Megan tried to get back to work after Charlie rode off, but she found herself staring at the tools not knowing what to do with them. The only thing she could think about was that kiss. She couldn’t believe that one kiss could make you feel invincible. She felt like she could take on the whole world, and still walk away smiling. She convinced herself that it was due to the fact that she hadn’t been intimate with anyone in months. Eventually, she found herself sitting on a rock staring at nothing, while daydreaming about possibilities that included her and Charlie anywhere they could be horizontal – or vertical for that matter. Her mind was reeling, and her body heat was rising.
She didn’t even realise she’d been ignoring her stomach, until Rubin stopped by with lunch. He had to laugh at the silly expression on her face that once again confirmed his wife’s remarks about him not understanding women. He had never seen any of the men on the farm looking like that while they were working, especially not in the hot summer sun.
Charlie rode off with the smile still on her face, but it soon disappeared. She got angry with herself for losing control. “You just had to go and do it didn’t you?” she whispered into the air.
She had thought she was handling things well, up until the moment she stood in front of a ranting and raving Megan. All those evenings that she’d been spending holding and comforting a sleeping Megan had taken their toll. She wanted to hold her while she was wide-awake and responsive to her touch. She couldn’t keep her eyes from the lips that were yelling at her. She felt a desperate urge to taste those lips, and feel that body pressed up against her with need.
When Charlie walked into the house, Katrina knew something was wrong. “What happened Charlie?”
“I just made a huge mistake.” Charlie was shaking her head from side to side. “How could I let my heart betray me like that?”
“Tell me what happened.” Katrina pulled out a chair to sit next to Charlie at the dining room table.
“I kissed her, and it was so much more than I ever dreamed it could be.” Charlie crossed her arms on the table, and let her head rest on them while looking sideways at Katrina.
“Why do you think that it was a mistake if it felt so right?”
“I know what she’s after. I recognise the signs. I was right before, all she wants is a good time. I’ve done it so many times to other women in the past few years, but I can’t allow her to use me like that.”
“Why not enjoy it for what it is then?”
“Because I think I’m in love with her Kat. That little spitfire has managed to walk right into a corner of my heart that I thought was gone.”
“I still say that you should give her some time. She has changed a lot in the last few months already.”
“I think I need to go and cool down in the pond.”
“Don’t be silly Charlie.” Katrina couldn’t believe Charlie was being so thoughtless. “It’s only one thirty in the afternoon. The UV levels are way too high now. You of all people should know the sun has no mercy this time of day. Skin cancer is not something to mess around with.”
Megan drove home in the truck, with Charlie still occupying her mind. It wasn’t the end of the day yet, but she couldn’t wait to get home and explore some of the possibilities she’d been daydreaming about all afternoon.
When she walked into the house she went looking for Charlie, but couldn’t find her anywhere. She ran into Kathy and asked her if she knew where Charlie was, but she said she didn’t. She found Katrina in the kitchen preparing some freshly picked green beans.
“Hi Kat, have you seen Charlie?”
“She’s swimming in the pond.”
“If I hadn’t stopped her, she would have been in there at lunch time already. As if she doesn’t know this African sun by now. I don’t think she was thinking rationally at the time.”
Megan smiled when she heard the words that showed their kiss definitely had an effect on Charlie as well. “It’s been a long hot day. I think I should go for a swim as well.”
“Maybe I’ll come and join you in the pool after a while.”
“Well, actually, I was thinking of taking a dip in the pond as well.”
Katrina’s eyebrow lifted when she heard the words. “I thought you didn’t think it was hygienic to swim in a pond.”
Megan took a green bean out of the bowl. Katrina playfully made an attempt to stop her from taking another one. “Things change.” Megan wiggled her eyebrows. “I’m even enjoying all this freshness around me. I’m starting to wonder how I’ll survive in the big city without you. Maybe I should buy a place with a big yard, and steal you to come and live with me. You can have chickens and whatever else you want.” She pulled the sitting Katrina into a hug from behind.
Katrina laughed. “I don’t think the big city is ready for me walking down the street with a cow on a leash, nor a rooster waking them up when the sun rises. I saw a TV show once where a city man shot a rooster off the fence pole to shut it up. That is most probably what would end up happening. Maybe you should just stay here.”
“I have come to enjoy it on the farm, but I’m still a city girl and I have a separate life out there.” Megan sighed before she let go of Katrina “But let’s not wonder about what still lies a few months ahead of us. The here and now is more exciting right now, so I’m just going to get a towel.”
Katrina looked at Megan’s retreating form while thinking about Charlie’s words. She knew now that Charlie had been right with her presumptions. She liked Megan very much, but Charlie was like a daughter to her as well, and she didn’t want to see her get hurt, although she knew she couldn’t make her choices for her. She was still holding on to the hope that Megan would realise what was really important in life, because that’s the only way she could see this situation having any chance of a happy ending.
Charlie was still fighting with herself over her earlier actions. “Why the hell did I grab her? She keeps on telling me that I’m like an Amazon, and then I go and act like one. I might just as well have hit her over the head with a wooden bat, and dragged her by the hair like a caveman.” Charlie threw her hands up in the air as she shouted the words for the skies to hear.
“I kind of liked the Amazon idea, but I don’t know about the caveman thing.”
Charlie froze as she heard the words. She spun around. In front of her stood a very naked Megan with a huge smile on her face.
“I don’t think the whole dragging me by my hair thing would be good for me, but seeing that I am already here, the whole thing is unnecessary.”
Charlie could only stare at Megan with her mouth hanging open. She took a few steps closer to Megan until she was only knee-deep in the water. The fact that she was naked herself seemed to slip her mind.
“You should really close your mouth… and nice body by the way.” Megan looked at Charlie’s body in appreciation.
“You… can’t… be… here,” Charlie stuttered.
“Oh yes I can, and I can do much more.” Megan smiled suggestively
“Megan?” Charlie was still bewildered.
Megan walked up to where Charlie was still standing in the water, but when she got closer Charlie started retreating slowly into the deeper water. This whole thing was moving a little too slowly for Megan, who was hoping for a more fiery response from Charlie. Megan was covered in water up to her breasts now. She thought it was time to wake Charlie up. She moved forward quickly and placed her hands on both sides of Charlie’s face and pulled it down. She kissed her softly until she felt Charlie respond. The kiss grew more intense, and they were soon touching each other all over.
Charlie lost her reason. All her carefully laid plans for keeping Megan at arm’s length were buried under their passion. Charlie’s strong arms encircled Megan’s waist, and she picked her up to straddle her hips. She let her hands roam over Megan’s back while holding her. Megan managed to get one hand in between them, and was cupping Charlie’s breast. She pinched her already erect nipple, which brought a deep moan from Charlie. Megan let her hand travel further down between their bodies, which drew more moans from Charlie. When Megan cupped her mound, Charlie couldn’t help but dig her nails into Megan’s back, who then slipped a finger between Charlie’s folds. Charlie’s groan into Megan’s mouth fired her up even more. Megan used her thumb to slide up and down the shaft of Charlie clit while she positioned one finger to enter her. Even in the water she could feel that Charlie was ready, and so was she. When she entered her, Charlie’s legs became weak. They tumbled into the water together and both came up gasping for air.
The cold water over Charlie’s head brought her back to her senses. “We can’t do this.”
“Why can’t we do this? We’ve already been doing it.” Megan glared at her in disbelief.
“I’m not some toy for your amusement.”
“I didn’t think I was the only one getting the ‘amusement’. What is wrong with it anyway?” Megan moved closer to Charlie again.
“No!” Charlie almost shouted. “Keep away from me. Nothing good can come from this.” Charlie rushed out of the water and quickly pulled her clothes over her wet body.
Megan was speechless as she watched Charlie dress. She got the idea that Charlie was scared of having physical contact with her. “Interesting,” she whispered as she moved to get out of the water herself. Previously she had only thought of having some fun with Charlie to pass time, but now it was something else. She felt the need to conquer her. She was not used to women turning her down. She had an idea that she held a power over Charlie and planned on using it to her benefit. “I’ll get what I want, I normally do.”
Charlie prayed that this would be one of the nights that Megan didn’t have her nightmare. In the beginning it had happened every night, but with time it happened less, maybe once or twice a week at the most. She hadn’t learned anything more about Christine through Megan’s dreams, because it was the same thing over and over again.
Before today it had already been difficult to hold Megan in her arms to comfort her, but now, after they had been so intimate, she was scared of her own reactions. Twice now she had given in to her body’s needs, but she knew it was more than that. She had never been one to lose control, not even over her body’s sexual need. Her mind was definitely being overruled by her heart and body.
Charlie didn’t get much sleep. She kept on waking up at every sound, expecting it to be Megan. The next morning at the dining room table she looked ready to fall over.
“You know, getting rid of pent up frustration is an easy way of ensuring a good night’s sleep.” Megan had a self-satisfied smile on her face. “Give me a shout if you need some help with it.”
This was enough to get Charlie to burst. “You’re still a selfish little bitch. You’re the only reason I have sleepless nights.”
“I can’t see why I should feel bad because you can’t stop thinking about me.”
Charlie was momentarily speechless. She just stared at the smiling Megan in disbelief. She felt the need to wipe that smile of her face. “Who’s Christine?” she asked coldly.
Megan went pale. It looked like she wanted to say something, but no sound was coming out. She closed her eyes and clenched her teeth. When she opened her eyes again she grabbed hold of the sides of the table and lifted slightly off her chair. “That is none of your damn business.”
Charlie jumped up and threw her napkin on the table. “You make it my damn business every time you have that nightmare about her.” Charlie hadn’t thought Megan could turn any paler, but she did.
“I don’t remember having any dreams or nightmares these last few days.”
“Rather try the last few months.”
“I’m not. It started the night of Martin’s accident.”
“Then why in the hell have you never said anything, or even just woke me up?”
“Because I thought I was doing the right thing.”
“You obviously have no idea what the right thing is.”
Charlie looked like she was about to inflict bodily harm on Megan. “Fuck you!”
They just glared at each other before they stormed off in different directions.
Megan almost walked into Katrina who was on her way back to the house from the vegetable garden with some tomatoes. “Wow, I’m way too old to try and jump out of your way.”
“I’m sorry. I wasn’t looking where I was going.” Megan used her sleeves to wipe away the tears.
“What’s wrong?” Katrina brushed the hair out of Megan’s face with her hand.
“Have I been having nightmares since Martin’s accident?”
“Yes, but Charlie says that you are having them less frequently.”
“Why didn’t she just tell me?” Tears were running down Megan’s face again.
At that moment Harry and Rebecca came running around the corner of the house. When they saw Katrina and Megan they turned towards them.
“Charlie’s taking us horseback riding today,” Rebecca shouted while she was running towards them.
“And then we’re going to have a picnic,” Harry added by the time they stopped in front of them. “Are you coming with?”
“What’s wrong Aunty Megan?” Harry asked when he saw Megan’s tears.
“You must tell Mummy where it hurts. She fixes it with a plaster and a kiss. It always works,” Rebecca said with a proud voice.
“I’m fine.” Megan tried to smile. “You two go on and enjoy your day. Maybe I’ll join you for the picnic.”
“OK,” they said in unison.
When the kids turned around and ran towards the stable, Megan started crying all over again. Katrina led her towards the garden bench and sat down next to her.
“Why don’t you tell me what all this is about?” Katrina had her arm wrapped around Megan’s shaking shoulders.
Megan looked up into Katrina’s sincere eyes, and knew that this was one person that she could talk to. She tried to calm herself down. “It was so long ago, but it still feels like yesterday. I can’t believe the nightmares have started again. They used to be very bad after the accident. But maybe I should rather start at the beginning.”
“The beginning is always a good place to start.”
“Christine was my cousin on my mother’s side. My uncle and his wife lived only a few blocks away from us. We were the same age, and were best friends since forever. We were about seven years old when her mother died from cancer. Her father was a kind and gentle person, nothing like my mother at all, and he was so in love with his wife. After her death he was devastated. Christine spent more and more time at our house, and we grew even closer. We felt like sisters instead of cousins. We were practically inseparable.” Megan couldn’t help the tears that were still running down her cheeks. She wiped them away again.
“We were known as the Callaway sisters. I think only the teachers knew what Christine’s actual surname was, but she didn’t mind.” Megan gave a sad laugh at the memory.
“We loved life. I would come up with all the harebrained ideas, but she would rationalise them. We did anything and everything we could possibly think of in our years together. We always said we should try everything at least once. They were the best years of my life, but it also contained the worst day of my life.” Megan’s tears flowed more strongly again, and it took her a while to calm down again.
“When we were sixteen, I suggested we go for a day walk on Table Mountain instead of going up and down using the cable car. I’d heard so much about it, and was told that if we stuck to the paths that I had heard about, there wouldn’t be any need to climb. This was great, because I have a fear of heights. It would be like going up steep stairs for the first part, and then eventually it would be like an open field. When we came down, it would have been a steep zig zag path down the gorge, but still no climbing.” Megan took a deep breath and let it out again to try and control her emotions.
“We went on a Saturday morning, and it was great. The back part of the mountain was beautiful. It honestly didn’t feel like we were on a mountain. We were still walking along the path when we heard cries. It wasn’t human, but it was heart wrenching. We couldn’t just walk away. We followed the cries, but it came from the side of a ledge. Christine leaned over to see what it was, and saw a plastic bag just barely hanging onto a root that was sticking out between some rocks. The sounds were clearer, and we were sure it was at least two or three puppies. It was obvious that someone had tried to dispose of them, but that the bag had got caught on the root.”
“I crawled to the side on my stomach to see what the situation was, and told her that we had to do something because the way the puppies were moving around in the bag would eventually cause the bag to slip. I figured that we just had to climb down onto the ledge to be able to reach them. The ledge was pretty wide, and looked stable and easy to get to. Christine said that it was too dangerous, and that there were reasons why we should stick to the paths. I told her that we couldn’t just leave the puppies like that, and said that I would climb down myself. She knew I was determined, even though I was afraid of heights, so she told me not to be silly and that she would do it. She climbed down, but the rocks on the side weren’t stable. She fell backwards onto the ledge with a few rocks on top of her.” Megan’s bottom lip was quivering as she was trying to keep control.
“I was calling out to her to speak to me, but there was nothing. I could see that her eyes were closed and that there was blood on the side of her mouth. I shouted for help, but there was no one around. I don’t even know how I got down to the ledge, but I did. My fear of heights was nothing compared to my fear of losing her. I tried my best to get the rocks off her, but the biggest one was just too heavy. I couldn’t move it. It wouldn’t even budge.” Megan couldn’t control the tears anymore, and was sobbing. Katrina just held her in her arms until she was calm again.
“I wanted to go back up again to try and get some help, but I couldn’t make it up again. I was shouting for help for hours, but nothing. I felt so helpless, and it became dark and very, very cold. I heard later that they couldn’t start a rescue search for us because the mountain was covered in a white cloud, which meant zero visibility with a helicopter. They came looking for us the next morning. I was almost frozen due to the temperature dropping so rapidly up on the mountain at night, and according to them, Christine died sometime during the night from internal bleeding. It was all my fault.” Megan clung to Katrina. She wasn’t trying to stop the tears anymore.
“After that, life was never the same again. I didn’t feel that I deserved to live, so I tried to take my own life. My father and mother would have none of that. They sent me from one clinic to another. It was hell. I eventually realised the only way to get out of my hell, was to become like my parents who felt nothing, but controlled everything. That is who I’ve been ever since. It has worked, because I was able to live life knowing I caused the death of my best friend.” Katrina wouldn’t let go when Megan tried to move away.
“No one’s life is cast in stone Megan, and I’m sure Christine wouldn’t want you to live your life this way. It’s not the way she should be remembered. Your friendship defined who you were, and by giving up on that, you gave up on her.”