Chloe took a sharp intake of breath as she felt Elly remove both her fingers and tongue from her.

A few minutes later, Elly curled herself against Chloe's body under the bed sheet; she rested her head on Chloe's shoulder and her arm across Chloe's torso. Elly lifted her head, pressing her lips to Chloe's.

"That was incredible," Elly announced.

"I'll say," Chloe agreed softly, "It was so perfectly different to all the other times we've made love."

"Different how?" Elly asked with a hint of trepidation.

Chloe stared down at Elly, "You were just free, unrestrained and completely gave yourself to me. You allowed me to do the same. You've always held back slightly before but I felt this shift in you this time."

Elly narrowed her eyes, "In what way?"

"In the way that you always glared at me if either of us made a pleasurable sound or spoke louder than a whisper because you were so scared of been caught in bed with me," Chloe confessed, "Now...it's like you're this different woman who relishes every time I make you lose control of your restraint and you're not afraid to express the pleasure you feel."

Elly blushed, "I hadn't realized I was doing either of those things with the glaring and now with the lack of restraint," then horribly embarrassed, “Prior to tonight…I really glared at you when we in the middle of making love and I was afraid that you’d been too loud?”

“Yeah you kinda did…even on the nights we knew we had the house to ourselves…you had daggers in your eyes, baby, but in a weird way I got used to it. I was hoping you would one day realize that the sounds I was making was all for you and you wouldn’t be afraid to hear them at full volume,” Chloe admitted before changing the subject back to Elly’s unrestrained emotions this time,  "I like you been unrestrained with me in bed, it's a total turn on for me when I feel your body just completely relax instead of bottling up every emotion you feel."

Elly continued blushing at the thought of turning Chloe on, "I felt this shift too...I didn't realize what it was...that it was me relaxing and not restraining my emotions for you...but I felt it. I meant what I said about been 'all in' with you here in this house.”

“Really?” Chloe asked softly.

Elly nodded, “When we're here in this house, alone or not, I will not allow myself to restrain my feelings for you. I will be all over you holding you, making out with you anywhere in this house every chance I get, making love to you in our bed every night and I won't be afraid to yell your name at the top of my lungs every time we make love to one another. I am going to shower you with every piece of attention whenever we are here. Aaron and David will probably feel nauseated by how couplely I'm going to be with you. I want this with you so badly."

Chloe smiled at the thought of Elly been completely over her fears of showing her affection for her whilst they were at their house. Before Chloe could utter a word of reassurance to Elly that she would never break things off between them no matter how long it took for Elly to tell people about them, Elly stared deeply into Chloe's eyes and whispered, "One month."

Chloe narrowed her eyes in confusion.

"I know me accepting us as a couple in this house is a step forward for us but you still want more and need us to be out as a couple to all our friends and family. Please don't leave me or give up on us," Elly begged, "Give me one last chance. Please just let me have one month. A short month. A simple 4 weeks. Just 28 days. All I need is 672 hours. Give me that long to come to terms with my love for you and tell my family and our friends about us."

Chloe looked down at Elly, "Are you sure?"

"Yes, I'm sure," Elly replied, "I don't want you to think you have to give me an ultimatum to tell everyone or else it's over between us--"

Chloe went to interrupt to assure Elly she could never do that now that she had resolved to be with Elly no matter what but Elly stopped her, "Please Chlo I know 4 weeks is a long time to keep waiting but I just need that time to get used to us been a couple here. I want us to enjoy that real honeymoon stage of our relationship and been completely all over each other making out with you every second I can before everyone else finds out. If you can wait 4 weeks for me then I absolutely promise you I will be able to tell everyone who matters to me and you and I can then start spending the rest of our lives together. It's all I need."

Chloe nodded, brushing her lips against Elly's, "Okay...4 weeks...I can wait 4 weeks to spend eternity with you."

Elly deepened their kiss gently, before breaking it off, "Keep seeing Hales whilst you wait for me."

Chloe was surprised, "Elly if you really mean it that you want us to enjoy that all-over-each-other honeymoon stage of our relationship and you will tell people about us then I don't need to keep seeing--"

"Yes, you do," Elly insisted, "She makes you happy and free to be yourself, even I can see that. Seriously, I have absolutely no hang ups about this decision. Besides seeing you with her it's actually a pretty good reminder of what I'll lose if I don't get over my fears and tell people about us. I can live with seeing you with her for 4 weeks...and even though I have zero right to ask…just promise me one thing..."

"Anything," Chloe agreed.

"Don't sleep with her," Elly whispered, "Or at least tell me first if things do look like they are getting serious between you."

"Elly, I'm not planning on sleeping with her," Chloe responded, "I discussed it with Hales today and I'm not ready so you have nothing to worry about."

"I know...but sometimes these things change in an instant and...I mean look at us and our first time together," Elly pointed out, "I won't stop you if you want to have sex with her as it's your body and you have a right to own that with your decisions...just tell me first okay?"

Chloe shook her head at the mere thought that Elly was allowing her to keep dating Haley let alone that she wouldn't stop her from fully cheating on Elly. Sighing, Chloe agreed, "Okay," then taking her mind off of the idea of doing such a thing to Elly, Chloe murmured, "Four weeks?"

Elly kissed Chloe softly, "I promise you...four weeks and all the pain and waiting will be over."

"It'll be worth it," Chloe promised.

Elly nodded before resting her head back against Chloe's chest, closing her eyes. Wrapped up around each other the couple fell asleep, hoping that in 4 weeks everything would be perfect between them.

Chapter Text

Only Us

Chapter Fifteen

Three weeks and two days later

Aaron entered his house and rolled his eyes at the immediate sounds of his sister lying on the couch making out with one of her two squeezes. Aaron couldn't believe that this is what he had come home to every night for at least the past two-three weeks. How Chloe could swap between the pair of women was beyond him.

Walking through the living room, hoping to make his way to the kitchen, he couldn't help but at least find out that it was Elly that was lying on top of Chloe, making out with her unashamedly and sliding her hand up and down Chloe's body.

Elly had come a long way in the past three weeks. When she had moved into Chloe's room it didn't mean that the pair of them were holed up in bed every moment the pair spent together. Instead they were very openly dating one another whilst at the house, would make out just about anywhere, mostly the pool or couch, and Elly was incredibly affectionate with Chloe every time they were together.

It was like Elly was a completely different person than the one less than a month ago and she had never been this way when she had been dating Mark. As far as Aaron knew she still hadn't told her family or friends about her relationship with Chloe but she was seemingly taking some big steps in the right directions to been very comfortable dating Chloe.

The only time the couple seemed to be able pry their lips apart or their hands off each other was the evenings that Chloe was inexplicably still dating Haley. Elly would usually be busy out tutoring or taking a nice long bath whenever Chloe was lying on the couch making out with Haley.

Chloe had tried explaining it to him that Elly had promised her they would officially be a couple soon but in the meantime Elly insisted that she keep dating Haley as long as Chloe didn't make things serious between her and her co-worker and Haley appeared comfortable to also use Chloe as a stop-gap dating and making out partner as she too wasn't after a serious relationship.

Whilst Chloe would spend much of her time with Haley away from the house, going out for drinks or a meal, every second or third day she did usually spend an hour or so on the couch making out with Haley. Aaron had picked up on the fact that Chloe didn’t appear to be sleeping with Haley yet and seemed to prefer to bring Haley over to their place for that brief make out session instead of going to Haley’s place.

Aaron wondered if that was because whenever Chloe bought Haley over that Elly would be around the place one way or another and it was Chloe’s backup not to take her make out sessions further with Haley as Chloe wouldn’t be able to do that with Elly present in the house.

Aaron shook his head that Chloe could switch between the pair with such ease even though it was 100% clear her heart lay with Elly. Chloe’s make out sessions with Elly could last hours and hours.

Walking past the pair, Aaron couldn't resist trying to break them apart for at least a minute, he was after all the annoying brother they couldn't take anywhere and he was happy to live up to that reputation, "Hi Chloe! Hi Hales! Or wait I'm sorry I meant that other chick!"

Not breaking apart from their make out session, Elly mumbled in between kisses, "Not funny...go away Aaron...we're busy!"

Aaron smirked at Elly, and the fact that she had taken it more seriously when twice across the past couple weeks Aaron had genuinely called her 'Hales' by accident and mixing the two brunette women up. Chloe didn't think it was funny either but he could tell she was relieved he didn't accidentally call Haley 'Elly' as that would require some explaining from Chloe.

Since the second mistaken identity incident Aaron had noticed that whenever it was Elly on the couch with his sister Elly would be the one on top and then Chloe would be on top of Haley when she was making out with her co-worker. Aaron didn't even know if Chloe had realized she was doing that.

"Busy getting busy," Aaron teased, "Do I have to come home to my little sister making out with one of two girls like this every night? Could you at least move this to your room…? On second thought don’t do that…you two are obnoxiously loud in bed together…I miss when I had no idea you were in my house, Elly, sexing up my sister ‘cause at least you were quiet then"

"Go away Aaron," Chloe muttered in between kisses as she began running her right hand up and down Elly's back before shifting the movement to do the same underneath Elly's shirt.

Aaron didn't hesitate in sitting down in the single sofa seat opposite them, "Long weekend this weekend, what are you two planning to do for the three days? Please tell me it’s not just more of this."

"Go away Aaron," both Chloe and Elly mumbled as they persisted making out with each other and began grinding their hips against the others.

Continuing to annoy them by not leaving, Aaron told them, "I was thinking we could have a BBQ and pool party Saturday evening, invite the entire street over...you two will have to either quit grinding against each other for a few hours...or don't...maybe it could be your opportunity to...flaunt your relationship...'cause seriously why do David and I have to be the only ones who have to put up with seeing you two so happy in love with each other?"

"Sounds good, go away Aaron," Elly dismissed as she ran her hand along the exposed skin above Chloe's pants but was disappointed when Chloe finally broke their kissing and gently pushed Elly up a little bit.

"Finally!" Aaron yelped in success, "Breaking you two apart is a bloody mission!"

Chloe rolled her eyes at her brother before looking up at Elly, "Actually I meant to talk to you about this weekend..."

Elly nodded, believing Chloe was set to remind her that the 4 weeks of them hiding their relationship from the world outside of their place was due to end on Sunday or possibly she would be given until Monday considering it was a long weekend and that she had yet to live up to her promise and come out to her family. It was currently late Tuesday evening and Elly knew she was running short of time to be able to prove to Chloe once and for all she had accepted their relationship.

"Aaron could you give us a moment of privacy?" Chloe asked.

Aaron stood up, "Okay but if I come back here after I've eaten dinner and find the two of you grinding each other once again on my couch I won't be happy. It's like living with a pair of horny teenagers!"

Chloe rolled her eyes again as Aaron left them alone before settling her gaze back to Elly's as they laid there on the couch, still holding each other in their making out position, "So this weekend--"

"I know, I know, I've left it way late to still not have told my family or our friends about us but Susan came by today to tell me she's going to see my mum for a few days and thought if she can get Finn out of the house then she wants Bea and I to come over Monday afternoon for a BBQ dinner with her and Karl because the four of us haven't gotten together since I moved out. She made such a big deal about it been ‘family only’ BBQ so I really think this is the perfect chance to tell Susan, Karl & Bea all together about us. I 100% promise you if you give me that extra 24 hours then I will tell my family then about us," Elly declared.

Before Chloe could respond, Elly continued, "I don't want to tell them without Susan been there as her support means a lot to me and she surprised me with this unannounced trip she left on today. I know I should've just told them weeks ago but Aaron's right I think I've just gotten so distracted acting like a teenager with you and wanted to keep you to myself but--"

"Breath, Elly," Chloe interrupted to tell her, "Telling your family Monday evening about us is absolutely fine with me, I know how much Susan means to you. And okay I guess been reminded that you still haven't taken the steps you promised you would hurts...What I wanted to talk to you about...it wasn't about that..."

Elly pressed her lips against Chloe's, "I will take those steps...I just want the right timing...what did you want to tell me about the weekend?"

Chloe took a deep breath, "Hales asked me to go away with her for the weekend."

Elly blinked a couple times, registering what Chloe was telling her, "Right...that's...right...she wants to spend a weekend away with you...in a hotel room...she wants the two of you to...right..."

"I didn't say yes," Chloe told Elly softly.

Elly smiled then frowned as she realized, "But you didn't say no either?"

Chloe shook her head, "I was thrown by her asking me this afternoon...I guess I had missed the signals that this weekend I have to make a decision about who I..."

"Come away with me on the weekend instead?" Elly suddenly declared.

Chloe was surprised and didn't know how to answer.

Elly felt her cheeks blushing, "I know I haven't done anything about making our relationship official but I will Monday evening...I will. Screw Aaron's BBQ pool party on Saturday and come away to the city with me for the weekend. I can use this weekend to completely accept our relationship and then when we get back, I'll tell anyone and everyone about us."

"And how do you plan on using this weekend away to do all that?" Chloe asked softly.

"We'll be in the city away from everyone...that means...romantic restaurants, hotel room with one bed, walks in the park holding your hand, brunch at a hipster cafe cuddling up to you in a booth...I dunno...dancing and grinding with my babe 'til the sun rises at whatever gay nightclub you want," Elly declared.

Chloe smirked, "You want to go to a gay nightclub?"

"If it means you give me one last chance to prove I can make this relationship real and come out to our community to show them how much I love you, I will do whatever cliché bisexual queens loving each other thing I need to do," Elly insisted, "If you want to dance in the gayest nightclub in Melbourne count me in. I will fight anyone who makes a pass at you."

Chloe giggled, then smiled but didn't make mention of Elly referring to them as bisexual as that was a gigantic step for her girlfriend, "Okay if you are positive you're ready for this...we can go away to the city together and be the coupliest couple people have ever seen."

Elly kissed Chloe happily, trying to keep her heart from racing at the thought of having to be brave in front of perfect strangers to prove she could be what Chloe needed, believing without a doubt that if she didn't get rid of her fears by Monday, Chloe and her would be over.

"There's just one small thing," Chloe squeaked, "If you tell your family about us when we get back...can you give me until Monday evening to break things off with Hales? We're working on a large project this week that will be wrapped up Friday evening...and breaking it off right before a long weekend seems harsh...but then so does stringing her along for a few extra days...I already agreed to have dinner with her Monday evening to celebrate the end of the project as I'll be too exhausted Friday evening so I'll break it off with her then...if we're...real."

"Sure," Elly agreed softly.

Chloe bit her lip, "After I've ended things with Hales Monday night...well I may as well get two awful conversations out of the way on the same night...I'll go tell Mark."

Elly shivered at the thought of her ex-husband been told she was now dating his sister, "Do you want me to come with you?"

Chloe shook her head, "No... That’s something I need to do alone. Once you've told your family about us...I need to tell mine and Mark is still my family. I'll do it."

Elly nodded gently, then trying to avoid thinking about Mark when she was wrapped up in Chloe's arms, "I should go look for a hotel to book us."

Chloe gripped her hands around Elly's lower back, "Or you could stay here with me and make out with me some more and leave booking the hotel until later."

"I like the way you think, Chlo," Elly replied seductively as she immediately shifted back to grinding her hips against Chloe's and slipping her tongue into Chloe's mouth to explore every inch of it.

Aaron walked back into the living room, rolling his eyes at the sight of the two women, "Horny teenagers you two are! So, are we on for the pool party Saturday?"

Without elaborating, Chloe answered whilst in between kisses with Elly, “Nope…you and David will…have the house to…yourselves…to have your own…loud obnoxious…sex.”

Aaron smirked at the thought, “Pool party cancelled for Saturday, maybe we can do it the following weekend or--”

"Go away Aaron, we're busy getting busy," Chloe and Elly both stated together as they continued making out with one another.

Chapter Text

Only Us

Chapter Sixteen

Elly held onto Chloe's hand as she drove the pair to the city for their weekend getaway on Saturday arvo. Elly was confident in her ability to drive one handed and couldn't manage to not have her hand on Chloe's skin for the length of the drive.

Chloe squeezed Elly's hand, "I kinda lied to Hales about the reason why we're going away together. When I turned down her request to go away for the weekend...I told her I'd forgotten it was your birthday and you had planned a trip to the city for us to have a girly weekend together to celebrate. Spa baths, massages, getting our nails done, going to the movies to see some girly comedy movie, that kind of thing. I figure if I'll be breaking up with her Monday, she doesn't need to know it's not your birthday. I heard rumblings that Pierce may be going overseas next month for a little while so it's possible Hales will be on the move anyway."

Elly entangled her fingers tighter with Chloe's, "Note to self, don't add Hales to Facebook so she doesn't not get the reminder to wish me a Happy Birthday over the weekend. Do you want more of a girly weekend with me? We could go to a beauty place for massages or get our nails done if you want."

Chloe smiled over at Elly, "I just want this to be a couple’s weekend away okay? You and I, free to be ourselves away from anyone who knows us."

"Absolutely, I can't wait to spend this time away with you and just be ourselves," Elly announced, "As much as I'm going to relish these 48 hours with you, I can't wait for us to get back home already. Monday evening the people that matter the most to us will know we're in love and we can officially be a couple and I get to call you my girlfriend to anyone who will listen to me."

"I can't wait either," Chloe grinned.

A few minutes later, they arrived at the hotel. Elly suddenly felt incredibly nervous as she walked into the hotel holding her overnight bag with Chloe by her side. She wanted to reach out and take Chloe's hand with her free hand but she couldn't bring herself to do so. She all of a sudden realized just how much work she had left to do to be comfortable been seen dating Chloe. Trying not to let her fear take over her because as scared as she was, she knew deep down she was more scared of Chloe breaking things off if she didn't start telling people about their relationship.

As the couple both approached the elderly gentleman at the hotel front desk, Elly told him, "Checking in, booking should be under Conway and Brennan."

The guy smiled at her, "One moment, let me look it up."

Elly smiled down at Chloe, nudging her arm slightly, just needing some contact with her. It was driving Elly crazy just how much she felt the need to be close to Chloe. She had never felt this way before about a previous partner.

"Ah," the guy checking their reservation bristled.

Elly glanced at him, "Is there a problem? I thought my credit card had already been charged."

"No, it's not that," the guy muttered not looking at either of them, "I'm just going to shift some rooms around and put you in a room with two queen beds."

Elly frowned then replied softly, "That's not what I booked."

"I think that would be more...appropriate," the guy insisted, “I might even be able to get you two rooms…no extra charge of course.”

Elly bowed her head, embarrassed to be shamed by him for wanting to share a hotel room with her girlfriend, mumbling under her breath, "I...fine...I...two queen beds…that'll do."

Elly couldn't look at Chloe, she felt humiliated as she waited for Chloe to say something to speak up for them. But Chloe didn't say a word, instead she just tapped her fingers against the desk, clearly annoyed at the man. Elly let the silence hang in the air for nearly a minute before she realized Chloe was giving her the chance to stand up for them.

Elly finally stammered, "It's not fine...just give us the room...I booked."

The guy bristled once more, "That wouldn't be appropriate."

Elly still couldn't look at him but fumbled about until she finally managed to get out in a tone slightly louder than a whisper, "It's not your business...give us the room...I booked...and send us a bottle of champagne on the house...for been a homophobic dick!"

The guy glared at Elly but Elly suddenly noticed one of his co-workers approaching and he looked like he didn't want to deal with a customer complaining about his service to his fellow staff, "Certainly."

Chloe lent up and whispered in Elly's ear, "There's my girl."

Elly felt that she'd been holding her breath, unable to let the oxygen flow through her lungs, despite mumbling out her confrontation to the guy. She felt sick to her stomach that a weekend with so much promise could be ruined because of the shame this guy made her feel for wanting to share a bed with her girlfriend.

Elly couldn't look at the guy as he handed her the swipe cards and told them the floor number to get the lift to. Scribbling her name and details on the registration form authorising her credit card to be charged for incidentals, Elly couldn't have walked away from the desk quicker. Chloe followed her, nearly struggling to keep up. Elly didn't say a word. Chloe didn't want to push Elly to talk about how she felt until they were in the privacy of their room.

As they entered the room, the pair threw their bags on the desk opposite the bed. Chloe immediately wrapped her arms around Elly's waist, "Baby, you booked us a room with a spa! I love you even more for sticking up for us against that awful man!"

"I need some air," Elly murmured as she broke from Chloe's embrace and walked out to the balcony by herself to look out at the view from the room.

Ten minutes later Chloe joined her with two glasses of champagne. Handing one to Elly, Chloe placed her free hand on Elly's lower back, "Champagne was delivered quick smart. You sure told him! Are you ok?"

"No," Elly whispered, "I didn't think this was going to be so hard. I feel humiliated that I let him make me think that sharing a bed with you is wrong. Is it always going to be like this? That I'm going to be shamed for wanting a woman sexually?"

"Sweetie that guy was a jerk and you put him in his place like I knew you would. Yes, we may come across that kind of judgment but there are more people in the world who accept us now. The most important thing is about how the people you love will support you. What we feel for one another...the love and the wanting each other sexually...there is no shame in that," Chloe reassured.

"I thought it would be easy to be around strangers who I'll never see again. It's almost worse 'cause he gets to say those things knowing he'll never see us again," Elly murmured.

"Baby he's just a troll and you stuck up for us and got us the room you booked so we can enjoy that king size bed and spa. I'm so proud of you! So how about we forget all about him and we get this weekend started?" Chloe insisted.

Elly lent forwards and grazed her lips against Chloe's, "You’re so good to me. Baby I just want to get that spa started and spend the entire weekend making love to you in the spa or the bed."

"What happened to our plans to go out on the town as a couple?" Chloe asked quietly.

Elly shrugged, "My confidence is shaken. I think I'm better off not trying to put myself out there or else I'll be scared and you and I won't be coming out as a couple when we get home."

Chloe ran her hand across Elly’s back supportively, “Babe we can’t let one guy ruin the weekend we had planned. I know that shook you about and believe me I would love to spend the next 48 hours making love to you across every inch of this room but I thought this weekend was about helping you been comfortable dating me.”

“It was and I failed at it,” Elly said quietly.

“You only fail if you don’t try again,” Chloe reasoned, “Look we have dinner booked at that fancy restaurant at 8pm, we’ll hit up a cocktail bar for a drink after dinner and then you and I, Elly, are going dancing at a sexy little nightclub where I promise you won’t feel out of place. I want to dance, grind and make out with my girl on the middle of the dance floor. Then I want to come back to this hotel, have earth-shattering sex with you multiple times and fall asleep in your arms. Then tomorrow if you want to go out for brunch before coming back here and spending all day in bed with me…we can do that too.”

“That sounds perfect,” Elly finally whispered, “I want all of that with you.”

Chloe smiled, “I love you. You stay out here and enjoy your champagne; we have numerous hours to kill before dinner and I’m going to get that spa started. Come find me in it soon.”

Elly couldn’t help but grin at Chloe, before Chloe left her side, Elly kissed her deeply, “I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

“Let’s never find out,” Chloe promised before heading back inside the room to start the spa.

Fifteen minutes later, Elly finally closed the balcony door and pulled the blinds back as she stood in the hotel room. She smiled over at Chloe who was already sitting naked in the spa. Elly didn’t need any encouragement from Chloe to strip off her clothes and join her in the spa. She glowed at the way Chloe couldn’t take her eyes off of her as she peeled off her layers of clothing. Chloe always made Elly feel sexy as those big eyes of hers watched every movement.

Elly straddled Chloe as she got into the spa with her, bringing their lips together passionately before breaking apart, “Can we do this every year? Go away together for a romantic getaway weekend every year on this particular long weekend? Definitely not back to this hotel but somewhere in the city or well anywhere that’s away from Ramsay Street. I know it won’t technically be like our anniversary but we can make it a nice little tradition…I’m not even sure when we should mark our anniversary…I mean obviously it can’t be the first time we made love as that was before I married Mark and before I accepted I really do have feelings for you...but…like should we count the last 10 weeks since the first morning we slept together and started this whole relationship be it secretively or should it be as of Monday when we’re officially a couple?”

Chloe smiled at Elly, “I’d like that tradition. I think these last 10 weeks definitely count as dating and I’d like us to make that day 10 weeks ago as our anniversary…I can’t believe we’re talking about celebrating our anniversary and already making plans for an annual romantic weekend away.”

Elly blushed, “Is it too soon to be thinking about that? That I want us to be together a year from now…two years from now…years and years from now.”

Chloe shook her head, “Not at all. I love that you want us to still be together years and years from now.”

Elly kissed Chloe softly, “You and I…this is it for me…I’m going to be with you for the rest of my life.”

Chloe sighed unable to avoid thinking of her Huntington’s diagnosis, “The rest of mine anyway…”

Elly held Chloe close to her, “If that is the fate that we’ll be dealt decades from now…it doesn’t change my mind okay. I will be here for you every step of the way even if you no longer know it. Two to three decades together will be more than most people get with the love of their life.”

Chloe nodded, “Let’s not think about that right now. In fact, let’s not think of anything right now. I want to enjoy the next few hours with you here in this room before we go out for dinner.”

Elly lent forwards, capturing Chloe’s lips with her own. No words were needed to agree with Chloe.

A few hours later, Chloe and Elly had pulled themselves apart from their love making session in the spa that then quickly moved to their hotel bed. Spending some time together rushing around the room and the bathroom, getting dressed up in a couple of hot dresses, doing their makeup and hair, getting ready for the dinner they had booked.

As the couple finally finished getting ready, Elly stood at the doorway of the hotel room, “Chlo, we walking to this restaurant or driving? I hope this restaurant is amazing.”

Chloe smiled as she grabbed her handbag and walked over to Elly, “It’s walking distance and this place looked amazing and had some great reviews. You planned the hotel and you left me to organise our evening arrangements for tonight. You didn’t let me down and I won’t let you down.”

Elly smiled back at her, stretching out her hand for Chloe to take, “Let’s go enjoy a romantic dinner, cocktails and dancing up a storm at a nightclub. This date is going to be incredible; I feel it.”

Chloe took Elly’s hand in her own, “Me too.”

The pair left their hotel room heading out for their evening together.

Chapter Text

Only Us

Chapter Seventeen

Elly gripped Chloe’s hand tightly as they walked several blocks to the restaurant. She tried everything possible to ignore the stares from random strangers walking past them but was encouraged by several more that smiled at her, clearly proud of her simple act and wishing no one in the world should ever be judged for holding their partners hand in public.

Elly breathed deeply as Chloe led her to the restaurant. As they stepped inside and were greeted by a waitress, Elly felt relieved when she wasn’t left feeling embarrassed at holding her girlfriends’ hand. Escorted to their table, Elly couldn’t help but be slightly glad to find that it was the edge of the restaurant instead of right in the middle of it. There were still numerous couples seated around them, clearly too wrapped up in their own conversations to take any notice of Chloe and Elly.

Elly couldn’t hide the smile on her face as she sat down opposite Chloe and without waiting asked the waitress for 2 glasses of Chloe’s favourite champagne. When the waitress confirmed it was indeed on the drink’s menu, Elly felt relieved.

As the waitress left them to make a decision on their meals, Chloe grinned at her girlfriend, “I love that you know my favourite drink without having to ask me.”

Elly blushed, “Well you did always keep a bottle of it in the fridge when you lived at…I guess there’s a lot of little things about you that I always paid attention to. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to figure out why I wanted to pay attention to them.”

“Oh yeah, like what?” Chloe encouraged.

“Like you know me like no one else in the world because nobody could ever have answered those questions Bea threw out at my Hen’s, even Bea had the answers wrong. Like you’re such an adorable grouch in the morning before you’ve had a cup of coffee only now, I get to see it from the second your eyes open every morning in bed with me. Like you nervously chew on your lip when you are working from home as I can see how much you love your job and don’t want to mess it up, just little things like that,” Elly replied softly before adding, “Like you’d really like me to hold your hand right now and not be afraid to.”

Chloe couldn’t but smile as Elly slid her hand across the table and placed it gently on Chloe’s, “I can’t wait to spend our future together, we know so much about each other already but there will always be something new to discover.”

Elly smiled back at Chloe, then looking down at the menu in front of her decided on a playful suggestion, “In the spirit of something new to discover, why don’t you order your favourite meal on the menu for me and I’ll order my favourite for you?”

Chloe giggled in agreement, squeezing Elly’s hand, “You’re so cute.”

A few minutes later the waitress returned to take their orders. Elly grinned without hesitation as she said, “Can you please order my girlfriend here the lamb shanks?”

Chloe’s eyes lit up at Elly confidently calling her her ‘girlfriend,’ “I’d like to order the Surf and Turf for my girlfriend, thanks.”

The waitress smiled at their cuteness and left them alone.

The rest of their dinner date went off without a hitch. Elly spent the entire time staring deep into Chloe's eyes, smiling at everything Chloe said, refusing to hesitate to hold Chloe's hand on the table until their meals arrived and simply ignored everyone else in the room without worrying if anyone was staring at them for been on a date with one another. At the end of the meal when they went to pay, Elly even wrapped her arm around Chloe's lower back and didn't remove it as they walked down the street away from the restaurant.

It was everything Chloe had ever wanted from Elly and now she simply hoped that Elly would be able to be this relaxed and confident in this type of setting around their friends and family.

As the couple approached a cocktail bar further down the street, Chloe was put off by how busy it was, there didn't look to be any space for the two of them to sit down and have a relaxing drink together. Chloe felt that Elly might want to go somewhere quieter with less people around to stare at them but Elly insisted that they go inside and enjoy a drink before the club.

After what felt like forever, Elly finally got to the front of the bar and ordered their cocktails. Elly spotted Chloe on the other side of the bar, sitting alongside at the edge of a long length bar table with people crowding either side of her. Making her way back across the bar through the vast number of patrons, Elly finally made it across to Chloe.

Squeezing herself next to Chloe, Chloe apologised, "Sorry, babe I could only snag one seat. Do you want to find somewhere else to sit? Or do you want to swap and sit down?"

Elly smiled down at Chloe, placing her hand on Chloe's lower back and cuddling up closer to her girlfriend, "I'm happy here with you, baby, we don't need to try and move. Besides I like any excuse to be close to you."

Chloe grinned back to her, "I really like this version of you...not that I didn't like you before but I could get used to you been unafraid to show affection to me."

Elly lent down and gently kissed Chloe's cheek, "I know what you mean, I like this version of me too. I wish it hadn't taken me so long to find her. I don't ever want to have to hide what I feel for you from now on."

Chloe ran her arm loosely around Elly's hips, "Let's forget about the past and only think about the future."

As Elly took a sip of her cocktail, she began stroking the skin at the edge of Chloe's shirt on her lower back, "Excluding our family members, who do you think will be most shocked to find out we're together?"

"Ooh good question, babe," Chloe glowed enjoying the contact Elly was giving her, "It has to be Sheila without any question."

"Yeah, you're probably on the money there, I'm kinda curious to learn how Amy and Leo will react. Ooh I don't think Paul will see it coming, he's so in his own world," Elly smiled, "Oh what about Fay? When do you plan on telling your mum? I don't think she's going to be too impressed by me messing up Mark's life and then coming into yours and turning it upside down. I’m not looking forward to the next time she visits and I have to see her as I fully expect Fay to blow a gasket at me for lying to Mark about the pregnancy."

Chloe ran her tongue over her upper teeth, "Elly, my mum already knows about us...I needed someone to talk to when we first started...I reached out to her and told her everything. She's been very understanding of everything we've been through. She's kept her promise not to tell my brothers. You have no need to worry about seeing her the next time she visits…she wasn’t thrilled by the pregnancy lie…but she’s had some time to deal with it. I'm sorry I didn't tell you that she knows until now."

Elly squeezed Chloe's hip tighter, "That's okay, I'm glad you had someone to vent to about what I was putting you through. I should've realized you needed someone to talk to about it as I sure wasn't ready to talk about it."

Chloe revealed sweetly, "I wouldn't call it venting, mum was very reasonable about the whole thing which is why I spoke to her. She actually helped encourage me to keep persisting with you in the early weeks when you would disappear from my bed before I woke up. I may have given up hope if it wasn't for mum. I think the only thing she doesn't know about is this weekend getaway. I'll have to give her a call Tuesday to let her know everything's out in the open with us and we're officially together."

"Hey, Chlo, at what point in the last 10 weeks did you start believing we could make it as a couple?" Elly asked curiously.

Chloe looked surprised by the question, then leaning closer to speak softly in Elly's ear, "That night 4 weeks ago on the night you first moved in was when I felt completely sure we could make it. Though there were other times too very early on that I was feeling positive we could find some way to make it. Two nights for very different reasons...I think that first time Aaron and David were away and we had the house to ourselves...we'd only been together 6 or 7 days...we just spent the entire night making love to one another...your stamina...wow..."

Elly blushed, "I remember."

Chloe continued whispering in Elly's ear, "I know by that stage we'd made love several times but that was the first night I was positive that the attraction I feel for you was most definitely reciprocated. You were just so...and with your hands...you just couldn't let me go. You just had to keep touching me."

Elly licked her lips at the memory, “And what about the second night you felt we could make it?”

Chloe squeezed Elly’s waist, “That would be the night that for the first time we didn’t sleep together on account on you know that pain in the ass time of month, I was grumpy as anything and told you to leave me alone for the night. You didn’t, you just curled up next to me in bed and held me. We talked for hours that night. I was so tired at work the next day and you came by the hotel with a coffee for me. It was the first time you apologised for abandoning me in my bed before the sun rose. There was just something about the simple fact that we were away from my room and you were discussing our…arrangement.”

Elly smiled shyly, “I remember that too.”

Chloe continued, "But the thing with been sure about us on those nights is that I may have thought at the time that we would only make it if we were to...you know drop everything and move away from Ramsay Street together. Start entirely new lives in another city or town and just start fresh as a couple immediately wherever we moved to. Get rid of all the baggage of our past with Mark and your reluctance to admit your attraction for me that came with telling all the people in the community. Is that wrong that I originally thought the only way we could possibly work as a couple was to leave Erinsborough?"

Elly tucked her hair behind her ear, “It’s not wrong at all. I’m not surprised you kinda came to that conclusion. I didn’t really do a lot right for months to convince you we would make it as a couple.”

“Now you are and that’s all that matters,” insisted Chloe.

Elly chewed on her lip for a moment ignoring all the people around them before leaning down and kissing Chloe gently, “I hope I am.”

Chloe’s eyes fluttered opened, she was still amazed that her girlfriend was been so affectionate with her around other people, “You are.”

Elly found herself blushing once more, “Do you want to go to this club now?”

Chloe took the last sip of her cocktail, “Let’s go, baby.”

As the pair struggled to exit the bar with so many people in the venue, Elly stood behind Chloe placing her hands on Chloe’s hips allowing her girlfriend to lead the way through the crowd.

Ten minutes later, Chloe had led Elly to a small gay nightclub in the heart of the city. As they approached the venue, Chloe took Elly’s hand in her own, “You sure about this?”

“Absolutely, I want to dance with my girl all night long,” Elly reassured.

“What happened to going back to the hotel and having earth-shattering sex?” Chloe teased.

“Absolutely, I want to dance with my girl for several hours and then take her back to the hotel and have earth-shattering sex all night long,” Elly revised her answer adorably.

“I like the sound of that,” Chloe grinned as the pair showed the bouncer their ID to prove that they were over 18 years old even though Elly was in her early thirties and Chloe was in her late twenties.

As the couple entered the venue, Elly immediately blushed as she noticed all the couples dancing on the dance floor and that there were several gay and lesbian couples hanging out to the side of the dance floor making out. Elly squeezed Chloe’s hand, trying not to feel overwhelmed.

Needing to feel Chloe’s support, Elly couldn’t help but be disappointed when her girlfriend immediately left her to go to the bathroom whilst asking Elly to go to the bar and get the first round of drinks. Elly ran her hand through her hair, feeling silly that she didn’t want to be apart from Chloe for any length of time.

Elly blushed again as she glanced at all the couples dancing on the dance floor, her eyes darting between them unable to keep eye contact with them as she headed to the bar. Before she could reach the bar, a chiseled, muscled guy stepped out in front of her blocking her path.

Elly tried to walk around him but the guy stopped her, once more moving in her way.

“I’m glad you’re here, I normally have to wait hours for a girl like you to saunter in to this club,” the guy stated.

“I think you have me confused with someone else,” Elly dismissed, then when she tried to walk around him again but he blocked her path, “Dude, get out of my way.”

The guy put his hands out in front of him, vaguely making gestures of an apology, before immediately asking, “You want to get out of here?”

Elly raised her eyebrow in frustration, “No.”

“Why not?” the guy asked then not waiting for an answer insisted, “Babe, you are smoking hot and I’m so glad I haven’t had to wait hours here for the straight girl supporting her gay friend for a night out to have walked into the club.”

Elly rolled her eyes, “Straight girl?”

The guy smiled trying to be charming, “Duh…you are the straightest girl here, babe. You’ve been here two minutes and you keep blushing at all the couples and can’t look at them. You look so uncomfortable seeing them all having fun. You are in a club with gorgeous sexy women everywhere and you haven’t even taken a single look at any of them. And I mean…damn…just look at you…there is no possible way you are anything less than straight!”

“I…um…I…I’m…ah…I’m…” Elly stood there struggling to put her sexuality into words, floundering without Chloe by her side.

This guy had come out of nowhere and made her feel like she didn’t know what her sexuality was. Chloe was the only woman she’d been attracted to and she didn’t know how to explain that, feeling overwhelmed that she was seemingly been forced into explaining it to a stranger who kept hitting on her and wouldn’t leave her alone.

Feeling overly confident, the guy insisted, “The word you’re looking for is ‘straight’ and you won’t convince me otherwise.”

“It’s a good thing…I don’t need to convince you of--” Elly was cut off and yelped when the guy leant forwards to kiss her.

Chapter Text

Only Us

Chapter Eighteen

Elly jumped back, nearly tripping over her own feet, to get away from the guy at the club who was trying to kiss her. She felt relieved that she had reacted before his lips had touched hers but her relief turned to panic when she saw Chloe approach them hesitantly.

Elly immediately stepped over to her, holding out her hand and was unbelievably thankful when Chloe took it without hesitation, “I was just trying to tell this guy here that I have a girlfriend and that he had no right to try to kiss me.”

The guy smirked smugly, “Yeah right.”

Chloe squeezed Elly’s hand, believing her girlfriend without question.

“I need to get out of here with my girlfriend!” Elly insisted.

“Keep telling yourself that ‘straight girl’!” the guy yelled back at Elly as Elly turned away from him with Chloe.

Confused by the guys’ comment and disappointed that Elly wanted them to leave the club, Chloe was then even more confused when Elly, instead of dragging her to the exit, led the pair of them to the bathroom.

“Elly, what’s going on? What did that guy say to you?” Chloe asked as they walked into the empty bathroom.

Elly didn’t answer and instead led her girlfriend into one of the stalls, locking the door behind them and pressing her body against Chloe’s before kissing her deeply.

“Elly, what did--?” Chloe tried to get out.

Elly broke the kiss and shook her head in disgust at herself, “He just kept insisting that I’m straight because I looked a little uncomfortable here without you and wasn’t busy checking out other chicks. He just tried to kiss me without warning. Without you by my side, I couldn’t seem to find a way to tell him I’m not straight because I have you and don’t need to show any interest in other girls and he had no right to try to kiss me. I’m still confused about labelling myself.”

Chloe held her hands against Elly’s hips, “That’s okay, you don’t need to--”

Elly broke off Chloe from her words again, kissing her deeply and grinding her hips against Chloe’s, before insisting, “I might not be able to label myself as anything more than not straight but I don’t want people to think I’m the ‘straight’ girl only here at a club like this to support her friend.”

“Elly, you have nothing to prove to me or yourself. I know how you feel about me; you know how you feel about me. Can we go out on that dance floor--?” Chloe bit her lip as she was interrupted by Elly’s hands making their way under her dress, “Here? If you want…let’s go back to the hotel.”

Elly shook her head, as her fingers looped around Chloe’s underwear, “Let me feel how not-straight I am…I just need some…re-enforcement to feel not straight. Will you let me?”

Chloe nodded, “You know my answer will always be yes to you. If you need to feel…less straight…I’m yours.”

No sooner had Chloe consented, Elly slipped her right hand into Chloe’s panties, curling her index and middle fingers inside of Chloe. Chloe moaned softly at the contact; her eyes glazed as she locked eye contact with Elly. As Elly gently made love to her girlfriend, all she could do was stare into her eyes, feeling the comfort in them that Chloe provided her with as she faced the desperate need to simply feel Chloe’s center contract around her fingers so she could feel nowhere near as straight as the guy insisted she was.

A couple minutes later, Chloe whimpered as Elly slipped her fingers out of her, unable to deny that even though they were in a public bathroom where anyone could walk in, she still wanted Elly to bring her to orgasm.

Chloe’s disappointment was short lived as Elly quickly dropped to her knees without warning, dragging Chloe’s underwear down her legs in the process. Before Chloe could even look down at Elly, her girlfriend had her head under Chloe’s dress and her tongue was licking between Chloe’s legs.

“Oh wow!” Chloe gasped at the sensation.

Elly gently spread Chloe’s legs apart as her tongue moved in and out of Chloe rapidly. Two minutes later, even though Chloe was bucking her hips wildly at the contact, Elly didn’t allow herself to bring her girlfriend to orgasm but licked up the juices that were flowing from Chloe.

Elly gently pulled Chloe’s underwear back to their position, ducked her head out from Chloe’s dress, stood up and unlocking the stall door, led Chloe over to the sink, slightly relieved that their five-minute encounter hadn’t been walked in on.

After Elly washed her hands at the sink, Chloe blushed as Elly turned back to her and kissed her softly.

Elly bit her lip, suddenly nervous about her actions, “Thanks…I just needed to feel…”

Chloe pressed their lips together again, feeling a rush of tasting her own juices on Elly’s mouth, “Less straight…did that make you feel…less straight?”

“Most definitely,” Elly agreed before apologising, “I’m sorry I don’t know why I let it affect me so much that that awful guy kept calling me ‘straight girl’ and I couldn’t find the words to explain to him I’m…not so straight.”

Chloe winked at Elly, “You may not have a way with words but your actions…wow!”

Elly lent forwards, kissing Chloe again, “You always make me feel brave. I kinda wish you had been by my side when he approached me…but then…just now wouldn’t have happened…you know I never wanted him to kiss me, right?”

“I know,” Chloe reassured, “What do you say, we mosey out of this bathroom and onto that dance floor…and show that guy and everyone else here tonight just how ‘not straight’ either of us are?”

Elly licked her lips and nodded in agreement, allowing Chloe to take her hand and lead them back inside the club.

As Chloe opened the bathroom door, she squeezed Elly’s hand tightly before teasing her girlfriend, “Oh…and Elly…I know you wanted to rush making love to me before anyone came into the bathroom…but just remember you didn’t let me come twice this evening and I’m going to pay you back for that when we get back to the hotel.”

Elly bit her lip at the thought as she looked down at Chloe, “I’m okay with that style of pay back.”

A few minutes later, Elly was decidedly less worried about labelling herself when her and Chloe ignored any need for more alcohol and hit the dance floor together. The music was fast-paced hip-hop with a mix of rock. Elly didn’t care for the songs that were playing, she was just enjoying the freedom that came with having her arms around her girlfriend in the middle of a packed venue where no one else had a care in the world that they were there together.

Elly held her hands on Chloe’s hips, her body pressed up against Chloe’s back, as the younger woman danced in front of her. Elly loved having Chloe’s hands entangled with hers.

Eventually after a few songs, Elly reached out and tugged Chloe around so they were now facing each other. Despite both of them dancing wildly, Elly immediately wrapped her arms around Chloe and pressed their lips together. Elly grinded her hips against Chloe’s, feeling the need to show her girlfriend she was no longer ashamed by their attraction to one another.

Chloe grinded her own pelvis against Elly’s, wrapping her arms behind Elly’s neck and continuing to kiss Elly deeply, entangling their tongues together. Chloe still had a bit of disbelief of how far Elly had come in a matter of hours after the hiccup earlier that afternoon when checking into the hotel.

After another batch of songs and as the couple continued kissing deeply, Elly started maneuvering them towards the edge of the dance floor and to one of the walls of the club. Elly pressed her own back against the wall and pulled Chloe’s body against hers, the desperation of their kissing completely taking over one another as they stood there making out passionately to one another.

Hours later, the couple eventually left the club. They had spent time constantly shifting between been back on the dance floor dancing up a storm together and grinding their bodies against one another before making their way back off the dance floor to heavily make out with one another. They could never stay in one place for long.

Finally, the desperate need for more from one another grew too strong and they made their way back to the hotel. Elly wrapped her arm around Chloe’s shoulder and Chloe slipped her arm around Elly’s hips as they walked back to the hotel together.

Arriving back at the hotel room, Elly was glad she and Chloe hadn’t had a drop of alcohol at the nightclub as the couple didn’t hesitate to strip one another of their clothes the moment the door was closed.

Immediately making their way to their bed, Elly and Chloe both got under the covers as Elly slipped her body on top of Chloe’s, “I believe you mentioned that we were going to have earth-shattering sex when we got back here.”

Chloe licked her lips, “I believe you are right, Ms. Conway…and I also believe back at the club I promised to pay you back for not letting me come…”

Elly pressed her lips against Chloe’s, “I believe you did say that; Ms. Brennan and I absolutely agree that you need to pay me back for it…and that we need to have earth-shattering sex that lasts all night long.”

Chloe held Elly close to her, “Never mind going for brunch tomorrow. We can take a nap in the morning, order some room service and then spend the entire of tomorrow wrapped up in each other’s arms in this bed and then more room service for dinner before spending the entire of tomorrow night back in this bed.”

Elly smirked as she kissed Chloe deeply, “You’ll need to let me get up tomorrow morning and go down to the shops…I know my baby loves sandwiches after a big night of love making and I forgot to bring supplies.”

Chloe grinned happily, “You’re right…that is the best reason I could possibly allow you to leave this bed in the morning. My girl knows exactly how to please me. How do you feel about our plans to spend the rest of our weekend away here in this bed with me?”

Elly ran her hand up and down Chloe’s side, repeating Chloe’s statement, “My girl knows exactly how to please me.”

Chloe bought her lips to Elly’s as the pair began the rest of their weekend getaway in bed together.

On Monday morning, Elly held Chloe's hand as they left their room to check out of the hotel before heading back to Ramsay Street at the end of their long weekend. Approaching the reception desk, Elly groaned when she saw it was the same elderly guy who had shamed them for booking a room with one bed when they had checked in.

"Why did it have to be him?" Elly asked Chloe in frustration.

"You got this, babe, you have so much more confidence in us," Chloe encouraged.

As the couple walked up to the desk, the guy looked at them holding hands with the same barely restrained disgust as two days ago.

"Checking out," Elly stated bluntly handing over the swipe cards to the room.

The guy took the swipe cards and with forced politeness stated the typical company line, "We're...glad you could stay here...with us...I trust you enjoyed...your stay."

Elly looked down at Chloe, getting lost in her eyes for a moment before unashamedly pecking Chloe on the lips, "We did, it was perfect."

"Ugh," the guy whispered in response.

Elly rolled her eyes before sizing the man up, "But you were right, sir. We should've taken the room with two queen beds."

The guy raised his eyebrows in surprise, "I'm glad to hear that, maybe you'll do so next time."

Elly smirked at him, before dishing out a zinger to him, "Yeah, well it turns out we nearly broke the bed yesterday with all our inappropriate activities we did together in it and I would've loved the challenge to break a second one with my girl last night."

The guys mouth opened in shock at Elly's brazen comment, "That's...I...you..."

Chloe's eyes also widened at how calm and confident Elly was telling the homophobe their bedroom activities.

Elly rolled her eyes, "I know, I'll get a call from the manager if there's any damage and my credit card will be charged. So freaking worth it to have done what we did! Ciao!"

With that, Elly squeezed Chloe's hand and led her out of the hotel.

As the couple walked outside, Chloe stared up at Elly, "I don't remember us breaking the bed, did we break the bed and I didn't even notice...we didn't did we?"

Elly smirked at Chloe, "No, we didn't break the bed but did you see the look on his face? So worth it!"

Chloe let out a giggle, "I did not know you had that in you babe."

"Me either, you make me brave, Chlo," Elly admitted, as she lent forwards and pressed her lips softly against Chloe's, "Thank you for this weekend. It was exactly what I needed to be all in-all in with you.”

Chloe smiled at Elly, “You have no idea what that means to me to hear you say that.”

“Yeah I do, just as much as it means for me to say it to you,” Elly grinned happily, “Now let's get home as soon as we can so we can tell our families about us and spend our first night together as a couple."

"You ah...want to spend tonight together trying to break our bed at home?" Chloe teased.

Elly reveled in the feelings Chloe invoked in her, "There is still the bed in the spare room we could use if we do break our bed!"

The couple giggled at one another as they held hands walking back to Elly's car.

Chapter Text

Only Us

Chapter Nineteen

Elly drove her and Chloe back to Ramsay Street. Parking her car in her driveway of the house she shared with her girlfriend, her girlfriend’s brother and his husband. Chloe smiled at Elly as her girlfriend switched the key off in the ignition, “I’m so glad we’re home.”

“That was an amazing weekend away but I am so glad we’re home too,” Elly replied, “I love coming home to you here at this house. Living with you…it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”

“For me too,” Chloe agreed, “Are you ready for this evening?”

Elly nodded, knowing Chloe didn’t need to say the words that Elly was about to head over to her aunt and uncle’s place to tell them and her sister Bea that her and Chloe were a couple so they could officially start dating one another publicly, “I am ready for this. I’m sorry it has taken me nearly 3 months to do this.”

Chloe smiled supportively, “This was just the path we had to take to be together, all that matters is by the end of tonight everyone who matters the most about us will know we’re in love. Are you nervous to tell Susan, Karl and Bea? Are you sure you don’t want me to come with you?”

Elly reached out and took Chloe’s hand, “I’m not gonna lie…I’m a little nervous. I just want them to be happy for me…for us. But I need to do this on my own…I can’t keep running from this. Besides it’s a family-only BBQ without Finn around as Bea and I haven’t spent an evening together with Karl & Susan since I moved out. Are you nervous to tell Mark later tonight? Are you sure you don’t want me to come with you?”

Chloe nodded, “I’m not nervous about telling Mark…more a little scared. I have no clue how he’s going to take this. He might lose the plot at me…he might finally understand that neither of us broke up your marriage to him for a simple one-night fling and accept once and for all that I’m not the worst sister in the world. Still a pretty bad one but not the worst. I got Aaron to check with Mark and he’s working a night shift at the police station and starts at 10pm so I know he’ll be home ‘til about 9.30pm. As much as I too would like you’re support…I need to do this alone too.”

Elly squeezed Chloe’s hand, “Okay so this late afternoon BBQ at Susan and Karl’s should be over sometime after 6pm because Karl is also working tonight at the hospital from 7pm. You have dinner with Hales at the Waterhole for 7.30pm to break up with her and then you need to be at Mark’s by 9pm. Do you want to meet me down by the lake at our spot…you know the one…at 7pm just before your dinner so I can let you know how it went with my family? I don’t want to wait until 9.30pm to see you again.”

“I’d like that,” Chloe agreed.

“Good and then I will be waiting at home for you when you get back from your talks with Hales and Mark…and we get to officially start our lives together,” Elly announced happily, “I love you so much, Chloe Brennan.”

“I love you too, Elly Conway,” Chloe declared.

Elly suddenly looked around the street from her view in the car, “Can I kiss you for good luck…? I didn’t mean to check for anyone around because I’m afraid to kiss you in front of anybody…we’re just so close to telling everybody the right way and I don’t want to spoil that by anyone finding out by spotting us kissing.”

Chloe lent forwards, bringing her lips to Elly’s, kissing her deeply, “I know, babe, you don’t have to explain it to me. I know you’re not afraid anymore.”

Elly grinned as she pulled away from the kiss, “Thanks…I needed that…and I’ll need more of that later tonight in our room. I should head over to the BBQ, the quicker I tell them, the quicker you and I will be back here tonight.”

Chloe went to place her hand on Elly’s knee to show her support but Elly immediately reached for her hand, not allowing Chloe to place it down on her knee. Chloe glanced at Elly innocently.

“I don’t think so, Chlo,” Elly giggled, “You pulled that move on me twice on the drive home.”

“What move?” Chloe pretended not to know.

Elly licked her lips, “The one where you place your hand on my knee and then slowly drag it up my leg. You think I don’t know your moves by now. We already pulled over twice on the way home to make love in the back seat. I’m not letting you pull that move on me again, baby.”

“We’re home now, we don’t need to use the back seat, we can use our bed,” Chloe teased.

Elly shook her head, trying to convince herself to resist Chloe, “Yeah, we’ll get tangled up in one another for hours, lose track of time, before we know it, I’ve missed the BBQ and I won’t be coming out to my family this evening. Although, Bea will probably be the one worried why I haven’t shown up, see that my car is here, come to find me and find me in acts of nakedness with you. Not exactly how I’d like to come out to my family, my love.”

“We could just lock the front door,” Chloe suggested.

Elly ran her tongue over her teeth, “Our bedroom is at the front of the house. If Bea comes to find me here even without coming into the house, she’ll probably hear the orchestra of moaning and groaning we make and then figure it out. We really should stop annoying Aaron and David with how loud we are in bed.”

Chloe sighed, pretending to be disappointed, “Fine, we’ll leave the acts of nakedness until tonight.”

“Thank you,” Elly grinned, “I need to tell my family about us rather than letting them find out any other way. Oh, and Chlo…”

“Yeah, babe?” Chloe asked.

“Before you head to the lake to meet me this evening, make sure you have lots of sandwich supplies at home, baby, we’re going to have a good night,” Elly smirked.

Chloe salivated, “After two all-nighters…babe I’m already feeling the need to call in sick from work tomorrow.”

Elly smiled, “Don’t worry, baby, I won’t keep you up all night long just a good portion of it. I’ll bring you multiple cups of coffee tomorrow at work. I won’t be able to stay away from you for longer than a few hours when you’re at work.”

Chloe lent back and pecked Elly on the lips once more, “You are so perfect to me. C’mon you better get over to Susan’s and tell them about us before we do get spotted out here. I’ll take your overnight bag and place it in our room. Just remember to breath and I’m positive your family will be supportive of us. They only want to see you happy.”

Elly couldn’t resist one last kiss, “I’m so glad you have my back. I know deep down they’ll be happy for me…for us…they might just take a bit of getting used to seeing me dating you. Hopefully by this time next week they’ll be almost as nauseated as Aaron is at seeing how happy you make me.“

A few minutes later, Elly knocked gently on the front door of her former residence before immediately walking inside the house. Karl and Susan had an open-door policy and she figured they may already be out in the backyard.

Elly was surprised when she walked into the house, immediately spying Bea’s boyfriend Ned in the kitchen, “Ned! What are you doing here?”

“I’m getting some drinks for everyone, they’re out in the backyard,” Ned answered.

“Great…I just…I guess I thought this was a family only BBQ,” Elly admitted

“Bea invited me…is there a problem with that?” Ned asked.

Elly shrugged, “No, I just…I didn’t know significant others were on the invite list. If I had I would’ve invi—never mind. Finn’s not here is he ‘cause I swear I will walk out that door if Susan added him to the invite list?!”

Ned shook his head, “No, Finn’s off…I dunno I think he went for a walk down to the café or Waterhole. He knows he needs to stay clear of this BBQ as it’s family-only.”

Elly breathed a sigh of relief that at least Finn wouldn’t ruin her evening, “Any chance you want to get me a glass of red wine?”

Ned hesitated for a moment, “Right…yes of course. Wow I’m sorry for a brief second there…I kinda thought you were still pregnant…I can’t believe I just said that…it’s been nearly four months since you…I’m just gonna shut my mouth to stop reminding you of…and I’m gonna get you that wine.”

Elly breathed deeply at the reminder of losing her baby and as much pain as it had caused her, she couldn’t help but wonder if she would be with Chloe if she hadn’t miscarried her baby. Doing her best to shake off the sadness from overwhelming her and stopping her from the conversation she needed to have with her family, “Thanks Ned.”

Ned handed Elly a glass of wine, then putting the rest of the drinks on a tray, he motioned for Elly to lead them outside, allowing Elly to help him by opening the doors for him.

Elly greeted Bea, Susan and Karl as her and Ned walked out into the backyard of the Kennedy’s. Susan gave Elly a quick hug before Elly took a seat next to Bea at the table outside. Susan was standing at the end of the table organising a salad.

After handing everyone their drinks, Karl been the only one given a non-alcoholic drink since he was headed to work in a few hours, Ned sat on Bea’s other side for a moment before awkwardly leaving the women to join Karl who was at the BBQ to help him cook their meals. The men were still in earshot of the women at the table and listened quietly to their conversation, happy not to interrupt.

Bea clinked her glass against Elly’s, before saying to her older sister, “Hey, I tried calling you yesterday twice but couldn’t seem to get onto you. You too busy to give a sister a call back?”

Elly blushed deeply as she immediately thought back to spending almost the entire day in bed with Chloe at their hotel in the city. Elly shook it off not embarrassed by the thoughts themselves but she didn’t want Bea to see how flushed her face was, “I was in the city with Chloe. Sorry, was it something important you called about?”

“Oh, okay you spent the day in the city with Chloe, that explains it,” Bea replied.

Before Bea could answer why she had called, Elly interrupted, “Actually…we spent the weekend in the city together, stayed at a hotel, went out for dinner, went clubbing Saturday night at this really great new little…um club…just spent the weekend…enjoying each other’s’ company.”

“That sounds like fun. I was only calling to see if we could hang out today before the BBQ at your place. You know you’ve lived there a month now and I still haven’t been invited over to see much more of the place than your pool and your kitchen. I don’t even know what your room looks like,” Bea explained.

Elly hesitated knowing the reason why Bea had only been over to the Brenarkaway’s house two or three times to hang out in the pool since she had moved in with Chloe and she had made excuses for not showing Bea around the house. Elly knew her sister was smart enough to recognize her bedroom was also Chloe’s bedroom what with a combination of everything in the room been Elly’s and also not been Elly’s. If she didn’t the photo frame on the dresser with a photo of Elly cuddling up to Chloe and looking at Chloe lovingly would give it away.

Not realizing the reason for Elly’s silence, Bea bought the conversation back to her weekend away, “What was the name of the club you two hit up?”

Elly fumbled for a few seconds, unable to come up with the name of any other club other than Back Lane Bar which it obviously wasn’t since she’d already said it was new, and went with the truth hoping Bea wouldn’t know the name of gay nightclubs, “Connections.”

Bea shrugged, “Never heard of it. Maybe we could go clubbing there one night together, it’d be nice to hog you away from Chloe for a night. I should look up the club online to see where it is and if--”

Elly swiped her hand to dismiss Bea’s idea, “Nah…don’t look it up…it wasn’t that great. I think there’s better clubs out there for us to go to.”

Elly was unsure how Bea would react to seeing it was a gay nightclub if she looked it up and how quickly Bea would put two and two together as to why Elly had gone away to a hotel with Chloe and danced with her at a gay nightclub. She wasn’t ashamed for Bea to know that she had been to a gay nightclub with Chloe but she didn’t want her to find out until after she had told Bea her and Chloe were in a relationship. Elly needed to be strong to say the words to her family herself.

Bea agreed, “Okay. I’m glad you’re getting back out there after everything you went through with Mark. Any cute guys at the club?”

Elly raised her eyebrow, before answering honestly but slightly misleadingly, “None that took any romantic interest in me…and I guess I was too busy on the dance floor with Chloe to have noticed if there was…okay technically there was one but he was a jerk and tried forcing his tongue down my throat like he owned me and didn’t seem to comprehend I was there with Chloe.”

Susan smiled at her nieces, “Sorry to hear about the jerk, there’s a lot of nicer guys in the world. It’ll happen for you soon, Elly, you’ll meet someone new.”

Elly swirled her wine glass nervously, “Well actually I--”

“Hey, Suse, how did you trip go to see mum?” Bea interrupted Elly, “I can’t believe I forgot to ask you ‘til now. Is mum still…well mum?”

Elly sighed at been interrupted from telling her family she didn’t need to meet someone new.

Susan nodded at Bea, smiling at both her nieces again, “Liz hasn’t changed a bit, you know that. It was still good to spend some time with her. Though Elly you’re in a bit of a pickle with Liz. I’m surprised she hasn’t been calling you the last few days non-stop.”

“God, what now?” Elly asked annoyed at her mother’s crazy controlling nature.

Susan sighed, “Why didn’t you tell Liz you and Mark had your marriage annulled and you were pregnant? Liz had no idea there was a baby when I told her that you’d been in a bit of a depression a few months ago after losing the baby.”

Elly felt deflated, “Oh…that…yeah…I meant to call her about the…Mark marriage situation…I never got around to it. Bet she’s thrilled at me after she didn’t even get an invite to the wedding. I guess straight after I lost the…I figured since Liz didn’t know I was pregnant yet as I wanted to get to the 12 weeks term before I told her…there was no point telling her I’d miscarried another baby.”

Susan reached out and ran her hand on Elly’s shoulder, “I’m sure you can make it up to Liz when she comes to visit us in a few weeks.”

Elly nearly choked on the sip of wine she’d just taken, “What? Liz is coming here…please tell me you’re joking! Liz is a train wreck who’ll come in here like a hurricane. She’s the apocalypse who will strike down on us and we’ll be left to see who survives it. I don’t want her coming to visit to judge me for the decisions that I’ve made.”

Bea shrugged in agreement with Elly, “I wouldn’t put it that dramatically but Elly has a point.”

Susan sighed, “I know you both have your issues with Liz but she’s still your mother and wants what’s best for you. Both of you. Liz was also quite concerned when I told her you’d moved out of this place, Elly, she thought you were living with Mark and then once I told her your marriage ended, she thought you were back with us. Whilst she was glad when I mentioned that Chloe and Aaron had moved from Mark’s to No. 32, she wasn’t happy to hear you are now living in the share house with Chloe.”

“And Aaron and David,” Elly added.

Susan frowned, “No, actually Liz just mentioned it was Chloe she was unhappy to hear you were living with. Even stranger it wasn’t until I mentioned your living situation that she decided she needed to come and see how you were doing. Hmm I wonder why since I know you didn’t mention your fling with Chloe to her since you didn’t mention your marriage ended and don’t worry, I would never tell Liz about your fling.”

Elly coughed for a moment, having been told by Chloe that Liz had found the Christmas card wherein Chloe had declared her love for Elly and Liz had promptly shut Chloe down from ever thinking she would be with Elly.

“I really don’t know what goes through Liz’s head,” Elly dismissed then clearing her throat, “But…ah…speaking of my living situation…I was really glad to be able to come over here this evening because I have something I need to tell--”

“Dinner’s ready!” Karl and Ned both announced interrupting Elly. Elly sighed as everybody turned their attention to handing out the food and promptly ignoring her again.

As Karl and Ned joined them at the table and they all sat down to start digging into their meals.

An hour later, Elly was as frustrated as she had ever been at her family and Ned. She had spent the entire evening trying to break into the conversations that were spiraling between the five of them with the announcement of her relationship with Chloe to no avail. It was doing her head in.

Since the meals were served, Elly had counted exactly 10 times that she had tried breaking into the conversation with her news. Even when the conversation had died out and Elly took those numerous chances of silence to start her own conversation to tell her family she had some news to tell them she was repeatedly interrupted and thwarted by her aunt, uncle, sister or Ned. They didn’t seem to pay any attention to her and their interruptions seemed to be with something trivial that the family member had insisted was important enough to interrupt her for.

Elly was close to fuming at her family for their lack of care by the time Susan and Karl collected all their dishes and took them inside. Bea finally noticed something was up, “Everything okay, Elly?”

Elly shook her head, “Do you think I could have one moment of silence from everyone to tell you all something without been interrupted?”

Not realizing how serious her older sister was about her frustration, Bea giggled, “Have you met this family? Just try and shut us for a minute…good luck.”

Elly rolled her eyes at Bea, “A little support from you Bea would make this easier.”

Elly groaned as she realized that Bea was no longer listening to her and instead had begun cannoodling with Ned.

Who knew coming out of the closet could be so difficult?

Chapter Text

Only Us

Chapter Twenty

When Susan and Karl returned from the kitchen with dessert and started serving it out to everyone, Elly looked at her watch. She was due to meet Chloe at the lake in just over half an hour and it would take her 15 minutes to walk there. Elly was still convinced that Chloe needed to know she had come out to her family before Chloe would then end things with Haley and then speak to Mark to inform him, they were in a relationship. If Elly didn’t hold up her end of the bargain then she was positive Chloe would put off those conversations and may even end things with her.

As Karl started talking about his sustainable living greenhouse in their backyard and Susan, Bea and Ned stared at him with their full attention, Elly interrupted him, “Guys, could you please give me your attention for a minute because I have something really important I need to tell you all and I need to say it to all of you at once because I can’t say this more than onc--”

“Hey, Susan, please tell me you have more servings of this dessert in the kitchen ‘cause this is incredible!” Ned interrupted.

Elly finally lost it, going rogue and taking her anger out on her sister’s boyfriend whom she had also dated more than a year ago, “Ned could you kindly shut up or piss off ‘cause you’re not really part of this family?”

“Elly!” Bea scolded her sister, “Ned is the love of my life and he is a part of this family which is why I invited him tonight so why are you asking him to piss off?”

Elly officially lost her fear and blurted out, “Because if I knew ‘love of your life’ meant part of the family and get an automatic invite to family dinner then I wouldn’t be the only one alone at this dinner, I would’ve invited Chloe to be here!”

Before Elly’s aunt, uncle, sister or Ned could form a reaction, Elly declared proudly but the frustration at her family was still evident in her tone, “I’m in love with Chloe! I’ve been trying to tell you morons all bloody evening long but you won’t give me a minute of your attention. I don’t need to meet someone new because I’ve already found her.”

When Bea opened her lips to respond to Elly’s announcement, Elly cut her off, blurting out everything she wanted her family to know and probably a few things they didn’t need to, “It wasn’t a fling, I mean at first before the wedding it was but I was just denying how I really felt. I love her. I’ve been in love with her since long before I married Mark but it took me so long to figure it out. Chloe was the only person who wanted anything to do with me after it came out that the baby wasn’t Mark’s and I know I don’t deserve forgiveness but even you guys didn’t support me. Chloe did. I realized I had been in love with her for most of this year. I fell completely in love with her for the way she selflessly supported me.”

“I went away with her to the city for a romantic getaway and it was the best weekend of my life.  Chloe took me out for the most romantic dinner and that club she took me to was a gay nightclub which is why no guys were romantically interested in me except for the guy who couldn’t take the hint that I was there with my girlfriend, Chloe. When I said I was dancing with Chloe I meant I was dancing with my girlfriend and making out with her most of the time, and believe me we did a hell of a lot more when we got back to our hotel,” Elly admitted.

“This wasn’t a new thing for Chloe and I…okay the gay nightclub was but I mean Chloe and I don’t just live in the same house. I live with her and we have a room together and share a bed together every night. Aaron and David are completely over how in love Chloe and I are. She is the most incredible lover. I’ve been dating her for nearly 3 months now and it’s taken me every single one of those days to accept that I’m in love with her and I’ve hurt her so badly the last 10 weeks hiding her away like she’s a secret,” Elly announced.

Elly continued passionately, “You have no idea how many times I nearly completely messed things up with Chloe the last 10 weeks because I was too afraid to reveal the way I feel about her. There were countless times she nearly broke it off between us because I was ashamed she’s the person who I hold in my arms, make love to and fall asleep with every night. For weeks, I literally abandoned her in the middle of the night to come home here because I was too embarrassed to spend the night with her. I didn’t want to acknowledge to anyone that I was sleeping with her for the last 10 weeks and have only just in the last month acknowledged it to Aaron and David.”

“I’ve let her date another woman casually for the last month because she could give Chloe the public displays of affection that I haven’t been able to bring myself to do. When the truth is, Chloe is the person I want to spend the rest of my life with! Even if that means a slightly shortened lifespan for it due to her diagnosis, I’m going to treasure every single day with Chloe,” Elly revealed.

After nearly a minute’s silence, Bea finally broke it, “Are you done?”

“Please tell hurricane Liz to kindly not visit me when she’s here because I will not allow her to destroy what Chloe and I have. Chloe is the best thing that has ever happened to me. If my mother has her say on my love life then I will never forgive her if she ruins my relationship just because she would rather see me in an unhappy marriage to a bloke if I’m honest I didn’t completely love so I can give her grandkids instead of being completely and utterly in love with a woman who loves me more than life itself!” Elly added.

Elly took a breath before explaining, “I could live with Liz disowning me but I’d kinda like to have your support if you could all manage it.”

Elly finally sunk down in her chair, unsure how to react to her own outbursts let alone how the rest of her family were about to react, “…Yeah I’m done.”

“Are ya sure?” Bea asked and at Elly’s nod, Bea didn’t hesitate, “So can I hug you now and tell you I am so incredibly proud of you or do you need a minute?”

Elly was surprised by Bea’s simple reaction and a few seconds later Bea stood up from her chair, moved only a few inches, standing behind Elly she lent down wrapping her arms around Elly’s collarbone and placing her head on Elly’s shoulder, “I’m so proud of you! You have every bit of my support!”

“Thanks,” Elly whispered as she then looked up to see Susan and Karl had stood up too.

Susan maneuvered herself to Elly’s other side, leaning down to place her head on Elly’s other shoulder and wrapping her arms around Elly’s body, “Elly, you don’t ever have to think I could possibly disown you for finding love with Chloe. I’m so incredibly proud of you too!”

With Bea and Susan holding onto Elly supportively, Karl managed to squeeze in between the two women behind Elly and placed his hands on both of Elly’s shoulders, “I’m glad you told us and trusted us with this, Elly. Apologies for not realizing you really did have something important to say. I’m proud of you too.”

“Really?” Elly nearly choked out as all three of her family members stood there with her, holding onto her.

Bea answered for them, “Really. I’m so glad you came to all of us and told us you’re in love with Chloe. We love you Elly and we just want to see you happy. I’m proud that Chloe is the person who makes you happy.”

As Ned sat back sitting across the table, watching the family interaction, he lent forwards and placed his hand on Elly’s, “Not that you need it but I’m proud of you too.”

Elly smiled at her ex-boyfriend, “Thanks.”

As Bea, Susan and Karl continued holding Elly, Ned grinned at the family for sticking together no matter what.

“Something on your mind, Ned?” Bea asked her boyfriend.

Ned nodded then teased his girlfriend to break up the tension, “Yeah Bea…I’m just wondering how come all I got was…’grumpy groan noise’ Ned’s my boyfriend now ‘grumpy huff noise’… Where’s your impassioned and emotional speech about how I’m the person you love, I’m an incredible lover, that you want to spend your life with me and treasure every day for the rest of your life because I love you more than life itself?”

Bea groaned, “Oh look what you’ve done, Elly! I’m never gonna live this down that the English teacher has a better way with words of expressing how in love she is than the tomboy mechanic. Way to make a statement of love! I only wished Chloe was here to hear it. Chloe is the luckiest person in the world to have you love her!”

Elly giggled gently at her sister, “After everything I’ve put Chloe through by refusing to acknowledge I had feelings for her and that I am attracted to her…I’m the luckiest girl in the world, Chloe comes in second.”

Bea pressed her lips against Elly’s cheek, “So…this gay nightclub you went to with Chloe…do they let straight girls in to support her sister with her bae? I guess I understand now why Chloe hogs all your attention but if you’ll have me, I wouldn’t mind joining you two on a night out on the town where you’re all over the woman you love and I will happily support the both of you if anyone wants to cause a fuss.”

“That sounds like a great night out, Bea. Lock it in, we’ll do it soon,” Elly agreed, before hesitating gently and addressing the group, “So you guys are all really okay with this? Me dating another woman?”

Susan squeezed Elly with affection, “I’m sorry it took you this long to come to terms with everything and tell us. We really are okay with this. We don’t care who you’re dating just as long as you’re happy. Would you like to ask Chloe to come join us for the rest of the evening? It’d be nice to spend some time with the pair of you. Ned I’m sure you’ll be happy to know there is plenty of dessert left.”

Elly sniggered as Ned fist-pumped the air, then addressed her aunt, “Can I invite Chloe over another night to have dinner with the family? I’m actually meant to be meeting her by the lake soon to let her know how this…my…coming out to you all…went. Plus, Chloe has dinner plans of her own to…uh…break things off with Hales before she’s going to Mark’s to…tell him we’re together.”

Bea bristled, “I don’t envy Chloe for that conversation with Mark. But you’ve moved on and are in love, we can only hope he accepts this news and moves on too. Hey, are you sure Hales is gay cause if she’s about to be spurned by Chloe maybe she and Mark could have some old-fashioned revenge sex and then fall madly in love with each other even though you and Chloe could care less?”

Elly smirked, “Hales is most definitely gay.”

“Do I detect that you now have a bit of gaydar?” Bea teased.

“Maybe a little, I don’t really want to label myself just yet…bisexual or maybe I’m just Chloe-sexual…I’d…Chloe and I would be really proud to have all your support over the next few days as people start finding out about us,” Elly told her family.

“You have our support, Elly,” Karl insisted.

Elly felt tears brimming in her eyes at how much love her family had for her and how scared she had been for months that they wouldn’t support her, “Thanks...I really needed to hear that. And as much as I want to stay here with you all enjoying all the love and attention...I need to head off and go meet my...girlfriend.”

"Aww you said 'girlfriend'," Bea exclaimed cutely.

Karl, Susan and Bea eventually untangled themselves from Elly and then all three individually gave her a hug. Susan reminding her niece, "We'll do dinner this week and you and Chloe can both join us properly this time."

Elly smiled, thanked her family again before heading off to meet Chloe down by the lake, texting her as she left the Kennedy's.

"I'm on my way, baby. XOX"

Karl let the other three know he was heading off to work and with the weather been so nice, Susan, Bea & Ned decided to keep hanging outside for the rest of the evening.

Elly couldn't hide the gigantic grin on her face as soon as she spotted Chloe waiting for her down by the lake. Elly rushed up to Chloe and pulled her into a hug. Chloe felt enormous relief at the smile that had been planted on her girlfriend's face.

"Did it go well?" Chloe still wanted to ask.

Elly stroked her hands down Chloe's back, "Better than I ever thought possible...I mean there was this part where I spent over an hour trying to get them to shut up about their trivial musings and pay attention to me as I had news to tell them all...and eventually I just snapped and blurted it all out to them when I got pissed off that Bea invited Ned to our family BBQ and told them if I'd known my significant other was part of their family and qualified for an invite to our family BBQ then I would've invited you to be with me. I may have overshared a little but I told them how much I love you, that we've been seeing each other for 10 weeks and that you and I will spend our lives together."

Chloe held onto Elly tightly, "And... how did they react?"

Elly finally pulled back, holding her arms around Chloe's waist, "They were amazing, they all told me they were proud of me and held me in this big family hug. They are thrilled that I found you. Oh, and Susan wants you to come over for dinner with me one night this week to see how happy you make me."

Chloe grinned up at Elly, "I'm so happy for you. I can't wait to have dinner with them."

Elly smiled, "You make me so happy. I'm so glad I found you and accepted the love you have for me. I never want to spend a day apart from you."

"Me too," Chloe agreed, before breathing deeply, "I should head off for my dinner to...I really wish we could just go straight home and start our lives together now."

Elly nodded, "I know, so do I. Two conversations and a couple of hours from now we'll get our chance to begin our lives together. Text me when you're leaving here and going to Mark's. I'll be at home waiting for you."

Chloe grinned, "I can't wait to be back there with you. I'll see you soon, Elly. I love you."

Elly kept her grip on Chloe's waist, before leaning forwards and bringing her lips to Chloe's gently for a couple seconds, "I love you too, Chloe."

The pair smiled at each other as they parted ways.

Neither noticed the figure standing in the background by a tree.

"Well now, isn't that interesting," Finn mused.

Three hours later Elly was pacing her room nervously, texting her girlfriend again for the sixth time.

"Baby, where are you? You didn't text me to say you were on the way to Mark's. XOX"

Another hour later, Elly left a fourth voicemail for Chloe, "Baby, it's me. I'm getting really worried now. Please can you call me and let me know you're okay? I texted Mark to ask if he saw you but he replied back telling me he was blocking me and he was out in his police car not at the station so I couldn't contact him. David's at the hospital and I don't want to worry Aaron yet. Where are you, Chlo?"

By 3am Elly threw her phone to the floor, luckily not smashing it as a message came up telling her she could no longer leave voicemail messages as Chloe’s mailbox was full. Picking it back up, she sent another text to her girlfriend.

"Baby, this was supposed to be our first night together, why aren't you here with me?"

Elly walked over to the photo frame of her and Chloe on the dresser, holding it to her chest, she curled up on their bed, sobbing at the thought that after everything Chloe and she had been through they were supposed to be starting their lives this evening and somehow Chloe was nowhere to be found. As her tears continued flowing, Elly eventually fell asleep alone on the bed from exhaustion.

 

This story ain't over. Chelly fandom, strap yourselves in, I'm unleashing #RampageElly on Erinsborough and #RampageElly is going to do everything possible to bring Chloe home

Chapter Text

Only Us

Chapter Twenty-One

Mark stumbled out of his bedroom in his boxer shorts to the sound of someone bashing down his front door. He looked at the clock in his kitchen - 6.50am. Ugh Mark had only been home half an hour and had about 15 minutes of sleep after his night shift as a cop. He'd woken up like he'd taken the worst nap of his life.

Opening the front door Mark groaned, "What?!"

Immediately seeing Elly standing there he barked at her, "Go away Elly!" and slammed the door in her face.

Elly continued pounding her fist against the door until Mark gave in opening it a second time, blurting out before he could say anything, "It's about Chloe!"

"Definitely not!" Mark screeched, slamming the door again in Elly's face.

Elly persisted slamming both her fists against the door, "I'm not bloody leaving Mark, let me in, it's important. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't!"

After two minutes, Mark groaned at the sound that was doing his head in, Elly had not stopped bashing at his door. Eventually he relented realizing he was never going to get back to sleep until he got rid of Elly and what she wanted from him.

This time when Mark opened the front door, he was caught off guard when Elly slammed the door into him and when he lost his balance for a brief second, Elly stormed past him into the house. Turning around to him, Elly had her hands on her hips, "Chloe's missing, she didn't come home last night!"

Mark grunted, "Chloe's an adult, Elly, she doesn't need to come home if she's gone out for the night. Now could you please get your lying ass out of my--"

"Did you not bloody hear me? Chloe is missing!" Elly screeched.

Mark grimaced at the volume of Elly's voice, "I heard you. I'm well aware that Chloe has a new girlfriend and it doesn't take a genius to work out she spent the night with her."

"No, she didn't!" Elly yelled at her ex-husband, "Chloe ended things with Hales last night."

Mark shrugged, "So what? If Chloe broke things off then she probably just went out got drunk and hooked up with some random. You know a little about hooking up with randoms, don't you, Elly? We can only hope Chloe doesn't get herself pregnant. Oh, but wait, Chloe doesn't have a husband at home, does she?"

Elly waved off Mark's insults, "Mark, you can be pissed at me all you like but I am telling you Chloe is missing! Aaron is beside himself with worry but he's staying put at our place in case she does come home whilst I do whatever it takes to bring her home. Chloe's your sister! You need to care about this!"

Mark fobbed her off, "Like Chloe cared about me when she was screwing you behind my back before our wedding!? I'm done with the both of you. Go home, Elly!"

Elly stood firm, "Get your ass out of your head, Mark! Chloe didn't come home last night and she is missing. Of all the nights in the past few months for Chloe to not come home and for it to mean something is wrong...it was last night...there is no way in the world Chloe wouldn't have come home last night unless she couldn't come home!"

Mark stood there impatiently, "What was so darn special about last night?" 

Elly breathed deeply, "Did Chloe come and see you last night before you started work?"

Mark shook his head, "Chloe didn't come and see me. I didn't know she was planning to until I got your message an hour after I started work."

Elly nodded, "Okay so Chloe went missing sometime after I saw her at the lake and in between her dinner at the Waterhole and coming back to Ramsay Street to tell you..."

Mark's eyes expressively urged Elly to continue.

Elly looked down at the floor before regaining Mark's gaze, "Chloe and I are together. I'm in love with her, Mark. We're in love and Chloe was coming here last night to tell you in person because you have a right to know."

Mark shook his head, "I don't want to know this."

"I told my family about Chloe and I last night at a family BBQ and then Chloe was going to the Waterhole to break things off with Hales before coming here to tell you about us. You're still her family, Mark, she had to tell you herself before you found out another way," Elly stated calmly.

"What? You mean like this?" Mark scoffed.

"We didn't plan for this," Elly explained.

"You didn't plan to fall in love with my sister or you didn't plan on been the one to drop this bombshell on me this morning?" Mark questioned.

"Mark I still care about you, I do, and I know that you are going to need some time with this but right now the only thing I can think about is Chloe," Elly admitted, "You know Chloe has been in love with me since Christmas. I've been dating Chloe for the past 10 weeks. I held her at a distance because I didn't want people to know I was in love with a woman but I finally accepted that I am. Can you honestly tell me that the night that Chloe and I told both our families about us...or were going to...and that we were officially going to be a couple that Chloe would just not come home to me?"

Mark breathed deeply, struggling to accept his ex-wife was in love with his sister, before he finally asked, "When did you see Chloe last?"

"Down by the lake just after 7pm, I went to tell her that my family support us been together before she was meant to go to the Waterhole for dinner with Haley to break things off with her," Elly informed him, relieved that maybe Mark believed that Chloe was missing.

Mark nodded then walked past Elly to the kitchen and put the kettle on, "It has to be 24 hours before I can report it to the station so we can't access her phone records, bank records or get the cops involved looking for her until then."

Elly was getting pissed off at her ex-husband again, "So what? I'm expected to wait another 12 hours until you do anything but make a frigging coffee? I love her, Mark, I'm not just going to sit at home for 12 hours! Do something, you're her brother!"

"I'm not on duty, I just came off the night shift, I've had 15 minutes sleep," Mark explained yawning, "Are you sure she didn't come home and curl up in her room and then leave early this morning for a work thing?"

Elly held her hands together, "Chloe and I share a bedroom together at Aaron and David's."

"Ugh," Mark groaned at the image of Elly sharing a bed with his sister. He knew Elly had moved into the household but it had never occurred to him that his ex-wife was now bedding his little sister.

Attempting to move past the image, Mark threw out, "What about Susan and Karl's? Could she be there? Mixed up signals thought you were back at Susan & Karl's BBQ?"

Elly sighed, "Why would Chloe be at Susan and Karl's? Even if she did go there, why on earth would she stay when she realized I wasn’t there? There was no miscommunication about our plans last night. Chloe was supposed to text me when she left the Waterhole and was on her way to come here to talk to you, I didn't hear from her. I sent Chloe dozens of texts and calls; she didn't answer any of them."

Mark gave in, "Fine...we'll start there. The Waterhole isn't open yet but we can go to Lassiters to track down Haley to see if Chloe made it to dinner with her."

"Great, let's go!" Elly motioned immediately walking to the front door.

"Elly, I'm in my boxers...and you haven't even noticed...maybe you really are...never mind," Mark shook his head, "Can you give me ten minutes to get changed and have a coffee?" 

"Five minutes to get changed, no coffee!" Elly challenged, "I'll be at Susan and Karl's, meet me there in 5 minutes. Do not be late or I'll go without you! I have spent far too long waiting to find the love of my life...I'm going to do anything in the world to find Chloe!"

Mark stared in the distance as Elly rushed out of his house, gritting his teeth at the knowledge his ex-wife had found the love of her life with his sister.

Elly went over to her aunt and uncle's house and was glad to see Susan in her pajamas in the kitchen. Susan was surprised to see her niece, "Elly, what are you doing here, love? You certainly make a loud entrance. Finn snuck into the house last night when we were all out in the backyard. I almost thought he didn't even come home until I heard him leave early this morning. I guess it's been a while since I've had someone living here who--"

Elly burst into tears as she walked over to her aunt, interrupting Susan, and immediately hugged Susan, "What's wrong, love?"

Elly sobbed for a minute against Susan's shoulder, "Chloe didn't come home to me last night. Chloe's missing."

"Missing?" Susan asked in shock.

Elly nodded, using her free hand to wipe away the tears from her eyes, "Chloe has to be missing, after everything we’ve been through there’s no way she wouldn’t have come home to me last night. Either that or something has happened to her. Aaron's at home waiting to see if she turns up, I'm going with Mark to track her down, find her, and bring her home to me. Can you stay here and call me if she shows up?"

Susan agreed immediately, "Of course, Elly, please call me the second you find her."

"Thanks, Susan. I'm not going to lose her now after just finding her, I'll go to the end of the world to bring her home to me," Elly declared as she started composing herself, knowing she needed to be strong and couldn't fall apart any more than she had.

Mark walked up to the front door hesitating as he overheard Elly's words about going to the end of the world to find Chloe. Breathing deeply, Mark knocked on the door lightly, wearing a pair of jeans and a light blue shirt since he wasn't on duty and couldn't just pull on his uniform and even if he was, searching for his sister would not be a task assigned to him, "You ready to go?"

Elly nodded and immediately brushed past him heading to his car.

Chapter Text

Only Us

Chapter Twenty-Two

Five minutes later Mark parked his car in the car park of the Lassiters's complex. It had been a very tense car ride with very little said until they had finally arrived and Elly had told him next time to put his foot on the accelerator and stop driving like a grandma.

Mark almost couldn't keep up as Elly rushed to the hotel and not bothering to ask permission from the front desk, Elly quickly walked down the side hallway that led to Chloe's office, Mark chasing after her. Elly arrived at Chloe's office, rushing straight into the room, nearly bowling over Haley who was just sitting down at the meeting table.

Haley exclaimed, "Give me a heart attack, Elly! I came into the office early to get some peace and quiet to get ahead of my workload after the long weekend. Not be bowled over by you running into my office."

"Where's Chloe?" Elly immediately asked.

Mark joined the pair in the office. Distracted by the new arrival, Haley left Elly's question up in the air as she glanced at Mark questioningly, "Who are you?"

Mark pulled out his police badge, hoping it would encourage Haley to talk to them, despite him been in civilian clothing, "Constable Brennan. We're trying to track down Chloe and her last known whereabouts. Right now, what we do know is Chloe went to have dinner with you last night at the Waterhole."

Haley shrugged nonchalantly, "Chloe totally flaked on me last night. Didn't even return my calls. I figured her weekend away with you, Elly, went longer and she forgot about our plans."

Elly frowned, "Chloe didn't show up at the Waterhole last night? If she didn't make it to the Waterhole...where is she?"

"What's going on, Elly?" Haley asked, now a deep concern etched in her tone.

"Chloe didn't come home to me last night," Elly announced and then let slip by accident, "If Chloe didn't turn up for your dinner, she didn't break up with you." 

Haley raised her eyebrow, "Ouch...Chloe was meeting me for dinner to break up with me...?" Then in a slightly cheerful voice, "Okay."

Mark frowned, "’Okay’? Chloe was set to break up with you and your reaction is...'okay'?"

Haley shrugged once more then leaning against the edge of the meeting table facing Elly and addressed her directly, "Give me some credit, Elly, I'm not a complete idiot. Chloe was only in a relationship with me because I was nothing more than a stop-gap dating partner until you were finally ready to admit you've been sleeping with Chloe for some time now...most definitely before I met Chloe…I'd wager a guess at around two months...and you’re in love with her."

Elly's eyes bulged at how accurate Haley was, “I…uh…well…10 weeks…I’ve been sleeping with Chloe for 10 weeks…”

Haley waved her hands in front of her, "It's been written all over your face since you moved in with Chloe. Probably before that actually. Nobody calls and texts someone all day long unless they’ve made a big stuff up in their relationship and you’re trying to win the girl back. Chloe was happy to date me and make out with me but she wouldn't even entertain sleeping with me because she clearly wasn't the type of girl who could go from my bed to yours or vice versa.”

“Right…I didn’t think it was that obvious,” Elly said softly.

Haley shrugged, “Have you been the third wheel alone in a room with the pair of you? We probably spent all of two or three nights together in the time I was dating Chloe and you two couldn’t make it less obvious if you tried. It’s the little things. The glances, the touching, the almost touching, the way you both smile at the very sight of each other. Oh, and if I needed any actual proof do you remember last week asking me if I'd seen your leather jacket that you had misplaced a couple weeks ago? What can I say? I got bored one of those evenings we all hung out together when Chloe and you were been all heart eyes at each other whilst we were watching movies and I wanted to see more of the house.”

“I don’t even think either of you noticed I went for a walk to take a breather; you were so in your own world together. You'll find the jacket on the bed of the very vacant bedroom you were supposed to move into 4 weeks ago. The bedroom you obviously haven’t stepped foot in for a while or else you would’ve found your missing jacket. Would I be correct in saying you've spent every night since you moved in to the house in Chloe's bed?" Haley needed to know.

Elly nodded, replying softly, "Yeah I have. We didn't mean to hurt you."

Haley accepted the apology, "I'm not hurt, Elly. I knew what I was getting into when I began dating Chloe, it really didn't take long to figure out you two were sleeping together and how in love with each other you are. I guess it was silly of me to not just break it off myself when I realized but Chloe is an incredible woman. There was a small part of me hoping you would never come to terms with your feelings for her and I would get the chance to eventually win her over. I hope you at least treated her well on your romantic weekend away and when she comes home, you'll love her like she deserves to be loved every day of her life."

"I will, I promise," Elly agreed, glad to have at least buried the hatchet with Haley, even though she was sick with worry if she'd ever get the chance to love Chloe every day of her life.

Haley finally looked over at Mark, who looked a little queasy, and then she realized, "Oh crap! 'Brennan'? Your Mark! Did I just totally spill the tea that your ex-wife and sister have been sleeping together for months?"

Mark clenched his jaw, "No, I found out not half an hour ago...it's going to take some time to...deal with it."

"We don't have time for that, we need to find Chloe," Elly reminded her ex-husband, her mind now completely focused on bringing Chloe home to her, "If Chloe left the lake and then didn't make it to the Waterhole...it's a 2 to 3-minute walk away. What could've happened to her?" 

"Was there anyone down by the lake when you met up with her?" Mark asked.

Elly shook her head, "I was a little too wrapped up in... well...Chloe to notice. Someone must have hurt her? Chloe wouldn't just disappear like this especially last night of all nights."

As the three stood there deep in thought, Haley finally piped up, "What about that psycho ex of yours, Elly? Before you moved in with Chloe, you were so worried he was going to hurt her. You even suggested Chloe and you move in together to a place of your own so that guy would never be able to track you down and hurt Chloe."

Elly's eyes lit up, "Finn! How did I not see it 'til now? When I went to tell her Chloe was missing, Susan was muttering something about Finn sneaking into the house last night whilst her, Bea and Ned were still outside at the BBQ and he snuck out again early this morning! I wasn't bloody listening to Susan and she was practically telling me Finn's been acting suspiciously on the very night that Chloe went missing."

Mark looked at Elly questioningly, "You really think Finn, the guy who is recovering from a long stint been comatose, is an amnesic and lives with your family could do something to Chloe?"

Elly nodded with certainty, "This is exactly what Finn would do to hurt me! Amnesic my ass! He's been faking it this whole time! It got him out of a jail sentence and close to me, Bea and Susan."

“It’s not a lot to go on,” Mark pointed out, still unsure if Elly was right about her ex, then relenting, “Do you have any idea where he might be?”

Elly shook her head sadly, completely beginning to blame herself if Finn had hurt Chloe.

“Why don’t you and I head down to the lake, Elly, to see if there are any signs of a struggle? Or see if we can spot Chloe’s phone or anything of hers left there?” Mark suggested, as he began leaving the office.

Elly followed him immediately, then popped her head back in the door frame, “Thanks, Hales…I might never have had the chance to find Chloe without your idea.”

Haley waved Elly off, watching as the brunette hurried down the hallway.

A couple minutes later as they walked down towards the lake, Mark suddenly veered away from the lake towards Harold’s Café.

Mark huffed, “I’m tired, Elly, I haven’t slept since yesterday arvo, I just need a coffee and then we’ll go to the lake.”

Elly was frustrated at Mark, “We’re wasting time and don’t have any real clue where Finn could be or what he’s done with Chloe.”

Mark shrugged, “It’ll take 3 minutes, I don’t think that’ll make a difference to our plan to track down Finn. We don’t even have any proof whatsoever that Finn is involved in this.”

“Are you kidding me? Of course Finn is involved in this,” Elly insisted, then groaning in frustration, “This is just like that bloody movie Karl accidentally took Finn to see a month back and they had to leave halfway through the movie ‘cause the romantic comedy drama took a swift bloody turn and turned into a thriller drama when the leading man kidnapped the girl he was obsessed with. I bet you anything Finn went back and watched that movie numerous times… Not that Finn is the leading man in this scenario and it’s not Chloe that he’s obsessed with, it’s me! And Finn wants to hurt Chloe to get to me!”

Mark shook his head with confusion, “I have no clue what you’re going on about but when we do track down Finn, we need to talk to him in a reasonable fashion before we immediately blame him for Chloe not coming home last night. Got it? Innocent until proven guilty, remember? You know what, I’ll do the talking; you just stay quiet and let me handle it.”

“You really are a stubborn man, I’m glad Chloe doesn't treat me like that,” Elly huffed.

Mark ignored his ex-wife’s barb, opening the door of the café and instead of allowing Elly to enter in front of him, Mark pushed in front of her to enter the café straight away, showing that chivalry was dead to him when it came to Elly.

Mark immediately went to the counter, "Hi Dipi, can I get a coffee? Pronto if you wouldn't min--"

Mark was cut off and turned around when he heard Elly screech, "Where is she, Finn? What have you done to her?"

Mark realized he'd walked straight past Finn sitting in one of the booths in the cafe. Elly had spotted him immediately, rushed up to him and grabbed him by the collar of his shirt, accosting him over Chloe’s disappearance.

Chapter Text

Only Us

Chapter Twenty-Three

Mark hustled over to Elly and Finn, as he now also became aware that a number of their neighbours were in the cafe staring at Elly accosting Finn. Dipi and Shane were both behind the counter. Amy and Leo were having breakfast together. Terese was sipping on a coffee at another table.

Mark attempted to pull Elly off of Finn but Elly scrapped at Finn holding onto his shirt tightly, refusing to let Mark break them up. Elly’s nails began scrapping against Finn’s skin near his throat but he didn’t cry out in any kind of pain.

"What have you done to her?" Elly demanded again.

"Her who?" Finn asked feigning innocence as he tried to get Elly's hands off the collar of his shirt.

Elly now had Mark's hands on her torso trying to pull her off of Finn but she wasn't to be dissuaded, least of all for the reason that she didn't like her ex-husband's hands on her body, and stomped her heel straight onto his toes, crushing them with what strength she did have. Mark released her as he hobbled back for a moment.

Elly yelled at Finn, "Chloe! She went missing last night. What did you do to her? I know it was you, Finn! Where's Chloe? I want her back, Finn, do you hear me? I will kill you if I find out you've hurt my Chloe!"

By this stage, Leo had stood up and as Mark moved around to place himself in between Elly and Finn, Leo approached Elly with a little more stealth than Mark did. Both men worked to break up the scrap, Leo pulling Elly back and held his arm around her waist as she continued fighting him to have another go at Finn. Mark now stood in front of Finn, blocking Elly's arms as she reached out trying to grab hold of Finn once more.

"I didn't do anything," Finn insisted.

"The hell you didn't! Let go of me, Leo, I'm going to kill him for taking Chloe!" Elly demanded.

Leaving Finn in the booth, Mark shifted forwards to reach out to Elly again but she promptly kicked him in the shin, hoping it would get him away from been in between her and Finn so she could have another go at Finn.

Trying his best not to be deterred, Mark finally yelled at his ex-wife, "Let me be the one to question Finn. You can't just threaten to kill him, Elly."

Elly refused to stop fighting Leo, continuing to try and break his hold on her so she could get her hands on Finn again to knock him upside the head.

Mark turned back to Finn, "Finn, we’re aware you went out for a walk down by Lassiters last night. Did you see my sister in the complex or down by the lake?"

Finn shook his head, lying to Mark, "I barely know the girl, I've met her once...blonde...long hair...pretty right?"

"You do not get to call her 'pretty' you psycho!" Elly screeched at him, "Would you get off me, Leo? Let me at him! I'll find out what he did to her!"

"What's going on, Mark?" Terese finally intervened, concerned for her PA.

Mark stared down at Finn, "Elly has told me Chloe didn't go home last night. Elly last saw her down by the lake just after 7pm and thinks since Finn was sneaking in and out of the Kennedy's last night that he's involved."

Finn once more claimed, "Why would I do anything to Elly's friend? I mean sure she's a stunner and I'd go there with her in a heartbeat--"

"That's my girlfriend you're talking about you psychopath!" Elly raged, inadvertently outing herself to a cafe full of their friends as well as strangers but at this point, she really didn't care, "What did you do to her? Where is she, Finn? Tell me now or else I'm gonna make you hurt for what you've done to my love!"

All of Elly's friends raised their eyebrows at this news, then nodded to one another that well obviously Elly wouldn't be on the rampage against Finn if the former school teacher didn't care so much about Chloe.

Finn shrugged without giving an answer.

"Where is Chloe?" Elly yelled out one more time.

Finn smirked, "I'm not saying that I do know...but if I did...maybe you'll find her where you should be..."

"What the hell does that mean?" Elly asked in confusion.

At that point, two of Mark's colleagues at the police station came into the cafe for a coffee before their shift. Mark immediately pulled them aside, asked them to haul Finn down to the station to question him as he believed Finn could be involved with his sister disappearing even though she hasn't been missing the required length of time for an investigation to be opened but obviously Mark couldn't be part of formerly questioning Finn.

Elly launched herself at Finn one more time, but Leo continued holding her back, "Where have you taken her?"

Out of earshot from the police, Finn leaned towards Elly, whispering, "Don't worry, Elly, you'll find her where you belong."

This set Elly off once more, as she scrapped against Leo, "If you hurt her, I swear to God Finn you're a dead man!" 

Mark led Finn over to the cops and they escorted him out of the cafe.

Once Finn was gone, Mark, took Elly by the arm, indicating to Leo to let her go, "They'll question him and get the truth from him, Elly. They'll call me as soon as they get the answer. Let's just go outside and calm down for a minute."

Elly turned around and shoved Leo in the chest, pushing him backwards, then addressing both him and Mark, "If either of you had the balls you would've let me at him and find out what he did."

Elly stormed away out of the cafe. Dipi held up Mark's coffee that he ordered but he waved it away, "Sorry, Dipi, I gotta go after her."

Mark went after Elly, and was surprised when he found her storming back to his car instead of chasing after Finn to the police station. Catching up to Elly, Mark wanted to calm her down but didn't know how, he'd never seen Elly so out of control with rage before, "We'll find her, okay?"

Standing in front of the car, Elly turned to Mark, "I felt like Finn was trying to tell me where he took her but I can't figure out what he meant."

"Well that's a good thing, maybe nothing too bad has happened to Chloe and she's perfectly fine but he's just left her somewhere without her phone or belongings and she's trying to come home. Finn is doing this to mess with you, Elly," Mark tried to reassure, "What was it that Finn said to you?"

Elly sighed, "Finn said he took her where I 'should be' and where I 'belong'. What am I supposed to make of that?"

"I don't know," Mark answered, "But I do think Finn wanted you to figure it out so I'm sure that means Chloe is fine."

"I just want to talk to her," Elly whispered before shaking off the thought and trying to work out the meaning of Finn's cryptic clue, "Where would Finn want me to be? Where does he remember me been that I'm not anymore?"

"The Kennedy's, Erinsborough School, Sydney...? No not Sydney...okay let's think rationally...Finn's only just managing to walk again properly, he's not driving yet, and he did go back to the Kennedy's at some stage last night before everyone went to bed. There's only so many places he could've taken her within the space of an hour or two. Plus, Chloe was at the complex, there are people all over the place and Chloe is a fighter and would've fought against him," Mark replied calmly.

"An hour or two, are you kidding me Mark? Finn could've taken her anywhere in that time. Just because he can't drive doesn't mean he didn't get a taxi or uber to take her someplace," Elly stressed.

"An uber is the easiest way for him to be tracked and a taxi...okay yeah I guess if he paid cash but taxis all have cameras everywhere in them. It might take some time to track down any taxis that were in the Lassiters complex area but be reasonable Elly, Chloe wouldn't have gone willingly..." Mark trailed off not wanting to think about what that meant.

"Great, so Finn probably knocked Chloe out to get her to go with him, is that what you're saying?" Elly asked, her heart beat racing at the thought of Chloe been hurt.

Mark continued trying to calm Elly and make her see reason in the idea of Finn taking Chloe anywhere in a taxi, "You think a taxi driver wouldn't think it was suspicious that a guy gets into his taxi with an unconscious woman?"

"The cliff!" Elly suddenly shouted.

"What?" Mark asked in confusion.

"The cliff!" Elly repeated, "Finn took Chloe to where I belong and where I should be. Finn tried to hurt me at the cliff but was pushed off the edge by Susan and it put him in a coma. What if he wants to do the same to Chloe only instead of a coma she'll be...?"

"What did I tell you about thinking rationally, Elly? That's insane," Mark declared, "You think a taxi driver would let a white male in his thirties take a possibly unconscious woman to the national park and not report that?"

Elly posited, "Finn could be driving for all we know, this whole amnesia thing could be one whole big act and he's been planning on taking his revenge on me. I don't want to be right about this, Mark. I want Chloe to be safe and at home with me. I want her to be at the Kennedy's hanging out with my family because to me she is my family. I want to spend every day with her and make her see how much I love her...I know that's hard for you to hear."

Mark nodded but didn't respond, he didn't know how to, he wasn't ready to give Elly and Chloe his blessing and he wasn't sure he ever could.

"I know this is a ridiculous idea that Finn would take Chloe to the cliff but I have no other ideas of where else he could take her and Finn wanted to kill Susan, Bea, Xanthe and I when we were there the last time so that is what I am taking his cryptic clues to mean that he thinks I 'belong' there. Please Mark, it's nearly an hour away, can we just start driving out there until you hear from the cops after they find out what Finn has to say?" Elly pleaded with her ex-husband.

Mark gave in, "Fine...we've got nothing else to go on."

"And can you actually put your foot on the accelerator this time? I'd like to get there before sunset," Elly insisted.

"It's not even 8am and the cliff is an hour away," Mark pointed out.

"Exactly, the way you drive we really will be there by sunset," Elly rolled her eyes, "How’d you pass your policeman test when they made you lead an example of a police car chase?"

Mark rolled his eyes back at Elly as the pair both got in his car. Elly chewed on her lip trying to hope she was wrong about where Finn took Chloe.

Forty minutes later, Mark hung up his call from his colleague. He'd taken it via his blue tooth ear piece as he wasn't sure if it was anything distressing that Elly could hear from a stranger.

Elly stared at Mark impatiently, until he finally answered her unspoken question, "Finn asked for a lawyer as soon as they took him in for questioning so they haven't gotten anything out of him yet." 

"Are you kidding me!? Finn with a history of trying to kill people gets out of been questioned over the disappearance of my girlfriend until a lawyer arrives? If he was so innocent, he wouldn't need a lawyer," Elly blasted out in frustration.

"Toadie's on the case. Shane called him as soon as we left the cafe just in case Finn requested to speak to a lawyer. Toadie's just...he'll be at the police station in just over half an hour...he had to drop Nell off at school first and Hugo at daycare...Shane tried to get the day off work to mind Hugo and sort out Nell but it didn't work out...Toadie's struggling a bit been a single Dad, okay. He'll be there as soon as he can and we'll get the answer out of Finn," Mark reassured.

Elly sighed, trying not to feel frustrated that Toadie was delaying Finn been questioned, "I know I can’t possibly get what Toadie is going through but we're nearly at the national park and you know we're going to lose phone reception when we head towards the cliff so we're going to be out there not knowing the answer for a while."

"We'll find her," Mark insisted.

Ten minutes later, Mark parked in the car park for the national park, feeling proud of himself for getting there quickly but realizing how selfish that would make him if he pointed it out, "How far is it to the cliff?"

"Twenty-minute walk, fifteen minutes if I run it," Elly answered immediately hopping out of the car.

"Have you told anyone we're out here?" Mark asked as he joined her.

Elly shook her head. Mark pulled out his phone and started typing a message to Susan and Bea but huffed halfway through when Elly didn't wait for him and started jogging up one of the pathways away from him.

Finishing the message quickly, Mark told them, "With Elly at national park near cliff trying to find Chloe, think Finn is involved and took her here, will lose phone reception."

Putting his phone back in his pocket, Mark took off chasing down Elly.

Chloe grimaced as she regained consciousness, "Elly?"

Chloe frowned as she blinked a few times, feeling a pain in the back of her head. Reaching out she felt a ginormous bruise there, "Ow."

Sitting up, Chloe frowned again, "Where the hell am I...? I feel like I know this place but..."

"Ow," Chloe repeated as she looked around and realized she was in a bedroom, "What the hell…? Please tell me I didn’t get drunk, end up at Hales’ place and shack up with her…I’ve never seen her bedroom before…Elly will never forgive me."

Chloe got up, wondering how she was meant to explain whatever this was to Elly. Exiting the room, she felt a weird sense of familiarity with the place but couldn't quite work out where she was. Walking down a hallway, stumbling a little and holding her hand against the back of her head.

Chloe was incredibly confused when she started to make out the living area of the house she was in but felt a sense of relief that she hadn’t shacked up with Haley. Instead she was at least safe and would be able to see Elly soon when she saw Susan standing in the kitchen.

Huh…that must have been Elly’s old room I was in. What the bloody hell am I doing at the Kennedy's house?

Chapter Text

Only Us

Chapter Twenty-Four

“Ow,” Chloe winced again as she held her hand against the back of her head as she stood at the end of the hallway in the Kennedy’s house.

Susan looked up at the sound and was shocked to see Chloe standing there, “Chloe! What are you doing here, love?”

“Ow,” Chloe complained at the bruise on her head once more, then addressing Susan, “I got no clue and was hoping you could tell me. Where’s Elly?”

Chloe let out a sharp breath when she suddenly saw Bea jumping up from the couch in the living room as both her and Susan rushed to Chloe’s side.

“Elly’s gone on the rampage looking for you, Chloe,” Bea answered.

“What? Why?” Chloe asked as Bea and Susan both reached her.

Bea and Susan both took Chloe by the shoulder and led her over to the couch to sit down.

“You didn’t return home last night and Elly has been fraught with worry over what happened to you,” Susan answered.

“Because you’re here…why are you here and where have you been since you got here?” Bea asked.

Chloe shrugged, “Don’t look at me, Bea. I have no idea how I got here…I think I was in Elly’s old bedroom when I woke up… Ow… Where’s Elly?”

Bea and Susan suddenly acknowledged that Chloe was holding the back of her head. Susan reached out to gently pull Chloe’s hand away before placing her own hand where Chloe’s had been.

“That’s a nasty bruise you have there. Bea can you get an ice pack from the freezer? Then can you wake up Karl, he only got back from his shift at the hospital an hour ago. I think he needs to check Chloe out,” Susan replied quietly.

Bea quickly grabbed the ice pack, wrapping it in a hand towel, then after handing it to Susan, got distracted by her phone as she tried making a call.

As she groaned in frustration when the call didn’t go through, Bea explained to the pair, “Elly’s phone isn’t connecting through, she must already have lost reception out there. Let me try Mark’s phone and then I’ll get Karl. I know it’s important for Chloe to be checked out but right now it’s more important that Elly knows Chloe is okay. I can only imagine how much she’s suffering after the way she was this morning when she saw you, Suse.”

“Lost reception? Mark? Elly’s suffering? What is going on?” Chloe asked Susan as Bea walked away from them and dialed Mark’s number.

Susan placed the ice pack against the back of Chloe’s head and let Chloe hold it in place, “You didn’t come home last night. Elly was completely destroyed by the idea that something had happened to you and you went missing. Elly went to Mark to help track you down. We got a message from Mark, something about Finn might been involved in this and they thought Finn had taken you up to the cliff that I…”

Chloe shook her head in confusion.

Bea groaned once more in frustration, “Mark’s phone isn’t connecting either, I’ve left him a message that Chloe’s here, hopefully they get the message soon and get back here quick smart. I’ll go get Karl.”

After Bea left, Susan sat down next to Chloe, “What do you remember last? Do you know if Finn was involved in this?”

“I think I remember seeing Elly down by the lake but…I don’t know what we talked about. I don’t know if Finn did this to me…I mean I don’t see any other way of me been bought back here to your place and Elly’s old room…but I don’t remember seeing Finn,” Chloe revealed before asking, “Why would Elly think Finn took me up to the cliff?”

Susan shrugged her shoulders, “Elly was completely distraught when you didn’t come home last night. She didn’t hesitate to go to Mark to help find you despite the bitterness between Mark and the both of you. The desperation I saw in Elly this morning to do whatever it took to bring you home…I’ve never seen that before. I don’t know why Elly thought Finn took you to the cliff…it’s a little on the insane side of ideas…but you gotta admire the absolute rampage Elly’s been on to do anything to bring you home to her. She loves you.”

Chloe’s eyes widened, not realizing that she didn’t remember her conversation with Elly down by the lake before she’d been knocked out, “Elly told you about us?”

Susan nodded, “Yes, she did. Elly went to meet you by the lake last night to tell you that we all support her and the two of you and your relationship. You love Elly too, right?”

Chloe nodded back, “Of course. I have this painful throbbing bruise on the back of my head but Elly’s still the only thing on my mind right now. Can you drive me out there to find her?”

“I think we’re gonna need to take you to the hospital, Chloe,” Susan pointed out, “But I promise we will keep trying to contact Elly and let her know you’re safe.”

Karl and Bea wondered out to the living room. Karl yawned but began checking Chloe’s bruise on the back of her head.

Bea sighed, “I still can’t believe Finn could hit you over the head, Chloe, and then bring you back here and just leave you alone in Elly’s old room. What if you hadn’t woken up? When was the last time any of us went into Elly’s old room? What like once a week to keep the room tidy instead of gathering dust?”

“We don’t need to worry about that,” Susan reassured, “But if I find out Finn did do this, he is gonna be out on the street homeless quick smart and his non-custodial sentence should be revoked.”

Chloe smiled at Susan and the support she was been given by Elly’s family. Karl informed them all Chloe needed to go to hospital and asked Susan to drive since he was too tired. Bea suddenly realized Aaron was back at his place worried about Chloe and headed over to let him know Chloe had been found and to bring him to the hospital to meet up with them there once Chloe had been examined.

Back in the National Park, Mark was still trailing behind Elly by a small distance, “Elly, would you slow down? This is completely insane that we’re running up to a cliff face because you think Finn might have bought her here!”

Elly finally slowed down from a jogging pace to a fast walking pace. She craned her neck back to Mark, “You don’t think I know that? How insane this is? But I can’t just give up, Mark, if there is even the miniscule chance of Chloe been here…I have to find her. I can’t stand this feeling that is overwhelming me and telling me to do whatever it takes to bring Chloe home to me because I can’t imagine living my life without her, Mark.”

Mark finally caught up to Elly and remained at pace with her, “You never did this for me.”

Elly looked at him questioningly but didn’t respond.

Mark eventually huffed, “When I was selfish and took off to Silverton before the wedding…when I sent you that text to cancel the wedding…it was Aaron and Chloe calling me telling me to call you and come home. It was Aaron who came chasing after me to bring me home. You didn’t even attempt to come with Aaron to find me. What you’re doing now…this complete desperation to bring Chloe home and do whatever it takes to…you never did this for me.”

“No, I never did…I didn’t feel the need to bring you home the way I have to bring Chloe home,” Elly admitted, “I did love you, Mark, but it was nothing compared to the way I feel about Chloe now. I’m sorry.”

Mark breathed deeply, “You really do love her?”

“Yes, I do, and Chloe loves me too,” Elly confirmed, “Are you going to come to terms with it?”

“I still need time,” Mark decided, then sighed as they reached the top of the cliff, “Chloe’s not here, I guess it was just a crazy idea that Finn would bring her up here. We should head straight back, Toadie and Finn should’ve spoken to my colleagues by now, we should at least know something.”

Elly panicked as she stood on the cliff, “What if Finn threw her off the edge like Susan did to him?”

Mark swallowed deeply, “Finn wouldn’t do that…I’m sure Chloe’s fine…”

“We came all this way, I have to know,” Elly replied quietly, “Please can you just have a look over the edge and tell me Chloe’s not down there…I can’t do it myself…I don’t know how I’ll cope if she’s…”

Mark wanted to hold Elly to comfort her through her distress but he knew it was no longer his place.

Mark sighed, “Okay…I’ll check…to be sure. Chloe won’t be down there; I promise you that.”

Mark walked further along the cliff but stopped before reaching the edge, he didn’t know how to keep going in case he was about to find any sign of Chloe.

“Mark, I need to know,” Elly insisted, then standing back and watching Mark’s hesitation, realized quietly, “You don’t want Chloe to be hurt, do you?”

Mark shook his head, agreeing with Elly, “I want Chloe to be safe.”

Elly continued watching him, standing still unable to move forward, “Mark, you need to forgive Chloe for sleeping with me before the wedding.”

“Why?” Mark asked gruffly.

“Because you want Chloe to be safe and you don’t want to find her down there. When we find her wherever she is…not at the bottom of this cliff…and bring her home safe and sound, you need to acknowledge that you don’t want anything bad to happen to Chloe and you need to be part of Chloe’s life. I know you don’t give us your blessing and you’re never going to forgive me for what I did after the wedding lying to you about the baby but you and Chloe deserve a chance to fix things between you. You need to forgive her, okay?” Elly told him gently.

Mark closed his eyes for a moment, letting a moment of clarity fall over him as he realized deep down Elly was right, “I’ll forgive Chloe.”

Acknowledging his forgiveness to himself, Mark finally stepped further along the cliff and took a deep breath before glancing down.

“Chloe’s not here,” Mark finally confirmed.

Elly let out a deep breath, “Thank God.”

Mark stepped back from the edge of the cliff and walked back to Elly, “Do you have the energy to run back to the car or do you want to walk it?”

“Run, it’ll be easier going downhill and I’m desperate to find out if Finn has finally talked to the cops. I need to find her,” Elly answered.

With that, Elly immediately turned around and took off down the pathway, letting Mark follow her.

As Elly and Mark finally made it back to Mark’s car at the bottom of the national park, their phones both immediately blew up with notifications of messages, voicemails and missed calls.

Elly stared at Mark before telling him, “I need you to check your phone and tell me she’s okay. I can’t hear it if she’s not.”

Mark nodded, pulled out his phone and immediately saw Bea’s number had come up numerous times, made a call to Bea, who picked up almost immediately, “Bea, I haven’t checked your messages, what’s happening?”

“Chloe’s fine, we found her at our place, Finn must have knocked her out, bought her back to our place to sleep it off and didn’t tell anybody. We just got to hospital, doctors are checking her out, it was a pretty brutal blow,” Bea instantly revealed, “Are you on your way back here? How’s Elly?”

“We’ll be on our way,” was all Mark could manage to answer with as he hung up the phone, relieved Chloe was safe.

Elly stared at Mark, seeing the look of relief wash over him, but needed to hear him say the words that Chloe had been found and was safe.

Mark nodded at Elly calmly, “Chloe’s safe.”

“Really?” Elly asked seeking more assurance.

“Bea’s at the hospital with her, Chloe took a blow to the head but she’s okay. Finn took her back to the Kennedy’s last night and left her there without telling anyone. I guess that was the crazy cryptic clue Finn was trying to give you…you belong at the Kennedy’s and shouldn’t have moved out to live with Chloe. Hell, if I know how anyone was meant to figure that one out. I should take you to the hospital now to see her,” Mark told Elly.

“Really?” Elly asked, still not believing Chloe was okay.

“Yes, really, Chloe’s safe, Bea wouldn’t lie about this,” Mark whispered softly.

Elly closed her eyes, finally feeling like she could breathe again, “Thank God…I don’t know how I could’ve lived another day without her.”

“Let’s get you to the hospital so you can see Chloe safe and sound with your own two eyes,” Mark insisted, leading Elly to the car.

“Thanks, Mark…sorry I went all crazy thinking Finn bought Chloe up here and threw her off a cliff,” Elly apologised.

As the pair got in the car, Mark nodded his head at Elly, “Crazy, yes…but you promised you’d do anything in the world to track Chloe down…you didn’t disappoint.”

Chapter Text

Only Us

Chapter Twenty-Five

“Thanks, Toadie,” Mark said to his friend as he hung up the phone via his ear piece.

Mark glanced at Elly as they were driving to the Erinsborough Hospital, “Finn has confessed to attacking Chloe last night and hitting her over the head. Police will get a statement from her at the hospital and he’ll be charged with it. He took her back to the Kennedy’s house as according to Toadie, he panicked and didn’t know what to do or how to tell anyone what he’d done. Apparently, he’s claiming he just snapped and lashed out at Chloe without reason.”

Mark continued, “Finn managed to talk a taxi driver into taking them to the Kennedy’s, even though Chloe was unconscious. Finn told him his girlfriend was drunk and had passed out. He managed to pull out Chloe’s driver’s license from her purse to prove he was taking her home and then the taxi driver waited outside the house to make sure Finn had keys to let her inside…but he must have failed to check the street number of the house matched the house Finn pointed to when they arrived on the street. Finn’s a sneaky bastard.”

“Will Finn serve jail time for this?” Elly asked, shaking her head and still feeling responsible for letting her psycho ex hurt her girlfriend.

“Toadie’s not sure at this stage but I’m sure you’ll at least be happy to know Toadie spoke to Susan and Finn’s belongings will be on her front lawn when she gets home from the hospital. Toadie’s informed Finn he needs to find somewhere else to stay. It could affect the conditions of his non-custodial sentence if he can’t find a new place. Bet Finn didn’t think of that consequence when he was busy knocking Chloe out and dragging her to Susan and Karl’s. He’ll be out of your lives for good after this, no more chances,” Mark informed Elly.

“I’m glad to hear that,” Elly replied.

“Chloe’s not going to blame you for this, you know,” Mark reassured as he pulled his car into the hospital visitors drop off zone.

“I think I still need to hear Chloe say it to believe that because at the end of the day it’s my fault Finn was in our lives,” Elly breathed deeply, then noticing where Mark had parked his car, “You’re not coming in to see Chloe?”

Mark shook his head, “I said I’d drop you off here. You can get a lift back with your family. Go on…you’ve been running around on the rampage and anxious as hell over what has happened to Chloe all morning long…what are you waiting for?”

“Yeah, you’re right, I’m going insane right now wanting to run into that hospital to find her and make sure Chloe is perfectly fine,” Elly admitted.

“Then go,” Mark instructed.

Elly sat back in the car seat, “Not without you. C’mon, Mark, don’t be an idiot. Chloe will want to see you; you want to see her. I heard what you said up there on the cliff. You forgive her for cheating with me before the wedding…so let’s go park this car in the actual car park and both go in to see her so you can tell her that you forgive her.”

Mark relented, “You go in and see Chloe now, I’ll go park the car and join you in a bit…they’ll probably only allow one of us in at a time to see her and I’m obviously not going to jump that queue in front of you so go on…get in there and make sure she’s safe…I’ll be there in a few minutes.”

“I’m promising Chloe you’ll be there to see her so you better not drive off and not come in to see her, got it?” Elly insisted before she gave in and jumped out of the car and rushed into the hospital.

Elly ran through the hospital until she came upon Aaron, Bea, Susan and Karl in the waiting area in front of one of the hospital rooms.

“Where is she?” Elly immediately approached them.

“Chloe’s in that room, the doctor is checking her out and should be done in a minute. The doctor wants us to stay out here until he’s finis--” Aaron began explaining before Elly ignored him and rushed into the hospital room to be with Chloe.

“Maybe you could’ve led with the doctor wants us to stay out here first, Aaron,” Bea pointed out.

Elly ran into the hospital room, slamming the door behind her and before Chloe or the doctor could barely react to the intrusion, Elly ran over to Chloe and wrapped her arms around her. Chloe was lying in the hospital bed, and her left arm immediately snaked around Elly’s hips as she pulled her girlfriend close to her.

Elly pressed her lips against Chloe’s forehead, then lent her head against Chloe’s, trying to fight back the tears brimming her eyes at the mere sight of Chloe been in a hospital bed.

“Uh…hello,” the doctor greeted the rude intrusion of Elly.

“She’s with me. Trust me, I know you doctors like to treat patients without family around but you never would’ve stopped her from been here,” Chloe stated, before pointing out to Elly, “Babe, head injury, maybe don’t lean your head against mine.”

“Right, sorry,” Elly apologised, pulling her head back, but still did not let go of the grip her arms had around Chloe’s body. Addressing the doctor, “Will she be okay?”

The doctor sighed, “I’m sure if you give us two more minutes we’ll be done here and Chloe will be able to let her friends kno—”

Elly immediately cut in, “I’m family, not a friend. Tell me what’s happening, I’m not waiting two minutes. I’ve spent more than 14 hours panicking over what happened to my girl, I need to know she’ll be alright.”

“Fine,” the doctor relented, gently smiling at the warmth between the pair as they held one another, “I want to do a couple more tests later this afternoon but it looks like Chloe will be perfectly fine,” then addressing Chloe, “You’re staying over in hospital for at least one night to make sure your symptoms don’t recur. I’ll go get the paperwork started for your stay and organise the tests.”

“Thanks, doc,” Chloe replied, “Any chance you can ask my family to just give us a few minutes before they bust in here?”

The doctor nodded and left the room.

Elly let several tears roll down her cheeks as she pressed her lips against Chloe’s forehead once more then immediately curled up on the bed next to Chloe.

“I’m going to be fine, Elly,” Chloe whispered as she fell into Elly’s embrace next to her on the bed.

“I was so worried, you have no idea,” Elly replied, leaning her head against Chloe’s shoulder.

Chloe reached her right hand out and placed it across their bodies on Elly’s hip, then told Elly softly, “I do, actually, I heard a crazy story that you were a little bit more than worried and thought Finn was going to throw me off a cliff. You’re insane.”

“I’m insane,” Elly confirmed.

 

“But I still love you,” Chloe reassured.

 

“But you still love me,” Elly felt thankful, “Any chance we can never speak of this again?”

Chloe smiled before kissing Elly’s cheek, “It’s nice to know just how much you missed me.”

Elly held Chloe gently, “Are you kidding? I felt like I couldn’t survive in this world without you. I love you so much and had to do anything to bring you back to me…even if it meant going insane and thinking Finn threw you off a cliff and running up there as quick as I could. I’m so sorry Finn hit you and took you away from me for a night. I knew he was dangerous but he could’ve killed you and it all would’ve been my fault. If I had never gotten involved with him back in Sydney he never would’ve come here and then he never--”

Chloe shook her head, “Elly, stop, sweetie, none of this is your fault. I’m safe, Finn will be charged later today and we’ll never have to worry about him again. I know last night was meant to be the start of our lives together but looks like you’ll have to go one more night without me and then we won’t ever spend a night apart.”

Elly kissed Chloe softy, “Yeah, I’m not going anywhere tonight. I’m staying right here next to you. I’ll fight anyone who refuses to let me. Our life together starts right now. You not coming home to me last night was enough for me to realize how much you mean to me. I love you, Chloe, and I’m not spending any time away from you.”

“I love you, too, Elly, and if you can convince the nurses that you’re not leaving then I don’t want you sleeping anywhere else but next to me tonight,” Chloe agreed, kissing Elly gently before passionately deepening the kiss.

Outside in the waiting area, Aaron was surprised when Mark entered and immediately went up to him and pulled him into a quick brotherly hug, “Thanks for going out there trying to find her.”

Mark pulled out of the hug, “Didn’t really achieve anything, Chloe was at the Kennedy’s the entire time…technically it was the first place I suggested to Elly that she could be. Would’ve saved a lot of heartache if Elly had have listened to me.”

Aaron raised his eyebrow questioningly.

Mark tipped his head, “Right…this is not the situation to ever give anyone an ‘I told you so’.”

Ignoring that, Aaron insisted, “It’ll mean something to Chlo that you tried, after all this time of not been in her life.”

“I guess we’ll see,” Mark replied, “I should…Elly insisted that I go in and see Chloe.”

“Oh…Elly’s already in there and…um…the thing is…Elly and…Chloe are…well…they’re…” Aaron struggled to find a way to prepare Mark for what he might find between the pair, not sure if Elly had been brave enough to come clean about her relationship with Chloe.

Mark raised his eyebrow, deciding to let off a little tension and let his younger brother squirm, curious to see how long he could hold out on telling him about Chloe and Elly, “Elly and Chloe are…?”

Aaron fumbled, “Well…they are…um…”

Mark gave in quickly and decided to let Aaron out of his misery, “Elly and Chloe have been shacking up at your place together for some time now…nice of you to not tell me, bro.”

Aaron let out of breath of relief, “Elly told you?”

Mark nodded, “Yeah…Elly kinda had too to make me understand how worried she was about Chloe not coming home last night.”

“Are you okay with it?” Aaron asked quietly.

“Not even remotely…but with some time…maybe one day I’ll…right now all I can do is be thankful Chloe’s safe…the rest of it…that’ll have to wait for another time,” Mark decided as he left Aaron and entered Chloe’s hospital room.

Upon entering the hospital room, Mark immediately regretted his decision finding Elly lying next to Chloe on the hospital bed and the couple making out with one another, “Duh…”

Elly and Chloe pulled apart from one another but Elly remained lying next to Chloe on the hospital bed, looking completely calm and blissful in her embrace with Chloe, not at all embarrassed to have been caught kissing her girlfriend.

Chloe’s eyes widened with shock, “Mark…we…I…this isn’t what it looks like…”

Mark blinked wildly, completely unprepared to have to actually witness seeing the pair happily together, “I’ll come back.”

Before he could turn back around and exit the room, Elly called out to Mark, “Mark, I asked you to come talk to Chloe, please stay.”

Mark stood there awkwardly, not leaving but also not able to glance at the couple on the bed together.

Chloe took a deep breath, “Mark, I lied…this is what it looks like…Elly and I…we’re…”

Elly held Chloe gently, “Baby, it’s okay…I told Mark we’re in love.”

Chloe was surprised, “Oh…you did…? That’s…thank you…” Then leaning in closer to Elly to whisper even though Mark could still hear her, “I take it he didn’t take the news well…is that why Mark won’t look at us?”

Mark cleared his throat and then stepped forward next to Chloe’s bed on her side but still stood there silently.

Elly pressed her lips against Chloe’s cheek then began unwrapping herself from Chloe’s body, “I’m going to give you two sometime alone.”

Chloe was disappointed, “What happened to you not spending any time away from me, Elly?”

Realizing that Chloe didn’t want Elly to leave after what she’d endured, Mark held up his hand to stop Elly, “No…stay…I…” Then sighing gently as he tried to ignore the way Elly placed her hands back on Chloe’s body to hold her, “I’m not here to give you my blessing…I still need time for that…seeing the two of you together…it’s gonna take time for me…but I can see what it means for you, Elly, to have Chloe back safe.”

Elly nodded but didn’t respond.

Mark looked down at Chloe, “I’m glad your safe, Chlo…when I thought you were in danger this morning…I realized I need you to be safe and happy. I…forgive you for cheating with Elly on me before the wedding. I want to be part of your life again…if you’ll have me.”

“Really?” Chloe asked for reassurance.

“If you can give me time to accept you been with Elly…yes, I’ll be part of your life again,” Mark confirmed.

Chloe pulled her arms from around Elly, and lent over to Mark, “I want to be part of your life too.”

Mark wrapped his arms around his little sister, “I missed you, Chlo.”

Chloe squeezed Mark’s shoulders tightly, “I missed you too, so much. Thanks for doing everything possible this morning to try and find me. I’m going to be here overnight…any chance you’d like to come back in the morning when I get discharged to help us drive me home?”

Mark released Chloe from their hug, unsure how to take the simple word of ‘us’ meaning Elly would be there too, then glanced at Elly, “Do you want me to pick you up from yours in the morning?”

Elly hesitated for a moment before telling her ex-husband, “No need…I’m staying here the night with Chloe…that’s the plan anyway…hopefully the nurse won’t throw me out. I might sneak back in if she does.”

Mark blinked his eyes rapidly, still trying to come to terms with their relationship, “Right…I guess I’ll…see you both in the morning. I should…there’s other family members outside that I’m sure want to see you Chlo and make sure you’re okay. Be safe, Chlo.”

With that, Mark left the pair alone.

Chloe looked over at Elly, “That didn’t go…quite as badly as I thought it would.”

Elly lent forwards, pressing her lips gently against Chloe’s, “Mark will come around and accept our relationship…we just got to give him a bit more time.”

Before Chloe could respond, Aaron and Bea entered the room. Aaron immediately went over to Chloe and wrapped his arms around her, thankful that his sister was safe. Susan and Karl simply poked their heads in the door, asked Chloe how she was feeling before letting everyone know they’d be outside when they were ready to head home. Susan smiled at the sight of how happy Elly looked lying on the bed next to her girlfriend.

Bea lent against the edge of the bed, “Glad you’re okay Chloe. Did Elly tell you about how worried she was about you?”

“We covered that,” Elly answered, “I’m insane, but she still loves me.”

“I still love her,” Chloe reassured once more, “Always will.”

Bea grinned, “You two are so cute together, I can’t believe I didn’t pick up on it earlier.”

“Try living with this twosome of cuteness,” Aaron teased, “Chloe and Elly are annoyingly in love with each other.”

Elly looked over at Chloe adoringly as the pair both answered together, “You’re absolutely right, Aaron.”

Chapter Text

Only Us

Chapter Twenty-Six

The following afternoon, Elly looked over at Chloe with worry, “Is the couch comfy enough for you?”

“No, it’s horrendous, I could use another 3 blankets and 5 pillows to go with the multiple blankets and pillows you’ve already given me to make it comfy,” Chloe teased before waving her hand at Elly to join her, “Or perhaps if you cuddled up to me it would make me forget how uncomfy this couch is.”

Elly smiled at her girlfriend, standing in the kitchen, pouring Chloe a glass of water before bringing it over and placing it on the coffee table in front of Chloe.

Chloe shuffled herself on the couch trying to make herself comfortable, “Urgh can we just go home, Elly?”

“No,” Elly answered as she ushered Chloe to scoot up on the couch a bit before she sat down on the couch directly behind Chloe. Slipping her legs on either side of Chloe’s hips she shifted the both of them until her body was pressed up against Chloe’s back and she nuzzled against Chloe’s neck.

Chloe entangled Elly’s hand, “Since when do you say ‘no’ to me?”

Elly pressed her lips against Chloe’s neck, “Since now. I want what’s best for you, baby.”

Chloe ran her thumb over Elly’s wrist, “What if what’s best for me is to be cuddling up to you on our couch at home?”

“We’re cuddling up to each other here,” Elly insisted.

“Yeah…at the Kennedy’s…I’d much rather be at home with you…waking up here yesterday morning really weirded me out, Elly,” Chloe told her.

“Yes, but I would worry more at home because David’s at work. Karl has the day off work so I want us to be here,” Elly reminded her girlfriend.

“We live across the road, Elly, it would take Karl 30 seconds to pop over if I felt any symptoms,” Chloe pointed out.

“It would take Karl 10 seconds whilst we’re here. I want to make sure you’re as safe as possible and if you experience any problems then I want you to have help immediately,” Elly asserted, “I don’t want to be the cause of anymore pain for you.”

Chloe craned her neck to look up at Elly, “Babe, none of this was your fault, we talked about this. So, can we please just go home and spend the rest of the day cuddled up on our couch?”

“No,” Elly answered once more, leaning forward and pecking Chloe on the lips, “Your stuck with me here for today. We’ll go home tonight after dinner with Susan and Karl. Bea might stop by too. Then tomorrow we can spend the day cuddled up on our couch.”

Chloe smiled at Elly, “Except I’ll be back at work tomorrow.”

Elly pretended to glare at Chloe, “The hospital told you to take the rest of the week off. I spoke to Terese and she immediately asked if you’d be back next week or if that was going to be too soon.”

“Well, I guess I could use a few days away from the office especially with Hales there,” Chloe agreed.

“I told you I accidentally let it slip to Hales that you were ending things with her right?” Elly reminded Chloe.

“Yeah you did tell me that,” Chloe nodded, “It’s still going to be an awkward conversation when I do return to work seeing as though my girlfriend broke up with her for me.”

“Hales took it well,” Elly reassured, “No hard feelings, the relationship you had with her was only ever temporary and you both knew that.”

“I guess we’ll see when I see her at work,” Chloe mused, “I still can’t believe Hales figured us out so quickly.”

“Well, we were a little obvious. Even though I spent so long trying not to feel what I felt for you in front of other people, I guess it really was impossible to hide,” Elly admitted.

Chloe shrugged, “When you’re in love it’s not possible to keep it to yourselves.”

Elly snuggled closer to Chloe, “I’m glad I’ve gotten to a place where I never want to keep this to ourselves ever again.”

Chloe smiled, “I’m glad too. So, what am I going to do with this week off work?”

Elly pressed her lips against Chloe’s shoulder, “You are going to be stuck with me for another four and a half days. I am going to be busy taking care of you and making sure you are safe from any harm. Deal with it, baby. No more arguments.”

Chloe pouted, before snuggling further into Elly’s arms, “Four and a half days hanging out with you and letting you take care of me. I don’t think I could argue with that even if I would prefer to spend all of them on our couch.”

“Give it up, Chlo,” Elly smiled, “We are here, we’re safe and we’re happy, that’s all that matters to me. I just need this extra day to make sure you have all the support around you to make sure you are not going to lose consciousness on me.”

“Okay, we’ll spend the afternoon here but I get to choose the movie,” Chloe relented, then thought back, “Wait did you say we’re having dinner tonight with Susan and Karl? And maybe Bea?”

Elly nuzzled Chloe’s neck once more, “You noticed I said that, huh? What do you say? You ready for it?”

“I was kinda hoping for more time to prepare for dinner with your family…and doing this after coming out of hospital this morning…feels like we could choose a better day…but if it’s what you want, then it’s what I want,” Chloe admitted, “Are you absolutely positive your family supports us?”

Elly lent down and bought her lips to Chloe’s, “Would I be curled up on their couch with you, kissing you deeply if I wasn’t positive that my family support us?”

Chloe nodded, “Tis a good point.”

Elly wrapped her left arm around Chloe’s waist in front of her, “We’re ready for this, okay? My family completely support us and I’m done been scared of my feelings for you. I’m proud to show you off to them and show them how much I love you.”

Chloe ran her right hand along Elly’s jawline before kissing her girlfriend softly, “You’re so incredible.”

“I have to be for you. You’re the incredible one,” Elly maintained, kissing Chloe once more.

Susan walked into the living room, asking the couple before she’d even spotted them, “You two all settled in for your afternoon on the couch?”

“Mmm hmm,” Elly agreed, not breaking her kiss with Chloe.

Chloe was the one who broke the kiss, and blushed deeply as she looked over at Susan, “Yes…very settled.”

Susan smiled at the pair, “Are we on for dinner tonight?”

“Ah…yes,” Chloe answered quietly.

“Good, I’ll head to the shops to pick up some supplies. You two carry on with what you were doing before I interrupted,” Susan told the couple.

“Gladly,” Elly whispered and then before Susan could even turn around, Elly bought her lips back to Chloe’s.

When they were left alone by Susan, Chloe let out a small moan into their kiss before breaking it, “You really are comfortable with this…showing me affection in front of your family?”

Elly nodded immediately, “My family, anyone, I’m done been scared by what I feel for you. I am fully committed to enjoying every aspect of this relationship with you no matter where we are and who we’re with.”

Chloe stared up at Elly in wonder, “We’re going to have the best life together. I love you, Elly Conway.”

Elly smiled down at Chloe, feeling complete contentment, “I love you, too, Chloe Brennan. I can’t wait to live this best life of ours together. We have the most amazing future ahead of us with the best support from friends and family we could possibly ask for.”

Kissing Chloe softly, Elly finished her thoughts, “We’re in this together with everyone around us for support. It’s no longer ‘Only Us.’”

The End