Bea just sat staring at the empty space where Allie had been standing trying to blink her confusion away. She'd slipped into the bathroom without turning the light on. She was definitely up to something Bea knew that as she kicked off her shoes before letting herself fall backwards against the bed. She didn't even know why she felt nervous, her reaction simply made no sense. If she should have been worried about anything it had been their first proper day on the island when Allie had seen the van for the first time. She hadn't said that much about it even though she'd seen almost straight away that she hadn't been that happy about it. Allie had trusted that she knew what she was doing so why was she finding it so hard to trust that whatever Allie was doing now wasn't a bad thing? It would never be anything bad because that simply wasn't how Allie was.
As soon as she'd closed the bathroom door behind her and turned on the light Allie set to work. Not knowing how long Bea would spend in the restaurant after she'd left her was the only problem she'd had. The only option she'd felt she had was to wait in their room in the dark. Now she had to hope that curiosity wasn't going to get the better of Bea, that would ruin everything. Bea had done the same thing for her, she laughed lightly to herself when she thought about that night. The truth was that Bea had only run her a bath that night to warm her up and keep her out of the way, Allie hadn't quite fallen for it though. She'd know as soon as she'd tried leaving her laying in the bath that she was up to something. Beas nervousness that night was just about equal to how nervous she seemed when she'd left her sitting on the bed. She still did get nervous from time to time and that had been Allies main motivation behind springing their wedding on her, without time to overthink it she'd not had time to get so nervous that she'd try backing out of it. Turning on the water she grabbed the lemongrass scented bath crystals that David had told her smelt heavenly. Adding them to the water Allie decided that he might have exaggerated a little but it was an extremely pleasant scent that was filling the bathroom. Bubbles would have just got in the way she told herself because she wasn't planning on leaving her alone. The plan was just for them to spend a little time together languishing in a tub of steamy water. With the liberal sprinkling of candles lit she turned out the light. With a satisfied smile she opened the door to find Bea fast asleep.
Standing in the doorway she watched Bea for a minute, she was perfectly flawless in her eyes. From the moment she'd first seen her in the treatment room she'd been stunned by her beauty. She knew if she never saw her again she'd never be able to forget her. The last thing she'd ever expected was for her to show up at her apartment. She hadn't expected anyone as stunning as Bea would ever take notice of her. Then again Bea, as her painfully shy self, had never expected Allie to notice her. Allie never expected them to become friends but it hadn't taken long for them both to realise that nothing could come between them. They hadn't even know each other a year and so much had happened, so much had tested them, all those things had only served to make them stronger than ever. She really wouldn't have cared less if Bea had kept the van, it was just the two of them. No work, no kids and none of the troubles of life to get in the way. It was just them in perfect unison, sharing their mutual admiration for each other safe in the knowledge of knowing how lucky they were to have each other.
Laying down on the bed next to her Allie thought her plans had just evaporated as she pulled Bea towards her, kissing her softly on the lips.
“Sorry.” Bea whispered as Allie pulled away. “Didn't mean to nod off.”
Allie saw the light in her eyes as soon as they opened, saw the excitement behind them as she pulled further away.
“I ran us a bath if your not too tired. I guess we have done a lot today so if you'd rather just go to bed…”
“After you've taken all that trouble to get me out of the way?” Bea sniggered. She should have guessed it would be something like that when Allie made her excuse to leave. After all Bea knew she could count the number of times Allie had turned down food, especially dessert, on one hand.
Getting up from the bed Allie quickly pulled her to her feet. Bea couldn't peel her eyes away from Allie even if she tried. Her hair fell loose around her face and slightly over her shoulders. ‘Time for another haircut.’ Bea thought until she looked into her bright blue eyes as they sparkled with mischief. It was almost near impossible for Bea to tear her eyes away from the ones that, right in that moment, almost reminded her of wind stirred waves. Pulling her into a hug Allie felt Beas well toned body pressed tightly against her own and like always she was a little jealous. She was fit enough but not as fond of exercise as Bea was. Allie and Debbie were a little too fond of ice cream and their shared opinion was that it should be a major food group all on its own.
“So, these really have to go.” Allie whispered after she pulled away and started to remover Beas jeans, finally exposing her toned legs. Moving her attention to her shirt she kissed ever inch of skin as it it became exposed with each button she undid before removing it completely. Reaching her hands behind her back she unhooked her bra. Finally hooking her fingers in the waistband of her her panties she was surprised when Bea grabbed her hands.
“What exactly are you up to?” Bea asked as she cocked her head a little to the right.
Allie rolled her eyes. “I told you bath tubs were made for relaxing in, that's exactly what we're going to do. Any more questions?”
Bea smiled and shook her head as she let go of her hands. Allie made short work of removing her own clothes much to Beas amusement when she had to grab her hand to steady herself as she tried to remove her jeans a little too quickly. Taking Bea by the hand she led her to the bathroom that was lit by candle light.
“Thought of everything did you?” Bea asked as she watched Allie run her hand through the water to check the temperature. She was relieved that she'd made it a little too hot, it had cooled to the perfect temperature.
Taking her hand Allie helped her into the bath and as soon as she was settled in the water she filled a pitcher with warm water placing it on the shelf behind the tub before she climbed in to Sit behind her. Bea leaned back into her, turned her head and reached back with her left arm to pull Allies face to hers and kissed her softly. The large pitcher of water was a mystery but she would wait to see what she was going to do with it.
“Where did the candles come from?” Bea suddenly asked.
“Stop asking questions. You always do so much for me why does it even matter? Can't I just want to do something for you that you'd have done for me if you'd thought of it first?”
Bea knew she couldn't argue with her because it was true, if she had have thought if it she would have been the one pampering Allie.
“Comfy?” Allie asked.
“Hmmmmm.” Bea just hummed her response as Allie moved her hands to her face. Using her fingertips she made slow, small circular strokes along her cheekbones working her way upwards to her forehead.
“Babe, sit up for me.”
Bea did as she was asked as Allie reached behind her for the bottle of shampoo. After wetting her hair she drizzled a generous helping over Beas hair she placed her hands on top of head with her palms just above her ears. She gently pressed and rubbed the palms of her hands against Beas scalp, working the way down the back of her head and then back up to the top. When Allie was certain that Bea might actually fall asleep again she reached for the pitcher of warm water and gently tilted her head back to rinse the shampoo out. She felt Bea shiver slightly and heard her moan lightly. When she was finished Allie lay back a little more and wrapped her legs around Beas hips. She hadn't expected that Bea would slide further into the water and pull her legs tighter around herself. Bea took her left foot in her hands she massaged it before turning her attention to to her right foot. Those feet had done more walking since they arrived on the South Island than their owner had expected.
“Crap! I forgot something.” Allie complained. “Scoot forward and let me get out.”
Bea frowned as she moved her legs but moved again allowing Allie to jump up. She turned her head and watched as the water cascaded down her body before she stepped out and grabbed a towel. Allie quickly disappeared for a couple of minutes to retrieve the chilled bottle of wine and glasses that she'd left outside the door that led to the garden so Bea wouldn't see it. Allie returned with a glass of wine in each hand and passed one to Bea who took a small sip. Allie climbed back into the tub, this time sitting in front of Bea. When she'd taken another sip of her wine Allie got to her knees and took it from her, leaning over to place both glasses on the floor. As she straightened back up into her kneeling position Bea grabbed her by the shoulders and gently pulled her forward on top of her.
“Hey.” Allie laughed as water splashed onto the bathroom floor.
“I think I deserve a little payback don't you for being ambushed when I got back earlier.”
Allie smiled as their naked bodies pressed together, leaning in she kissed Bea deeply, pressing their bodies even closer together. Bea broke away from their kiss and slipped a little further into the tub. Allie shivered as she felt Bea suck one of her nipples into her mouth, swirling her tongue around it making Allie moan softly. As Bea switched her attention to the her other nipple she trailed her hand down between their bodies and between Allies legs. Slipping her fingers gently between her folds and circling her clit.
“Bea…” Allie moaned as she slipped her arm around Bea and roughly trailed her hand up and down her back.
Bea trailed her fingers lower, gently thrusting them inside while her thumb circled her clit. Finding Allies most sensitive spot as she curled her fingers Allie tensed a little as her orgasm tore through her whole body. Every nerve in her body seemed to come to life all at once as she panted wildly, desperately gasping for breath as Bea slowed her movements. As Bea stilled her fingers completely and removed them Allie slipped herself into the space beside her. Bea wrapped her arms around her still shaking body and held her close, stretching her own body out a little more. They both briefly closed their eyes and drifted into a light sleep in each other's arms. Bea suddenly jumped as the chill in the water finally registered in her body.
Bea moved a little and tried to sit up, the position of Allies body making it next to impossible. “Allie, we need to get out the waters gone cold. Allie? We're going to either shrivel up completely or freeze to death.” She whispered in her ear.
“Too comfy.” Allie mumbled before what Bea had actually said seemed to finally register. Allie moved, although reluctantly even though the water was cold, and they both climbed out. Bea grabbed a towel and wrapped it around Allie before grabbing another for herself.
“Here let me help you.” Bea said as she started to towel her off. Her soft touches sent fresh tremors of pleasure through Allies body. “Go and lay on the bed, I'll sort this out.” Bea mumbled as she bent to pick the wine glasses up from the floor beside the tub.
“Don't be long.” Allie said as her fingers brushed Beas shoulder.
“We need to get going, it's not the best thing to arrive….” Bea trailed off as she stood watching Allie. They'd been into each shop already that morning after going back to the gallery to collect the painting Allie had purchased.
“What?” Allie spun around. “Arrive where? Where exactly are you taking me now?” She asked even though she knew the answer was not going to be forthcoming any time soon.
“I just mean we need to get going, it's pretty cold this morning and it's only going to be colder later. We're heading higher into the mountains remember?” Bea shrugged. ‘Nice save.’ She told herself. It was always hard keeping anything from Allie especially when she was looking at her the way she was right then. “Why are you looking at me like that?” She asked as she watched Allie walking towards her.
“Oh, you know…maybe because you're the most beautiful thing on this freezing cold island.” Allie giggled softly. “Are you sure we've got everything? Don't need anything else to keep you warm? I mean I can't see there being anywhere to stay in the mountains.”
“Stop fishing, Allie.” Bea groaned in response. “Besides you'd be surprised what you might stumble across the higher you go.”
The pair walked back along the almost deserted street and got into the SUV. After pulling away Bea said that they'd better stop at the petrol station and fill up because as far as she was aware it was the last one for miles around. Even Bea didn't want to get stranded, she'd happily walk for miles if the need arose but she didn't want to leave Allie behind alone. Setting off again Bea wasn't saying anything much, she didn't want to slip up, she'd almost done that already. She knew Allie wasn't going to be completely happy when they got to their final destination for the night since there would be some walking required. It was relatively easy going when they set out from Clyde, now it was all in an upwards direction and Bea was glad that she'd sent the van packing on its way back to Christchurch. She would have struggled to it get up some of the hills they'd already encountered. There were no flat patches of road, it was just a mixture of smaller and gradually higher hills. The scenery though was still spectacular. There were fields that were the most intense green and brush covered hills with their mixture of native trees.
“That's gorgeous. What is it?” Allie asked as she pointed to a tree that was covered in golden yellow flowers.
“It's a Kowhai. The flowers attract nectar feeding birds particularly the tui and bellbirds.” Bea explained slightly happier that Allie was asking different questions. Thanks to the grandiose backdrop to their journey her mind would be on other things she hoped and not where they were headed.
It was almost lunch time and Bea was certain that she remembered there being a pub somewhere close by, she just couldn't remember quite where. Allie seemed to have fallen into a slightly sullen mood, hardly surprising Bea knew, she didn't travel well when she was hungry. Allie spotted the isolated country pub first, Bea saw it a few seconds later. Without any words needing to be spoken Bea drove straight to it and parked in the car park. “No need to swing this round like I did with the van.” She chuckled.
“You have checked all the gears work then?” Allie laughed as she unbuckled her seatbelt and started to get out.
Driving the old van was somewhat an art form with no working reverse gear but she'd perfected it during the first day. Early preparations for their eventual departure from where ever they were had become like second nature to her. She was happier to be driving something a little more comfortable and hopefully much more reliable.
They walked into the relatively quiet bar and ordered a burger each from the limited menu they had. They easily found a free table and sat down.
“So…exactly where do you envision us spending the night? You said there nothing out here, I suppose we could make it work.” Allie giggled to herself. “The back seat does look like it would make sleeping a little tricky. I think I'd manage though sleeping on top of you.
“Ha, nice try. Just trust me aye? I know what I'm doing. But if the worst comes to the worst the front seats do recline.”
Once they were back on the road again they followed alongside a lake. The road did take them a little way inland at some points but eventually it returned back alongside the lake a few minutes later. Bea had started to drive a little more slowly so that they wouldn't miss any of the wonderful scenery that was on offer. It hadn't changed a great deal since the last time Bea had been there but she still enjoyed looking at it. After quite a few miles and many more questions from Allie the lake started to narrow, eventually it disappeared from view altogether.
“I can't believe that's the end of the lake, it was so beautiful.” Allie grumbled.
“We've left one behind, there is another one a minute or so away.” Beas words barely had chance to register in Allies brain when another lake came into view.
The road was now in a slightly more elevated position so they had a much better view of the whole lake before them. The foreshore was lower on the side of the lake they were on, on the other side it was very mountainous. Rugged snow clad mountains formed an extremely beautiful and incredible backdrop.
“It's far more beautiful here than I ever expected.” Allie said as she looked out of the window.
“It is. I've always found it strange that there's never been any small towns spring up around here. Now you see why I wanted to make sure we had a full tank. A lot of people who come out here aren't expecting it to be like this, if you don't know where you're going or aren't self sufficient you can't really spend too long out here. Most people just drive through the area, maybe they stop off here and there to take a few photographs while they try to find a place to stop off and eat. The whole of the South Island is a fantastic place to visit but there are so few places to stop.”
“Yeah, that's why we spent nights in the van.” Allie chuckled. “But you've taken that option away now, that backseat is starting to feel like that's going to be my bed for the night. Maybe the island just needs more people.”
“More people wouldn't mean mote places to stay. Everyone here tends to stay in the big cities. That's were everything is, work, schools, hospitals. You know all the important stuff that you just can't live without. These places have just ended up being nice to drive through every once in a while. For the most part the best bits of the island have been forgotten about.” Bea shrugged.
Everything that surrounded them looked really spectacular. The mountain ranges were rugged, their snow capped peaks just made them look even more alluring. As they steadily climbed higher the valley they were driving through was still dwarfed on both sides. They were now winding their way through the various valleys. Bea looked over at Allie who was still pretty mesmerised by the views surrounding them. She didn't see the next turn coming probably because the road they were on had been nothing but twists and turns so far. Taking the final turn they were faced with beautiful, lush green growth again. Everything around them was a far cry from the much drier scenery back in Australia.
“Not much chance of bush fires around here are there?” Allie asked. Bush fires were something she'd grown up always hearing about.
“Not really, I told you it's completely different here.”
Allie opened the window allowing the full cacophony of the sounds of the wildlife to drift in. She couldn't see any of it but everywhere that surrounded them had to be full of birds amongst other things. It seemed nothing short of magical, she felt part of it, at one with the natural scene that surrounded them on all sides. She couldn't remember ever seeing such a wondrous, natural setting. Finally they reached the downside of the pass, from then on the winding road took them through the rest of the national park. At the edge of the park there was a wide sandy river bed, there was only a little water flowing in it. Bea knew that wouldn't be the case for much longer, after heavy rains and when the snow on the mountain tops melted even more it would become a raging, turbulent onslaught. For right now though the scene before them was one of tranquility. The next bend in the road led them to an even better sight, off in the distance they got a glimpse of the glistening mass of the Tasman Sea.
“That looks so inviting, are we heading that way?” Allie asked.
“Why, do you fancy another swim?” Bea laughed remembering that Allie seemed to always want to go swimming.
“Maybe not right now. Although you did say we could come back in the summer.”
“I did and we will, that begs the question though, did you already book time off for Christmas?” Bea had mentioned it but had forgotten to ask if she'd actually asked for the time off.
“I did, the nursing director was not happy….I have the time off though since you were good enough to remind me to ask early. Funny thing though, Ruby asked for the same time the week before and she was told she couldn't have it.”
“The term, ‘If your face fits,’ springs to mind.” Bea laughed. She wasn't about to tell her that Rose was less than impressed with Ruby. The last time she'd booked a few days off she had called in sick for three days after. Rose, as far as she could gather from Will had asked the nursing director to have Ruby placed in another department but as yet she was still working in the emergency department.
They followed the road until they arrived at a sturdy looking bridge that crossed the wide river bed. After a few more minutes they were driving parallel to the sea, Bea pointed out the white crests of the breaking waves.
“I can wait until summer.” Allie sighed.
A few miles along the road suddenly turned sharply inland and they were soon surrounded by bushland again. They followed the valleys through the low hills heading towards the bigger mountain ranges the further inland they went. The scenery was as it had always been, nothing short of spectacular. They passed small lakes, crossed numerous bridges. The only thing missing Allie thought were any signs of civilisation. They had seen maybe two farm houses at most, this was true remoteness and she hoped Bea really did know where they were heading. Getting lost, or running out of petrol wasn't something Allie was looking forward to.
After a few more miles Bea started to slow down and Allie spotted a sign not far ahead. “Please tell me that's a cafe.”
Bea burst out laughing. “Right so not only are you not looking forward to sleeping in the back seat, which I might say sounds awfully good to me, all cuddled up and warm. I think we'd be rather cosy back there. You're also not looking forward to having no dinner? Actually I think you'll be a little happier after we pay a quick visit to the rangers station.”
“Rangers station?” Allie frowned. “What, do we have to get a gun and kill our own dinner? You forgot to mention that we were heading into Yogi Bear country. I wasn't given any advanced warning, you're on your own in that, babe.”
“Seriously? You think I'd put you through something like that? I thought you trusted me.”
“I do, with my life.” Allie said as Bea pulled into the parking area.
“The rangers here don't need guns and neither will we.” Bea jumped enthusiastically out of the SUV. “I promise you, just a quick word with the ranger and a little walking. You'll be really pleased with what you find waiting for us at the end of one of those bush trails.”
Allie wasn't convinced as she followed Bea to the rangers station that from the outside looked to her to be more like a tourist information centre. As they walked inside they were greeted by a giant of a man dressed in a green, slightly casual looking uniform. Not exactly what Allie had been expecting, now as she looked around the inside of the building she decided that she hadn't really been certain of what she was expecting.
“Great to see you ladies, what can I help you with today?” The ranger smiled at them.
He seemed incredibly friendly, he also appeared to be extremely muscular, as Allie watched him she thought even his cheeks looked muscular. She wondered if it was because he worked in such a remote location, he couldn't see too many people out there. That had to be it he must spend most of his time working out, either that or the islands steroid dealers must work overtime just to accommodate his needs. Bea had local knowledge though so she had to trust that she knew what she was getting them into.
“I have a reservation for tonight.” Bea told him as Allie gaped at her. There didn't seem to be any signs of life for miles around, she couldn't possibly think what she'd made a reservation for.
“Novak?” The ranger asked as he sat back behind the desk.
“Allie, could you get the rucksacks, please?” Bea asked before she confirmed anything.
Allie just nodded and took the keys from Bea. This would be interesting if nothing else.
Bea watched Allie disappear back through the door. “Novak.” She confirmed. “You did get the alterations I made to my booking?”
“Yep, got it all right here.” He pointed to his computer screen. “You have cabin number 1. It's just a mile up the trail. The wood burning stove is already lit for you, made sure of that myself when I took your requested items up there earlier. There's a good supply of fire wood so you should be fine for the night.”
Allie decided that she'd just wait outside and have a look around, she couldn't see anything that resembled anywhere they could be staying. Maybe Bea had a tent hidden away somewhere because other than that the whole area appeared to have a distinct lack of human life.
“Maybe you could run up with a cooked breakfast for us in the morning.” Bea laughed as she was walking through the door of the rangers station.
Allie could hear the ranger inside roaring with laughter.
Bea held out her hand, took her rucksack from Allie and threw it over her shoulder. It was an easy trail to follow she knew that after taking a quick look at the map in the rangers station. “It's this way.” Bea said as she took Allies hand. “We cross that small wooden bridge first.” The trail they needed was right on the other side of it.
“You do realise it'll start to get dark soon.” Allie grumbled.
“I am aware of that, it’s just a mile, Allie. It's an easy trail don't look so worried.” She tugged gently on her hand.
“It's a good thing I love you, you realise that right?” Allie said as she looked at the bridge hoping that this one wasn't the one that would collapse on them.