by Harry

Annie Besant was due to go to stay with her parents in Spain for the long Summer holidays and Roxana to spend her time in the North Country at her parent's ancestral home - a place she loved to be and dearly wished her best friend to see for herself.

"There's this huge lake in the middle of our estate and the most enchanting island in the middle of it," said Roxana. "One day I'm going to row over to it and explore it, and I'd so love you to walk over it with me. I know it's a magical place and we'd be so happy there!" She giggled at this and Annie stared at her, for once puzzled at her friend.

Annie was looking forward to seeing her mother and father again, but not as much as she would have thought all those months ago when she had been tearfully parted from them for the first time. As soon as she had caught Roxana's eye and they had both laughed together over some silly thing they had both long since forgotten about, she'd immediately lost all feelings of loneliness. The two had done everything together ever since. The "Siamese Twins" was how they had come to be known by all the other girls, many of whom were jealous that these two should be so obviously happy together when they were still terribly homesick.

Every year it was the same. Annie's parents insisted that she spend the holidays with them, despite her pleas to be allowed to stay with Roxana at her home. They both came to dread these separations, eagerly looking forward to the beginning of term and being together again

The couple never wavered in their friendship all through their time at school. Despite the rivalry between them as they competed for all the top academic and sporting honours (pretty evenly shared) their love for each other only grew, but, since Annie was never to see Roxana's home; the subject of the magical island in the lake was never mentioned again and she almost forgot all about it, except for a residual memory at the back of her mind.

Finally the two - eighteen years old by now - walked arm in arm through the school gates for the last time. They missed the old place and both shed a tear. Only one tear though! After all, they were still in each other's company and had the long vacation ahead of them and were both going to explore the Continent as the most glamorous backpackers ever to wander the Earth together! And, at the end of their tour, Annie was at last to see her friend's home. This last was Roxana's most happy thought as they set off on their journey.

By the time they had reached Dover and Roxana had collected a letter from the local Post Office, containing a generous cheque from her parents and Annie admitted that she had been similarly provided for by her doting mother and father, their resolve to rough it for the next six weeks began to weaken! They booked into a medium-priced hotel in Montmartre rather than the Youth Hostel that had been their original intended resting place. Their first night in Paris was spent wandering around that very cosmopolitan area, Le Butte Montmartre and its immediate environs.

As they were wandering together along the Boulevard Clichy, Roxana started shaking with laughter. "You know most of the Bluebell Girls are English, don't you Annie? Maybe we could get ourselves a summer job there!"

"Don't be silly! That's too much like hard work! I saw a programme about it once. Those girls are worked till they drop. Fine holiday that would be! Now being a stripper at that club over there, for instance, that sounds a lot easier!"

The establishment Annie was referring to was one of many such clubs the couple had passed. They had been amazed at the number of such places and the generally debauched atmosphere of this area. Both had dined and wined well and were in a mood of alcohol induced adventurism. As if they had both been convinced together that they were about to embark on a new career, they headed tipsily towards the entrance.

"It's not that easy, Roxana," whispered Annie as the pair watched the gyrating ladies on the small stage in the smoke filled room. They were the only two girls in the audience in the half-filled auditorium. The male customers had hardly noticed when the couple took their seats, being too interested in watching the succession of young ladies coming onto the stage and disrobing to the sound of loud music.

"No," answered Roxana, "but it looks fun! Look at the way all those creeps can`t take their eyes of them even for a second. I`d fancy that kind of attention, even if it is a bit scary."

After an hour or so the pair began to feel sleepy and made their way out and began to think about getting back to the hotel. A few yards along the street, they were overtaken by a middle aged and smartly dressed man. "Young ladies! You are English, Oui? I can always tell! The lovely complexion you get in that terrible climate! I hope you liked our little show?"

"Very much!" said Annie. "How much do those ladies get paid for a night's work?"

"Two hundred Francs an hour, Mademoiselle. Some girls get more if the clients tip them and sometimes they do favours for our best customers. You two - I would pay you much more. You are both marvelous, such wonderful looks. But I see you are two such very nice girls and do not need the money any way. I wish you both `bon nuit'."

Before he slipped back to his business and the cares of life which seemed to sit so lightly on his shoulders, he handed both girls a card, bearing his telephone number and address. "Call me in the morning if you are interested, Mon chèries."

They were both exhausted after their first exciting night in Paris. They fell asleep immediately. When consciousness was finally restored to them, the sun was shining through the window. Roxana was the first to stir, mainly because the bright morning rays were falling right onto her face. She covered her eyes with her hands and sat up. When she was properly awake she got out of bed, looking across to the still comatose Annie. Finally she went over and gently shook her friend's shoulders, feeling how warm they were under her hands.

"Come on lazybones! We've got a whole day ahead this city. Don't let's waste a single precious second!"

After a continental breakfast in the small dining room they made their way on foot in the general direction of the river, intending to visit Notre Dame Cathedral. An earnest looking and bespectacled English youth bumped into them on the way and they soon fell into conversation with him after laughingly accepting his embarrassed apologies.

This learned young man advised the pair to make a visit to the Sainte Chappelle as well as Notre Dame. "Quite honestly, I think it far more beautiful. Make sure you go upstairs to the upper chapel. You won't regret it"

They asked him to go along with them, being amused at his earnestness and charmed by his obviously good nature. He agreed. As they found out more about each other, it transpired that he was at present working in the city for the Paris branch of a British bank and was due to return home in a few weeks.

Before the conversation could proceed further (he was about to ask them what they did) the trio turned around to investigate the cause of a sudden commotion behind them.

The disturbance was being caused by a pair of girls, both young plump and pretty in a bouncy, large-breasted kind of way. The bounciness of their breasts was plain for all to see (even their short-sighted new friend) since both girls were naked, save for the fact that one was wearing a pair of loose-fitting sandals one of which fell off her fleshy little foot as they watched. The flying streaker paused only to disengage herself from the other sandal and then put on a spurt to catch up with her companion. Soon they were both out of sight and relative calm returned to the Boulevard Magenta.

"Does that happen a lot around here?" asked Annie of the young man. "And what's your name? I'm Annie and this is Roxana, by the way."

"I'm Francis, but mostly I get to be called Frank. And, no, it doesn't happen every day!"

"What do you want us to call you?" asked Roxana.

"Actually, I prefer Francis"

"OK! Francis it is! Glad to meet you, Francis old chap! I think we need a coffee after all that excitement - not that it`s all that exciting for us - not in our job." Roxana nudged Annie in the ribs as she said this and winked.

Francis said he had been about to ask them what job they did, if any, before the irruption of the daring young ladies onto the scene.

As they sat in the pavement café, Roxana said, "As a matter of fact we're a pair of exotic dancers at a club in the Avenue Clichy. We start there tonight. Today we`re just having a bit of a culture experience before the hard grind of work takes over. You must come and see us doing our stuff sometime. We`re much better to look at that that flabby pair back there! Not such enormous breasts perhaps, but not as many rolls of flab either!"

Annie had to avoid meeting her friend's eyes at this. She was fighting hard to control her mirth at the whopping untruth Roxana had just delivered to this delightful but obviously naïve young fellow. They chatted for a few minutes, trying to think of convincing things to tell the goggle-eyed Francis about their fictional job, and then resumed their walk to the Île de la Cité and its impressive collection of mediaeval buildings.

They were impressed by the scale of the cathedral but had to agree with Francis that the Sainte Chappelle was an amazing experience, especially the incredible stained glass on the upper floor.

Francis excused himself after they emerged into the courtyard of the Palais de Justice, explaining that he needed to be back at work in the afternoon. The still mischievous Roxana handed him a slip of paper on which she had scribbled the address of the club at which he believed them to work. Annie spotted this and her heart sank. She guessed what was going on inside that red-haired head and didn't know whether to feel afraid or very, very excited!

"I'll really miss you two when I go home tomorrow. I hope you both enjoy the rest of your time in France. Why not try a week or two at that nudist island - you know the one - it's called Île du Levant. You should be used to baring your bodies by now, after your weeks at that joint and you must both be loaded after all the lovely cash you've both taken!"

Annie, Roxana and Francis were having a café au lait at the same café they had paused at a few weeks ago - the day they had first bumped into dear old Francis and when the girls had taken the decision to take up the offer of a job as performers at a striptease joint. Francis had been their most loyal admirer over the weeks, happily taking up the chance of free admission as a friend of two of the most popular artistes.

"You two really came on over the weeks, but oh, you were pretty hopeless on the first couple of nights you worked there! Only those fabulous bodies and Annie's black hair and mysterious eyes saved you from being a total disaster," said the by now knowledgeable Francis, a sophisticated connoisseur of the first order after his weeks of inspecting the bare bodies and assessing the routines of numerous young ladies!

The pair had long ago confessed to their friend that they had lied to him on that first day, and that their change of career had been a spur of the moment decision, inspired purely by a sense of mischief, which both had regretted for a while after he had left them outside the Sainte Chappelle.

Immediately after parting from Francis, Annie had exasperatedly turned on her laughing friend, "You mad bitch! Telling him we work at that place and then handing him the address! You're absolutely serious about working there too, aren't you?"

"Why ever not, Annie? As long as the punters can only look and not touch! They can look at me as much as they like! And the money sounds very generous! Just think what we could do with it - no more third class hotels for us!"

And so they had called the owner of the club and been invited round for an audition. He'd professed himself satisfied with their appearance, but told them they must work hard to improve their act. The first week was full of rehearsals which took up the whole day and they soon began to doubt the wisdom of their madcap decision. Once they'd developed the few skills involved they were able to relax, having most of the day free to roam the city after finally waking after their late nights, writhing and squirming away on the tiny stage.

They had both received numerous offers from the clientèle mostly involving nocturnal visits to their homes. It had been tiresome at times to fend them off, but they had succeeded in retaining their virtue despite many persuasive and wistful efforts to deprive them of it! Most of the clients at the club had been pretty awful types anyway, dividing equally between sad middle aged men and young drunks out on the town. It had been an experience, though, and something to tell the other girls about at finishing school!

Although shaving had not been insisted upon, most of the other girls' genitalia being already thus bared, our heroines' refusal to go this far had caused some disappointment in the heart of the otherwise satisfied Jules Lebrun. They soon appreciated, however, that it was in the vernacular, `de rigueur' for their routine to include plenty of time to allow a proper inspection by the audience of their pudenda, with them fondling and massaging their womanhood suggestively as the watchers reacted in their various ways. At first they'd both felt embarrassed and not a little soiled at this, but the satisfying feel of the banknotes that Jules pressed into their eager and willing palms every night soon served to overcome these scruples.

For some reason, they'd never developed any particular friendships with the other girls, some of whom seemed to resent the English pair's popularity and fresh good looks, but relations had only once degenerated into downright unpleasantness and this was on their first night when three or four of the other ladies had waylaid them on the way back to the hotel. The efficient and very enthusiastic relish this alarmingly fit couple had demonstrated in dealing with the attack, leaving two of their assailants too bruised to be fit for duty for a week, had convinced the rest of the regular performers to leave the pair alone. At the end of their stint there was even a certain amount of very grudging respect for them both. They were certainly a very striking pair, in more ways than one!

"What are clothes, Annie? I seem to remember the word somewhere at the back of my mind, months and months ago before we came to this heaven together!"

Annie turned onto her side and looked at her friend's naked body, tanned now a deep brown, just like her own, after all these weeks spending the proceeds of their lucrative employment as Parisian strippers.

"We'll need to get used to them again soon enough, my sweet; tomorrow, in fact. Your parents must be frantic about you by this time and so must mine!"

It was halfway through September now and the pair of school friends had been in this nudist resort in the South of France since leaving their jobs on the "Stage" towards the end of August. Their good and bespectacled friend Francis had joined them for a week, but had just returned to England and all the miseries of autumn, whence the pair Knew that they must take themselves soon enough.

They'd immensely enjoyed the long summer vacation, the first they had spent together in all the years of their deepening friendship. These last weeks on the Île du Levant had been especially precious to them both. As Annie had implied in her question, they had worn not a stitch of clothing for the whole of their time here, even during a short cool and rainy spell of two days' duration, and the idea of a return to normal living was hard to come to terms with. Tomorrow, though, they would have to come to terms!

They reviewed together the events of the past summer.

"I liked the bit when those other girls jumped us and we chased them off with a flea in their ear!" said Annie, her eyes shining as she relived the occasion again.

"Oh, Yes! Pity there weren't a couple more of them - enough to give us a bit more of a challenge, though."

"Perhaps. But then we might have brought the entire show to a halt if we'd damaged any more of them. As it was, we were all on overtime for a fortnight until those two came back. Funny thing - I really liked them after that."

They remained silent for some minutes, reliving that exciting few minutes, when the Parisian night air had resonated to the crack of English fists on French faces and the thud of Anglo Saxon knees into Gallic abdomens. They both wriggled with contentment on their respective beach mats. Yes, they had certainly re-fought the Battle of Waterloo on that occasion!

"It's a nice country, though, Annie," murmured Roxana. "Although it's a pity about that nasty revolution of theirs - a great pity! Spoils the whole place, somehow."

Annie agreed with this reservation. Both girls had reacted with great distaste to the frequency with which their eyes had encountered the ubiquitous legend "Liberté Egalité Fraternité" wherever they looked. Yuck! Gross!

As they were both reflecting on the horrors of the Reign of Terror and other distressing things, the Vicomte de Brognac wandered across and they invited him to join them. They really admired this handsome aristocrat. Never had they imagined that the human body could sport such a goodly covering of wiry black hair - and his chest was a pretty wonderful sight as well!

They asked him when he would be leaving for his rather run-down château, of which they had heard him talk often and affectionately. He replied that he would be leaving on the morrow, since the Island would be dead without his two favourite English chicks to talk to and look at. Then he answered their unspoken prayers and invited them both to spend a few days with him as his very honoured and hopefully nude guests! They both accepted with gratitude.

The Château Brognac was on their route home and a few days spent there would break the journey nicely, as well as providing both of the, by now, dedicated naturists to avoid the necessity of being clothed for a few more precious days.

The Vîcomte shivered and hoped his two hardy young guests would not notice his discomfort. They were all sitting on his terrace, watching the sun go down, for the fourth time on their extended visit to this enchanting, if rather crumbling residence. Roxana and Annie had eagerly availed themselves of their host's invitation to remain naked for the entirety of their visit, which he trusted would be long. He was beginning to regret the foolhardy munificence of this open-ended invitation.

They were two young girls who were fresh from a stint at an English Public School whose high-born pupils were expected to endure all manner of Spartan rigour as part of their character building education. He was a man approaching middle age who had long been used to comfort. That nudity which was so pleasant in the hot summer sun, surrounded by acres of luscious female flesh was something of a burden in the French autumn, especially when the sun was setting and the wind was getting up!

He had immediately taken to the two inseparables when they walked confidently into the hotel and had made haste to wow them with his Gallic charm. They had been impressed with that, but far more so by his impressive physique and hirsute body, which they both had in their mind's eye as they went to sleep, praying that they would be allowed to dream about it all night. He had desired both from the start, but neither had wished to put the other's nose out of joint by being the first to savour the joys of love with such a prize stallion! So all three had been denied the pleasure of carnal knowledge, and the two girls were beginning to be relieved about this as they studied more closely all the signs of aging that a scrupulous examination of the aristocrat's well tended body revealed.

"You look so splendid tonight, Henri," said Annie. "I shall always remember these evenings here on this terrace as we drank our evening drinks and watched the sun set and felt the gentle breezes waft across our bodies!"

The Vîcomte agreed with as much simulated sincerity as he could muster, suppressing yet again the urge to shiver. Did these cursed girls never feel cold? He was beginning to hate them both and wished they would go back to their God forsaken country of rain, mist and fog! Then he looked down at his manhood and was shocked by what he saw and had been feeling for some little time.

The cold was beginning to affect him in a very odd way, causing his penis to become erect. The discomfort was beginning to bring him to orgasm! Sacré Bleu! He rose hurriedly and went inside, returning later with his clothes on, but assuring his guests that they need not join him in dressing.

Both girls had noticed this interesting physiological phenomenon and well understood the need for their host's hasty exit. It made them wonder if their continued (in the face of all the odds) virginity would last much longer in this man's home, and left the next day. The Vicomte promptly went down with a very bad cold which later turned to pneumonia.

The girls, meanwhile, continued their return trip to England, only pausing for a couple of hours in Paris to revisit their former employer and colleagues, who all seemed overjoyed to see them again - including the two girls they had injured.

Finally they stood on the stern of the ferry and watched the coast of France fade away into the distance. They embraced as they bade farewell to the scene of their first holiday together and Annie looked forward to seeing Roxana's home.

"I think we must be just about as close to each other as it is possible for two people to be," said Annie.

"I hope so, my sweet, but we shall have to wait and see," was Roxana's rather cryptic response.

"Now don't go catching cold, you two! Remember you're back in England now," said Lady Foxcroft as the two girls prepared to go outside in order that an eager Roxana could at long last show her friend around the estate. Neither girl was wearing a coat and both had bare arms and shoulders. The older lady shivered just looking at them!

"Don't fuss so, Mummy," laughed Roxana. "After all those years of cold showers and draughty classrooms, we're both tough as nails! And it`s what you`ve been paying for all this time, so take advantage and turn that heating down in our room, we`re just about stifled at night. See you later. We`ve got enough food to last the day!"

Both girls had reached Ardenthorpe Manor late the previous night and had not yet had a chance to see the place by daylight. Annie had been longing to see her friend's home for so long and Roxana had been just as anxious to show her. Now the much longed for day had arrived and both girls had slept hardly at all the former night because of their eagerness for the next exciting day to dawn.

Annie had immediately taken to Lord and Lady Foxcroft and warmed to their determination to continue living in the home of their ancestors and stay in the country of their birth. Her own parents had sold up their family home years ago and become contented "tax exiles". Annie applauded her friend's parents and felt a little ashamed of her own. She craved to belong to a piece of English earth like this family. She liked Roxana's two brothers as well, and envied her friend, being an only child herself.

It took a couple of hours to explore the stables and make friends with the horses and grooms. Then the gardens were shown to the admiring Annie. Finally Roxana nervously suggested that the two explore a little further afield. Roxana's arm wrapped itself around Annie's shoulder and she looked anxiously at her friend.

"I want to show you something, my darling Annie. Something I can only share with the most precious person in my life, and maybe not even with you - who knows?"

Annie felt a strange thrill at this. Something she had kept at the back of her mind since the end of their first year at school. She was about to be taken into her friend's confidence in a big and exciting way!

Roxana led her friend across a meadow and into a wood. When they emerged from this sylvan wonderland they were looking at a lake. Roxana's lake which she had spoken of to her friend but once in all the years of their friendship! There it was in the autumnal mist, its waters stretching as far as could be seen in the murkiness.

"There you are, my dearest friend! Is it worth the wait?"


"Do you want to cross to my island, my sweet Annie?"

"Yes! Oh, yes, Roxana. Let's row across now!"

"No, my dear. We'll swim across. We're both wonderful swimmers, after all said and done! Get undressed and let's be off!"

Both of the friends took off their clothes and paused briefly to inspect each other's beloved and shivering nudity before wading into the lake.

It was not long before Annie began to feel too cold for comfort. This was a world apart from the warmth of the Mediterranean and she was seriously worried as to how much further she could go before the cold got to her. And even if they reached this island, they still had to return to the shore and their clothes! What was Roxana thinking? She kept looking back to make sure her companion was still with her and each time she was reassured.

Just as Annie was just about ready to give up and start heading back for the shore (if she could find it in all this mist) the increasingly cold girl noticed something materializing out of the mist. A few dozen more wearying strokes and she saw trees ahead! The island of Roxana's childhood was in sight at last! `Thanks be to Almighty God,' she thought.

Roxana saw the island only a second after Annie. The raven-haired girl was amazed at the shriek of joy which her friend let rip from her lungs at Annie`s declaration that land was in sight.. It was as if all the concentrated happiness of creation was contained in that sublime emanation of sound!

Soon the two exhausted and frozen companions scrambled ashore, the pebbles cutting into their water softened feet as they emerged onto the shore of Roxana`s childhood dream.

As soon as their bodies totally emerged from the chilly waters of the North country lake, the cold left them. This island was as warm as the paradise they had so recently spent those wonderful weeks. Annie could hardly credit that she was in the Northernmost reaches of England in Autumn.

The two girls wandered into the middle of this lush and well wooded patch of lad in the middle of the lake. It was like being in some kind of fairy realm.

"Have you never been across here before, Roxana?" asked Annie as the pair linked arms and started to wander around this wonderful piece of ground.

"Never. I always wanted it to be something I could share with the person I loved better than all others. Until now this has been forbidden ground. A sort of Taboo. You do love me, don`t you Annie my sweet?"

"Of course! From the first time we laughed together over some silly joke or other- from that time onwards, I have always loved you, Roxana. And I always will!"

The two girls embraced and began to push further into the interior of the island. It became warmer and warmer as they went further inland and both girls began to sweat, the tiny globules of moisture glistening on their still tanned skin. Annie became faint with the heat after a while and pleaded with Roxana to be allowed to rest for a while. Her friend sternly bade her continue.

After what seemed a trek of many hours they came to a clearing in the wood in the middle of which was a kind of rough and ready hut. Two tall, handsome and very naked young men emerged and stood, arms folded, as the trembling duo approached.

"Welcome Roxana! And welcome to Roxana's friend. Doubly welcome, both of you." The tall young men stood impassive and unsmiling as they spoke these words. The couple continued to approach until they were near enough to feel the youths' sweet breath upon their faces.

"We wish to impregnate the bold maidens who dare intrude upon our sacred isle. After this you must both return to your homes and never trouble us again. Surrender those naked and wholesome bodies to us or never leave this isle again!"

The two trembling girls laid down their willing young virgin bodies on the mossy ground and the shadow of the two strong youths blotted out the sky from their sight. After a heavenly interval, their lovers withdrew and once again stood above them in the same attitude as before.

"Go in peace, gentle pair. Take our blessings back to the world with you!"

The two friends put their clothes back on after swimming back to the shore. Both were far too overcome by what had taken place on that lake island to be able to speak a word to each other. They embraced again, once they had finished dressing and made back for the house.

Lady Foxcroft was looking very anxious until she saw the two come into sight and then she merely looked very angry.

"Where on earth have you two girls been all day? My God, Roxana, we've been worried absolutely sick about you both! And your hair, girls. Surely to goodness you haven't been swimming in this weather! You must be absolutely barking mad, the pair of you! And I thought Annie was such a sensible girl! Anyway, you're safe! That's what matters! Dinner will soon be ready. At least you both know how to be in time for the really important things in life!

Dinner was an enjoyable meal for Annie. Both of Roxana's brothers and Lord Foxcroft were charming to her and quite put her at her ease. In time, even Lady Foxcroft lost her ill humour and the conversation became animated and enjoyable for all.

The evening was occupied by a mixture of desultory talk and watching the television, until the two girls made their excuses at around midnight and went up to bed together, their arms round each others' shoulders.

Lord Foxcroft looked at their departing forms and turned to his wife.

"Annie is just as Roxy always said, my dear. Such a down to earth and sensible girl. What a mercy those two became friends. Just what our little darling needed to steady her."

Lady Foxcroft nodded absently. She was not so sure, all of a sudden. In the morning she would have a talk with Annie.

As luck would have it, Annie was the first to come downstairs early next day and Lady Foxcroft was waiting for her.

"Where on Earth did you two get to for such a long time yesterday, my dear? We were all frantic with worry. You went out half dressed in that awful cold and were away for hours. Where did you get to?

"We swam over to the island in the lake." Annie knew this was a stupid thing to say, remembering what had happened there. It couldn't have happened!

Lady Foxcroft looked furious. The she seemed to be striving to keep calm. Finally she smiled and motioned to Annie to be seated.

"Roxana was such a funny girl when she was little. She lived utterly in her own fantasy world and it got quite out of hand so that we became very frightened for her. She simply had no idea of boundaries between reality and her imaginary world. That's why we sent her away to school. We wanted some sane influences brought to bear on her. When she started writing home about you, we were so relieved that she had a friend with her head screwed on the right way. That's why I was so annoyed at your going along with Roxana's silly fantasies last night.

"She grew out of all her others, but that ridiculous island nonsense never quite left her mind! I can't say how frightened I was just now when you mentioned it. There is NO island in that lake, Annie. You must have both managed to swim right across. Let's face it, in that fog, how would you have known?"

Annie mumbled some words to the effect that, of course, they must have swum right across. Then Roxana came down and the two friends kissed each other good morning.

Breakfast was over and the friends were alone, walking down to the lake again. The fog had quite gone and Annie could see that there was, indeed, no island in the lake. They must have crossed it and swum all the way back. How, though? It was a bloody long way in those temperatures!

"Did we really swim to a non-existent lake, Roxana? I remember it all so well."

Roxana angrily asked her friend what nonsense she thought she was talking - and then winked and grinned at her!

They clasped each other in their arms more fiercely and with more utter love than ever before. Annie remembered Roxana's words on the Cross-Channel ferry, when she had said they were as close as any two people could ever hope to be and Roxana had replied, "I hope so, my sweet, but we shall have to wait and see."

These two supremely lucky people had waited and had seen. They were indeed so close that no two other people could ever be closer.

When you enter another person's dream and it is so amazingly real. That really is getting close to someone!