After finally falling into her bed exhausted sleep didn't find Bea easily, thoughts of Allie whirling around in her head. When she eventually fell asleep her dreams were full of her and they certainly weren't the kind of dreams that she had ever experienced before about anyone. The dreams felt so real waking up a couple of hours later she was sure that she could feel Allies hands on her body. She lay in the dark and she replayed the images over and over again, Allie kissing her so confidently down the entire length of her body. She sighed into the darkness she felt so conflicted, how could she be feeling like this? She knew she'd never looked at another woman the way she looked at Allie, after Harry she swore that was it, she would be fine being alone for the rest of her life she had Debbie and she was all she needed, between her job and Debbie she was kept pretty busy anyway so any kind of relationship she though would be impossible anyway. But she just couldn't get that dream out of her head, in that beautiful place Allie was with her, but it wasn't real, couldn't ever be real. The reality that she woke up to was painful, Allie was with someone else all be it someone who clearly didn't value or appreciate her, obviously didn't see how smart and loving she was. She put her through hell and Allie stuck it out, took all the crap that she threw at her and gave her everything she asked for.
No matter how hard she tried she just couldn't get back to sleep, she had no idea where all this was coming from and it was driving her mad, she needed someone to talk to, Franky would usually be her first choice but not this time there was no way she could tell Franky what she was feeling. She knew she could talk to Maxine but she didn't want to risk Franky getting anything out of her, she had always kept everything Bea had told her in the past to herself but she knew Franky could easily get what she wanted to know out of anyone before they had even realized what they had said. Liz was the only other person she trusted enough to say anything to but she was worried, what if she didn't understand, hell she didn't even understand it herself.
Since she couldn't sleep she decided that she may as well get up, she would have made a start on some of the work she needed to get done but she knew there was no point in her even trying she'd only sit at her computer daydreaming. After making a coffee she sat on the sofa in silence thinking about every minute detail of the night before. As nervous as she had been it hadn't taken long before she relaxed just the same as that night in the bar, as soon as they were alone she relaxed. She couldn't get her eyes out of her mind, they were the most breathtaking blue she ever remembered seeing, a field of cornflower, perfect, cloudless sky blue they were so expressive and held so much emotion, sometimes she couldn't read that perfect face but her eyes betrayed her, just one look at her eyes and everything she was thinking and feeling had been laid bare right there in front of of her. She hadn't really wanted to believe Franky when she said Allie had always liked her, after so many years how could she even feel the same? But she knew it was true and that was no help with all of her confused feelings.
She had sat in the same spot for two long hours still nursing her mug of coffee that she had only drunk half of the rest was now completely cold. She knew Liz would be up early, checking the time it was 5am already, if she could just get through the next hour or so she would text Liz, she had to speak to someone before she saw her again, if she saw her again. Maybe she would change her mind in the cold light of day and just run back to Sydney, back to Jess who seemed to care so little about her. After a shower and getting dressed she returned to the living room, it was after 6am, grabbing her phone she sent Liz a text.
Do you have some free time before you have to go to the salon?
She needed another coffee and had only just got to the kitchen when she received a reply.
Is everything alright? Boomer is opening up this morning so I have as much time as you need, why don't you come over now and we can have breakfast together?
I'll be over in 20 minutes, thank you.
She decided to walk round to Liz's hoping the fresh air would help her clear her jumbled thoughts and arrange what she needed to say in her head. Knocking on the door just a little over twenty minutes later Liz soon opened the door, noticing her slightly worried expression.
“Oh love come in, what ever is the matter?”
“I'm not even sure I know where to begin Liz.”
“Well they do always say the beginning is the best place to start, come through into the kitchen breakfast won't be long.”
“I'm not really hungry but a coffee would be great.”
Taking a seat in the kitchen Liz passed her a coffee before asking if she was sure about not wanting anything to eat, Bea had just shaken her head before taking a sip of her coffee. Liz returned to the table a short while later knowing that whatever was playing on her mind must be something she didn't want Franky to know and that just worried her, they had told each other everything for so many years, and Liz had always presumed that as long as they had each other to confide in there wasn't anything for her to worry about. They sat in silence for a few minutes before Bea found the courage to start telling her everything, from the night at the bar to the previous evening. Liz sat and listened without interruption knowing that when Bea wanted to talk about anything it was always better to just let her talk.
“You think I'm being stupid don't you? I'm reading more into this than is really there aren't I?” Bea asked quietly unable to look at Liz.
“I don't think you're stupid at all and you know I would never call you that in a million years. I doubt very much you're reading anything wrong, I remember Allie, did you never really notice how she was when you were around?”
Bea looked up from the mug that she was holding looking at Liz and shaking her head.
“That's a shame love, she really did like you, Franky told me she was always trying to get your attention. I remember when she had to leave she was so upset, I didn't really know you then though, I saw you with Franky but until you came to work with me I didn't really know who you were. The two of them would come over to salon on Saturdays, I remember one day you walked past with…. well we both know who you were with, the poor thing was standing looking out of the window she looked so heartbroken when you walked past. I think you need to talk to her, from what you've told me I don't think her feelings have changed in the slightest, and as for the girlfriend she sounds to me like a real piece of work. You deserve to be happy Bea, I've told you that so many times and you've always said you don't need to be with anyone else but Deb to be happy but you know I always knew this day would come one day. Don't overthink everything love, if Allies the one you're meant to be with it'll all work out in the end, take your time, talk to her and it'll all come good in the end.”
“I'm scared Liz, what if I'm wrong?”
“I know you are love, but Allies not him, I don't think she would ever do anything to hurt you, if anything I think she's hurting herself, do you really want her to keep doing that?”
“No more buts, remember what I said about overthinking.”
They chatted for a while longer before said she had better get going, she was after all meant to be working from home. Walking back home she thought about what Liz had said, it made sense but she was apprehensive about talking to Allie, it wasn't as simple as Liz had tried to make it sound she knew that well enough. Allie didn't know what had happened with Harry and she hated ever having to talk about it. Even if she could explain all that to her Allie would probably think she was as crazy as Franky did for thinking that he was still alive. She hadn't quite reached the house when she received a text from Allie.
Good morning, I hope you slept well. I'll pick you up a 6pm again if that's alright?
I'll be ready, I've got so much work I need to get through first, I'll see you later.
There was no way she was telling her that she had had the grand total of two hours sleep, and even that hadn't been that restful. She had no idea how she was going to get through any of the work she needed to do, she was going to try and get something done, if not she was going to have to work the next day as well.
Sitting down in front of her computer she was determined to get as much done as possible even if that meant working through lunch, working from home was always something she enjoyed even when Debbie was at home there was still less distractions than there were in the office. Her day passed a lot quicker than it had done the day before and by 4pm she hadn't a great deal left to do, it wouldn't take her long to finish it the next day so she decided to leave it.
She had just finished getting ready when her phone rang, looking at the caller ID it was her mum, ‘why has she always got to call when I'm in the middle of something?’ She grumbled to herself before answering.
“Mum, how are things?”
“You seen a little happier today, everything's fine really I just wanted a chat.”
“Ok, but I don't have long I'm going out again in a while.”
“Two days in a row? Who are going out with tonight?”
“Oh just Allie again, she has to go home tomorrow and we probably won't see each other for ages.”
“I'm glad you're finally starting to go out more sweetie, how was working from home today?”
“Good I still have a little to finish but I can do it tomorrow before Debbie gets home.”
After chatting for a further ten minutes her mum said that she had better let her finish whatever she was doing and they ended the call.
Bea sat on the sofa with a glass of wine, the nerves of yesterday thankfully hadn't made another appearance, not yet anyway. The conversation with Liz had left her feeling more comfortable but she knew she wasn't ready to tell Allie how she was feeling, no way was she ready to divulge that much information. Playing situations by ear when she was at work was easy she had less to lose at the office, she knew her job, got things done and wasn't putting herself out there to get hurt, no she wasn't going to tell Allie anything she was going to hope that they could spend a relaxed evening together talking and laughing that was harmless and came with no risks.
The knock on the door distracted her from her thoughts as she glanced at the time, Allie was early but it didn't matter, she almost ran to the door, taking a moment before opening it, the only barrier between them being in the same space again was that door and for a second she forgot how to breath. Another knock reminded her that she had been stood there too long and that she was ok. Opening the door her eyes fell straight on Allie, her breath caught in her throat as she laid eyes on a very casually dressed Allie, that woman may be the death of her, if not she was certainly heart attack inducing material. She was so mesmerised by her appearance she hadn't even noticed that she had a large pizza box in one hand and a bottle of wine in the other but after a few moments that information suddenly registered and a look of confusion washing over her as she stepped to the side to allow her inside.
“I'm sorry, I actually only had my hotel booked for last night and there's a massive conference in town and I couldn't get another room anywhere so I've had to rearrange my travel plans, I have a flight a midnight, so I thought that maybe you wouldn't mind?” She raised the box and the bottle a little.
Taking the box from her she couldn't hide her disappointment, this meant less time together but still it was something, she walked off in the direction of the kitchen followed closely by Allie.
“You should have called, you didn't have to come over if you don't have the time.”
“Are you kidding me? What was I going to do sit in the hotel lobby until it was time to leave for the airport? But if you don't want me here I guess I can head over to the airport and sit around there.”
“What! No I didn't mean it like that I want you here honestly.”
Bea took the wine from Allie and put it in the fridge before leading the way back through to the living room, placing the pizza box down on the coffee table before taking a seat Allie sitting next to her a few moments later Allie leaned over opening the pizza box,
“I didn't know what you liked so I just got four cheese I hope you don't mind.”
“It's fine I don't really care what's on it.”
She wouldn't have cared less if the box had been empty, her stomach was filled with butterflies and her heart was beating wildly in her chest, the only thing that mattered was that Allie was there sitting next to her close enough to reach out and touch but she wouldn't she was with someone else and no matter what Liz had said she couldn't do or say anything that would result in her getting hurt. No matter what her heat was telling her her head overruled it, ‘she's unavailable, she has a girlfriend, who she'll be going home to soon,’ she told herself.
Allie had a mouthful of pizza when she turned to look at her, she didn't want to leave her, didn't want to go back to Jess, all that was waiting for her at home was well, nothing much.
“You not hungry? I'll leave if that's what you want, I…I just wanted to see you again before I had to leave.”
Beas heart almost jumped into her mouth when she heard that, she wanted to see her, for one fleeting moment she dared to hope that maybe one day things could be different, then her doubts and insecurities came flooding back, she had to let this go no one could ever want to be with her and she was so scared of actually getting close to anyone. Her brain was a muddle of conflicting thoughts that she didn't even realize what she said until it was too late.
“You could always rearrange your flight again, you could stay here.”
Allie had turned her attention back to the pizza box but as soon as she heard that her head snapped back to look at Bea, there was a burning curiosity in her eyes and her heart rate increased.
“Now that's quite a proposition, I didn't think you were in the habit of taking strays in for the night.”
Bea laughed a little, thinking out loud was something she was not accustomed to but she had just done it, she truly didn't want her to leave, what she really wanted she wasn't even quite sure of herself, she had no clue what she was even doing and knew she was going to end up making a complete fool of herself one way or another.
“I…I just meant….we have a couple of spare rooms….you could make use of one of them for the night.”
“That would be great,” she smiled, “But I wouldn't want to put you to any trouble on my account.”
“It's no trouble really….you must be tired and I just thought….”
“Well you know what I'd love to but if your not going to eat after I went to the trouble of picking up a pizza it's kinda a deal breaker.”
Bea just laughed as much as she knew she actually was hungry she still wasn't sure she could eat, she was being selfish because she didn't want her to go, really wanted to see her the next day and the next and the next. But she knew she had to leave go back to what was waiting for her, whatever it truly was waiting for her. Sitting forward she grabbed a slice of pizza and took a bite.
Happy! Allie was ecstatic, she could do this being in the same place as Bea all night keeping her hands to herself might be a problem but she'd do it, true she'd actually have to take her chances on a flight the next day because there was no way she was even going to bother trying to make any calls. Allie leaned a little closer, raising her hand she tucked a stray piece of hair behind Beas ear as their eyes locked. Bea was trying desperately to ignore her touch but it was impossible, she was so gentle and then came the overwhelming urge to kiss her, she was right in front of her, the distance between them minimal. Just once, she just wanted to experience it once, their bodies leaned into each other at an agonisingly, almost imperceptible, slow pace, Bea almost willing it to happen. Allies fingers rested on her cheek, Bea could hear her heart pounding and for a few moments she had to wonder if Allie could also hear it.
As quickly as it started it was ended abruptly when Allies phone began to ring causing them to spring apart, Bea stood up picking up her glass about to race to the kitchen to get away. Allie grabbed her free hand looking at her apologetically,
“I'm sorry, it's Jess I better take it.”
Before Allie could even say a word she heard Jess talking at her saying something about expecting her home by now.
“So are you going to tell me what time I can expect you to grace me with your presence?”
“Hey I'm sorry ok, the meeting ran late, I managed to rearrange my flight but I won't get home until late.”
“You always do this, you have an excuse for everything, well don't expect me to just sit here and wait for you.”
“I said I was sorry, I'll make it up to you I promise.”
Allie felt awful, she wanted to stay but after what almost happened she knew she had to go, how could she stay now? How could she have been so stupid? She had too many questions swimming around in her head as she sat and listened to Jess fall into her usual pattern of telling her everything about her day, not one word of concern for how she might be feeling. She watched as Bea made her way into the kitchen and she felt her heart sink, she almost kissed her, the one person she'd always wanted to be with and as crazy as it sounded the one person she knew she'd always loved and the only person she knew she would always love, no one in the entire world would ever take Beas place in her heart or in her mind and she wanted nothing more than to tell her that. If she'd never gone to Sydney then maybe they would have found their way to each other, as it stood now it was just a mess. The look in her eyes when she pulled away from her so abruptly, did Bea feel the same?
“Listen Jess I need to go, I need to get something to eat before my flight. I'll call you if anything changes that's out of my control ok?”
“Oh, ok…..I'll see you later, I love you.”
Allie swallowed hard murmuring an “I love you too,” into the phone and ending the call. That was the biggest lie of all and she knew it, she could feel her tears threatening to fall as they burnt the corners of her eyes, she knew she had to go and she couldn't stand to see the look in Beas eyes, she was sure she felt the same and she couldn't face causing her anymore pain than she knew she had already jumping up from the sofa she left leaving everything she'd ever wanted behind her. She lent up against the car desperately trying to get her thoughts in order, ‘I need to go, I can't stay,’ she told herself not that she was convincing herself in the slightest. She felt sick to her stomach, she didn't want to be with Jess, five minutes alone with Bea and she had felt more alive and more appreciated than anytime in the last five years but her life was in Sydney wasn't it? She'd wanted this for too long but it was wrong even though it felt so right. She was so caught up in her thoughts she didn't hear Bea leave the house and walk down the drive towards her stopping a couple of metres away from her.
“Allie…..are you alright?”
She didn't need to raise her head, just the sound of Beas voice calmed her down instantaneously, not trusting her voice she just nodded before looking up.
“I know you have to go but your flights not for hours, please come back in and eat.”
Allie forced herself to lift her head and look at Bea who was looking back at her as if she were last person left on earth, Allie took a deep breath before she answered.
“You're right….I'm fine honestly and we should eat.”
Sitting together once again on the sofa they ate in silence, neither of them knew what to say, all Allie really wanted to do was reach out and touch her, hold her hand and tell her she was sorry for trying to kiss her, it was inappropriate no matter how badly she wanted to be with her, no matter how badly she wanted to tell her she loved her and that she always would.
Allie looked at her watch, ‘two hours, two fucking hours,’ in all that time neither of them had spoken and Allie needed to apologise, she couldn't leave things like this.
“Bea…..I…I shouldn't have tried to kiss you, and please don't think that's because I don't want to because…..shit….i do, I really do. I know I don't know how you feel and I'm not even going to try and guess…..I'm sorry.”
Bea stayed silent for a little longer, stealing sideways glances at the only person she knew she'd ever had that level of feelings for, ‘of course she's apologising, she has a girlfriend at home, how could you ever be that stupid to think that she could ever want you, you're a fucking idiot, ugly and stupid, no one could ever want you,’ that thought alone made her want to run from the room but she wouldn't.
“Don't worry about it, it was a mistake that's all, you need to get home Jess is waiting for you.”
Allie turned her head to look at her, she wanted to commit her face to memory, burn it into her brain so could never forgot what she looked like because she'd probably never see her again, in her mind Bea would never want to see her again, not after tonight, she'd probably never answer another text or answer her phone.
“I really am sorry,” Allie whispered as she reached out and ran her fingers over the back of her hand, letting them linger a little longer than she thought she should have before she stood up.
“I'm gonna miss you but I need to get going.”
Bea stood up from the sofa and silently walked her to the door, she wanted to say something but she couldn't find the words as she stood and watched Allie walk to the car. Allie fought the urge to turn around and look at Bea, she knew the second she did that she wouldn't be able to make herself leave and she'd end up pouring her heart out. Once Allie was seated in the safety of her car she sighed before pulling on her seatbelt and starting the car, pulling away from the curb she drove slowly away from the house and Bea. She tried to concentrate on the road in front of her but the thoughts of the person she was leaving behind were running rampant in her mind. She turned the radio on and turned it up trying to drown out the voice in her head.
As she neared the airport she was still torturing herself, she loved Jess didn't she? Wasn't that why she stayed with her? Why she put up with her constant selfish behaviour? She didn't even know why she was asking herself all these questions, she was meant to be convincing herself that going home was the right thing to do. They used to get on, she wasn't sure what really happened between then how things turned so bad. True they never had anything in common Allie loved music, art and literature while Jess only wanted to sit in front of the tv, go out with her friends and talk about the latest gossip, she was only interested in what she wanted and at best Allie thought she only just about liked her. Her thoughts quickly turned back to Bea, the woman she had a known since being a teenager, her world felt like it was going to stop turning without her they talked about everything, Bea would listen with interest and not interrupt to tell her what happened in some tedious reality tv show. She couldn't bury the way she felt any longer could she, the further away she drove the more she needed to turn back, to tell her how she felt and even if she rejected her at least she would know and try and let it go.
She drove past the airport before finding somewhere to pull in, she should go home, now, tonight, back to Jess. She knew if she left she was going to regret it Bea didn't flinch or try to push her away when she tried to kiss her. She heard her phone chime, a text message, she glanced at the screen as it sat on the passenger seat, she started the engine and turned the car around heading back in the direction she had just come from, back to Bea.