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Night & Day

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A mix of excitement and nervousness was pumping through Anne’s veins as she parked her car in front of the building Ann lived in. Tonight was important, and while she was happy to see her family again and hoped for a largely positive reaction from her aunt and father, there was still that worry nagging at her that they might see her and decide they couldn’t accept her back, no matter how welcoming her sister had been after Ann had approached her.

She got out the car, reminding herself that not only had Marian spoken to them and they’d agreed to meet her, but that Ann would be there too as backup. Surely she should feel a lot more optimistic about this.

It helped ease her nerves when she climbed the stairs and found Ann already at her door, smiling at her. She was wearing a black coat appropriate for the cold temperatures, and Anne found herself wondering what she wore underneath, glancing down to see a red dress peeking out. Her mouth salivated at the thought.

She’d spent a fair amount of time thinking what to wear herself, torn between something on the more formal side like a suit, but worried that would be overdressing, or something less formal but unsure if that wouldn’t look like she hadn’t made an effort for the special occasion. In the end, she’d gone for one of the few white dress shirts she owned, adding a grey tie and her standard black pants and brogues. A good compromise, she thought, and she’d tried to add as much colour as her mostly black wardrobe had to offer too.

No doubt all eyes would be on Ann though, and she wouldn’t blame anyone. Ann gave her a knowing look as she took her hand and they went downstairs to the car.

“I’m excited to meet them,” Ann said with a smile as they stood in front of Anne’s car and she opened the door for her.

It gave Anne confidence. She wrapped an arm around her, kissing her temple before Ann got in the car and she closed the door behind her. She let her gaze swipe more out of habit, tensing when she spotted a car parked on the other end of the street that had the unmistakable logo of the vampire hunters on it. There was a man sitting in the car looking in her direction.

Anne tensed out of instinct, even though she knew they couldn’t tell she was a vampire unless she openly showed it. Still, they were a threat that made it impossible not to feel nervous as she looked at the car for a moment longer. Why were they even parked over there?

Something felt a little off about it, but then Anne reminded herself that there could be countless reasons why they were there that were unrelated to her. She shook it off and went round to get in the car, deciding sticking around staring at them was surely not a great idea if she wanted to avoid their attention.

“Everything alright?” Ann asked as she got in and started the engine.

Anne gave her a reassuring smile as she drove off. “Of course. There was just a vampire hunter car on the other side of the road. Those… make me a little nervous, as you can imagine.”

Ann hummed. “I wonder what they were doing there.”

“Good question.”

They fell into a comfortable silence, each in their own thoughts until they reached Shibden and Anne parked in front of her old home. She exhaled shakily as her nerves came back to her in a rush when she realised how familiar yet foreign the entire situation felt.

It had been over a decade since she’d last parked here, over a decade since she’d entered her old home. It felt strange, like she didn’t quite know what it was like anymore, yet the underlying familiarity of it all reminded her she did. An odd feeling.

Ann took her hand from where it rested on the gear stick, squeezing it as she leaned close and pressed her lips to her cheek.

“It’ll go well, I’m sure of it.”

If Ann believed in it, so could she, right? Anne held on to that thought as she nodded.

“Shall we go in?”

Anne hadn’t known what to expect as they stood in front of the door waiting. She’d gone through the possibilities a thousand times, the dreadful outcomes that would leave her heartbroken for good repeating with a much more incessant persistence than the more optimistic daydreams of a happy reunion.

Even so, she was surprised to find Cordingley open the door for them. Their gazes met, and after a moment a tentative smile grew on her former housekeeper’s face.

“Good to have you back, Ma’am,” she said, clearly unsure how to react.

Anne had always kept a distanced relationship with her former staff member, and she knew she’d often not been the easiest employer either with her blunt criticism and high expectations. Even so, she couldn’t deny she’d never been happier to see her.

“Cordingley, glad to see you.” Anne smiled, and it seemed to ease some of the tension in Cordingley’s shoulders.

Cordingley nodded, turning to Ann. “Ma’am.”

She led them inside, taking their coats and putting them up for them. Anne had been right, the red dress Ann was wearing looked stunning on her, hugging her curves in the right places. It was hard not to stare. She made a mental note to appreciate it properly later, but for now her mind was distracted as they both followed Cordingley as she went down the familiar path to the living room. Anne was pleased as she looked around and saw not much had changed, that the dark interior of Shibden was largely the same she’d remembered it and everything was in good condition too. Her heart constricted when she spotted a picture of herself on the wall and thought how often her family may have looked at it missing her. But no longer.

Ann tried to take in as many impressions as she could as they wandered through Shibden. It was just as she’d imagined it: mostly dark but with a warm inviting atmosphere making the interior a place she felt welcome in. Where some places lacked personality with all the same empty designs that happened to be trending, Shibden had a striking uniqueness to it that intrigued her. And even after so many years of her absence, she could feel Anne’s spirit in these four walls.

Cordingley stopped at the entrance to the living room. “Ma’am.”

She left, and Anne’s heart nearly stopped as she stepped forward and saw her aunt and father on the sofa, Marian next to them in an armchair. Their eyes snapped to her and her companion next to her; for a moment, it was silent.

Anne took an unsure step inside the room, barely registering Ann’s warm presence next to her as her doubt threatened to overwhelm her under their gazes. Would this be the moment they’d realise inviting her was a mistake? The moment they’d send her away because they couldn’t live with the reality of what she’d become after all?

“Oh, Anne… you haven’t changed one bit,” Aunt Anne said with a tearful voice, her eyes misting over as she rose and held open her arms.

Anne’s heart nearly burst in that single moment. Her vision became clouded with tears as all she could do was close the distance between them in a second, wrapping her arms tightly around her aunt whose warm embrace immediately brought it all back. Everything that Anne had missed out on.

With Marian’s assistance, her father rose from next to them. He patted Anne’s shoulder affectionately, smiling as she looked at him.

“Vampire or not, you’re still a Lister.”

They’d always had a distanced relationship, never showing their love for each other as openly but more as a silent acknowledgement that they both knew was there. Anne knew what it meant to hear those words from him, the smile and the accepting look on his face as they stood together.

She smiled unsteadily as her feelings threatened to overwhelm her. “Thank you, father.”

Marian nodded from next to him, and Anne pulled her into a brief but meaningful hug as well before her gaze fell over to Ann who had kept a respectable distance to not intrude on their moment. She had tears in her eyes as she watched the Lister’s emotional reunion that she’d helped made happen, a deep feeling of happiness in her heart at the sight.

They smiled at each other when their gazes met.

“Are you not going to introduce your girlfriend to us, dear?” Aunt Anne smiled knowingly as she saw the way they looked at each other.

So Anne waved her over, proudly putting her arm around her shoulder as Ann stood next to her and Anne introduced them.

Ann felt a little shy around the people she knew meant the most to Anne. They were nice, she could tell that much, but a little voice in the back of her head still made her worry what they might think of her, how she might compare to any past girlfriends Anne would’ve brought home. Anne hadn’t spoken of it much, like most of her human life, but Ann could only imagine that she would’ve had women by her side who would’ve likely set a high standard that Ann would be compared to.

She tried not to think about it too much though and just be herself. Everyone moved on to the dining table when Cordingley called them, with Ann sitting next to Anne. Anne was facing her aunt who was sitting next to Marian. Anne’s father sat at the head of the table.

Dinner was served after, roast duck with vegetables and gravy, apparently one of Anne’s winter favourites as she found out when a big grin spread on her face. It was delicious, no doubt Cordingley knew what she was doing in the kitchen. With the good food and the family making a genuine effort to include her in conversation and learn more about her, Ann’s nervousness slowly dissipated as she felt more and more accepted and welcomed into the Lister family. That, and she’d never seen Anne as animated and happy as she spoke to them and answered any curious question they had.

“So you can turn into a real bat? I’ll say, that does sound kind of fun,” Marian commented before taking a sip of her wine.

Anne chuckled, rolling her eyes at her sister. “Of course you would think that, Marian. It is one of the few things I rather like though. The city looks beautiful from above.”

“And she’s kind of a cute bat.”

Everyone looked to Ann as she hid her smile behind her wine glass and looked at her girlfriend with a glimmer in her eyes.

Anne bit her lip, hoping no one would see the blush that coloured her cheeks. “Well…”

Marian groaned theatrically. “This is what we’ll have to put up with.”

Aunt Anne laughed. “I think they’re sweet together. Don’t you think, Jeremy?”

He dabbed his mouth with his napkin, giving the two a look before his eyes stayed on Ann. A small smile grew on his lips. “You’re much more enjoyable company than the last woman Anne brought home. What was her name again, Maria, Marianne-“

“Mariana,” Anne corrected him stiffly, tensing next to Ann as the topic was mentioned. Ann rested her hand on hers even as her own interest was piqued at the mention of an ex.

“Yes, that one. Never liked her,” he said gruffly. “But you two have my blessing.”

Anne noticeably calmed next to her, whether it was because of his words or the way Ann’s hand gently stroked along hers, she didn’t know. They made eye contact, a smile growing on those soft lips as brown eyes met hers with kindness in them.

Whatever had been going on with her ex, Ann had to admit to herself she felt better about her own acceptance into the family to hear that apparently she was already more popular than that Mariana Anne had been with before. She could also see it wasn’t a topic Anne was comfortable with, and while that made her wonder what had gone on between them, she would respect it even if Anne never decided to open up to her about it.

Time passed quickly as they enjoyed dessert together and talked. Whatever worries Anne had had coming here had vanished over the course of the evening as she’d realised with each minute that nothing had changed between her and her family. Everyone was a little older and richer for experiences, sure, but the atmosphere was just as comfortable as she remembered it.

And it was better even because Ann was there too, because her family didn’t need to try their best to somehow get along with her but instead conversation between them came naturally as they got to know each other, asked about Ann’s job and her family and whatever came up. It meant so much to Anne that they liked Ann, and from what she could tell, Ann liked them as well.

Tib would be happy to hear about it as well, Anne thought. Which reminded her. How had she not thought to mention this yet?

“There is something else that I’ve forgot to mention.”

Everyone turned to her, Marian leaning back from where she’d been hunched forward deep in conversation with Ann. A small smile tugged at the corner of Anne’s lips as she glanced at them, even as she realised the potential future risk of these two forming an alliance and Marian using this against her to rile her up no doubt.

“Tib is alive too.”

“Oh.”

“Don’t tell me she’s a vampire too.”

Anne looked at her aunt, relieved to see no sign of revulsion in her expression as she looked at her questioningly. However, she wasn’t sure how they would feel knowing the truth.

“Well, yes. She asked me to turn her.”

Everyone’s eyes went wide at the shocking revelation, her aunt gasping. “Oh dear.”

For a moment, Anne was sure her veins froze over as a sudden cold held her in a tight grip with fear clawing at her heart what if this was too much, what if they would not accept that she’d dragged Tib into this with her, even if she’d asked for it.

“Hang on… she asked you? I knew Tib was reckless, but I didn’t think it went that far,” Marian commented half-jokingly, though the crease on her forehead showed she didn’t understand why even Tib would do such a thing.

Anne let out a shaky breath as she wondered if she shouldn’t have kept quiet about this, at least for now where they’d only just welcomed her back into their lives and were likely still recovering from the shock of their Anne returning from the dead after 12 years.

Anne looked away, trying to find a way to explain this to them well without it looking bad, or worse than it probably already did.

“I’ve met Tib. She’s having a good time from what I could tell.”

Anne’s head snapped to her girlfriend at her sudden comment.

Ann smiled softly at her. “If being a vampire ever suited anyone, it would be Tib.”

It wasn’t the first and likely wouldn’t be the last time Anne felt grateful for having this wonderful woman in her life. She took her hand in hers, squeezing it affectionately.

“That sounds like her,” Jeremy commented off-handedly. “Well, if she’s happy.”

“If that’s what she wants. You should bring her round sometime.”

It made sense that her family seemed to understand Tib’s decision no better than Anne did. But she was relieved no one seemed to think poorly of her for being the one who turned her.

It was getting late, and while it felt like there were still so many things to talk about and catch up on, everyone realised they had plenty of time for that. Anne promised to call soon so they could meet again, already looking forward to it even as they were brought to the door, Ann walking in front of her.

The way her dress was bringing out the round curves of her bum nicely made Anne lick her lips as she thought she definitely looked forward to some time home alone as well, and if she interpreted the way she’d caught Ann staring at her over the past few minutes right, Ann had similar thoughts.

 

****

 

They sat in the car, closing the doors behind them as Anne started the engine and let out a long breath, a smile spreading on her face with the intense joy that took a hold of her.

“That went very well.”

Ann looked over at her, smiling. “It did. I knew it would.”

She leaned forward and Anne caught on, meeting her in the middle. Their lips connected for a slow deep kiss; it wasn’t long until their passions took control from where they’d been lurking in the background during dinner, their tongues brushing against one another as they deepened the kiss and Ann moaned.

The sound travelled straight to Anne’s core – in that moment she wished she could just teleport them straight back home in an instant so she wouldn’t have to sit through the drive trying to keep herself in check when Ann was right next to her in that maddeningly stunning dress.

She pulled away, swallowing thickly as she found herself looking into darkened blue eyes. If they weren’t parked right in front of Shibden, Anne would consider taking her right here in the car. There was plenty of room in the back.

“We need to get back or I can’t guarantee anything,” Anne breathed out as she forced herself to sit straight and put the car into drive.

A sentiment Ann could only agree with. She pressed her thighs together tightly, each minute of the drive dragging on for far longer than it rightfully should as her mind kept being drawn back to her handsome girlfriend, how she was aching to feel those skilful hands all over herself, how she longed to look deep into her eyes as Anne took her.

Her fantasies travelled further, a thought popping into her head that she’d lingered on before when she’d lain in bed with her hand between her legs, gasping Anne’s name as the images took shape of how powerful Anne would look with a strap, how much Ann wanted her to fuck her with one, and how good it would feel to be filled so completely by her girlfriend.

She didn’t even know if Anne owned one, if she was into it – but the desire that coiled in her abdomen at the thought made it nearly impossible to think of anything else as they drove down the road Ann lived on.

They rushed up the stairs to Ann’s place. Once inside, Ann barely had a moment to take off her coat before Anne’s hands were all over her, possessively pulling her close. She moaned as she was pressed against the door, lips already seeking out her neck as Ann hurriedly opened Anne’s coat and ran her hands down her sides the moment it fell open, feeling her taut stomach through her shirt.

She reached up, running her hands through Anne’s hair as her eyes threatened to fall closed as Anne nipped at the most sensitive areas around her neck and ear, letting her fangs scrape against her skin in that way that made a shiver run down Ann’s spine as she shuddered in her arms. It was hard, so hard to keep her focus through the haze of desire that had clouded her mind, but Ann succeeded and even found the willpower to pull at her shirt.

“Anne…”

Anne stopped, pulling away to meet her gaze. The darkened brown eyes spoke volumes of her desire, and Ann nearly gave in right then and let her impatience overpower her. But, she reminded herself, this would be worth it.

“What’s up? Did I hurt you?”

Oh, how Ann wanted to kiss away that worried crease forming on her forehead. She only restrained herself because she was seriously worried if she so much as touched Anne before she’d asked, there would be no return.

Ann bit her lip, arousal pooling between her legs. “No, not at all. But I was wondering…”

She trailed off, licking her lips before the words came out in little more than a breathy whisper, “If you own a strap.”

The words went straight to Anne’s core as she held that intense gaze. “Yes.”

“Would you fly over and get it? Quickly…”

Really, if Anne had known, she would’ve taken her back to her place instead. It was a good thing it only took her a couple of minutes to fly between their places. Though she was sure even without that little word at the end asking for haste that Anne would easily set a new record for how fast she could travel between her place and Ann’s.

She only nodded, driven by her desire as she pulled away from Ann and left in quick strides. It had been a while since she’d used one, and her anticipation heightened with each second as she flew over to find it.

Meanwhile, Ann had her own plans as she moved over to her bedroom and prepared. Each minute felt like ten as she waited on her bed, briefly considering starting on her own but discarding the idea as tempting as it was – she wanted Anne’s touch. She licked her lips, trying to think of something boring so she would keep her sanity and not give in as she waited.

Her blood was pumping furiously in her veins, and Anne knew it had little to do with the speed with which she’d flown back over to Ann’s. She rushed down the hallway to the bedroom, finding the door slightly ajar.

Entering, she nearly gasped at the sight that presented itself to her: Her girlfriend lying naked on her bed, legs slightly spread and her hand between her legs.

“Couldn’t wait?”

Ann twitched at the sound of her voice, pulling her hand away from herself as she slowly opened her eyes and looked at Anne standing there. “You took too long.”

The breathless sound of her voice alone was nearly enough to drive Anne crazy with want. But catching her touching herself thinking of her, unable to wait a few minutes longer – Anne had to take a deep breath to steady herself before she stalked closer to the bed, loosening her tie and opening her shirt button by button as she went.

She noticed Ann’s gaze firmly on her before her eyebrows went up and she looked at Anne in a searching way, finding she’d come with empty hands. “Did you not find it?”

Anne almost felt a little sorry when she saw the hint of disappointment coming through in her expression. She stood next to the bed, dropping her tie to the floor as a smirk grew on her face.

“I found it just fine.”

Ann blinked. But where was- Oh. Understanding set in as Ann’s gaze dropped, and now she could make out the bulge in her black pants that had escaped her attention before. She groaned, rising and kneeling on the bed before Anne, pulling her forward and hungrily crashing her lips into hers.

Anne deepened the kiss, moaning when Ann slid her hands into the open shirt and trailed her fingernails down her back. She pulled away, panting as she ripped the shirt off and threw it aside, her bra following straight after. Reaching inside her pocket, she didn’t forget to take out the little travel sized bottle of lube and put it on the nightstand.

Their gazes met, a silent understanding that said all about the impatience they were both feeling as Ann took her hand and pulled her on the bed with her.

Maybe it was her own desire clouding her mind, maybe it was Ann’s stunning naked beauty distracting her; either way, Anne was caught off guard and found herself on her back with Ann straddling her. Not that she minded – looking up, she thought if this was the last sight she saw before dying, she would die a happy woman.

She took a moment to appreciate her, the way her lips were slightly parted as she sat atop her, how her chest was heaving with her breaths, her nipples hard and begging to be touched. Anne reached up, cupping her breasts with her hands as Ann sighed, pressing forward into the touch when her thumbs circled her nipples.

They started grinding together, but not for long until Ann supported herself on the bed to lean down and kiss Anne fiercely, moaning as hands moved down to her bum. Moving back, their faces were inches apart as they breathed hotly together and Ann sat back enough so she could slide her hand down Anne’s body, keeping her gaze as she traced the shape of the cock and pressed against it so the base ground into Anne’s core. Anne moaned, tightening her grip on her as her hips surged upward.

Something snapped in that moment, and Ann knew she just couldn’t stand the wait anymore. She hurriedly undid Anne’s pants under her intense gaze, shifting off her to remove them, her boxers following straight after. A pang of arousal made her core clench the moment she looked at the strap, even more so when Anne tightened the straps so it stood proudly.

It was black, of course – she’d expected nothing else from Anne. However, she’d misjudged the shape when feeling it and the real size was bigger than expected. It wasn’t some monster size, which Ann was glad for, but it certainly wasn’t small either. It had been years, and she briefly worried if it wasn’t too much.

But that wouldn’t stop her. She needed Anne, and quickly. Settling atop her, she moaned when Anne’s hands found her hips and pulled her down against the cock. Ann started rolling her hips, feeling Anne’s eyes on her as she closed her own and focused on the feeling as she slid along the shaft, coating it with her wetness.

Only the sound of a bottle being uncapped made her stop, opening her eyes as Anne reached between them and generously applied the lube. Their gazes met, fire in the air between them as Anne guided her hips and repositioned herself to line the cock up with her entrance but stopping there.

Ann tried to lower herself on the cock but was stopped by Anne’s powerful grip. She let out a shaky breath. “Please, Anne…”

“You want my cock?”

Ann nodded, trying to push against her grip again.

“Fuck, you’re so hot,” Anne growled as she eased her grip, only gently holding Ann as she lowered herself and Anne watched as she slowly took inch by inch.

Ann felt the stretch acutely the further she lowered herself, her walls already clenching around the cock until their bodies met and both moaned. She felt so very full.

Anne was sure she’d never seen anything more beautiful than her girlfriend on top of her holding herself up while lowering herself on her cock. She filed the memory away even as the base was pressing hard against her clit, making it difficult to think and even more difficult to hold still and not screw her senseless as she wanted to give Ann the time she needed.

Ann shuddered as she slowly lifted her hips, meeting Anne’s dark gaze before bringing her hips down again. “Oh… it’s- ah, it’s so much…”

Anne softly ran her hands along her lower back, looking up at her. “Too much?”

Taking a moment, Ann shook her head, meeting her gaze as she exhaled. “No,” she said before moving her hips again, sighing, “it’s good.”

Fuck. The words went straight to Anne’s core as her grip on her hips tightened, and it was all she could do as she watched Ann ride her cock, deliciously grinding the base into her each time she lowered herself.

Soon Anne started thrusting into her as they picked up speed, gasping and moaning together as the sounds of their fucking filled the bedroom.

Anne trailed her hands to her breasts, roughly palming them.

“Anne…”

Ann shuddered, falling out of her rhythm as her legs shook the closer she got, the exertion making her muscles strain and complain even as she tried to push through it, her orgasm almost there, just out of reach.

She let herself fall forward, balancing on her arms. Their faces were close, Anne’s eyes wild as she brought their lips together.

Ann gasped as they broke apart, ceasing her movements as her muscles burned and she hoped letting Anne do the work would suffice. But Anne stopped too, seeking to make eye contact. She saw what the problem was.

“Hold on.”

Before she knew it, Ann found herself on her back with Anne between her legs. She pressed the tip against her entrance, slowly sliding her cock back inside as Ann’s walls constricted around it and she gasped.

“Okay?”

By way of replying, Ann pulled her close against herself, their skin hot and sweaty as they pressed together and she wrapped her legs around Anne as she started thrusting into her. As much as she’d loved being on top of her, this was so much better for her aching muscles, the pain soon forgotten as Anne drove into her deeply. Heat coiled within her, her body tensing all over as the first waves were just on the shore, ready to overwhelm her.

In that moment, Anne reached between them and found her clit, and with that she was pushed over the edge, crying out loud.

Anne slowed down and eventually stopped as Ann was trying to catch her breath. Even as she gave her time, the burning flames between her legs made it hard to keep herself in check. Ann had worked her up thoroughly, and so it was no surprise as Anne lost her patience and hurriedly loosened the straps to discard the harness.

However, she looked up from where she was kneeling when a small hand covered hers, intense blue eyes focusing on her as Ann reached inside the loosened harness and found her clit straight away.

“Oh fuck…”

Anne could only lie back, tensing and moaning when Ann circled her clit just right, stoking the flames into an inferno almost embarrassingly fast. Could anyone blame her for falling apart so quickly under her skilful touch?

Ann kissed her shoulder, working her way to her ear as she kept up her firm circles. “You’re so hot… you fucked me so well…”

Anne groaned, her legs twitching as the softly spoken words nearly finished her off in that moment.

“It feels so good, doesn’t it?”

Yes, yes it really fucking did. Whatever Anne wanted to respond, she was cut short as she came with a long moan, lost to this incredible woman as intense heat washed over her. Moments passed until she exhaled sharply, opening her eyes to find Ann lying next to her.

Vibrant blue eyes found hers and a smile formed on her lips. A wave of affection overcame Anne, the familiarity of this strong feeling settling deep in her heart even as she refused to think about it. She instead allowed herself to just feel, to bathe in the warmth that Ann brought to her heart, the light she’d spread in her life so effortlessly.

Ann kissed her, all slow and sensual, telling her without words she was feeling the same. A deep conviction settled in her soul in that moment: They would be okay as long as they had each other. Whatever challenges may lay ahead – they’d tackle them together. The same way they’d managed to reunite Anne and her family together.

And then, a little further down the line, Anne wouldn’t be scared to acknowledge those three words anymore.

 

****

 

Thomas nervously patted his desk with his fingers as he sat in front of his computer. It was late and he should be home already, but a few cases had kept his attention, and then there’d been the message from his men that they would shortly send over what he requested.

Hopefully the picture would be a little more useful this time. The last they’d taken of Ann had been blurry, the woman by her side unrecognisable as they’d gotten into a taxi together. He’d firmly reminded his men if they wanted even the sliver of a chance to ever rank up under him, they’d better learn how to take proper professional pictures. It wasn’t that difficult.

Stupid donkeys, he thought. The notification sound of his mail caught his attention, and he eagerly opened the mail with a few pictures attached. He clicked on the first, seeing Ann and the darkhaired woman by her side near a car. Her face was recognisable this time. It wasn’t a guarantee she’d also be on their database, but perhaps she was. Thomas wanted to know who she was, he had an odd feeling about this one.

The next picture made him press his lips together as jealousy flared up within him: The woman was kissing Ann’s temple in a clearly loving gesture, pressed against her side as Ann smiled softly.

His worst suspicions had been right – she’d managed to steal Ann away from him and corrupt her. When really it should be him standing there with her.

He hoped to find some dirt on this woman – she certainly looked like a criminal, as far as he was concerned. Surely that would bring Ann back to her senses if he revealed to her that this woman she’d let into her life was some filthy criminal she would surely not want to trust let alone associate herself with.

Opening the database, he let the programme scan the woman’s face in the picture. It took a while, and again he nervously tapped the desk until an entry opened up.

“Anne Lister,” he mumbled to himself as he looked at the picture that showed the woman in her younger years. Before he could even check why she was in their database at all, however, an entry caught his attention that made his eyes widen.

Deceased. Anne Lister had died 12 years ago. There was only one way how this made any sense.

Thomas balled his hand into a fist. Ann needed to be protected from this monster.