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no matter how many skies have fallen

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Serena stood pressed tightly up against the cold railing at the farthest corner of the deck. Elinor’s little fingers clasped firmly to her leg as she watched the families with their loved ones waving them off.

“Come here and wave Elinor. Wave goodbye.” she lifted the girl up to wave her arm wildly at the crowds before putting her down safely on deck once again.

“Goodbye.” Serena shouted, the hoarse catch of emotion making even that single word a jagged, broken one. A tear slid silently down her cheek as she braced herself against a sharp gust of wind. Her bleary eyes still cast across those amassed before her. Even now, she wondered if she might come; wondered if this might be their last chance to see each other but as she scanned the crowds one last time she found only strangers reflected in the faces on the dock. It was all too late now, the low purr of the engine and the rumbling vibration through her thin soled shoes heralded the start of their voyage and the end of another chapter of her life.

It was not an unhappy chapter all in all. She was lucky to have been blessed with joy, love and passion. True it was interspersed with loneliness and melancholy the like of which she could scarce have imagined. On close reflection she would never omit the horrors of those experiences if it meant she must sacrifice the desire she discovered in the arms of another woman.

It was as if called, almost like she could sense her lover's thoughts. Serena felt the warmth first of all; the brush of a curl against her cheek; the hand that slid into hers within the pocket of her thick, winter coat. “Just who are you waving so frantically to?” Bernie's voice was curious as she scanned the mass of faces for someone she might recognise.

“Are you envious Bernie? Perhaps I have a phalanx of other women who are rushing here to tearfully wave us off? You need not worry, I merely wondered if Mim might show up, I dearly hoped to see her again.” The engine churned the water around the dock, turning the dark, foreboding waters into a swirling, green foam. “Now is the last chance to run if you've changed your mind. I think you could make the jump even with your bad leg.” Serena's teasing words met with a serious countenance.

“Serena Campbell, I would follow you to the ends of the earth if you ask me to.”

Serena laughed softly. “Let's just start with Paris, darling.” Serena inclined her face to catch her lover's eye. “Bernie?” The blonde gave a slight hum in reply. “Have I ever told you how happy you make me?”

“You may have remarked upon it once or twice.” A mischievous glint twinkled in Bernie's eye. “Although if you would like remind me again I have a few ideas how you might.” A flush bloomed up Serena's neckline as she took in the darkened promise building within her lover's eyes.

“Later darling, for now let us wave.” She turned back to face the crowded dock and resumed her frenetic waving.

Bernie smiled and moved to hoist Elinor high onto her shoulders. “I still have no idea who I am waving to Serena.” One hand threaded back into Serena's the other she gamely thrust up into the air up nonetheless.

“In truth, Bernie, I'm waving to everyone and no-one. I'm saying goodbye to myself most of all I think, goodbye to my old life.” Serena turned and met Bernie's eye for a moment before a broad smile arched across her face. “Goodbye Serena Campbell. Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye.” She cried loudly at the rapidly disappearing dock.

The brush of Bernie's lips to the back of her ear caused a shiver of desire to run through her. Her breath stirring her hair as she whispered softly. “So if you've left Serena Campbell behind, who exactly am I holding hands with? Has the much lauded Miss McKinnie finally returned?”

Serena blushed, a fearsome red coloured her cheeks. A hard lump had inexplicably formed in her throat. “I had thought about Wolfe. It is a new start for us all. It would be nice if we shared a name at least and we couldn't chose Campbell and I thought McKinnie might be too confusing for Elinor. So I wondered if it might be appropriate but it was a silly idea. Forget I said anything.” Her nervousness causing a rambling soliloquy to pour forth.

Bernie blinked rapidly, eyes cast up to the sky, fingers tightening their grip against Serena's. Her voice, when it came, was thick and gruff with emotion. “Serena Wolfe.” She hummed thoughtfully for a moment. “I think I could live with that.”