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Delia squeezed the brakes on her bike handles and came to a rather squeaky stop in front of the underground station. She made a mental note to look at that later as she dismounted and walked the bike to nearby bench, perched in front of a brownstone Victorian era townhome that looked a picture, the homes practically carbon copies of one another all the way to the end of the city block.

She sat down on the bench and checked the time on her phone, noting that she did not see any weary travelers with bags and suitcases standing around waiting for someone, thankfully. She realized with a breath of relief that she was not late.

Delia put her phone away, making herself comfortable as she could despite now being in the shade of a tree in that summer heat. She wiped the sweat from her brow with the back of her hand, hoping she didn't look too much of a mess after biking here from the park.

She dug through her rucksack and pulled out .a well worn paperback book, opening to the last page she earmarked.

Delia did her best to focus on her reading as she waited, but soon felt there were too many distractions. The odd midday jogger trotted by, a stay at home mother's walking along with their children in their prams as they made their way to the park, the odd car honked and sped down the narrow street. Bugs occasionally flew by her head and Delia swatted at them, annoyed.

She could hear the familiar screech of brakes echoing from within the underground station, soon followed by waves of travelers emerging from the stairwell. Delia couldn't help but look closely in those moments to see if the person she was waiting for would appear. Then again, Delia wasn’t sure she knew what to look for other than someone carrying luggage, and even then, several people fitting that description had walked on by without even so much a glance in her direction.

After several moments of attempting to read, only managing to scan the same sentence over and over again, she gave up and closed her book, tossing it back into her bag.

Admittedly, Delia was feeling a little anxious. She had agreed to something that was very much unlike her and it led her to let a stranger stay in her home as a favor to her friend Trixie. Of course, she had only said yes under this special circumstance, as Trixie's best friend in the whole world, Barbara, had tragically succumbed to her illness and passed away several days ago. Trixie was hosting Barbara’s sister and father, both coming in from New Guinea from their religious mission, and the woman simply did not have the space to host their other close friend who was currently residing in Singapore for work.

Patsy Mount, Delia had learned, had worked with Trixie and Barbara at Nonnatus clinic together for several years and they were thick as thieves. Besides being one of the best nurses Trixie ever had the pleasure of working alongside, this Patsy was an avid card player and record collector. That was about the extent of what Trixie was able to disclose before she became too overcome with emotion thinking about the three of them in their heyday and succumbing to tears again at the fond memories.  

Delia watched as another group of passengers walked by and she began to wonder if she had come to the right station.

The day before she had sat with Trixie while she called Patsy on Whatsapp, the woman already at the airport in Singapore and waiting for her flight to board. The call allowed for Trixie to make introductions and for the three of them to make arrangements for when she arrived in London. She began to wish she had the wherewithal in the moment to ask for Patsy’s phone number to get in touch.

Trixie had said Patsy would be meeting her here at the station closest to her flat, but what if Patsy had gotten lost? What if her flight had been late? What if she had come early and Delia missed her?

Delia grew even more annoyed. The rational part of her knew that Trixie was in no state to cater to anyone's needs but her own at the moment while she practically organized a funeral herself, but she had wished Trixie had given her a bit more to go on with this Patsy person. What did she even look like anyway?

‘Delia?’

Delia whirled her head around at her name being tentatively asked. Her eyes landed on a woman who looked right back at her curiously. She looked tired, Delia noted, which of course anyone would after a long flight like hers had been. She had a duffel bag slung around her body and a garment bag hitched over her shoulder. Her red hair was pulled back and hung in loose tendrils around her ears and neck. The summer heat looked to be getting to her too, as Delia noticed the sweat on her brow had her fringe sticking to the sides of her forehead.

She was also tall, with long arms and legs and the most brilliant green eyes Delia had ever seen. The sight of the woman made her heart skip a beat.

‘Patsy?’ Delia asked, rising from her seat at once.

‘Yes,’ Patsy smiled brilliantly and give a sigh of relief, ‘Hi,’

Delia beamed, ‘Hi,’

The two brought their hands together for a friendly shake.

‘It’s wonderful to meet you in person, Delia.’

‘You too,’ Delia replied, finding the woman's smile rather addictive as she grinned right back at her, ‘really nice to put a face to the voice.’

‘Likewise,’ Patsy said before letting go.

The two pulled away and merely looked at one another, smiling. Delia was so drawn in by Patsy’s eyes that she barely realized that she had been standing there silently staring at the woman for god knows how long with a goofy grin on her face. She was about to start blathering about the first thing that came to her mind to break the silence, but to her relief, Patsy did that for her.

‘I hope you can forgive my poor state,’ Patsy said as she brought the back of her hand to wipe the sweat from her brow, ‘All the heat and humidity in the city seem to be trapped in the underground.’

‘No worries, here,’ Delia opened her rucksack and shuffled around, extracting an unopened bottle of water and holding it out for Patsy to take.

‘That’s very kind of you, thank you,’ Patsy said, looking genuinely grateful as she hoisted the duffel bag over her shoulder for a better grip.

Delia remembered that the woman was here for he funeral of her dear friend and she was exhausted from traveling all day. She jumped into action and went into hospitality overload.

‘Here, I can take your bags for you,’ she said, reaching out for the bags in Patsy’s hand before the woman had a chance to protest. The duffel bag was placed on the carrier and held down with a bungee cord. Delia took Patsy’s garment bag and hooked it onto the carrier, and it hung without touching the ground so long as the bike was upright.  

‘You didn’t have to do that,’ Patsy feebly protested.

‘Already done,’ Delia shrugged, taking hold of the bike handles, ‘come on then, only one more street to go and you can have a nice long soak in the tub,’ she smiled as the two of them began to walk side by side with the bicycle in between them.

‘Mmm,’ Patsy hummed affirmatively as she gulped down her water, ‘Delia, you have no idea how wonderful that sounds.’

‘I imagine you’re tired and hungry as well?’ Delia offered, looking up at the woman for validation.

‘Famished,’ Patsy replied simply, ‘though I think I’m alright in regards to sleep. Managed to get a few hours in on the last leg from Croatia to here.’

‘Trixie is coming over a little later for a bit of super if you’re up for it,’ Delia replied, ‘thought I’d make just a little something simple, but I can whip you up something now to hold you over until then?’

‘That sounds wonderful, but I don’t want to put you out,’ Patsy insisted, ‘I already feel like I’m imposing for staying with you on such short notice.’

‘Nonsense,’ Delia smiled back at her, ‘I don’t really mind it at all. Besides, you being here under these circumstances… I just want to do what I can to make your stay as pleasant as possible.’

Patsy smiled sadly back at Delia, who shyly looked away as the two of them walked on.

‘How is Trixie?’ Patsy asked tentatively.

‘An absolute wreck,’ Delia said honestly.

Patsy sighed sadly, ‘Makes sense. Those two were so close. Like sisters.’

‘You were close with them, too, right?’

‘Well sure, but they were best friends. Always tied at the hip and sharing everything with one another. I was their friend, too, but most the time I felt like a third wheel when we were together.’

Delia nodded, thinking that things hadn’t changed in the time Patsy had left, it seemed. When Delia arrived at Nonnatus she had been welcomed into their little group of friends but there was no room to edge in between those two when it came to friendly affections.

‘I’ll have to ask Trixie about the others. See how everyone is holding up. Phyllis especially,’ Patsy mused to herself.

‘Phyllis?’ Delia asked, ‘Phyllis is understandably upset but she’s handling it well. On the outside anyway, could have sworn I heard her crying in the stairwell the other day between shifts. Would have gone out there and said something but I didn't know if she would have wanted that…’ Delia trailed off, feeling shy.

‘You know Phyllis?’ Patsy asked, her eyes wide and disbelieving.

‘Of course I do,’ Delia replied, giving Patsy a rather curious look, ‘she’s my supervisor at Nonnatus.’

‘You’re a nurse there?’ Patsy asked, again, surprised.

‘I see Trixie was as sparse on my details as she was with yours,’ Delia quipped, ‘but yes, I am a nurse and midwife at Nonnatus clinic. I was hired about a year ago to replace you , actually, if I recall correctly.’

Patsy smacked her forehead, ‘Gosh, I’m so sorry. Of course you work at the clinic,’ she said apologetically, ‘I had it in my head that you were a friend of Trixie’s she met through her aerobics class or something.’

Delia smiled a she came to a stop in front of another brownstone row home with a red door, ‘Patsy, that’s alright. Why don’t we get you settled in and we can have a chat over a cuppa?’

‘Sounds grand,’ Patsy said, letting out a rather relieved sigh.

Delia handed Patsy her garment bag and hitched her duffel bag over her shoulder, batting away Patsy’s hands playfully when she tried to take it for herself. She lifted her bicycle with her other hand and led Patsy inside and up the stairs to the second floor where she opened the door to her flat.

It was a simple space. A small but useful kitchen immediately to their left, a lounge area with a dining table just beyond that. There was a grey sofa and a coffee table with a laptop, a modest television perched on another table against the wall. A glass sliding door led out to a balcony, and curtains were pulled back to let in the natural light which filled the room and gave it a warm glow. The space was decorated with pictures of family and trips taken near and far, some hanging plants and a vase of flowers on the coffee table Delia picked up special for this occasion, thinking her flat could use a little colour.

‘Charming place you have here, Delia,’ Patsy offered kindly, taking in the view.

Delia smiled over at Patsy as she leaned her bike against the wall.

‘You’ll be in here, if you don’t mind a pull out sofa bed,’ Delia said as she walked into her lounge and placed Patsy’s bag on the coffee table.

‘Not at all. I’ll be alright.’

There was another moment of silence between the two where neither quite knew what to do with themselves.

Delia ran her fingers through her hair, feeling the sweat that accumulated under her brow and made to turn on the standing fan that was in the corner. The cool breeze relieved her nerves in an instant. She decided to get busy and went into hospitality mode again.

‘Patsy, why don’t you go ahead and take that bath?’ she offered, walking past Patsy and opening another door that was by the coat closet, revealing a small, but functional bathroom, ‘fresh towels are on the sink. Feel free to take your time. I’ll put the water on and have tea waiting for you when you come out.’

‘That all sounds heavenly,’ Patsy practically gushed, and Delia felt rather proud of herself that she seemed to be doing a great job at making a first impression.

‘I’ll just be in in the kitchen prepping things for supper so just give a shout if you need anything.’

Patsy gave her a grateful smile as she collected her bag and disappeared into the bathroom, leaving a rather flustered Delia not knowing what else to do but start chopping herbs and vegetables.

Chapter Text

Patsy emerged from the bathroom about an hour later looking quite refreshed. She simply wore jeans and a t-shirt and wore her hair down around her shoulders. Delia was chopping lettuce for a salad while she had chicken thighs broiling in the oven.

'Smells divine,’ Patsy called out from the lounge as she packed her dirty clothes away.

'I'll wash those if you like,’ Delia said, emerging from the kitchen with a plate in each hand, one with fancy cheeses and crackers and the other with hummus and vegetables.

'Oh, that looks good,’ Patsy said, eyeing the platter.

‘I think I've made too much food if you want to go ahead and dig in,’ Delia said with a smirk, turning back towards the kitchen to fetch their drinks.

Delia soon returned with two cups of tea and sat down at the table with Patsy, the woman already helping herself to some cheese.

‘So,’ Delia began conversationally, ‘Singapore, hmm? What took you all the way out there? Work?’

‘Family. Grew up there actually,’ Patsy replied, and Delia tried to hide her surprise, ‘My father was the director of a shipping and management company that took him out there for work. My sister and I were raised there until we were about ten and then came here to live and go to school.’

‘What was the reason for the move here to London?’ Delia asked, stirring two sugars into her tea.

‘My mother had passed away. Had a bout of pneumonia that took her,’ Patsy said plainly.

‘Gosh, I’m sorry,’ Delia started, but Patsy waived her off.

‘It’s alright,’ Patsy smiled reassuringly, ‘It’s been twenty years and I’m very much past being upset about it. Besides, I still had my sister with me while we attended school. I wasn’t entirely alone.’

Delia blinked, her heart sinking slightly in her chest.

‘What about your father?’ she asked tentatively, ‘Wasn’t he here with you?’

‘Oh, he decided to stay in Singapore for work. Figured we’d be well off enough at boarding school and the like with our education and growing into fine young women,’ Patsy said nonchalantly, sipping her tea.

Delia couldn’t help but notice she wouldn’t meet her eye. She swallowed down the urge to reach out and comfort Patsy, sensing the woman had had a lifetime of loss and disappointment and had learned to put up a wall around how she really felt about it.  

‘Still, must be very challenging for any child to lose a parent at that age,’ Delia began, steering the conversation away from Patsy’s father.

Patsy nodded in agreement, ‘I will say that her loss is what prompted me to pursue nursing.’

‘That so?’ Delia perked up attentively .

‘Oh yes,’ Patsy smiled fondly, ‘and I’m so very happy it’s lead me down this path. I truly love being a nurse and helping people, and besides, if I hadn't I would have never met Trixie or Barbara.’

Delia gave an affirmative hum as she sipped her tea.

‘How about you then, Delia?’ Patsy asked, her mood seeming to change drastically at the prospect of learning something new about Delia.

‘Me?’

‘Yeah, I shouldn’t be the only one talking here,’ Patsy smiled as she took another bite of cheese, ‘I want to know all about you.’

Delia flushed, feeling rather embarrassed her mind went completely blank for being put on the spot like this. She didn’t think she was particularly interesting.

‘Oh, I’m not… there’s not too much to say. I’m boring,’ Delia said, giving a shy smile.

‘I highly doubt that,’ Patsy chided playfully, ‘come on then now, what’s your story? Where did you grow up? What’s your family like? Have any siblings? Did you always want to be a nurse?’

Delia blinked, unable to hide her amused smile at the barrage of questions. She wondered if the woman was always like this or if she was somehow loopy from the jetlag.

She sipped her tea and began to talk about how she was raised in Wales, about her family back home and how she came to be a nurse and preferred to stay in London for the time being.

‘Lot’s more opportunity here, I think,’ Delia remarked, ‘not that I wouldn’t enjoy a simple life in a small village, I just have too much energy right now to settle down.’

‘Opportunity?’ Patsy asked curiously, munching on a but of carrot dipped in hummus, ‘you mean like work?’

‘Among other things,’ Delia replied with a bit of a side eye, thinking of the lack of dating prospects in her hometown of Pembrokeshire.  

‘Such as?’  

Delia blushed at Patsy’s gentle prying, and her heartbeat quickened in her chest as she wondered if she should come out to this woman. What if she did and she suddenly wasn’t comfortable staying the night in her flat?

She blinked back any fears she might have had and decided to just keep it elusive.

‘Well, dating for instance. You know what they say about dating in small villages, right?’ she asked, gearing up to deliver a punchline as she rose from her seat and grabbed their two empty tea mugs.

‘No, what?’

‘It’s all relative,’ Delia said with a grin, feeling rather giddy at the sight of Patsy covering her own smile with her hand at her silly joke.

Delia made her way to the kitchen and placed the mugs in the sink. She was just about to call out asking if Patsy would like another cup of tea or if she preferred to move to cocktails or wine, but when she reached to turn the water on to give the mugs a rinse, the faucet fell clear off the sink, spewing a stream of water right into her face and chest.

She made a myriad of garbled shouts as she brought her hands up to her face to keep the water from getting into her eyes, and eventually she had the wherewithal to reach out and turn off the taps. When she finally blinked her eyes open, she saw the sink in an absolute of disarray, water pooling all around the counter top and floor.

‘Delia, are you alright?’ Patsy asked, appearing in the entryway to the kitchen.

Delia noticed Patsy’s red face and her eyes dart from her to the ceiling, and Delia looked down to see her top had become absolutely transparent.

Delia quickly crossed her arms over her chest as she felt her own face grow hot, thinking to herself that this moment couldn't be more embarrassing. In front of possibly one of the most attractive women she had ever had in her flat, no less.

Patsy at the very least was able to grab a flannel hanging from the handle on the stove, and she held it out for Delia who mumbled a ‘thanks’ as she used it to dry her face and neck.

‘What happened?’ Patsy asked, peering over into the sink curiously.

‘Bloody flat is falling apart, is what,’ Delia said, feeling like she was on the verge of tears all of a sudden. She wondered why she was feeling so emotional.

‘It’s alright,’ Patsy said, looking like she wanted to reach out and comfort Delia, but stopped herself.

Delia thought then that if Patsy, basically a stranger, wanted to give her a cwtch she certainly wouldn’t say no.

‘Why don’t I clean up in here and you get yourself sorted, hmm?’ she offered kindly.

Delia felt a little embarrassed at the offer, ‘No, Patsy, it’s alright, I… You’re a guest here, I couldn’t ask you to-,’

‘Nonsense,’ Patsy interrupted, reaching into the sink and inspecting the contents, ‘it’s the very least I can to with you showing such hospitality.

‘Patsy,’ Delia said, not quite sure what to say to her kindness.

‘Really it’s nothing,’ Patsy insisted and gently placed her arms on Delia's shoulders, guiding her towards her bedroom.

Without another word, Delia collected herself enough to shed her wet t-shirt and jeans. She blew her hair dry before throwing on a wrap dress, thinking it was much too steamy in the flat to wear anything heavy against her skin like jeans again. When Delia was certain she looked presentable, she entered the kitchen to see Patsy lying on her back, her head and shoulders far into the cabinet under the sink. Her hands seemed to be tinkering with something.

Delia’s breath caught at the sight of the woman, thinking that she was attractive enough just standing there but now she was fixing things around her flat, too!? Delia was beginning to think it was a mistake to let Patsy stay here. Then again, she remembered the circumstances as to which brought the woman here and Delia cursed herself for being human and tamped down her feelings out of respect for their departed friend.

‘Just about done here, Deels,’ Patsy called out casually from her spot under the sink, ‘somehow this valve got kicked in the wrong direction and the water pressure went through the roof.’

‘Patsy, I feel terrible,’ Delia admitted, averting her eyes from the exposed midriff on her kitchen floor, ‘you’ve just had a bath and have gone and gotten all dirty again.’

‘Oh, it’s just my hands,’ Patsy said, emerging from her spot and looking up at Delia with a smirk, which quickly vanished as she took a once over of Delia in her new outfit, ‘n-no need to fuss about me,’ she added quickly.

Delia gave a sigh of relief, ‘You really don’t mind?’

Patsy shrugged and shook her head as she rose to a standing position, fastening the faucet back onto the sink and tugging on it to make sure it was snug. She ran the water and it flowed perfectly.

‘There, good as new,’ Patsy said, soaping up and scrubbing her hands under the flowing water.

Delia looked on rather amazed.

‘You are certainly full of surprises, Patsy,’ Delia mused, ‘never would have thought a woman such as yourself would be willing to get down and fix a sink, let alone know how.

Patsy gave a bit of a chuckle as she continued to scrub, ‘You know, one thing my father always said is, ‘If you can’t be handsome, be handy’.’

‘Well you must be an overachiever,’ Delia blurted out before she could stop herself, though she was rewarded with a rather shy smile and int of a blush from Patsy.

There was an obnoxious buzzing sound that rang through the flat which alerted the occupants that Trixie had arrived.

Delia thanked the heavens for the interruption, thinking that if Trixie hadn’t come soon she had no idea what else she was liable to say or do to make the tension she felt between her and Patsy even more insufferable.

She rushed to the door and buzzed Trixie in, popping open a bottle of wine while they waited for her to come through the door. Patsy had just finished drying herself with a flannel when there was a light knock.

‘You answer it,’ Delia said pointedly to Patsy, who looked back at her quite confused, ‘it’s you she wants to see. She needs you right now.’

Patsy gave a somber nod and opened the door, Delia staying back in the kitchen as she watched her friend nearly fall into Patsy’s arms, the woman squeezing her tight and breaking down into tears at the sight of her.

Chapter Text

Once Trixie had calmed down and dried her tears, she was absolutely delighted to see her old friend in the flesh and blood again after being apart for nearly a year. The rest of the evening was spent around the dinner table, the three women sharing stories over food and drink. As plates were cleared and wine refilled, the three moved to the lounge where Patsy and Trixie sat side by side on the sofa and Delia sat comfortably in the small armchair.

‘Your presence was really missed at the clinic, you know,’ Trixie sighed, placing a comforting hand on Patsy's shoulder. Patsy smiled shyly and placed her hand over Trixie's, the two looking at one another affectionately.

Delia, sitting there swirling her wine in her glass, was beginning to feel like a third wheel.

‘And at Barbara’s wedding,’ Trixie added with a sigh, ‘you would have been an excellent bridesmaid along with Phyllis and I, and Delia of course,’ she finished with a kind smile to Delia.

‘You were in Barbara and Toms wedding?’ Patsy asked, looking to Delia rather surprised.

‘Sure I was,’ Delia replied with a casual shrug, ‘we spent many nights right here in this room working on her dress and helping her put together color schemes and themes and all that, didn’t we Trix?’

‘Like a bunch of old women sitting in a sewing circle the way we put together that dress,’ Trixie said with a sigh and a far off look in her eye, and Delia knew she was absolutely thinking of those long nights leading up to the wedding where they were scrambling to check that everyone had RSVP’d and that the flowers and food had all been paid for and that Barbara was getting enough rest.

‘Those days were so much fun. I wish I knew then how precious that time with her was going to be,’ Trixie remarked softly, forcing through a smile as if she were trying not to start crying again.

There was a beat of silence as Trixie took a sip of her wine and Patsy simply looked at her glass sitting on the coffee table in front of her, her brows knitted in deep thought and concern.

‘Gosh,’ she said softly, ‘I didn’t realize how much I was missing out on being away.’

Trixie reached over and took Patsy’s hand in hers.

‘I didn’t know,’ Patsy started, looking regretfully at Trixie, ‘If I had known she was sick I would have come back after the funeral.’

Delia raised an eyebrow at that.

‘Sweetie,’ Trixie started, ‘you couldn’t have possibly known. None of us did. It happened all so quickly. Besides, you had your own loss to worry about.’

‘I should have made the effort though,’ Patsy insisted, squeezing Trixies hand, ‘to at the very least come back for one of my best friends damn wedding instead of taking an extended sabbatical.’

‘So you weren’t in Singapore for work?’ Delia asked, looking back at her curiously.

‘You thought she was there for work?’ Trixie asked.

‘Well I learned she was raised there and her father lived there…’ Delia trailed off, noticing the sad look in Patsy’s eye and she began to connect some off the dots.

‘It… I went back because my father was ill,’ Patsy said, ‘He died about three months into my stay there.’

‘Oh,’ Delia placed her glass of wine on the table, her heart sinking into her stomach as she realized that Patsy was without both of her parents, ‘Patsy I’m sorry.’

‘It’s alright,’ Patsy shrugged, nervously running her fingers through her hair, seemingly growing frustrated with herself, ‘just, I knew it was coming, you know? It was more of a relief when he finally passed. No longer suffering. It’s just… I was left to take care of his affairs, his estates. Working with lawyers and agents and the like kept me there for a few more weeks. Then weeks turned into months and for a while I just kind of…’

‘You fell off the face of the earth,’ Trixie interjected, ‘Made me nervous when you got rid of your facebook,’ Trixie turned to Delia looking worried, ‘thought I had done something to offend her when I thought she unfriended me, but then I realized she had entirely deleted her account.’

‘Oh,’ Patsy waived her hand, ‘just got tired of seeing how everyone else's life was going at the time. Hardly talked to anyone on here as it was. Anyway,’ she said, looking back to Delia, ‘I sort of had a bit of a midlife crisis, I suppose. Being away from work made me realize that I had never really had a gap year. Just moved constantly from one year to another and I just needed the time after everything was done with my father to sort of… relax. Recharge my batteries.’

‘I think it was a fine thing to do. Everyone should be able to take the time they need to find themselves,’ Trixie said supportively.

Patsy still did not look like she felt better hearing this, ‘Still. I could have made an effort to come back for Barbara's wedding. It was selfish of me to-’

‘No, Patsy,’ Trixie stopped her holding up her hand, ‘you did nothing wrong. You lost a parent and you needed that time. None of us think any less of you for thinking of yourself for once.’

‘I agree,’ Delia chimed in, ‘anyway what matters is that you’re here now.’

‘Here here,’ Trixie raised her glass and Delia returned the gesture, feeling a little happy they managed to get a shy smile out of Patsy.

The clock on the wall chimed, indicating that it was ten o’clock.

‘Oh dear,’ Trixie sighed as she took one last sip, I suppose I ought to be off. Long day tomorrow.’

‘You going to be alright?’ Patsy asked as the three rose from their seats, ‘Do you need me to walk you home or anything?’

Trixie smiled, situating her handbag over her shoulder as she gave Patsy an affectionate pat on the cheek, ‘Ever the chivalrous one, hmm? See nothing changed in that regard.’

Patsy continued to look at her worriedly, and Trixie sighed.

‘I’ll give you a text when I make it back, alright?’

‘Ok,’ Patsy relented.

Delia stood back, feeling a little touched watching the exchange, thinking Patsy wanting to look after her friend was rather sweet.

Trixie gave the two women a hug and a kiss by the door before she left for the evening, Patsy giving a sad sigh as she closed the door behind her.

Delia worried on her fingernail regarding the woman for a moment, wishing there was something she could to make her feel a little more cheery.

Patsy turned to Delia, forcing a smile, ‘Well, I suppose we ought to clean up before we head to bed ourselves.’

Delia watched silently from her spot as Patsy made quick work of stacking plates and collecting the knives and forks. Before she could go any further, a thought occurred to Delia and she walked over to place her hand on Patsy’s arm, halting her motions.

‘That’s alright Pats, we can leave it for tomorrow,’ she said, feeling quite amused at Patsy’s surprised glance, ‘would you like to look at the pictures I have from Barbara's wedding? She sent them out not too long ago.’

Patsy seemed to genuinely smile at that, ‘Delia I would love to.’

Delia felt more relaxed that Patsy seemed happy at the thought.

‘I’m going to have myself another glass of wine, would you like one?’ she asked.

‘Please,’ Patsy replied.

Delia poured two glasses of something red and lead Patsy to sit back on the sofa, pulling out her laptop from the side table and opening it to a shared drive with all the photos. For the next hour or so, the two sipped their wine while Delia had Patsy laughing, recalling stories of all that had transpired that day.

‘We honestly woke up the morning of the wedding still completely smashed from the night before,’ Delia recalled with a slight cringe, ‘Barbara and I forced ourselves to go to a little shop around the corner for bottled water and heard them playing her and Tom’s wedding song over the speakers.’

‘How serendipitous,’ Patsy replied.

‘Precisely,’ Delia beamed, ‘Barbara and I took it as a sign they were meant to be.’

Patsy chuckled as she finished her wine, singing disappointingly as she looked at her empty glass.

‘More wine?’ Patsy asked, looking to Delia.

Delia nodded and didn’t stop herself from admiring how Patsy looked walking away from her in those skinny jeans. Delia only noticed she was staring after Patsy had disappeared into the kitchen.

Patsy returned with two glasses of healthy pours of wine and sat back down, bringing one arm to rest behind Delia’s head as she propped her own head up with her hand. This motion brought her close to Delia who could feel all the hairs on the back of her neck and arms stand up straight at the motion. Patsy was so warm and smelled so good that Delia all but slapped herself across the face to force herself to focus again.

‘Is that you?’ Patsy asked, pointing to Delia’s laptop.

Delia turned her attention to the photo on the screen of Barbara in her wedding dress, smiling brilliantly with her, Trixie, Phyllis, and Valerie in the background looking their best in their not so entirely terrible bridesmaids dresses.

‘Oh, yes, that’s me at the end there,’ Delia commented shyly.

Patsy hummed, sipping her wine, and Delia grew rather nervous, getting the feeling that Patsy was examining her rather close.

‘Your hair looks nice down around your shoulders like that,’ she finally said.

Delia was glad it was so dark in the room as she felt a hot blush crawl up her neck and spread across her cheeks. She was about to eek out a response to the comment, but before she could, she felt Patsy relax just a little more on the sofa and lean in next to her.

‘Ah, look at her there,’ Patsy said sadly. .

Delia once again focused on the screen, feeling her heart swell painfully in her chest at the sight of Barbara.

She found herself slowly nodding in agreement.  

‘She’s beautiful, isn’t she?’ she said softly, swallowing back the urge to cry.

Delia sniffed and Patsy took notice.

‘Are you alright?’

‘Sorry,’ Delia sniffed again, taking a finger and wiping a tear from her eye, ‘it’s just… I don’t want to cry, but I just can’t believe it still. I can’t believe she’s gone.’

Delia turned away from Patsy then, somewhat embarrassed she was so emotional all of a sudden.

Patsy surprised Delia by placing her glass of wine down on the table and wrapping her arms around her, holding her tight.

Delia couldn't help herself as she squeezed back, her hand taking a fistful of Patsy’s shirt and holding her close, letting the tears fall down her cheeks and onto Patsy’s shoulder.

The two of them remained embraced for several moments while Delia cried, and Delia couldn’t help but feel safe and protected being held like this, feeling like she was finally getting the cwtch she craved from earlier.

Delia eventually composed herself, wiping the last of her tears away with the back of her hand. She noticed Patsy looking back at her, seemingly waiting patiently for Delia to be the first one to speak. Delia rather realized how much she appreciated Patsy's silence in the moment, just letting her cry.

‘Thank you,’ she said, smiling slightly as she looked at the rather large wet stain that was now on Patsy’s shoulder, ‘sorry about your shirt.’

Patsy chuckled slightly, ‘That’s quite alright Delia,’ she said, taking her fingers and gently grazing them along Delia’s naked arm.

Delia knew she meant the touch in a comforting way, but she couldn’t help her body's reaction; the thump of her heart in her chest, the shortness of breath. She wondered if Patsy had any idea of what she was doing to her.

‘Why don’t we come back to these photos later, hmm?’ she asked, gently closing Delia’s laptop and picking her glass of wine back up again, ‘Perhaps talk about something else to take our minds off things?’

Delia sighed, feeling comfortable enough in front of Patsy to curl up on the sofa, tucking her feet under her bum and resting her head in her hand. Patsy mimicked her motions, her body turning towards her as she tucked her ankle under her knee and rested her head in her own hand as well.

The two spent a moment just looking at one another, and Delia couldn’t help but notice how incredibly beautiful Patsy looked just then, the low lighting making her skin and hair glow. It was almost enough to make her forget that they were supposed to be having a conversation of some sort.

‘What would you like to talk about?’ Delia finally asked.

‘Anything you like,’ Patsy replied.

Delia narrowed her eyes, thinking there was a tone in Patsy’s voice that made it almost sound like a dare.

There was a myriad of things Delia wanted to know about the woman, but realized as she swirled her wine in her glass that she was far from too drunk to just ask right out. She decided to keep it simple for now.

‘Tell me about Singapore?’

Patsy smiled and sipped her wine. She soon began telling tales of her childhood growing up in the city, all the mischief she got up to with her sister and how that followed them through to when they were in boarding school with limited adult supervision. She went on about the people there and the food and culture, and about all the adventures she had the last six months she was there after her father died, exploring, trying new things, growing to have new hobbies and learn new things about herself. It all eventually lead back to her time training to be a nurse, how she came to work at Nonnatus and meet Trixie and Barbara and become close friends with the two.

Delia found herself rather captivated, thinking she could listen to this woman talk for hours, she found her so interesting. Though as it was, the how had grown late and Delia found herself stifling a yawn.

‘Oh, Delia, you’ve gone and let me chat your ear off, no wonder you’re yawning,’ Patsy said playfully.

‘Nonsense, I’m really enjoying learning all these things about you.’

‘Be that as it may, it’s getting rather late. Perhaps we should call it a night?’

Delia did not hate that idea.

The two begrudgingly rose from their places and gathered the plates from the table, moving them to the sink. They then worked together to take apart the sofa and pull out the bed, Delia taking from the linen closet fresh sheets and pillows for Patsy to sleep on.

‘Do you need anything else before I head off to bed?’ Delia asked.

‘You have honestly done more for me than I could have imagined, Delia,’ Patsy sighed.

Delia thought the same about her in that moment.

‘Get some rest,’ Patsy said with a tired smile, ‘and I’ll make us breakfast in the morning, yeah?’

Delia smiled at the thought, thinking if the woman could fix a sink she could fix breakfast.

‘Looking forward to it. Goodnight.’

‘Goodnight,’ Patsy replied softly.

Delia’s own smile did not fade until she was safely in her bedroom, the door shut with her leaning up against it. She gave a sigh of relief for being in the quiet and being in a space where she felt she could finally relax, finding herself rather wound up even after several glasses of wine. She thought asking Patsy to talk about herself and getting to know her better would make Delia feel less nervous around the woman, but it had the opposite effect for the mere reason that it all seemed to make Delia like her even more. Not only was she beautiful on the outside but she was starting to see the beauty within her, too.

She opened her eyes and decided to get ready for bed, but not before she caught the sight of herself in the mirror across the room. She paused a moment taking in her appearance, slowly letting down her hair and fluffing it around her shoulders because Patsy had said that she looked nice like that. She thought to herself she might just wear it like this for the service tomorrow.

Delia forced herself to push those thoughts away, reminding herself that Patsy was only here for two nights for their friends funeral , for christs sake, and she should get a grip.

Feeling rather upset with herself, she turned away from the mirror and readied herself for bed.

Chapter Text

The next morning, Delia had thought the sound of her frying eggs and brewing coffee would rouse the redhead from her slumber, but she was perplexed and rather amused at how Patsy continued to sleep heavily from her spot on the sofa bed no matter how much noise she made.

Not wanting to disturb the woman, Delia decided to let her be and leave breakfast out for her to enjoy whenever she woke for the day. Though, with a steaming cup of coffee in hand, Delia couldn’t help peek over at Patsy before she returned to her room, admiring how even in this vulnerable state how pretty she was. She looked downright adorable with her mouth open slightly, her breathing heavy as she snored lightly, seemingly not bothered at all that the morning sun was shining bright through the balcony window.

Patsy shifted and moved to roll over, the sudden motion causing Delia to stifle a gasp and disappear into her room as quickly and quietly as she could.

Delia turned and shut her door so quickly that her coffee swished in her cup, circling dangerously and threatening to spill over the edge unless she remained completely still. She had her back against the door, not daring to breathe as she listened for any signs of movement from Patsy. After several moments had passed and there was nary a sound from the other side of the door, Delia deemed herself in the clear to go about her morning and enjoy her tea. She checked the digital clock by her bed and resolved to start getting ready for the service within the hour starting with a long hot shower. She sipped her coffee and sat at her desk, propping open her laptop and began to catch up on the days news.


‘Oh bugger!’

The exclamation caught Delia’s attention, her eyebrows raising as she looked up from the sight of herself in the bathroom mirror.

The loud thump of someone falling to the floor followed by more swearing had Delia pause her motions midway from putting in her other earring. Having since dressed in smart, modest t-length dress for the service after she had showered, she had no hesitation reaching for the bathroom door, wanting nothing more than to peer through and see if everything was alright on the other end.

Unbeknownst to either woman, as Delia pulled on the door, Patsy was on the other side pushing. As a result, the door flung open violently, crashing against the wall with a loud bang that had Delia tumbling backwards and Patsy falling forwards.

Both women shared a panicked look as Delia flung her arms out and grasped onto anything within reach, and she managed to snag a fistful of towels hanging from the railing on the wall with one hand and the bathroom sink with the other. Patsy stepped forward, instinctively reaching out to grasp into Delia to prevent her falling, but all she managed was to grasp onto the same rack of towels with one hand, and quite frankly the rack on Delia with the other.

The two were stuck, frozen in place like statues leaning awkwardly one way or another as both tried desperately not to fall to the floor. Both Delia and Patsy looked at one another with wide eyes, unable to blink as both pairs of eyes darted to where Patsy’s hand grasped on Delia’s chest, her fist clenched tight on the material of Delia’s dress and bra to hold her steady.

‘Oh, god, sorry!’ Patsy said flustered, letting go at once and grasping onto Delia's arms, gently hoisting the woman to a standing position.

‘Um, that’s quite alright,’ Delia mumbled, unable to look Patsy in the eye, which she found rather hard to do with a giant mirror on one side of them. She noticed for the first time that Patsy was wearing only a white vest and black knickers, and the sight of her so scantily clad had Delia perspiring.

‘I’m sorry,’ Patsy said again, almost pleading, ‘I forgot to set my alarm last night and I think I’m still getting used to the time difference and-,’

‘Patsy, it’s alright,’ Delia insisted, forcing a smile as she nervously pushed her hair out of her face, the hair she decided to leave down long over her shoulders after Patsy’s comment the night before, though she would never admit it.

‘Really, I shouldn’t have barged in like that.’

‘Patsy,’ Delia said more firm, ‘if anything I should have made the effort to wake you.’

Delia chanced a glance at her phone to check the time and saw there was less than an hour before the service. They would need to leave in the next twenty minutes if they were to make it on time.

Now she really felt guilty for letting her sleep in.

‘Patsy, really I’m the one who's sorry,’ she said with earnest, ‘How quickly can you get ready? Can I do anything to help?’

‘No, Delia, I don't want you to go through any trouble,’ Patsy said, crossing her arms over her chest as it seemed she realized she was in her state of undress.

Delia coughed awkwardly, thinking that giving Patsy the space she needed to get ready would be more than a sufficient way to help.

‘Well I’ll just let you get on then… If you don't mind,’ Delia trailed off, pointing towards the door and scooting slightly to shift around Patsy.

‘Oh, sure, sorry,’ Patsy said quickly and pressed her back against the wall, Delia moving along the other side and working desperately to not touch the woman on the way out, but the bathroom was so narrow that she couldn't help but feel the heat of Patsy's body against her skin, the sensation making her heart pound frantically in her chest.

Delia closed the door behind her and took a moment to collect herself, shaking her head and pressing her fingers against her temples to rid herself of inappropriate thoughts. She took a moment to situate her dress and her bra so that it fit comfortably and snug again. Through this adjusting, Delia realized she still had her other earring in the hand, so she walked to the mirror hanging on the wall by the front door and composed herself enough to put it in, though midway through the bathroom door burst open once more. Delia turned to see Patsy frantically scrambling, running around her flat with a toothbrush now dangling from her mouth. Delia watched with a curious eyebrow raised as Patsy grasped onto her garment bag and duffel bag she arrived with and quickly disappeared back into the loo, her state of undress bringing a hot blush to Delia’s cheeks once more, and she blinked away the swell of desire that flared within her.

Delia looked herself in the mirror scowling, assuring herself that she would get a hold on her hormones until after the funeral and until after Patsy left. There was no way she was going to embarrass herself by making a move on the woman.

Hell, she didn’t even know if Patsy was gay.

She had finished the thought just as soon as the bathroom door burst open once more, and just as if the gay angels had heard her prayers, the clouds above parted and revealed through the gleaming light, Patsy herself emerging from the bathroom dressed in a fitted tailored black suit and white shirt. Her hair was impeccable pinned back without a strand out of place, some subtle earrings and a light touch of makeup adding just a hint of femininity to her features as she tapped the toe of her wing tipped oxfords against the floor to make sure they fit snug on her feet.

Delia’s eyes went wide and her jaw clenched as she took in the sight of the woman, watching as Patsy fussed with her crooked tie.

Patsy looked over to Delia with a helpless look in her eyes,

‘How are we doing on time? Do I look alright?’ she asked nervously, fiddling with the button on her blazer.

Once again, Delia pushed back her desire, grateful that the heavens above answered her questions, but her mind now focused on making it to their friends funeral.

She took the few paces needed to reach Patsy, the taller woman frozen in place as she seemed captivated by Delia’s focus. Delia reached up and undid Patsy’s tie, making quick work to tie it again into a simple windsor knot.

‘We’re doing just fine on time,’ Delia reassured her, then added softly, ‘and for the record, you look very handsome.’

The redhead gave a rather relieved sigh, her lips twitching into a semblance of a smile as she watched Delia straighten her tie snug against her neck and flatten it with her hand.

‘You look very nice, too,’ Patsy said, eyeing the dark hair around Delia’s shoulders, ‘very pretty.’

Delia tried not to let the compliment distract her from her task, ignoring the heat she suddenly felt in the tips of her ears.

‘You know,’ Patsy started with a shy laugh, ‘do you ever get those moments where you think you’re turning into your parents?’

Delia blinked. She looked at what she was doing with her hands, looked at how they were dressed. The motions did seem quite familiar and the thought of her mother doing this very thing for her father before just about every formal event they attended as a family popped into her mind. It made her feel warm and sentimental, and she caught the way Patsy was gazing at her just then and thought she looked as if she were feeling the same things.

‘Sorry,’ Patsy said nervously, ‘ignore me. I was just thinking that I probably watched my parents do this same thing a million times growing up.’

Delia merely smiled as she took a step back and buttoned Patsy’s blazer, giving her a once over to make sure nothing else was out of place.

‘I was just thinking the same thing,’ she replied softly.  

Delia’s fingers lingered on the hem of Patsy’s blazer, her mind wandering off to an alternate reality where she would like to help her partner get dressed for an event like this like her parents had done. If she was ever fortunate enough to have a love like that.

She looked up to see Patsy looking back down at her rather endearingly, her cheeks feathered with a slight blush.

Delia suddenly realized how close she was, how good Patsy smelled and how warm she felt.  

She dropped her hands and took a step back, taking a moment to clear her throat assertively.

‘Come on then, lets not dawdle. You seem like the type who likes to be punctual.’

‘Is it that obvious?’ Patsy quipped nervously, pressing her palms against her trousers. She quickly strode past Delia, opening the front door for her, looking back at her expectantly.

Delia simply smiled, thinking that she was glad she was not the only one who felt nervous here. Without another word, she grabbed her keys and purse and walked out the door, Patsy following close behind.

Chapter Text

Patsy and Delia walked side by side up to the church, and Delia was relieved to see others milling about the entrance, some in small groups chatting amongst themselves or on their phones. She saw a familiar face peer over the shoulder of another familiar figure.

‘Delia,’ Lucille raised an eyebrow to coincide with her flirtatious tone, ‘when were you going to tell us you had finally gotten yourself a girlfriend?’

Delia’s whole body became tense, and she felt herself break out into a cold sweat despite the summer heat. She chanced a look to Patsy who seemed similarly panicked, and a little confused.

Beside Lucille was Valerie. The woman whirled around on her heel, halfway through a cigarette with her hands in her pockets. She was wearing a sharp navy suit herself with a yellow tie and handkerchief in the breast pocket. Her eyes widened in excitement at the sight of them.

‘That’s not her girlfriend, that’s Patsy!’ Valerie exclaimed.

Delia couldn’t help but feel slightly miffed at the fact.

Beside her, Patsy broke out into a brilliant smile.

‘Val!’

Delia watched as the two women beamed at one another, and the ensuing moments were spent with the two of them coming together, giving the other a fierce hug and friendly pats on the back.

‘Cor blimey Pats, it’s good to see you,’ Valerie said as she pulled away, taking in the sight of her old friend, ‘Trix had said you were here but I needed to see you with my own eyes to believe it.’

‘Well here I am,’ Patsy replied jovially, letting out a laugh, ‘feels good to be home.’

‘Home huh?’ Valerie grinned, a hopeful look in her eye, ‘So are you back for good now?’

Patsy opened her mouth to answer, but hesitated slightly.

‘Val,’ came a voice.

Patsy almost looked relieved to have been interrupted as all eyes turned to see Trixie poking her head out from between the large wooden doors of the church.

‘Oh, Patsy! Delia, you’re here,’ she said looking between the two, ‘Oh good. The Vicar is just about to get started and I’ve saved seats for the two of you.’

‘We best be getting in then, come on,’ Valerie said looking to the three of them. She let Lucille walk in front of her and guided her through the front doors, placing her hand on the small of her back as she walked through.

‘After you,’ Patsy said, extending her arm, politely gesturing for Delia to walk ahead of her.

Trixie calling her the chivalrous one the night before came to mind, and she couldn't help but think of how right she was.

As Delia walked through the doors and her eyes adjusted, she was able to make out the last of the stragglers standing around, quietly chatting with one another as they slowly found their seats in the pews. She could vaguely make out Trixie waving to her and Patsy by the front of the church, and her vision honed in just past her blonde bob on the large brown casket that was directly at the end of the aisle.

The sight of it, and the reminder of who lay inside made tears prick at her eyes.

Delia didn’t realize that she had frozen in place until she felt a soft, warm pair of hands gently rest on her shoulders.

She looked over her shoulder and saw Patsy looking back at her concerned.

‘It’s alright,’ she said softly, ‘You take all the time you need, alright?’

Delia placed her hand over her mouth and nodded, using all her might to hold back the tears and ignoring the burning sensation in her throat.

Patsy removed her hands from her shoulders, though Delia wished she hadn’t, and the two walked side by side towards the front where Trixie was sitting, Patsy sitting next to her while Delia took the seat at the end closest to the aisle.

Delia looked to her left and saw that Valerie and Lucille were in the pew behind them, sitting closer to the wall. Valerie gave a small, but encouraging smile her way, which Delia returned.

Once all had settled, Patsy leaned close to Delia and whispered softly.

'Who is the woman sitting next to Valerie?’

Delia surreptitiously looked around to make sure no one was listening in. She leaned in so close to Patsy her lips barely pressed against Patsy's ear.

'Lucille,’ Delia whispered back, 'she's a nurse with us at the clinic.’

Patsy silently mouthed an 'Oh’ before sitting back in her seat.

She looked back over at the two for a moment and Delia followed her gaze. Together they observed Valerie place a comforting arm around Lucille's shoulders and hold her close as the woman looked on the verge of tears herself.

Patsy turned back around and leaned in close again.

'Thought for a moment she was Valerie's girlfriend.’

Delia bit back a smile.

‘There as good as if only Valerie had the nerve to make a move,’ she replied.

Patsy gave the most endearing fishhook smirk that Delia couldn’t take her eyes off of.

‘Still a useless lesbian, isn’t she?’

Delia stifled a laugh, knowing exactly what she meant. She felt giddy to be gossiping with Patsy for some reason, the excitement heightened by the fact that she was feeling this way in a place where she ought not to feel giddy.

She wondered what was wrong with her, one moment being on the verge of tears and laughter the next.

As she settled back in her seat and looked forward as the Vicar took his spot behind the podium in the front, Delia caught the sight of a man sitting on the side with Barbara's father and sister.

It was Tom, Barbara's husband. The newly widowed man looked devoid of all emotion as he merely looked down at his brown shoes, his gaze unfocused and far and away.

Delia sobered up right then and there at the sight of him, her heart feeling heavy in her chest for the man as she watched him subtly play with in his hand a strand of grass tied in a circle. Delia recognized it immediately as Barbara’s impromptu engagement ring he made her when he couldn't afford a proper one at the time.

All of a sudden, the tears that threatened to fall earlier pricked painfully at Delia’s eyes once more.

The tears were already streaming down her face as the Vicar began to speak, and before she could lift a finger to wipe them away, a blue handkerchief was within her line of sight.

Delia looked over to see Patsy holding the cloth out for her.

She was too upset to move as her tears built up, blurring her vision and spilling out over her eyelids and streaming down her cheeks and off her chin in fat drops.

Patsy wrapped her arm around her, taking the handkerchief and, with a gentle touch that let Delia know Patsy was indeed a woman who took care of others, she slowly dabbed at her eyes, drying her tears.

Delia finally collected herself to where she was able to take the handkerchief from Patsy and dry her tears herself, though not quite yet wanting to leave her embrace.

After a few moments, Delia was able to open her eyes and see more clearly, her gaze landing on Patsy’s hand clasped with Trixies as the blonde fought back her own tears as she looked steadfast at the podium while the Vicar spoke.

Patsy didn’t seem to mind her and Trixie both needing her for comfort in that moment, and Delia was able to take her comfort and find it within her to get ahold of her tears as the audience in the pews watched on as Barbara's father took to the podium to begin his eulogy.


Delia swirled her soft drink in her cup, looking forlornly at her reflection in the armoire in Trixies flat and not having the appetite to nibble on little bits of square cheeses on toothpicks or whatever else was displayed on the dining room table as refreshments.

The place was crowded with people, almost bursting with conversation and activity as guests from the funeral crowded into her small kitchen and lounge.

She selfishly wanted to be by Patsy’s side, but the woman had been whisked away from her nearly the moment after the service ended by others, people with whom Delia worked that had also worked with Patsy. Even the sadness of the day could not surpass the excitement they felt in seeing their old coworker and friend after nearly a year. Sister Monica Joan and Phyllis, for example, gushed over how tan and healthy she looked, while Valerie was happy to get her old chum back, Lucille herself eager to meet a new person, no less a friend of Valerie's.

Delia had managed a moment with Patsy earlier as the two of them escaped to the balcony for a bit of fresh air, a moment in which Delia happily realized Patsy had gone through the trouble to come and find her.

‘Just wanted to check in on you,’ Patsy said, placing her hands in her pockets, ‘make sure you’re doing alright.’

Her thoughtfulness made Delia smile, and if she were honest with herself, had her feeling infinitesimally better.

Delia shyly nodded, leaning slightly against the railing of the balcony.

‘I’m better than before.’

Delia held out her hand, and Patsy looked down at it before reaching out and taking it in hers.

‘Thank you for being so kind and patient with me,’ Delia said, giving Patsy’s hand a friendly squeeze.

‘Not at all, Delia,’ Patsy replied softly.

Delia looked back up at Patsy who had what she reckoned was her signature smirk.

‘How are you holding up? You seem to be taking this all in stride.’

Patsy shrugged, opening her mouth and taking a deep breath of air. She was just about to reply when the door slid open and Trixie appeared, walking through to join them.

The two quickly let go of their hands and faced away from one another.

‘Have a fag with me, Pats?’ she asked, already pulling out a cigarette from the pack with her teeth, ‘Been dying for one since we left the church. Finally found a moment.’

‘Oh, um, sure,’ Patsy replied, looking a little flustered.

‘Delia?’ Trixie asked, holding up her pack.

Delia waved her hand dismissively, ‘Don’t smoke, but you two enjoy.’

Trixie hummed a response as she flicked her lighter, breathing a sigh of relief one the nicotine seemed to hit her system.

Patsy slowly lit up and leaned against the railing.

‘Couldn't have asked for better weather today,’ Trixie remarked softly after a few moments of silence.

‘Reminds me of all the times the three of us sat on the pier eating fish and chips,’ Patsy replied with a smirk as she took a hard drag on her cigarette.

Trixie smiled and did the same.

Delia turned and walked back into the flat, resolving to leave the two be to catch up alone.

Now, she looked at the bubbly liquid in the plastic cup, wishing it was something stronger than a coke.

Valerie approached her then, hands in her pockets and looking hopeful.

‘Oi Deels,’ she started, looking around slyly as if she were about to disclose confidential information, ‘I’m trying to get the lot of us to go down to my aunties pub after this. Nothing fancy like, just to have a drink in honor of our Babs and maybe a cheeky kebab after.’

Delia chuckled, thinking anything other than the cold ham and cheese sandwiches Trixie had out for guests to much on would be better. Then again, just the mere thought of going out after everything that had happened today sapped her of any remaining energy. She fantasized about putting on her pyjamas and sitting on the sofa all night.

‘Think I might need to take a raincheck,’ Delia replied, ‘it’s been a rather emotionally draining day and I’m sure it has been for Trixie too.’

Valerie sighed, a little dejected, ‘Yeah, you’re probably right. Just thought with Patsy being back it would be fun to get everyone together again.’

‘Well why don’t we plan on that tomorrow then, hmm?’ Delia offered, not wanting to entirely say no to Valerie’s idea, ‘It’s been a long day. Maybe give everyone a chance to rest and then we can all get together. I think it’ll be really fun.’

‘Yeah, alright,’ Valerie said with a hint of a smile.

Lucille suddenly appeared and pulled Valerie away, insisting they stay behind to help Trixie clean as people began to filter out.

Delia sighed as she was once again left alone. She wandered through the flat and found herself in Trixies bedroom, the space impeccably clean and bed made like a professional cleaner had been though. Photos tacked to the wall caught her eye. Many of them were portraits of Trixie and Barbara, the sight of her smiling face having Delia feel overwhelmingly sad all over again.

The door creaking slowly caught Delia’s attention, and she looked over her shoulder to see Patsy looking at her tentatively.

‘Hey,’ Patsy said, stepping into the room, ‘sorry. Do you need a moment?’

‘You’re alright. Sorry, I shouldn’t be wandering about like this. I think I was just looking for something to distract me from feeling sad,’ Delia said, turning back to the wall of photos, ‘Seeing all these pictures just made things worse.’

Delia attempted a smile and found she couldn't look Patsy in the eye, too afraid she would start crying again.

‘Why don’t we head back to your place, hmm?’ Patsy offered kindly, ‘Maybe watch a funny movie to take our minds off things?’

‘You don’t have to,’ Delia insisted, ‘I know it’s been ages since you’ve seen everyone. Stay here and spend time with them.’

‘Won’t be any fun without you here though,’ Patsy replied, to which Delia gave her a skeptical side eye, ‘besides, I’m starving. Nothing Trixie had catered seemed appetizing. You?’

Delia placed her hand on her stomach and reflected on her own state of hunger, suddenly realizing she hadn’t had any food since breakfast until just then. As if on cue, her stomach let out a loud groan.

‘I suppose I could eat,’ Delia said, feeling herself blush.

‘Any requests?’ Patsy asked.

‘Well,’ Delia looked up at her with hope in her eyes, ‘I couldn’t help but overhear you bring up fish and chips while out on the balcony.’

Patsy could hardly contain her smile.

‘I know a place,’ she said, gently grasping Delia’s hand in hers and leading her out of the room.

Chapter Text

It was quiet that evening.

A gentle breeze pushed the wind chimes just outside of Delia’s bedroom window to play a soft melody. The curtains fluttered lightly, opening slightly to let the soft light of the moon fill the room with a white glow.

Delia lay in bed, looking at the patterns the shadows made on her ceiling. Her hair was splayed out around her pillows, much like her arms and legs were across the bed, her bed sheet wrapped around her leg and ankle as a sign of tossing and turning.

She couldn’t sleep, her mind much too active thinking back on all that had transpired that day.

Specifically Patsy.

Just who was this woman, really, Delia wondered.

She pieced together the conversations they had had over the last two days. Getting to know Patsy had been one if the many small pleasures Delia had ever experienced in her life, getting to know someone new and unravel the mystery. It certainly helped she thought Patsy to be quite handsome and charming. So beautiful. So engaging and kind and compassionate. It was no wonder to her that Patsy’s old friends she met today fawned over the sight of her, singing their praises to Delia whenever Patsy wasn't around.

The shadows danced on Delia’s ceiling, but she was too lost in thought to admire the patterns.

Instead, her hand absentmindedly began to trail down her top, feeling the soft skin of her tummy underneath. Her finger circled around her navel over and over again as her mind drifted to their afternoon together. How they escaped the dull reception after their friends funeral and sat in the park with a basket of fried fish and chips between them, having decided to share the comfort food.

In her bedroom, Delia closed her eyes.

She remembered finishing their small meal and laying in the grass under a tree, the light of the afternoon sun flitting between the leaves. Patsy had been kind enough to remove her blazer so they could both lie on the grass without getting leaves or strands of grass in their hair. Delia remembered being able to smell Patsy’s scent on her jacket, noting that despite her masculine attire she smelled rather feminine, of flowers and lavender. She felt the warmth of Patsy lying next to her and Delia remembered feeling relaxed and peaceful, as if this was how she were meant to spend the day.

‘What are you thinking about?’

Delia turned her head towards Patsy’s soft voice, noting that the woman had her eyes closed and her fingers clasped over her midsection.

She needed a moment to think about what had been on her mind. A myriad of things really, from the events of the day to her ever fluctuating emotions.

The wind shifted the branches in the trees, and Delia watched as a butterfly fluttered over her.

Several moments of silence passed before Delia responded.

‘I was just thinking about Barbara,’ she replied softly.

Patsy sighed and opened her eyes, turning to look at Delia.

‘Me too,’ she said.

Patsy turned on her side to face Delia, tucking her head into her right elbow while her left hand played with a loose string between them on her blazer.

Delia mirrored Patsy’s motions, turning on her side to face her.

She thought she rather liked seeing Patsy like this.

‘What’s your favorite memory of her?’ Patsy asked, looking to Delia curiously.

Delia returned the shy smile, struggling to think just what her favorite memory of Barbara was, as Patsy was the current occupant in her mind at the moment.

After a few moments of concentrated thought, Delia went on to talk more about the wedding, how much she enjoyed helping Barbara and Tom prepare, how much fun they had at the reception. She shared the few stories she could recall after having had too much to drink, the retelling of her antics along with those of Valerie and Trixie had Patsy laughing, which had Delia thinking how, despite the sadness of the day, everything seemed to be so wonderful in this moment.

It made her feel a twinge of pain in her heart to know that things weren’t quite perfect, and that they couldn’t be. Not like she wanted it to be anyway.

‘Nothing like a wedding to remind you of how lonely you are,’ she remarked, hoping the comment would be a plausible excuse for the sad sigh she gave.

She thought she was being crazy, finding herself as enamored as she was with someone she just met the day before.

‘Oh, I suppose,’ Patsy replied, her voice lowering, ‘or in my case, a funeral.’

Delia raised a curious eyebrow at that, noting that Patsy seemed to be surprised with herself that she even said anything, judging by the fierce blush that spread across her cheeks and her unwillingness to meet her eye.

Delia’s heart leapt in her throat. Was that hope she felt?  

The moment was broken the second Delia felt a raindrop on her nose.

The two women looked at the sky at the same time, watching as the clouds parted and bellowed out a near flood of rain all of a sudden. A typical summer rain.

Patsy rose and helped Delia to her feet, she collecting their rubbish while Patsy took her jacket and held it above the two of them while they ran for cover.

Now in her bedroom, Delia curled up on her side and faced the wall, her sheets shifting around her feet as she buried her head in her pillows, groaning in frustration.

What had Patsy meant by that?

Did that mean she was feeling this too? Whatever was going on between them?

She had been away nearly a year. Perhaps she merely missed her friends?

Delia had struggled with these questions, going over them again and again in her mind over the course of the afternoon.

They had raced back to her flat from the park while rain poured down on them, laughter ringing in her ears and the hallways of her building as they trudged up the stairs to her flat, not at all caring they were both sopping wet. They went their separate ways once inside, changing out of their wet clothing and showering one at a time. Delia changed into a top and loose shorts, and while Patsy showered, Delia fussed around in the kitchen, throwing together things for them to munch on as she didn’t know what else to do with herself in such close proximity to Patsy. She settled down once she had a glass of wine and Patsy, emerging from the bathroom in a similarly relaxed state of dress, suggest they sit on the sofa and watch a movie.  

It had been a long day for the two of them, but the movie merely became background noise as they continued to talk, Delia falling into an utmost state of ease as talking with Patsy seemed like the most natural thing to her.

As the evening wore on and the wine bottle emptied, the rain finally came to a stop, leaving a cool breeze to come through the balcony door. Instead of closing the door, Delia pulled a throw over her and felt relaxed enough to do something so daring she blushed at the thought of it now in her bedroom.

She rested her head on Patsy's shoulder.

Patsy didn't seem to mind in the slightest, leaning into Delia as she stretched out and crossed her ankles on top of the coffee table leaving her long legs exposed for Delia to admire.

The two continued to chat, letting the conversation flow naturally onto various subjects and stories that had the two of them laughing or sighing nostalgically.

Delia felt so calm and cozy that she barely noticed her eyes were drooping.

‘Oh dear,’ Patsy chided, ‘think I’ve kept you up too long again.’

Delia sat up and looked around, running her fingers through her hair as her eyes landed on the kitchen clock that said it was quarter past ten.

‘Perhaps I should let you get some sleep?’ Patsy asked, ‘It’s been a rather long day after all.’

‘Oh, alright,’ Delia relented, though finding she was unable and unwilling to move from her spot.

The two looked at one another and each gave the other a tired smile.

‘Thanks for everything,’ Delia said softly, not wanting to go just yet.  

Patsy raised her eyebrow.

‘For helping me get through this day, I mean,’ Delia elaborated, reaching over and taking Patsy’s hand in hers, ‘I’m just so grateful… so lucky… that you’re here, is all. I probably would have been much more of an inconsolable sobbing mess if I didn’t have you to lean on.’

Patsy smiled and shyly looked down at their entwined hands, her thumb moving to softly graze over Delia's knuckles.

‘I assure you, it is you who helped me get through the day.’

There was so much sincerity in Patsy’s voice that Delia didn’t dare challenge her.   

They shared one last rather heartfelt gaze in the dim light of the flat that had the butterflies in Delia’s tummy going mad, but she managed to pull herself away.

‘Goodnight,’ she said.

‘Goodnight,’ Patsy replied softly.

Knowing she needed to just rip the plaster off and get up already, Delia did just that. She made her way to her room and shut her bedroom door before even daring to let out the breath of air she had been holding in.

It was well after midnight now and Delia lay in bed, wide awake.

The shadows danced on the ceiling, but she didn’t see them.

All Delia could see was Patsy. Her face. Her smile. Her hands and her legs.

Delia imagined what it would have been like to lean down and kiss those long legs.

Her hand trailed up the length of her midsection, lifting her top until her finger skimmed the underside of her breast.

She would have started at the knee, then she would slowly graze her lips up along her smooth thigh ending… well, she wouldn’t jump right in so quickly now. Not with someone as beautiful as Patsy. She would take her time. She…

‘Delia?’

Delia’s eyes burst open at the sound of her name coming from the other side of her door.

She removed her hand from under her top and pulled it down as she bolted out of bed, feeling a cold sweat beginning to form at her temples, and she wondered if she had made any noise.

Delia tentatively walked to the door and opened it a crack, looking up shyly and silently at a bedraggled Patsy standing on the other side. She had her hair down in wavy tendrils that rested on her shoulders, and wore a frayed top and boyshort knickers that had Delia feeling rather parched.

‘Sorry to bother you,’ Patsy said quietly.

‘You’re not,’ Delia said, forcing herself to relax a little.

‘I can’t sleep,’ Patsy said with a bit of a shrug.  

‘Me neither.’

Patsy smiled and rubbed her arm awkwardly.

Delia opened the door to her room a little wider.

‘Would you like to come in?’

Patsy looked hesitant, and Delia opened her door and stepped back.

‘It’s alright,’ she said, ‘you can come in.’

Delia did however give a quick look around to make sure nothing was left out she did not want anyone else to see, but since she knew of Patsy's arrival beforehand, she made sure to tidy up quite well.

Patsy stepped in and Delia shut the door behind her, watching as the redhead looked around the room. Her eyes looked to Delia’s bicycle hanging on hooks from the ceiling, to her desk, her bookshelves, and finally on her bed pushed against the wall before she looked back over to Delia.

‘Alright?’ Delia asked.

Patsy looked down, playing with her fingernail in her hands and seemed to be very focused on the task as she nodded.

‘Sorry, I just,’ she began, dropping her hands to her sides as she looked up at Delia, ‘feel a little restless is all.’

Restless. Delia wondered if it was the same type of restlessness she had been feeling.

It could have been the emotional roller coaster of a day, the wine, the late hour. All Delia knew was that Patsy was in her room. She had come to her . And here she was, standing there in the dim light scantily clad, her hair falling over her shoulders, eyes down, lips parted. Delia couldn't help but imagine what it would be like to press her body against Patsy’s, taste that dip in her neck, to touch the skin under that top.

Delia was always a competitive person. Determined. When she had a goal in mind, she set out to achieve it come hell or high water.

She really only had one thing on her mind just then.

She shut the door with a soft click, and leaned her back against it.

Patsy seemed to audibly gulp.

‘What do you propose we do about that?’

The question almost seemed to catch Patsy off guard, and for a split second Delia wondered if she had been reading this wrong. That was until she watched Patsy look deep in thought for a moment, her features almost transforming to one of anxious nerves to relaxed and confident.

Delia watched as Patsy’s eyes lowered to her midsection, and then her legs. Delia became very aware that she was standing before her wearing only a t-shirt and knickers.

She was rather shocked and delighted when Patsy reached out to slowly grasp onto the hem of her t-shirt with her thumb and forefinger.

‘You seem to have some idea of what you want to do,’ she said softly.

Delia licked her lips and swallowed the lump in her throat as Patsy’s hand let go of her top, and Delia could feel the tip of her finer teasingly graze down her thigh, causing all the bumps in her skin to rise and the hair on the back of her neck shoot straight up.

'Tell me,’ Patsy insisted softly, her eyes trailing down Delia’s body and up again.  

Delia was frozen in her spot, the palms of her hands pressed against the door to hold her steady. Every nerve ending was on fire and a spike of adrenaline rushed through her as she gathered the courage to say what she really wanted, what she had been thinking about almost constantly the past two days.

‘Kiss me,’ Delia finally said, even though she could feel herself shake with nerves.  

Patsy looked at her rather concerned.

‘Are you sure?’

‘Do you want to?’ Delia said, feeling slightly panicked at Patsy's hesitancy. She worried that she had just made a terrible mistake.

To her relief, Patsy seemed to relax slightly right there in front of her, her shoulders becoming slack and her features softening.

‘Yes,’ Patsy breathed.

‘Then please,’ Delia tried not to beg, but the thought of those lips not being on her own was making her grow desperate.

Patsy took a deep breath before she stepped forward, her head bowed slightly as she was suddenly hovering over Delia who nervously pushed herself up against the door out of reflex, even though she wanted this as badly as she thought Patsy did.

Finally, Patsy brought her hand up to cup Delia's head, her thumb on her chin as she gently tilted her head back and slowly pressed her lips to Delia's.

Delia felt very fortunate to have been pushed up against her bedroom door, for the soft touch of Patsy's lips pressed against hers had her feeling rather weak in the knees and she struggled to remain standing. She felt her body spark to life then, every nerve ending under her skin seemed to ignite, the soft fabric of her t-shirt against her skin almost becoming too much to handle.

'Delia,’ Patsy breathed, almost pained to have to pull away to speak.

Delia managed to regain the use of her arms, and she ignored Patsy’s plea for only a moment as she pulled the woman down for another kiss. It was deep and smoldering, she felt as if she were melting into her arms.

'Can I please,’ Patsy started and kissed her again, moaning as Delia gently bit down on her bottom lip and pulled.

Delia gasped when she felt a pair of strong hands grasp her bum and slide up her body, caressing her hips and back and playfully teasing at the hem of her knickers. The touches sent a shock through Delia that had her pushing her whole body into Patsy’s, growing desperate for contact.

'I really want to…’ Patsy trailed off, seemingly unable to focus as she captured Delia's lips with her own once more.

Burning with curiosity, among other things, Delia finally relented and gently pushed the woman away.

'What, cariad. Tell me,’ she asked.

Patsy leaned in and I need the exposed skin between Delia's shoulder and neck, lightly grazing the tip of her nose up along Delia's neck until her soft lips were feathering over her ear.

'I want to taste you.’

Delia nearly came right there, feeling a throbbing pulsating between her legs that ached for relief.

‘Can I?’ Patsy asked, her fingertips grazing lightly along Delia hips and thighs.

Delia had lost her voice. She could only nod.

With one last deep kiss where Patsy whispered a ‘ thank you ’ against her lips, Delia watched wide eyed and stunned as the redhead sank before her to her knees, her hands caressing Delia’s bum and the back of her thighs as she slowly peeled away her knickers and pulled them down her legs.

Patsy’s lips lightly grazed over her thigh, her teeth lightly nipping at the skin there, causing all the little bumps on Delia’s skin to rise as she stepped out of her knickers.

Delia could feel herself dripping down her thighs in anticipation, and her patience was rewarded when Patsy hitched a leg over her shoulder. Delia leaned back against the door and could only watch as Patsy brought her mouth between her legs, taking a deep breath of Delia’s natural scent, her eyes fluttering closed before she finally opened her mouth and slowly parted Delia with her tongue.

Both women let out a sigh of relief at the contact. Delia taking her fingers and raking them through Patsy’s red hair. She couldn't help but throw her head back and let out the moan that had been bubbling up inside her these past several moments. Since Patsy entered her room that evening it had felt very challenging for her to speak, but now, it seemed, she had found her voice.

Patsy herself was particularly vocal as she lapped at Delia, moaning wantonly as she tasted her, teased her by pulling at her lips and sucking, making Delia whimper and bring her hips forward to give Patsy more access.

Patsy’s tongue seemed to work magic between her legs, and Delia looked down just as Patsy wrapped her lips around her clit and gently sucked.

‘Oh fuck,’ Delia whispered, the feeling of Patsy’s mouth and the sight of her between her legs was all it took for Delia to grip Patsy’s hair by the base and convulse against her. She squeezed her eyes shut and let out a strangled moan, her hips grinding against Patsy’s mouth as she rode out her orgasm.

Patsy didn’t seem to mind in the slightest, only grasping onto Delia tighter and pushing her face into her as Delia gasped for air above her and shook from her orgasm. Only when Delia clenched onto Patsy’s hair and pull her away did Patsy open her eyes and look up at the woman.

Delia felt her desire ignite all over again at the sight beneath her, Patsy’s head between her legs and her lips and mouth glistening with her need as she sweetly kissed her thighs and tummy. She knew she would need a moment to collect herself but she wanted to make Patsy feel as good as she made her feel.  

‘Bed,’ she said, and Patsy’s lips curled into that signature fishhook smirk of hers.

Patsy rose to her feet, taking Delia’s top along with her, Delia raising her arms as the last bit of clothing was removed from her.

Delia urged Patsy to walk backwards as she tugged at her vest, pulling off the thin material as the back of Patsy’s knees hit the bed and she fell back. Delia crawled on top of her, admiring the sight of Patsy’s pert breasts, her skin glowing white in the moonlight from the window, and Delia’s mouth watered at how inviting they looked.

Not wanting to waste another moment, Delia pushed her hair out of her face and kissed Patsy, tasting herself on her soft lips and moaning at how good it felt to have their naked skin pressed together. She noted the woman was soft and warm, and she could feel Patsy’s skin reacting in kind to her, becoming more taut, the little bumps rising to her touch.

Their legs entangled at they kissed, Delia settling her hips in between Patsy’s legs. Patsy seemed to want Delia to her back, but the smaller woman was having none of that. She grasped onto Patsy’s wrists and held them above her head, and her leg draped over Patsy’s hip, pinning the woman down.

‘Relax,’ Delia whispered, ‘let me touch you,’ she leaned down and softly kissed Patsy’s neck, grazing her lips along her protruding collarbone.

‘S-sorry,’ Patsy stuttered, ‘I’m nervous.’

Delia had to bite back a surprised laugh. This woman, nervous? After what she had just done?

‘It’s alright,’ Delia said, peppering sweet kisses along Patsy’s chest, ‘are you shy about being naked?’

‘Is it that obvious?’ Patsy said with a nervous laugh.

‘You shouldn’t be. You’re beautiful,’ Delia said sincerely.

Patsy merely hid a shy smile behind her hand and looked away.

‘Do you want to keep going?’ Delia asked softly.

Patsy nodded fervently and Delia couldn’t help but smile.

‘I’ll go slow,’ she said as she continued to kiss lower, her teeth lightly scraping against the swell of Patsy’s breast, ‘and you tell me any time if you want to stop, OK?’

Patsy nodded again, slowly, her eyelids drooping as she watched Delia kiss along her naked chest.

Delia brought her strong thigh between Patsy’s legs, pressing against her with just the right amount of pressure as she opened her mouth and wrapped her lips around a hard nipple and gently pulled. The motion had Patsy lifting her hips into her and whimpering.

Delia trailed her hand down Patsy’s stomach and over her hips, noting with some annoyance that the woman was still wearing her knickers. To be fair though, she did say she would go slow. She deployed a tactic that she liked to use on herself to get warmed up when she was feeling particularly randy and she wondered if Patsy would perhaps like it too.

She moved her thigh out of the way and replaced it with her left hand, taking her index and middle fingers and slowly stroked Patsy over her knickers, down and up again, applying a light pressure and touching the woman in all the places that weren’t the place she needed or wanted it most.

Delia was rewarded with a strangled moan, and she opened an eye to see Patsy with her arm over her eyes, a flush spread across her cheeks and her lips parted as she gasped for air. Delia thought she looked quite adorable, actually.

Several more moments passed where Delia seemed to drive Patsy to the brink with all this touching but not really touching business. Delia noted that Patsy was soaking through her knickers before Patsy was thrusting her hips into Delia’s hand, clenching her teeth in frustration because Delia was taking her damn time, not to mention having left several red marks along her breasts by now.

‘Please,’ Patsy gasped out, looking pleadingly at Delia.

Delia lifted her head with a smirk, and finally relented. Though she could hardly stand to go another moment where Patsy’s lips were not pressed against hers.

‘Let me kiss you?’ she asked, and Patsy practically jumped up to wrap her arms around Delia’s head and pull her down to meet her.

Delia wrapped her arm around Patsy’s neck, cradling her head in her elbow as they kissed, her other hand trailing up Patsy’s body and cupping her breasts, back down over her ribcage before she took a firm grasp of the taller woman's hips and pulled Patsy towards her.

Both women lay on their sides now facing one another, and Delia placed a gentle kiss along Patsy’s eyebrow while her hand disappeared underneath the elastic waistband of her knickers. Her fingers finally dipped between her slick folds and felt just how bad she needed to be touched.

‘Oh god,’ Patsy gasped as she clutched onto Delia’s arm.

Delia opened her mouth to gasp out something similar. The feeling of touching another woman for the first time in god knows how long making her head spin and short of breath. She instead decided to pull Patsy closer to her, kissing her slowly while her fingers stroked down the length of Patsy and back up again.

Patsy moaned into their kiss as Delia rolled her finger over her clit.

‘Here?’ Delia asked, knowing full well the answer but needing to hear Patsy say it, ‘Just like this?’

‘Fuck ,’ was how Patsy responded, tucking her head into the crook of Delia’s shoulder.

Delia continued to kiss Patsy along her neck while her fingers continued their motions, over and over again, making Patsy pant into her shoulder. Her whimpering in Delia’s ear was making the smaller woman worked up again, and Delia could feel the blood rushing between her own legs, her own aching throb growing more and more urgent and begging for relief.

Patsy opened her mouth and took in a deep breath of air, her brows knitting and body tensing in Delia’s arms that let the smaller woman know she was almost there.

‘Oh fuck, Pats, I want you to come,’ Delia breathed, feeling like she was going to come along with her too, ‘Fuck I want you to come.’

‘You’re going to make me...’ Patsy trailed off, whimpering before she tucked her head into the crook of Delia’s neck and bit down on her shoulder.

Delia needed to hold back her own cry of surprise, not expecting the painful shock to course through her so pleasantly. The pleasure was only heightened as she felt Patsy convulse hard against her fingers, her body shaking and hips bucking against her hand.

Delia grinned into Patsy’s shoulder, feeling rather proud of herself that she had made the woman come so hard.

‘Shit,’ Patsy whispered, looking to Delia pleadingly, ‘Shit, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean…’

‘Patsy, it’s alright,’ Delia said, leaning forward and placing gentle kisses on Patsy’s eyelids,’ I didn’t mind in the slightest.’

She hoped her tone was reassuring in light of the throbbing pain in her shoulder.

‘I just didn’t want to be loud,’ Patsy said, her cheeks turning more red than ever, ‘didn’t want the neighbors to hear.’

Delia giggled, ‘Is that what you were worried about?’

Patsy shyly nodded.

‘I assure you,’ Delia said through her grin, ‘these walls are so thick they survived the Blitz.’

Patsy let out a little laugh, smiling as Delia continued to pepper kisses along her eyebrows and cheeks.

‘I still feel bad,’ Patsy sighed, tilting her head to the side as Delia trailed kisses down her neck, ‘I’m sorry. I didn’t even know I was going to do it but I should have asked first.’

‘Mmm,’ Delia hummed as her lips pressed against Patsy's once more, silencing the woman, ‘Well I have an idea of how you could make it up to me.’

Delia rolled onto her back, pulling Patsy along to rest on top of her. Patsy took the hint, and with a smile she scooped Delia up in her arms and began to kiss along her chest. She delicately pulled a nipple into her mouth that made Delia arch her back and hiss a breath of air through her teeth.

‘What would you like me to do?’ Patsy asked, kissing along the valley between Delia’s breasts and taking her other nipple into her mouth and pulling gently.

‘You’re the guest here,’ Delia sighed, her hands finding their way through Patsy’s red locks once more.

‘Then allow me to show my gratitude,’ Patsy started, kissing her way down Delia’s body, ‘for being such a generous host.’

Delia merely grinned and closed her eyes, relishing the feeling of Patsy’s mouth on her.

For the second time that night, Patsy sank to her knees between Delia’s legs, only this time when Delia came, she let Patsy hear her, showing her just how loud they could be without disturbing the neighbors.


Early morning sunlight pouring into Delia’s bedroom was what woke her the next morning, along with the birds chirping happily right outside her bedroom window. She cracked open and eye and raised her head, reaching for her phone to check the time.

It took her a moment to realize she was naked, and for the memories of the night before to come flooding to the forefront of her brain.

She looked around and realized with a heavy heart that she was alone.

Delia got out of bed and threw on fresh knickers, a top and boxer shorts, going out into her tiny flat in search of Patsy.

When she opened her bedroom door, she saw no one. She checked the bathroom and the kitchen and saw the rooms were completely empty. The sleeper sofa remained untouched so Delia ruled out Patsy having snuck away to sleep there for whatever reason.

Delia’s heart felt heavy in her chest, and she grew mad all of a sudden. Did Patsy really leave? If so then how terrible! To sleep with a woman in such an emotional state as she was in the night before, the ungrateful-

Delia’s thoughts halted in her brain as she saw some movement outside on her balcony, and as she took a few steps forward, she realized Patsy was lounging in the morning sun having a cigarette

Feeling rather silly, Delia pushed her negative thoughts away and slid open the glass door to her balcony, stepping out to see a similarly dressed Patsy sitting up in her chair and stubbing out her cigarette in an empty can of coke.

‘Sorry,’ Patsy said as she blew out a line of smoke and waved it away, ‘I should have asked if it was alright.’

‘Patsy, you’re fine,’ Delia said, though looked down, unable to meet Patsy’s eye.

‘Everything alright?’ Patsy asked, eyeing Delia curiously from her seat.

Delia knitted her brows together and thought about the question. Her fists gripped the front of her top and a wave of anxiety washed over her all of a sudden. Patsy seemed to be acting rather casual and she wondered if she regretted last night. Perhaps wanted to forget it ever happened.

‘Sorry, it’s just…’ Delia shyly rocked from one foot to the other, tucking her hair behind her ear, ‘I couldn’t find you at first when I woke up and thought you had left so…,’

Delia reminded herself then that they barely knew one another and if last night was a fluke then perhaps she should let it be.

Delia relaxed her posture and sighed, feeling annoyed with herself, ‘Sorry, I’m being stupid.’

‘No you’re not,’ Patsy shook her head and turned her body towards Delia.

‘I just…’ Delia’s heartbeat raced with nerves

‘Delia,’ Patsy started calmly, her voice soft, ‘just tell me what’s on your mind.’

Delia looked her in the eye then, and could see that Patsy was looking right at her, a pleading look in her eyes as if she were silently asking her to just be honest with her.

‘Well, just… after doing something like we did last night,’ Delia started shyly, feeling her cheeks flush, ‘I just don’t like waking up alone is all...’

She trailed off hoping she didn’t sound so desperate.

Patsy merely smiled. She extended her hand and said, ‘Come here.’

Delia took the few paces she needed to reach Patsy, taking her hand in hers and letting the taller woman turn her around and sit her in her lap. Patsy tucked her arm under Delia’s knees and guided her to curl up in her lap as Delia wrapped her arms around Patsy’s neck.

‘Is this OK?’ Patsy asked softly, wrapping her arms securely around Delia.

Delia nodded and tucked her head into the crook of Patsy’s shoulder, nuzzling her nose against her neck before she closed her eyes and just relaxed into the feeling of being held by someone strong.

Several moments passed where Delia simply listened to the birds sing, felt the sunshine on her skin and smelled the sweet, floral scent of Patsy. She felt calm and protected, reassured that Patsy did not regret what had transpired the night before. That she felt the same way.

‘This is exactly what I needed,’ Delia remarked softly.

‘Me too.’

‘Really?’

Patsy nodded, taking her fingers and running them gently through Delia’s long hair.

Delia curled more into her as she felt Patsy graze her nose over her temple and rest her lips there.

‘May I kiss you?’ she asked.

Delia opened her eyes and looked at Patsy, bringing her hand to cup her face.

‘You don’t have to ask. Just kiss me.’

Patsy pulled her close and brought her lips down to meet Delia's. The two women sighed as they pulled away and kissed again, their mouths opening to gently explore and taste one another.

Delia relaxed in Patsy’s arms, letting herself be held and kissed like this had her feeling completely safe and warm and wanted. She hadn’t ever remembered another person making her feel like this and she thought she never wanted it to end. The knowledge that Patsy was soon to leave for Singapore once more made Delia overcome with sadness, and she felt hot tears prick at her eyes at the thought.

Delia pulled away and sniffed, fighting back the tears that wanted to flow down her cheeks.

‘I hate this,’ she said.

‘Oh, I can’t be that bad, now can I?’ Patsy said jokingly.

‘No,’ Delia sobbed out and wiped a tear from her eye, ‘it’s not that. You’re leaving again for Singapore soon. Oh,’ Delia sniffed and collected herself enough to finish her thought, ‘fuck I hate this. I just met you and you have to leave.’

‘Deels,’ Patsy smiled as she kissed away a stray tear, ‘I’m not going back to Singapore.’

‘What?’ Delia blinked, surprised.

‘My ticket was one way,’ Patsy said, ‘I’m not going back. I’m staying here for good. In London.

‘Really?’

Patsy nodded, ‘I’m just ready to be home. Figured I could try and get my old job back at the clinic, and if that doesn’t work I’ll just look elsewhere,’ she sighed slightly, ‘though it would be fun to work with everyone again.’  

‘Oh,’ Delia merely blinked as the information sunk in, ‘well good because I like you quite a bit.’

‘I like you quite a bit too,’ Patsy said, leaning down for another kiss.

‘Where will you stay though?’ Delia asked as they broke away, ‘I mean, you need to look for a place right?’

‘Oh, can’t I stay here?’ Patsy said with a wink.

Delia merely smirked and raised an eyebrow.

‘Don’t you worry,’ Patsy said, ‘I have a place lined up.’

‘Oh yeah?’

‘My family has a house in Chelsea.’

‘’A house?!’ Delia exclaimed, surprised, ‘In Chelsea? Wh- why didn’t you stay there? Why did Trixie have you come and stay with me?’

‘You kidding?’ Patsy balked, ‘Do you know how long it takes to drive from Chelsea to Poplar? Or the tube? Takes ages! Besides, no one has been in that house for over a year. It’s probably been taken over by stray cats and squirrels.’

‘Or ghosts,’ Delia added.  

‘Don’t even joke about that,’ Patsy said seriously, ‘I’ll never be able to spend the night there alone.’

‘I could come and help with that,’ Delia quipped, feeling rather cheery again.

‘You could come and help me move in,’ Patsy replied.

‘Deal, so long as you wear that navy suit of yours.’

‘I don’t care what you wear so long as it’s something that shows off that bum of yours,’ Patsy replied with a grin, ‘I like the way you look from behind when you’re climbing a flight of stairs.’

Delia was about to give a witty retort, but just then the glass door to the balcony slid open, causing both women to jump like a pair of frightened cats and look over. To their horror they saw none other than Lucille Anderson stick her head through the door and smile at them.

‘Found them!’ she called out, and the rest of her body appeared through the door, followed by Trixie and Valerie, who looked to be carrying a bottle of something.

‘Oh thank god!’ Trixie exclaimed relieved, a hand over her chest.

Valerie remained silent and merely grinned at the two who seemed to be petrified in their seats.

‘What on earth is everyone doing here so early in the morning?!’ Patsy exclaimed.

‘Early? It’s nearly 11!’ Lucille said, leaning against the railing of the balcony and crossing her arms over her chest.

‘Been ringing the both of you for some time with no answer at all,’ Trixie interjected, ‘Had me worried sick! Thought the two of you were in a ditch somewhere. Used the spare key to -,’

Trixie stopped suddenly and looked at both Patsy and Delia. She removed her sunglasses and blinked several times. Looking as if she couldn’t believe what she was seeing.

‘What are you two doing?’ she asked.

‘Ah, see Trix, you leave the lesbians alone together in close proximity and look what happens,’ Valerie remarked with a grin.  

Trixie ignored her friend.

‘Delia, is that a hickey on your neck?!’

Delia slapped her hand over her neck and glared at Patsy, who looked at her apologetically.

‘This explains why the sofa doesn't look like it was slept on,’ Lucille quipped.

Delia disentangled herself from Patsy and slid into the chair next to her, knowing for certain she was the color of a tomato. She tried to play it cool anyways.

‘And what do we owe the pleasure of everyone bursting into my flat uninvited?’ she asked, her chin in her left hand while the fingers of her right tapped against the armrest.

‘Well we were going to invite you to come to brunch,’ Lucille said.

‘And then Trixie turned it into a search party,’ Valerie added

‘Oh shut it,’ Trixie grumbled.

‘But we brought the fixing to make mimosas!’ Valerie exclaimed and held up a bottle of champagne.

‘Pre-drinking before day-drinking?’ Patsy asked.

Lucille and Trixie disappeared into the flat once more as Valerie placed the bottle on the little table that sat between Patsy and Delia.

‘Sounds economical,’ Delia said, twirling the bottle around and inspecting the label.

‘Even more since I got this for free from my aunties pub,’ Valerie said with a wiggle of her eyebrow, ‘She bought a crate of the stuff ages ago but no one ever wants it down where she is. All they order is beer and hard liquor. Don’t blame her for trying though.’

‘Lucky for us this morning though,’ Trixie said as she reemerged onto the balcony with several glasses in her hands, Lucille following close behind with a fresh carton of orange juice.

Trixie set the glasses down on the table and Valerie pried open the bottle, the cork ejecting from the bottle with a loud ‘pop !’ and guided the overflowing champagne to pour into the glasses on the table. She filled each one with a spot of orange juice and passed them around until everyone had a glass in their hand.

‘Well, what should we toast to?’ Lucille asked, holding up her glass.

‘I say three cheers for Patsy here finally coming home,’ Valerie offered, beaming at her friend.

‘I’ll drink to that,’ Delia said under her breath as Patsy smirked at her.

‘To Barbara,’ Trixie said, almost solemnly. The others smiled in a silent agreement, and Patsy and Delia rose from their seats and raised their glasses.

The five women brought their glasses together and gave a soft chorus of ‘To Barbara,’ and drank their drink.

After a moment of somber silence, Trixie spoke up.  

‘Well, shall we go out for brunch then and really catch up with one another?’

‘Not unless Patsy and Delia want to spend the day in bed,’ Valerie quipped and Patsy playfully shoved her.

Delia began ushering her friends back inside, the lot of them tittering about where they could possibly go.

‘So I was right about them being girlfriends, yeah?’ Lucille asked Valerie as they entered the flat.

Delia rolled her eyes as she shut the glass door behind her, thankful no one could see her grinning from ear to ear.


 

The end.