Chapter 2: Forever and Always

"Annabelle Tillman." As soon as Mother Immaculata called her name, she crossed the stage, a victorious smile on her face as she took the diploma from her hand.

Her mother was there for publicity reasons. Her rebellious daughter had graduated, after all. As soon as the ceremony was over, Annabelle was heading out the door away from her mother, not paying attention to what was being said as she searched for Simone.

Where are you? Simone, come on. Where are…Her thoughts were cut short as she felt arms slip up around her from behind. She felt herself relax into the embrace, the smell of lavender overriding her senses.

"You've graduated now, haven't you, Annabelle?" the blonde husked seductively in her ear.

She repressed a grin and turned around in her grasp, a playful glint in her eyes, her voice holding the same playfulness, "Of course I have, Simone. You want to see my diploma?"

"I want to take a few pictures, first." Simone said, holding up a camera that Annabelle now realized she had hanging around her neck.

She had just finished the last of six or seven pictures when Mother Immaculata and Annabelle's mother walked towards them. A grin slipped onto Simone's face as she pulled Annabelle flush against her and planted a searing kiss on her lips. The gasps that escaped from her aunt and Annabelle's mother didn't phase her, her tongue dueling with Annabelle's, the beautiful brunette's low moan drawing her in for more. Only when Mother Immaculata said her name did they finally pull apart.

"Simone, what's the meaning of this?" the Head Nun asked at the same time Senator Tillman spoke,

"Anna, what the hell?"

"My resignation is already on your desk, Aunt Immaculata." Simone said. "Annabelle and I are in love."

"Love?" Mother Immaculata spat the word. "This is just…"

"Anna?" Senator Tillman addressed her daughter, "Is this true?"

Annabelle smiled, relaxing once again into Simone's grasp, "Yes. It's very true."

"Simone, you can't just quit." Mother Immaculata said, looking at her niece. "The two of you…it's wrong."

"I can quit." Simone said, holding her lover tighter. "And I did. This isn't illegal. She's 18 today. She's graduated. I'm no longer her teacher."

"Please, Simone, recon…"

"Are you happy, Anna?" Annabelle's gaze swiveled to her mother as she cut the Head Nun off.

"Yes." She responded, her gaze moving to Simone's eyes, eyes so like her own. "More happy than I've been in my entire life."

"Then I have no say in what you do. You're 18 now. I want to give you your gift now." She fished in the pocket of her suit and pulled out a set of car keys. "The car's parked around back." The Senator smiled and walked up to the two, handing Annabelle the keys. "Happy Birthday, Anna." She looked at Simone and smiled, "Please don't hurt her. I've never seen her so in love with anyone like she is with you, Miss Bradley."

Simone smiled, "Please, call me Simone. And don't worry, Senator Tillman. I would never hurt Annabelle."

"Simone," Mother Immaculata spoke again, her eyes on the two lovers. "You…"

"I'm sorry, Mother Immaculata, but I've made my decision." She looked down at Annabelle. "Ready to go?"

Annabelle smiled and pressed a chaste kiss to her lips, "Yes."

"To the beach house?" the blonde asked as they began to walk away, her arm protectively around Annabelle's waist.

"Grocery store, first," she responded with a small laugh. "We don't want to starve, do we?"

A possessive light took root in Simone's eyes as she kissed her, the words coming out mere seconds before the kiss, "I could eat you if I get hungry."

"I wouldn't have it any other way." Annabelle said as she returned the kiss.

END

A/N: According to Katherine Brooks, Annabelle was going to be 18 four days after she and Simone had made love. For the purpose of my story, I changed it. Obviously. I hope you enjoyed it. R & R please. Hime no Kowai Shumi