Time: Clock of the Heart

by Alex Tryst

Disclaimers: This is a sequel to Persistence and would be difficult and confusing to read if you haven't read Persistence first. Some of you may recognize the title of this book as a song title from my favorite 80s band, Culture Club, but I assure you that no infringement was intended. I simply felt that George O'Dowd's (Boy George) song of loving, losing, and learning to love again perfectly expressed the sentiments of this piece. I also must state that there are several songs in this book that have been modified from their original content, and even though I attribute them as original works by one of my characters, they really were written by Babyface and on his "For the Cool in You" CD (which I only bought because the sales girl was flirting with me and I wanted a date, but that's a story for another time). Due to the unfamiliarity of these songs, most people won't know the melody, but they read more like poetry, so this shouldn't hinder your enjoyment. As for sex, violence, language and so on, this is a rather tame story. Of course there is sex between two consenting adult women, and if this is illegal where you live or offensive to you, you must do a 180 degree turn immediately. There isn't any violence that I can think of, and I could count the uses of foul language on one hand, well maybe two.

Dedication: To my wife, you are my fondest wish. To my fans of Drew and Lola, this one is just for you. You asked for it, and you got it. Enjoy!

Now on with the show........................

Part 1

Chapter 1

Drew pulled up to her house at half past eleven that night. She had expected to be home much earlier but an emergency at work kept her from her precious family that evening. Knowing that everyone should be asleep, Drew quietly crept inside before securing the door behind her. The kitchen light was still on, drawing her into the room where a note had been left on the counter by her beloved Lola stating that she had put a plate of food in the refrigerator for her if she was hungry and to hurry to bed.

Even though Drew was hungry, she opted to skip the meal and head straight upstairs. When she got up to the second floor, she bypassed the master bedroom, softly opening the first of three doors on the right side of the hallway. Noting that their baby girl was not in the nursery, Drew moved on to the second room. Sprawled out in the middle of the bed, covers on the floor, and pajamas misbuttoned and mismatched was her five year old son Jack. Drew stifled a laugh at his attempt to dress himself for bed as she went to retrieve his blanket. Maneuvering him back into the correct position, she covered him as she lightly stroked his dark hair. Placing a kiss on his forehead, she left the room for the one next door.

As she walked in, she noticed that her three year old Libby looked more and more like her wife everyday. Drew thought back to a time when she babysat Lola at Libby's age and how similar they really were in all facets. Taking a moment to brush Libby's golden hair, Drew bestowed a kiss upon her as well before heading to she and Lola's room.

Opening the door as quietly as possible, Drew stepped in to find Lola lying naked on her side of the bed, a book laying face down on her stomach as she reclined against the headboard sound asleep. Next to her where Drew normally slept was their youngest child, four month old Emma also sleeping. Coming over to where Lola was, Drew leaned down to kiss her lips softly.

Lola moaned before her eyes fluttered open. "Hey. Where have you been?" she asked with a sigh. "I called the station looking for you, and they said you had an emergency, but they wouldn't tell me where you were."

Drew took a seat on the edge of the bed and caressed Lola's bare thigh lightly. "One of my deputies got shot this evening in the line of duty. I've been at the hospital with his family. Sorry I didn't have time to call."

"I was concerned about you. Are you all right? Will he be all right?"

Drew shrugged. "I'll be okay. It's just hard at times like these. I care about my guys so much, and I hate it when something like this happens. It's hard to tell someone's wife that her husband has been seriously injured and that you have no idea if he's going to make. It's hard to watch her crying over her husband's unresponsive body, knowing that I can't do a damn thing to make either of them feel better." she mumbled slouching forward a little.

Lola moved to embrace her. "Drew, you're such a kind, giving spirit. I'm sure it helped that you were there with her. Why don't you get ready for bed? I'll go put Emma down."

Drew simply nodded before heading into the bathroom. By the time she returned Lola was back in bed awaiting her with open arms. Climbing into bed Drew laid her head against Lola's breasts and promptly fell asleep from the emotional stress of the day. A few hours later Drew was roused from sleep by a constant nudging and her wife's voice. "What is it?" she grumbled not even attempting to move from her place on top of Lola's frame.

"Emma's crying. I need to get up, Drew." Lola stated much more patiently than she felt due to the fact that Emma had been crying for several moments and threatened to wake the other kids if left unattended too long. Drew groaned but complied with Lola's unspoken request that she move. Rolling onto her back, she went back to sleep as Lola left the room.

A couple of minutes later, Lola returned with Emma in her arms. Taking a seat on the bed and reclining back against the headboard, she let Emma settle against her breast as the infant began to feed. Lola regarded her wife intently as their youngest took nourishment from her body. Drew was seemingly passed out from exhaustion not even having bothered with pajamas that night. With the sheet barely covering her lover, Lola got a chance to examine Drew's naked body as the older woman slept. Even at forty-eight Drew was in incredible shape, her body lean and tone through years of working out at the station gym and around their horse farm. Lola's eyes trailed over Drew's broad, strong shoulders passed her firm breasts to her favorite part of Drew's body, the taut, rippling muscles of her abdomen. Reaching over Lola let her hand slide along Drew's six pack as she reminisced about the feeling of those muscles. Whether astride her partner or with Drew lying in the cradle of her thighs, Lola always loved the exquisite feeling of those muscles slithering along her overheated, sensitive, wet flesh whenever they made love. She couldn't even remember the last time she and Drew had been intimate, knowing that it was sometime while she had still been pregnant with Emma.

Suddenly her musings were interrupted by Drew's husky voice asking, "What are you doing?"

Lola blushed. "Oh, just thinking. Would you flex you abs for me, honey?" she asked sweetly.

Drew gave her a quizzical look but replied, "Sure."

Lola moaned as her hand skimmed over the surface. "Oh, I just love that feeling." she mentioned.

Drew rolled over onto her side, so she could get a better view of her daughter. "Man, that's one lucky girl right there." Drew stated propping up on her elbow.

"Why do you say that?"

"Every time she cries she get a face full of your luscious breasts. Had I known that was the key, I would've tried that technique a long time ago." she teased. "I hope she realizes those are only on temporary loan, because they are all mine."

Lola laughed. "You aren't jealous now, are you Drew?"

"Only as long as I know you get no sexual enjoyment out of that." Drew said with a joking smile.

Lola laughed. "Hardly, Drew. She lacks your skills, but I do enjoy this. That doesn't bother you, does it?" she asked seriously.

Drew gave her a gentle smile as she sat up next to her. "Not at all. I enjoy watching the two of you together like this. It's the second most beautiful thing I've ever seen." she said as she cupped the back of Emma's blonde head.

"The second most beautiful? What's the first?" Lola inquired.

Drew placed her hand against Lola's cheek, turning it toward her, so they were face to face. "The sight of you when we make love. There is nothing more beautiful than the sight and sound of you as you reach your fulfillment. It's just been a long time since I've seen it."

Lola blushed at her lover's words. "It's been too long, Drew, in my opinion." Lola admitted as she leaned in for a kiss.

A few kisses later Drew pulled back slightly and looked down at their daughter. "Maybe if piglet there is finished, we can talk about this more in depth." she suggested giving Lola a sexy grin. Several minutes later Emma had completed her meal, and Drew took her back into the nursery to burp her before putting her down. By the time she returned to the master bedroom for the much anticipated loving from her wife, Lola was already sleeping soundly. Drew chuckled at the situation, more amused than frustrated that another opportunity to make love to the most beautiful woman in the world had passed. Sliding in next to her wife, Drew clicked off the light and put her arms around Lola as sleep claimed them both.

Drew was awake first the following morning, knowing that Lola had gotten up at some point during the night with Emma again. Even though she knew her two older children were probably about to wake, Drew couldn't bring herself to get out of bed. She laid there watching Lola while the twenty-eight year old was lost in sleep as she thought about their six year marriage. It was eleven years ago that Lola first approached Drew about a relationship, but Drew had adamantly refused, because Lola was the daughter of her best friend. However after five years she crumbled hopelessly to the wiles of the young woman, and Drew felt blessed that Lola had chosen her ever since. Curving an arm around her wife's waist, Drew settled her head against Lola's shoulder and drifted for a few more minutes until she heard the door creak open.

Raising her head she saw their middle child lingering in the doorway. "Good morning." Drew whispered.

"Morning, Mommy. I'm hungry." she said softly as she moved toward the bed on Drew's side.

"All right. I'll fix you something to eat. Is your brother up yet?" Libby nodded affirmatively. "He's hungry too."

"Okay. Just give me a minute. I'll be right there. You wait in the kitchen with Jack."

"Okay. Is Mama going to get up too?" she asked looking at Lola.

"No. Let's let her sleep. Emma kept her up late last night. Go on now. I'll be right there." Once Libby was gone, Drew slipped out of bed and went to the dresser for her pajamas. Quickly throwing them on, Drew made her way downstairs into the kitchen where Jack and Libby were already sitting at their places at the table. "Morning, tiger." Drew greeted Jack giving him a hug before giving Libby one as well. "What do you two want for breakfast?"

"Cereal." they said in unison.

"Well, that's easy enough." Drew mumbled to no one in particular. Going into the pantry, she dug out the cereal specially designated for Saturdays given its sugar content. As she poured two bowls for her kids, she wondered if Lola only allowed the children to eat it when Drew was around, because Drew would handle them when they got on their sugar high. Setting the cereal in front of her children to eat, she started on a pot of coffee for herself. "So, what are we doing today?" she asked them casually.

"Mama said we were going to Grandma and Grandpa's house to go swimming." Jack said with a mouthful.

"Oh really? I didn't know that. That sounds like fun."

"Aunt Nat is coming. Are you?" Jack asked referring to Lola's older sister Natalie.

"Well, tiger, I think I will if you want me to." Drew stated with a smile.

"Yeah. Mommy's coming." Libby squealed in delight.

"Jack, did Mama say what time we were supposed to be there?" He shook his head. Drew checked her watch for the time before deciding that she could call Lola's mother, Katherine, to find out, so after pouring herself a cup of coffee, she went to the phone. Kate's husband Jim answered the phone on the third ring. "Hey, Jim. Good morning." she said.

"Hi, Drew. How are you? How are the kids?"

"They're good. Actually they just told me that we're supposed to be coming to your house to go swimming today, and I knew nothing about it."

"I didn't know either actually. I better let you talk to Kate about that, but I know we're going to be here and would love to see them. Let me get her for you. Hold on."

"Hey, Grandma." Drew joked when her best friend of over thirty years came to the phone.

"Good morning, Drew. How are my favorite grandchildren?"

"Good. They are anxious to come see you today and go swimming. Lola didn't mention it to me, so I was wondering if we were supposed to come over at a certain time or anything."

"No, no specific time. As soon as you can get the troops together is fine with us. We'll be here. I figured we do lunch and dinner here depending on how long you all are going to stay. Just come on over."

"All right. I'll talk to Lola when she wakes up."

"Lola is still asleep? It's after eight. The kids weren't banging down your door this morning?"

"They were, but Lola is pretty tired. I got up with the kids to try to give her a little extra time to sleep. We're both really exhausted, though."

"Well, why don't you let Jim and me keep Jack and Libby for a few days? You two deserve a break. You've been going nonstop for a long time. Let them stay the next few days with us, so you two can get some rest."

"Kate, we wouldn't want to put you and Jim out like that."

"Don't be silly. These are my grandchildren we're talking about here. I love having them around."

"Will they be in Jim's way? I don't want him to be bothered."

"No. He's taking the weekend off, doesn't have to be back at work until Monday. Let them stay the weekend. I know you and Lola could use a little private time."

"Yeah, we could. I'll talk to her about it. Thanks, Kate."

"Anything for my little girl and my best friend. You know that. See you a little later."

About an hour later Drew was sitting on the couch reading the paper as her two older children flanked her engrossed in cartoons when she heard movement on the stairs. Looking up over her shoulder she saw Lola coming down the stairs carrying Emma. "Good morning, Mama." Drew greeted with a smile.

"Good morning, Mommy, kids." she said moving to give all of them hugs and kisses.

"Here. Let me take the little rascal." Drew suggested reaching out for Emma.

"Thanks." Lola moved into the kitchen to get herself something to eat, deciding on a bagel and cream cheese with orange juice. Going back into the family room, she sat in one of the side chairs to eat while she watched tv as well.

"I talked to your mom while you were asleep. She said we could come over whenever we're ready for swimming."

"Okay. After breakfast we'll get everyone ready to go."

"She also suggested that we have a weekend to ourselves by letting number one and two stay for the weekend." she said making sure her kids were not involved in their conversation.

"Oh, I don't know. I don't want to put Mom and Jim though that really. That's a lot of work."

"I said the same thing, but she assured me that it wasn't a problem. Honey, you're exhausted, and we haven't had any time alone in forever. We'll keep piglet here with us obviously, but we could use a little break. If I can handle this crew, you're Mom and Jim can. It'll just be a couple of days. What do you think?"

"It would be nice. I think I feel asleep in the middle of our conversation last night, and I'd like to finish it at some point." Lola said with a smile. Turning to her two older children, she inquired, "How would the two of you like to spend the whole weekend with just Grandma and Grandpa?"

Both children nodded their heads in excitement, so Drew said, "I guess that settles that. Let's get going. Come on kids. Let's get our clothes on."

Kate and Jim's house was about forty minutes from theirs, so they arrived shortly after ten that morning with overnight bags in hand. After hugs for the kids, Kate moved to her daughter and friend. "Thanks for taking them, Mom. It's just going to be for a couple of days, right?"

"Of course. You just let me know when you want them back. Jim and I are glad to have something to entertain us. How many days did you pack for?"

"Just until Monday. Drew has to go back to work then."

"Great but if you still need more time, don't worry about it. I can always buy them some more clothes."

"Don't you dare, Katherine. These kids are spoiled enough. They don't need gifts every time we come over here." Drew warned.

"Lighten up, Mommy. That's the advantage of being the grandmother. I get to spoil them rotten and then send them home to you. Pay backs, Drew, for when you did it to Natalie and Lola." Kate teased with a laugh. "All right, kids. Who's ready for the pool?"

That afternoon Drew and Jim grilled hamburgers for everyone as they all hung out by the pool. Natalie spent most of her time in the pool with the kids and her mother while Lola sat in the shade with Emma. As Drew and Jim stood next to the grill, they shared a few beers as they talked mostly about their respective jobs.

"Jim, I just wanted you to know that Lola and I both appreciate the fact that you and Kate are taking the children for a few days. We've been dead on our feet for weeks."

"Oh, it's a pleasure. It's been too long since Kate and I have had kids in the house. It'll be fun."

"Yeah but I hate that we're taking up your private time. You are still technically newlyweds." she teased throwing a playful elbow into his arm. "I know what that's all about."

Jim chuckled. "Not for much longer. It's been a quick two years."

"Has it been all you expected?"

"More." Jim stated with a smile. "She really is an extraordinary woman, Drew. I'm so glad I found her. When I divorced my first wife, I wasn't sure I'd ever find another woman that could capture my heart so fully, but Katherine did from the moment I met her."

"You know when Paul died, I was worried about her. I had hoped she would find happiness again. You just better be glad it wasn't with me." Drew joked.

"I thank Lola for that. I know that's the only reason I had half a chance. Life really has a strange way of working out, doesn't it?"

"Sure does." Drew agreed looking over at her wife and newest baby.

Drew and Lola left right after dinner that evening. As they took the drive back to their farm, Emma fell asleep in her car seat, leaving the two of them in quiet. Reaching over to Lola, Drew took her hand. "Why didn't we do this sooner?" Lola inquired with a smile. "This is nice to only have to worry about one little infant instead of the three of them. With any luck we'll be able to have that talk from last night." she mentioned with a seductive smile.

"I hope we can do more than talk, Mrs. Emerson-Bailey."

"Well, what did you have in mind, Sheriff Bailey? Maybe if you tell me what you want we could work something out."

Drew gave a demure grin. "Well, as soon as Emma settles down, I was thinking that you and I could take a much deserved soak in a luxurious bubble bath. Then maybe I could give you a little massage, and if I play my cards right I might be able to slip you some of my special love potion."

Lola moaned lightly at the thought. "I have to admit. If you give me that massage first, you might put me to sleep, and I know that's not what you had in mind."

Drew smiled as her hand slipped between Lola's thighs and rubbed the apex of her khaki shorts lightly. "Don't you worry your pretty head about that. I only intend to massage the spots that need me the most." she said suggestively.

"I think you need to step on the gas, Drew." Lola stated placing her hand on top of Drew's and increasing the pressure.

Chapter 2

By the time they reached home, Drew's hand had managed to work itself into Lola's shorts. Bringing the jeep to a quick halt, she turned off the engine just as Lola came across the seat at her. Lola assaulted her with a barrage of sensual kisses, but Drew didn't try to escalate their intimacy, knowing that they had to get Emma inside into bed before continuing. "All right, Lola. Just slow down there, woman. We've got all night. I promise." Drew assured her. "Let's get Emma put down first, and then we can wear each other out."

Lola regretfully pulled away and nodded. "Okay. Hopefully she'll stay asleep for a few hours before making herself known again."

Drew retrieved their youngest from her car seat and took her up to the nursery while Lola disappeared into the master bedroom. By the time Drew entered the bedroom, Lola had turned it into a den of love with candles illuminating the room in a soft glow. Drew heard the water running in the bathroom, so she made a move toward it, fully expecting to see her lover in the tub, but as she cleared the doorway, she saw an empty tub as someone grabbed her around the waist from behind. "Lola?" Drew questioned needlessly as her assailant began ripping at her clothes.

"You're way overdressed, Drew." Lola mentioned pulling Drew's shirt down her shoulders after unbuttoning it. Quickly unclasping Drew's bra, Lola kissed over her back as her hands took in Drew's abdomen before setting to work on the belt of Drew's shorts.

Drew dropped her head back as Lola's hands roamed over her bare torso and Lola's breasts rubbed invitingly into her back.. "I love it when you sneak up on me like this. It makes me so hot for you." she whispered as Lola shoved Drew's shorts to the floor, leaving the both naked.

"I'm so ready for you, Drew. Please take me." begged Lola turning her wife around.

Drew growled as she leaned in to capture Lola's lips in a fervent lock. "Come here." she demanded pulling them over to the tub. Settling them both into the water, Lola's body on top of hers, Drew moved to kiss her frantically again. Drew slid her hand down between their bodies finding Lola completely ready for her. Slipping into her Drew groaned in satisfaction as Lola immediately moaned and began a grinding pace to bring herself to peak swiftly.

Once she had climaxed, Lola gave a sigh of content as she dropped her head onto Drew's shoulder, leaving them interlocked. "Oh, did I ever need that. I love you, Drew." she mumbled, kissing Drew's neck lightly.

"I love you too, Lola. Glad to be at your service." Drew replied.

Several minutes passed in silence before Lola finally released Drew's hand from its confinement. Turning over so her back was against Drew's chest, Lola mentioned, "It's so nice just to be alone with you like this."

"It is nice. It seems like forever since we've had time to ourselves that we weren't passed out in exhaustion. As much as I love sleeping next to you, I married you for those awake activities." Drew joked.

Leisurely they lounged in the tub long after the bubbles has disappeared, just feeling close to each other until they heard Emma's cry on the monitor. "Well, I guess our quiet time is over for now." Lola mentioned with regret as she moved to get out of the tub.

Drew did the same, reaching for her robe as she said, "I'll go see what the problem is. You stay here."

"She's most likely hungry. It's about that time." Lola let the water out of the bath before draping her robe over her shoulders and going into the bedroom. As she thought Emma was hungry, so she took the infant from Drew and settled down into the bedside chair to feed her.

"While you're tending to that, do you want anything from downstairs? A drink or anything?"

"A drink would be nice. Maybe a glass of water. Thanks, honey."

"Sure. Be right back." Drew went downstairs to retrieve water for her wife and a glass of milk for herself. Figuring she could get away with stealing some of her children's cookies without their notice, she put a few on a plate and returned to the bedroom.

Lola grinned when her wife returned with a snack. "You know you're just lucky the kids aren't here to see you with those. They'd be begging for some right about now."

"Well, I think Emma can keep my secret. She won't tell." Drew replied dunking her cookie in her milk to make it the proper sogginess before eating. Once Emma had finished and fallen back to sleep, Drew put her back in the nursery before joining Lola in bed. "Well, this certainly is pleasant. I'm looking forward to tomorrow when it's going to be quiet around here."

"Did you have plans for tomorrow, Drew?"

"Not really, jut enjoying the silence. Why? Is there something you wanted to do?"

"Well, I was kind of hoping to convince you to watch Emma while I went for a ride. I don't even know the last time I got a chance to ride, and I miss it."

"Why don't you go more often?" Drew asked curiously.

Lola looked at her wife like she was crazy. "And exactly when do I have time? Drew, I'm looking after three children all day long. I never have a moment alone much less a few hours. As much as I love being down with the horses, I just don't have time for that anymore. Besides the crew is self-sufficient down there without me. It was one thing when I could take Jack down there when he was a baby, but I can't take the three of them down there at the same time. It would be too stressful, so we just don't go anywhere near the stables. They know they are off limits."

"Well, if you want to ride tomorrow, I'll be happy to stay here with Emma. I would hate to deprive you of your chance to do that."

"Really? You wouldn't mind? I know we were supposed to have some time together, but this really is my only chance."

"I don't mind, sweetheart. I know how much you love riding, and I want you to go tomorrow if you want to. Emma and I will be fine here by ourselves for a few hours. How hard can it be to watch over a child that sleeps most of the time?"

Lola looked at her wife skeptically. "That's what I thought at first, but when you have three of them, it makes it a little harder. I'd love to be a fly on the wall while you were in charge of the three of them for the day. I just know it would be a disaster."

"Hey. Are you saying I can't care for our kids as well as you?" Drew inquired with slight hurt in her voice.

"No, honey. I don't mean it that way. I know with you their well-taken care of, but I'm saying our house might not survive that test is all. You have to admit that when you are in charge things tend to get a little messy around here. They know who the gullible parent is." she teased.

Drew had to conceded to Lola's point. "I guess that's true. It does seem like a tornado has hit whenever I'm in charge. I don't know how you do it as well as you do. You're something else, love." Drew commented leaning to kiss Lola on top of the head.

Lola leaned up to catch Drew's mouth in a soft kiss that lasted several moments. "I love so much, Drew. You are the best provider for us that I could ever ask for. Thank you for taking such good care of all of us."

"Thank you for letting me, Lola, and thank you for choosing me as your mate. Not a day goes by that I don't count that as my greatest blessing." Drew whispered bestowing gentle kisses on her wife.

Several minutes passed as they exchanged delicate kisses before Lola pulled Drew's body on top of her. Opening her thighs for her lover, Lola rocked her hips lightly taking in the feel of Drew's body against her own. "I love the way your body feels against mine." she murmured as her hands took in the landscape of Drew's back and gray hair.

"I love it too, baby." Drew answered leaning down to kiss along Lola's neck and breasts as their love making continued into the night at a tender pace.

The next few weeks of the summer passed much in the same fashion, making weekly trips to Kate and Jim's or having the grandparents visit out at the farm. One particular Saturday Drew had spent the morning down at the stables while Kate was with Lola and the kids. When she came back up to the house for lunch, Lola stopped her at the door looking like she was about to explode.

Wrapping Lola in her arms, Drew looked down at her in concern. "What's wrong, honey? You look about ready to kill someone."

"Your son is being a holy terror this morning. I really need a break, Drew. Do you think you could take him for a little one on one attention? I think he could use a little Mommy time."

Seeing that Lola's patience was gone, she nodded. "Sure. I've got to do some more stuff down at the barn, but I'll take him with me. Maybe it'll be just the distraction he needs. Where is he?"

"He's in timeout."

"That bad?" Drew asked. Lola nodded. "What did he do?"

"He hit Libby, because she wanted to play with one of his cars, and he didn't want her to."

"Okay. I'll handle it. How much more time does he have in timeout?"

"About another minute."

"All right. Could I trouble you for a sandwich? I'm so hungry right now, and I'm needed back down there as soon as possible."

"Sure. I'll make you something. You deal with our little nightmare."

Drew walked to the designated timeout spot and found their son pouting on the bottom stair. Crossing her arms across her chest, she put on her serious face. "Mama tells me she sent you to timeout for hitting your sister." she stated. "Is that true?"

"She started it, Mommy. She took one of my toys."

Drew squatted down, so they were closer in height. "You know the rules about sharing. Hitting someone because you don't get your way is wrong, Paul Jackson. You don't hit people, especially your sisters. Do you understand me?"

He nodded. "Yes, Mommy."

"Good. Now come here." she said reaching for him. He went into her arms for a hug. "You're going to spend some time with me for awhile."

"Really?" he asked excitedly.

"Yeah. I'm going to take you down to the barn. How would you like that?"

"Mama says we can't go down there." Jack mentioned seriously.

"Well, that's true, Jack. You can't go down there by yourself, but I'm going to take you. Do you want to go?"

"Just the two of us? No Libby?" he inquired climbing onto her back for a piggy back ride as they made their way into the kitchen.

"No Libby." Drew clarified much to his excitement.

By the time they got to the kitchen, Lola was putting a sandwich in a little plastic for Drew. "Sorry it's probably not what you wanted but these were left over from the kids' lunch. I promise you a better dinner."

Drew looked at the peanut butter and jelly sandwich that had been mangled by little hands but decided not to push the issue, knowing that Lola was at her wits end. Drew leaned over to kiss Lola's forehead in sympathy. "Thanks, honey. We'll be back later. Let's go, cowboy." Once they got to the barn, Drew let Jack off her back but held his hand as the entered. "All right, Jack. This is not a playground in here. You need to be on your best behavior. There are a lot of things in here that can be dangerous, so stay close to me." With that warning Drew dropped his hand as they made their way back to the office. Drew went about her business with the stable hands, knowing that Jack was near by with they way he clung to her leg as she spoke to her employees. However once they moved out of the office for a small walking tour of the facility, she temporarily lost track of her son being so involved with work. It wasn't until she heard the sound of one of the tractors being turned on that caught her attention. Looking toward the noise, she saw her son playing with the controls. "Jack, that is not a toy!" she scolded, immediately retrieving him and yanking the key out. Turning back to her employees with the keys in her hand, she said, "This is an example of what I was talking about earlier. I don't want any more keys left in equipment. We have a lot of kids that come through here, and it's a lawsuit waiting to happen, not to mention the keys could get lost. From now on every key gets labeled and put on a board in the office." She tossed the keys to the office manager before looking down at Jack.. "Son, what did I tell you about being on your best behavior? These are not toys in here."

"Mommy, I wanna look at the horses." she stated.

"In minute, Jack. I have to finish this first." she said going back to work. Moving the group outside, Drew continued with her meeting. Ten minutes later Drew dismissed her workers and looked around for Jack, but he was nowhere to be seen. "Jack?" she called out. "Jack, where are you?" When there wasn't an answer, she went back into the barn, thinking that he had gone to look at the horses against her warning, but he was not inside. "Jack? Where are you, son?" she called with greater concern as she went back outside.

All of a sudden one of the farmhands said, "Drew, you better come quick. It's Jack. He's gotten into ring with some of the newer horses."

"What?" she screamed out anxiously running to the outside ring. There she saw the five year old standing in the ring oblivious to the agitation he was causing some of the untrained horses. "Jack!" she yelled. "Stay right there, son! Don't move!" Drew ran as fast as she could, scaling the fence and hopping into the ring. As she ran toward him, he began to back away from her, thinking that he was in trouble for running off again. Drew saw her son bump into a black stallion behind him causing him to yelp in surprise and spooking the horse who reared up on his hind legs. "Jack!" Drew screamed at the top of her lungs as she sprinted for him and pushing him out of the way before everything went dark.

Chapter 3

Lola was sitting with her mother and girls in the family when she heard Drew scream Jack's name. However as soon as she heard her son wailing, she knew something was horribly wrong. Jumping from the couch she rushed outside onto the deck. Seeing one of the older horse trainers holding a hysterical Jack in his arms as a small group huddled in the outdoor ring, she took off down the hill toward the commotion. Vaulting over the fence, Lola screamed, "What happened?"

"Mama! Mama!" Jack cried, lunging for her.

Lola took him into her arms as she parted the workers to see who was hurt. As soon as she laid eyes on her wife face down in the dirt her world began to spin out of control. Dropping to her knees, Lola reached for the back of Drew's head with a shaky hand to stop the flow of blood. "Someone get me a towel!" she yelled, her voice wavering with emotion. "Drew, baby, can you hear me?" she whispered to her lover who lay motionless.

Moments later an old towel was placed in her hand by one of their workers. "I already called an ambulance, Lola. They're one their way." he mentioned.

"Does anyone know what happened?" she asked looking around at all their employees.

The young man that had found Jack originally stepped forward and dropped to a knee next to her. "I saw Jack had wandered into the ring with some of the horses we were training today. Drew and I came to get him when one of the horses got spooked. Jack was about to get trampled when Drew pushed him out of the way, and the horse landed on her instead. I'm sorry, Lola." he said quietly.

"Oh, God." Lola whispered clutching her weeping son closer to her body with one arm as she kept the pressure against Drew's head injury. Lola began to cry as the minutes passed seeing her wife's precious blood soaking the ground around her.

"Mommy! Mommy, please wake up! I'm sorry! Please wake up, Mommy! I'll never do it again!" Jack swore as he tried to reach for her, but Lola kept him back.

"It's okay, baby. Everything is going to be all right." Lola consoled him, rocking him slightly, trying to keep him calm.

"Make her wake up, Mama. Please." he begged.

Knowing she couldn't fulfill that request, she simply held Jack closer. "Mommy will be okay, Jack. She just has to be." Turning to address the group, she said, "Someone go up to the house and tell my mother what's going on. Tell her to get the girls ready to follow the ambulance to the hospital."

Hours later found Lola, the children, Kate, and Jim hovering around in Drew's room in the hospital. Even though Lola was a complete emotional wreck, she tried to remain strong for her kids. Jack had worn himself out crying and was now asleep next to Drew in the bed after he had been examined by the doctor for injuries as well. The room was quiet, everyone lost in their own thoughts as Lola rocked a sleeping Emma, and Kate softly hummed to a tired Libby.

"Lola, why don't I take the kids home and get them ready for bed?" Jim suggested. "It might be awhile before we know anything."

Knowing her children didn't need to be around the hospital any longer, she gave a nod. "All right. I'll keep Emma with me, though. Thanks, Jim."

Once mother and daughter were alone, Kate slipped her arms around Lola who began to cry. "I know this is hard for you, baby, but Drew's a fighter."

"I can't lose her, Mom. She means everything to me. I can't live without her beside me." the young blonde sobbed clinging to her mother for comfort.

Kate stared at Drew lying almost lifelessly in the bed. Her head had been bandaged to stop the bleeding, and she lay unconscious to the movement around her. Kate's own heart began to break seeing the woman who had been her best friend for thirty two years clinging to life by a thread as her daughter, her best friend's wife, wept uncontrollably in her arms. "No matter what happens, Lola, you have to know that Drew loves you and the children with all that she is. She put her life on the line today for your son. She saved his life."

"I know. I know. I just feel like this is all my fault. I'm the one that suggested she take him down to the barn. If he hadn't have gone with her, this wouldn't have happened, Mom. She wouldn't be fighting for her life right now. I blame myself. If Drew dies I couldn't face my children knowing this is all my fault."

"Oh, honey, this is not your fault. This is no one's fault. Things like this just happen sometimes. Lola, you have to be there for your kids. They need you now more than ever. They need their Mama right now, holding them and assuring them that they are loved, especially Jack. You can see it in his eyes. Even if he can't express it, you can tell he feels responsible."

"Oh, Mom. He was hysterical when I got to the scene. He kept screaming for Drew, saying he was sorry, that he wouldn't ever do that again. She must have told him not to go near the horses. He kept wanting me to wake her up, but I knew I couldn't. I couldn't do anything but sit there and watch her life fade from her body." she sobbed shaking in her mother's embrace.

The two women cried together quietly until the door opened. "Good evening. My name is Dr. Melissa Johnston. I was in the ER when Sheriff Bailey was admitted."

"Hi, Dr. Johnston. I'm Lola Emerson-Bailey, Drew's wife, and this is my mother, Kate." Lola said standing to shake the doctor's hand.

"Please call me Melissa. May I come in and talk to you about Drew for awhile?" Lola nodded, so Melissa pulled a chair up near the ones they were seated in and sat slumped slightly forward. "Would it be all right if I called you Lola?" she asked politely.

"Of course, Melissa."

"Great. Now can you tell me anything about how Drew got her injuries?"

"I've been told by some of our farmhands that Drew got trampled by a horse trying to save our son's life. Apparently he spooked one of the horses, but Drew managed to push him out of the way before the horse came down on him."

"I see. And your son is all right?"

"Yes. He was examined here at the ER as well, but they said he was fine. Now please, Melissa, tell me about Drew."

"Well, as you probably already know, Drew sustained a major head trauma as well as several broken ribs. This is a very serious matter, Lola. Drew lost a lot of blood, and she's been unconscious since the accident."

"Will she be okay? That's what I need to know right now." Lola said. "She just has to make it. We have three children that need her, not to mention me."

"Lola, I really wish I could give you a definite answer to that. I wish I could tell you that she will wake up, but in all honesty, I don't know that for sure. She's holding on right now, but she's in critical condition. I have to make you aware of the seriousness of this situation. It's not easy to sit here and tell you that there is a chance that she will not make it, but there is a real possibility that she might succumb to her injury over the next few days. Only time will tell. If Drew makes it through the night, there is a better chance of survival, but these next twelve hours are crucial for her." Lola began to cry again as she clung to her mother for support. "Now, Lola, I don't say this to upset you. I just want you to be realistic about what's happening here. I think we should focus on the next few days. She needs you and the rest of her family right now. I'm a firm believer that even though people are unconscious they can hear us. She needs to be surrounded by people that care about her, letting her know that she has so much to come back to, you, her children, the rest of her family."

Lola nodded. "Okay. What happens after she's stabilized?"

Melissa gave a small smile. "That's the attitude we need. I'll be frank with you, Lola. Assuming that she does stabilize, there is a gamete of what we can expect. There is a possibility that she may never wake, or there is a chance that she awake with few side effects, and then there is everything in between. First we stabilize her. Then we work on trying to bring her around. We won't know what brain damage has really occurred until she's conscious."

"Are you saying that she has a chance of complete recovery?" Lola inquired hopefully.

"That is possible, Lola, but we don't know at this point. Please have faith in that but realistic with what is happening in the present."

"I'll try, Melissa."

"That's all I ask. I'm going to go for now, and they are going to take Drew to her new room in a few minutes. I just want you to know that she's being moved to the wing with all the other brain and spinal cord injuries. I'm a specialist in that wing and was just filling in tonight, so I'll see you and Drew in the morning. Okay?"

"All right. Thank you for coming to talk to us, Melissa."

Melissa nodded. Going over to Drew, she took Drew's hand in her own. "Drew, I'm Dr. Johnston, and I'm here to tell you that you've got one hell of a wife here, so please come back to us. She and your kids need you. I'll see you in the morning." Turning to leave Melissa stated, "I'll call upstairs and make sure they put a cot in Drew's room for you and see if there's something we can do for the little one as well."

"Thank you, Melissa."

Kate stayed until Drew was settled in a private room before calling Jim. "I'll tell you what, Lola. Jim has to go back to the city, but I'll stay with the kids. I'll give you a call in the morning to see if you want them to come visit."

"Thanks, Mom. I don't know what I would do without you. Drew's parents should be arriving sometime late tonight. They have a key, so just leave them a note as to where to sleep. I don't care what you decide on."

"All right. We'll call you in the morning. Try to get some sleep if you can. You'll be no good to your children if you don't get rest." Kate softly stated coming to give Lola a hug. "I love you, Lola. We'll get through this. I promise."

"I love you too, Mom. Kiss the kids for me."

Kate nodded before going to Drew. Leaning down Kate kissed her cheek. "Drew, please come back to us. Lola and the kids need you. I need you. I love you." she whispered so her daughter would not hear her desperation.

Once Lola was left with just she and Emma, she took a seat at Drew's bedside as she cradled their daughter. "Well, Drew, if you wanted a break, you could've just said so. You didn't have to go to such great lengths to get some alone time." she joked through her tears. "It didn't work, though. You're still going to have to put up with the kids and me. We're going to be here. You'll be so tired of us hanging around your room that you'll just wake up and tell us all to be quiet." She was silent for a moment before saying, "Please wake up, Drew. The kids need you. They are too young to be without you, and I need you. I need you at home with us. I need you in our bed loving and protecting me. I'm not ready to let you go, so you better just make up your mind to come back to me. I've got lots of loving to give to you before it's all over. This is not your time, Drew. You just tell God that you're not ready, that you still have a lot left to do."

Lola sat up for several hours before deciding to move to the cot that had been rolled in for her. Placing Emma in the crib that had been brought in as well, Lola closed her eyes, knowing that she would not sleep but trying to rest for her children's sake. Between the nurses coming to check on Drew every hour and Emma's schedule, Lola didn't sleep at all, but she felt better being able to lie down for awhile.

Melissa arrived early that morning as promised, gracing Lola with a subdued smile. "Well, good morning. How is our patient this morning?" she asked of Lola.

"No change from last night that I can see." Lola said as she moved to stand next to the bed.

Melissa moved to the other side. "And how are you, Lola? How are you feeling?"

"I've been better. I didn't sleep at all last night, so I'm not in the best of moods."

"That's understandable. I'll tell you what. After I look at Drew, I'll see if I can round up some breakfast for you. I know you probably haven't eaten in at least fifteen hours, have you?"

"No. I guess I haven't."

"I hope that you will be going home at some point today to get some rest. You'll be no good to Drew and your kids if you don't stay healthy yourself."

"I know. Drew's parents and my mother should be coming over soon with the kids."

"That's good to hear. I suggest that you work out a schedule. All of you need rest and quality time with the kids right now. I know you're first inclination is to stay here with Drew until she awakes, but this could take awhile, so please do you family a favor and stay rested. Now the good news this morning is that Drew has made it through the night. That's a positive sign. She still has a long way to go, but she's made it over the first hurdle. These next few days will give us a better inclination of what might happen. She's become more stable throughout the night, so that's definitely what we want to see, but she still has a fight ahead." Turning her attentions to Drew, Melissa said, "I guess you know that you have all this family to come back to, don't you, Drew? You've got one pretty little wife just waiting on you, so help us out here. Open those big brown eyes for us. I promise Lola will be making pathetic love sick eyes at you if you just open yours."

Lola looked down at her wife wishing that Melissa's words would stir her lover into consciousness, but Drew didn't respond. "Please, baby. Open your eyes. I want to see them." Lola stated touching Drew on the shoulder.

When nothing happened for a moment, Melissa put a hand on Lola's arm. "Don't give up. She's in there somewhere. I have rounds to make, but I'll see to your breakfast."

"Thanks, Melissa."

When Drew's parents arrived at the hospital later that morning, they spent a few minutes with Lola learning the details of what had happened before sending their daughter-in-law home for some much needed rest. Going back to the house, Lola was greeted by her mother and children. "All right, Lola. Let me take Emma off your hands. I think you should go upstairs and try to sleep for awhile." Kate suggested. In no shape to argue, Lola simply nodded at her mother and passed off her baby. "Okay, kids. We're going to have quiet play time this morning, so Mama can get some sleep." Kate said to the group.

Lola made her way upstairs to the master bedroom. Heading into the bathroom she began the water in the shower before peeling off her clothes from the previous day. Seeing Drew's blood staining her top, Lola began to cry again as she tossed the clothes in the hamper. Even though Melissa wanted her to remain positive, Lola could feel doubt entering her mind as she stood under the spray of warm water, wondering what she would do to support her family if Drew died or didn't recover fully. Their financial security had rested with Drew for all the years of their marriage, so Lola had no idea how she would care for herself and three children if Drew didn't make it. "Oh, dear God. Please bring her back to me." she prayed.

Having finished her shower, she threw on one of Drew's t-shirts and crawled into bed, emotionally drained. Closing her eyes she began to drift when she heard the bedroom door creak open and then felt someone crawl onto Drew's side of the bed. Figuring it was one of the kids, Lola just laid quietly trying to control her tears before opening her eyes, but she could feel them flooding over her face. It was only when she felt a tiny fingers tracing over her cheek that she opened her eyes to see her son kneeling next to her on the bed. Jack's eyes were watery and his lips quivering as he looked at her. Lola reached her arms out to him, and he immediately fell into her embrace, laying his dark head on her breast.

"I'm sorry I was bad, Mama." he whispered. "Does Mommy still love me?"

"Of course she does, Jack. She loves you so much." she croaked caressing his brown hair.

"Do you still love me, Mama?" tentatively he inquired looking up at her.

Lola gave him the best smile she could muster as she cupped his face in her hands. "I could never stop loving you, son. I will always love you, Jack, no matter what." she reassured him. Seeing the affirmation settle him, Lola guided him back down onto her chest.

"Is Mommy going to wake up soon? I want her to come home." he said after a moment.

Knowing that she couldn't give him the answer he wanted, Lola whispered, "I hope so, Jack. I want her to come home too."

Chapter 4

Three weeks passed with Drew remaining stable but still unconscious. Even with all the family that visited on a daily basis, she was unresponsive. Lola's only consolation was Melissa's constant attention to her and Drew's needs, making Lola hope that Melissa saw something in Drew that she didn't.

One evening as Drew's mother sat with Lola in Drew's room, Melissa stopped in at the end of her shift. Going over to the bed, Melissa leaned down towards Drew's ear whispering so neither of the other women could her, "Hey, Drew, you need to wake up now. If you don't wake up, who is going to stop me from making a play for your lady? She's too sweet to have to go through this, Drew. She needs a woman to take care of her, and your children need two mothers. You don't want me to replace you now, do you? Come on, Drew. Wake up and tell me to go to hell. Don't be a quitter." she challenged hoping to draw any kind of reaction from the older woman, but there was only silence. Sighing softly she stood and turned to Lola. "How is everyone holding up today?"

"Fine." Lola mumbled.

"Well, you nearly had me convinced with that overwhelming response, Lola. Listen, I know it's been a long day for you. You could use a little break. Could I convince you to have dinner with me tonight?"

"Dinner?" Lola questioned skeptically, looking at Drew before facing Melissa again.

"Yeah, dinner. You know the last meal of the day? I know you've been overwhelmed with Drew and the kids, so I just thought having a little dinner out would be a nice break for you. Please, Lola. It would bring me great pleasure to ease your burdens for awhile." Melissa mentioned, eying Drew as she spoke to the blonde.

Lola caught where Melissa's gaze was, and inquired, "What are you doing?"

"I'll tell you about it at dinner, if you grace me with the pleasure of your company, my dear beautiful woman." she said extending her hand to Lola. Under her breath she whispered, "I swear I'm not really hitting on you. Just play along. I'll explain later."

Lola looked at Drew again before hesitantly placing her hand in the doctor's. "All right. I really could use some time away, Melissa. Thank you."

"Wonderful. It's such a rare opportunity that I get to spend the evening with such an incredible lady." As soon as Melissa escorted her from the room, she dropped Lola's hand. "Listen, there's a great little Italian place a few miles down the road from here. Let's eat there, and then I'll drop you off here again."

As they walked down the corridor to exit the building, Lola inquired, "Is your shift over for the day?"

"Yeah. These twelve hour days can be a bear. I'm about ready to just go home and crash."

"Well, if that's the case, we can do dinner some other time. I don't want to intrude on your private time, Melissa."

"Don't worry about that, Lola. I meant what I said back there. It's a rare opportunity to go out with an amazing woman, even if she is already married." she mentioned.

Lola blushed at the unexpected compliment. "Okay. If you're sure, we'll get something to eat, but I don't want to stay gone too long."

"I understand."

Once they were seated in the restaurant and had ordered, Lola asked, "Would you like to explain what you were doing back in Drew's room now?"

"Yeah. I'm testing a theory, but I'll need your help. Drew's been surrounded with people that love her for the last few weeks, and even though she's stable, she's not making the progress I think she should be. I feel confident that we can bring her around, but it's a matter of reaching her. Usually in cases like these, loved ones have the best chance of reaching the patient, because the patient knows their voices, but with Drew I think it's going to take a little more. Based on what I know about her personality from what you've told me, she's a fighter, and I've seen that, because she's made it this far, but she's struggling to get back to us completely. Sometimes with people like Drew, I've taken a different course of action with permission from their spouses of course, and that's where you come in."

"Okay. What do I have to do?"

"Well, first of all, I want you to know that I have no intention of undermining your marriage to Drew, and I don't want you to do something that makes you uncomfortable. However if you're okay with this, I'm going to start treating you differently in front of Drew to see if we can get a reaction out of her."

"You mean you're going to start flirting with me in front of her like you were earlier?" pointedly Lola inquired.

"Essentially, yes. Let me explain what I'm trying to accomplish here. I don't need for you to be overtly positive toward my so called advances, just friendly and neutral. I don't want Drew to think that she's lost you, because I think that would have disastrous consequences if she believed that you had abandoned her. You still concentrate fully on giving her all your love. I simply want to create a competitive atmosphere in that room. I believe that competition for the woman she loves might bring her around much faster. She seems like the type of woman who would fight for your love, Lola, and I'm trying to play into that. Once she's conscious I won't continue that game, because having her see that would be counter productive, but as long as she's out, I think it could work. Of course if we see that it's being counter productive, we'll stop immediately. Would you be all right with trying this?"

Lola shrugged. "I guess. Have you ever tried this with anyone else before?"

"Yeah, a few times."

"Has it worked?"

"I would like to believe that it has. There's no real scientific proof if that's what you want to know. The people on whom I've done this have all come out of their comas, but whether that's due to this or luck, who really knows. I think it's worth a try if you're willing to let me do it."

Lola shrugged her shoulders. "Sure. If you think it will help, I'm all for that."

"Great. Now let's talk about something else other than Drew for awhile. Tell me more about you. We've been together all this time, and I know nothing except that you're a doting wife with three beautiful children."

"There's not much to tell about me that's not about Drew too."

"Oh, come on. Don't be so modest. Surely you have a self-definition that doesn't include your handsome knight in shining armor. What are your hobbies? What do you do for fun?"

"Well, I like to ride horses, but after this incident, I think I'll be a little hesitant to get into the saddle again. Of course due to the kids, I don't have a lot of time to spend down at our stable."

"I take it you stay home with the kids while Drew works?"

"Yeah. I got pregnant with Jack shortly after we got married, and I was basically in charge of the stables until I Jack got to the age that he was walking. Drew and I decided that I should take a leave of absence from my position to focus on our family, and then once I was pregnant with Libby, it was just impossible to do any sort of work outside the home. I do look forward to when the kids are all in school, and I'll get to go back to working with the horses, at least part time. I've got a few years before then, though. Right now the kids are my life."

"Is that the way you wanted it?" Melissa inquired seriously.

"Yeah. I'm the one who convinced Drew to have kids so early, because I thought she should be able to be active in their lives. There is a considerable age difference between us that concerns me at times, because I fear losing her early in our marriage. I lost my father when I was in high school, and I devastated for a long time. I don't want that for our kids. I want our children to know Drew's love, so I persuaded her to let me get pregnant early on."

"That makes sense. May I ask how long you and Drew have known each other?"

"My whole life. She and my mother have been best friends since they were in high school. Drew's my sister's godmother."

"Oh? That sounds like a real drama."

"It was at the time I guess, but I wasn't going to take no for an answer from Drew, at least not for long. I was determined to make myself Mrs. Bailey, much against the wishes of my mother and Drew. Neither of them so keen on the idea at first."

"How did you manage to change their minds?" curiously Melissa asked as she dug into the meal that had just been delivered to them.

"Well, with my mom I just talked it out. Eventually she came to understand."

"And Drew?"

"Drew was not so easy. I wove an intricate web to snare her, but you better believe once I had her interest, I wasn't letting go. An occasion flash of T and A didn't hurt either." Lola joked with a laugh.

Melissa smiled back at her. "It's good to see you laugh, Lola. You have a beautiful smile and laugh. Do you let Drew hear it when you two are alone in her room?"

"I guess not as much as I should. It's so hard to see her like this sometimes."

"I know. I can see that on your face. You should let her hear that laugh. Do you touch her a lot when you're alone together?"

"Yeah. I hold her hand and stuff and kiss her. Is that what you mean?"

"If I may ask, how do you kiss her? Compassionately, sexually, sympathetically?"

Lola shrugged. "I guess compassionately and lovingly."

"Never sexually?"

"No. Do you think I should?"

Melissa shrugged. "If you're comfortable with that. It wouldn't hurt. It would be interesting to see if she would respond to that kind of touch. I'd be thrilled if she would respond to anything. Now I'm not saying you should have sex with her while she's in a coma, but there's nothing wrong with a little tactile exploration to let her know you're there. What about putting her hands on your body, so she can really feel you?"

"You have some extremely unorthodox methods, Dr. Johnston, but I'd be willing to try anything."

"I'm willing to guess that you feel as much comfort as you do arousal at Drew's touch, so why not give yourself that? It'll make you feel better. I have no problem with you climbing into that bed with her as long as you are mindful of those broken ribs. You can't touch that side of her, but lay next her and put her arm around you. Not withstanding what it might due to Drew, I know it would be positive for you, and I certainly don't think it would harm Drew to feel the woman she loves next to her."

"As I said, Melissa, I'm willing to try anything. I'll do it tonight. I'll admit that I've missed feeling her arms around me."

Once their meal was over, Melissa took Lola back to the hospital and walked her back to Drew's room. Looking to Drew and then back at Lola, Melissa winked before saying, "Well, thank you so much for the wonderful dinner, Lola. It was a real pleasure. I hope we get to do it again sometime soon. You have made my night."

"I had a nice time too, Melissa. Thank you for the dinner."

"I'll see you, my lovely lady, in the morning." Melissa announced before softly adding, "I'm going to stop by the nurses station and let them know you have my permission to do as we discussed over dinner. The last thing I need is for them to harass you for doing what I told you."

Lola nodded before bidding her good night. Taking a seat next to her mother-in-law, she sighed as she looked at her wife. "Dear, I don't mean to intrude on your privacy, but was that doctor flirting with you?" Rose inquired as bounced Emma on her knee to keep her occupied.

Lola smiled at her. "Don't worry about that, Rose. You know I'm committed to Drew. I love her with all I am." she stated before leaning in to share the secret plan Dr. Johnston had suggested.

"Well, I should get going. I know Jackson is probably about out of his mind with the kids by now. He never was very good at child rearing Drew, so I'm afraid to leave him too long without supervision with the grandkids. They've probably destroyed the house by now."

"The kids love him. I'm sure it's fine."

"Yeah but I'm the one that's going to have to clean up after them once they are asleep. I'll see you when you come home in the morning. I think Jackson is planning on coming over here first thing to relieve you of your duties."

"All right. I'll see you then. Good night."

As soon as she and Emma were alone, Lola moved to Drew's bed, raising it into a semi-sitting position. "Hope you don't mind the change of position, Drew, but I'm not quite ready to lie down yet. Emma and I want to sit next to you and watch a little tv. I think your favorite show is on tonight. I'll even consent to let you watch it since the kids aren't here." she mentioned, turning on the set and flipping the channels until she got to Drew's favorite cop show. Snuggling up to her wife, Lola put Emma down between them until the infant was fast asleep. Once the tv show was over, Lola moved Emma to the crib before settling down against Drew again.

"Oh, Drew. I've missed this feeling of being close to you." Lola whispered as she rubbed Drew's arm with sexual intention. Even though she felt strange about trying something with Drew being unconscious, Lola heeded Melissa's instructions as she moved her mouth over Drew's neck, showering it with long, lingering kisses. "I wish you were awake right now, Drew. I could use your strong hands making love to me." Lola allowed her hands to gently wander over Drew's body like Melissa had suggested, and she found her hand petting the tops of Drew's thighs and over her abdomen, trying to produce a response from her partner. Even though Drew remained perfectly still, Lola could feel heat beginning to radiate from Drew's core, giving Lola small assurance that Drew's body recognized her touch.

Lola spent the remainder of the night lying next to Drew, finding comfort in being close to the woman she loved eternally until the voice of her father-in-law softly awoke her the next day. Lola spent most of the rest of the day after leaving the hospital sleeping and playing with her children. When she returned to take her night shift, Melissa was talking with Drew's father in the room.

"Well, there's the lady whom I've been waiting to see all day. You certainly know how to bring a smile to my face, Lola." Melissa stated with a grin.

"Hello, Melissa. How are you?"

"I'm great now that I've seen you. Could I interest you in dinner tonight?" she asked.

"Thank you for the invitation but no. I should stay here."

"Maybe next time then. Could we talk outside for a moment?" Melissa inquired. Lola followed her out into the hallway. "So, how are you feeling today? Did you take my advice last night?"

"Actually, I did, and you were right. I felt much better."

"You look like you're feeling better. Being close to her helped then?"

"Tremendously. I tried that touching advice, you know the sexual touching. It was awkward at first, but after I got used to it, it was comforting."

"Good. Any reactions from Drew?"

"She didn't move or anything, but she did respond in other ways." Lola admitted with a slight flush.

"How so?" Melissa inquired in clinical interest. When she saw the blush of Lola's face, she said, "Lola, I'm a doctor. I told you to touch her that way. Don't be embarrassed by what happened."

"Well, let's just say that her body got aroused by it."

"How do you know?" Melissa asked trying to clarify.

"I had my hand between her legs at one point." Lola admitted, blushing profusely.

Deciding to let the blonde of the hook, Melissa gave her a reassuring smile. "I see. Well, I guess there's a woman who really knows the touch of her lover then. Just remember what I said. No having sex with her while she's in a coma. We wouldn't want to risk her waking up in the middle of that. Speaking of waking up, we should talk a little bit more about what to expect when she does come around."

"Do you definitely think she will?" Lola asked hopefully.

"Lola, you know I can't give you a definite answer to that, but I'm strongly leaning toward that expectation. She has every reason to come back. I think it's only a matter of time. I should warn you about what to possibly expect, though." Lola looked at her with trepidation. Putting her hand on Lola's arm, Melissa stated, "There is a small chance that she could wake up perfectly normal, like nothing ever happened with the exception of the broken ribs of course, but that's not highly likely. Usually people who have suffered injuries like this have problems mentally and physically. These can be temporary or permanent, Lola, but we won't know until she's conscious the extent of the damage. She may have memory loss and paralysis." Lola looked at her in confusion, so Melissa tried again. "The short of it, Lola, is that she may not know who you or anyone else in the family is, and furthermore she might be disabled and unable to control her facilities. I just want you to be prepared for that. This can be a temporary or permanent debility, but we won't know anything for sure until she wakes up. My guess it that she's going to be angry at her inability to do what she normally could, so your patience, love, and support will be needed more than ever."

"Okay." Lola said with a determined nod. "I can do this. We'll get through it together. I promised her that, and I'm not about to back out now. I've come this far. I'm here to see it through."

"Good. I'm glad to hear that, and I know she'll feel that way too even if she'll be unable to express it. Just focus on the love you two have had for each other all this time, and it'll help you get through this trying time."

"Thank you, Melissa." Lola whispered reaching out to hug the doctor. "Thank you for everything."

Melissa returned the embrace for several moments before lifting Lola's chin to look in her eyes. "Drew is so lucky to have you, Lola. Never doubt that or vice versa."

When Lola went back into Drew's room, she gave Jackson a hug. "How has Drew been today?"

"All right. I read her some of her magazines, and we watched one of our favorite movies today on tv. All in all it's been a pretty good day. She's much easier to deal with than my grandchildren. They wear me out." he joked.

"Thank you for being here, Jackson. I don't know what I would do without you, Rose, Mom, and Jim. You've all been such a great help to me."

"We love you, Lola. We would do anything for you and Drew." he assured her bringing her in for a hug.

"I'm so happy Drew has you. Even as much as I've come to love Jim over the last several years, he could never replace my own father, so I'm glad Drew still has you. She's going to need you."

"I'm here for both of you. Never forget that."

Once Lola was alone with Drew and had put Emma in her crib, she decided to try Melissa's advice again by sliding onto the bed next to her beloved. "Well, here we are again, baby, all alone, just the two of us. I've been thinking of you all day, Drew. You don't even know how badly I miss the feeling of you touching me. I need you to touch me, Drew. Since you can't touch me on your own right now, I'm going help you touch me if you don't mind. I just need to feel your hands along my body for awhile." Kneeling on the bed and facing Drew, Lola began to unbutton her blouse as she stared at Drew's closed eyes. "Too bad you're missing the show, Drew. I know you would love to see me undressing myself right now. Open your eyes, baby. Watch me. I know you love it when I unhook my bra and let my breasts tumble free just like right now. Come on, Drew. I know you want to look at them." she stated baring herself from the waist up. "I'm half naked, Drew. Don't you want to see me naked? Just open your eyes." she whispered. Suddenly Lola saw Drew's brow twitch. "That's it, Drew. You can do it. Open those pretty brown eyes." she encouraged, but Drew's eyelids only quivered for a moment before there was nothing. "How about this, baby?" she question raising Drew's hand to her chest. Lola held Drew's hand against her breasts. "Do you feel my heart, Drew? It beats for you, honey. You make my life worth living, and I need you to come back to me. I just want you to open your eyes. Please do it for me, angel." Not getting any reaction, Lola moved Drew's hand a little lower, so the older woman could cup her breast. "How's that, Drew? It's that a nice feeling? You always like to hold my breasts like this. They love your touch. Touch them, Drew." Lola whispered just waiting for any kind of response from her partner. She stared intently at Drew's hand on her breast trying to will it to move but to no avail. Lola sighed in disappointment, but abruptly squealed in surprise when Drew's hand squeezed the sensitive mound. "Drew!" she exclaimed anxiously looking to Drew's face, but her wife lay motionless. "Drew, I felt that. I know you're in there. Please open your eyes for me." Drew didn't give any response to her words, so Lola just sat still until she felt Drew's hand relax against her breast. "All right. I won't push you before you're ready but know this. There are so many people that love you that want you to come back to us. Please wake up for us, baby. I love you." she said leaning down to kiss Drew's lips, feeling the muscles tremble as she touched them with her own.

When it appeared that Drew wasn't going to do anything else, Lola put her top back on and went to alert the nurses of Drew's condition. They confirmed for her that it appeared Drew was improving and then left the young blonde to her thoughts. Elated that Drew seemed to finally be coming around, she settled her head in the crook of Drew's neck. As much as Lola wanted to stay awake in case Drew awoke, she began to drift off, not even realizing that she was being lulled into unconsciousness by a strong hand stroking her back.

Chapter 5

Drew's eyes popped open early with the first rays of the sun. Confused as to where she was, she lifted her head just enough to look around the room. It looked like a hospital, but she had no idea why she was there. On her right side she noticed a little blonde curled up against her that looked like Katherine and a crib holding a baby that looked like Lola, but she had no idea where she was. Feeling her bedmate snuggle in closer, Drew grinned to herself. Regardless of why she was confined to the hospital bed, she instantly felt better when she realized she was holding Kate as she slept. Briefly wondering where Paul and Natalie were, Drew simply stroked the blonde's head, taking guilty pleasure in being so intimate with her best friend even though Kate was married to someone else.

Just then the door opened admitting a tall, dark haired woman wearing a large white overcoat. "Well, look who's awake? Good morning, Drew." Melissa greeted pleased to see Drew's dark eyes open.

"Good morning, doctor." Drew replied.

Lola was becoming aware of the sensation of someone touching her, but as soon as she felt Drew's chest rumble and her voice, she shot up quickly. "Drew! You're awake! Oh, thank God! I've missed you so much!" Lola cried instantly pummeling Drew's face and mouth with fervent kisses. "I love you so much, baby."

Drew groaned at the feel of blonde's lips against her own. She had always secretly dreamed of being able to have more than a friendship with her best friend, but now she was in bliss at the shower of affection Kate was showing her. "I love you too, Kate." she replied.

Lola froze when her mother's name slipped from Drew's mouth. Pulling back and looking at Drew in confusion, she asked, "What did you just say?"

Bewildered at the question, Drew repeated, "I love you too, Kate. What's wrong? What happened to me, Katie? Why are you and Lola here in the hospital with me?"

Perplexed Lola followed Drew's line of sight to the crib. Immediately realizing what Drew thought, Lola began to cry as she mumbled, "Oh, God."

"Katie, don't cry. I'll be fine. You'll see." Drew vowed trying unsuccessfully to put an arm around her, but Lola evaded the touch rising from the bed.

Lola looked at Melissa in tears as she sunk into a chair near the bed. Drew looked at her before looking toward the doctor who had approached her. "Well, it certainly seems you haven't lost your speech. That's a good sign, Drew. My name is Melissa Johnston. May I ask you some questions?" Drew nodded. "Do you know who you are?"

"Drew Bailey."

"How about where you are?"

Drew shrugged. "At a hospital."

"All right. Do you know who this woman is?" she asked pointing to Lola.

"My best friend, Kate Emerson."

"Okay. Could I ask you hold old you are, Drew, and what you do for a living?"

"I'm twenty-one, and I'm a senior at UVA." she replied perplexed by the question of her occupation. Looking back at Lola, she asked, "Kate, what's wrong? Are you okay?"

Lola just looked at Melissa helplessly. Even though Melissa had told her of the possible effects of Drew's injury, Lola never really considered that Drew wouldn't recognize her or mistake her for someone else, especially her own mother. Melissa exchanged looks with the young blonde, extending her sympathies through a soft gaze before looking back at Drew.

"Drew, you're in the hospital due to a head injury you sustained when you were trampled by a horse. Do you have any recollection of that?" Drew shook her head. Melissa nodded. "All right, Drew, what I'm about to tell you will probably come as a shock, and you might have difficult accepting what I'm about to say, but I want you to know that I'm about to give you some facts about your life." she began taking a seat in the bedside chair next to Lola's. "First of all, you are forty-eight years old, not twenty-one, and you are currently the sheriff of this county."

"What?" Drew inquired disconcertion, knitting her brow. "How can that be? I just got home from school for summer vacation. My dad is the sheriff, Dr. Johnston, not me." she defended beginning to become agitated before looking at Lola and saying, "Kate, tell her she's mistaken."

"Drew, I know this is difficult for you, but this is not Kate." Melissa stated, putting a hand on Lola's arm. "This is Lola Emerson-Bailey, your wife."

Drew scowled. "My wife? There's no way! I would never marry Lola! I wouldn't even touch Lola! I could never betray Kate that way! I love her even though she is married to that loser, Paul! Lola is a baby, an infant! That would be practically incest! You are not Lola, and you are not my wife! That is Lola!" she yelled, looking to the crib.

"Actually, Drew, that is your youngest child, Emma. I know this is hard for you to understand, but this is Lola. You two are married, and you have three children together." Melissa tried again.

"Now I know you're lying, Doc, because I hate all kids except for Natalie and Lola! I'm never having kids! All I need in my life is Kate!"

"Lola, do you have pictures on you?"

Wiping tears from her face, Lola whispered, "Yeah. I think I might have some in my purse." Leaning down to grab her bag from the floor, Lola pulled out her wallet and opened it. With an encouraging nod from Melissa, Lola addressed Drew directly. "Drew, I would never hurt you. I love you with all that I am. It might be hard to understand, but we are married, have been for six years. Here is a picture of us on our wedding day and some of our kids." she stated tentatively placing the wallet on the bed. Even though she was desperately trying to hold her composure, Lola felt shattered inside at Drew's adamant declaration of love for Kate. It brought back painful memories when she was in college, and Drew had been having a secret affair with Kate little to anyone's knowledge.

Drew looked at the pictures and tried to reach for them. However she found it extremely difficult to get her muscles to move the way she wanted. Sensing the problem after a moment, Melissa inquired, "Would you like for me to hold them up for you, Drew?"

"No!" she barked focusing harder on getting her arm to reach out to the pictures. Struggling for another moment she growled in frustration as she screamed, "Dammit! What the hell is wrong with me?"

"Drew, you've been in a coma for some time, almost a month. Your muscles are weak. I'd like to perform some tests on you to see what kind of condition they are in. Why don't we do that now, and then get back to the pictures in a bit. They'll keep for a few minutes. All right? I want to look over your physical condition."

"Fine, but can I talk to you alone, Doc?" Drew requested.

"Of course." she answered before looking to Lola. Knowing that the last thing Lola wanted was to leave the room but figuring she might have better luck with Drew alone, she said, "Lola, why don't you take Emma outside the room and make some phone calls? I'm sure your family will want to know Drew's condition."

Lola looked at Drew for a moment before giving a resigned nod. "All right but I'll be just outside if you need anything."

Once Melissa and Drew were alone, Melissa stood. "Okay, Drew. I'm just going to run through these as quickly as possible, and then we can talk. I sense you have something you want to say without Lola in the room." After running through several tests, Melissa determined that even though Drew was extremely weak, she had not been paralyzed from the injury, knowing that would be a relief to Lola. Taking up the pictures off the bed, Melissa looked at them briefly before noticing the make-up mirror hidden inside one of the inner pockets. "Drew, I know this is a big shock for you, and it can be painful and scary to realize you don't remember, but I want you to look in the mirror for me. I want you to see yourself as I see you. Will you do that for me?"

Reluctantly Drew gave a slight nod. As Melissa held up the mirror and Drew caught a glimpse of herself, she gasped at what she saw staring back at her. Her normally tanned skin was ashen and her eyes tired. The wrinkles along her brow portrayed her real age. "Oh, God." she mumbled in dismay. Looking up at Melissa, she inquired in a voice revealing her terror, "Why can't I remember?"

"Amnesia is somewhat of an enigma, Drew. Sometimes it's temporary, other times permanent. Your body is weak but will recover, of that I'm sure. It might take some time, but you will be back to your normal self eventually physically. Remember that you've had a serious brain trauma. It will take time to heal. Things won't come back to you right away."

"But they will eventually right?"

"It's my greatest hope, Drew, but I can't guarantee that. However Lola is going to be by your side every step of the was well as many other people that love you. Your loved ones are going to be your greatest asset in helping you remember things, so even though it might be hard to feel strongly toward them given your confusion and anxiety, know that they love you and have your best interest at heart."

"I just don't understand. I have no recollection of Lola beyond her being a baby, and now you two tell me we're married with children. It's hard for me to grasp."

"I know, Drew. I could hardly believe it the first time I saw her with you myself. There is quite an age difference."

"It's not just that, Doc. I've been in love with her mother since the moment I laid eyes on her. How could I marry her daughter?"

"How long have you known Kate?" Melissa asked curiously.

"We met in high school. I was fifteen. She was eighteen. I've known her for- how old did you say I was again?"


"Wow. It's been thirty-three years. It's so strange. The last memory I have of her was coming home from school for summer vacation, and I went over to see her and the girls. Paul wasn't home, so it was just Kate, Natalie, Lola, and me. I was sitting there in the chair holding Lola in my arms as she slept while Katherine rocked Natalie and hummed to her, because she had fallen and bumped her head, and she was crying. I remember just intently watching, thinking how I much I loved that woman. She truly was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, and I was hopelessly in love with her. I stared at her in silent awe, wishing and hoping that she return that love and leave Paul for me. I wanted to marry her and raise Natalie and Lola as our own. I just can't fathom how I went from that to marrying that baby I had cradled in my arms."

"Drew, I really don't know that, but fortunately there are people who help you fill in those pieces. I've met Kate myself, and I think she's an extraordinary woman. She'll be a real asset in helping your recall those memories, and Lola can help you remember your marriage and kids."

"But how can I even look at Lola? She's a child herself, and I married her? I let her have children. I'm in love with Katherine."

"Drew, I didn't know you prior to your accident, so I can't say for sure how you felt for Lola, but I think you'll come to find that you are not in love with Kate. You think you are, because of the place where you are in your mind, but as your memories come back to you, you'll realize why you married Lola."

"But what if I never remember her as anything other than a baby? I don't even know my own children." she stated with obvious dread.

"I know you're scared, Drew. It's perfectly natural, but give it time. That's all you can do. Only cross the bridges when you come to them. Don't fret over what ifs. Focus on getting your memories back. That's all you can do."

"All right, Doc."

"Good. Now I'm going to go talk to Lola for a few minutes, and then I'm going to send her back in here to show you these pictures if you're comfortable with that. Does that sounds okay to you?"

"Yeah." Drew replied.

Lola was just finishing the conversation with her mother when Melissa appeared. "Well, what happened after I left?" she asked anxiously.

Gesturing down the hall toward the sitting area, Melissa said, "Let's go sit down for a minute. I have some things to explain to you." They moved the chairs before Melissa began, "First off, it appears as if Drew has not be paralyzed from the accident. She is very weak, but with some physical therapy, I expect her to recover. Her mind however is another issue. She has lost more than half of her life's memories. I can tell she's terrified, but I calmed her down enough to make her understand who you are even though she doesn't remember you as anything more than an infant. She knows you're Lola, her wife and Kate's daughter. I should warn you though, Lola, that Drew is in a place in her mind where she is in love with your mother. I don't know if that was some skeleton in the closet or not, but she's obstinate in her feelings for Kate. I know that has to hurt you, but please don't take it out on Drew. She doesn't remember you as her wife nor does she remember the love you share. You're going to have to help her recall that. She's having difficulty understanding how she went from loving your mother to loving you, but I couldn't help her with that one. That's a job for you. Now that she knows who you are, I believe that she will take what you say at face value. I explained to her that you are vital in helping her recover her memories, so I think she will be receptive to you. However I should caution you that she still thinks she's in love with your mother, and in her mind you're a baby, so sexual contact probably won't go over well. I do think she'd be okay with physical contact, but I would be careful not to get too intimate. Having said all that, I think Drew's outlook is good. We'll get her scheduled for some PT, and she'll have to continue her stay here a little longer, but she will be able to go home at some point in the near future with minimal physical side effects. I think she'll be ready to leave us before she's recovered all her memories though, which could cause some complications at home, but we don't have to go into those right now. She could surprise us and start remembering things quickly, but in my experience these things take time. Now I told her I was going to talk to you and then send you back in there. Are you ready to go back? I said you would show her the pictures from your wallet."

"All right. I can do this." Lola said with resolution.

"Oh, I also think it would be a good idea to get your mother out here. I hope you aren't threatened by Drew's current mentality toward your mother, but it would be good for Drew to be able to see and talk to her. Just remember Drew's mind set is that of a twenty-one year old in love with Kate Emerson. Please don't take it to heart that she doesn't remember your love yet. Give it time, and if you have to, make her fall in love with you again. Also, Drew mentioned Kate's husband, Paul, who I am assuming is your father. I didn't know anything him to give to Drew, but since she mentioned him I think you should talk to her about him. Her feelings for him weren't that positive in her twenty-one year old mind, but you could at least tell her where he is and what he's doing now to help her."

"Oh, well, my father has been dead for ten years. Drew was there when he died. They were good friends."

"Then you might want to say something to lessen the blow if she recalls that particular memory. I also think it might help the both of you to have couples counseling to try to piece your relationship back together. I'll leave that decision up to you for now, so think it over. I really have to go make some rounds now, but I'm so happy that I saw Drew's eyes open this morning. She's come a long way."

Both women stood and hugged for a long time. "Thank you so much for everything, Melissa. I don't know what I would've done without you."

Melissa smiled pleasantly at her. "This might be one of the rare occasions that I've actually been envious of my patient. Drew truly is blessed to have you, Lola. You are quite the remarkable woman."

The long gaze that passed between them expressed the deeper emotions for the Lola that the doctor didn't say. Realizing the moment for what it was, Lola gave a charming smile as a slight blush rose in her cheeks. "You are pretty exceptional yourself, Doctor Johnston. Now if you'll excuse me, my wife needs me."

"Then by all means, go to her." Melissa replied, a hint of sadness lining her voice even though she gave a professional, becoming smile.

Continued in Part 2.

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