~ Love in Photographs ~
by Alex Tryst
Copyright © June 2002

Disclaimers: See Part 1

Part 2

The morning after Torrance had arrived in Italy, she found her mother sitting in the garden reading after breakfast. As Torrance took a seat next to her, she smiled at her daughter. However when Torrance didn’t give her normal dashing grin, she asked softly, “What’s wrong, dear? I can tell you’re unhappy.”

“It’s nothing, Mama, just thinking about a woman that I met recently.”

“A woman that you are interested in?”

Torrance nodded. “Yes but I’m not sure she feels the same.”

“I see.”

“I invited her over to Italy, and she may be coming, but I’m not sure. We didn’t leave on good terms, so I don’t know if she still wants to come.”

“What happened?”

“I got in a fight with one of her guy friends, and then I ran off without saying good bye.”

“Why did you do that?” her mother inquired touching her on the arm.

Torrance shook her head. “I was scared, not of the guy but of her finding out how I felt. That’s what the fight was about, but I wasn’t ready to tell her my feelings. I think I’ve screwed up.”

“Maybe not. Don’t worry too much about it. What is this lady’s name?”

“Helen, Helen Melbourne. Oh, Mama, she is amazing. She’s just perfect.”

Her mother smiled at her. “Ah, blinded by love I see. Doesn’t she have any faults?”

“Only one that I can think of.”

“And what’s that?”

“She’s straight.” Torrance mumbled.

“Oh, well, that certainly makes things a little more complicated.”

“Tell me about it. I swore I would never do this again, Mama. I know better than to fool around with straight women. I just end up getting hurt, but I haven’t felt this way since I was a teenager with Alena. There is just something about her.”

“It’s that serious?” her mother inquired in surprise. Torrance just looked at her. “I can see that it is just by looking in those eyes of yours. I don’t know what to say, darling. You deserve a woman that will make you happy. We can always hope that Helen is the one. Just because she’s never been with a woman doesn’t mean she’s straight. Maybe she’s just now starting to know herself. The chemistry is there?”

“I think so. I mean we have such a good time together, and she seems to like my attention.”

“Well, then give it time. Maybe she is scared too. Now I know you have better things to do than sit around here. Why don’t you go out and try to get rid of some of this nervous energy? Things will work themselves out. You’ll see.”

“I hope so, Mama.” Torrance replied kissing her mother on top of the head and then heading out the back garden gate.

On the night before Helen was supposed to leave to Italy, she was sitting around the apartment with Kelly and Mark. As the three of them just watched tv, Mark asked, “So have you made your final decision about tomorrow yet?”

“No. I’m ready to go, even packed, but I’m not sure yet. I just don’t know what to do.”

“I think you should go.” Kelly stated. “Heck, even if I had to put out, I would go to Italy with Torrance. She’s offering you a trip of a lifetime.” she joked.

“It’s that possibility of crossing the line of friendship that’s stopping you, isn’t it?” Mark inquired.

Helen nodded. “I just don’t know what I want.”

“Well, at least you can be assured that she’s going to let you decide where the relationship goes. I mean she said that in the letter. It’s not like you’re committing to anything but being friends with her by going.” Kelly pointed out.

“That’s true. I believe her when she says that she’s only wants to go as far as I do. The problem is I don’t know how far I want to take it.” she admitted.

“Well, you know you have our support. This would a perfect opportunity, Helen. You’ll be half way around the world with this woman. You won’t know anyone else, so they’ll be no one to look down on you if want to try something new. Know one will ever know unless you tell them. It’s the perfect chance to do whatever you want without any consequences to your other relationships. If I were you, I would go.” Mark said.

Helen nodded. “I feel so stupid about this. I mean I’ve always wanted to go back to Europe and suddenly and all expenses paid trip lands in my lap. I would be an idiot to pass this up just because I’m scared of my own feelings. It’s not even her I’m worried about, because I know she’ll keep her word. She’s like that, but it’s me. What if I get there and I realize I want more? I’m scared of that possibility, but I guess you have a point. It would be the best time and place to experience it if I wanted to. I guess the only real question is which of you can take me to the airport tomorrow?”

The next morning Helen and Mark were up early to go to the airport. As Helen sat in the living room with her luggage double checking everything, the phone rang. Wondering who could be calling at such an hour, she saw Mark answer it. By the way he greeted the person on the other end, Helen pondered who it could be. He seemed overly friendly and excited as he smiled brightly into the phone. Knowing that Kelly was still in bed, Helen contemplated briefly if Mark was having an affair, because she had never seen him as happy as when he was with Kelly. Suddenly he turned and grinned at her. “It’s for you.”

Totally confused by his statement, she came to pick up the phone. “Hello?” she hesitantly greeted.

“Helen, hi.” Torrance said nervously.

“Oh, hi, Torrance. How are you?”

“Good. You?”

“I’m good. What’s up?”

“I was just calling to see how you were.”

“I’m doing well.” Helen replied. “But I really can’t talk right now. I’m on my way out the door.”

“Oh, well, all right. We can talk some other time then. Sorry to have bothered you.” Torrance mumbled.

Sensing the photographer’s sullen mood, Helen inquired, “Hey, Torrance, just one thing. When I land are you going to be there to pick me up?”

“You’re coming?” she asked in obvious surprise.

“Of course. Did you think I wouldn’t?” she asked when she realized that’s why Torrance had called even though she didn’t admit to it.

“I wasn’t sure. Of course I’ll be there to pick you up. I’m so glad you’ve decided to come.”

“Me too but I really have to go now. Mark’s waiting to take me to the airport.”

“Oh, sure. I guess I’ll see you soon then. Be safe.”

“All right. See you soon.”

When Torrance got off the phone, she raced to find her mother. Running into her in the garden, she hugged her excitedly. “She’s coming, Mama. Helen’s coming.”

“That’s wonderful, dear. I never had any doubts.”

“Oh man, now I have to plan.” Torrance mumbled beginning to pace the stone patio.

Her mother laughed lightly. “You have plenty of time, Torrance. You’re going to drive me crazy if you don’t stop that pacing.”

“I have to figure out what room to put her in too.” Torrance pondered aloud.

“Let’s put her in the room next to yours. That way in the event you two want to sneak into each other’s rooms at night you don’t have far to go.” her mother teased.

“That’ll never happen. I told you Helen isn’t like that. We’re just friends.” the brunette stated even though somewhat sadly.

“You never know, Torrance. She did agree to come. People can change their minds. You already said the chemistry is there. Maybe she wants to see where this relationship can go. Now instead of hanging around here and fretting, why don’t you go out into the fields for awhile and work out your nerves? I’m sure they could use your help out there.”

The next day Torrance went to the airport alone to meet Helen’s plane. As she stood there waiting for the passengers to come off the plane, she wondered what the next ten days might hold. She was genuinely surprised that Helen had decided to join her, so she thought maybe the blonde may be willing to see what might happen in their relationship. However knowing that it would be Helen’s first time if it were to happen, she knew things would have to move at a pace the blonde was comfortable with. Deciding not to put too much pressure on herself about it, Torrance decided it would be best to just let things flow as they would. Noticing the blonde coming out the narrow hallway into the terminal, Torrance smiled widely as she moved to her. Forgetting everything she had just told herself, she gave Helen a huge hug, picking her up and twirling her lightly as she admitted, “I missed you.”

Helen felt the tingle all over her body as taller woman held her suspended in air. “I missed you too, Torrance.” she said with a smile as she let her fingers trail lightly through the brunette’s short hair.

“Come on. Let’s go get your bags and get out of her.” the older woman suggested finally putting the blonde back on her feet. Helen agreed, hanging onto Torrance’s arm as the photographer led the way to the baggage claim. After collecting the luggage, Torrance took Helen out to where the family driver was waiting to take them home. They were quiet in the car as Helen took in the scenery passing outside the car window. Finally though after almost an hour, Torrance mentioned, “We’re almost there. It’s just at the top of this hill. This is actually the beginning of their driveway.”

“This is some driveway. I would hate to have to walk up this thing.”

“The hired hands do it everyday. I guess you get used to it. It doesn’t even phase me any more. I walk it everyday to go into town.”

“And you’ve got the legs to prove it.” Helen mumbled, her eyes moving to Torrance’s khaki shorts clad thighs.

Upon arrival at the house, Torrance took Helen’s bags into the house. “Let’s just get these up in your room, and then I’ll introduce you to my family.” Helen nodded and followed Torrance up the staircase. “Here’s where you’ll be staying. My room is just next door. I hope you like it.” the brunette stated as she put Helen’s suitcases on the bed.

Helen looked around the room, taking it all the exquisite furniture. The room had windows on two sides, and a balcony that looked out over a vineyard. “This room is bigger than my whole apartment, Torrance. It’s beautiful.”

“Glad you like it. As I said I’m right next door, and the balcony joins our two rooms. Come on now. I’ll take you to meet my family, and then you can rest.”

“Oh, I meant to ask you if your grandparents knew English. I feel a little self-conscious, because I don’t know any Italian.”

“Not to worry. They know enough English to hold a conversation, and my mother will talk your ear off if you let her. They’re all excited to meet you.” Torrance mentioned reaching her hand out for Helen to take. Without even thinking the blonde put her hand into the larger one and allowed Torrance to led her through the house. Going out into the garden, they saw three older adults sitting there drinking tea and just talking. “Mother, Nonna (Grandmother), Nonno (Grandfather), I would like for you to meet Helen Melbourne. Helen, these are my grandparents and my mother.” she said making introductions.

“We’re so pleased you’ve come, Helen. Please have a set. Would you like some tea?” Torrance mother inquired.

“That would be wonderful. Thank you.”

All five of them talked for about an hour before Torrance noticed Helen trying desperately to stifle a yawn. “I think we better let you take a rest, Helen. That trip is a long one.” Torrance mentioned.

“I am a little tired.” she confessed.

“Well, why didn’t you mention it before now? Forgive us for neglecting your needs, dear. Torrance, show Helen up to her room.” her mother instructed.

“Oh, it’s fine. I’m just a little tired from the flight. I’m not feeling neglected in the least.”

“Come on, Helen. I better do as she says, or else she might start embarrassing me.” Torrance said with a laugh. Taking Helen back upstairs, Torrance hovered outside the door. “If you open your windows and the balcony doors, you’ll get a nice breeze coming through. In fact I prefer doing that since I can’t in New York.”

“That sounds nice.”

“Well, I’ll just let you rest. You know on my first day here, I almost always sleep the whole day away, so please don’t feel like you have to come back down if you’re tired. This is your vacation. You can do whatever you want.”

“Oh, I’m not going to stay up here the rest of the day. I just want to take a little nap. I’ll go to bed early tonight.”

“Okay. Then I’ll see you in a few hours. If I’m not around, my mother will know where to find me. I usually am outside somewhere.”

“All right. I’ll see you in a bit. Thanks again for letting me come, Torrance.”

Torrance gave a dashing smile. “It’s my pleasure, Helen. I’m glad you’re here.”

When Torrance returned to the garden, she was wearing a large smile. “So, what did you think?”

“She’s lovely, Torrance.” her mother answered. “I can see why you like her, and I can also see that those feelings are mutual.”

“Really?” Her mother nodded. “What about you, Nonna and Nonno? What did you think of Helen?”

“She lights up your face, Torrance. You love her very much, yes?” Nonna asked. Torrance nodded in affirmation.

“It shows.” Nonno replied. “How serious is this relationship?”

“We’re just friends right now.”

“Just friends? I think not. There is potential for so much more.” her mother decisively stated.

“I hope so.”

“Well, while you’re hoping, why don’t you go do something? You’ll be restless until she wakes.”

“I think I will. If I’m not back by the time she gets up, tell her I went out to the vineyard.”

“We will. Run along now.”

A few hours later Helen arose from her nap. Going to the balcony, she looked out over the scenic view of hills and mountains. Wondering what Torrance was up to, she freshened up and headed out to find the tall woman. Trying the garden first, she found Torrance’s mother there reading.

“Ah, you look more rested now. That trip always wears me out as well.” her mother mentioned.

“Well, it helped to have such a wonderful place to nap. I think I’ll be able to make it the rest of the day now. Thank you for allowing me to come stay with your family, Mrs. Whitfield.”

“Please don’t call me that. Mrs. Whitfield is my mother-in-law. You must call me Maria. I insist.”

“Very well, Maria. Do you know where Torrance is?”

“You should probably find her out in the vineyard. It’s her favorite place here. Just go out the garden gate and follow the dirt path over the ridge. I’m sure she’s been counting the minutes since you two have been apart, so you better go find her.”

Helen did as she was told. Following the path she eventually came to the vineyard, but since it was so large, she wondered where Torrance could be hiding. Slowly strolling through the rows failed to produce the photographer, so Helen walked to the very end. There on top of a small hill she spotted the brunette kneeling in front of three crosses with her head bowed. Not wanting to interrupt what looked like a prayer, Helen softly approached. She got close enough to hear that Torrance was speaking aloud, but she couldn’t make out what the older woman was saying as she stood at a respectable distance. When Torrance was finished, she made the sign of a cross across her body, as in Catholic tradition signaling the end of her prayer, before moving to sit at the base of the middle cross. As soon as she looked up and saw Helen there, she jumped up.

“Hey. Been standing there long?” she inquired.

“Not really. I didn’t want to interrupt your meditation.”

“Oh, that’s okay. My prayer for your safe arrival was already been granted. Would you like to sit with me?” Nodding Helen took a seat on Torrance’s left side, and they both looked quietly out over the vineyard. “You know I once told you that the Poconos were my second favorite view in the world. This is my favorite, sitting right here.”

“I could see why.”

“This place holds a very special meaning for me, Helen. The most important event of my life so far took place right where we are sitting. Every time I’m here I like to come out here and reflect on it and the man that was apart of it.”

Wondering if Torrance was about to open up to her, Helen inquired, “May I ask what it was?”

“About seven years ago my grandfather on my father’s side and I were sitting right here, and he told me some things that I have never known. He was so sick already, and I think he knew our time together had come to an end. He had asked me to bring him out here, and we were just sitting here, just the two of us. He started to talk about his life, the things he’d done and seen. It was then that I found out that both my grandfathers had fought in World War II. Neither had ever mentioned it to me before. He fought for the Americans, and Nonno fought for Italy. Apparently when my parents had first gotten together and then decided to get married, both of them were adamantly against it, because even though the war was over, they still thought of each other as enemies.”

“Why did he tell you that?” Helen asked softly.

“He told me that he wanted me to know how special I was. He said that when I was born he and Nonno had to finally bury the hatchet. It was because of their common love for me that they came to love and respect each other. I was proof that two different worlds could come together and live amicably. My whole life they were like brothers themselves. I had never known about their animosity before my birth. He just wanted me to know that I changed both of their lives for the better and that I was a real blessing. Then he gave me these.” Torrance said pulling the dogtags out from under her shirt. “I wear them all the time as a reminder of the convictions of both of them as well as their willingness to forgive.” Torrance looked out over the grove again before saying, “He told me that I should never be ashamed of who I was or where I had come from. I should always be proud of my history. It was what happened after that though that really changed my life forever.”

“What?” gently the blonde inquired.

“We were just sitting here holding hands and both leaning back these crosses. He was sitting right where I am, and I was where you are now. He was so sick, barely having any energy. He said he just wanted to rest for a bit before we went back to the house. He closed his eyes, and I just watched him sleep. Then I suddenly realized I was witnessing life leave him. I was twenty five years old at the time, and I didn’t realize the extraordinary gift he had given me until much later. He allowed me to be present during the most private moment of anyone’s life. Of all the people he could have chosen to be by his side, he chose me, and I’ll never forget it. I remember beginning to panic at first, but when it was clear he really had died, I felt a freedom and lightness. It’s what he wanted. He was in so much pain, but then he was free, and in a way I felt grateful that he had gone onto a better place. I carried his body all the way back to the house, because I couldn’t bear to part with him even for a moment. As I came over the ridge, I saw that the garden gate had been left open as if they were expecting us back any moment. The look on my grandmother’s face is one I will never forget either. She just looked at me with such mixed emotions. Later after the funeral she told me she had known all along that he had wanted me to be with him in his final moments. It was his last wish, and I’ll always be glad I was there to fulfill it for him.”

Sensing that Torrance had not told many people that story before, Helen felt honored that she had been trusted with such personal information about the photographer. Scooting over to the brunette, Helen put her arms around her. “You really are such a caring person, Torrance. Thank you for sharing that with me.”

They sat embraced in the silence for awhile before Torrance finally broke the stillness. “We should get back to the house. I’m sure dinner is about to be served.”

Torrance stood and then extended her hand to Helen in order to assist her. Smiling up at the taller woman, Helen accepted the help but then continued to hold the brunette’s hand as they strolled back to the house. That night after the evening meal Helen just sat talking with Torrance’s family. However through the whole night Helen noticed Torrance kept touching her. Usually feeling uncomfortable whenever her past boyfriends had been physical with her in front of family, she was pleasantly surprised that she actually enjoyed Torrance’s hand as it occasionally brushed her body. Finally being exhausted though, she excused herself for the night. Torrance walked her upstairs to her room and hung out in the doorway to say good night.

“So, what time do we need to leave tomorrow?” Helen inquired, knowing that Torrance had an itinerary for the next few days.

“We won’t be in a rush. You can sleep in if you’d like. Whenever you’re ready to have breakfast, if you just go into the dinning area, someone will see to you. I usually am up early myself, but we don’t have to leave at any certain time.”

Helen nodded. “Are you going to tell me where we’re going, or are you still trying to make it a surprise?”

“Well, I wanted it to be a surprise, but if you really want to know, I’ll tell you I guess.”

“I’m just wondering, because I need to know what to pack. I brought a little of everything with me, because I didn’t know.”

“Fair enough. We’re going to Rome, Venice, and then I thought we could hang out at the beach for a few days as well so all warm weather clothes. I would take you to Milan, but it’s too far north to try to get in on this trip. Maybe next time.”

“Sounds good. I’ll see you in the morning then.”

“Bon soir, mon cherie. (Good night, my dear)” Torrance whispered leaning to give the model a hug and kiss on the cheek.

Helen barely resisted the urge to moan as their bodies came together in a hug. For all her denial of how she felt toward Torrance, she knew with more certainty than when they were in the States that she was physically attracted to the dark-haired photographer. Torrance had been so wonderful the whole day since she arrived, and the little touches the brunette gave her were sending her a clear signal that Torrance was interested in more than friendship. Returning the kiss Torrance had bestowed upon her cheek, Helen slowly pulled away. “Good night, Torrance.”

When Torrance retired to her room for the evening, she thought about Helen. She had missed the teacher more than she cared to admit, even to herself. Seeing her for the first time after their brief separation only solidified her feelings of desire for the petite woman, and she wondered if their time together would bring them even closer. After preparing for bed, Torrance took her book out to the balcony as was her usual habit, but seeing Helen’s balcony doors open, she figured she might disturb the blonde’s sleep if she read there. Deciding to read in her bed, she began to turn away, but curiosity pulled her back to the model’s doors. Peeking into the room, she saw Helen lying in bed asleep, the moon casting light along the white bedding. Torrance’s heart fluttered at how beautiful and angelic Helen looked. She knew she loved the woman lying there and longed for a chance to prove her worth to the blonde. After a few more moments, she turned away and headed into her own room.

The next morning Torrance was out in the balcony reading in the morning sun when she heard Helen rise. As the blonde made her way out to the balcony as well, Torrance gave her a bright smile, taking in the sparse sleeping attire of her companion. “Good morning. Sleep well?” she asked as the model stretched. Torrance watched as the hem of Helen’s tank top rose with the movement.

“Morning. I slept better than I ever have in my life. I may never want to leave.”

Torrance gave a soft chuckle. “I’m sure my grandparents would love to have you.” she teased.

“Have you eaten breakfast already?”

“No, not yet. I usually just sit out here for awhile before I go down.” Torrance mentioned her hand moving unconsciously to the back of blonde’s bare leg. Her fingers curled gently around the toned muscle resting along Helen’s inner thigh. “We’re not on a schedule here. We can eat whenever we want.”

Helen felt Torrance’s fingers as they scorched her skin. They were giving her a clear indication of the photographer’s desires by the way they lightly traced over her skin, and even as much as she was enjoying it, she felt suddenly uneasy and pulled away saying, “Well, I’m going to go get dressed.”

As Torrance watched Helen scurry back into her room, she knew she had made the younger woman uncomfortable. Cursing at herself for being so forward, she left the balcony, throwing her book down on her bed as she ran out of her room. Rushing down the stairs, she made her way out the back through the garden where her mother was sitting.

“What’s wrong, Torrance?” she asked.

“I can’t handle this! I have to get away for a bit! I just need to regroup!”

“Did you and Helen get into a fight?”

“No! Please, Mama, just let me go! I’ll be back soon!”

By the time Helen had dressed for the day and made her way downstairs, Torrance and her family were already having breakfast. They all greeted her pleasantly.

“Good morning, everyone.” she said taking a seat next to Torrance at the table. One of the women came from the kitchen to find out what Helen wanted to eat, but then the five of them were left alone.

“So, did Torrance tell you where you two were going?” Maria inquired.

“Only that we were going to Rome, Venice, and the beach. I don’t know any more than that.”

“Not to worry. I guarantee you’ll have a good time.” Torrance stated.

“I’m sure I will. After all you did tell me you were the best tour guide. I’m counting on it.”

A week later Torrance and Helen returned from their tour of southern Italy to an empty house. After taking their belongings up to their respective rooms, Torrance went to find out where her family had gone. When the butler told her that they had gone to Milan but would be returning late the next day, Torrance knew that her mother had been behind the plot to give she and Helen as much alone time as possible.

Going to find her companion, she found Helen in the living room. “Well, it’s official. My family has deserted us for Milan. They’ll be back tomorrow evening, so that means it’s just us.”

“That’s fine. I’m enjoying it. I can’t believe it’s gone this fast. This is the best vacation I’ve ever had.”

“Good. This is one of the better ones I’ve had as well. I think it has to do with the company.” Torrance mentioned plopping down beside her. “To think tomorrow is your last full day here. I was thinking that we could go down into the village at the bottom of the hill. I wanted to show it to you anyway.”

“That sounds good. We keep driving through it, and I’ve seen some places I want to go.”

“Great. Then that’s what we’ll do then. What do you want for dinner tonight? I need to go tell the cook.”

Helen shrugged. “I don’t know. Surprise me. You haven’t let me down yet.”

“Very well. Don’t say I didn’t give you a choice. If you don’t like it, you can’t blame me.” she teased scampering off the couch and into the kitchen.

That evening Torrance and Helen had their meal out in the garden. Long after it was complete and they had been left to themselves, they stayed out back stargazing. As they often had over the past several days, they sat cuddled together as they talked. Being a cool night on top of the hill, Torrance had retrieved a blanket for them, and they laid together under it on the chaise to keep warm as they looked up into the dark sky. Helen lied on her side, one arm draped over Torrance’s frame as her head rested on the older woman’s shoulder. Torrance had one arm around her back as the other lightly caressed the skin of her bare forearm. All was quiet as they listened to the sounds of the night. Helen silently reflected on the trip. Never in her life had anyone treated her the way Torrance had, always making her feel special and beautiful. All the kindness the photographer had showed her made it easy for Helen to want more from their friendship as well. However time was beginning to run out for them if they were going to venture any further while together in Italy. Helen knew things would be more difficult once they returned home, so she pondered if she should attempt to take the relationship farther. As she thought about the possibilities of what might happen between them, the question that she had always wanted to ask the brunette but had always been too shy came to mind. Deciding that she had to know before they could go any further though, she summoned her courage to ask. Shifting her head so her mouth was closer to Torrance’s ear, she whispered, “Torrance.”

Torrance felt the model’s breath tickle her ear in the most erotic of ways, making her want to moan, but she managed to refrain. “Yeah?”

“Could I ask you something personal?”

“Sure.” Helen hesitated, knowing that once she asked, there was no taking the question back. Hearing the long pause, Torrance assured her, “You can ask me anything.”

“I just don’t want to offend you.”

“You won’t. What is it?”

“What is sex like with a woman?” she rushed to say before she lost her nerve.

Torrance heart stopped as she inquired, “Why do you want to know that?”

“I was just curious. If it’s too personal, you don’t have to tell me.”

“Curious.” Torrance mumbled, slightly disheartened at the admission. Nevertheless she decided to give Helen the honest answer she deserved. “Well, I guess I should tell you that what sex meant to me when I was younger is a lot different than it does now. When I was young, there were many times I was it in for the sake of getting off, like most kids are, but the older I’ve gotten the more the meaning of sex has changed for me. To me there is nothing that compares to making love to a woman. It’s the most beautiful thing there is in the entire world. You see for me to go to bed with someone, there has to be a chemistry, a connection that isn’t easily established. I’m not looking for a quick score any longer, because I know it’s so much better when you truly care about the person you’re with. I’ve come to realize the closeness I want from my partner can only come with complete trust. For a woman is opening more than just her legs for me, she’s opening her soul. To be inside someone where life begins is just an amazing experience. It’s like touching their spirit. She’s giving me a part of herself. She’s offering me something that can never be taken back. By physically loving a woman, I am forever becoming a part of her and vice versa. It’s like nothing else. You know I’ve heard that with men and women loving can be one-sided at times, one person only seeking their own gratification, but with women, it’s about pleasing each other. My only desire when I’m with a woman is to give her the ultimate pleasure. To see a woman when she is reaching her peak, when she’s at her most vulnerable and beautiful is an honor she’s giving me, and I treasure it. There truly are no words that do real justice to the experience.”

Helen sighed as she took in Torrance’s words. “You make it sounds so romantic.” she whispered softly, thinking that if things ever reached that level between them she wouldn’t be disappointed.

“Shouldn’t it be?” Torrance replied pulling Helen in a little closer as a cool breeze swept over them.

There was silence after that as they just laid together. As Torrance’s hand continued to stroke Helen’s back, the blonde felt her herself becoming more sexually aware of the delicate movement. Wondering if Torrance was feeling the same, she snuggled in closer, noting the pace of Torrance’s heart speed up to match her own. Torrance focused her eyes on the stars as she felt Helen’s body shift closer to her own. The feeling of the blonde’s breath along her neck was beginning to stir her passions, but unsure of what to do, she merely kept caressing the model’s back lightly. Helen felt Torrance’s hand coming dangerously close to the hem of her shirt, and then suddenly she wanted the photographer’s hand to slip under it to her bare skin. However she wasn’t sure how to bring that action about without telling her, so she opted to try to give the brunette a little subtle direction. Bringing her own hand down off Torrance’s shoulder, she began to run it along the older woman’s side sensuously. She heard the brunette’s breath catch but realized it had worked as Torrance’s hand found its way up the back of Helen’s top. They went on for several minutes just touching each other, but as each of them became more aware of what was actually starting to happen, their breathing began to become erratic. Still they hadn’t kissed each other, but as the thought of that being the next step occurred to Helen, she began to shiver in her nervousness and desire.

“You cold?” Torrance asked softly bring the model’s body even closer. Not trusting her voice, Helen merely gave a shaky nod. Knowing that her response meant that Helen was approaching potential overload, Torrance suggested, “Then maybe we should go in. It’s getting cold out here, and it’s late anyway.”

Leading the way inside, Torrance made a stop in the living room to deposit their blanket before escorting Helen upstairs. As they came to a stop outside the blonde’s door, they just looked at each other. Torrance knew she wanted to kiss the model more than anything at that moment, but being scared of making a wrong move, she opted just to give the woman a hug. Bringing their bodies together in a tight embrace, Torrance allowed herself to nuzzle Helen’s fair hair before resting her head along the teacher’s shoulder. Helen couldn’t control her breathing as she felt Torrance pull her hips closer, letting the photographer’s belt buckle skim along her stomach through her thin shirt. Each of them were so lost in the sensations that neither thought about their actions. Before Torrance could stop herself her lips brushed over the soft skin of blonde’s neck. Helen immediately whimpered as one hang clung tighter to Torrance’s collar and the other cradled the dark head. However as soon as Torrance heard the beautiful sound, she realized her actions and pulled away abruptly, startling them both. She longed to be able to hear it again, but she knew she had to refrain.

Seeing Torrance become reserved again, Helen whispered, “Well, um, good night.”

“Good night, Helen.” the tall woman answered softly before turning to leave.

Going into her room, Torrance softly closed the door and leaned against it. Her emotions were running wild through her body. The small moan that had escaped the model was enough to make her crazy with desire. Knowing she had to reign in her feelings though, she began to ready herself for bed, but as she found herself lying in the dark, she began to think about what it would be like to kiss the woman she loved for the first time.

That night as Helen lied in her own bed, she thought of the woman just next door. Over the course of the trip, she had begun to feel so much more for the photographer than she ever thought she would, and their parting for the night left her with a longing she had never experienced. Allowing herself to fantasize, she imagined what a night of passion might be like between them. Dreaming of the dark-haired woman showering her with affection led her own hands into action as they took in the landscape of her body all the while pretending that it was Torrance there inside of her.

Torrance was just beginning to drift off to sleep when she thought she heard her name being called. Confused she sat up in bed and strained to hear any noise but there was nothing for several moments. However just as she was about to settle down again, she heard it a second time coming from the direction of the balcony. Thinking that maybe Helen was calling her, she slid out of bed and made her way out her doors over to the blonde’s. As she approached softly, she heard her name a third time, so she went to Helen’s open doors, but as soon as she looked into the teacher’s room, she retreated back a few steps. Unsure of whether her eyes were deceiving her or not, she peeked just around the corner. Helen was in bed cast in the white light of the moon. Even though the blonde’s eyes were closed, Torrance could tell that she wasn’t asleep. Her back was arched slightly and her head titled back. Torrance could hear the blonde’s unsteady breathing, and she was transfixed by the movement of the covers, imagining what Helen was doing to pleasure herself. Torrance’s legs went weak as she heard Helen call her name again. She wanted nothing more than to rush in a appease the fervor that was threatening to overtake them both, but she knew she couldn’t. Knowing it was inappropriate to intrude on the blonde’s privacy, Torrance regretfully turned to go back to her room. Falling into her own bed, she let the images of the model take hold in her mind and moaned sympathetically with her situation. Unable to calm herself any other way, she too brought herself the relief she needed before passing out in exhaustion.

The next morning when Helen came downstairs Torrance was already eating breakfast. Seeing the model for the first time after what had happened, the brunette felt suddenly shy in front of the blonde. Noting the slight flush on the older woman’s face, Helen asked, “What’s with you this morning?”

“Nothing. I was just thinking that today was your last full day here. It’s gone too quickly.”

“Yeah, it really has, and I feel like there is still so much I could see.”

“Well, it gives you something to look forward to next time.” Torrance replied with a smile.

“Very true.”

Once breakfast was complete, Helen made her way back upstairs to finish getting ready for their outing while Torrance went outside to talk to the driver about her family’s arrival. When she saw Helen emerge from the house a few minutes later, she couldn’t help but smile. “Ready to go?” she inquired extending her hand.

Helen nodded as she took Torrance’s hand. “Ready as I’ll ever be.” she replied with a smile, knowing that her words meant more to her than Torrance knew, because as she drifted to sleep the night before she made herself a promise that she would kiss the woman that had captured her heart before the day was over.

As they began their walk down the hill toward the village, Torrance gazed over at Helen. She was dressed the most casually since she had been there except when they were at the beach, opting for a green top that matched her eyes perfectly with a pair of short khaki shorts and her running shoes. Her skin had taken on a golden hue from their time in the sun and her hair had lightened as well. Her sunglasses were keeping her short hair out of her face, and she wore a bright smile.

When their eyes met, Torrance asked, “You really have no idea how stunningly beautiful you are, do you?”

Helen blushed at the unexpected comment, but she admitted, “You make me feel that way, Torrance.”

Growing more serious the brunette stated, “You are a real blessing to my life, Helen. I hope you know that.”

“I do now.” she answered with an assuring grin.

The whole afternoon was spent down in the small village as Helen and Torrance leisurely browsed all the quaint shops and talked with many people that knew Torrance and her family. When it was time to head home though, they began to long ascent up the steep hill leading to the house. Even though it posed no challenge for Torrance, who had spent her entire life walking the path, the photographer could tell it was taking its toll on Helen. “You all right?” she inquired coming to a stop.

“I’m fine. This hill is just a real bear. I don’t see how you do it.” Helen stated.

“I’m used to it. You want me to carry you the rest of the way?”

“No. I weigh too much. I just need to rest for a few minutes.”

“Don’t be silly. I have equipment that weighs more than you. Just hop on my back, and we’ll be there before you know it.”

“Are you sure?” skeptically the model asked. She figured Torrance would probably be able to carry her, but she didn’t want to impose that way.

“I’m sure. Come on. Jump on.” Torrance insisted dropping down to one knee, so Helen could climb onto her back.

Helen did as she was told. As the brunette stood, Helen slipped her legs around Torrance’s waist. Putting her head on Torrance’s shoulder, she mentioned, “Maybe this wasn’t such a bad idea. Why didn’t I do this before?”

Torrance laughed lightly, clutching tighter to the teacher’s legs. “Glad to be of service to you, Helen.” They were quiet the rest of the way back to the house. Even though having Helen on her back was slowing her down, Torrance didn’t want to let the petite woman go, enjoying the way Helen’s body rubbed invitingly into her back.

As Helen rode piggy back style the rest of the way up the hill, her thoughts began to turn sexual. Having Torrance’s frame between her thighs was beginning to make her amorous as her mind began to play out a scenario of having the photographer take her right there on the side of the dirt road. She was so far off in her fantasy that she barely heard Torrance when she announced their arrival. “Oh, that was fast.” she softly stated.

Torrance let her go and gently guided her to her feet, her hands skimming along Helen’s hips as she steadied the blonde’s landing. “I wonder if my mother is back yet.” Torrance pondered aloud. Instinctively taking Helen by the hand, she led the way inside.

They found Torrance’s family in the living room simply talking, so both of them greeted Torrance’s grandparents and mother with hugs before finding out that dinner wasn’t for an half an hour. Knowing that time was running out on her to make her move, Helen turned to Torrance and asked, “Would you like to go out to the vineyard and watch the sunset with me? This will probably be my last time to go out there.”

“Sure. That sounds nice.”

As they strolled down the path leading to the grove, Helen said, “This has been the best vacation I’ve ever had, Torrance. Thank you so much for letting me come here.”

“You’re very welcome, Helen. You’ve made my whole trip just by coming. I’ll be sad to see you go tomorrow.”

“But you’ll come see me when you get back, won’t you?” hesitantly Helen asked.

“If you want me to, I will.”

Going to Torrance’s favorite place, they sat down together embraced as they quietly watched the sun dip behind the hills. Helen began to gather her courage for she knew the moment had come for her to express her feelings to Torrance. She was determined to do it before they went back to the house, but all to soon Torrance was mentioning they should be getting back. However Helen stalled. “I don’t want to go back just yet.” she said as they moved to their feet.

“Would you like for me to leave you alone?” Torrance inquired thinking maybe the blonde wanted a few minutes to herself in this special place.

“No. I just wanted to tell you something.” she said tentatively. Torrance looked down at her expectantly as she moved in to put her arms around the teacher.

Staring deeply up at the photographer’s green eyes, Helen wondered how she would let her know what she was feeling. As much as she wanted to kiss the brunette, she wanted the older woman to make the first move, but she sensed that Torrance wouldn’t without motivation. “Torrance, I just want you to know that I think you’re the most caring person I’ve ever met. You’ve given me so much in the few months that I’ve known you, and I just wanted you to know that I’m so glad we met that day. Even though we haven’t known each other that long, I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like if I hadn’t met you.” she admitted shyly breaking their gaze.

Torrance felt her heart jump start at the comment. “Helen, I feel the same way about you. I feel so blessed to know you. You’ve brought something to my life hasn’t been there in a long time.” Torrance confessed kissing Helen on the cheek lightly.

Looking back at the woman who held her heart, Helen saw the sincerity in the older woman’s eyes. Instinctually her hand went to Torrance jaw, caressing it gently as she tried to get herself to lean up to kiss the photographer, but she was frozen by the gaze. “Torrance.” she whimpered finally looking away. “Please.”

The quiet request spurred Torrance to action. Lifting the model’s chin with her hand gently, she leaned down toward her lips. Their mouths met timidly at first before they both became active, pressing harder into each other. Both of them moaned as they pulled each other closer and melded together in a sensuous lock. Several minutes passed as they allowed their desires to pour forth into that one kiss. Finally succumbing to the need for air, they broke away slightly. Torrance placed her forehead against the blonde’s as she tried to catch her breath. “Whoa. That was nothing what I thought it would be like.” she mumbled. “I’m actually weak in the knees.”

“Torrance, I know you said that our relationship would only go as far as we were both comfortable, but I want to be more than just your friend.” Helen admitted.

“I want that too, so badly.” the brunette confessed.

Helen smiled before taking the initiative to kiss Torrance again, cherishing the feel of having the older woman that close. “We should get back before they send out a search party.” she mumbled when they broke a second time.

Holding hands they made their way back to the house. The rest of the evening they spent in the company of Torrance’s family, but even as they sat in the living room, they snuggled together on the sofa, casting glances at each other every few minutes. Several times Torrance saw her mother giving her a knowing smile to which she just rolled her eyes playfully. When it was finally time to go to bed that evening, Helen and Torrance walked upstairs together. Torrance lingered in Helen’s open doorway for a moment not wanting to intrude on the blonde’s private space.

“You can come in you know.” Helen mentioned. “Keep me company while I pack.”

Torrance moved into the room. As she eyed the bed, she thought of what had taken place there the previous night. Deciding on a chair across the room, Torrance sat and began to watch Helen pack her belongings. “I wish you didn’t have to go.” she said.

“Me too but I have to get back to work. I already have shoots set up for next week. This had been so much fun though.”

“I really am glad you came. I haven’t had this much fun here since I was a kid. I hope that we’ll be able to do this again soon.” Torrance proposed.

“I would like that.” Helen replied.

Once Helen was finished packing, she moved into her bathroom to get ready for bed. Torrance was just sitting there when she saw the small blonde come back wearing another pair of skimpy pajamas. “Well, I should let you get to sleep.” Torrance stated nervously as she shot to her feet.

“Tuck me in first.” coyly the model demanded as she went to her bed.

Moving to the bed, Torrance pulled the covers up around Helen before leaning down to give her a soft kiss that lasted several moments. “Sweet dreams, angel.” she mumbled, regretting that she couldn’t stay as she pulled away.

“You too.”

Going into her own room, Torrance got herself prepared for bed. Even though she was elated at the turn of events, the fact that she wanted so much more from her now girlfriend left her with an unfulfilled need. Sliding into bed Torrance quickly began to drift off, tired from all the exercise they had done that day.

Long after Torrance had left her room, Helen lied there thinking about the photographer. Torrance had brought her to the edge with her sweetness and obvious desire. The blonde knew that she wanted to experience everything before going back to the States, but she wondered if she went to Torrance, the brunette would satisfy her. Knowing how the older woman felt about intimacy, Helen had her doubts that Torrance would be receptive to the idea, but her own longing made her rise from her bed and head out the her open balcony doors toward Torrance’s room. Standing in the doorway, Helen momentarily gazed at the sleeping woman. The blonde felt her pulse pounding as she realized what she was about to do, but wanting to fall into oblivion with the woman who had won her, she left her modesty and reservations at the door, swiftly moving into the room. Going to the bed, Helen didn’t give herself a chance to hesitate as she leaned down to give Torrance a powerful kiss on her slightly open lips.

Torrance jumped at the feeling as her eyes shot open. She groaned deeply as the blonde slid onto the bed on top of her, diving deeper into her mouth. Torrance responded by wrapping her arms around the petite woman and actively participating in the kiss. Finally managing to break away from the assault for air, Torrance panted, “Helen.”

“Please. Don’t talk, Torrance. Just make love to me.” the younger woman pleaded.

The simple entreaty crumbled Torrance’s willpower. It was what she had always dreamed of and having the woman she adored requesting her love was more than she could withstand. Taking the lead between them, Torrance sat up to kiss the teacher with passion as her hands made quick work of the model’s top. Helen followed suit, slipping Torrance’s t-shirt over her head. Bringing her hands up to the blonde’s breasts, Torrance began to kiss down her neck. Helen’s moaned as the photographer’s hands caressed her with exquisite tenderness and fervor. Instinctively trying to increase the contact, her hips pressed into Torrance’s stomach. Torrance moaned feeling the blonde’s wetness against her. Moving her mouth further down the model’s body, she circled one breast with her tongue teasingly before closing over it. Helen cried out lightly, her back arching toward the contact as her hands cradled Torrance’s head tightly against her chest. She could feel herself beginning to peak already, but wanting the moment to happen with the brunette inside of her, she pleaded, “Oh, God, Torrance. Please. I need you inside of me.”

Complying with the request, Torrance gently rolled Helen over onto her back as her body found its way between the petite thighs. Kissing her way down the teacher’s body, the brunette worked Helen’s shorts off. Breathing in deeply the brunette took in the scent of the woman she loved before giving into her desires to taste her fantasy. The unexpected move took Helen completely by surprise, for a moment breaking the mood as she realized for the first time exactly what she had gotten herself into. Having never considered this particular type of affection, she briefly panicked as she realized she hadn’t been ready to accept all that this experience would entail. However before she could even consider a protest, her body overrode her mind, as the feeling of Torrance being so intimate with her carried her over the edge. Crying out loudly her hand pushed Torrance’s face in deeper as her other hand clung tightly to the sheet. Overwhelmed with the intensity of her climax, she was totally unprepared when she felt Torrance inside of her for the first time. Calling out the photographer’s name, she could only hold tighter to the hard body on top of her as Torrance kissed back up her to meet her mouth in a light kiss.

“I’ve got you, baby.” Torrance whispered as she began to gently thrust in time with Helen’s hips. Being unable to even think, the model simply rode the feelings of bliss, allowing them to take her to a place she had never been in her life as she surprisingly reached the pinnacle a second time under the ministrations of Torrance’s masterful hands. As she fell from the edge that again, she could feel Torrance still her movement. “I’ve got you, honey. Just hold onto me. I love you so much, Helen.” the brunette confessed lovingly into her ear as the model began to descend. Managing to meet Torrance’s green eyes, she saw them sparkling with a love she had never seen anywhere in her life. Torrance leaned down to kiss her mouth again. “I’ve got to taste you again. It was too fast the first time.” she whispered.

Unable to even think coherently, Helen quickly found herself floating along the tide of orgasmic delight for a third time at the combination of the photographer’s fingers and mouth feasting upon her. As it claimed her, her body shook uncontrollably and she temporarily blacked out. When she came to, she found herself on her side curled up on Torrance’s bare chest. As the reality of where she was and what she had done took hold of her, Helen became terrified. There she was lying on top of another naked woman, the same woman that moments ago had touched her in ways she never had imagined. Thinking about Torrance’s words from a few nights pervious about love between women being reciprocal, she began to panic at the idea of trying to perform the same for the photographer. In all her fantasies, she had never once dreamed about returning the actions, instead always focusing on how it would feel when Torrance touched her, but now as the time to act loomed before her, she froze in fear. She knew she wasn’t ready to bestow the touch onto Torrance, and she suddenly regretted that she had initiated the whole event. Not knowing how to explain her reservations to the woman who held her, Helen laid perfectly still, not daring to move as she pondered how she would be able to leave the situation without paining the woman who had loved her so well. After several minutes Helen knew she had to face whatever Torrance’s reaction might be to her selfishness, so she slowly lifted her head from Torrance’s chest. Surprised to find the older woman asleep, Helen breathed a sigh of temporary relief and took her chance to leave, easing out of bed as quietly as possible to return to her own room.

The next morning when Torrance awoke and realized she was alone, she first thought making love to Helen had only been a dream. Reliving some of the details in her mind, she smiled as she made her way out of bed, but as soon as she realized that she was naked, she knew for certain it had been real. Immediately she became concerned, because Helen had walked out on her. Rushing out the balcony to Helen’s room, she tried to pull open Helen’s doors, but they were locked. Peering in through the window, it appeared that Helen had already gone downstairs and taken her belongings with her. Heading back to her own room, Torrance quickly dressed for the day. Dashing downstairs she barreled through the swinging door that separated the living room for the dining area, practically tripping on her own feet and stumbling over to the table where her family and Helen were already eating breakfast. Torrance and Helen’s eyes locked in a long stare.

“Where’s the fire, Torrance? And what’s with your manners? Can’t you at least say good morning?” Maria inquired.

With eyes only for the blonde, Torrance stated, “Good morning, Mother, Nonna, Nonno. Morning, Helen.” Helen couldn’t even reply as she dropped her gaze down to her plate. The confusion in Torrance’s eyes was too much for her to bear. Seeing Helen turn away from her, Torrance felt her heart tearing.

“Torrance, well don’t just stand there. Sit down and have something to eat.” her mother instructed.

“I’m not hungry. I’m going on a walk. I’ll be back in a bit.” she mumbled.

“You have to take Helen to the airport in an hour.” her mother informed her.

“I know. I’ll be back by then.” Torrance reported before racing from the room.

“That girl can be so moody.” Maria mentioned casting a glance at Helen.

“She gets it from her father.” Helen just nodded as she tried to hold back the tears that had formed in her eyes at Torrance’s sudden departure. She knew she had hurt the photographer by not staying the night, but seeing her for the first time since the incident was difficult for her, especially since she had caused Torrance pain. “Oh, what’s wrong, my dear? Did Torrance hurt your feelings?” Maria asked in concern.

“No. I’m afraid I’m the one who hurt her.” she said as she began to cry. “I’m sorry. Please excuse me.” Rising from the table, she left the room as well. Not knowing where else to go for privacy, she headed back upstairs to the room she had been using. Going over to the balcony doors, she looked out to see Torrance sprinting down the path toward her special place, and it made her sob all the more.

That day Torrance’s family accompanied them to the airport, leaving them no time for a serious conversation, but Torrance was relieved that she didn’t have to be alone with Helen after what had happened. She could clearly see that the model was discontent, and she felt sure that she had ruined what was a blossoming relationship for carnal desires. The awkwardness during the ride continued while they waited for Helen’s plane. Neither of them spoke to each other. Instead Torrance was completely quiet as Helen tried to make small talk with Torrance’s family. Finally when it was time to leave, Helen hugged Torrance’s grandparents and mother before coming to stand in front of the photographer. Seeing the pain in the brunette’s green eyes was too much for her, and she began to cry.

Instinctively Torrance reached out to wipe her tears. Helen leaned into the touch as her eyes remained locked with Torrance’s. “Well, good bye, Torrance.” she whispered.

The formal finality in the teacher’s voice stung the older woman as she tried to keep her own tears from falling. Thinking that it might be the last time she ever saw the woman that held her heart, Torrance gave in to her need to express her love one last time. Leaning down she brushed the blonde’s lips lightly with her own. “Je t’aime (I love you), mon cherie. Adieu (Good bye), Helen.” Helen took one last look into the eyes that she loved before turning to walk away. As Torrance watched her walk down the narrow corridor leading to the plane, she began to weep. “I’ve lost her, Mama.” she whispered when she felt arms encircle her waist consolingly.

“It’ll be all right, Torrance. You’ll see. Whatever you two were fighting about can be made right.”

Torrance shook her head adamantly. “No. She’ll never take me back. It’s over. I’ll never love anyone else again the way I love her.” she sobbed.

“Don’t despair, honey. I promise you that you can work it out. She loves you as much as you do her.”

When Helen arrived back in the States, Kelly was waiting on her at the gate. They hugged lightly as Kelly inquired, “How was your trip?”

“Fine.” Helen mumbled. “Best vacation I’ve ever been on.”

“That sounds really convincing.”

“I’m just tired. It was a long flight. I just want to get my bags and go home.”

As they began to walk toward the baggage claim, Kelly inquired, “How’s Torrance?”

Helen shrugged. “I don’t want to talk about her.”

“Why not? Did something happen?”

Helen glared at Kelly. “I said I don’t want to talk about her.”

“Okay, we won’t.” Kelly answered. Even as much as Kelly tried to get her to talk, Helen refused, sulking on the ride home instead and then going straight to her room.

Continued Part 3

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