Anne leaned against the back of her car scrolling through her phone messages. She knew that this would be the last chance she’d get for the next few hours since they were driving up to Halifax and Ann would demand her full attention. She was more than ready for that to be her reality.
They had tried to keep their texts to a minimum over the last couple of days as Ann didn’t want to distract her from work, especially if it meant they wouldn’t be disturbed whilst they were in Halifax. However, late last night as she was finishing packing for their trip a message came through from Ann that had thoroughly derailed her thoughts. ‘I came so hard the other night thinking of you inside me. I can’t wait till I no longer have to imagine it.’
That had warranted a very cold shower. Even then, only the prospect of having Ann writhing beneath her as she made her come again and again stopped her from satiating her own need. She had waited to be with her this long, she could wait another 24hrs. Anything but the reality of Ann’s breathy moans as the pleasure she’d caused coursed through her body would pale in comparison.
As much as she wanted her, at the back of her mind, Anne still had niggling worries about the fact that Ann had been waiting almost her whole life for this moment. She had no concerns about her own abilities in the bedroom, but the possible expectation that Ann’s mind had built up over the years weighed on her mind. Ann’s text helped to allay some of her concern, but it was a thought that had kept returning to her. If she’d been honest with Tib when she asked her, she might have admitted that may be part of the reason why they hadn’t slept together yet.
“Hello handsome.” She couldn’t help the smirk as she looked up to see Ann bouncing down the stairs towards her, taking her away from her thoughts. She flung her arms around her and immediately pressed her lips against hers, kissing her hungrily. Anne wrapped her arms around her waist, lifting her up slightly from the ground as their tongues moved against each other. She fit so perfectly into every part of her body, she truly was made for her.
They finally broke away, Anne depositing her back onto her feet, “Hello darling. Miss me?”
Ann smiled dreamily back up at her, “Not in the slightest dearest.”
Anne let out a laugh as she tilted her head and saw the large rolling luggage and holdall at the top of the stairs. She drew back a little to look at Ann, “Are you planning on moving into Shibden?” Ann glanced over her shoulder at her suitcase, she was glad Anne hadn’t seen her luggage before she and Catherine had repacked it. Twice. She’d managed to narrow it down considerably but she was now down to the bare minimum she was comfortable taking. She smiled sweetly back up at Anne, “Not today.”
The corners of Anne’s eyes started to crease with the thought that one day she could be moving there with her. Ann’s smile turned mischievous as she started to rub the back of Anne’s neck, “But maybe one day. I hear the Mistress of Shibden is quite striking.”
Anne pulled her in a little tighter as she narrowed her eyes, “Hmm, I’ll have to keep my eye on you Miss Walker.”
Ann licked her lips slowly, “I’d like that.”
The drive to Halifax would only ordinarily take four hours, however Anne had wanted to go through the Peak District. She wanted to experience as much of England’s rolling hills and country as possible whilst she was away from the capital. She had also promised her aunt that they would pick up a couple Bakewell Puddings from the town they were named after for dinner. It would add less than an hour’s drive time overall to their journey. It would also give them an afternoon alone before the rest of the week with her family, even though in her mind she had already allotted time in their schedule away from them.
They would leave London at 10am, hopefully beating the early weekend traffic. Then drive for three hours to Bakewell, where they would have lunch and enjoy a nice walk around the town. They would leave there by 3pm at the latest, then a short drive to Chatsworth House for a quick walk around the grounds. She and Ann had both been there before but the estate’s farm made excellent jams that they sold in the store. Then onto Halifax. They should be there no later than 6pm, in time to freshen up before dinner.
All it had taken to persuade Ann that it was a good idea were a few picturesque shots of Bakewell and the small bridge over the River Wye she’d found on Instagram as well as some well angled shots of various baked delights. Anne was quite proud at how well she was navigating social media these days, with a few pointers from her sister and Ann.
She had created her own account but hadn’t posted anything yet. She still couldn’t understand what the issue was with liking a post from a few years ago. Ann had tried to explain that was fine for her posts since they were dating, they’d both spent a good long while smiling at that fact. However, it would seem a bit strange to just a random person. There were more rules to this than she cared for but it made Ann happy to know that she was making the effort, and that was all that mattered.
They had agreed to sit on opposite sides of the car otherwise they might completely shock poor Thomas. Normally Anne didn’t care what it was Thomas saw or heard, he may not be the most capable member of her staff but he was at least discreet, and loyal. However, he appeared to have struck up a friendship with Ann and whilst Anne didn’t necessarily approve she wouldn’t do anything to embarrass her.
As Ann sat on her side gazing out the window Anne wished that they’d instilled a dress code before they’d made that decision. The words of her text message on repeat inside her brain. Perhaps she should have arrived there a couple of hours earlier and gone up to the flat before they set out. She had definitely considered it, only she knew that if they had started anything the chances of them actually leaving for Halifax that day - or for the rest of the weekend, would be exactly zero.
Anne tried not to stare. She was wearing another of those flimsy summer dresses that would only take a few swift movements before it fell to the floor. The vines that linked each of the small summer flowers that patterned the dress teased Anne. They wove a perfect trail up her thighs and around her torso. She pictured trailing her fingertips along them till her hand reached around her back pulling her in close to her. Anne gulped as she felt her throat become dry. A light cough helping her to regain her thoughts. Ann quickly glanced towards her with a smile before turning back to look out the window.
She thought that Ann was possibly the strongest person she knew to show the amount of restraint she was. What a delicious paradox she was, sending her filthy texts but sitting demurely across from her less than 12 hours later. Anne let out a sigh as she saw the rise and fall of Ann’s chest beneath her dress. She shook her head, trying to clear those thoughts. She faced forward and started reciting the Kings and Queens of England in her head, hoping to fill her brain with anything that would stop her from wanting to run her hand under the delicate material of Ann’s dress.
It was taking everything Ann had to not jump into Anne’s lap and beg her to take her right there. From the way she’d noticed Anne looking at her when she came down the stairs she didn’t think she would take much persuading. But no, Anne had this ludicrous idea for them to sit on opposite sides, for Thomas’ benefit of all reasons. She mostly understood it, he always seemed so flustered whenever they were together, but she largely thought that was because of Anne’s presence. She was so imperious sometimes. On the couple of occasions he’d driven her home he always seemed very amiable. He was easily distracted though, and given how they’d re-entered each other’s lives, perhaps it was best not to do anything to disturb him.
She had decided that her best hope of not ripping Anne’s clothes off in the back of the car was to keep her focus on outside. Eyes on the road, just like Thomas. If she didn’t look at her then she could try to forget how absurdly hot she looked. She thought her heart had actually stopped as she exited her building and saw her leant against the back of her car, on her phone of course. She was wearing a form-fitting black v-neck t-shirt paired with those ridiculous slightly faded black jeans that clung perfectly to her toned legs that she’d worn at Pride. It was however the black leather ankle boots she wore that had caused her heart to stop suddenly.
Ann silently hoped that perhaps a little colour would work its way into her wardrobe whilst they were away otherwise she would need plenty of cold showers if they were going to spend the entire week together. She heard a cough and slowly glanced to her left, she returned the polite smile Anne had met her with. How on earth did she look so calm when every part of Ann was telling her to just lean over and kiss her? As she turned her attention back to the road she decided to try and count the number of VW Beetles she saw in a futile attempt to keep her mind away from Anne.
Marian sat in front of her laptop as she waited for the others to join the video call. She was in Anne’s private study. If she had been home there’s no way she would risk getting caught in there, but with Anne having been gone for so long she’d taken up residence. It was probably the quietest room in the house and there seemed to be some sort of magical force field that stopped anyone from daring to enter. Probably residual energy from the usual occupier.
The main estate office downstairs benefitted from being close to the kitchen, but it also meant that no one had any qualms about dropping by for some idle chit-chat when they had nothing else to do. Ordinarily that was fine, but since Sam’s election Anne had been noticeably more hand’s off in the running of the estate. Marian was determined that standards would not slip under her watch.
Tib’s face suddenly appeared on her screen, “‘Ey up Marian!” She rolled her eyes at the thickness of her Yorkshire accent. She’d been doing this over all of their calls since she got back to Halifax, claiming she wasn’t sure Marian would understand her if she didn’t. “That eye roll must come with the office.”
Marian smiled back smuggly, “It does actually.”
She noted Tib must also be in her office, she was dressed in a grey business suit, white shirt, black tie. Marian wished her sister would take some fashion tips from her, she still managed to look very smart without looking like she was going from one funeral to another. Tib leaned back in her chair and swung her legs up, her shiny dark tan brogues landing on the desk, “Just don’t let her catch you with your feet up.”
As if she would ever be that foolish. She didn’t even dare bring anything more than a bottle of water in there in case it spilled. “No thank you, I value my life too much.”
Catherine’s face appeared in another window below her own and Tib’s, “Oi oi saveloy!” in her best East End London accent. Marian looked towards the heavens, when did people stop greeting each other with a simple hello? She caught the thought as soon as it came to her mind, her eyes darting around as though she’d seen a ghost. That’s exactly the sort of thing Anne would say. Maybe sitting in her office did come with unknown side effects.
“How is my favourite Rawson?” Tib winked cheekily at the camera.
“Just fine thank you Tib,” Catherine laughed. They had all gotten used to Tib’s incessant flirting, it seemed today her attentions were directed at Catherine. Marian was more than happy to let that continue, she had enough to do with the Annes’ impending visit.
Trying to bring their attention back to the call, Marian cleared her throat loudly, “If you two are done, we have much to discuss.”
“Oh I’m never done that quickly Marian,” she raised her eyebrows suggestively. She truly was incorrigible.
“Anyway,” she waited until they had both turned their attention back to her. “We need to check in on Operation Annes.”
“Is that what we’re calling it?” Catherine chimed in.
“What else are we calling it?” she queried.
Tib sat up straight in her chair again, “I don’t know, but if we’re trying to be covert here then using their names probably won’t help, You know how you Listers like to think you’re detectives.”
“Actually that’s just me. Anne likes to think she’s a doctor.”
“Oh I know, she makes an excellent doctor.” Marian didn’t even want to look at Tib’s face at that moment, she could hear the filthy thoughts clearly enough.
“Tib!” Marian exclaimed in horror.
“Excellent nurse too actually.” Tib smiled to herself as she reminisced.
“Tib!” This time it was Catherine who shrieked at the over share.
“Oh come on ladies, we were young and at uni.” Catherine and Marian both shook their heads at her disapprovingly. Tib threw her hands up, “Fine.” Marian was about to speak again when Tib added, “But I bet the Annes are enjoying that whole doctor nurse thing.”
Marian’s jaw dropped, “That’s my sister!”
“And my cousin!” Catherine gasped and stared at her in faux-horror.
Tib laughed raucously. Sometimes she couldn’t help herself. Marian wondered if all of this had been a good idea. The three of them had come up with the idea over breakfast in Tib’s flat, the morning after Pride. They weren’t going to force them together, they were certain they could at least do that themselves. They were just going to make sure that neither of them got in their own way, the way they both seemed to. None of them had expected it would be quite so difficult as it had been.
“Anyway!” Marian tried again to regain control of the conversation, “Operations Annes.”
“A-A?” Her head turned to the left at Tib’s suggestion.
“Because they’re a broken down car?” Then to the other side at Catherine’s response.
“Better than the American version.” Back to Tib.
“AA though?” Then Catherine.
Marian sighed as the two went back and forth, it was just like tennis only much less fun she thought.
“Sounds like a bra size.” Trust Tib to think it sounded like that.
“Or a battery.”
“That’s it!” Tib exclaimed loudly like she’d just discovered penicillin.
“What’s it?” Marian was almost afraid to ask.
Tib dramatically drew her hands across the air like she was presenting a name atop a huge illuminated marquee, “Operation Duracell.” Marian and Catherine stared at her incredulously, “Come on. No one’s going to bat an eyelid if you say you’ve got to sort out some batteries. You ladies know all about needing batteries.”
“Tib.” Marian wondered how her sister put up with all the bawdiness.
“She does have a point?”
“Catherine!” Is this how Anne felt when she and Tib ganged up on her? No wonder she looked so exhausted every time. “I meant the name!” Catherine pleaded innocently.
“Okay fine. Operation Duracell Bunny or whatever.” Tib and Catherine both snickered at how frustrated Marian was getting with them. She rubbed her temple, trying to work the headache that was forming away before it took hold, “Now can we get onto what it is we’re actually doing.”
“Whatever you say, Chief.” Marian glanced up and caught Tib giving her a salute, “What’s the current situation Private Rawson?”
Catherine sat up at the mention of her name, “Oh that’s me!” She turned to the screen and placed her hands in front of her like she was a newscaster presenting the evening update. “They are on course to Bakewell, Anne’s made reservations for them at a small local restaurant. They’re going to buy a few things there and then some jam at Chatsworth House.” She broke character for a moment, “Tib if you want anything you’d better text Anne now.” Tib nodded, grabbing her phone to shoot off a quick message. Catherine resumed her professional demeanour, “They hope to be in Shibden by 6pm.”
“Perfect,” Marian smiled. That was more like it.
“One more thing,” Catherine added excitedly. “If your sister doesn’t kiss her soon Ann’s going to jump her. I don’t know if she’ll survive!” Her wicked smile was returned by Tib. It was alright for the both of them, they didn’t have to spend the next week under the same roof as the Duracell bunnies! Marian groaned at the thought when there was a loud crashing sound from down the hall.
The clamour caused all of them to look up as they heard John Booth yelling, “Oh ‘eck! I’m in for it now.”
Marian darted up immediately, looking quickly down at the other two, “I have to go. I’ll keep you updated!”
Ann closed her eyes and tilted her head up towards the sky, the sun felt so good on her skin. As soon as they had stepped out of the car the air had felt fresher. They had both taken a deep breath, filling their lungs as much as they could. She supposed she must have been getting used to how things were in London, including the city air. That thought made her smile, but she could appreciate why Anne had wanted to make as much of this journey as they could.
They had enjoyed a wonderful lunch in a traditional English pub that had been tucked away down a side street. Ann wondered how many other women Anne had taken there, but when she regaled her with a story involving her aunt and the local innkeeper that had taken a fancy to her she stopped worrying. The memories Anne had of this town were ones of her youth, when she had first started to travel and her aunt had been her companion. Ann loved the idea that she wanted to relive those moments with her.
After their lunch Anne said that they had enough time to take a walk along the river. They walked leisurely along the bank, Ann enjoying being able to hold her as they walked together closely, free from the self-imposed distance. It felt like it had been weeks since they’d spent any time together like this out in the open. Despite her plans to spend as much time indoors with Anne as possible, Ann hoped that they’d get a chance to explore Shibden together. She was sure her knowledge of it was possibly only second to that of the Listers, but she wanted to experience it all anew through Anne’s eyes.
Ann paused and turned to smile at Anne, she squinted a little to admire her in her completely impractical dashing black ensemble. Her head was held high as Ann brought her arms around her waist. There was a loud series of squawks that caused them both to turn their heads as a large gaggle of geese came charging towards them. Anne quickly pulled Ann closer into her and laughed as the birds rushed past them. She looked over shoulder and saw them heading towards a small child with a bag of breadcrumbs.
Ann had buried her head in Anne’s chest as the birds had descended on them. Trying to muffle the screams as the feathers brushed against her bare legs. Anne savoured the feel of Ann’s body pressed tightly against hers though she knew it would do nothing to make the rest of their journey any easier. There were less than two hours left. They could manage that. Possibly.
Once the noise had died down she felt Ann tilt her head up. The deepest blue eyes looked up at her with a hint of mischief as she toyed with her bottom lip. She closed her eyes and tilted her chin up, her lips impossibly close to Anne’s, she really had no other choice but to lean in and place her own lips against them. She smiled into the kiss as she heard a small moan escape Ann’s lips as she opened her mouth slightly, brushing her tongue against her bottom lip until she felt Ann’s tongue press against hers. She planned to spend hours doing just this.
She heard a small whimper as she pulled away. Ann nearly caused them to topple over as she leaned forward chasing the kiss. When she couldn’t be caught Ann opened her eyes and began to pout. “We have to go darling or else we’ll never get to Shibden before dinner.” Ann huffed as she rested her head on Anne’s shoulder. She knew she was right, if only they didn’t have to spend the rest of the journey sat so far apart.
“Dearest…” Anne pulled back a little and looked down the bridge of her nose at her, the inflection in Ann’s voice doing little to mask the presence of an ulterior motive. She draped her arms around the back of her neck as she stood on her toes placing little kisses along the shell of Anne’s outer ear. “If you let me sit next to you-” She stopped to make sure she had her attention. She ran the tip of her tongue along her ear, there was a quiet moan as she felt her pulling her in tighter. “I promise to tell you, in detail, exactly how you made me come so hard the other night.” Ann felt the groan emanating from Anne’s body.
She was suddenly jerked forward as Anne took a step back, her hands still firmly on her waist but keeping her at arm’s length. Ann was momentarily worried until she saw how dark with desire Anne’s eyes were. Her words had the exact effect she had wanted them to. She quirked an eyebrow and smiled challengingly, “Well?” She saw Anne consider it for a split second before she grasped her hand and started a furious pace back to the car.
Thomas didn’t even have a chance to get out of the car before Anne had forcefully pulled the back door open. She stood shuffling her feet as she indicated for Ann to get in. Ann happily hopped into the back, quickly followed by Anne. She had backed up onto the other side of the car, not wanting to presume that Anne had accepted her offer.
Anne positioned herself with her back against the door, one leg up almost entirely on the back seat as her legs were spread wide. Ann’s breath quickened. She decided that she would give her exactly ten seconds before she pounced on her. She got to two before Anne reached over, turning her so that her back was pressed against her front. She wrapped one arm around her waist as the other hand tucked the hair behind her ear.
She was aware of the car starting and moving off as she heard Anne lick her lips, quietly humming. Then she felt her lips gently moving up along her pulse point. Her breath hitched as Anne pulled her in tighter, she could feel her firm body pressing against her. She struggled to keep her eyes open as she felt the warm breath against her ear followed by the low tone simmering with want, “Now darling, you said something about details.”