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“This is the only time I’ve...” Serena exhales slowly, leaning back on her wooden chair in the sand, rented from a kiosk not far from their hotel. “The only time that I haven’t felt guilty taking a holiday.” When she’s met with silence from her wife in a chair next to her, Serena notices Bernie’s closed eyes behind her dark, mirrored green-tinted aviator sunglasses, causing her to sigh and mumble to herself, “of course she’s asleep.”

“I’m not.” Bernie smirks to herself, opening an eye so that she’s able to see the woman’s subtle jump, and she laughs audibly at the sight, “why would you feel guilty by taking a holiday?” She inhales deeply, slowly sitting up in the wooden chair, “do you feel you’re undeserving?” Bernie’s legs swing over the side of the wooden lounger, letting her face her wife, “because you are, if that’s what you’re referring to.”

 

“We don’t go often and the last we went, we came home to a...mess, to say the least.” Serena replies quietly, “but Charlotte is in a much better mindset now and I’m certain Kait would take care of her and the children if she wasn’t.”

 

“Agreed.” Bernie nods, “but...we can’t just sit on pins and needles anytime we want to live a little. I’m glad you aren’t guilty, truly, because you never had any reason to be in the first place.”

 

Serena tilts her head to the side, watching as her wife starts to lie back on the lounger again, “do you think I’m holding back?”

 

“Campbell-”

 

“It’s a simple question.” Serena continues, the space falling quiet between them as Bernie lifts her hands in innocence. However, Serena knows the notion as a signal that Bernie wasn’t looking for an argument, “fine, what do I need to do in order to prove-”

 

Bernie shakes her head slowly, “no, there’s nothing for you to prove to me or anyone else.” She stops her head shaking in Serena’s direction, watching as the woman reaches to the lower hem of her tankini top, lifting it slowly. Honestly, Bernie is both amused and pleased, “when in Spain?” She replaces the usual saying with the country in which they’re currently located.

 

Serena fully removes her top, accidentally knocking her large, floppy sun hat off in the process. If she was going to go topless, she would at least keep the hat on. Serena places the black hat back on her head before leaning her head back a little and inhaling deeply. Yes, she’s certainly out of her comfort zone, but it was a good feeling this time.

 

In a show of solidarity, Bernie lowers the olive green, halter bikini top. Her scars obtained over the years are far more visible than Serena’s and she feels a tad more self conscious about them than usual, especially here on this beach, but does her best not to display her unease. “How do you feel?”

 

Taking a moment before answering, Serena closes her eyes as she inhales and exhales slowly again, finally lowering her head and opening her eyes to see Bernie having bared her breasts as well, “Not sure, exactly.” The corner of her mouth turns up, “better than I was, I reckon.”

 

Bernie hums her approval, “as you should.”

 

“Well, if it isn’t the Wolfes.” A familiar voice says from behind Serena, obviously approaching as the voice grows louder, “my hearing hasn’t faded just yet and I’ve worked with the pair of you for far too long to-”

 

Quickly raising the halter top over her head, Bernie offers the man a smile, “Ric Griffin, what a coincidence.” She slowly pushes herself up off the lounger to stand, moving to the man to offer him a hug, allowing Serena a moment to save her blushes as she pulls her tankini top back on. “Look at you, sun cream on your nose, swim costume, sun specks. What is the staff used to call you? Hollywood Ric?”

 

Serena swallows, having hurriedly pulled her top back on and taking a deep breath. She slowly pushes herself up from her own lounger, quickly painting a cordial smile on her face as she turns around to face her old friend and colleague to give him her own hug. “Hollywood Ric? Well, that’s one I’m going to have to hear about at some point.”

 

“The pair of you haven’t aged a bit.” Ric beams as he glances between the women, “are you on holiday or business here in sunny Menorca?”

 

“Holiday. Bernie surprised me with an extended weekend trip as a grand gesture this year.” Serena offers her wife a proud smile, reaching a hand out to place against Bernie’s sunkissed cheek, “always the romantic, this one.” She lowers her hand after a moment, her eyes focusing on Ric again, “what about you? What brings you to beautiful Spain?”

 

“Life. Moved here about...oh, I don’t know, over six months or so ago.” Ric nods, a grin filling his face, “and, let me just say, the two of you are the very last people I thought I’d ever see on these shores and I’m both surprised and delighted that you are.”

 

“As are we.” Serena responds fondly.

 

“Are you in town for long?” Ric gives a subtle glance over his shoulder toward his partner, sunbathing herself on a towel on the sand, “I’m sure Bethany wouldn’t mind having you over for-”

 

Serena widens her eyes a little, “unfortunately, we’re scheduled to head home tomorrow morning, but-”

 

“We can extend.” Bernie nods, “of course we can.” She notices Serena’s face light up even further, “I’ll shift our tickets to a later boarding. Shouldn’t be a problem.” Bernie can see the excitement paint Serena’s features, “we’ll be delighted to join you and...Bethany?”

 

“Yes, very good.” Ric nods, meeting Serena’s eyes, “do you still have the same mobile number?” Seeing her affirmative tilt of her head, he smirks, “I’ll message you with the information.”

 

“We’ll see you tonight.” Serena gives him one more fond squeeze of a hug. Watching as the man gives them a nod before retreating back over to his partner, she takes hold of Bernie’s hand, “I hope you don’t mind.”

 

“Serena, he’s practically family.” Bernie squeezes Serena’s hand, “and I have no doubt that he’d visit more often if he lived close by.” Her definition of family has changed drastically over the years for the better, and most of the Holby City Hospital staff from their time working there were certainly family. “If he ever does come to visit, we’ll make dinner.” She pauses, “or we’ll have Charlotte do it instead.”

 

Serena nods slowly, chuckling through her words, “Probably a safer bet.”