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A New Start

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The problem with Dean had escalated. They continued to talk to him about it and Gemma had stayed less at the house than either of them liked. She had adjusted to their home and having to be at her own flat, led her to go out with her coworkers just so she wouldn’t be alone. She missed those nights with Steph and they could barely talk on the phone without Dean trying to pipe in. After a couple of days, they finally bit the bullet and decided that Gemma would stay the night. Dean, however, tried to sleep with them again. Steph had become so irritated, she yelled at him. It was rare for her to do that and it ended with Dean not talking to her the next morning. Steph had apologized profusely while she took him to Joan’s, but it made no difference.

Gemma and Dean got into Gemma’s car that afternoon to go to the grocery store. Steph was working on location at the recreation building for Ane Summers big New Years Eve bash and didn’t have time to cook dinner. Gemma had the day off and offered to help her out. She picked him up from Joan’s and was told he didn’t talk as much as he usually did. This attitude carried on as he sat in the backseat, arms crossed and a small pout.

“Not talking to me either, are you?” Dean shook his head. “You know your mum didn’t mean to yell at you. She has a short temper sometimes and she’s frustrated because of the New Years Eve party, but she didn’t mean to yell.”

Dean didn’t say anything, but made brief eye contact with her in the rear view mirror. He turned his head quickly and looked back out the window.

Gemma sighed. “If it helps, she was rather upset with herself all night. She felt horrible and the silent treatment didn’t help her feel any better this morning.” Dean shrugged.

Gemma pulled into a parking space and they both just sat there. Gemma got out of the car, turning it off. Dean was expecting her to open his door like she usually did, but instead she got in the back, next to him. He glanced at her before turning away.

“Your mum thinks there is something really going on in that head of yours and asked me to ask you so what’s going on?” When he didn’t reply, Gemma tried to move him so they were facing each other. He obeyed, but still wouldn’t look at her. “Is it me?”

Dean shook his head no.

“Is it your mum?”

He did it again.

“Gran?”

“No.”

Gemma nodded. Silence lingered as Gemma figured it out. “Your dad?”

“Yeah.”

“You miss him?”

Dean nodded.

“Is he the reason you’ve become so attached to being around your mother and I?”

“He’s gone to be with Lisa and the baby. I don’t want Mummy to disappear.”

“With me?”

“Yeah.”

“Sweetheart, I think you should know that your mum loves you more than anything in this world.”

“More than you?”

“Way more than me. You’re apart of her. You know where babies come from, right?”

“Mummy’s tummy.”

“Right. You came from your mum’s stomach and nothing can break the connection you have with her. Not me or anyone else. You will always come first.”

“So why did she yell at me and not want me to be around?”

Gemma smiled, sympathetically. “It’s not that she doesn’t want you to be around, but I’ve told you, adults need alone time too. You don’t need to sleep with us. You’re a big kid! It’s not like we’d leave in the middle of the night without you.”

“Daddy did.”

“When?”

“Anytime they had a fight. He’d go to Uncle Barry’s house and spend the night there. Sometimes I’d wake up and he wouldn’t be home.”

“And what would your Mum say?”

“That he had a sleepover at Uncle Barry’s.”

“But she was always there when you woke up, right?”

“Yeah, but what if you’re not.”

“Love, If I’m not there it’s for two reasons. One: I have an extremely early or very late shift at the clinic or two: you and your mum are having your time alone otherwise I’m there, right?”

“Yeah, but you weren’t this week.”

“Well your mum and I are trying to figure out what’s going on with you. We thought it was me so we decided I should stay home for a few days so you could be with her.”

“But I like it when you’re there.”

Gemma smiled. “Me too, Kid. But you don’t need to worry about losing me. I love you and your mum so much! And don’t ever be worried or scared you’re going to lose your mum because she isn’t going anywhere! The only places she goes without you is to work or the pub. Like I said, she loves you so much, Kid. Yeah?”

Dean nodded and unbuckled his seatbelt. He slid himself over and hugged Gemma. She kissed the side of his head. “It’s okay, Love.” Dean pulled back and she smiled at him. “What do you want for dinner?”

Dean shrugged.

“What if we made a pizza tonight?”

“Order pizza?”

“No, Love. Make it ourselves. Buy the dough and the sauce and whatever toppings we want. How does that sound?”

“Can I help you make it?”

“‘Course. We’ll make it together.”

They got out of the car and Dean waited for Gemma to close the door before taking her hand.

“When’s Mum going to be home?”

“Around 6, I think.”

Dean sighed. “That’s a long time.”

“It’s a few hours, yeah.”

They gathered all the ingredients they wanted, Gemma making sure to get vegetables before heading back to the house. Gemma liked having her key and preferred this place to her flat. Those past few days had been really hard for her. They were barely ever at her’s and she didn’t mind a sleep or two there, but she had been there for four nights. It didn’t feel like home anymore. Steph had even snagged a few of Tom’s photos and brought them to the house so Gemma could see him there too.

Gemma showed Dean how to roll out the dough and helped him stretch it when he needed it. She let him pour the sauce and sprinkle the cheese while she cut pepperonis and a few different vegetables. She handed them to him and he would place them on. She let him set the oven and they waited for it to heat. Once it was ready, Gemma put the pizza in the oven.

Steph came home and wasn’t pleased with the smell of pizza, thinking they ordered out and expecting boxes on the table. She kicked her shoes off and sighed deeply. It had been a very long day of running around and all she wanted was to crawl into bed with Gemma and only Gemma. Her argument with Dean had weighed heavy all day and she tried to ignore the burden she felt with coming home.

She turned in the door frame to see Gemma and Dean working in some sort of math activity book, a spelling one on the table. Steph looked to see no boxes, wondering if they ate without her. She wasn’t that late.

Gemma looked up and smiled. “Hi, Love.”

“Hi.”

“Mummy!”

Dean jumped off the couch and straight to her, hugging around her waist. “Hi, Sweetheart. I see your talking to me again.”

Dean nodded, still hugging her. She looked at Gemma. “He and I had a chat.”

“You did, huh?” Dean looked up at her and smiled. “Well I’m glad to have my sweet boy back.”

“Gemma and I made pizza!”

“You did?”

“Is that alright? It has plenty of vegetables, all fresh ingredients.”

“Yeah sounds good. I was worried you just ordered in.”

“No, Love. New cooking experience for Dean. Should be ready in a few.”

Dean finally let go of her and she walked forward to kiss Gemma. She cupped her cheeks before placing a long smooch against her lips. They rested their foreheads together.

“Long day?”

Steph sat next to her with a plop. “You could say that.” Gemma wrapped her arm around Steph’s shoulder and rubbed her arm. Dean sat on the floor and looked at them. “What you doing, Love?” Steph asked him.

He shrugged.

“Well come here. Tell me about this talk with Gemma.” Dean sat on Steph’s lap and leaned against her, but wouldn’t talk.

“He is worried that he would wake up in the middle of the night and we wouldn’t be there.”

“Where would we be, Love? Probably down here, right? If we’re not upstairs.”

“No, he means gone, gone. Saying something about an Uncle Barry.”

“That was Terry’s best friend until,” she paused and whispered, “Lisa.”

“Ah, okay.”

“And what about Uncle Barry? Hm?” Steph asked looking down at Dean. He was cuddled in her arms and she pushed his hair back so he would look at her.

“That’s where Daddy used to go after a fight.”

“Right.”

“And you left last night after you yelled at me.”

“Honey, I went downstairs. I didn’t leave the house and I would never leave you on your own. Ever.”

“But you didn’t talk to me.”

“No and I should have apologized immediately instead of acting like your father and just leaving, but Dean, I’m never going to leave you. I would never leave you on your own and I am sorry for last night. I was irritated from the day and I, rather badly, threw my frustration into something it wasn’t about and yelled at you. I am sorry.”

“I didn’t like it.”

“I know, Love. I didn’t either.”

Dean reached up to hug her and Steph rubbed his back. Gemma could tell she was exhausted. She had little dark circles developing under her eyes. Gemma patted her leg for support, lightly squeezing around her knee.

“But with that said,” Steph started. Dean leaned back so he could look at her. “Even though I didn’t say it the correct way last night, what I said still stands, Love. You can come to me whenever there is a problem, always. I don’t care if it’s the middle of the day or the middle of the night, but no more sleepovers unless something really bad actually happens. Bad dreams, sickness, truly terrified, please come, but just to sleep with us,” Steph shook her head. “You are getting too big for that.”

Dean pouted.

“No, Love. No sad faces.”

“I just don’t understand why.”

“Sweetheart, we’ve both explained it. Adults need alone time and our alone time starts when the children go to sleep,” Gemma explained.

“But what do you need alone time for?”

Both Gemma and Steph stuttered, inappropriate images of each other filling their headspace. “To talk about boring things,” Steph blurted.

“Like what?”

“Um…” Steph hummed.

“The news. The bills. The boring stuff that wouldn’t be entertaining at all, but we can’t be interrupted when doing that because we lose our place and train of thought.”

Gemma looked up at Steph, who mouthed “what?!”. Gemma shrugged.

“That does sound boring,” Dean agreed.

“It’s what puts us to sleep at night,” Steph added.

Gemma nodded.

“But what about those noises?”

Steph felt her stomach drop and her eyes widen. “What noises?”

“I don’t know. Sometimes it’s a lot of whispering and one time it sounded like knocking.”

Gemma and Steph made eye contact. Steph remembers that situation perfectly, watching Gemma bend over for her. She still remembers the way she said ‘fuck me’. She could tell that Gemma knew exactly what he was talking about as well. Gemma shrugged, out of ideas. “Um, must be something outside, Love.”

“Yeah. We do share a wall with the neighbors so it could be them,” Steph stated.

A timer went off and Gemma smiled. “Pizza is done.”

“Yeah! Let’s eat before it goes cold.”

Gemma got up to take the pizza out of the oven. Dean looked at his mom who had a guilty smile. “Want to set the table?” Steph asked.

“Sure.”

Dean got off her lap and she sighed. She leaned forward with her head in her hands and scratched her forehead. She was frustrated; mentally and sexually. She hadn’t been able to sleep with Gemma since Dean almost walked in. They would start, no matter how slow or quick, Dean would call or come in. Steph knew Gemma was also annoyed and it didn’t seem to matter how much they talked about it, Dean didn’t get it. She’s hoping tonight and after her tone of voice last night that he finally understood.

She looked forward, taking another deep breath. Gemma held out her hand and Steph smiled at her. “We’ll make it work and figure it out,” she stated in a hushed tone.

“Yeah.”

“Come on, Love. I got wine.”

“You did?”

Gemma smiled. “Yeah. Good stuff too.”

“Thank you.” Steph took Gemma’s hand and stood up. “I love you.” She embraced Gemma, resting her head on her shoulder.

“I love you too.” She held her as close as possible. They swayed a little back and forth while Dean washed his hands. “Was it a bad day or just a long day?”

Steph sighed, letting Gemma’s scent that no longer smelled of cigarettes, just perfume, consume her. “Both? I couldn’t stop thinking about last night and because I was tired, I was grumpy all day. Then the girls, I love them, I do, but sometimes they just muck about instead of working and it drives me crazy. I just wanted to be here, in your arms only and now all I want to do is go to sleep in your arms. No six year old upset and wanting to sleep with us.”

“I think that can be arranged.” Gemma leaned back, running her hands along Steph’s arms before grasping her wrists. They smiled at one another before sharing a passionate kiss. Steph needed that more than anything, but Gemma laughed, pulling back. “Child, six o’clock. You and me later though.”

“Promise?”

“I would never lie when it comes to sex.” She leaned closer into Steph’s ear. “I haven’t stopped thinking about you all day. How warm you feel and how much I want to taste you.”

Steph felt a shiver through her spine, becoming aroused almost immediately. It took all of her might to not moan. She took a steadying breath to compose herself.

“Pizza,” Gemma whispered.

“Yeah,” Steph agreed.

They finally separated, Dean sitting in his chair, waiting patiently. Steph gasped when she saw the pizza only to see him beam, his eyes bright behind his glasses.

“You didn’t make this,” Steph commented, taking a seat.

“Yes I did.”

“No, this was done by a professional. There is no way you made this.”

“But I did, Mum. Gemma watched me.”

“He did make it and he did most of it. I just cut the vegetables.”

“See?”

“My son is a future chef.”

“I like cooking, but I like drawing too.”

“You could be the first chef artist! You’ll have so many restaurants with delicious foods that will have walls covered with your paintings.”

Dean laughed. “I love you, Mum.”

Steph smile turned teary. “I love you too, Dean. So so much.”

Gemma poured her and Steph a glass of wine each before slicing the pizza, trying to ignore the guilt and pain she felt. Yes she had the voicemail, but she hadn’t heard Tom say ‘I love you’ like that in so long that sadness consumed her.

Dean jumped out of his chair to hug Steph. She kissed the top of his head and there were many whispers of the word “sorry”. Steph cupped his chin and Gemma allowed them to have their moment as mother and son, going back to the sink and washing the cutting board.

“You know you can talk to me about anything, right?”

“Yeah.”

“I love you so much, Tigger.”

“I love you so much.”

“How much?”

Dean spread his arms out. “This much!”

“Whoa! That’s a lot!”

“And you?”

Steph spread her arms out. “This much!”

Dean smiled. He ran to Gemma, hugging her from behind. Gemma smiled when she felt his little body against hers. “I love you, Gemma.”

Gemma turned the water off and twisted to see him. “I love you too, Kid. Should we eat?”

“Yeah.”

Gemma wiped her hands as Steph started to lay individual slices on everyone’s plate. Gemma brought over a bowl of salad. “Made this too.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever been more happy to come home to a meal,” Steph said.

Gemma shared a little salad on everyone’s plates. “I made the dressing too.”

“I knew I loved you for a reason.”

Gemma chuckled. Steph took a bite of pizza and smiled. “Dean, you did not disappoint, Love! This is great.”

“Thanks.”

Gemma started with the salad, trying to shake off the moment with Dean. Tom used to hug her like that when he was little and when she couldn’t see Dean, she had to remind herself that it wasn’t her son.

“So how was your day off?”

“Brilliant. Went back to sleep after you two left, popped to my apartment and changed, grabbing more clothes and went to a yoga class. It’s really helping with quitting cigarettes.”

“Good, Love.”

“Yeah. Came here, relaxed a little and then picked up Dean.”

“And how was Granny’s?”

Dean shrugged.

“Joan informed me he wasn’t in the best spirits today.”

“Ah, okay.”

“But I'm better now.”

“Good, Sweetheart.”

“And Gemma bought me knew activity books.”

“I saw that, Love. Must have been good.”

“Figured doing some studying while he was off school would do some good.”

“Was it a reward for talking?” Steph questioned.

Gemma looked at her, confused. “No. I saw them, thought it would be helpful and bought them. I didn’t think much beyond that.” Steph nodded, taking another bite. “Are you alright?”

“Yeah.”

“Should I have not bought them?”

“No, it’s fine, Love. I’m sorry. It really has just been a couple of days.”

Gemma patted her hand a couple times before taking it. “I know. I’m sorry.”

“Just one more day and then we get to celebrate.”

Gemma smiled. “Can’t wait.”

“Celebrate what?” Dean asked.

“New Year’s, Sweetheart.”

“Will I be with you guys?”

“No, Love. You’re going to Gran’s remember? Because I have to do a party.”

“What about Gemma?”

“She’ll be with me at the party.”

“Will you come get me when it’s over?”

“Well it won’t be over til late so you’re going to stay the night at your Gran’s and then we’ll come get you the following morning.”

“Okay,” he sighed.

“But on Saturday, your dad’s coming to visit you for the day. Won’t that be exciting?”

“I guess.” Dean was pouting, looking at his plate. He ate slowly and they finally heard him sniffle.

Steph sighed. She didn’t understand this change in him. She couldn’t wrap her head around it. “Come here.” Dean looked up at her, his glasses a little fogged as tears seeped under his frames. “Come here, Love.” He got out of his chair and walked to her. She was expecting him to climb on her lap, but he just stood there and wiped his eyes. Steph took his glasses off and placed them on the table. She stood up and took his hand, both going back to the living room. Gemma stayed at the table, letting them be.

Steph sat on the couch and lifted Dean’s chin and smiled. “Talk to me, Love.”

“I don’t know if I want to see Daddy.”

“Why?”

“I don’t want to see that baby.”

“You’re not going to see the baby. He’s coming here to see you, alone.”

“I miss him.”

“Well that’s why he’s coming.”

“No I miss him from before.”

“I know, Love. I know you do, but your dad is the reason this child exists. He has to take responsibility for his actions and unfortunately that does affect us as a family. And it does affect your relationship with him and for that I am sorry. I am truly sorry that he wasn’t more responsible and that he didn’t think before he did what he did, but he’s still your dad, Love. He still loves you. He still wants to see you and take care of you as best he can. He regrets it, Dean, he really does, but we can’t change what we’ve done in the past and unfortunately, our actions have consequences. The baby is his consequence and so is Lisa. But he’s still your dad.”

“Do I have to see him?”

“Well, no. Not if you don’t want to, but remember how upset he was at Christmas?”

Dean nodded.

“He is really upset with himself and I think, not seeing your father, would hurt him a lot when he’s already really sad. Don’t you think?”

“I don’t want him to be sad.”

“So I think seeing him would be a good idea, yeah?”

“Will you come with us?”

“I wasn’t planning to, but if that’s what you want me to do, Love, I will. We can have a family day all together.”

“Gemma too?”

Gemma looked over at her name. “I don’t think-”

“If she wants to come, but I’ll have to talk to your dad first.”

“I think it should just be you three, if I’m honest,” Gemma stated, still seated at the table. “Your dad misses being with you, Love and he needs to be with just you, I think, or you and your mum.”

“But I want you to come.”

“We’ll see, Love, okay?” Steph asked.

“Okay.”

“Is that all that’s bothering you or is there something else?”

Dean sighed. “Is it bad that I’m still mad at him?”

“No, but if you feel like it’s bad, maybe it’s time to forgive him, Sweetheart. He’s a human and we all make mistakes.”

“Have you forgiven him?”

Steph shared a small smile. “Yeah, I have. You remember what it was like when I stayed at home all the time and your dad worked at the factory?”

“Yeah.”

“Well as much as I loved you and your dad, I wasn’t happy, Love. Since your dad made this error, I have been so much happier in my life. I have a job that I really enjoy and am good at. I have you, the best son in the world,” she tickled his sides and he laughed, “and I have Gemma. I don’t think I’ve ever loved someone as much as I love Gemma.” They shared a smile. “So even though he did a bad thing and upset me at the time, so many good things have come from it and I forgave him because he knew what he did was bad and has apologized multiple times and it did some good. So I would say, let’s at least give him a chance, if you want to.”

“I’ll try.”

“Yeah?”

Dean nodded as Gemma wiped a tear from her cheek.

“Now, can I please eat your delicious pizza?”

“Yes.”

“Yay!”

They walked the short distance back to table, Gemma noticing a difference in him already. Steph kissed Gemma before she sat down with a smile. Gemma pushed away her feelings and returned it, as she felt Steph’s hand pat her leg.

Dean managed to get to sleep easier than he had been that night after Steph and Gemma read him a story together. They went back downstairs, quietly. Gemma started to wash the dishes from earlier that had been left aside for family time. Steph came in with a box.

“Can you help me put bows on these?”

“Sure. Let me just finish these.”

“We can do those later, I have to get these done before work tomorrow.”

“Alright.”

“What’s wrong?” Steph asked.

“Nothing.”

“Gemma, you’re not looking at me and you’re quiet so something is wrong.”

Gemma took a deep breath before facing Steph. “Do you think Tom would have stayed if I had just forgiven Simon?” Gemma leaned back against the sink and folded her arms. Steph could see she was clearly upset. She joined her and rubbed her arms.

“I don’t know, Love. What do you think?”

“I don’t know either. I just always wonder if things were done differently if he’d still be here.”

“He might be, but you wouldn’t be here with me, would you?”

“No.” She paused. “No, I wouldn’t.”

“So maybe it’s not about forgiving Simon. Maybe it’s time you forgive yourself, Love. You can’t keep blaming yourself for everything that happened.”

“If I just hadn’t made him go to that housewarming-”

“I think he went because he wanted to. I think he said he didn’t want to for you, but then felt comfortable enough to go when you told him he should. He then allowed Simon to get in his head. He loves you. You know he loves you.”

Gemma shrugged. She leaned forward and rested her head on Steph’s shoulders, feeling her arms circle around her to rub her back. “I’m sorry. I know you’ve had a long day.”

“Long day or not, I’m still here for you, Gemma. You said those last few days, even though he was struggling, you were there for him, loved him and took care of him.”

“Was I even helping though?”

“I bet you were.”

“He wouldn’t talk to me and he thought I wanted him dead.”

“Shh,” Steph cooed. “Stop, Love. You don’t know what he was thinking when he decided to leave, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t love you. It doesn’t mean he thought you weren’t doing everything you could to make him better. You just don’t know, Love and that’s why you can’t get past this. I don’t know if forgiving Simon would have done anything to help you, but here is what I do know: you’re allowed to miss Tom, you’re allowed to do whatever you can to find him, but you have me, who will do anything I can to help you and you’ve got Dean. I know he’s not your son, but he admires you so much, Gemma and if he can do anything to fill that hole, he will. And I know it’s not the same, I do, but he is there for you and wants you to be happy. And I want nothing more in this world for you to forgive yourself of the past mistakes and know that I love you so much.”

“I know. I love you too.”

“You’re a good person, Gemma. It was one mistake and like I’ve said, you’ll see him again. I know you will.”

Gemma nodded, placing a kiss against Steph’s neck. “Thank you.”

“I am always here for you. I love you.”

Gemma stood up straight and let Steph wipe her eyes. “I love you too.”

“Tom made his own decision. I can’t imagine what it feels like, but I am always here to listen, to soothe, to help, whatever you need from me, Love.”

“And I am here for you as well, so let me help you with your bows.”

“We can talk about it more, you know.”

“It would just be talking in circles.”

“Doesn’t mean we can’t.”

“I’m alright. I just hear how you handle things with this and think that would have been the more responsible way to deal with it and then it just hurts.”

“Yes, but you helped a woman not fall into the same trap you were in. You freed her from having to feel your pain, no matter what happened. And he’ll come back. I don’t know why, but I just always feel like Tom’s not gone forever.”

Gemma nodded. “I do love you. I don’t want you to think that I have regrets about moving here or us because I don’t.”

Steph smiled. “I know, Love. You just want your boy back.”

“Yeah.”

They shared a longing kiss. Steph went back to the table, Gemma following her. Steph started to pull all shapes and sizes of vibrators and dildos from the box. Gemma didn’t know why she felt surprised and then chuckled at the circumstances. She knew what would be coming out of the box. Steph placed about thirty of them on the table and smiled, grabbing the small red ribbons to tie around them.

“So the shorter ones get ribbons around the middle, but the bigger ones should go closer to the top of the shaft.”

Gemma smiled. “This is something I can honestly say, I never expected to do in my lifetime.”

Steph laughed. “Yeah, but it’s fun.”

“Ever use one of these?” Gemma asked, turning one around in her hand.

“No.”

“No? Really?”

Steph shrugged. “I never wanted the fake thing.”

“But what if someone doesn’t have the real thing?”

“Well you’re the first person who didn’t have the real thing.”

“Do you wish I had the real thing?”

Steph scrunched her nose in disgust. “No!”

“Why’s that, Baby?”

“Because I love what you can do on your own and I don’t need it when your fingers are inside of me or your tongue.”

“Are you saying you want me to be inside of you?”

Steph smirked. “Yes.” Gemma leaned in closer to her about to kiss when Steph stopped her. “Once we finish these bows because I seriously need to finish it. We’re setting up the prize table and the complete collection tomorrow.”

Gemma pecked her lips. “Later then.”

Steph cupped her cheek and kissed her again. They worked diligently, tying bows around everything. An hour passed before they were complete. Steph was a little particular about how the bows should be tied, but they managed to get through without arguing. Gemma handed everything to Steph, who placed them back in the box.

“Does Dean know exactly what you do?”

“No, not at all. I tell him I sell things to women to make them feel pretty, but we haven’t gone past that. I don’t bring toys home, unless I have to.”

“And he’s never seen these?”

“Nope. I’ve done really well at making sure he doesn’t pay attention to these things or that he doesn’t see them. I mean he’ll learn one day or another, you know? I’m sure there are teenagers who know what I do so I won’t be surprised if he doesn’t learn it sooner or later.”

“Will you tell him?”

“I mean, I haven’t even told him what sex is yet, but yeah eventurally. Probably not in full context though. He’ll figure that one out on his own.”

“Yeah that he probably will, but I wouldn’t worry about it until it happens.”

“I’m not. I think it’s good he’s being raised in a sex positive household so when the time comes to talk about it, it won’t be the most foreign thing to him.” Gemma smiled. “And now, my Love, I’m going to go shower and get ready for bed.”

“I’ll lock up. Bring up some tea.”

Steph kissed her and they lingered for a moment, their lips barely separated, “And then?” Steph whispered.

“And then?”

Steph bit her bottom lip before accepting another one from Gemma. They smiled at one another before Steph headed upstairs. Gemma closed the box and put it by the door. She checked the front and back door before switching off the lights. She stared at a picture of Dean by the lamp they left on. She sighed, running her finger against the glass before heading upstairs.

Gemma quickly undressed herself and walked into the bathroom.

“Steph?”

“Yeah?”

Gemma pulled back the shower curtain and stepped in. Steph’s back was to her and she wrapped her arms around her waist. Steph jumped before smiling at the familiar feel of Gemma.

“I thought if I announced myself, you wouldn’t jump.”

“I wasn’t expecting you to get in.”

“No?” Steph shook her head and turned to face her. They shared a brief kiss. “I needed to shower so I thought I’d join you.”

“Yeah?” Steph smirked, bringing their lips back together. Gemma smiled into it, pulling Steph even closer. “Well I do actually have to shower.”

“I’m not stopping you.”

“Then why am trapped in your arms?”

“Because I love how your body feels against mine and quite frankly, haven’t felt it in sometime so.”

“Me too,” Steph smiled, “but I’m knackered and ready to lay down.”

“Of course.”

Gemma let her go. She grabbed the bottle of conditioner, allowing Gemma to wet her hair. They giggled together, washing each other’s hair and bodies. It was silly more than sexual, but both were grateful for their quietness together. Steph turned the water off and stepped out, handing Gemma her towel. They stood there for a moment, running fingers over semi-dry skin, sharing small, loving pecks with one another. Whispers of ‘I love you’s’ filled the steamed bathroom.

Their kisses started to deepen as Gemma pushed Steph towards the door. She moaned when her back hit the hard surface, dropping her towel to her feet. She pulled Gemma’s off as well, their bodies melting into one another. Steph managed to get the door open and Gemma followed her out. Steph fell back against the sheets, a hungry look in her eye as Gemma sauntered up to her, resting in between her legs. Their lips met in need of one another, Steph trying to fight for dominance before giving in as she felt Gemma’s hand trace down the front of her body. She sighed as Gemma made contact. She missed how Gemma touched her and made her feel. Gemma readjusted herself to straddle Steph’s hips. She penetrated her, slowly with her middle finger, a loud moan escaping Steph.

“Shh,” Gemma whispered.

“It’s just… oh G-d, Gemma, it’s been too long.”

“I know, but he can clearly hear us.”

“He’s asleep.”

“Not that we know of.”

“Alright. I know that bothered you because of-”

Gemma covered her mouth. “We can talk about all that later. Let’s take advantage of what we do have, yeah?”

Steph nodded, pulling Gemma down to kiss her lips, moaning into her mouth as Gemma started to thrust inside of her, now with two fingers.

“I love you,” Steph whispered.

“I love you too.”

Gemma took one of Steph’s nipples into her mouth, sucking and licking. Steph bit her lip, as her eyes rolled back into her head from pleasure. She felt Gemma’s mouth and tongue, everywhere. “I’ve missed you so much,” Steph whispered, pulling Gemma back into a kiss.

“I’ve missed you too.”

Gemma curled her fingers, swallowing Steph’s moan. Steph couldn’t focus on anything, but what Gemma was doing to her. She could feel the sensation in her lower stomach as Gemma focused on her center. She cried of pleasure into Gemma’s neck, Gemma grinning from ear to ear.

“Gemma,” she whispered, not able to catch her breath. “Oh, fuck, Gemma. I’m close.”

Gemma tugged on her ear with her teeth, just to hear that guttural sound from Steph. She was rewarded, but soon the phone ringing from downstairs caused them to pause, the sound scaring both of them.

“Shit,” Steph whispered.

“Oh, come on!” Gemma shouted. “Can we ignore it?”

Steph sat up to grab her watch, Gemma’s fingers still inside of her. “No, it’s almost midnight. That’s weird for someone to call this late.”

“Are you sure?”

Steph sighed, taking Gemma’s hand away. “I’ll be right back.” She threw on a robe and hurried down the stairs.

“I’ll be here, I guess.” Gemma laid on her back, staring at the ceiling. She pulled the covers back and got warm underneath the sheets when a cry of her name came from downstairs. She quickly put on her own robe and headed downstairs. “What’s wrong?”

“It’s my mum. She sounds panicked.”

Gemma took the phone. “Hello? Joan?”

Joan was breathing hard into the phone. “Gemma. Could you come see me, please? I’m sorry, but I... I’m having trouble breathing.”

“Okay, Joan. Do you have aspirin?”

“Yes.”

“Okay, I want you to take two of them and then just lay down on the couch. Steady breaths. Let me change and I’ll be there very shortly.”

“Thank you.”

Gemma hung up the phone and went to the laundry room. “What’s happened?” Steph asked, clearly worried.

“She’s alright. She’s just having trouble breathing,” Gemma answered throwing on clothes that she knew Steph had washed for her.

Steph’s eyes widened. “Is she alright?”

“I won’t know until I’m there.”

“Well, let me get changed-”

“No, you need to stay here with Dean.” Gemma threw one of Steph’s sweaters over head and grabbed a pair of jeans. “There is no point in upsetting him over something that could be small. You stay here, I’ll call.”

Gemma kissed her head, passing out of the room and back towards the door with a pair of socks in her hand.

“I don’t know if I can do that.”

“You need to. He’s asleep. He doesn’t need to know what’s happening. He just needs to know that his mum is here and if anything happens, Love, I will call you.”

“Is she going to be okay?”

Gemma slid her boots on and stood, grabbing her coat and keys. “She’s going to be fine, Steph. I promise. I will call you as quickly as I can.” Gemma kissed her and left the warmth of home. Steph decided to get dressed as well, just in case she would have to go the hospital. She went upstairs to see Dean sitting on her bed.

“Love, what did I say?”

“I heard the phone ringing. Where’s Gemma?”

Steph smiled. “She’s going to your Gran’s.”

“Why?”

“Because Gran isn’t feeling well and Gemma’s gone to check on her.”

“At the hospital?”

“No, Love. Gran’s house.”

“Is she okay?”

Steph nodded. “She’ll be fine, Love. Will you let me get dressed really quick and then we can lay together?”

Dean nodded, going back to his room. They sat in the living room, Steph rocking Dean the whole time. He eventually went back to sleep, the time of night, getting the best of him. Steph stared at the black television screen, wondering why Gemma hadn’t called yet. She heard a car approach and a door slam. She felt immediate relief when she heard the keys jingle into the door. She sat Dean down against the pillows and rushed to the door. Gemma opened it and smiled.

“She’s fine, Love. She whacked her head on her nightstand, waking herself, but assuming someone else had done it and had a small panic attack.”

“Are you serious?”

“Yes. She’s perfectly fine. Feels a little stupid, but fine. I checked the house. I check the doors, the windows; everything was locked. No intruders. She eventually realized she woke up with her head on the nightstand and that it made sense. She couldn’t breathe because of the panic attack. By the time I had gotten there, she calmed down quite a bit. I check her heart and vitals, everything was normal.” Steph rushed Gemma, circling her arms around her, crying in relief. Gemma rubbed her back, soothing her. “It’s alright, Love. She’s fine. She’s healthy.”

“Thank G-d.”

Gemma smiled. “And hey, she called you for me to check on her so I guess she likes me now.”

Steph laughed. She looked at Gemma. “Thank you. You responded so quickly, I thought something was really wrong.”

“Well I was worried she was having a heart attack, but I know, it’s scary, but I’m glad I was here.”

“Me too, Gem. Thank you.”

“Of course.”

“Seriously. You didn’t have to do that.”

“Yeah I did. It’s what I’m supposed to do.”

“What, as a girlfriend?”

Gemma smirked. “No, as a doctor and I guess a caring, girlfriend.” Gemma smoothed the worried lines in Steph’s forehead. “She’s fine.”

“I love you so much.”

“I love you too.”

“Was she nice?”

“Surprisingly, yes, but I assumed that’s more because I was going as a doctor not her daughter’s partner.”

“Or she likes you. She did call you.”

“She did and I’m very happy I could help, but she did interrupt something that I am now, unfortunately, way too tired to continue.”

“Me too and Dean.”

“What about Dean?”

Steph took her hand and led her to the living room. “He heard the phone ring and waited up with me.”

“Because he loves you. I’ll take him up if you find me a shirt to sleep in.”

“Deal.”

Gemma bent over and picked him, groaning at his weight. He blinked his eyes open. “Gemma?”

“Shh, Love. Granny’s perfectly fine and we’re taking you back to bed.”

“You sure?”

“That she’s okay?” Dean nodded slightly, his eyes still closed. “Yes, Love. I’m sure.” Steph followed them upstairs, rubbing Gemma’s back. She put the small child to bed, Steph watching from the door frame. He was already sound asleep, but Gemma reached for the stuffed animal, Tommy, putting it beside him and tucked him in. Gemma kissed his head and followed Steph out the room.

Steph handed Gemma a shirt and sighed as she laid down. Gemma quickly disrobed, wanting nothing more than to get into bed. She slipped on the shirt, sliding in behind Steph. She wrapped her arms around her, kissing the back of her head. Steph turned to face her. “You promise she’s okay.”

“She is, Love. I promise.”

“I’m sorry you had to go out there.”

“I’m more sorry that it’s clear no one in your family wants us to have sex.”

Steph laughed. She nuzzled her head under Gemma’s chin. “I could half ass it, if you wanted.”

Gemma took a deep inhale. “No. If we do it, I want the whole thing. Both of us naked, involved, not having to worry and just going for it. Besides, that late night drive and worriedness has made me more than exhausted. I know you’re tired as well.”

“I am. New Years Eve cannot come soon enough.”

“I know, Love.”

--------------------------------------------

The next day, Pauline, Hellie and Dawn were putting up more decorations, while Nita was putting together the prize table, when Steph walked in. She hadn’t slept well and just wanted this party to be setup so she could go home. She wanted to take a nap. They looked at her as the door slammed. It was clear they were about to ask her what’s wrong, when Steph put her hand up.

“Don’t ask. I’ve had a long night and not a lot of sleep.”

“Oh, get in some time with Gemma?” Dawn asked with a cocky smirk. It soon vanished when Steph glared at her. “Sorry,” she muttered, going back to streamers.

“What’s up?” Nita asked, finishing with the banner on the table.

Steph put the box on the table along with her bag. “Nothing.”

“No, come on. What’s going on?”

Steph licked her lips and sighed. “We’ve just been having so many issues.”

“What you mean?”

“I just want to fuck my girlfriend and have my girlfriend fuck me back.”

“Is she falling asleep?”

“No. We’ve been having these issues with Dean, which I think I’ve settled, but he has constantly interrupted us night after night. I swear, that kid has some sort of sex radar.”

Nita laughed. “And what’s the real reason?”

“He misses his dad and is worried that Gemma and I are going to leave him in the night like Terry used to do after we fought. We reassured him that wasn’t the case and we thought last night we would finally have the opportunity to shag, but-”

“He came in anyway?”

“No, my beautiful boy finally talked about his issues and was fast asleep. My mum called, not that long before I was going to climax, breathing heavy like she just ran a marathon, complaining she couldn’t catch her breath.”

“Is she alright?”

“Oh yeah. Whacked her head on the nightstand and startled herself so bad thinking someone hit her, gave herself a panic attack. Thought it was a heart attack, called me to ask Gemma to come over. She did and that was it. Gemma basically checked that she was okay and then made sure everything was locked like windows and doors. And by the time she got home, Dean had gotten up when he heard the phone and we all just so exhausted we went to sleep.”

“But no sex?”

“No and we’ve spent fewer nights apart since Christmas because we worried that Gemma being around all the time was too much for Dean, but she stayed and I got so frustrated, I yelled at him, which is why I was in a mood yesterday. He forgave me last night and then finally got the message that adults just need their time too, and then my mother calls and cock blocks me.”

“Well not really cock block-”

“You know what I mean. And it’s wearing on Gemma too. I need to sort this shit out with Terry so I can have sex with my partner without worry about being interrupted.”

“Well where’s Dean going to be for the party?”

“With my mum so we’ll have that night, but-”

“I mean, what better way to ring in the New Year with your lover better than that?”

“I have a feeling we’ll get a call at some point saying he wants to come home.”

“Well let’s hope you don’t.”

“That’s what Gemma and I are both praying for.”

Nita started taking the items out of the box and smirked. “What’s her favorite thing to do to ya?”

“What?” Steph asked, cheeks reddening from embarrassment.

“I’m just curious.”

“I don’t know. She likes doing everything.”

“Even one of these?” Nita held up a vibrator.

“No because I told her I don’t need it.”

“What? Why not?”

“Because I like the way she does it and her fingers are long enough, if you catch my drift.”

“But what about girth?”

“Well she doesn’t use just one.”

Nita smirked.

“Stop laughing at me.”

“I’m not laughing at you.”

“Yes you are.”

“What’s the most she’s ever used?”

“Stop,” Steph laughed.

“Two? Three?”

Steph rolled her eyes and shook her head.

“Four?” Nita asked, her eyes wide.

“No! Gosh, just three total and it was amazing.”

“How many have you gotten into her?”

Steph continued to shake her head and hit Nita with her hip. “Fist?”

“No! Three as well. Are you done asking questions?”

“Oh I am never done asking questions when it comes to you two.”

“Are we picking on Steph and her sex life?” Dawn asked.

“Yeah and they haven’t used one of these?” Nita said, picking up the biggest dildo on the table. Steph sighed but smiled.

“Not even a small one?” Hellie asked.

“No. I’m sorry.”

“What? Are you a prude?”

“No, Dawn. How can I be a prude and work in this industry?”

“True. I’ve let Russi use a few. Found out he liked a little himself.”

“That’s enough, Dawn,” Pauline stated.

“I just like Gemma’s touch is all. Why is that weird? You don’t need a toy in the bedroom all the time.”

“What do you do when your jaw starts to hurt?” Hellie looked baffled.

“We use our hands.”

“Oh Steph, you are missing out on a ride with one of those.”

Steph took the vibrator out of Nita’s hands. “With the stallion? This thing is huge!”

“Well length wise, yeah, but width wise, it’s nice.”

They all looked towards Hellie. “Look, I’m finally sleeping with a woman again and we’re exploring our options.”

“Gemma and I have explored.”

“Might need to do a little more, Love,” Nita suggested. “I mean, does she want it?”

“She hasn’t suggested one way or another.”

“Browse through the catalogue. See if there is something in there you’ll both like.”

“If I browse, can we please stop talking about my sex life.”

“Not likely, no,” Nita stated with everyone agreeing with her. Steph smiled at the group before they all broke out into laughter.

“I love you guys, even though you’re a bunch of perverts.” That caused their noise to grow as they all worked together to set up the party.

--------------------------------------------

Gemma sat her car the next night. Steph had informed her to wear something sexy, “but not too sexy that other women would want her”. Gemma wasn’t sure what that meant, but decided she would do her best. She decided on something a little more masculine for the night. She wasn’t sure what to expect, but her hair was completely straight, black trousers and blazer, black button down with a cold necklace that resembled a tie. Black oxfords that had a heel on them, but everything was outlined in gold.

She had dropped Dean off at Joan’s and checked up on her. Joan was feeling much better and had, had no issues with her breathing. She was happy to take Dean for the night, telling him he could stay up til midnight. Gemma picked him up, giving him a huge hug and kissed his cheek, promising they would be there in the morning to pick him up.

She gathered her bearings, getting to the party a little earlier than she expected. Hellie stood outside the door with a large woman. “Hey, Gemma.”

“Hellie, Hi. I’m here a little early.”

“No worries. This should be a blowout tonight. We’ve heard women are coming out as far as Birmingham for this event.”

“That’s exciting.”

“Yeah! Should be a good turn out. Gemma, this is Big Bertha. She’ll be keeping an eye out to make sure no men try to stop by.”

“Pleasure to meet you,” her voice was lighter than Gemma expected, but shook her hand nonetheless.

“You as well.”

“You’ll probably see Gemma a lot tonight for a smoke, but-“

“Actually, I quit so you probably won’t see me as much.”

“Really?” Hellie questioned.

“Yeah. Steph doesn’t like it and it’s not good for Dean to be around so… well all that and I’ve wanted to quit so Steph was as good as reason as any.”

“Well good for you.”

“Thanks.”

“Well regardless if you see her again or not, she’s on the list. She’s Steph’s partner so she can come and go as she likes.”

“You’re in the business too?” Bertha asked.

“No, sexual partners. Steph’s my girlfriend.”

“Oh, that little thing is who you’re with?”

“Yes?”

“Well, aren’t you a lucky one.”

Gemma smiled. “I know.”

“Alright, Bertha, just stick to the list. If they’re names not on here, they pay the ten quid. Come on, Gemma.”

Gemma nodded and followed Hellie inside. She smiled at the room around her that was lit up in pinks, reds, purples and whites. The party favor table was near the stage, while behind one counter was a full bar, behind another had the range of lingerie to choose from, even though she had seen a good half of them on Steph. She noticed a DJ setting up, tables littered everywhere, food being set out on the last empty bar and a small dance floor.

“I think Steph is backstage. I’ll take your coat and let her know you’re here.”

“Thanks, Hellie.” She slipped out of her coat, handing it and her bag to her.

“Wow,” Hellie commented.

“What?”

“You look great.”

“Thanks.”

Gemma walked around a little bit, now understanding why Steph had been so frazzled these past couple of days. Gemma was impressed to say the least. She faced the stage as Steph came out, talking to Dawn. She handed Dawn a clipboard and smiled when she saw Gemma. Dawn waved at her before heading back behind the curtain.

Steph was in a black corset with a gold jacket and gold shorts to match. Her legs were covered by black stockings and gold pumps. “I thought I told you to not dress too sexy,” she commented, coming down the stairs.

Gemma smiled. “Look who’s talking.”

Steph laughed and sauntered up to Gemma. “It’s my party. I have to look like I’m in control.”

Gemma wrapped her arms around Steph’s waste and smirked. “You could control me in this anytime you want.”

“Wait until you see my hat.”

They shared a passionate kiss with one another, lingering after they separated. “I can’t wait for tonight,” Steph whispered, kissing her again.

“Neither can I.”

They took a step back from one another as Gemma continued to look around. “This is just amazing. Are you excited?”

“I’m extremely excited. One of the women from corporate is coming so hopefully, it’ll be good.”

“It’s a Stephanie Kirke party. It’ll be the best!”

“Do you like it?”

Gemma smiled. “This is incredible. I love it and you. I’m so proud of you.”

“Thanks, Gem.”

They embraced one another, Steph letting Gemma calm her nerves.

“Is this her?” Gemma heard an older voice ask.

“Linda, hi! Welcome back.”

“Thank you, Love.”

“And yes, this is probably the woman the girls have been telling you about. Gemma, this is Linda, one of my first party guests at Pauline’s and one of my first sellers.”

Gemma held out her hand and smiled. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

“You as well, Dear. Dawn wasn’t lying I see.”

“Lying about what?” Steph asked.

“She is a hot fox.”

Gemma laughed. “Well I’ll take the compliment.”

“Now I have to go help Masculine Vera with something. She talks so low, I can barely hear her and I have no idea what she expects me to do.” Linda excused herself, heading towards the DJ.

“Who?” Gemma asked.

Steph pointed to her. “Masculine Vera. I can see why they call her that, but don’t know when they started it. She has ordered some of the kinkiest stuff and is one of our best clients.”

Gemma looked at the woman in a silver blazer and nodded. “Yeah, I can see it.”

Steph took her arm as they walked around a bit. “I can say, the best thing about this party is Nita won’t give birth.”

“What?”

“Yeah. She gave birth right backstage last time. Pauline and I as midwives. Well, more Pauline than me.”

“Wow, I didn’t know you assisted with a birth.”

“Well I always feel like once you have a baby, you know what you’re doing and can help another woman out.”

“It’s true.”

“Now, my Love, I do have to host this event tonight.”

“Which I am painfully aware of.”

“Do you want to help me or just hangout?”

“Well some of the girls from the clinic are coming and I thought I’d be a good boss and hangout with them, but I can help if you need.”

“No need. I want you to have fun tonight.”

“I plan to.”

“My Russi still looks so good in the peek-a-boo thongs,” Dawn commented, coming from the backstage area. “He is just loving it.”

“Yes, Russell will be showing our male range of underwear.”

“Lovely.”

“And ‘ello to you. Happy you’re here.”

“Hi, Dawn. Glad to be here.”

“It’s going to be a fun night. You’ll get to see Steph in her prime.”

“Can’t wait.”

“Okay, I have to go finish getting ready, Love and check some things, but sit anywhere you like. I’ll be back in a little bit.”

“Sure.”

Steph pulled Gemma by her neck and kissed her hard. It was heated and neither pulled away as they slowly started to make out in front of Dawn. She cleared her throat and both women pulled back after a peck. “Wow, you guys really do need your alone time.”

“We do,” Steph answered, dead panned. “I’ll make sure to find you by midnight, if not before.” She kissed Gemma once before walking to the stage. Gemma watched her walk, ogling her bottom and legs.

“How longs it been?” Dawn asked. “Since you two?”

“Fully without interruptions? Before Christmas.”

Dawn whistled. “That is a long time. My Russi and I would die if we went that long.”

“I might.”

“Dawn! Steph needs you in the back!” Nita grinned. “There she is.”

“Nita.”

“How do you always look bloody amazing?”

Gemma smiled and shrugged.

“Well I look a lot sexier in this lingerie then I did last time.”

“I heard you gave birth last time.”

“I did and am very glad that won’t ever happen again. How are you?”

“Very well, thank you. Excited to see this whole thing.”

“Well I wouldn’t sit too close to the dance floor unless you want Russell humping your face.”

“Not particularly.”

“Good call.”

“So where should I sit. I know about two or three girls coming from the clinic.”

“Front table. You’ll be able to see Steph the best.”

“I see her all the time.”

“Yeah, but I think she’ll like being able to see you.”

Gemma sat at the table and continued to look around.

“Steph!” Hellie called.

“Yeah?” She popped her head around the curtain.

“Whole line of people outside. Are we ready to go?”

“Send them in!”

Gemma watched as a flood of women started entering one by one. They were all giddy and excited, ready to see everything. Most had flyers in their hands as they scattered around. She sat her table, completely content. Hellie brought a glass of white wine for her.

“Steph said it’s what you’d like.”

“Yes, but you didn’t need to bring it to me.”

“She asked me to.”

Gemma looked over to the stage and saw Steph smiling at her. Gemma chuckled and winked before turning back to Hellie.

“Is your new lady friend coming?”

“Yeah she is, but she’ll be here a little later.”

“Well I can’t wait to meet her.”

“Are you saying that because you’re ready for everyone else to gossip about another lesbian couple?”

“Yes, obviously,” Gemma replied, sarcastically, “But I want to see the woman who has made you so happy.”

Hellie blushed and put her head down. “I’ll make sure you’re introduced.”

“Good. Now if you’ll please pray for me, I’ve just made eye contact with my coworkers.”

“What? Do you not like them?”

“I like them in small doses.”

“Well, good luck.”

“Thanks. I’ll see you soon.”

Once it seemed like the room was full and the line was inside, the lights dimmed and Vera started playing a particular style of music. Steph stepped out on the stage and Gemma was completely transfixed.

“Ladies, ladies, ladies,” Steph stated through the microphone. “Welcome to the Ann Summers New Years Eve bash!” The crowd cheered. “We have plenty of selections for you tonight as well as party favors and games for prizes, but to start, it’s all our favorite, women's lingerie collection.”

Gemma’s eyes never once looked away from Steph. She loved watching her shine from the stage as she explained what each model was wearing. She continued to sip her wine as women played games to collect prizes or danced in between each set. Steph started walking around and greeting everyone, Gemma’s table last of course. She sat on her lap and kissed her cheek. Gemma wrapped her arm around Steph’s waist and reached down to squeeze her upper thigh. Steph centered herself between Gemma’s legs and rubbed against her center with her backside. Gemma turned her head away from the table, her hand firmly against Steph’s stomach, pulling her to do that again.

“And how’s this table enjoying the night so far?” Steph asked. They all agreed everything was going well. “And how are Gemma’s coworkers?”

Sarah smiled. “We’re good, Steph.”

“How’s it going, Sarah?”

“I’m well. This one keeping me busy with switching schedules, getting sick, being snarky.”

“My Gemma? Snarky?”

“You know she can be rather bossy.”

“I’m only bossy when need be.”

“And the rescheduling is usually my fault because of Dean.”

“I’ve heard you two are living together now,” Sarah commented.

Steph shook her head. “No, just together, happily, but Gemma I need your help with something in the back if you don’t mind.”

“Yeah, sure.”

“Keep your eyes open, Ladies. Male range is next and we have a few more models than we did the last time.”

They cheered with excitement as Steph stood up, taking Gemma’s hand. They slipped backstage, Gemma following Steph wherever she was taking her. Steph looked around before opening a bathroom door and stepping in, pulling Gemma in behind her. The fluorescent light made the white walls and surfaces of the room almost glow.

“This is not flattering light,” Gemma commented.

“Well good thing I’ve seen it all before.”

“And what can I help you with in here?” Gemma asked when she caught the mischievous grin on Steph’s face.

“I’m off for a while on the floor so I figured you could help me with this,” she took Gemma’s hand placed it on her breast as she unbuttoned her jacket. Gemma squeezed her breast and watched her.

“What else can I help you with?”

Steph let her jacket fall to the floor along with her corset followed by her shorts. As she started to undo Gemma’s pants, Gemma laughed, meeting her in a hungry kiss.

“I know this isn’t home, but I’ve been wet all day and the only thing that is going to make me feel better is to have your hands all over my body so I want you to fuck me in this bathroom.”

“And what if someone hears us?”

“Who’s going to hear us?” Steph asked, pulling Gemma’s pants down. “It’s a room full of music and screaming, happy women. No one is going to hear us. Besides I thought you liked shagging in public places.”

“Yeah, when I was in my twenties and not old. We have a nice, warm bed at home,” Gemma answered by kicking off her shoes and stepping out her pants.

“I saw the way you've been looking at me all night. Your eyes wandering my body. Wanting to touch every part of me. Do you really want to wait until we get home?” Steph smirked. She turned around and pulled her black tights down, pushing them aside. She was left in a very revealing thong as she unbuttoned Gemma’s shirt. Gemma didn’t stop her as she stared at Steph’s lower half.

“No one will bother us in here.”

Steph left Gemma’s shirt on her shoulders so the necklace could rest against her skin. She ran her hands up Gemma’s torso and over her breasts to finally resting on the back of her neck. They stared at one another for only a second before Gemma’s lips when on her. Steph sighed at the familiar feeling of Gemma’s mouth on her neck. Gemma cupped her breasts and groped them as their mouths met. They were hungry for one another. Steph moaned at the feel of Gemma’s tongue in her mouth, her hand traveling down Steph’s body.

“Wait, wait,” Steph panted. “I should touch you first. It’s been so long for you. I at least got a taste the other night.”

Gemma turned her towards the sink and Steph caught herself. “I want to watch you come and then you can touch me.” Steph soon realized Gemma would watch herself in the mirror and it turned her on even more than she already was. Gemma’s hands wandered Steph’s body as her right hand slowly traced up Steph’s inner thigh. Gemma playfully bit her shoulder.

“Are you wet for me?” She whispered, seductively.

Steph looked at Gemma through the reflection with a smirk just a devilish as before. “Yes, my Love.”

Gemma closed the distance, immediately making contact with Steph’s center. Steph’s moan vibrated off the walls followed by a laugh from both of them. She bucked her hips into Gemma’s. Gemma grabbed one side of her to keep her still. Gemma looked at her through the mirror as she teased through her folds. Steph liked it, but she could tell she wanted more.

“Spread your legs wider, Love.”

Steph did as she was told and made eye contact with her. Steph raised her eyebrows as if she was challenging Gemma. Gemma grinned from ear to ear, causing Steph to smile before slowing entering her. Steph moaned as Gemma leaned against her to kiss her neck and shoulders. Her hand was in a fluid motion in out of Steph as she rested her chin on Steph’s shoulder.

“You kill me,” she whispered, placing a kiss on her neck. “I love you.”

“Fuck, Gemma.”

Gemma turned her, kissing her instantly, Steph meeting her as Gemma found her way back with her hands. Steph sat on the counter and hissed.

“What?”

“It’s cold.”

They giggled together, Gemma’s hand not stopping as their lips met in a much needed kiss.

--------------------------------------------

“Has anyone seen Steph?” Nita asked, coming up to Dawn, Hellie, Pauline and Linda.

“No,” they all answered.

“I can’t find her anywhere to do the male range show.”

“I’ll do it,” Linda offered. “I know all the stuff and I wouldn’t mind watching a few young men show off their goods.”

Nita smiled. “How could I say no to that? Yeah well, off you go then. Would the rest of you like to help me find her?”

“I’m waiting for Alex,” Hellie said. “She’ll be here soon.”

“Yeah, alright. I’m worried about Steph.”

Hellie took a peak around the curtain. “Gemma’s not at her table either.”

“You don’t think.”

Dawn’s face lit up. “Oh, I hope their shagging each other’s brains out.”

--------------------------------------------

“Gemma!” Steph exclaimed. Her mouth was now in between Steph’s legs and a hand firmly against a breast. “Fuck! Wait. Wait.”

“What?” Gemma asked, looking at Steph. She was out of breath.

“Just let me lay down.”

“On this floor? We don’t know if it’s clean.”

“We’ll put the blazers down.”

“Why?”

Steph shrugged. “I want you on top me. I want to be in your arms.”

Gemma smiled. She spread out the blazers as much as could so Steph could lay down. She went back to in between her legs, but Steph pulled her up and kissed her. Gemma used her hand again, Steph moaning against her lips. Steph wrapped her legs around Gemma’s back as Gemma inserted her fingers again. Their sounds were loud and echoed in the room, neither one of them caring the moment.

--------------------------------------------

“Steph,” Dawn called out as they walked into the back room.

“Did they go to Gemma’s car?” Nita asked.

“I don’t know.”

“Maybe they just stepped out. Gemma’s a smoker, isn’t she?” Pauline questioned.

“She quit,” Dawn answered. “According to Hellie.”

--------------------------------------------

Gemma took Steph’s hand, placing it between her own legs as she straddled Steph. Steph immediately placed two fingers inside of her, trying to match Gemma’s pace. Gemma leaned forward, her lips meeting Steph’s as their hips evened out. The room that had once been chilly to them, was hot as little beads of sweat collected on their lower backs and foreheads. Gemma held herself over Steph, as they looked into each other’s eyes. Steph took the opportunity to curl her fingers and watch as Gemma’s head roll back and a moan escape her lips.

--------------------------------------------

“Wait,” Nita stated.

The three of them walked towards the bathroom door. Gemma, Steph panted. Fuck, Gemma. More. One more.

“Oh my gosh, they really are doing it,” Pauline said, stepping back from the door. Her eyes were wide, trying not to imagine what was happening on the other side of that door. Nita and Dawn stood there. “Girls.”

“Right. Back up,” Nita said.

“You back up.”

“Shush, the two of you! Let them be alone. This is exactly why they’re doing it here because they have no privacy at home.”

Nita and Dawn smiled at one another, laughing to themselves as they walked away.

“Good for them,” Nita said, leaving the two women to their own devices.

--------------------------------------------

They adjusted with Steph now sitting on Gemma’s lap, the same when they had their experience in the car. Steph rode Gemma’s fingers as she circled over Gemma’s center. They were both concentrating, Gemma using both her hands.

“I’m coming,” Steph whispered. “Fuck, Gemma. I’m coming.” She rutted her hips a few more times, feeling it build from within as a powerful orgasm shot through her body. She moaned, Gemma doing the same as stayed inside of her. Steph’s hand lazily moved over her center.

“Love, we’ve been in a while and I don’t want to have to go out there without feeling what you just felt, but these limpy fingers aren’t going to do much for me.”

Steph laughed. She inserted two fingers into Gemma and she circled her core continuously. She kissed Gemma’s neck, pinning her where she was. Gemma’s hips continue to rise as Steph’s tongue licked from her shoulder to her ear.

“I just feel like I need more.”

Steph eyes gleamed. She pulled Gemma up to knees and laid under her. The hungry look in her eyes alone almost made Gemma orgasm on the spot. “Come on,” Steph encouraged.

Gemma knelt down and feeling Steph’s tongue is what seemed to do the trick. She grunted loudly as Steph wrapped her arms around Gemma’s thighs. “Fuck, Steph.” She heard Steph laugh under her, which caused her smile. She bucked her hips a few times and could feel herself getting closer and closer until she jerked forward, Steph’s hair gripped her hand. She rolled off of Steph onto the cold floor as they looked at one another.

Steph grinned as Gemma caught her breath. She cuddled up to her, kissing her chest before resting her head on Steph’s shoulder. Steph kissed her forehead as they both laid there recovering and enjoying their moment of peace to themselves, knowing they wouldn’t have any interruptions.

“You’ve gotten so good at that,” Gemma commented, catching her breath.

“What?”

“Eating me out.” She felt another spasm. “So good.”

They laid a little longer when they heard a loud cheer from the hall. “How long have we been in here?” Steph asked after a few moments passed.

“I don’t know,” Gemma answered, wrapping her shirt tighter around herself. “Long enough that the room was cold, then hot and now is freezing again.”

“I don’t want to get up though.”

“Me either, but we will eventually have to.”

Gemma looked up at Steph. She adjusted herself so she could be looking down on her, resting an arm on the floor. She twirled a piece of Steph’s hair around her finger and sighed contently.

“Perhaps just a little bit longer?” Steph asked.

Gemma nodded in agreement and bent down to kiss her.

--------------------------------------------

The girls were standing around, cheers still ringing in as the male models walked backstage. Dawn stepped out to remind the women to get a drink and share a little dance while they wait for the prize game.

“Has anyone seen Steph?” Hellie asked, standing with Jacqueline from the head office.

“Um, she’s a bit preoccupied at the moment,” Nita stated. Dawn suppressed a laugh.

“Well could you tell her I’d like to talk to her, please?” Jacqueline requested. “And I’m not trying to be urgent, but I need to head out soon and I’ll have to hear from the board if I don’t speak with her before I go.”

“Yes, absolutely.” Nita turned to the girls. “I don’t want to interrupt them.”

“Interrupt who?” Hellie questioned.

“Steph and Gemma.”

“What?”

“They’re having sex.”

“What?!”

“Shush,” Nita exclaimed. “They’ve been having issues at home with Dean so I think they’re taking the opportunity to not be interrupted, but now we have to.”

“Where?”

“In the back room’s bathroom.”

“Well maybe they’re done now,” Dawn suggested.

“Well who should go check?” Nita and Dawn looked straight to Pauline.

“Why me?” Pauline screeched.

“She’ll be embarrassed with you, but knows you won’t talk about it so it won’t be as embarrassing as it would be if it was one of us,” Nita answered.

Pauline huffed. “Fine.”

Nita looked back to Jacqueline and smiled. “Pauline’s going to go get her.”

Jacqueline smiled. “Very well.”

Steph and Gemma were now dressed, leaning against a pool table. Steph sat against it, Gemma’s arms snug around her while as she held onto Gemma’s arms. Their kisses were light and small, but passionate. They smiled at each other after every single kiss.

“Steph!”

They both jumped at Pauline’s voice. “Uh, yeah?” She stood up straight as both of them straightened their clothes.

“Oh there you are,” Pauline said, trying to act like she didn’t hear them earlier. “Hello, Gemma, Dear.”

“Hi, Pauline.”

“What’s going on?” Steph asked.

“Jacqueline is here and wants to talk to you.”

“Head office Jacqueline?”

“That’s the one.”

“Right.” Steph took Gemma’s hand as they made their way back. Gemma straightened out a few hairs on the back of Steph’s hair. She could see every place she had grabbed her, but nothing was going to fix it. Steph swatted her hand away as they made their way back to the front.

“Jacqueline, hi,” Steph greeted, letting go of Gemma’s hand.

“Steph. Good to see you.”

“You as well. Did I finally manage to get us in trouble?”

Jacqueline smiled. “Quite the contrary. We were wondering if you would be willing to do a few seminars further south for a week in the upcoming months. It seems you’ve pulled women here tonight from a good distance away. We’ve had women sign up from York down to Nottingham.”

“Really?”

“So we thought, since you’ve been getting us so many new recruits, we send you down to Chesterfield, Nottingham and go as south as London.”

Steph smiled as she got her thoughts together. “I mean that would be amazing, but I have a son and he has school so I couldn’t drop everything to do that.”

“Well what if we sent to the places that are close so Chesterfield for example, go west for Manchester, you know around the area?”

“That could work, but would I have to stay overnight. Possibly in some locations.”

“I can watch Dean for a night, Love,” Gemma suggested.

“Look, just think it over and we’ll give you a call on Monday with more details and we’ll figure it out. How does that sound?”

Steph smiled. “I mean it sounds great!”

“Good. I was to rely the message, I have and now I must go.”

“It was wonderful to see you.”

“You as well.”

Jacqueline walked off, waving goodbye to the girls. Steph turned to Gemma. “What do I do?”

Gemma grinned. “You do what you want to do. I can look after Dean or can your mum as long as she doesn’t hit her head. We’ll figure it out.”

“I’ve never really been to a lot of places.”

“So? That’s the beauty of your job, Love. You go to these conferences and talk about it while getting paid. We’ll figure it out, but don’t worry about it now. Worry about it on Monday.”

Steph looked up at her. Gemma fell into those bright blue eyes as they kissed one another. “I love you so much, Gem.”

“I love you too.”

“Oy! Didn’t you too have enough of that already?” Nita asked, laughing.

Steph and Gemma laughed with one another before separating. “You heard us, didn’t you?”

“That she wants you to travel for the job? Yeah, we heard.”

“Congrats, Steph,” Dawn smiled.

“Well I don’t know if I’ll take it. I’ll have to hear what they say and then talk to Gemma and Dean to figure out everything.”

“Well you’ll be bloody good at it.”

“Thanks, Neet.”

“And what do you say?” Nita looked to Gemma.

“It’s not my decision to make.”

“And if she says yes?”

“Then I’ll support her and do what I can to make everything go smoothly.”

Steph looked back at Gemma and grinned. Gemma kissed her. “I’m going to go back to my seat. Come find me before midnight.”

“I will, Love. Thank you.”

“For what?”

“Everything.”

“I will do anything to help, always. I want you to have the experiences you deserve as long as I don’t become the babysitter.”

“I promise you won’t.”

Gemma left her with the girls as she went back to the table.

“You do know you’re glowin’, right?” Dawn asked.

“What?”

“You make a party so you can shag your girl in the back room bathroom and think none of us would find out about it. You’re terribly mistaken.”

Steph bit her lip and chuckled. “Well at least it was good.”

“And when you say one more, what did you mean?”

“Oh my G-d, were you guys listening?”

“Just heard a bit,” Dawn stated, trying to be nonchalant.

“Well then I’m not answering that question then.”

“Definitely a finger,” Dawn said.

“One hundred percent,” Nita agreed.

Steph rolled her eyes. “Is that why you sent Pauline?”

“Yeah. Figured you would be less embarrassed with her than if one of us caught you in the act.”

“She didn’t hear anything, did she?”

“Oh, I think she defo did. You could see it in her eyes.”

“Did she see anything?”

“No, none of us saw anything. We just heard one more so…?”

“I’m not answering. What’s left to do?”

“We’ve got the raunchy musical chairs. Whoever wins gets the Stallion,” Dawn answered.

“Brilliant.”

“And then the raffle,” Nita added.

“Excellent. And then New Years? Is Kieron coming?”

“No. He’s with all the little ones. We’ve kissed each other enough.”

“But Mr. Spake is coming and I cannot wait to see his eyes when he sees all this.”

“He’ll be gobsmacked,” Nita joked.

“Guys, this is Alex,” Hellie said, introducing her new girlfriend. She was tall, thin and blonde. She seemed nervous, but held out her hand which Steph shook.

“It’s an absolute pleasure to meet you. I’m Steph.”

“And that’s Nita and Dawn.”

“Nice to meet you all,” Alex stated.

“We’re going to go set up the musical chairs.”

Dawn and Nita excused themselves. “Are you having a good time?” Steph asked.

“Absolutely. Hellie said you started all this.”

“Well a few of us did. I can’t take all the credit and you’re from London?”

“Originally, yes, but I moved up here for a new position and a higher salary so here I am.”

“Well that’s great and Hellie is amazing. You are very lucky to be dating one my dearest and oldest friends.”

Hellie blushed. “Thanks, Steph.”

“You need meet Gemma, um Doctor Foster.”

“That’s Steph’s partner.”

“Oh I didn’t realize you were gay.”

Steph tilted her head. “I guess it’s more bi, but yes I’m dating a woman? I think we’re a little past dating. We’re just together.”

“And how long have you been together?”

“Oh geez, not that long at all for how quickly we’ve progressed. We’ve only known each other for a few months, but I guess sometimes you just know.”

“Well they say lesbians move quickly.”

“Is that a thing?” Steph asked Hellie.

Hellie shrugged. “Could be, but it seems like every time you two have an argument, it makes you stronger so, who cares?”

“Yeah,” Steph laughed. “Well, regardless, I am very much in love with her.”

“And she said she wanted to meet you,” Hellie added.

“Why’s that?”

“She said she wanted to meet the woman that has made me so happy.”

“Aww. Well I think she went back to her table,” Steph answered.

--------------------------------------------

Gemma sat alone at the table, not that she minded. She had fresh images of Steph floating around in her brain. She felt free and like she finally accomplished what she had wanted for so long. She was lost in her daydream when she noticed a figure coming up to her.

“You were gone for so long!” Sarah stated, coming back to the table.

“Yeah, Steph really needed some help.”

“What happened to your hair?”

Gemma quickly patted it down in the back. She exhaled. “Nothing. I’m going to get another drink, do you want anything?”

“They’re starting to come round with the champagne for midnight.”

Gemma looked around and noticed a person coming around with trays full of champagne. She made eye contact with Steph, who nodded her head to come up to her. Nita had the microphone in her hand to announce that there were two minutes left and that everyone should get together on the dance floor to toast the year. Women flooded the middle, with their drinks in their hand. Gemma stepped onto the stage and walked straight to Steph. Her arms circled around Steph’s waste and they held one another close. The room dissolved as they smiled at one another. Nita started the countdown. Everything was moving in slow motion and when the eruption of Happy New Year filled the space, all Gemma could focus on were Steph’s lips as she placed a kiss against them. Steph pulled back, Gemma chasing after hers as they shared another peck.

Gemma’s eyes opened hazily to see Steph smiling at her.

“Happy New Year, my Love.”

“Happy New Year.”

“Oh that right there ladies is what true love looks like,” Nita stated to the audience. “Give it up for your hostess Stephanie Kirke and her beautiful partner, Gemma Foster.” They soon had a spotlight on them causing them both to laugh. Steph gave a look to Nita and rolled her eyes. Nita winked at her. “Alright, ladies, we’ve got about a half hour left. Raffle will be in fifteen minutes so get your dancing in now.”

Gemma and Steph kissed again. “So do you we have to stay and help clean up or does that get done later?”

Steph made a face that clearly told Gemma the answer. “We have to stay and help.”

Gemma groaned.

“But we’ve got a lot of hands so it shouldn’t take too long.”

“But I want to take you home and do so many things to you.”

“Yeah? Like what?”

Gemma shrugged. “I’m not going to reveal all my secrets. Guess you’ll just have to wait until we get home and I get you naked.”

Steph licked her lips before biting it. “Can’t wait.”

Gemma winked. “Me either.”

“Come on. While the women dance, we’ll start cleaning.”

“Auld Lang Syne” started to play and Gemma smiled. “Dance with me to this first.”

“Seriously?”

“Yes, Love.”

Steph wrapped her arms above Gemma’s shoulders as they started to sway back and forth. Gemma took her hand and kissed it before interlocking their fingers and holding it above her heart. They smiled at one another.

Nita, Dawn And Russell looked around the room.

“Bryan has not looked anywhere else other than Pauline,” Nita said.

“That’s cause this stuff terrifies Mr. Spake,” Russell answered, standing in a peek-a-boo thong with a jacket over him wide open. “Except for Mrs. Spake. He loves her for sure.”

“Even after all the stuff with PC Daniels?”

“Mrs. Spake said he left for thirty minutes, came back with flowers and asked her why she felt the need to keep that from him, he didn’t understand. It was hard for him, but I guess Steph helped with that.”

“Course she did, Dawn. And Russell, I have mad respect for you modeling this stuff twice, but could you put the boys away?”

He quickly closed his jacket with a shy smile. “Sorry about that.”

“Come on you lot. If we start cleaning now, we might not be here too late.”

Gemma and Steph had already started while Pauline did the raffle. Mr. Spake had found a nice comfortable spot in the back room, where he stayed until the party was officially over.

Gemma and Steph laughed with one another as they started cleaning tables, completely lost in their own world. Hellie came up to them.

“Gemma.”

“Hellie.”

“This is Alex.” Alex waved.

“Oh right. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

“You as well.”

“Big New Year's plans this weekend?”

“No. I think Alex and I are looking forward to a quiet weekend to ourselves.”

“Wish we could have that,” Steph commented.

“Well we were thinking if you guys wanted to get dinner, we could do like a double date on Saturday.”

“Um, I’ll have to let you know. Terry is coming up to see Dean on Saturday and Dean wants me to go with him so it’ll depend on how all of that goes. Can I call you day of?”

“Yeah, of course.”

“And you’re okay with that?” Steph asked Gemma.

“Absolutely.”

“Brilliant.”

With their whole team on board, Steph, Hellie, Nita and Dawn manages to gather all the products and do a small inventory. Hellie dealt with collecting all the earnings and locking it in the safe box. Gemma helped Pauline with getting streamers and what not down. They met the owner and managed to be out by one thirty. They all said their ‘goodbyes’ and ‘Happy New Years’ as they dispersed.

Gemma and Steph hopped into the car safely, Hellie handing her the money box. Russell loaded all the products in the back. They held hands on their ride home, enjoying the quiet. Gemma helped Steph carry in the products inside, placing them by the door. Once their jackets were off and shoes discarded, they looked at each other for only a moment.

“I really like watching you be in charge tonight,” Gemma commented, strutting up to Steph.

“Yeah?”

Gemma nodded, kissing her neck with a sigh. Steph grabbed her, pulling her close. Gemma grabbed her hands, raising them above Steph’s head and pushing them against the wall. “And now I think it’s my turn.”

Steph nodded as Gemma picked her up. She held her against the wall for a minute, Steph gasping, not expecting it. Gemma lifted her a little higher as Steph wrapped her legs around Gemma’s torso. Gemma wasted no time heading towards the stairs, whisking her away to their bedroom.