"And next we have Mal Moore, singing Black Velvet."
Mal sighed in relief. A song she loved, thank goodness.
"Thanks Bella." Mal grinned. "Nice choice.
Bella grinned and Mal went up to the stage. She cast a nervous glance at the bar, and saw Aurora watching her, a smile on her face.
Mississippi in the middle of a dry spell
Jimmy Rogers on the Victrola up high
Mama's dancin' with baby on her shoulder
The sun is settin' like molasses in the sky
The boy could sing, knew how to move, everything
Always wanting more, he'd leave you longing for
Black velvet and that little boy's smile
Black velvet with that slow southern style
A new religion that'll bring ya to your knees
Black velvet if you please
Aurora's face during the performance made it very hard to concentrate. Mal tried to focus on Di and the group instead, but she kept getting drawn back to Aurora and her dancing. She was rolling her hips, and she'd come out from behind the bar to dance with everyone else. When the song finished she cheered so loud that Mal could hear her over everyone else.
"Well done Mal. Still got it." Di grinned.
"Thanks. Who's next?"
"Don't know. You alright?"
"Yeah, just a bit warm. Think I might go out for some fresh air."
"Alright. That's what you get for wearing leather trousers!" He laughed.
"Shut up." She grabbed her beer bottle and headed through the crowd to the door for the beer garden. The cool air hit her and she sighed in relief.
"Mal, wait up." Helena appeared, holding her own drink. "We need to catch up."
"Sure." Mal agreed, sitting on one of the picnic tables with her feet on the seat. Helena grinned at her.
"You know you always do that butch sitting when you're trying to keep your whole attitude from slipping."
"Got to keep up the hellish illusion." Mal shrugged, pointing to her horns.
"So how've you been?" Helena asked.
"Keeping busy. Scaring my students, that sort of thing. You?"
"Got a promotion." Helena grinned.
"Congratulations. You'll be running the company before long."
"I basically am at the moment." Helena rolled her eyes.
The door opened and Aurora appeared, stopping in her tracks when she saw Helena.
"Well hey cutie." Helena flipped her hair over her shoulder. Mal rolled her eyes; wasn't Savannah enough for the evening? "What can we do for you?"
"Erm... nothing I just..."
"Oh honey, don't be frightened. We don't normally look like hell demons." Helena chuckled. "Do we Mal?" Mal gave her a look. "Okay well Mal does, but she does it without the horns."
Aurora laughed a little and looked at Mal, who smiled a little in spite of herself. She was trying not to watch Helena flirting, because the red head was a force to be reckoned with and for some reason that worried her.
"Well I think you both look great." Aurora replied.
"Fucking amazing, some might say." Mal commented dryly and watched Aurora smirk. Helena didn't notice.
"Well you don't look so bad yourself honey. Does she Mal? All blonde and daring in her red lipstick and that shirt. And I love your jeans."
"Thanks. I love your outfit. Very sexy devil." Aurora replied. Mal frowned. Was she flirting back intentionally?
"Oh honey I could just eat you up." Helena crowed. "Why don't you come sit and tell me a little bit about yourself?"
"Well I am on my break..." Aurora glanced at Mal, a glint in her eyes. Mal scowled. She was definitely flirting on purpose.
"Helena, I thought you and Savannah were singing soon?" Mal put in casually, earning a glare from her friend.
"I've got time. Besides, I can't leave this gorgeous creature alone with you Mal, she doesn't need terrifying." She turned to Aurora. "Don't worry dear, she's not as scary as she seems. She just hates it when people aren't scared of her."
"Why?" Aurora asked, still standing. Helena smirked from where she was leaning against one of the supports for the wooden cover that gave half of the garden shelter.
"Never figured that out dear. Me on the other hand, I prefer it when people love me. When they can't help but stare and think of me when I've gone. Will you be thinking of me when I'm gone?"
Mal scoffed and rolled her eyes. She wanted to leave so she didn't have to watch this, but she didn't want to leave Aurora alone with Helena.
"Well I'm sure I'll remember you." Aurora shrugged, smirking. Mal chuckled.
"Maybe I'll give you something to remember me by." Helena tried again. "That is, if your shift finishes soon?"
"Helena, leave her alone for goodness sake." Mal interjected, fed up of watching the crazy attempts at seduction. Helena seemed to have lost her touch somewhere between Savannah and here. Not that Mal minded so much, which she cursed herself for, but she had a feeling that Aurora would quite willingly continue the conversation if she thought Mal was jealous. Which she wasn't. Definitely not. "She's not interested."
"I think I can speak for myself." Aurora replied.
"See Mal? I always told you, you're the only one who's been able to resist me."
"So you two never...?" Aurora asked.
"Well, not for lack of trying honey." Helena winked. "But she's a stubborn old thing, and she has a thing for love."
"Helena..." Mal glared.
"What do you mean?" Aurora asked.
"Can't say honey. Not when she's giving me that look. I'd rather like my face to remain like this."
Aurora was looking at Mal with a smile on her face. A caring smile, like the one she had worn when she had found Mal playing with Phillip for the first time. Helena seemed to have noticed this time.
"Do you two know each other...?"
"Helena, it's time for our duet." Savannah appeared.
"Coming." Helena flashed her a grin. "Nice meeting you honey." She followed Savannah through the door, who waved at Aurora before it closed.
There was a silence.
"So, that's Helena."
"She likes to flirt huh?"
"She's best when not encouraged."
"Don't tell me you were jealous?" Aurora chuckled.
"You're making it very difficult to not be." Mal admitted.
"Oh." Aurora frowned. "Sorry. I mean I know it's difficult, and I kind of decided I was going to stop flirting like you said... but then you came in looking like that..." her eyes trailed down Mal and the older woman shivered in delight. "It's hard for me too okay? Maybe it will stop?"
"I don't think so." Mal sighed, putting her head in her hands, her elbows resting on her knees.
Aurora's feet appeared in her vision and she looked up quickly.
"I'm not going to do anything." Aurora raised her hands at Mal's startled expression. "I just think this is going to be difficult for a long time, and so we could both do with some comfort right now."
She turned round and sat on the bench, between Mal's legs, and rested her head on Mal's knee. Mal paused for a moment, taken aback by the tenderness of the position, and then put her hand gently on Aurora's shoulder and rubbed her thumb over her shirt and skin.
"Maybe I could sit further back in class?" Aurora suggested. "And you..." She took a deep breath as Mal's thumb skimmed over her skin. "You could stop wearing..."
"I hope you're not about to say clothes." Mal chuckled. "Because that would not be very productive. Or appropriate at work."
Aurora laughed and shook her head.
"No. I was going to say, there are certain things you wear that make it very hard to concentrate."
"Like what?" Mal mused.
"These trousers," Aurora traced a finger down the seam on Mal's calf, and Mal took a sharp intake of breath. "This waistcoat. That tight black skirt. Those hight waisted pin-stipe trousers..."
"You're removing most of my work wardrobe."
"Only to prevent me wanting to remove your wardrobe during work."
"Fine then. No more wearing your work clothes to class or to our assistant sessions. And no more red lipstick, and if you have to wear those adorable sun dresses could you at least wear something over your shoulders?"
"But what about when it's hot?"
"You couldn't possibly get any hotter." Mal smiled gently, glad Aurora couldn't see her face. She wanted to stroke the smooth, soft skin of her exposed neck. "Your hair."
"What about it?"
"It's hard enough concentrating when it's down but right now is worse."
"Because I just want to pull out all of the pins and stroke through it. Or leave it there so I can see your neck."
"Are you a vampire?" Aurora teased.
"No but it does make me want to bite you." Mal chuckled and then covered her hand with her mouth. She knew she shouldn't have said that. Aurora had stilled in her seat. "I'm sorry."
"Don't be. My dreams will never be the same again."
Mal smirked even as she felt her cheeks flush. Aurora had dreamt about her too?
"That I can do to make this easier?" Mal asked. Aurora sounded distracted, and her finger had begun to trace the seam of Mal's trousers again.
"If we ask anything else we're going to just have to avoid looking at each other."
"I tried that. It doesn't work."
Aurora turned her head to grin at Mal.
"I'm irresistible." She teased. "Is that what you're saying?" Mal didn't answer. She couldn't. She could feel the last dregs of restraint disappearing. Aurora stood up. "I have to get back."
"See you in there?"
"I guess so."
"I'm singing in a bit."
"Does it matter?"
"Worried you might lose all this self control?"
"Then I hope you're stronger than you give yourself credit for, or this whole restraint conversation will have been pointless."