~ Clock Tower II ~
J M Dragon

© 2001 by J M Dragon
Email: jmdragon1@hotmail.com

Disclaimer:  This story implies consensual sexual relations between adult women as well as some male/female relations.
Language:   This one is written without strong or offensive language.
Violence:  This one is written without violence.
Hurt/Comfort:   Have some of this, what would a story of mine be without angst.
Dedication:  For all those readers who asked for a sequel, I hope it does not disappoint.
Acknowledgements: Thank you once again to Alice for her continuing support and encouragement. Thank you Linda for joining the team and giving me your time and help. I can never express my gratitude enough.
Before reading this story you may want to reread the first Clock Tower.  Click on the title to find the story.

This story resumes the history of the Clock Tower and its tradition to be the meeting place for the reuniting of souls. Be it for an hour, a day, a week, a month, a year or a lifetime.
As the story unfolds, Marisa and Theresa, two people who were reunited at the end of the first story, take tentative steps to re-establish a connection and take, we hope, the chance offered them. As they do, we embark on a journey of further discovery with tales of the ?magic? of the Clock Tower and its power, over centuries, to draw people together for a moment in their lives, which will never to be forgotten.
Let?s join the two characters as they meet by the Clock Tower and establish, or should it be re-establish, their connection.
* * *


Theresa Damos?s parents wanted to take one last look at the Clock Tower. Initially, Theresa said she would stay in the car, but the sad faces of her parents changed her mind. What did it matter? She would never ever see the Clock Tower or this town again!
Walking over to the bench she sat down and looked up at the clock face with the faded scenes sadly in need of a fresh coat of paint.  It seemed all the illustrations were of couples.  One washed out image was of young lovers embracing.  Another showed a couple being torn out of their embrace by the elements and the final one of a man looking longingly at the face in the window of a woman who was far away.
She was so preoccupied with her musings that she failed to notice someone come towards her until they spoke softly.
?Would you mind if I sat here for a few minutes?? Theresa looked up and began to say no problem, but the words died in her mouth as she came face to face with the timid woman who seemed to turn up at the most unusual times.
Marisa smiled as she recognized the woman from the diner and the pizza restaurant last evening. There was something else, she?d seen her before, she was sure of it. It was those eyes.
?May I sit?? Marisa tried again and the smile she gave lit up her eyes to increase the effect.
?Yes. Yes, of course.? Theresa finally found the words and couldn?t help but stare at her. This must be some strange coincidence for this woman to be sitting next to her.
?Are you visiting for the first time?? Never one to start a conversation, Marisa found she wanted to talk to this woman. It was important, she didn?t know why, but it was.
?Yes, my parents met for the first time here.? Theresa said as she turned to look at the averted profile of the timid woman, recognition finally dawning on her who this woman reminded her of.
?Then that?s a good reason to visit. The Clock Tower has a history of romance. If you are willing to take it, that is. Unfortunately, not everyone does.? Marisa looked towards the gardens and noticed the elderly couple she had seen with this woman on the previous occasions.
?My parents did. They have never regretted it once.? Theresa replied absently, her mind going over, ?could this be ?my Marisa? from all those years ago?? She certainly had changed!
?I know one or two people who have said the same thing.? Marisa?s voice held a wistful quality about it.
?Well, I guess this old time piece has seen many such scenarios in the past.? Theresa was now looking at the clock, but her thoughts were chaotic. After all these years here she was face to face with the woman who had the ability to make her forget all her preconceived ideas about beauty. For the woman before her was certainly not beautiful, at least not physically, in anyway!
?I read such a story. I think it was the first story about the romance behind the Clock Tower. Would you like to hear it?" Marisa asked tentatively.
Theresa smiled brightly at the woman, whatever had been drawing her to this woman before was intensified by this close proximity. ?Please carry on, I would like that very much.?
Marisa began to relate the original story, as she if she had read it only an hour earlier.
* * *
Daniel and Serena Damos walked amiably around the Clock Tower. As they came within a reasonable distance of their daughter sitting alone on the bench, they decided she needed company. Just at that moment, however, a young woman walked up and began talking to Terry then quickly sat beside her.
Exchanging knowing glances, the elder couple decided that another nice, quiet stroll through the pretty gardens opposite would be a pleasant way to wile the time away to allow their daughter a chance!
As Marisa came to the end of the story, she turned to see if the woman at her side had been listening and was relieved to find she had.
?I?m sorry. Did I bore you with the story??
Theresa smiled and shook her head. ?No way! It was a wonderful story. You have a marvellous voice for story telling. Do you have more??
Marisa smiled back, their gazes locked again and this time they didn?t turn away. Without knowing why, Marisa took a chance and reached out a hand to gently touch the face of the woman so close to her.
?May I ask your name?? A heartfelt plea invaded her voice.
Theresa could feel the heat of the caress, knowing she wanted it to continue and wanted the woman to talk to her again. She had such a beautiful voice. ?Theresa?Theresa Damas, and you??
Theresa watched, fascinated as the other woman drew a sharp breath.
Marisa was captivated! Here, after all these years was the woman who, little did she realise, haunted her thoughts and actions. ?Marisa, Marisa Slater!?
Theresa couldn?t believe it. She reached out a hand to touch the plain features of the woman before her, giving a satisfied sigh. ?Her Marisa? had always been wonderful to her in the deep recesses of her soul. The woman before her was no longer a fantasy, she was real and in her minds eye, she was so very beautiful.
?I know you!? Theresa breathed out.
?I know you also!? Marisa responded.
Each smiled happily at the other.
Daniel and Serena Damos looked over and saw the interaction between the two women and exchanged smiles.
?I guess our eldest might be the ?chance taking type? after all Darling.? Daniel whispered into the ear of his wife.
?Yes, I do believe you are right Danny. Maybe there will be two happy endings in our family with the Clock Tower. We can but hope,? Serena replied and gently kissed her husband as they contemplated when it would be wise to disturb their daughter.
* * *

Chapter One

?I have to leave!? Marisa said quietly but with emphasis. Beseeching Theresa, as she felt herself drowning in the gentle caress of the long thin fingers tenderly touching her cheek.

?You do?? Theresa spoke through a haze of emotion she had never experienced in her life. ?What life!?

?Yes?work I?I hate being late.? Marisa confirmed slowly, how absurd could this be? The most important moment of her life and she was worried about being late for work.

Theresa finally let the words sink in, as they did she felt bereft. This was too precious a moment to be broken by something as trivial as work. Didn?t Marisa feel as she did? ?Yes, of course, work.?

As she stood up abruptly, Marisa heard the mechanical words spoken by Theresa. The thought of leaving this woman before her caused a pain in her chest. ?Would they ever meet again??

Theresa was not sure what to do, her eyes quickly scanning the area for her parents. They would know, wouldn?t they? Looking down at her sneakers, which she preferred when driving long distances, she scuffed the toes absently before looking up.

As she did so, misty eyes that appeared to be filled with glistening tears ensnared her. Similar to in Theresa?s mind, to the dew drops in the early morning grass.

?I guess you do have to go?? Marisa heard the question in the words and wondered what to say next. She could ignore it and assume it was a statement. For fifteen years she waited under the Clock Tower for something wonderful to happen to her and now, when all seemed clear, the mundane everyday occurrences stepped up to be counted.

?I haven?t ever been late, they would worry.? Marisa sighed heavily as the words sounded so pathetic to her, never mind to the woman who looked at her with a perplexed expression.

Theresa was not completely sure what was going on. There appeared to be no rhyme or reason to the emotional upheaval she was experiencing. The pounding of her heart beat like a bass drum, as her hands clutched nervously at her jacket seams, hiding them from view. This was a totally and quite incomprehensible situation, having never participated in such feelings before.

?I?m sorry of course they would. It was good to see you again Marisa.? Finally finding her voice, it sounded hollow to her.

Marisa felt like crying, was this it? After her vigils to the Clock Tower for all those years was it to end like this? Her innate shyness dissolving any chance she had of trying to take over the initiative and pursue the relationship further. Choking back a sob that threatened to expose her shattered composure, she replied. ?Thank you, it was good to see you again Theresa.?

Marisa turned away and looked towards the older people who she could make out as the couple who had been with Theresa earlier. They were now ambling slowly towards them smiling at each other happily.

With a heavy heart and without turning back to the woman close to her, she said quietly. ?I need to go.?

Something sprung into action within Theresa, half-heartedly but something!

?Perhaps we could?.? The action quickly became a mere trickle, as she suddenly did not know what to say.

Turning expectantly, the younger woman gave a tentative smile as her green liquid filled eyes sought Theresa?s in question. ?Perhaps we could???

Shrugging her shoulders and smiling wryly Theresa answered. ?Never mind, safe journey Marisa.?

?Thank you.? The words echoed around her, or so Marisa thought, as they were spoken so softly, hardly audible to the person next to her. Her face turned away and her cheeks were now visibly marked with the tracks of tears as she proceeded towards her vehicle, the loneliness once again permeating her life.

* * *

Daniel looked at the subdued and shocked countenance of his oldest daughter?s face and smiled knowingly. Stroking his chin he considered he must have had that same dumbfounded expression on his face fifty years ago when he meet Serena that first time and considered the possibility of losing her.

?Would you care for some advice Terry?? Daniel asked tactfully, as he held the hand of his wife a little stronger, giving her a swift smile as she gazed at him quizzically.

Theresa glanced with pathetically grateful eyes into his steady dependable and loving grey ones. Words she wanted to say refused to follow her thoughts she felt like a mute, as her heart screamed at her to stop Marisa from leaving. Finally shaking her head slightly she hoarsely answered.

?Yes.? Her voice strained as she watched Marisa reach her car and open the door.

?Don?t let her go.? Daniel stated simply and smiled gently as he pushed her in the direction of the timid, plain looking woman. This woman appeared unexpectedly, only to shatter his normally incredibly poised daughter, turning her into an indecisive and unsure replica.

Theresa did not need a second push from her father as she raced towards the car, whose occupant did not see her approach. ?Thank god she was wearing sneakers and she worked out.?

Having no thought that the action was dangerous if Marisa didn?t look up, Theresa placed a hand on top of the silver hood as the vehicle was about to move away.

Marisa heard something thud hard on the hood of her car as she turned startled and watery eyes towards the windscreen, astonished to find Theresa Damos staring at her, with a determined glint in her eyes.

Those wonderful blue eyes gazing at her?imploring her to stop.

It would have taken a hard person to withstand a look like that and she did not want to. A hesitating smile creased her face as she wound down the window, leaving the engine running, not wanting to appear that she was eager to stay.

?Is there anything wrong??

Swallowing hard Theresa blinked several times, as a single tear trailed down her beautiful skin seeming to leave a path translucent in appearance on her cheek. Her strong-mindedness cursed the weakness that the tear represented although her heart rejoiced at the trace of emotion. This woman was worth it she just knew it!

?I wondered if it would be okay to call you?? Theresa rushed out the words before she lost her nerve.

Marisa beamed at the question.  Here, this beautiful, confident woman, who had always been a mystery to her and caused such sad emotions within her early life, was now asking to maintain the connection. Marisa desperately needed to keep contact with the woman she felt an affinity to in such a profound way.

It was a miracle surely!

Theresa was not sure if Marisa was going to answer she looked so bemused and somewhat?goofy?she supposed. Rather like someone who had been given a prize and couldn?t believe it.

?May I call you, Marisa?? Trying once more to elicit a response to her question from the younger woman.

?Yes! Oh yes, of course.? Speaking breathlessly as her smile became wider and those eyes previously shadowed with tears now held only a sparkle of delight.

?Great! I?ll need the number.? Theresa chuckled as her confidence bounced back, she felt as if a load had been lifted from her, with those few words.

Switching off the engine Marisa scrambled in her glove box and extracted a piece of clean paper, scribbling the number onto the sheet and quickly handing it to the taller woman who looked at her happily.

Their fingers touched briefly. As they did, both women gazed at each other in wonder. The tingle the touch set off within each of them was like the lighting of a fuse without the explosion. At least for now anyway, maybe in the future, they would have to wait and see.

?Perhaps we can arrange another meeting?? Marisa asked with hesitation in her voice. Maybe she was pushing it a little as they had only just met again.

Someone up there must be looking out for them she was certain and her eyes trailed back briefly to the Clock Tower and the drawing depicted on the Clock face, oh yeah someone was for sure!

?I think that?s a wonderful idea, what do you say we decide where and when over the coming week? You have work to do and I think my parents are getting a little anxious to get going.? Theresa said, her voice holding a happy note, as she reached inside the car briefly caressing Marisa?s cheek once again, noting the softness beneath her fingers.

?I will look forward to it. Thank you and please apologise to your parents for me since I couldn?t meet them.? Marisa said as she felt herself blush at the caress from Theresa. Suddenly, her world seemed to be opening up to wonderful opportunities.

?I will, you can meet them next time.? Theresa said quietly with a grin.

She smiled dreamily at Theresa, as once more she fired up the engine of her car and moved away. This time her heart was as light as a feather at the prospect of meeting Theresa again.

Theresa stared after the car and watched it manoeuvring out of the area and then she turned back to her expectant parents.

?Everything okay now?? Daniel asked his daughter, who now looked the exact opposite from when he spoke to her minutes ago, had to love the helter-skelter of life.

?Dad I think it?s perfect. Shall we go now, then we can be home by suppertime?? Her voice floated over to her parents the tone melodic and bright.

?Whatever you say Terry, whatever you say.? Daniel gave her a wicked smile and bent to kiss his wife?s cheek as he whispered to her. ?Guess we might be meeting that young lady in the near future, don?t you think Serena??

?Oh yes Daniel, I?m very sure we will be seeing that particular young lady again.? Serena watched as Terry walked away towards their vehicle, she could have sworn there was a skip in the step of her daughter. How wonderful and totally unexpected life could be at times.

* * *

Chapter Two

Marisa had butterflies all the way to Trailville and now as she climbed out of her station wagon and mounted the steps with her overnight bag she felt the tension increasing.

Why, she was not sure. Twice a day she and Theresa had spoken, usually first thing in the morning and then a couple of hours before they retired. Eventually Marisa had won the battle over who and where they would meet. Theresa had been all for coming back to Clayton for the weekend but an urgent commission had come up which she couldn?t refuse. If she worked all day Saturday, she could complete the assignment by the end of the day. Marisa would arrive late afternoon and they could go out in the evening and spend Sunday morning together. It wasn?t the ideal amount of time, but at least it was a start if they wanted to see where their relationship would go.

Here she was shaking with nerves and sure it was all a dream! Arriving at the apartment where Theresa lived, she gulped in a deep breath and pressed the doorbell. Her mind tried to grasp that she had been brave enough to take this step as she psychologically gave herself a pat on the back for her courageous leap forward.

It seemed like hours to her as she waited and considered how she currently looked. She was a little dishevelled with her hair array and her clothes crumbled from the journey. Not to mention the dampness she felt under her armpits, as the day had been hot and sticky. The air-conditioning unit in the car had broken down and she was still waiting for the service technician to give her an appointment to have it fixed. How dumb was that! Her previous bravado waning rapidly as she waited for the door to be answered, it was like waiting for the final whistle to be blown in a crucial match, her heart was beating so rapidly now in anxiety.

Then, the door opened and she came face-to-face with the casual but immaculately dressed Theresa Damos. Looking as if she had come straight from a modelling shoot, she was so beautiful. Where was that hole you fell into when things looked so bad and you needed to hide?

?Hi.? Theresa Damos was taken aback slightly at the rather?untidy woman that stood at her doorstep. One part of her wanted to close the door and say ?go away this was a bad idea? while the other part of her was rather disquieted about what drew her to this nondescript woman to ask her to spend the weekend!

?What had possessed her to think she had anything in common with this woman??

Then everything changed. ?Hi Theresa, am I glad to be out of that car the aircon doesn?t work, it was kind of hot.?

The feelings of unrest she felt left suddenly when Marisa spoke, the connection again attached like honeysuckle to a tree.

?Great to see you Marisa, come in, come in. Want a shower before we go out for an early dinner at Mom and Dad?s? I thought we could go onto a nightclub I know and talk.? Theresa smiled warmly as she took the small overnight bag from the nervous woman, who, it was clear, wasn?t any more comfortable with this meeting than she was at the first meeting by the Clock Tower.

Marisa gave her a bright smile making her non-descript features light up like a shower of stars in the heavens. Producing a stunning change in the woman, she was very pretty when she smiled openly. ?Thanks I?d be ashamed to be seen like this.?

?Let?s get you inside then and I?ll make some coffee as you take a shower. I?ll show you to the bedroom, it has it?s own en-suite facilities and there are towels and toiletries, help yourself.? Theresa voiced briskly as she strode confidently down the white walled corridor in the large roomy apartment. From the outside, it looked like most mid-range apartment blocks but this apartment was obviously very spacious and deceiving.

?I have my own toiletries Theresa, thanks for the offer though.? Marisa felt a little put out, feeling that her new friend was a little condescending, not to mention planning the whole evening without asking her. What if she hadn?t liked nightclubs? The taller woman turned around at the words, noting the slight? was it annoyance in the tone? Choosing to ignore it on the strength that Marisa was hot and bothered after her journey. Who would not be? The temperature was in the nineties and no air- conditioning in the car? She certainly wouldn?t have enjoyed that experience!

?Here we go.? Theresa breezed into the room it was enormous, almost as big as the first floor of her house, wow! The room was decorated in pastel greens giving it a cool, bright clean look that welcomed you inside. A large bed was the centrepiece with stark white units around the walls. Something that made Marisa smile in appreciation was a chaise-lounge in a crushed blue velvet material. It didn?t look out of place either in the otherwise green decorated room, a subtle contrast. She remembered the old family heirloom her parents owned that was passed down through the female generations of her Mother?s family.  Although, she knew it had been sold accidentally with the rest of the furniture in her parent?s home, her cousin who had been named executor of the estate, ignored any feeble attempts she made at stopping him from selling everything. This one looked like the twin her parents possessed.

?It?s beautiful just like?.? Marisa stopped herself before she said something out of place and Theresa was fascinated as to what the other woman was going to say.

Her lips dragged reluctantly out of a mocking grin as she turned to Marisa who had not ventured into her best guestroom, which she saved for special guests only. She had two other rooms she generally used for friends who rarely stayed over her parents had only ever used this room. When they had an infestation of cockroaches in the kitchen and her Mother wouldn?t stay in the house until it was clear. That had been several years ago and the only thing she had done recently was redecorate.

?Overly green, do you think??

?No! No Theresa it?s just the right blend of shades and the blue sets it off wonderfully. Where did you get the chaise-lounge? It looks like an antique recovered to its original splendour.? Marisa walked into the depth of the room as her eyes followed Theresa who put her bag down beside a wardrobe.

?You have a good eye, it is antique I bought about fifteen years ago from a friend, she didn?t want it as it was a job lot from a house sale. Funnily enough I had it in storage for years, when I decorated this room a year ago I decided to recover it and have the piece as contrast in the room. Having been very well kept, I was surprised it was sold with general furniture. Guess the folks who owned it died and they didn?t have any family to speak of.? Theresa chatted amiably as she drew the sage green curtains across to afford privacy to Marisa and a little less intense sun from the beautiful hot day.

?My parents owned one just like this, it brought back some happy memories.? Marisa said quietly as she ran her fingers over the soft velvety surface. Musing for a moment if this particular piece was by sheer luck her parents, which would be so wonderfully ironic. Although there was no way to tell, as it was now recovered and the initials of her mother?s family were embedded on the middle stay of the chaise-lounge that was impossible to see.

?I see. Well, I?ll leave you to have a shower and change. I?ll have the coffee ready okay?? Theresa gave her a warm smile and was about to leave when she turned and with her blue eyes sparkling, she said ?It?s good to see you Marisa Slater, thank you for coming.? As she left and closed the door behind her.

Marisa was left open mouthed but that soon changed to a wide beaming smile. She must have looked an idiot standing there smiling happily at a closed door, those few words had made all the frustration of the journey worth it! Oh yes, she was happy to see Theresa Damos too!

* * *

?Welcome Marisa, welcome.? Daniel Damos held out his large hand to the small woman who captured the attention of his elder daughter. She had never seen fit to bring anyone home to meet them before, not that he could remember in her forty-nine years anyway.

?Thank you Mr Damos, it?s really nice of you to invite me to dinner.? Marisa fell immediately under the charm of Theresa?s father. He was not a good-looking man but she felt immediately at ease as his grey eyes warmly welcomed her into their home.

Theresa walked inside the house past Marisa and gave her father a quick peck on the cheek, ?Thanks Dad, what are we having for dinner??

?Go ask your Mother, while I make our special guest here comfortable.? Daniel laughed at his eldest child she seemed so happy and carefree, he couldn?t recall her acting this way ever! Even as a child she always had a serious side that presented itself on every occasion. Someone even called her the original, stoic model girl. Now she was far from it, he could say she was happy and the only change to her lifestyle was this child before him. To many she would have appeared a rather listless forget her type of person but for some reason she brought out the wonderful qualities he always knew were inside his rather solemn eldest child.

?Okay I will. Marisa, don?t let my Dad tell you any of the baby stories.? Theresa winked at her and moved towards the kitchen to see her Mother.

Marisa felt euphoria as her heart raced at the wink from Theresa and the feeling of rightness with her parents, albeit she only met her father so far.

?What was Theresa like as a baby, Mr. Damos?? Marisa asked as she smiled at him while he put his arm in hers and walked her to the sun lounge.

?Well, first things first. You can call me Daniel, Danny or Dad. Mr. Damos was my father.? He chuckled as Marisa laughed happily at the acceptance of her in the family.

?Then I?ll call you?Dad if you don?t mind. It?s been a long time since I could say that to my own.? Marisa admitted but the small smile Daniel saw made him pull her arm closer.

?Well Marisa Slater welcome to the family, we forgot to tell Terry that Cally and her family are due over too.? Daniel said as he steered her towards a cane chair overlooking the well-kept gardens.

* * *

?Don?t you think that Marisa has had enough of the Spanish inquisition? Please someone change the subject!? Theresa said finally, as they finished the main course and the questions had abounded ever since. She really should have taken Marisa to a restaurant but her parents insisted.

?I?m okay Theresa, really I am. Its nice that people are interested.? Marisa looked directly at the taller woman at her side as she placed her hand over the much larger one on the table.

Theresa looked down at the small hand on hers. She felt the gentleness there and yet remarkably the strength too. Without a second thought she turned to Marisa and gave her a smile that was filled with such warmth and? something she refused to acknowledge at this time it was foreign to her.

?We Damos?s can be very nosy isn?t that right Chris? She turned to her brother-in-law with a smile that he had not experienced before and for a moment it disconcerted him.

?Was this Terry Damos? Wow, what a change she had actually lightened up.? Chris thought before he answered her.

?Hey Terry, come on I?m married to the most?interesting woman in the world.? He smiled at her warmly and then affectionately at his wife.

?I take offence at that darling it should be the universe.? Cally responded to her husband?s gentle barb.

?Okay, I can?t deny you anything, the universe it is.?

?Pleased to hear it my love. Now Marisa what are your plans?? Cally asked as she turned her attention to the guest.

?Plans? Well?to be honest I don?t have any at the moment anyway, other than the normal day to day drill.? Marisa shrugged her shoulders at the question. ?Plans what were they??

?Come on Cally, not everyone has a diary full of what they are doing from today to the end of the year like you do.? Theresa answered her sister and grinned at her.

?Me? Really sister dear that?s hardly the description for me, for you perhaps.? Cally gave her a devilish grin back and then turned to look at Marisa who wasn?t sure what to make of the repartee.

?I do not plan!? Theresa answered back and all eyes went in her direction, each filled with loving mockery at her statement.

As she saw the faces of her family, even the children, she realised that perhaps she planned a little. Even her own mind mocked her on that one ?just a little? it was ridiculous, people had to plan especially for those who never did.

?I don?t plan because I have nothing to plan for.? A voice said distinctly but in a soft regrettable tone.

This time all eyes went to Marisa as she said the words so wistfully it was hard not to react.

?Maybe you will have something now.? Theresa said quietly but her smile tugged at her lips and those eyes again conveyed a message Marisa was unable to decipher.

?Maybe I will.? Marisa replied softly and looked deep into the blue eyes across from her all the others drifted into the background.

Serena Damos senior smiled at the two women and then across at her husband as they passed a message both could interpret. Changing the subject as she asked the children what they wanted to do for their vacation.

* * *

?So, big Sis what?s the score?? Cally asked her sister discreetly as they had volunteered for clean up duty and were alone in the kitchen together.

?I don?t know what you mean Cally.? Theresa said carefully, knowing that her sister was in inquisitive mode, big-time!

?I?ve known you for?forty plus years and overnight you?ve changed. Nope delete that in a week!? Cally placed several glasses in the dishwasher as she commented on the change in her sister.

?Is it a change for the good or bad?? Theresa decided to keep the conversation low-key. Hell, she didn?t know what was going on so how could she explain it to her sister.

?Oh for the good, never doubt that.? Cally laughed as she turned her face to stare up at her sister.

?Well, why not just accept it rather than wanting to know the why and the where-fore?s?? The older woman wiped down the counter and turned to leave the room.

?I like her Theresa.? Cally spoke softly as she watched her sister stiffen at the words.

Theresa knew what Cally was talking about, it was so easy to acknowledge that Marisa was responsible for the change in her mood. However, how could she explain her feelings when currently she hadn?t acknowledged them fully herself.

?Yes, she?s a nice woman.? The words followed her as Theresa shut the door on her sister returning to the rest of the family.

?You just do not know what has hit you Terry that is your problem, I hope to God you allow it to grow, it will be the best thing ever to happen to you.? Cally thought as she put in the dishwasher tablet and set the programme to run.

* * *

Chapter Three

?Your parents are really nice.? Marisa said as Theresa negotiated the turn that took them out of the main street away from her parents.

?Not that the rest of the family isn?t nice?.? Marisa said quickly not wanting to upset the woman at her side, for some reason she had been quiet for the last hour they had visited her parents.

Theresa remained silent as she drove away from her parent?s home towards the town centre and the nightclub they were going to visit that evening.

Marisa wasn?t sure what to make of the silence.

?Have I done or said something wrong Theresa?? Marisa was un-nerved by the silence and the set profile of the woman at her side. Whatever was keeping Theresa silent had to be something that had happened in the last hour or so. Before that, she had been as talkative as a chat show host.

Glancing around for a second Theresa gave her a quick look then stared back at the road and her attention to the drive. ?Nothings wrong Marisa and certainly you haven?t done or said anything wrong at all. Why would you think that??

Marisa shrunk back into the leather upholstery of the car as the words echoed sharply to her ears. A red stain, she could feel it even if she couldn?t see it, was advancing over her cheeks at the words.

?You were so happy and chatty earlier, now alone with me it?s as if you don?t want to be here.? There she had said it admittedly in a quiet and tentative tone, but she?d voiced her doubts and now waited for the outcome.

The car suddenly jolted her forward stopping suddenly, as the screech of tyres the only sound she heard the seat belt pulled her back into the seat. Her eyes turned in shock to stare into the blue angry ones of her friend.

?I want you to be here Marisa!? Theresa spoke with such conviction that the smaller woman felt a little intimidated, as her eyes caught the blue ones and held them in a contemplative gaze.

?Are you sure Theresa? I can go home, if you feel it isn?t going well.? Marisa softly asked and saw the sudden softening of the gaze that held hers captive.

?Oh Marisa, you have a lot to learn about me that?s true, and I about you. One thing you need to know is that I don?t understand what draws me to you, and I?ve spent too many years on my own to be impulsive about it.? Theresa tried to explain as her hand lifted and gently stroked a finger down the soft cheek that had a red tinge to the skin.

Her breath held as the finger drew a gentle line down the side of her face. It was a touch so familiar to her that her body immediately reacted as her heart beat raced at the touch. What connection did they have that prompted such a clamouring of feelings to want to burst forth?

?Sometimes it can be wrong to be too cautious Theresa.? In all her life she had been prudent and wary never wanting to make the first move on anything, always taking her time. Now she knew that wasn?t the case here, if they analysed the situation and feelings too long the magic would disappear and they would be set free to seek their lonely paths again.

?Don?t be silly Marisa we are grown women who have very useful and fulfilling lives. We shouldn?t be hasty about things because of other peoples romantic notions.? The taller woman stated automatically and pulled her hand reluctantly away from Marisa?s face. As she did so she felt a loss, an acute sensation that made her want to place her arms around this woman at her side and hold her forever.

?God now who was having romantic notions.?

?Do you just think it is a romantic notion? Are you willing to take that chance?? Marisa asked quietly, she was! Although it was something, she hadn?t ever expected of herself.

?Honestly Marisa I?m not sure what chance I would be taking, shall we go to the club now?? For a moment, she felt the tremor in her hands at the words as she restarted the car and set off to their destination.

?Yes that?s a good idea.? What else could she say but agree. Maybe at the club Theresa might relax a little and they could try to get to know each other better. Settling back in the seat, she watched the lights of the houses flash by as the car carried on its journey.

* * *

?It will never happen Dad!? Cally said directly as she sat drinking coffee, Chris had taken the children to see a fireworks display at his company?s annual outing.

?Exactly what do you mean by that statement young lady?? Daniel Damos asked equably contemplating his younger daughter carefully. Cally had always been the more open, always in charge of her own life and she?d made a fine job of it too. Her husband Chris and their two children were a testament to that in many ways.  Not so with Terry, somehow life had simply started to pass her by.

?Dad, she?s going to close up and run away back to that apartment of hers and live the rest of her life a lonely woman. We?ve seen it coming for years and now there?s a slim chance she might have found someone she could share a life with, she?ll cut and run.? Cally spoke emotionally.

?Why do you say that Cally? Your Mother and I saw her with Marisa at the Clock Tower it was like turning back time to the day your Mother and I met. The sparks were the same, I?d bet my last dollar on it.? Daniel turned to Serena who watched the scene with a quiet reflection.

?You?re both right, Terry has always been a very private person and she has her own values and lives by them. Marisa is a very timid type of person and certainly not one of Terry?s normal crowd. Perhaps it will be Marisa who cuts and runs as you call it Cally, after all Terry can be a little morose at times.? Serena Damos stated slowly as she considered the words she spoke carefully herself.

?Serena, the child will not run, did you see the expression on her face whenever she looked at Terry, it was adoration. I remember that look well and still do.? Daniel chuckled as he saw his wife give him a close look and their daughter rolled her eyes at the comment.

?There are many obstacles if they want to share any kind of life together.? Serena replied smiling at the man at her side who never aged to her in all the years she had known and loved him.

?They might just be friends Mom, it doesn?t mean that it has to be a romantic tryst does it? After all I don?t recall Terry ever having a sexual relationship with a woman before.? Cally said as she pondered what she really did know about her elder sister?s taste in romantic attachments. Had she even had any?

?Yes they might.? Serena acknowledged and felt her husband shift in the seat beside her, she knew he was going to disagree. Putting out a hand she squeezed his, calming the emotions he was about to spill out. For some reason just the connection of touch had the ability to quell all the flowing emotions that sometimes threatened to take over, for them both. It had always amazed but delighted her and she knew Danny felt the same; it was the power of their love for each other.

?I think we will just have to wait and see, and hope.? Daniel finally voiced as he turned to his wife and kissed her tenderly on the lips and then stood up and went over to hug his youngest.

?We?ll all hope then Dad.? Cally responded and hugged him warmly back. It was great to have such caring and loving parents, something she had never taken for granted. How lonely it must be to lose them in your life. Her thoughts then turned to Marisa and she fervently hoped that the woman would become a permanent part of the family and no longer be alone.

* * *

?Hi Terry, long time no see.? A large man slapped Theresa on the back as she smiled at him wryly.

?Yeah George, I don?t do the late nights too often any more.? Terry grinned at him as she placed a hand on the back of Marisa and pushed her gently forward away from the jostling of a particularly merry crowd.

?Great to see you Terry, you look wonderful as always.? He winked at her, and gave Marisa a long look and shrugged as he went on his way.

The club split into three main areas, one for the new music currently in vogue, another for the general all-round tastes, a mixed bag really. The third and the one where Terry was taking her seemed rather quiet as they took the staircase up to the top flight and walked towards a large oak triple door. As they did so it opened automatically for them by a man who looked even larger than Theresa?s earlier acquaintance.

?What music do they play here?.? Marisa trailed off as she saw the subtle change in venue, it had the appearance of a members club and a small Jazz band was playing to the customers. It had such a welcoming feeling as you entered that now she could understand Theresa choosing such a place to come to.

?Jazz mainly, although Johnny picks out a mean tune on the piano keys, some of the regulars like good old fashioned classics and here they can have that choice.? Theresa smiled at Marisa, she hadn?t been here for over a year, but knew that it was a great place to come. If you did not know about it, you would never think it was part of the mainstream nightclub scene.

?I love Jazz but I have a weakness for the odd Cole Porter and Burt Bacharach songs as well.? Marisa smiled up into the blue eyes that were now shadowed by the dim lighting.

?Well, we must pander to that weakness then mustn?t we.? The taller woman took her hand as if it was the most natural thing she would do and led her to a table at the edge of the small wooden dance floor.

?That?s okay Theresa, anything they play would be wonderful.? Marisa sighed as she sat down and her eyes took in all the tables and the different people around them. Several, she knew by the nods of heads and the smiles in her friend's direction must be aquatinted with Theresa. Well, that would be true she guessed as it was Theresa?s hometown, but it was hers too wasn?t it?

As they sat down a waitress came over to take their drinks order and left with a smile.

?Thank you for bringing me here.? Marisa said as she leaned over to whisper to Theresa, as Johnny the pianist and leader of the band entertained them with another medley she had not heard in years. They had been talking and enjoying the evening for over two hours and except for the odd interruption from the waitress they just seemed to relish the fact that they were together alone. If you could call it being alone in a room with another hundred or so people, she thought with a silent chuckle.

Theresa grinned at Marisa, it had been a good idea she?d felt it when considering if it was wise to stay home or go out. To her this must be the best night she?d ever had at the club and she?d been here numerous times since they had developed the idea ten years ago.

?I have a surprise for you.? Sparkling blue eyes captured hers as Theresa moved her chair so instead of being opposite each other she was sitting as close as possible without actually sharing the same space.

?You have?? Marisa grinned back and felt giddy as she heard the happiness in the other woman?s voice and knew she was in part responsible for her feelings.

?Oh yes, listen Marisa.? Theresa reached down, clasped the smaller hand in her larger one and held it in a tight but gentle grasp. Everything made sense all of sudden as they shared a glance that once again neither could decipher but it didn?t matter at this moment, nothing did except that they were sharing these moments together.

?I?m listening.? Softly chuckling as she turned towards the band, they had finished the last song and now the strains of something familiar yet the arrangement was slightly different sounded in her head.

?I asked him to play it for you.? The words tickled her ear, the voice drifted so close to her as her friend?s breath fanned her neck. This caused untold emotions to gallop through her. ?My god if I died now I?d die happy.?

The song was one of her favourites, ?The Very Thought Of You? she had always loved it by Nat King Cole.

Spinning around on her seat, she faced Theresa, a smile cut across her face in delight, ?what a beautiful gesture Theresa. Thank you.?

For a few seconds Theresa felt that someone had given her the world. This woman somehow had that ability to make her feel as if she was the most important person in the universe.

Reaching up she was about to throw caution to the wind as her hand closed in on Marisa?s face, she had the urge to kiss her here in a public place, and somehow other people around had no relevance.

?Hey Terry, long time no see.? A male voice broke into her thoughts as she quickly dropped her hand and turned to face the interloper.

?Why Gerry, haven?t seen you in ages.? Theresa replied and gasped in a deep gulp of air as she did so.

?Well that would be because you rarely leave that apartment of yours.? The man smiled at her and bent to kiss her briefly as he without invitation sat at their table.

Theresa merely acknowledged the remark but said nothing. Marisa watched as the two of them conversed for a short time and then she had to pull herself out of her daydreaming as she was introduced to the man.

?Marisa I?d like you to meet Gerry Sanderson, you might recall him he was in your year at high school.? The man gave her a keen piercing glance, taking in everything about her and it appeared to her as if he dismissed her without a second thought. Theresa watched the man?s indifference and wondered why, it was niggling at her as she completed the introductions.

 ?Gerry, this is Marisa Slater?a friend.? Theresa hesitated a fraction over what she could describe the woman at her side.

Marisa heard the hesitation and looked quickly at the averted profile of Theresa, was she ashamed of her? Then she looked closely at the man who was athletic looking, with a deep tan. Although he was in his forties he didn?t look much older than early thirties. Obviously, he kept in shape by the look of his physique.

She then considered her own appearance; very drab she was sure to many, her clothes sense of a baggy white cotton shirt, with black loose fitting slacks were comfortable but hardly startling. Then again with her body shape it was comfort rather than glamour she sought.

Her eyes strayed to the woman at her side who was immaculately dressed in tailored trousers and a sky blue silk shirt, being both tall and slim the clothes looked fantastic on her.

?So, Terry what brings you here this evening?? Gerry asked her quietly, virtually ignoring Marisa as he moved his chair closer to Theresa?s seat.

?I thought Marisa might enjoy the club and I haven?t been in a while, so it was a treat for me too.? Theresa replied with a small smile, Gerry was okay but at times, he was rather overpowering. He had been a friend of Cally?s since high school; secretly in love with her she always thought but once Chris came on the scene no one else had a chance. By that time they had a crowd going and it was a mixed age group, although over the years it had dispersed to a very small circle of friends. It had become so predictable and boring in the end that she had stopped meeting up with them on a Saturday evening. Now she called a couple of her closer friends once a month and they had lunch.

?You should start to come back into the social circle again Terry we?ve missed you.? His tone filled with a saccharine sweetness that Terry recalled and it was not a pleasant memory.

?Thanks, but no thanks Gerry, what about yourself are you here alone??

?No, me alone, God forbid! When, would I need to come to a club alone Terry. Sally?s chatting to a couple of friends, we come here once a month together, this is the once a month.? Gerry said as he let his glance drift absently over the crowd and land on a blonde woman who was very attractive.

?Sally? I didn?t think she was your type, didn?t you say too flirty for you at one time?? Theresa glanced over to the woman in question; she really wasn?t that interested the whole conversation bored her.

?Oh times change Terry, but if I thought you were back on the list I?d pass her over every time, you really are one hell of a beauty for your age.? Theresa had to laugh cynically at that rather backhanded compliment. The man had no tact at all.

Marisa gasped at the comment as Gerry turned a critical gaze back over her and she coloured at the intensity.

?I see complimentary as ever Gerry. Only thing wrong with your assessment is I was never on your list, you wouldn?t get past first base with me.? Theresa could not help but state her own barbed comment. He had always been a precocious kid now he was a rather idiotic stupid adult; it was no longer fun to hear him.

?Suit yourself! Looks like you and your friend are made for each other.? He shot back with venom and scraped back the chair quickly walking away towards the woman he mentioned earlier.

Marisa cringed at the final passing statement, well the whole conversation really, the guy had been obnoxious, she was glad she couldn?t recall him from high school. Her eyes shyly switched towards Theresa her face a thundercloud as she gazed with hard as flint eyes towards the back of the man who had left the table abruptly.

?Johnny?s playing another good tune, do you recognise it??

Theresa turned towards the smaller woman at her side and gave her a long thorough glance. Something in the look made Marisa gasp silently, she was looking straight through her as if she did not know her at all.

?Of course I do! What do you think I am an idiot?? The words left Theresa before she could stop them and she saw the pain they inflicted as her friend flinched. The expression tore at her own heart, for she felt Marisa?s hurt as if it was her own.

?I?m sorry.? Came back the strangled reply as Marisa wrung her hands under the table and wanted nothing more than to leave the club.

The silence hung around them like a calm before a thunderstorm about to hit neither woman able to reach inside and close the sudden chasm that had opened between them.

Eventually Theresa called the waitress over and paid the bill as she finally made eye contact with the timid woman at her side. It reminded her of the first time they had met and her lack of confidence. Was history repeating itself once more and this would be the end of what could be a wonderful fulfilling friendship?

* * *

As they entered the apartment Marisa left her hostess standing at the door as she went immediately to her room. No words had passed between them during the drive back and she therefore considered it useless to annoy Theresa any further with a goodnight, which was how she felt now.

Obviously Theresa now regretted the visit and was ashamed of her, what else could she think? The man made it clear that she was not in Theresa?s league, although he had not said the words exactly, his eyes and expression had said it all. Why would a beautiful confident woman like Theresa Damos want to have a friend as timid and dowdy as she was? She would not would she? This had been a big mistake. Nothing had changed, except they were twenty-five years older.

As Theresa locked the door to the apartment she was astonished to find Marisa leave her and head for her room without even a goodnight! Okay things had not gone quite the way she would have wanted but it had not been all that bad had it?

Dinner at Mom and Dad?s had been pretty good, true she had given Marisa the silent treatment for a time as she tried to work out her own feelings on her fragile friendship with this woman. My God, fragile was not the word for it; it was more like a minefield!

The club idea had been working out until Gerry had settled his sorry ass at the table and been his usual egotistical self.

It was also true she had gone quiet again, but the idiot had rattled her cage for a short time and she needed some space to clear her head. Guess she had been on her own so long that she didn?t appreciate that her guest wouldn?t understand. Her family knew that was how she reacted, and for some reason she took it for granted that Marisa would as well. It was ridiculous to think that really, after all they had met what? a week ago? Yeah, a week ago!  Although, she felt as if they had been friends for years, which was why she really hadn?t been unduly concerned at her normal behaviour.

Looking towards the guestroom she shook her head at the notion, Marisa did not know her at all, did she?

Walking towards her own room, she stopped at the closed door of the bedroom and gave it a long hard look. She could of course knock on the door and say goodnight. Then again, perhaps it was just best to leave it and they would work it out tomorrow morning over breakfast. Yes, that would be the best thing for tonight, tomorrow would bring it?s own solutions it always did.

* * *

Marisa had a fitful night?s sleep not really a restful sleep just a couple of snatched hours, it wasn?t even light when she got out of bed.

A quick wash to freshen herself up as she pulled on her travelling clothes was all that she decided to do, not wanting to wake Theresa up early if she used the shower, the running water would probably disturb her.

Collecting her bag that had her possessions, she opened the door to her bedroom quietly, hoping that it wouldn?t have squeaky hinges. Feeling like she was part of an old spy movie when you did not want to make any sound, the slightest thing threw a spanner in the works. It would be just her luck to have gone to such pains to be quiet and the door would make a noise.

It didn?t!

As she neared the door she felt guilty at leaving without saying a few words to Theresa, after all it was just one of those things. Some things were never meant to be, this obviously was one of them, two chances at friendship gone wrong must tell them something.

As she opened the main door, she realised that she had brought a copy of a story regarding the Clock Tower that they had briefly discussed earlier that week. They had planned to read it together; well she would search out another copy and leave this one for Theresa, a parting gift if you could call it that. Placing it on the edge of the table beside the sofa, she quickly scribbled a note on it.  Without looking back she left the apartment and as she did so she felt that her heart was breaking into small pieces never to be put back together again. Her mind awry with the emotions and she gave a rueful laugh as she recalled an old nursery rhyme, it was strangely appropriate, as she found her car keys and opened her vehicle door. Quickly starting the car and manoeuvring out of the parking space beginning her lonely journey home and this time, she felt that alone was how she would stay for the rest of her life.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall,
All the King?s horses and all the King?s men,
Couldn?t put Humpty together again!
She left the apartment block and motored towards the interstate.

* * *

Chapter Four

?Can?t you talk to her?? Daniel asked his wife desperately. As he once more viewed the solemn features of his eldest child, she looked so defeated and that wasn?t an expression that had ever been a feature on her face before.

?Danny, what do you want me to say to her? She is upset and with the limited information she?s told us about the fiasco that evening I?m sorry darling but she deserves it. Terry was selfish and didn?t give a thought to that poor child?s feelings only her own, we brought her up better than that or so I thought.? Serena Damos had always been understanding of her children, not least their failings. This though had been harsh on Marisa Slater, having been treated shabbily by Terry, until her daughter realised she was in the wrong nothing could be resolved.

?Oh come on Serena we both know she retreats inwardly when she?s upset or angry, it?s her way.? Daniel pleaded his daughter?s case on her behalf.

?Yes, we know Danny! Marisa didn?t or wouldn?t, how could she?? Serena gave him an exasperated glance; he was so? hooded when it came to his children and their faults.

?If they shared a connection she would have known.? He mumbled and his wife eyed him with a puzzled looked.

?Oh darling you are such a romantic! Come here.? Daniel didn?t need a second calling as he was given a warm loving hug.

?I might be a romantic but it is true don?t you remember us?? He said as he kissed her tenderly.

?Oh Danny of course I remember us and that?s why Terry has to come to terms with her fault in this.? Serena said softly as she recalled a situation a few days after they had met beside the Clock Tower.

?He?s nothing but a salesman Serena, you can do better and will. We have that nice New York banker just dying to meet with you.? Margaret Anderson spoke sharply to her wilful daughter.
?We? I suppose you mean Aunt Harriet has been up to her matchmaking sessions again? Mother it is the fifties, not the turn of the century. I?m quite capable of finding myself a man. I have, you will just have to thank Aunt Harriet but say I?m already spoken for.? Serene rarely lost her temper and never with her Mother, usually because it floated right over her Mother?s head therefore no point in wasting the energy.
?This young man you speak of, where is he now?? Her Mother was looking down at her with the hawk like features that had often intimidated her as a child, now she knew that behind the harsh expression lay a heart of gold.
?He?s?well he?s travelling.? Serena talked with Daniel the night before when he?d called from his hotel. Although he?d never said where he was going or staying, she really only knew that he said he?d come back to her at the end of the week.
?Travelling you say? Serena, when I explain to your father that you intend to?marry, although I have severe reservations about that at this moment, he will want details not vague protestations.? Shaking her head at her child she wondered what got into the young these days. In her younger days it was so very different.
?Daddy loves me he will understand.? Serena stated dramatically for once her composure broke down, why hadn?t Daniel mentioned where he was going, maybe it had all been a fantasy and she was waking from the dream world she?d created.
?Yes he does thank goodness, I?m confident he will in the circumstances bring order out of this chaos you want to bring into your life Serena.? Margaret Anderson walked closer to her daughter, placed a finger under her chin, and tilted it upwards so her green eyes could be seen.
?It isn?t chaos Mother, it?s love.? Serena gave her Mother a tearful glance.
?I?m sure at this moment you think that darling but love can be a passing phase and perhaps this young man is that type of person, have you considered that?? Hugging her daughter briefly in sympathy. The young were so impetuous these days. She blamed the war for all the changes, why couldn?t it have stayed the same? Everyone had been very happy.
?What are you thinking Serena?? Daniel asked his wife as he watched her face filled with concentration and briefly pain at a recollection of a memory he was sure.

?Would you believe that first few days after we first met.? She gave him a sheepish glance as she placed her head on his shoulder.

Daniel considered the statement and his mind wandered over the time she mentioned.

?Why are you here Mr. Damos, I believe my daughter made it clear to you that she had decided to wait a time before making a commitment to you.? Samuel Anderson stated calmly as he carefully assessed the man who Serena had professed to love at the beginning of the week but was now indecisive.
?No! I don?t believe that for one minute, Serena loves me and I love her!? Daniel could not believe it, why had everything changed. He knew we wasn?t good enough for her, he?d always known but she had convinced him otherwise and he?d even persuaded his boss to give him a more settled position in the town of Trailville.
?Sorry Mr. Damos but I love my daughter too and she has changed her mind.? Samuel used his professional expertise to assess the reaction of the man in front of him. What had come over Serena to even give this man a second look never mind profess to have feelings for him? He was just an average guy with a mediocre education and probably hadn?t even seen any military service.
?Can I see her?? Daniel asked quietly, he felt that if he could just see her, he would know for certain, if she really had changed her mind.
?I guess it can?t do any harm.? The older man stood up from his chair behind his study desk and left the room, returning several minutes later with Serena beside him.
Daniel didn?t know what to say, he wasn?t the confident type that Mr. Anderson was, or Serena had been that first meeting. What had changed?
?Hello Serena.? He lifted his head and gave her a warm stare his grey eyes filled with the love he felt for her, she just had to still feel the same way.
?Hello Daniel.? Serena had held her breath as she?d walked in the room with her father.
?I?ll leave you for a few minutes to say ?whatever you young people say these days.? Samuel Anderson smiled at his daughter and left the room.
A long silence ensued and Daniel realised that his whole life was draining away, and could never be recaptured if Serena didn?t love him. What had happened in those few days?
Turning green angry grey to his loving blue ones Serena finally asked the question she wanted to know for the last three days.
?Why didn?t you call me Daniel? I didn?t know where you were or if you were alive or dead or?or coming back to me!? Her impassioned questions hung heavily in the air and Daniel remained rooted to the spot unable to move.
?I?Serena I?. Oh Hell Serena, I wanted it to be a surprise. I had to work extra hours to get the job completed early and then go back to the base and ask my boss for a raise and a new position. I thought you would understand, I never meant for you to think that I wouldn?t come back. How could I ever leave you Serena, you are a part of me as I am a part of you, we can?t survive without each other!? Daniel explained his voice becoming desperate as he realised that in his keenness to have everything right when he came here to speak with her parents he had forgotten the most important person, Serena. For some reason, he had the notion that she knew what he was thinking, but how could she they had barely spent a full day together.
?How could I know Danny?? Serena whispered as tears fell unchecked down her cheeks.
Daniel didn?t know what to say, so he did the only thing he thought would help and pulled her into his arms, murmuring softly into her fresh scented hair.
?I didn?t think Serena I?m so sorry, I felt you knew how much I loved you, was I wrong and you really don?t love me?? Daniel?s voice broke at the last three words and Serena gazed up directly into his beloved grey eyes that were shimmering with unshed tears of his own.
?Did you get the new position and raise??
?What reason did you give to convince your boss?? Serena heard the sudden leap of confidence as he said the single word reply.
?I told him I?d found the only girl for me, that I loved her to distraction. That she was the most beautiful woman in the world and the other half of my soul.? Daniel stated quietly but with a tender conviction that had Serena?s tears flooding once more down her cheeks.
?Do you still think that way, even though she doubted you?? This time Serena caught her breath in trepidation what if he?d changed his mind.
?What do you think?? As his lips caressed hers with gentleness that had her senses swimming along with her tears.
?I think he got the girl.? Her words smothered in a passionate kiss that made up forthe misunderstanding.
?Maybe I will have a word with Terry, who knows she might listen to the odd word of wisdom from her old Dad.? He bent down and kissed Serena, the feelings that had been ignited fifty years ago, fired once more. Travelling a time line that never changed for them, the emotion was as fresh today as it had been the first day they met.

* * *

Marisa had been miserable all week she thought that Theresa might have called Sunday to check that she had at least arrived home safely. Then again why should she, leaving the apartment like a thief in the night would not exactly have enamoured her to the other woman.

Earlier in the week, she had decided she wouldn?t ever go back to the Clock Tower, sit at ?her? bench, and wait, wait for what exactly? For fifteen years she?d done that and been bitterly disappointed by the final outcome of the Clock Tower?s journey for her. How lonely she felt before and now to have felt a connection with someone and have it trickle through your fingers like sand, was that fair?

No matter how hard she convinced herself not to come back to the Tower, here she was making her way to her favourite spot. What was she hoping that by some miracle Theresa Damos would be sitting there waiting for her?

As she neared the area and turned the corner her heartbeat raced as she saw a lone figure seated at ?her? bench. Could it be? Was it what her heart hoped it would be? As she neared the figure, she felt the depression she had been feeling all week suddenly engulf her like a dark cloud as she realised that it wasn?t Theresa but an older gentleman looking up at the Clock face.

Her steps took her closer, she wanted to run away and hide for the rest of her life, how cowardly could anyone be. She was a coward though wasn?t she? An emotional one at any rate, she never stood her ground on anything, not even something as profoundly touching as her connection with Theresa. However, she could not sever the friendship from her life that was the bottom line.

?My dear, I hope you don?t mind me saying this but you look upset, is there anything I can do to help?? The old man had watched the young woman walk steadily to his position, and he was sure she had expected to see someone else here. Obviously, it had been a bitter disappointment if the tears that drenched her face were anything to go by.

?I don?t know what you mean, I?m fine really.? Marisa hadn?t realised she was crying until she felt the sting of tears, which were falling now that her mind was pulled sharply into reality by the old man?s words.

?Why not sit for a while and take a deep breath, nothing is ever as bad as it appears you know.? The man said gently as he placed a hand on the bench seat and she reluctantly sat down next to him. Her eyes strayed to the well-crafted paintings on the face of the Clock Tower.

?I?ll be fine really, thank you for your concern.? Marisa smiled weakly at him and she was given a bright smile that left a twinkle in the old man?s aged brown eyes.

?I know you will my dear but sometimes it?s nice to just sit here and feel the peace surround us, something you appreciate if you take the time.? The old man looked up at the paintings that had caught Marisa?s eyes.

?Have you been here before?? the man asked her quietly.

?Have I been here before? What a question, should I say all my life, for it sure felt like it.?

?Yes, I come here frequently it?s a beautiful piece of history.? Marisa finally answered her voice a mere thread of a sound.

?You know some of the history surrounding the Tower?? The old man sounded genuinely interested as he directed his gaze to her and away from the timepiece.

?Some of it, not all though, I?m sure there are numerous stories that are part of its history that we will never know.? Marisa warmed to the subject; she was probably one of the experts of the Clock in this town.

?Yes, I?m sure you are right, would you like me to tell you a story I know associated with the Clock Tower?? The old man?s eyes looked at her gravely as he waited for her answer.

?Yes, please go ahead but I might already know about it.? Marisa said hoping not to disappoint the man.

?I don?t think you will have heard this one, but if you have never mind it?s worth a second telling, as all stories often are.?

?I love the stories second, third or fourth telling I still find something I?ve missed in each and everyone.? Marisa smiled warmly at the man and he grinned back as he settled back on the bench and drumming his hand on his walking stick, remaining silent for a few minutes before he started the story.

?Nick, why do you always think everything is easy?? Carla laughed into the man?s face as he swung her round in his Navy uniform.

?Because my dear Carla it is, take my word for it.? Nick lifted her off her feet for the third time and kissed her as he put her feet back on the ground, her nursing uniform somewhat untidy as he did so?

* * *

Daniel sat down on the seat opposite Terry.  She looked like a child who had lost something important unable to understand why. Then again she was his child and always would be no matter how old she became.

?Could you do with some company Terry?? Her father asked tentatively, he wanted to talk with her. She had been less than communicative, arriving on Sunday morning withdrawn and sullen and almost a week later still here, having taken up her old room and basically being a bear with a sore head. The only people she talked to with any semblance of sense were the grandchildren, especially young Terry.

Theresa turned her eyes up to meet her father?s, he was always here for her no matter what she?d done or not done in the past. What would happen to her when he and Mom weren?t around to rely on anymore? Where would she go to assuage the loneliness that overcame her and all she wanted was the company of people who loved and understood her? Cally and Daniel Jr. loved her, but never really empathised with her. She would be alone and cast off without a shore to anchor to when she needed to feel part of a family again.

That was what hurt the most, for she really felt that Marisa Slater was going to be that island in a cruel sea of anonymity everyone walks. It felt so right, not just at the Clock Tower but all those years ago at that damn high school prom! She just hadn?t the sense to ignore her arrogance and consider what was important to her. This week with her parents had shown her she had been arrogant, selfish and a poor friend. How could you possibly salvage a relationship with that kind of record behind you?

?I made a few mistakes Dad.? Terry finally replied as she looked at her father with that reserved look in her eyes that meant she was frightened of something but wanted to look brave.

?We all do Terry, most mistakes can be overturned if you have the faith to do right by them.? Her father informed her solemnly.

?I don?t think I have a chance this time Dad. Maybe if I?d responded to the message she left me earlier I might have had one, I was so damn full of hurt pride I ignored her feelings in all this.? Terry rushed out her answer as she stared at her hands that hung loosely together over a small manuscript.

?I take it we are talking about Marisa?? His eyebrow rose in question.

?Who else Dad? Sometimes you don?t realise how important a person is to your life until they aren?t there anymore. Marisa wasn?t in my life for more than a week but she left a indelible mark on me again as she did all those years ago at the school prom.?

Daniel looked at her in surprise. It must have been one school prom, huh? That would be a question for later. ?What message Terry??

?She scribbled a note on this short story she left me. We were going to read another story that was part of the history of the Clock Tower together. I guess she left it for me to read alone.? The words held a despair that shook Daniel; he had never heard that tone before expressed from Terry.

?Do you want to tell me what it said?? He did not want to pry but he felt that the papers she held in her hand were the key to the puzzle.

?It was a thank you for taking her to the club, she enjoyed the music. She wished me well in the future and said goodbye.?

Daniel watched a tear slowly fall as she clutched the story in her hand. ?Have you read the story she gave you??

?No Dad how could I?? Terry answered her voice rising with emotion.

?How could you not? Marisa obviously felt that you might enjoy the story. I?ll call your Mother and we?ll get her to read it, what do you say?? Daniel watched several emotions wash over her face and she smiled for the first time that week, a small smile but it was a step in the right direction.

?Okay good idea, Mom will probably call us silly romantics.?

?Of course, that?s only because she?s such a died-in-the-wool romantic herself and loves to make everyone else one as well.? He left her to find his wife.

Watching him leave the room, Theresa picked up the sheaf of papers, turned over the front cover to see the first page, scanning the first couple of sentences.

?Nick, why do you always think that everything is easy?? Carla laughed into the man?s face as he swung her round in his Navy uniform.

?Because my dear Carla it is, take my word for it.? Nick lifted her off her feet for the third time and kissed her as he put her feet back on the ground, her nursing uniform somewhat untidy as he did so?

She looked up as her parents came back into the room.

* * *

Chapter five

Pearl Harbour Dec. 6th, 1941
?Nick, why do you always think that everything is easy?? Carla Wilding laughed into the man?s face as he swung her round in his Navy uniform.
?Because my dear Carla it is, take my word for it.? Nick Hopkins lifted her off her feet for the third time and kissed her as he put her feet back on the ground, her nursing uniform somewhat untidy as he did so.
?You have no sense of reality sometimes Nick, there?s a war raging just about everywhere but here, and you have this happy go lucky attitude.
?Trust me Carla no one is going to attack us, who wants to take America on? Name me one fanatic who even has the guts, never mind the army to take us on?? Nick flicked her nose gently as he smiled and his brown eyes warmed, she realised it was no use trying to make him see sense, only actuality would do that and she hoped it would never come to that.
?No one I guess but?oh never mind when do you take your next leave? I was thinking maybe you could come home with me this time and we can tell the folks. They?ve been waiting for us to get married since we were in diapers, I think my Mom even has the church booked and knowing her she?ll get the chimes working on the Clock Tower if the custodians haven?t by now.? Carla laughed at him as he pulled one of his many faces, which always had the power to amuse her.
?Your Mother and that Clock Tower, anyone would think it worked miracles the way she enthuses over it.? Nick had to laugh, their hometown of Clayton, didn?t boast many historical buildings but the Clock Tower was antique by American standards anyway. Shipped in from Europe it was a nice piece of craftsmanship, although he hadn?t really spent any time there.
?My Mother is a history buff Nick and she loves to find out more and more stories about the Tower and since Dad died in that car accident I think it has helped her to keep emotionally with us.? Carla sighed as she thought of her Mother, who worshipped their father and he in turn had been the same way with Mom. Their meeting at the Clock Tower was a little unusual but Nick had never been interested in the stories and she hadn?t particularly either, her practical mind often scoffed at the romantic wanderings.
?Okay I understand, I love you baby and that?s not going to change any time this century.? He grinned at her and held her close reluctantly releasing her as she looked at the time.
?I have the early shift tomorrow Nick, we have some vaccinations to carry out on one of the cruisers, just routine stuff but they want us in there early and out by lunch.? Carla kissed him again and moved away from his embrace as she straightened the apron.
?Glad it?s not my ship, hate needles.? Nick quipped as he looked at the harbour and the magnificent sight of eighteen battleships and numerous other vessels, someone said close to a hundred were anchored here at the moment. Now who in their right mind would take them on with this much firepower?
?I love you Nick, catch you next weekend and we?ll discuss plans, okay?? Carla walked towards the darkened building that held the nurses quarters.
?Love you too baby, who needs plans when I have you.? He blew her a kiss and walked confidently away towards the launch area of the harbour and his ride back to his ship moored in the bay.
* * *
Clayton, December 7th, 1948.
Kirsten looked at the old poster that was attached to the side of the Clock Tower; she gently prized it from the peeling paintwork and looked at it her face clouding as memories engulfed her.
?Remember Pearl Harbour?
Who could forget! She had lost more than a sibling that day, having had to watch her Mother slowly give up the will to live too! It was not enough that the Japanese had taken all those lives, what about the casualties that could not be counted, the people at home grieving.
It had been a blessing she supposed when her Mother was finally laid to rest a year ago, she had done nothing but stay in her room and read old stories about this building.
At twenty-seven she had seen her fair share of action, having immediately signed up with the army communications unit as the war broke out. Much to her Mother?s distress, but she could not stay at home, in some ways she wanted revenge. Once the war was in full swing, she was eventually posted to various action zones. The most harrowing being the trials she had attended in Nuremberg, Germany. After a couple of years there, all she had wanted to do was come home. Finding her own way in life, gave her an element of peace and happiness not the constant tragedy and fighting that she had seen since 1942 in her travels over the world.
The strange thing was her first port of call when she had arrived home had been this place. Because of all her Mom?s stories it often brought her an element of peace when all around was chaos and despair. It seemed only fair that she acknowledge the old place?s help with her sanity over the war years.
As she pocketed the old poster, she turned as the crunch of gravel heralded the arrival of someone else to the old place.
At first, she was certain it was a stranger who had never been here before. It was a man perhaps ten or even twenty years older than she was, his face in muffled profile had the haggard look of one who had seen too much pain in their life. He limped towards a bench that was a couple of yards away and sat down heavily. His grey overcoat concealing his identity at this distance, as the lapels were pulled up around his face.
Kirsten didn?t have the direct caring personality her sister Carla projected. She was soft-hearted but a little cautious about approaching people. Although over the years she had gained the ability to make people feel at ease with her. Walking over to the edge of the bench and standing to the side so she wouldn?t invade his personal space she tried to start a conversation.
?It?s a very beautiful day but a little chilly, that was a good call to put on a thick overcoat.? Her voice light and friendly, not intrusive she didn?t want to upset the man in any way.
?Yes, this time of year you think it should be a great deal colder but it isn?t always.? The man responded his voice deep and oddly familiar to her.
?Do you come here often?? Kirsten asked quietly and saw the man shift slightly in his seat. She really would have liked to see his face clearly and the reaction to her words.
?Once a year, the same day for the last six years.? The man announced bleakly and kept his eyes focused directly in front of him.
?Do you live around here or just visiting, I don?t think I?ve seen you around before?? Kirsten asked gently, not wanting to be considered nosy.
?I used to live around here, my folks still own the local store.? The man answered equably.
Kirsten immediately moved to stand in front of him, she whispered as much to herself as the man before her. ?Nicky??
Nicholas Hopkins looked up, his brown eyes that once filled with laughter and merriment, now held a look that gave one the impression he had faced death itself and hadn?t walked away unscathed.
?Well, only one person ever called me that?Kirsten?? Both looked at each other with wariness and then he stood up and held out his arms as she rushed into them.
?Nicky, I haven?t seen you since?well it seems like a lifetime ago now.? Kirsten couldn?t stop the tears that trickled silently down her cheeks. She smiled a watery smile of welcome and kissed his cheek that had a burn scar down the side, although it wasn?t as harsh as some she had encountered.
?You?ve changed, you grew up? It was a lifetime ago Kirsten, everything changed seven years ago when the Jap?s bombed Pearl Harbour and they killed your sister. How could that be right Kirsten, she only ever wanted to heal people and look what happened to her!? His voice rang out with the pent up anger he had carried with him for years.
Having been severely injured in the bombing, his foot had been amputated and he received numerous scars over his body, fortunately the only one on view was the four inch one down his left cheek. When he?d asked for Carla those first few weeks in the hospital, they said she was busy but looked in on him during the night when he slept. In his delirious state he even believed them, sure he heard her voice supporting him when he felt low. But it hadn?t been true! Carla died when the bombing occurred, a direct hit on the ship she?d been giving vaccinations to the crew that morning. The convalescence had been hard once he had found out the truth, and although he went home, he could not stay there, too many memories. He took a post as an insurance assessor for his Uncle and spent a few days with his parents this time every year.
He thought by now that the urge to keep this vigil would have abated but it only became stronger and he wished now that he?d listened to some of the silly romantic notions that Carla?s Mother used to speak about.
?Yes it did, everything did change and although we might not always think so at the time, these things happen for a reason, my sister was unfortunate to be part of the price Nicky. Although, she would have gladly paid it if she knew what was achieved afterwards, when as a Country we involved ourselves with the war. America helped to liberate so many people who were suffering at the hands of not only the Japanese but the Germans too. I hope it was the war to end all wars Nicky, for it brought out some very cruel people and I hope we never have to go through that again.? Kirsten sat down and pulled his hand to bring him back to his seat as he slipped down heavily at her side.
?I?m sorry for the monologue Nicky, I guess I have to believe Carla and all those others died for a good reason in the end.? She stated quietly her heart racing at the sight of this man, he looked so lonely and in pain, her soft heart went out to him.
?You haven?t changed at all Kirsten, except you?ve grown up, you always did like to believe the best in every situation. I guess you even believe in the romantic tales that are talked about the Tower?? Nicky looked at her, she thought for a moment she saw the glimmer of a smile hover over his lips.
?Nicky, of course! Want me to tell you the odd story or two?? Kirsten reached over to place her warm hand over his and as their fingers intertwined, something suddenly made sense in her world as she narrated how her Mother met her Father.

* * *

Marisa wiped away the tear as she felt the harshness of war that wrenched away people that you loved without a second thought.

?That?s a rather tragic story, was it your story?? She knew it had to be he was about the right age, probably around mid-eighties and he walked with a cane and there was a faint scar over his weathered lined face.

?Yes it was my story, my wife decided after all these years she would add it to her collection about the Tower, actually allowed a young woman to take a copy recently. Kirsten said it just seemed right at the time, although I just said she was too tender hearted to say ?no?.? The old man chuckled as he remembered that first meeting under the Tower again and the rightness of Kirsten at his side, all his sorrow and pain began to heal from that moment it was simply amazing.

?You married Kirsten?? Marisa remarked and gave him a smile that lit her plain features and made the old man smile wider as he nodded his head.

?Oh yes, I?d lost my childhood sweetheart but later realised Kirsten was actually the love of my life. Things could have been so different in the world had events not happened as they had. Kirsten was right about that one, things do happen for a reason. Now my dear do you feel a little more cheerful? I know it wasn?t the most uplifting of stories but??

?No! What I mean to say is, yes I do, thank you, thank you so much. You made me realise that perhaps what I?ve experienced recently is just a journey that needs to be fulfilled and one day everything will make sense.? Marisa said in a quiet yet confident voice, it was Saturday tomorrow, maybe she would call Theresa and try again, what did she have to lose really, only her pride?

?Don?t thank me my dear just enjoy your life it is so very precious.? The old man smiled as Marisa said goodbye and left him seated.

Yes life was very precious and he knew that more than most, time had a way of leaving you behind and before you knew it your time had simply slipped away into the night.

?I think you will approve my little story telling session Kirsten, I wonder sometimes who believes all this romantic nonsense more, you or I.? The old man stood up, balancing on his cane and walked along the left side of the Clock Tower.

?See you again soon old friend.?

* * *


?What do you think Dad? Will my sister see the big picture now or go about blinkered for the rest of her life?? Cally asked as her father walked over to the window to stare out onto the green grass in the front of the house.

?I don?t know darling I really don?t. She didn?t say anything at all after we read the story that Marisa left behind for her. I?ve never seen her so still and quiet it was as if she had been told something that would change her life forever.? Daniel Damos contemplated a small area of greenery that was growing much faster than the rest; there was always an area, which did that in all areas of life.

?Is that a good change or bad? I think she needs Marisa Slater in her life. I think she knows  but cannot accept it, time isn?t on her side this time around Dad. What do we do now?? Cally loved her sister she was more than a sister she was a good friend too, always had been.

?I guess we see if miracles do happen Cally. It would be because of all the faith I have in the Clock Tower weaving it?s magic if it did bring those two together again.? Daniel wanted so much to march his daughter to Marisa Slater?s home and literally stand over them until they talked about how they felt and what they wanted to do about it. Only it wasn?t his life?or love, she had to come to her own decision here for better or worse. He smiled wryly at his thoughts a rather apt expression in this situation he surmised.

?Where is she?? Cally asked him softly and stood next to him as she placed her hand on his arm and he turned to give her a loving smile.

?She said something about making a decision and was going home. I think we have to wait and hope on this one.? Her father knew the wonder of the Clock Tower?s influence and hoped in the deep recesses of his heart that Terry would experience it as well.

?Well, in that case Dad how about giving me a summary of this world shattering story.? Cally grinned up at him as he turned to pull her into a warm hug.

?Now it?s interesting you should use that word Cally because?.? Daniel led her to the sofa and they sat down as he started his narrative.

* * *

Marisa heard the sharp sound of someone knocking on her door, who on earth could possibly want her at this hour? As she glanced over to the bedside stand and saw the alarm clock blinking at her, the time was three a.m.

Then she had the distressing thought that perhaps it was Agnes and something was wrong with her elderly neighbour.

Scrambling out of bed, she pulled on a robe that was lying over the end of the mattress and covered up from the bitter cold that was sure to hit her when she opened the door.

Running as fast as she could down the staircase as the hammering on the door became less pronounced, maybe it wasn?t Agnes after all.

As she came close to the door and was about to wrench it open she reconsidered and shouted out instead.

?Who is it please?? She tried to sound confident and unafraid, it was the middle of the night and really, it could be anyone.

Peering out of the frosted glass section of her door she saw a lone figure, at least alone on her porch anyway, who stood there silently. There was no stoop in the figure at all so her assumption it might be Agnes was rather flawed, Agnes could not stand straight with her frail bones.

?Hey who is it? If you don?t either tell me or go away I?ll call the police.? Marisa knew that sounded panic stricken but she was worried now, what if it was a burglar? Raising her eyes to the ceiling as she realised the stupidity of that thought, when had a burglar been so polite as to knock on the door and ask first!

Although something was telling her that she was quite safe, very safe in fact that danger was the last thing to consider, how strange a feeling it was.

?Marisa, it?s me Theresa Damos.? The words although muffled with the closed door were clear and it sounded like Theresa?s voice.

?Theresa?? Quickly turning the key in the lock she opened the door and saw the taller woman standing erect outside her door.

She looked tired; her hair was unruly, totally unlike the impression she usually gave. Her clothes were soaked from the rain that poured down outside as she saw the rivulets dropping from the porch roof. In fact, she looked totally miserable standing there, a vast change to her confident stance normally associated with Theresa.

?Please Theresa come inside you must be freezing.? Marisa bent out into the cold morning and grasped the unresisting arm, the cold damp seeping through her fingers as she propelled Theresa forward into the cold hallway but it was slightly warmer then outside on the porch.

?I?m sorry to disturb you so early Marisa but it couldn?t wait.? The voice held a plea that Marisa could not ignore as she steered her towards the kitchen and immediately pulled out a chair for her visitor to sit down. Walking over to switch on the coffee percolator and the stove, it was a quick way of warming up the room.

?How do you take your coffee?? Marisa asked quietly as she turned to find those blue eyes boring into her back but it wasn?t with a dark expression it was filled with a warmth that she found hard not to return.

?Black and strong, I need it.? The other woman spoke with a weary tinge.

?It?s a terrible morning Theresa what made you come here now at this time?? There was no point beating about the bush, she had been timid far too long in her life. The whole scene reminded her of a romantic novel and she wanted to make sure it had the best chance of having a happy ending at least she could try.

?Have you a towel I can use, I?m dripping all over your floor.? Theresa had not expected such a forthright question so early on her arrival, now she needed to make sure she answered it properly and not mess up here, so the stalling would help.

?I?m sorry of course! What must you think of me?? Marisa quickly selected a new towel and gave it to the woman her apology written all over her face.

As the object was passed over their fingers touched and both woman locked gazes, as the connection that had passed between them at the Clock Tower again made it?s presence felt only this time it was even more acute.

?I love you Marisa, I?m so sorry for my behaviour.? Theresa felt the surge of the connection, everything became so clear and simple, this woman was her home. Why should she be afraid?

Marisa caught her breath at the admission, every reason for thinking that Theresa was not affected as she was by their meeting now dropped away, it was a pointless exercise to hold a grudge. This woman was her home always had been, who was now holding her fingers tight, refusing to release the grip, not that she wanted that.

?I love you Theresa, I think I always have from the first day you came into my life.? Her eyes held the blue ones that flickered with a deep understanding. For it had been so long ago that their lives had crossed, and although it had taken a visit to an historical building many years later to join the paths together again, everything would work out this time around.

It was easy to sink into Theresa?s arms and feel the love she knew was hers and hers alone for the rest of her life. All her world seemed to steady and spin in unison with the woman who held her close.

?May I kiss you Marisa?? Theresa asked tentatively, she didn?t want to push the woman she loved into a relationship she wasn?t comfortable with. They could be just good friends if that?s all Marisa wanted and she would be satisfied. If it made her love happy and they could remain together in their lives, she would be totally content as well. The inner love they shared was important. The physical side was something she suspected neither of them would worry too much about; it was not what this emotion was about at all.

?May you? Theresa if you don?t I think my body will be screaming at me.? Marisa whispered with a chuckle, as her eyes sparkled suddenly with laughter then filled with passion as she saw the sensual light in Theresa?s.

It was difficult to explain the euphoria of the reaction of their body?s, as the lips tentatively met for the first time. Slowly with a gentleness and innocence of a first kiss they explored each other?s lips with a restraint that was mutual.

Breaking away to catch a breath they both feverishly traced each other?s features as if a blind man committing the image to memory. ?Oh god how did this happen.? Theresa whispered hoarsely, as she tried to control the need to kiss this woman again it was as if her body craved them to join in every possible way.

?I don?t know but I?m glad it did.? Marisa softly replied, with a confidence lovers often gain as they realise they are not alone in their emotions, then placed her lips against Theresa?s with an abandon she didn?t know she had in herself.

?I?ll love you forever Marisa, I have loved you forever.? Blue eyes claimed green ones and a longer kissed ensued, as hands tried to combat the clothes that were now a restriction to the age-old passion that stirred within them.

Muffled against Theresa?s mouth Marisa smiled as she replied.

?Forever isn?t long enough for me Theresa I want you for all time, and beyond.? Chuckling Theresa answered her as she snaked her hands around the waist of the well-padded woman, now virtually sitting on her knee.

?I thought that?s what I said?? As she claimed another kiss and another, all the wasted years seemed to want appeasing at the same moment.

?You did, I wanted you to know I agree. How would you like a shower and I think you could do with some sleep, you might catch a chill in those wet clothes.? Marisa grinned as she moved reluctantly away and stood in front of her new love or was it old love, what did it matter?

Theresa gained her usual confidence and somewhat aggressive personality at those words. ?Marisa there is not a chance in hell that I?ll catch a chill. Do you know that I have a raging fire set up in my body at the moment that has nothing to do with the rain or the cold??

?Sleep then?? Her smile covered her face and she knew exactly what Theresa meant she felt the same way.

?Will you sleep with me?? The words spoken so quietly, it was hard to judge if they actually had been spoken aloud. All she craved right now was to hold this woman close to her as she slept and know that when she woke her world would still have this woman beside her. Their relationship could go as fast or as slow as they needed. Something inside her said slowly wasn?t an option somehow but if that were the case it would all be okay.

?I want to sleep with you for the rest of my life Theresa.? Marisa held out her hand for the slightly larger one to take. She felt sure that Theresa only wanted to sleep and that the progression of their relationship and the pace they set would be a mutual one. Knowing in her heart every thing would find balance including their love.

Theresa felt that it was a most unexpected but incredible outcome to her depressing week, there was no turning back now she intended to have this woman by her side for the rest of her life. All her preconceived ideas based on vanity and appearance now a thing of the past, they weren?t the important factors, and most important was her unselfish love for this woman. As stupid as it sounded, the old story that Marisa had left her made her consider that old saying ?Life was too short don?t waste it. ?

Therefore, for her however short the rest of her life was going to be she intended to share it with Marisa.

?Lead the way darling I?m all yours.? Both women walked towards the bedroom hand in hand, their future although still relatively unknown, as long as they were together that was all that was important.

?Theresa do you believe in the Clock Tower magic now?? Having listened to Daniel Damos taking some ribbing about his notions from his daughter regarding the Clock Tower.

?I was sceptical darling, still am a little, but if it helps to promote the myth and others find love, and keep you and my parents happy, I think it?s perfectly wonderful, how does that sound?? Theresa whispered into her ear as Marisa opened the door to her bedroom, thinking privately that if you wanted something hard enough it could happen and she thought exactly that about the stories regarding the Clock Tower.

?I love you Theresa. You may be sceptical but I?ll have faith for us both and I?m going to add our story to the others, after all we can?t let such a wonderful tradition down can we?? Marisa was guiding Theresa towards the bed as she walked over to her closet to find something for Theresa to wear to replace the sodden clothes she was rapidly removing.

?Quite right Marisa, I?m with you all the way on that one, how about we make some traditions of our own.? Theresa gave a swift thought to something her father said, answering a long forgotten question, which was missing an answer.

?I got the girl!?

Marisa heard Theresa giving way to her tiredness as she glanced at her profile, which was so proud but gentle as well. Her thoughts filled with the love she shared, knowing it would last a lifetime or could it be lifetimes? As she felt herself drifting towards a happy weariness of her own, her final thought as she found something for Theresa to wear to sleep in, was a thank you.

?Thank you Clock Tower, I?ll never forget you ever and what you?ve brought into my life.?

The romantic notions of the Clock Tower were to some real, others fiction and some merely what they wanted to see happen. At the end of the day did it really matter, if the result was the magic of love!

* * *


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