With the music and bustle of Holby Pride all around her, Serena smiled as she shuffled the hospital flyers around on their stall.
“So,” Ric said, leaning casually against the edge of the table, “this girlfriend of yours is going to be here, is she?”
“She is,” Serena confirmed drily.
“The girlfriend that none of us have met.”
“That’s the one.”
“And you’re sure she’s not a figment of an over-shirazzed imagination?”
“Ric!” Serena glared at him. “Just because I don’t want to introduce her to the motley crew that I work with doesn’t mean I’ve invented her. Anyway, Jason’s met her.”
“He won’t tell us anything either,” Ric complained.
Serena chuckled. “He’s not a gossip, is Jason.”
“But we’re going to meet her today?” Ric persisted.
“You’re going to see her,” Serena corrected.
“But how will we know she’s really your girlfriend?”
Serena pulled herself up to her full height, folded her arms and looked at him witheringly. “What, it’s not real unless you see us snog?”
“Fine, fine.” Ric gave in and gestured at the stall. “What else do we have to do for this then?”
Serena turned away from the busy stall and smiled. “Jason?”
“The parade is coming through soon. Are you excited?”
Serena laughed. “I’m not sure excited is quite the right word.”
“I know you are.”
“Here it comes!”
With a wave of noise, the start of the parade came marching past. All sequins and feathers and dancers, Serena hardly knew how to take it all in. The first float was the Guide one, decorated with rainbow trefoils, then more dancers passed, more floats from other organisations … and then the low rumble of…
“It’s the tank!” Jason shouted.
The tank took up almost the entire width of the road. It didn’t look much like it had the last time Serena had seen it, on a special and private visit to the army base. It was decorated all over with pride flags, both drawn and draped over it. And there, astride the gun, wearing combat trousers and a white vest so close fitting it took Serena’s breath away, with rainbows on both cheeks, was Bernie.
“Oh my,” Serena murmured to herself, unable to tear her gaze from Bernie’s slim figure, eyes roving from muscular thighs to toned arms to the wicked glint in her eyes.
As the tank drew level with Serena’s stall, Bernie leant into the top and shouted something, and then as she straightened, the tank drew to a halt. Bernie climbed nimbly down from the gun, crossed the space to the hospital stall. The few people in front drew away, leaving her a clear run…
“Oh my,” Serena murmured again as Bernie caught her hand and drew her into the road. “What are you doing?” she whispered as Bernie grinned at her.
“What, I can’t kiss my girlfriend?” Bernie searched her eyes for the answer and Serena grinned impetuously back at her.
“Of course you can.”
Bernie bent her neatly backwards and Serena’s gasp of surprise was swallowed by Bernie’s mouth covering her own. She wound her arms around Bernie’s neck, thrilled at the feel of her body so close and with so little covering it, and kissed her back thoroughly.
They straightened, foreheads touching and out of breath. “Sorry about that,” Bernie whispered as she stroked her hands through Serena’s hair, “You were irresistible.”
“You’re the one looking like temptation on a plate,” Serena laughed. She gave in to her desire to run her fingers down Bernie’s bare arms and delighted in the deep sigh that Bernie produced.
A blaring honk from the next float made them both jump.
“Oh yes, the parade,” Bernie said. “We seem to be holding it up.”
“Better get back to your post then, soldier,” Serena said. She pressed one swift, firm kiss to Bernie’s lips. “Hop to it.”
“Aye aye,” Bernie said, and with another cheeky grin, she saluted and scrambled back up to her seat on the gun of her tank.
The moment she got there, the tank began to move and Bernie turned, winked at Serena and blew her a kiss.
“It’s wonderful to see the tank so close again, isn’t it Aunty Serena?” Jason said, suddenly appearing at her side.
“Yes. Very nice… tank...” Serena mumbled, as they watched it disappear down the road. She sighed again, and retired back to the hospital stall.
Ric was standing there, mouth open.
“Catching flies?” Serena asked tartly.
“It – she – tank...”
“Aunty Serena’s girlfriend is a Major in the army and that’s her tank,” Jason said, helpfully. “I assume I’m allowed to talk about it now she’s kissed you in front of everybody?”
“Serena is dating a woman… who has a tank?”
“That is what I said, yes,” Jason said patiently. “You’re being very slow Ric.”
“He’s getting old,” Serena said, shaking her head sadly. “Thinking about retirement soon, I expect.”
“Serena! I’m not old! I just – can’t believe it. I – wow.”
“She’s very nice,” Jason said, “She even let Aunty Serena in her tank when it wasn’t an open day.”
Ric raised an eyebrow.
Serena grinned. “It’s a very nice tank,” she said, and winked.