Part 4

Bryn struggled to awaken fully.  She rolled over, glancing at the bedside clock.  "Two o'clock!"  she groaned.  "I've never slept this late in my life!"  Once her mind became fully cognizant, she remembered the hellish night before.  Alex lay next to her, apparently in a very deep sleep.  Her lover's face was extremely pale, and her eyes were swollen and puffy.  Bryn's heart contracted painfully as she thought about all that Alex had been through.  "Everything's going to work out fine, Lex," she whispered, kissing the surgeon's forehead tenderly.  "I love you." 

A faint smile crossed Alex's face, and she snuggled closer to Bryn. "Don't get up, Bryn," she murmured hoarsely.  "Stay with me."

"Honey, I would, but my bladder's about to burst!  I'll be right back."  The blonde stood up and made her way to the blue and white tiled bathroom.

"Come back soon," Alex mumbled sleepily.  "I'm so cold."

Within a few minutes, Bryn slid in next to her partner.  "You're still cold?"  she asked, pulling Alex close.  "My God!  You are!  You've been freezing all night long.  Are you sure you're okay?"

"Yeah ... I think so.  I was so upset last night, I must have gone into shock ...  I guess my system kind of shut down."  Alex began to shiver.

"Well, then, let's warm you up.  How 'bout some coffee?  I know I could sure use some."

"Yeah ... coffee sounds good.  But, please hurry back ... I don’t want to be alone."

"C'mon, then."  Bryn tugged on Alex's arm gently.  "I'll make you a bed on the couch out on the porch.  You'll be right next to me while I'm in the kitchen."

Alex smiled.  "I’d like that very much."

Bryn knew how much her lover enjoyed their screened in porch.  The surgeon often went there after a difficult day at the hospital.  It seemed to soothe her soul.

Bryn brewed coffee after Alex was settled comfortably on the couch, wrapped in several warm blankets. The two friends had gone through an emotionally traumatic night - a life changing experience.  In spite of this, their interaction with one another was unchanged. They were still able to talk freely and easily.  The conversation helped them maintain the close contact they each craved.

Soon, Bryn appeared on the porch, bearing a tray with coffee and chocolate crumb donuts - one of Alex's favorite breakfast foods.  The surgeon sat up and motioned for Bryn to sit next to her.  "Thanks, Bryn.  This looks great, but I'm not sure if I can keep anything down right now.  The coffee will have to tide me over for a while."

"Lexi, you can't eat?"  Concerned, Bryn laid her hand on Alex's forehead.

The surgeon raised an eyebrow at the term of endearment.  "I'm not really ill, Squeak.  It's just..." Alex took a deep breath and blew it out slowly.  "Right now, I have these images in my head ... of Olivia ... dislocating my arm, tearing the ligament ... and ... and it just makes me feel sick to my stomach."  Alex sipped her coffee, desperately wanting to change the subject.

Bryn took the coffee mug from Alex and set it on the table beside her. She wrapped her arms around her soul mate as tightly as she could.  "Somehow, we're gonna make it through this weekend, my love.  If you need me to, I’ll sit with you, hold you, listen to you, and talk to you every second till Monday morning comes ... I promise.  I think you’ll feel much better once you get everything off your chest.  Okay?"

"Okay.  Bryn ...  thank you for finding me last night.  I don't know how you knew I needed you, but I'm just so glad you did.  It couldn't have been easy for you."

Bryn sighed, lacing her fingers with her lover's.   "I don't know how I knew you were in trouble, either, Lex.  Somehow, I just knew.  And yes, it was really hard.  I was so scared. For a minute there, I thought I might lose you."

Alex wiped away the tears that fell down Bryn's cheeks.  "I'm going to be all right.  Last night was the beginning of my recovery from this nightmare.  It was terrifying - but bearable, because you were there for me when I needed you - just like you always are." The dark brows furrowed in pain.  "When I was lying on that cold floor, I thought I was dying emotionally ... and then, my angel shows up. I’ve never been so glad to see anyone in my whole life! Bryn … I …  I was so afraid. I really thought I was gonna lose it there for a moment."

With a sad smile, Alex pulled her soul mate into her arms.  "You know, it's a miracle that after all these years, I finally remembered my one real friend.   I just can't believe I found you again."  Alex kissed Bryn tenderly, putting all her heart and soul into the kiss. She felt great comfort with the knowledge that the Bryn she loved so much now ... was the cherished friend she had adored as a child. She hoped that their love would see her through her painful memories - devastating memories of a woman who could do so much emotional and physical damage to her own child.

After the kiss ended, Bryn took Alex's face in her hands, peering into the deep blue eyes.  A look of concern crossed her face.  "Your eyes look pretty swollen, honey.  Why don't you lie down and let me put some cold compresses on them?"

"That's okay, Squeak.  No one will see them but you - and you love me no matter what.  Right?"

"Oh, you are so right!  Besides, you always look beautiful to me, Lex!"

Alex gave her companion a huge bear hug.  Bryn smiled, patting the surgeon's hand.  "You give the best hugs, Lex.  Just like when we were little.  Can you remember those hugs?"

Alex smiled wistfully, nodding.  "I do recall being very afraid of hurting you after your surgery.  You looked so small in that big hospital bed."

A small, golden haired girl lay propped up against a mountain of soft pillows.  Bryn hugged a stuffed, brown dog close to her bandaged chest.  Tears rolled down her cheeks, dripping onto the dog's soft fur.  Kathleen O'Neill was frustrated by her inability to make her only child smile.  She turned away from the bed, so that Bryn would not see the tears in her own eyes.

At that moment, the door swung open, and the unhappy child's best friend bounced into the room.  Bryn’s mother breathed a huge sigh of relief.

"Bryn!"  Lexi called happily.  She hurried to the little girl's bedside and carefully climbed up on a chair - after removing her sneakers first.  Her big blue eyes grew immediately sad at the sight of her friend crying.  She touched a finger to her cheek, gently wiping a tear away.  "What's the matter, Bryn?"  Her lip poked out ever so slightly in sympathy.

"Lexi," she cried pathetically.  "I was missing you, and they pulled a tube out of my hand!  It ... it really hurt!  I wanna go home ... and I want you to come with me!  Please, Lexi!" The child began to sob aloud.  Upset that her normally brave little girl was so distraught, Mrs. O'Neill began to move toward the bed to comfort her daughter, but stopped.  Lexi was giving Bryn all the support and the love necessary.

"Shh, Bryn.  You'll feel better soon."  The older girl hugged her little friend carefully, tenderly patting her back.  "You have to stay here to get well.  You won't have to have any more surgery, and the worst part is over. You'll see.  And I promise, I'll come see you every day.  Okay?"

Sniffling, Bryn nodded her head slightly.

"Want me to get you some ice cream?"

The little blonde nodded again, this time very enthusiastically.  Her usually sunny disposition was already returning.

"Great ... I'll get some for both of us, then." Lexi confidently pushed the call button as if she owned the hospital.  Bryn reached for her friend's hand and held it tight.  She felt so lucky to have someone as special as Lexi for a best friend.

The two women gazed at one another, both reveling in the shared memory.  Sighing deeply, Bryn wiped tears from her eyes. "You'll never know what your friendship meant to me then ... and what it means to me now."  She squeezed the surgeon's hand.

"Oh, I think I know, Bryn.  I know."  Alex leaned her head against Bryn's.

"What do you think bound us so closely together?  I mean, we were just little girls ... but there was something so special between us."

Alex sighed.  "You promise not to laugh at me?"  she asked hesitantly.

"Of course not!"  Bryn kissed Alex's palm - she loved the surgeon's strong, beautiful hands.

"Well ... I believe we were always meant to be together ... I never truly cared about anyone until I met you."

Bryn's whole face lit up.  "I've thought that, too, but I wasn't sure how to tell you.  I can't remember a time when I didn't love you."

Alex smiled wistfully.  "Same here.  I think we really are soul mates, bonded together forever ... and somehow, we knew it even as children."

Bryn laid her head on Alex's strong shoulder.  No more words were necessary.


Bryn carried the breakfast tray back into the kitchen.  Alex drank her coffee, but she was unable to eat any of the delicious doughnuts. Her lover wasn’t surprised; this was a common reaction for Alex - she had no appetite when she was truly upset about something.   Even when things were going well, she was burdened with a sensitive stomach.  Bryn, on the other hand, could always eat.

The blonde put the dishes in the dishwasher and yawned.  She felt tired and drained, and she was still very concerned about Alex.  The surgeon was so emotionally and physically exhausted, that she could barely keep her eyes open.  Maybe I can persuade Lex to go back to bed, Bryn thought to herself.  She chuckled aloud, thinking how stubborn her partner could be at times.  "Maybe if I offer to go with her..."

As Bryn entered the porch, she felt a deep pang in her heart at the sight before her.  Alex was curled up on the couch, sound asleep – a very rare occurrence. Bryn plucked an afghan from the back of the couch and covered her up, then leaned over and kissed the smooth forehead.  "I hope all your dreams are sweet from now on, my love."


The blonde unlocked the door to the side entrance, her arms full.  She set down the bags of Chinese food, along with her keys, on the tiled counter. She slipped out of her brown suede jacket and went into the hall.  Opening the closet door, Bryn carefully hung the jacket on a hanger.  Neatness was a trait she and Alex had in common; one more reason they got along so well.

Turning back towards the kitchen, Bryn peeked out onto the porch.  She expected to see Alex still sleeping soundly, but the couch was empty. "Lex?"  Bryn called, heading into the bedroom.

Alex stepped out of the bathroom.  She was freshly showered, and dressed in a white oxford shirt and tight fitting jeans.  Her long hair was wet and combed back from her forehead. The beautiful surgeon's natural tan color had returned, and her eyes had lost their puffiness.  As soon as Bryn saw her lover, the Chinese food was temporarily forgotten.  Images of a naked Alex lying under her flitted through her mind.  She had to restrain herself from throwing Lex on the bed and ripping off her clothes.  Regaining control of her libido, Bryn gathered her up in a tender, loving hug instead.

"God, you look so much better!  How are you feeling?"

Alex returned the affectionate gesture warmly.  "I feel a lot better.  I guess I slept all day."  The surgeon began playing with Bryn's golden hair.  "What about you, Squeak?"  she asked, concern in her voice.  "Did you take a nap?"

"Yeah ... I did.  Then I got up, took a shower, and went out for a couple of videos and Chinese food. I ordered all your favorites, too."

Alex buried her nose in Bryn's fragrant golden hair, inhaling deeply. "Mmm ... I thought I smelled something good ... but it doesn't smell half as good as you do." She began nibbling the blonde's soft ear.

Bryn tried to ignore the heat spreading though her body and concentrate on what was best for Alex.  "Lex, sweetheart ... listen ... you need to eat something first.  You haven't had anything since last night ... Ooo, stop that!"  she pleaded breathlessly.  "I can't think."

Alex moved her tongue along her lover's neckline.  "I was planning on eating something," she promised, in a deep, low tone.  "But it's not Chinese, and it's definitely not take out!"

"Oh, God!"  Bryn's body melted into her lover's strong arms, as they both fell onto the huge sleigh bed.

Some time later, they lay together, holding and caressing one another. Bryn thought about how much she wanted to touch Alex; how much she wanted to give the same pleasure she had just received. Tonight, however, Alex didn't even seem to desire her own sexual gratification - she made no attempt to bring herself to orgasm.  The blonde suspected that she was beginning to feel more than a little uncomfortable masturbating in front of Bryn.  Bryn wanted to help in any way she could, but Alex's emotions were still too raw after last night.  She didn't want to push her lover in any way at this critical point in their relationship. If Lex can open up more about what happened to her when she was a child, maybe she'll be able to accept my love, Bryn thought hopefully.

Alex kissed a golden head tenderly.  Bryn was using the surgeon's soft, right breast as a pillow, too content to move an inch.  "Lex," she whispered, "You are so incredible!  I think I'll keep you."

Alex flushed with pleasure as long fingers traced soothing patterns on Bryn's behind.  "I have to keep my best girl happy now, don't I?  And speaking of happy, maybe we should get dressed and find that Chinese food.  Your stomach is making an awful racket!"

Bryn swatted her lover playfully.  "Go ahead!  Make fun of me!"

Alex chuckled, planting another kiss on the top of Bryn's head.

The two women changed into their favorite boxer shorts and tee shirts, and went into the kitchen.  After piling their plates high with food, they put the plates, along with bottles of Snapple and Coors Lite, on a tray.   As she walked with Alex out to the porch, Bryn silently hoped that her soul mate would be able to eat.  Fortunately, she was not disappointed.

"This is great, Bryn!"  Alex dug into the Hunan dish with her chopsticks, biting into a plump shrimp.

"I thought you'd enjoy it, honey.  How's your stomach feeling?"

"Much better."  Alex took a bite of fried rice.  "You know, it's starting to sink in that I was finally able to remember you.   I feel really good about that, even though those memories included a lot of terrible things."

"Lex, my love ... don't forget, I'll be here for you anytime you want to talk."  Bryn cupped Alex's cheek in her hand.

"I know, Squeak ... thank you.  I don't think I could ever tell anyone but you."  Alex intertwined her fingers with Bryn's.  "I trust you with all my heart."

After dinner, Bryn put a tray with two mugs of hot chocolate on the bedside stand while Alex loaded a tape of an old horror movie into the VCR.  Bryn propped two pillows against the headboard and sat upright in the bed.  Alex climbed in and lay between her legs - her back against Bryn's chest, with the blonde's arms wrapped snugly around her.  Usually this position was reversed, but Alex needed extra cuddling this evening.

They were half way through the movie when Alex turned to look at Bryn.  "Why didn't my mother love me?"  she asked, in a voice so small and vulnerable.  "Did I do something wrong?"

Bryn thought her heart would shatter into a million pieces.  She hugged Alex tighter, planting a kiss on her neck.  "You think she didn't love you, sweetheart?"

Alex began trembling violently.  "Of course not!  She was so angry with me that she dislocated my arm and tore a ligament!  And, why? .... because I wanted to call my best friend!  On top of that, she lied to me!  I was too devastated to remember the accident ... so when I asked her what happened, she told me I did it sliding down the banister of the staircase.   Like a fool, I believed her, too."  Alex took a deep, shuddering breath.  "Why wouldn't I believe her?   She was my mother.  Mothers don't lie to their kids about things like that - no mother who loves her child would do that.  But, mine did - that bitch!   She's nothing but a liar ... a fucking liar!  And I hate her ... Goddamn her! I hate her, Bryn!"

Bryn began rubbing Alex’s arms and held her tight.  She would help her partner get through another painful, emotional storm.   The devastation to her lover's soul could not heal overnight.   "I know you hate her, honey ...  I don't blame you, but you need to try and let go of the hate.  Just keep talking to me ... I'm here."

"I ... I was so scared - and the pain was excruciating ... Anna rode in the ambulance and tried her best to comfort me."  Alex swallowed the lump in her throat.  "You know, Olivia didn't even come with me!  How could she do that, Bryn?  How could she just let me go to the hospital without her? I was just a little girl!  I needed my mother ... and she wasn't there. But then, why would she come?  She wasn't a real mother.  I never had one.  All I had was a self-centered bitch who hurt me and lied to me!" Alex's voice trailed off as she murmured, "She never loved me, she never loved me..."

"Keep talking to me, honey.  I'm listening."  Bryn kept up a steady stream of hugs and caresses, offering all the emotional support Alex craved.

"It was David who Olivia loved - it was never me.  She didn't hurt him.... there was no emotional abuse directed at David, just me.  Although, I have to admit, she did ignore him sometimes - and manipulated him."  Alex laughed bitterly. "He's probably only half as fucked up as I am!"  she spat.

"Lex, for God's sake!"  Almost choking on the words, Bryn stammered: "You're not ... fucked up!  You're hurt, angry, and confused.  But you're going to get through this.  I'll help you ... I promise, my love."

"Will I, Bryn?  Will I ever be able to allow you to make love to me, like a normal person would?  I wanted to tonight!  You don't know how much I wanted it.  I'm totally overwhelmed by my need to have you touch me – in every way imaginable ... I … I need to feel you inside of me..." Alex struggled to maintain her composure.  "But, damn it, I can't let you!    Do you know how inadequate that makes me feel?"  Sad blue eyes began to tear up.

"It must be so hard for you, honey ... I can't even imagine.  But I believe you will ... very soon.  And even if it never happens, it doesn't really matter to me  ... all that I'll ever care about, is that you love me.  Don't you know that by now?"  Bryn's voice cracked and she began to cry as if her heart would break.

Alex couldn't bear it. She held onto her lover as if her life depended on it - and in reality, it did.    Bryn's tears caused that seemingly impenetrable barrier to Alex's soul to shatter - at long last.  Clinging to one another, they cried together - until all their tears were spent.

Finally, Alex was able to tell Bryn in graphic detail about that terrible night - the pain, the fear, the horror, and worst of all, the knowledge that her own mother hurt her.   And how, even though Alex had no memory of the accident and accepted her mother's explanation, their relationship continued to disintegrate until there was nothing left but hatred.

The pale seven year old slept peacefully, still under sedation. Anna leaned over her bed, stroking the child’s beautiful raven hair tenderly. An I.V. line dripped nourishment into a vein in her slender left arm. A heavy cast encased her right arm – from her hand to her shoulder.

Anna sat down in a big, comfortable rocking chair next to young Lexi’s bed – she had requested that the chair be moved into the child’s hospital room. She wanted to be able to rock the little girl once she awakened from surgery. Lexi would need as much emotional support as she could possibly get.

Long, dark lashes fluttered, and the child slowly opened her eyes. "Daddy?" she whispered hoarsely.

"Hi, sweetheart. It’s Anna …I’m here for you. How are you feeling?" she crooned. Anna leaned over and kissed Lexi’s wan cheek.

"My arm … it hurts!" The child appeared confused. "Anna, what happened to me?"

"You don’t remember?"

"No." Her breathing increased, and she began to perspire.

"We’ll talk about this later, honey. Just rest now." She pulled Lexi close.

The child looked around anxiously, "Is Mommy here?"

"No, sweetheart. She’s at home with Davy."

"Then … is it okay if I cry?" she asked in a small voice, her lip trembling.

"Yes, Lexi … it’s okay to cry." She gently lifted the little girl from her bed, being very careful of her cast and I.V. She sat down in the rocking chair with her and began to rock, humming softly.

The child cried quietly into Anna’s sturdy shoulder. Soon, a nurse appeared, and injected pain medicine into Lexi’s I.V. She drifted off into a dreamless sleep, clinging to the kind woman who had cared for her since she was only two days old. Anna would keep the bright light in Lexi’s soul from being extinguished completely.


Bryn listened to every word intently, comforting Alex in a way that no other human being could.  She reassured her continually, provided plenty of hugs, and offered total, unconditional love.  It was just what the doctor ordered.  After almost a lifetime of nightmares, Alex was able to find a peaceful sleep - her heart purged at last of the deepest pain imaginable.


The petite blonde awakened slowly.  Someone was lovingly caressing her face with long, slender fingers.  "Wake up, Squeak, I’ve got your favorite pastries here," Alex teased in a singsong voice.  Bryn smiled and stretched, making her trademark 'squeaking' sound.  The surgeon chuckled.  "C'mon, or I'll start without you ... and you know there won't be any blueberry croissants left if I do!"

"Huh?"  Rubbing her eyes, Bryn sat upright in bed.  They were swollen and red, just like her partner's.  Even though they had both spent much of the night crying, the two women were extremely resilient, and now their stomachs were demanding to be fed.  "I'm awake now," Bryn yawned.  "Where are the pastries?"

Alex smirked as she set a tray across Bryn's lap.  "Here you go, Squeak ... There's freshly brewed Kona coffee with two sugars and lots of half and half; blueberry, strawberry, and raspberry croissants - all with cream cheese, and the latest issue of Baseball Weekly.  How's that for service?"

"This is wonderful, Lex!  Thank you!"  She gave her soul mate an affectionate hug.  Bryn positively beamed with relief.  Alex had been through hell and back during the past 36 hours and ...  Bryn had been with her every step of the way.  More than once, she had been truly frightened for her lover.  Yet, here she was, going on with her life - and even treating Bryn to a special breakfast in bed.   It was obvious to Bryn that Alex was still emotionally exhausted, but her features seemed more relaxed, and unbelievably, she even looked younger.

Alex sat down next to Bryn, and dug into the wonderful breakfast.  She took a bite of blueberry croissant, followed by a sip of coffee.  I can't remember the last time anything tasted this wonderful - and what happened to that persistent pain in my stomach?   It's gone! 

Bryn smiled at her lover, cupping her cheek in her hand.  "You look like you feel pretty good today, Lex.  Did talking about things last night help?"

"Yeah ... It must have, because for the first time since I can remember, I don't have this nagging ache in my gut."  The surgeon laid a hand across her stomach.  "It feels great!"

Bryn gave Alex an affectionate squeeze.  "I'm so happy for you, Lex!  But if you don't stop eating up all my croissants, you're going to have a different kind of stomach ache!"  The blonde slowly moved her hand to the last blueberry pastry, intent on making it hers.

"Oh, no, you don't!"  Alex grabbed the favored pastry, and started to stuff it into her mouth.  At the last minute, however, she divided it in two, giving half to Bryn.

"Thanks for sharing, Lex. You’re the best!"  Bryn leaned over for a kiss.

When the kiss ended, Alex smiled at Bryn - with her heart stopping, lopsided smile.  "I'll always share with you ... you own my heart ... forever."



The two women spent the rest of the weekend recuperating, and were able to fully enjoy their time together.  Alex seemed more relaxed to Bryn; her beautiful face unmarred by the usual tension.  In addition, the blonde was delighted to note an increase in her lover's appetite.  She thought Alex was too thin, and hoped her improved eating habits might cause a weight gain.

Hmmm ...  relaxed, actually hungry once in a while, playful - I wonder if these little changes might carry over into another area of our life.  Maybe Lex will finally be able to let me love her. It might just happen if I give her a gentle push.  No ... not a good plan, Bryn.  She's always so skittish, even when we talk about it. Lex has to be the one to decide when the right time will be.

Sunday evening found the lovers in bed.  Bryn sat behind Alex and held her in such a way that she could kiss her ears and neck and caress her breasts.  This enabled Alex to masturbate while enjoying the intense pleasure she received from Bryn's touch.  During their previous lovemaking sessions, the surgeon would never allow Bryn's hand to wander below her navel. Tonight, however, Alex let the blonde stroke her lower belly.  When Bryn's left hand accidentally grazed soft, dark curls, Alex was immediately sent over the edge.  Bryn was so moved and aroused, that she joined her.

They lay quietly for several minutes - each one trying to get her ragged breathing under control.  Alex was the first to speak.  Half laughing and half crying, she wiped tears from her eyes.  "Bryn, you're turning me into a leaky faucet!  That was unbelievable!"

Bryn rolled on top of her lover for a deep, searing kiss.  "Oh, Lex, believe it!  You almost let me touch you, and you didn't panic!"

Alex chuckled.  "Well, that definitely wasn't a panic response.  And it felt so good!  Come here, you!"  Alex returned the kiss, tenderly stroking Bryn's long, golden hair.  Then she flipped her soul mate over and showed her just how much she loved her - twice.


Alex sat quietly; head bowed, staring at her hands.  She loathed discussing her personal life with anyone except Bryn.   Now, she was forced to discuss the most intimate details of her life with a professional - someone whose job it was to probe and analyze.  It was only her deep love for Bryn that enabled her to reveal so much about herself to her therapist.

Dr. Bonnie Kaplan's blue eyes showed warmth and caring.  "Here is what I suggest, Alex.   Allow Bryn to touch you while you are making love.  If something comes of it - fantastic.  But, if you can't reach a climax, then try again another time.  Don't sell Bryn short ... she'll understand.  In all my years as a therapist, I have never met a more loving and compassionate partner.  Please try.  You have made wonderful progress.  The only thing holding you back from full recovery is your fear."

Alex sighed deeply.  "I want to, more than anything I've ever wanted in my life.  I crave her touch.  And I have been trying - just last night, I thought I might be ready - but I couldn't get any further than letting Bryn stroke my lower abdomen."  Alex looked down at her hands.  This was intensely painful for her.

"I know you're right ... I am afraid.  Before I met Bryn, I had given up on having a sex life.  It was so humiliating not ever being able to reach a climax ... not to mention frustrating.  It ruined every relationship I ever had.  But with Bryn, it would be much worse.  If I failed with her ... I.... I don't think I could survive it."

"You've already leaped over a very big hurdle, Alex.  As your therapist, I think you're ready for the next jump.  But it has to be your decision. I would never insist upon it."

"I appreciate that.  But what if it never happens?  What if I can never let Bryn touch me?  How will she feel?  Why would she even want to stay with someone like me - an emotional cripple?" Alex buried her face in her hands, trying to compose herself.

"And in any event, I don't deserve her love.  Bryn is such a wonderful person.  She would NEVER have had an abortion - no matter what the circumstances.  I worry about my deficiencies all the time, and it really bothers me.   Bryn should have nothing but the best, and I'm a far cry from that."

Bonnie's heart went out to the younger woman.  "We've been through all this time and again, Alex.  Bryn is a grown woman who knows her own mind. And she has made her decision.  She adores you, you know."  Bonnie stood up and moved to sit next to her pensive patient. "What's really going on here, Alex?  Please share it with me.  I'm here to help you."

The surgeon shrugged.  "I don't know."

Bonnie patted her patient’s shoulder.  "Okay, Alex.  Think about what I've said, and we'll talk about it tomorrow.  And please, give Bryn my regards."


Later that evening, Alex paced nervously on the enclosed porch of her home.  "Where is she, and why isn't she answering her cell phone?"   She sat down in a chair on the porch and attempted to read the latest journal of "Pediatric Cardiology".  Too worried to concentrate, she tossed it aside and stared out the window while she drank her second bottle of Coor's Lite.

Just after nine o'clock, a car pulled into the driveway.  Alex knew from the sound of the engine that it was Bryn.  She hurried to the front door, and opened it to an exhausted, hungry, and very irritable blonde.  Expecting a little sympathy from her soul mate, Bryn got the third degree instead.

"Where in hell have you been, and why didn't you call me, or answer your cell phone?"  The surgeon asked furiously, her face pale.

Bryn's green eyes flashed with anger.  "Look Alex, first of all, I was stuck in traffic behind a horrible accident.  Second, I accidentally left my cell phone in my work locker.  So I couldn't call you or answer your damn call, Dr. Cranky!  And third, fourth, fifth, and sixth: my head hurts; I'm tired, I haven't eaten since noon, and if you don't mind, I have to go pee right now!"  The petite blonde stalked off in a huff.

Alex was chagrined, but her feelings were hurt, too.  She wasn't accustomed to Bryn yelling at her, and it really smarted.  Sighing, she retreated to the porch.  When provoked, her sweet tempered partner was a real spitfire, and Alex knew it was time to back off.

Ten minutes later, Bryn stepped out onto the porch.  She had changed into a tee shirt and boxers, and had a cold bottle of Snapple in her hand.  Alex was sitting on the blue and white loveseat, looking contrite.  "I'm really sorry I acted like such an ass, Squeak.  I was afraid that something terrible had happened to you.  Forgive me?"

Bryn threw herself into her partner's arms, and positioned herself on her lap.  They hugged each other tight, soaking up all the love and warmth each had to offer.  "Of course, I forgive you, Lex.  I'm sorry that you were so worried."

"It's not your fault, Bryn.   I don't know what's the matter with me. To tell you the truth, I'm afraid of ... losing you.  What we have seems too good to be true."  Alex gave Bryn another squeeze.

"You had a right to be worried about me when I was late.  I probably would have reacted the same way."  She stroked Alex's cheek, pausing for a moment.  But, Lex ... I'm not going anywhere, and nothing's going to happen to me.  You deserve to be happy ... we both deserve to be happy!  And anyway, aren't you happy now?  I know that my life has never been better - now that you're back in it."

Alex smiled sheepishly.  "You're right, Bryn.  I've never felt this complete.  Right now I'm just feeling a little embarrassed about overreacting."

"Don't be ... it just shows me how much you love me."  She gave Alex a big kiss on the forehead.  "Now, where's the number to Sam's New York Pizza?  You must be hungry and I'm famished!"

Alex smiled, relieved that Bryn wasn't angry with her.  "I’ll look it up, Squeak.  Want me to rub your shoulders while we wait for dinner?"

Bryn laughed.  "You really know the way to a girl's heart."

"Just one heart ... the only one that matters."


That night, after dinner, Alex and Bryn continued their conversation concerning Alex's fears.   Prior to their argument, it had never occurred to Bryn that Alex feared losing her.  However, in retrospect, it made perfect sense.  Lex's beloved father died suddenly and unexpectedly.   At about the same time, little four-year-old Bryn - her dearest friend - had disappeared from her life.  It was no wonder she worried about losing her partner.   Bryn did everything in her power to comfort Lex.  By the time they went to bed, the surgeon was reassured that Bryn would never leave her willingly.  As she drifted off to sleep, Alex realized that she was one step closer to healing.


The petite nurse cuddled the fussy infant, crooning to him.  She had tried everything she could think of to soothe him, but he was missing his mother.  Exhausted, and worried about her son, Bryn had persuaded her patient’s tired mother to go to the cafeteria for a cup of coffee and a bite to eat.

"How about a story?"  Bryn adjusted the baby's oxygen mask, which was making him even fussier.  He looked into Bryn's face with big blue eyes as she stroked his silky black hair.  "You are one cute kid, Riley James Smith," she whispered in a soft voice.  "You kind of remind me of someone special I know."  The infant cooed, unable to resist his nurse's magical way with children.  She hugged him close to her breast.  "Now, on to my story."

"Can anyone listen in?"  Alex stuck her head in the door, her beautiful face and smile lighting up the room.

Bryn was rocking Riley in a big rocking chair, rubbing soothing circles on his back.  "In your case, I'll make an exception.  Ordinarily, I'd say no - unless you're sick and cranky."  The blonde's green eyes sparkled with mischief.

"For all the attention he's getting, that could be arranged."  The surgeon grinned crookedly.

Bryn smirked.  "Are we feeling a bit jealous, Dr. Morgan?"

Alex feigned a pout.  "Just a bit."

The blonde nurse laughed.  "Don't worry, I'll make it up to you later."  Then, under her breath she whispered, "Spoiled brat."

Alex, who had resumed her professional demeanor, moved closer to examine the baby.  Placing the earpiece of her stethoscope into her ears, she murmured, "I heard that."

Bryn just smiled, and then positioned Riley so that Alex could examine him easily.  The surgeon was very slow and gentle in her approach, not wanting to make her tiny patient cry.  He looked up at Alex with wide, trusting blue eyes as she listened to his heart and checked his vital signs.  After completing the examination, the surgeon stood up, her face a mask.  Bryn was not fooled; she knew that Alex's expression meant Riley was in trouble.

"What's wrong, Lex?"

"His heart's working really hard - and he's not even feeding or crying.  The sooner I repair his heart, the better.  I'm going to schedule him for surgery right away; I can't wait until after Thanksgiving.  If I do, he could go into Congestive Heart Failure.  I'm sorry, but we may need to postpone our trip to the cottage."

"That's okay.  You know I don't mind."  Bryn carefully put the baby back in his crib.  "His parents are really scared, Lex.  They lost their first son to the same heart defect."

"I know.  I'll try and reassure them.  If we can just get him through surgery, his prognosis is very good.  I'll see you tonight."   Alex took Riley's chart and left, brushing two fingers to her lips and turning them towards Bryn as she did.


Dr. Morgan sat at her desk, facing Alison and Chad Smith, Riley's mother and father.  The first meeting with the parents of a patient was always difficult for Alex.  She was trying to be gentle, yet frank with them about their baby's condition.

"As you know, the Balloon Atrial Septostomy performed on Riley at your local hospital was a temporary measure.  It was necessary to improve his oxygen supply and to stabilize him.  The next procedure is a far more complicated surgery to correct his problem - specifically, an Arterial Switch Operation."  Dr. Morgan took a deep breath,  "I can only imagine how painful this is for you, but I need to ask you a question.   Did your other son have an Arterial Switch Operation?"

The pretty young woman dabbed at her eyes with a tissue.  "No, we weren't aware of this surgery when our first son, Robert, was born.    But this time, Riley's cardiologist, Dr. Cardin, suggested that we bring him to Atlanta.  Dr. Cardin said the latest procedures were being done here, and that you were the best pediatric heart surgeon on the staff of this hospital."  She paused for a moment, trying to compose herself.  "Dr. Morgan, we can't have any more children.  With Robert gone, Riley is our only hope."  She began to cry.  "We can't lose Riley ... we just can't. He's our whole world."  Tears streamed down Alison Smith's face as her husband tried to comfort her.



Alex felt deep sympathy for the young couple.  She handed over a box of tissues, and waited for the young mother to calm down.  When she had, the surgeon spoke. "I'm sure you understand that I can't make guarantees, but I don't believe Riley will die.  As you already know, Transposition of the Great Arteries is a very serious defect.  But, I've done a number of these surgeries, and as of today, my mortality rate is zero."  Alex took out a diagram of Riley's defect, using a pencil as a pointer.  "With your permission, we'll put him on a heart-lung machine, and open his chest.  Then I'll "SWITCH" the incorrect positions of his pulmonary artery and aorta.  I'll also free his coronary arteries, then connect them back to the aorta, using very delicate, hair-thin sutures."  Alex smiled warmly,  "If all goes well, and I suspect it will, he can even play shortstop on a Little League team someday - if he wants to, and can lead a completely normal life."  Dr. Morgan paused,  "Of course, any surgery carries risks; particularly heart surgery.  But he's in a wonderful facility, and I have a lot of experience with this procedure.  If the operation goes well, Riley's long term prognosis is excellent."

Riley's father cleared his throat.  "There may be a problem financially, Dr. Morgan.  Our first son's hospital bills were staggering, even with insurance.  We will pay every dime, but it may take a while."

"Dr. Cardin explained your situation to me ... and I've decided to waive my fee."

The young couple was stunned.  "But…how can we ever repay you?"  they asked in unison.

"You can send me a picture of your happy, healthy son.  He's quite a handsome little guy.  And very soon, his color will be nice and pink, instead of blue."  Alex paused for a moment, steepling her hands.  "I've scheduled the surgery for tomorrow morning instead of next week. The sooner I correct his problem, the better the outcome for Riley.  You should also know that I am planning to be at Cape Cod for Thanksgiving weekend.   I'll leave Riley in the very capable hands of Dr. Stephanie Moore.  She'll be assisting me during surgery, and she's an excellent doctor.   However, if there are any post-op complications, I'll delay my trip."

"Thank you, Dr. Morgan.   You have no idea what your kindness means to us."  Chad and Alison Smith stood up to leave, but stopped to embrace Alex first.  Even though the surgeon was uncomfortable with public displays of affection, she shyly returned the hugs.

After Riley's parents left her office, Alex wondered why they had made such a fuss - unknowingly embarrassing her. It's only money, what's the big deal? As always, Alex thought nothing of her generosity; it was second nature to her.   Oddly enough, it didn't dawn on her that most doctors wouldn't have treated the Smiths in such a caring way, let alone waive their fees.  Bryn's efforts to make Alex aware of how special she was, had still been unsuccessful.   It would happen, but it was a long, slow process.


C'mon, c'mon, c'mon, c'mon now,

Touch me, babe, Can't you see that I am not afraid

What was that promise that you made,

Why won't you tell me what she said

What was that promise that she made

Now I'm gonna love you till the heavens stop the rain

I'm gonna love you till the stars fall from the sky

For you and I ...

Dr. Alexandra Morgan arched her neck.  She had been in surgery for six hours.  Her legs ached, and her eyes burned from the strain.  The Arterial Switch operation required incredible skill and dexterity.  Fortunately, Riley James Smith couldn't have been in better hands.

"How's he doing, Sam?"  Alex asked the handsome, graying anesthesiologist.

"His vital signs are stable."  The doctor chuckled for a moment,  "He's doing fine, Dr. Alex - but I'm not so sure about his anesthesiologist.  After all, I'm the one that has to listen to your loud music.  What was the name of that singer again?"

Alex mock glared at Dr. Sam Schaeffer.  "It's Jim Morrison and the Doors."  She sighed,  "I'll let that slide this time, Sam.  But only because you're such a damned good anesthesiologist."  A hint of a smile was evident in the crinkle around Alex's crystal blue eyes.  Dr. Morgan still had the capacity to be the "Ice Princess", but now, due to Bryn's loving influence, some of the staff who worked with her could see that the ice had begun to thaw.

The tall surgeon put in the last of the miniscule sutures around Riley's tiny heart, and sighed.  "Okay, start warming him up, and take him off bypass."  Crucial moments passed as they all waited.  Slowly, Riley's heart began beating strongly on its own.  A cheer went up around the operating theatre.

"Close him up for me, Stephanie.  Riley's parents are waiting for some good news."  Alex couldn't remember when she had been this happy.  A very difficult operation had been completed without a hitch, and the next thing on her agenda was a long, relaxing weekend with Bryn at their Cape Cod cottage.







Once outside the operating room, the surgeon removed her gloves, cap, and mask, and washed her hands.  She then hurried to the family waiting area.  Alex walked towards Riley's parents, smiling.  "The operation went very well.  Riley will be moved to Intensive Care soon, and then you can go in to see him.  I expect a complete recovery.  As I told you, I'm going to Boston for Thanksgiving.  Dr. Stephanie Moore will see to Riley's progress while I'm gone.  I have complete faith in her, and in Riley's determination to get well."

Chad and Alison Smith cried with relief, hugging each other.  "Thank you, Dr. Morgan," they both exclaimed.  "We'll never be able to thank you enough."  Tears ran down Alison Smith's face as she turned to embrace the tall surgeon.  "You're a wonderful doctor - and a special person."

Alex smiled shyly.  She wasn't comfortable with praise, even from Bryn.  "Thank you, Mrs. Smith.  Happy Thanksgiving."  As she turned to go, Alex paused for a moment.  "By the way, Riley's nice and pink now."

As she walked down the hall, Alex marveled at the delight she felt in helping Riley and his parents.  She had always found her work supremely gratifying, but somehow this was different.  She decided it must be because she was beginning to feel complete and whole for the first time since she could remember.


The petite blonde closed the latch on her suitcase.  Everything was all packed and ready to go.  If young Riley Smith continued to do well, Alex and Bryn would be on a plane headed for Boston by seven o'clock tomorrow morning.

Bryn placed her suitcase in the corner next to Alex's bag.  The surgeon had so much confidence in the positive outcome of Riley's surgery, that she had packed last night.  As Bryn passed by their bed, she couldn't resist picking up Alex's stuffed bear, Harry.  Harry had taken up permanent residence on their bed since the night she found Alex in the basement, clutching the bear tight.  Bryn had insisted on bringing him upstairs - against her lover's wishes.  The blonde knew Lex was only trying to act 'tough'.  So from that night on, Harry, and Bryn's stuffed dog Noah, sat beside each other.  Harry and Noah were a tangible reminder that Alex's and Bryn's hearts and souls had been linked together for most of their lives.

Bryn hugged the bear to her breast as she looked at another memento of their childhood. On the nightstand, sat a photograph of two smiling little girls sitting on a hospital bed.  Bryn had salvaged a snapshot from Alex's memory box.  Lex was delighted when Bryn had the print enlarged and framed, and placed it in a prominent place in their bedroom.

Bryn closed her eyes; remembering the day the picture was taken.   Although outwardly, both children looked happy, Bryn knew that she was terribly frightened.

"Lexi, I'm so scared!"  The little girl's lower lip trembled.  Her precociousness left her susceptible to fears that most four year olds never experienced.  "What if your daddy can't fix my heart?  I'll die if he can't.  And what if I never wake up again?  I won't see you anymore, and my mommy and daddy will be very sad."  Tears began spilling down the small face.

A small, slender hand reached for an even smaller hand in a gesture of friendship and comfort.  "Now listen to me Bryn," she replied wisely.  "My dad will NOT let you die.  Believe me, he's really good at his job - that's why your parents brought you all the way to Boston.  They knew he could help you.   Besides, you're my best friend ... he'll take extra special care of you.  So don't be scared ... okay?"  Alex kissed the little girl's cheek, and then carefully wiped the tears away.

Bryn sniffled.  "Okay ... if you say so, then I believe you.  I love you, Lexi!" She threw her arms around her friend, squeezing tight.

"I love you, too, Bryn. I’ll love you forever!"

Bryn set Harry back on the bed and sighed.  She longed to help Alex get well emotionally.  Lex had been an ardent supporter during the most painful and frightening time of her life, and she wanted to reciprocate.  Bryn coveted an all encompassing lover's relationship with Alex.   She wanted to be able to make love to Alex, in every sense of the word.  However, even if it never happened, she was determined to make their sexual encounters more "interesting" for her lover.   She blushed as images of what she had planned passed though her mind.

"Hi, Squeak!"  Her tall, gorgeous soul mate walked into the room. "Why is your face so red?"  she asked as she gathered Bryn up in a huge bear hug.

"Um... no ... no reason," she replied, returning the hug.  "I'm so glad you're home," she enthused, changing the subject.  "Thanks for calling me earlier about Riley.  Is he still making a good recovery?"

Alex beamed.  "He's doing great!  Unless something unexpected comes up, we'll be able to leave in the morning."  As she chatted with Bryn, the tall surgeon kicked off her shoes, and began changing into more comfortable clothes.  Alex slipped into her favorite maroon, pullover sweater, and jeans.  Bryn was also wearing jeans, with an over-sized, gray Old Navy sweatshirt.  Both preferred comfort to fashion.  "There.  That feels much better!  Let's grab a drink and head out to the porch - I'll fill you in on Riley's condition."

After obtaining a couple of bottles of Peach Snapple from the kitchen refrigerator, the two friends sat together on their enclosed patio.   Alex settled her long legs across the coffee table, wiggling her bare toes contentedly.

"Feet hurt, honey?"  Bryn asked sympathetically.

"Not too much.  They're just really tired from standing all day."  The surgeon sighed deeply.  "Riley's surgery was incredibly tough.  Working with those tiny coronary arteries was a real bear.  But I expect him to make a full recovery."  Alex chuckled softly.  "Pretty soon he'll start growing like a weed."

"I'm so happy for him ... and his parents.  And for you, too. Lex.  I've never seen you so affected by a case.  I know you're always deeply caring of all your patients, but this child is different.  What makes him so unique?

Alex shrugged.  "I don't really know.  His parents were just so appreciative - and I felt good about doing what I could for them.  I've always enjoyed helping people, saving lives, but this time was more special than usual.  And I have to admit; I do feel proud about having the skills necessary to save him."  Alex paused for a moment, wrapping an arm around Bryn's shoulder. "Maybe the real reason is because I'm much happier in my personal life ... thanks to a certain, very beautiful blonde I know."  She tapped Bryn's nose.  "What am I saying?  I had no personal life ... until I found you."

Bryn flushed with pleasure. "Lex ... you can be such a sweetheart, sometimes.  You know you have some of the staff at the hospital so fooled."  She smiled, cupping Alex's cheek.  "You still intimidate at least ninety percent of them.  Little do they know what a pussy cat you are."  She climbed onto Lex's lap, wrapping her arms around her lover’s neck.

"Let them go on thinking I’m a bitch.  I like it that way!  I'll save my soft side for you and my patients."  Alex leaned in for a tender kiss, which quickly turned passionate.  When it ended, Alex spoke breathlessly.  "Okay, you climbed on my lap, Bryn.  You know what that means, don't you?"

"What?"  Bryn feigned innocence.

"This!"  Alex gathered up Bryn and headed for their bedroom.  The rest of the evening was spent in celebration of their love.


Bryn lay contentedly in Alex's arms.  Her tender lover was slowly stroking her long, golden hair.  The blonde inhaled deeply - the warm, sweet scent of her soul mate was like pure heaven. "Have I mentioned that I'm deeply and hopelessly in love with you, Alexandra Morgan?"

The surgeon chuckled.  "Not since a few minutes ago.  No, wait.  That wasn't what you were yelling!"

Bryn rolled to her side, bringing Alex with her.  When she had gained access to her friend's shapely behind, she gave it a sharp smack.

"Ow!  That really hurt!  What was that for?"

"For teasing me!  And quit looking so pitiful!  I know you're faking!"

Alex continued to pout. "You hit hard, Squeak!  On my naked butt, too! Check it to see if it’s red."

Bryn began to caress Alex's behind. "There. I'm sorry, honey.  It is a bit pink. Did it really hurt?"

"Gotcha!"  Alex teased.  "I just really like it when you rub me there!"

"You little rat!  I can't resist your pouting, or your behind, and you know it! That's not playing fair!"

"Rule 647:  Whatever works is fair!" The surgeon chuckled.   "Listen ... I'm starved.  I'm going to get dressed and go out for some Chinese food.  Does that sound good to you?"

"Mmm ... sounds great!  We're all packed and ready for tomorrow.  Maybe after dinner, and some cocoa on the porch, we should get some sleep."

"Good idea.  I'm beat."  She gave Bryn a quick kiss and got up to get dressed.  "I won't be long."


A few hours later, the two women sat together on the porch, drinking their cocoa.  It had become an important nightly ritual for them.  They would discuss their day, their plans for the week, and their patients.  Tonight the topic of conversation revolved around the upcoming trip to the Cape, and plans to have a post Thanksgiving dinner with Bryn's family.  The meal would be the weekend after Thanksgiving, but the O'Neill's didn't mind at all.  They were looking forward to meeting the adult Alex - the woman who had captured their twenty eight year old daughter's heart.

"My parents are so excited about meeting you, Lex!  I told them you looked quite a bit different than you did in 1975!"  Bryn giggled,  "You've filled out considerably since then!"

"Stop it, Bryn!  Surely, you didn't tell them that!"  Alex looked worried.

"Yes, I did ... but it's okay.  They're used to me saying stuff like that!"

"Bryn, you know I'm already nervous about seeing them for the first time in 24 years!  And here you go embarrassing me before we're even introduced.  It's important to me to make a good impression on your parents.  What if they don't like me?"  The dark brows furrowed; insecurity evident in Alex's expression.

"They'll love you!  You make their "baby girl" incredibly happy.  You also helped me through a very difficult part of my childhood; plus your father saved my life.  They have to listen to me go on and on about how great you are over the phone each and every day.  So I think it's pretty safe to say that they'll be ecstatic in my choice of a partner.  And if the unthinkable happens, then that's just too bad.  No one, not even Mom and Dad, can keep me away from you."  Bryn snuggled closer to Alex.

"All right, then."  Alex chuckled,  "As usual, you've managed to make me feel better."

"As your soul mate, that's in my job description, Lex.  I love you."

"I love you back, Squeak."  Alex paused, touching her forehead to Bryn's.  "You know, I'd like nothing better than to sit here with you all night, but I can't ... I'm really tired.  But before we go to bed, I’d like to call the hospital to check on Riley."

"Good idea.  Otherwise, you won't sleep well."

Alex reached for the phone on the end table, and then dialed quickly.  "Dr. Morgan here.  How's Riley Smith doing?"  Alex stood up and began to pace.  She was never still when she was on the phone.  "Yes ... good ... I want to be notified of the slightest problem immediately ... you have my cell phone number ... remember, it doesn't matter what time of the day or night it is ... great ... Happy Thanksgiving."  The surgeon placed the phone back in its cradle.

Bryn looked expectantly at her lover with big green eyes.  "How is he?"

Alex beamed.  "Great ... he's making an unusually fast recovery.  Even so, I hate leaving him."

"Don't worry, honey.  Stephanie will take good care of him."  Bryn began to rub the surgeon's broad shoulders.  "Let's go to bed.  You can barely keep your eyes open."

"Okay, cute stuff."

Bryn smiled at the term of endearment.  She took her lover's hand as they walked towards their bedroom. Tomorrow was going to be a very special day for them.  Their first holiday together - in their Cape Cod cottage.  She couldn't wait.


The incessant ringing of the telephone woke Alex from a deep, contented sleep.  She glanced at the bedside clock - it was just after midnight.  "Dr. Morgan here."  Her expression immediately turned grim.  "What? ...  No ... that's not possible ... he was doing just fine a couple of hours ago.  I ... I'm on my way.  There has to be some kind of mistake."  Trembling, Alex slammed down the phone and jumped out of bed.

"Lex?"  Bryn asked sleepily.  "What's wrong?"  She rubbed her eyes, and tried to focus.

"The hospital called.  Riley ... Riley suddenly crashed.  Bryn ... they couldn't revive him."  Alex's face twitched as she struggled to maintain control.

Tears began streaming down Bryn's beautiful, sweet face.  As Alex bent down to comfort her lover, the face suddenly turned into the angry, sneering countenance of Olivia Morgan.

Horrified, Alex gasped.  "You bitch!  What the hell are you doing here?  And what have you done with Bryn?"

"Nothing.  But it doesn't matter anyway.  Bryn can't help you.  No one can rescue you from the punishment you deserve.  You're a murderer, Alexandra.  You murdered my grandchild.

"You thought saving Riley could help you atone for the killing of your own baby, didn't you?   Was it because Riley looked enough like you to be your own child?  Well, forget it - nothing you do will ever make any difference.  There's just no way you can receive forgiveness for your sins.  Olivia laughed bitterly.

"Really, Alexandra; there's no sense in trying.  Simply because you're slipping, you're not the surgeon you once were.  You'll NEVER be the surgeon your father was.   You couldn't save Riley - or Will.  Remember Will - that little boy who died after YOU operated on him?   Surely you didn't forget; you and your little bed warmer went to his funeral.   You told his parents that you were so sorry.   They said they didn't blame you, but they were lying.  They knew why he died, and so do you.    It was YOUR fault!  You're being punished for that abortion.  Will and Riley's deaths are a part of that punishment.

"But that's not all - there's more, isn't there?  I know everything; all your dirty little secrets.   You can't have normal sex, can you?   You can't accept pleasure from anyone - not even your precious little Bryn!   You're pitiful - you don't even realize how sick you are.  It's pretty pathetic that the only way you can have an orgasm, is to do it yourself.  It's just as well, because you really should be alone.  And you will - one day very soon.  Because you'll never be able to allow Bryn to touch you.  Just how long do you think Bryn will put up with your deviant behavior?  Eventually, she'll leave you.  You are an evil person, Alexandra.   You deserve nothing but pain!"

Alex huddled up in a little ball, and began to scream.  "Noooo!  Nooo! I'm sorry ... I'm so sorry!  I didn't mean it ... I didn't want to take my baby's life!  I'm sorry!  I'm ... so ... sorry!  

"Oh, God, Lex!  Please wake up!  You're scaring me!"  Bryn was frantically trying to awaken her lover; who was moaning, and thrashing from side to side.  "It's okay, sweetheart ... you're just dreaming."

Alex awakened with a start.   She was terrified, and drenched with perspiration.  "Riley ... Riley died, Bryn.  I couldn't save him." She looked around, desperately trying to get her bearings.   "I ... I failed him."

"Shh, he's just fine, honey."  Bryn held Alex close, stroking her hair.  "Remember?  We called the hospital right before we went to bed."  She felt her lover tremble.  "Are you gonna be all right?"

"I don't know, Bryn.  I ... I need to call the hospital ... just to make sure."

Poor baby! "I'll do it.  You're too upset.  I'm going to contact the hospital, then make us both some cocoa.  Would you like to go out on the porch?"

Alex pursed her lips.  She nodded, then got up to go into the bathroom to wash her face.  Bryn went out to the kitchen to make the phone call while she prepared the cocoa.  Ten minutes later, the two women sat huddled together on the couch.

Bryn put her arm around Alex's broad shoulders.  "Riley is doing just fine, honey.  He's improving steadily."

"Are you sure?"

"I’m sure.  Lex, it was just a terrible nightmare."  She patted her lover's shoulder.  "Do you have any idea what triggered it?  You haven't had one in a while."

Alex took a sip of cocoa.  "It ... it's my guilt over the abortion.  Bonnie has been encouraging me to face up to it - that's all we talked about today.  I didn't bring it up earlier, because I didn't want to upset you.  At first, she thought that fear was the only thing holding me back sexually.  But now, she thinks there's more to it. And there is."  Alex hung her head.  "I ... I don’t...."

Bryn just listened carefully, rubbing Alex's back affectionately.  "It's okay, honey.  Go ahead."

"I don't deserve to feel pleasure, Bryn.  Especially not from the one person I care about more than anyone else on this earth - a good, pure person who would have never taken her own child's life."

"Now, Lex!  You listen to me..."

"No, hear me out.  You asked me why Riley was so special.  I didn't realize the real reason then, but I do now.   In my subconscious mind, I associated Riley's life with my baby's.  You must have noticed that Riley looks enough like me to be my own child.   There's just one major difference - he's precious to his parents.  They WANT him. No doubt they would give their life to save his.  I didn't want my child, so I killed it.   'It'... how sad, I can't even tell you if my baby was a boy or a girl. I suppose I thought that if I saved Riley's life, I'd be one step closer to making up for killing my own child.  But I'm still being eaten up with guilt.  That's what the dream was about ... I thought Riley had died.  And Olivia was taunting me - about Riley, the abortion, and even Will. She ... she told me nothing I do will ever make up for it.  And she's right.   I made a terrible mistake, and I deserve to be punished for it."  Alex's face blanched, and her jaw twitched.  Bryn knew that these were subtle signs that her lover was about to fall apart.

"No!  You do NOT deserve to be punished!  People do the best they can with the circumstances they're given."  Bryn took Alex's hands in hers, trying to convey love and support.   "Okay ... you made a mistake.  We all do ... I know I have.  We've been through all this before.  If Olivia had loved and supported you, had been the kind of mother you needed, I don't believe you would have ever gone through with the abortion in the first place.  Olivia gave you nothing - at a time when you needed everything from her.  The only thing she ever gave you was an unbearable burden and a self-image totally at odds with who you really are.  She never took the time to get to know the real Alexandra Morgan.  The sad truth is, I seem to be the only one in this little Lex/Bryn/Olivia triangle who does know her.  You certainly don't.  The Alex Morgan I know places great value on human life.   She is a wonderful, caring individual.  For example, I found out through the hospital grapevine that the Smiths aren't the only family she's helped by donating her surgical skills."

Alex raised an eyebrow, surprised.  She had always tried to keep that information confidential.

"If you're wondering how the staff found out, it's because the families told them.   They wanted to share with everyone what a generous thing you did.  It's only natural for people to talk about unusual acts of kindness.  And you're the woman they were talking about; you're incredibly kind and generous.  When I look at you ...  I see the most remarkable, warm, and loving person I've ever known.  A person that deserves to be happy.  Please ... let her be happy, Lex."  Bryn's voice dropped to a whisper.  "Will you forgive her?   She's already suffered enough."

The distraught woman considered Bryn’s question thoughtfully. After long moments, Alex responded, barely above a whisper. "Yes.  I think I can now.


"What, honey?"

"I..." She choked back a sob.  "Will you hold me ... please?"

"Always, Lex."  Bryn opened her arms and gathered her lover to her breast.  Alex broke down then, unable to hold back the tears any longer. The agony in her soul was profound.  She cried for a long time.  Bryn sat there holding her close; her own heart breaking at the pain she had endured. Her soothing voice and gentle touch settled over Alex like a warm blanket, and something wonderful happened. The frightened little girl inside the stoic surgeon grew strong. After the storm, comes the sun.


Bryn sat back in her seat, relaxing.  "First class is definitely the way to fly."  Her eyes were closed as she listened to the music through her headphones.  Alex's hand rested on Bryn's arm while she scanned a medical journal. The surgeon seemed to be coping well after last night's horrific nightmare.  Alex was finding it easier to ask Bryn for emotional help; consequently, her burden was much lighter today.

Putting aside the journal, Alex squirmed as she tried to get comfortable.  She tapped Bryn on the shoulder - the petite blonde was completely lost in her music.

"Huh?  What is it, Lex?"

"Do you have any Ibuprofen?  My legs are aching from standing so long during Riley's surgery.  Not to mention the fact that there's never enough room for me on an airplane."

"Sure, sweetheart.  Look in my bag - I'm sure I packed some."

Alex reached under Bryn's seat, and found a large, black leather travel bag - with several deep pockets.  "Oh hell," Alex muttered, as she placed the satchel in her lap.  "This will be like trying to find a needle in a haystack.   I can't see a damned thing."  She decided to let her fingers do the walking.  Suddenly, she jumped.  Alex was startled to detect something quite a bit larger than a needle, and it was moving! What the hell is vibrating in here? I know she didn't pack my pager.  What on earth?

Alex's blue eyes grew wide with shock as her hand settled around a distinctive, cylindrical shaped object. Ooo! Bryn, what do you have in mind for our first Thanksgiving together? If it's what I think it is, I'm going to have a lot to be thankful for!

Turning the vibrator off, her lover smirked at Bryn.  After closing the bag, she again tapped the unsuspecting blonde on the shoulder.  One eyebrow disappeared into the dark bangs.  "Um... Squeak.  I can't find the Ibuprofen.  But there WAS something else in there.   Perhaps you intended it for medicinal purposes.  However, it's not quite what I was looking for."  Her silky voice lowered an octave.  "At least not right now."

"What are you talking…?" Bryn suddenly turned pale, and then blushed a deep red all the way to her blond roots.  "Oh, shh ... shoot!  I didn't mean to throw that in there! I thought I put it in my suitcase!  Where is it?  Did you put it back?"  she asked frantically.

Alex burst into laughter.  "Don't worry.  It's safely tucked away."  She leaned over and whispered in her lover's ear: "Where did that thing come from?  You naughty girl!"

Bryn giggled shyly.  "From a website I found.  I was planning on surprising you ... with, um... a few things."

Alex’s big, blue eyes grew wide with wonder. "A few things?  You mean there's more?"

"Maybe," Bryn teased.

"Oh.  Well, I was definitely surprised!  And I have to admit that I'm very intrigued.  My 'innocent' little Squeak.  You never stop surprising me.  I'm so glad we're together."  Alex leaned over for a quick, discreet kiss.  "You make every single day of my life so much fun.  I think I'll keep you."

"So ... you really don't mind?  You ... like the idea?"  Bryn asked nervously.

"Oh yes, very much! And I like you, too."

"Right back at ya, Lex."  She tapped Alex's nose, then cleared her throat.  "Let me find that Ibuprofen for you now.  I can't have my favorite doctor hurting.  I need you in good shape for our walks on the beach - and other things."

Alex smiled.  "Your little 'surprise' made me forget all about my aching legs.  Now, let's see.  What else have you got in there?"  The surgeon reached for the bag in delight.

Bryn swatted Alex's hand.  "Lex! Behave yourself! Later!"


Alex maneuvered the rented jeep into the driveway of her childhood home.  It was a bittersweet homecoming for the surgeon.  She swallowed audibly, willing her wildly beating heart to slow down.  She wouldn't allow her painful memories to spoil the holiday for Bryn.  Taking a deep breath, she finally spoke.  "Well, Squeak ... what do you think?"

Bryn couldn't contain her delight.  "It's gorgeous, Lex!"  She threw her arms around her lover, hugging her tight.

The gray and white clapboard Cape Cod residence was situated on Old Silver beach in Falmouth - a quaint little village.  The house had been immaculately maintained, and was freshly painted.  The back of the home faced the ocean, and featured a spacious, screened in porch.

The two women got out of the car, and sauntered hand in hand up the steps.  Alex unlocked the front door and pushed it open.  She suddenly pulled Bryn into her arms for a long, slow, tender kiss.  The blonde's knees grew weak.  When their lips finally parted, Alex looked into smoky green eyes.  "I've never cared about anyone the way I care about you - you've changed my whole world.  I've never felt so - complete."  Alex scooped Bryn up and walked into the living room.   She sat down on the couch, her precious bundle still in her arms.  "I'm never letting go of you - you know that, right?"

"Right!  And make sure that you keep that promise.  I don't want to be out of your arms all weekend."   Bryn slipped her tongue into Alex’s warm, soft mouth.  She ached to make love to this woman in every way imaginable: to touch her, to feel her, to taste her.

Hmm..... Something's different about the way Lex is responding to me, something different in her whole demeanor.  Whatever it is, I definitely like it!  Maybe my wish will come true ... and soon.

The dark haired woman reluctantly pulled away, breathless.  "Hey ... there are a few things we need to do.  I want you to see the rest of the house.  We can kiss all weekend, once we're settled.   Let's get the luggage; it's still in the car."  Alex grinned crookedly at her lover, tapping the blonde's nose.

"Okay ... first we retrieve our suitcases, second you give me the grand tour - a quick one, and then we can get down to business!"  Bryn smirked playfully.

After putting their luggage away, Alex guided Bryn through each room of their completely re-decorated and re-furbished cottage.  Their final stop was the kitchen.  While Alex was making the coffee, Bryn discovered a box of Pinwheels sitting on the kitchen counter.  "You've thought of everything, Lex!" She opened the package of cookies and prepared a tray for them.  When the coffee finished brewing, Alex carried the tray out to the porch.

"I can't believe how beautiful it is here.  The ocean view is spectacular."  Bryn munched her cookie happily.  "It's so romantic, too."

"I knew you would love it.  I've imagined bringing you here ... from the first moment we met in Atlanta.... before I even remembered you were my Squeak."



Bryn smirked.  "You were interested in me, Lex?  Right from the beginning?"

Alex blushed.  "Oh, yes ... I admit it.  It was love at first sight for me."   She chuckled.  "The night you brought your thesis to my house  - when I was so sick, and you took such good care of me... I didn't want you to leave ... ever."

"Well, that makes two of us!  I had a huge crush on you from the first day you walked into I.C.U.  I couldn't believe that the 'Ice Princess' I had heard so much about, and the Alex Morgan I knew was the same person.  Underneath that frosty exterior, you have the warmest heart I've ever known."   Bryn moved closer, using her fingers to wipe away a bit of chocolate from her soul mate’s full lips.

Alex captured Bryn's fingers in her mouth, sucking sensuously.  "Mmm," Bryn moaned.  "And your mouth is just as warm."  She's trying to drive me crazy today!  Or seduce me ... or both!

Alex removed each finger from her mouth slowly, then kissed Bryn's palm.  "Later on, I'll show you just how WARM it can be," she replied in a deep, silky tone.

The petite blonde fanned herself.  "I ... I'll look forward to it," she stammered.  The air fairly crackled with tension.

Alex grinned; elated with the effect she was having on her partner and on herself.  "Ready for a long walk on the beach?  It'll help us work up an appetite for the lobster and champagne dinner I've ordered.  My favorite local restaurant is catering it."

"Ooo!  I love lobster and champagne.  That's a wonderful surprise!"  Bryn climbed into Alex's lap, hugging her.

"I thought you'd like it.  Now hop off before we both end up somewhere else!"

"That's the whole idea.  Okay ... beach first, bed later!"  The two stood up, laughing.  "I'll race you, Lex!"

"You're on!"  The two women sprinted down to the ocean.  Alex's long legs gave her an unfair advantage, and she made it first.

"Lexi!  Can't you let me win ... just once, Miss-Legs- Are-Longer-Than- Mine?"


One eyebrow went up.  Alex's smirk quickly turned into a pout.  "Can I help it if you're vertically challenged?  Anyway, I kind of like things this way.  Makes it easier to carry you!"  The surgeon lifted Bryn into her arms again, and spun her around and around.  Soon, she got dizzy, and they both fell onto the sand, laughing.  Alex looked into Bryn's beautiful green eyes, and smiled.  "If this were a private beach, I'd have my way with you right now, you know."

"Ooo ... is that a threat or a promise?"

"It's a promise!"

"Well, too bad it's not private, then!  But I dare you to kiss me."

Seldom one to pass up a challenge - and certainly not one presented in such a beautiful package, Alex leaned toward Bryn.   As their lips met, she was almost overcome by a fire in the center of her being.  It was a passion she had never felt before.  Oddly enough, she knew that if she didn't experience the physical pleasure that only her lover could give, her spirit would soon wither and die.  For too long, it had been parched and barren. Bryn's touch was the only thing that could nourish and restore it.   Her soul mate’s physical love was the last step necessary to complete her healing.  And she was finally ready.

The kiss was so deep and intense, that Bryn couldn't help but sense that something was about to change in their relationship.  Lex seemed to have released all her doubts, fears, and insecurities.  She was connecting with Bryn on a spiritual level as well.  The two women felt closer than they had ever been.  At last, their lips parted.  Blue eyes gazed into green with love.

"I ... I guess we'd better continue with our walk, sweetheart.  Those people over there are staring."  Alex grazed her thumb across Bryn's full lips.

"Did ... did you just call me sweetheart?"

The surgeon blushed.  "Yes, I guess I did."

"That's just fine by me, Lex.  Let's come to the beach more often.  I like what it does to you."  Alex helped Bryn stand up, and they brushed the sand from their clothes.  Hand in hand, they continued their walk down the beach - dark hair and light hair contrasting sharply in the November sun.


The two women sat in their dining room, enjoying their first Thanksgiving dinner together.  The beautifully set table glowed with candlelight, and happy faces.  Alex poured more champagne for Bryn.

"This dinner is wonderful, Lex.  Everything has been perfect ever since we arrived.  I'm having so much fun!"

Alex grinned crookedly.  "Same here.  I don't know when I've been so relaxed.  We'll have to come here every chance we get."  She sipped her champagne thoughtfully - her expression turning serious.  "There's something I have to confess to you, Squeak."

The blonde nodded, patting her friend's arm.  "Go ahead."

"I was frightened to be here again.  When we first arrived, my heart was beating so rapidly, I could hardly breathe.  Then ... I just thought of you, and why we were here, and how much we care about each other ... and."  She took Bryn's hand, kissing it tenderly.  "Having you here took all the sting away, and I realized how happy I am ... because of you.  This is our home now, and we're going to make many wonderful memories here.  I can't even come close to telling you how good I feel right now."

Bryn's green eyes sparkled.  In the last few months, she had watched Alex slowly transform into an emotionally whole person.  In some ways, she was like a completely different woman.  Bryn decided to take a chance, to go with her gut feelings.  She climbed onto her lover's lap, whispering in her ear.  "I can make you feel even better," she purred.  The blonde traced Alex's ear with her tongue.  "Would you like that?"

Alex shuddered, her body set aflame by her lover's words. "Oh, God!  Yes!  Please, Bryn.  I want it ... now!"

"Okay," she whispered.  Bryn nibbled her neck, slowly making her way toward Alex's breasts.  "Upstairs?"

"Mmm.... I don't think.... I can walk ... up the stairs."  Alex began to breathe heavily, helpless under Bryn's touch.  "Family room ... fireplace."

Bryn managed to tear herself away from her lover's delicious neck and led Alex into the next room. She pulled two large down throws from the couch, and spread them out in front of the fire.  Alex, flushed with anticipation, leaned down toward her lover.  Bryn took the face she adored in trembling hands - peppering it with tender kisses. "You can't imagine how much I've longed to cradle you in my arms and make love to you."

Alex could only moan as Bryn kept up her tender ministrations.  "Thank you ... ohhh ... for being so ... patient … with me."

"Anything for you ... my Lex, anything."  She claimed her soul mate’s lips again, kissing them deeply.  As the kiss grew more passionate, she unbuttoned Alex's shirt and loosened the ties of her drawstring pants.  Two small hands slipped into the waistband of Alex's underwear, and Bryn began caressing her lover's shapely behind.

Eyes closed in ecstasy, Alex mumbled, "Oh ... that feels ... ...oh, Bryn." Her knees turned into rubber, and she began to slip down to the soft pallet by the fire.  Her soul mate eased Alex to the floor and straddled the beautiful woman.  Bryn was assertive and confident.   She had fantasized about this moment and knew exactly how she wanted to proceed.   But... it had to be right for her lover.

"I want so much to please you, darling.  Everything has to be perfect for you.  Tell me ... how do you want it?"  she whispered, as she began stroking Alex's breasts.

"I ... I want..." she panted.

"Go ahead.  Tell me." Her lover whispered in the blonde's ear.  Bryn's eyes grew wide, and she swallowed hard.  "Oh, God!"

"Bryn?"  Alex moaned.


"Please ... hurry!  I've waited long enough already."  The surgeon was beside herself with need; rocking her hips involuntarily against her lover.

"Whatever you want, my love.  I'll take care of you right away."  Trembling, Bryn shed her own clothes and finished undressing her partner.  Staring at the gorgeous body beneath her, she caught her breath.  "You are so beautiful, Lex."

"Please touch me ... touch me now!"  The blue eyes were so needy and vulnerable, that Bryn thought she would melt.  Nodding, she positioned herself above Alex, capturing a nipple in her mouth.  She began to suckle gently, as her hand slowly moved down the flat belly.  When she arrived at her destination, skilled fingers began to stroke the folds of skin that lay beneath her lover's soft, dark curls.

Alex gasped, then moaned at the intense sensation.   No one had touched her there in so long - and never anyone she was deeply in love with.  The feeling was beyond incredible.  "Oh, God! I can't believe you're touching me.  It's even better than I imagined."

"You like?"

"Mmm ... yes!"

Bryn was thrumming with passion herself - finally being able to caress her lover intimately was an exquisite sexual experience.  She felt so soft and warm - and so wet.  She continued to stroke, wanting to take things slow.

Alex had other ideas, however. "Please, Bryn.  I need you inside me … right now! I’m sorry, but I just can’t wait!"

"Okay," she whispered, her voice cracking.   Bryn gently entered her.  As her hips rose up to meet her lover's finger, Alex cried out. "Is this what you need?" the blonde teased.

"Yes ... oh, yes!  But I need more.  Please!"  She rocked her hips impatiently.

Bryn had never seen Alex this aroused before.  She slipped in two, then three fingers. Her lover cried out again at the sensation of being deliciously filled.  Alex's beautiful face was bathed in passion, the tendons in her neck standing out.  She looked as if she was in pain, but nothing could have been further from the truth; she was in complete rapture, for the first time in her life experiencing the ecstasy that comes with the expression of true love. As Alex got closer to orgasm, Bryn increased her ministrations, holding her partner very close.  She wanted her to feel as secure as possible.

"Oh, God, Bryn!  That feels ... ohhh ... so … so good! Please, don’t stop!"   The beautiful woman began to quiver with anticipation.  She was moaning continuously now, the delicious pressure inside her building rapidly.

Bryn was on fire. Alex was incredibly responsive, and the cries and moans she was drawing from the dark haired beauty were threatening to send her over the edge as well. All she cared about was her partner’s pleasure. The blonde leaned down, and began suckling her lover’s dark nipple again.  She increased the speed of her hand. The warm suction, coupled with the deep motions of skilled fingers, finally sent Alex crashing over the edge.  The sensations were so intense, that the normally stoic woman completely lost all control.  She arched her back, and screamed Bryn's name - over and over again.  When the tremors finally subsided, Alex collapsed, panting, in her lover's arms.  She burrowed her face in Bryn's neck, totally overwhelmed.

We made it, Lex. Together! The blonde immediately felt hot tears on her neck.  "Hey, are you okay, honey?"  She kissed the top of the dark head.  "I promise not to let go of you."

"I ... I can't talk ... right now."

"Then don’t.  Just let me hold you close for a while." Bryn was trembling inside. No one had ever responded to her lovemaking as Lex had.  They lay together for a long time beside the waning fire, enjoying the warmth of each other's body.

Alex finally pulled away, wiping her eyes.  She looked at Bryn and smiled at her, tenderly stroking her cheek.  "Wow ... that was ... exquisite.  Thank you ... you've mended my heart.  I feel..." She stifled a sob.  "I feel ... complete."  She pulled Bryn to her breast, hugging her tight.  "I love you, my Squeak."

"I love you, too, Lex."  Suddenly, Bryn began to cry.

"Hey! What's wrong, sweetheart?"  Alex rocked her tenderly, kissing the soft blonde hair.  "You know how much I hate it when you cry."

"I'm ... I'm just so relieved ... and I ... I was afraid I couldn't please you ... and I was ... so scared for you."  She hiccuped.

"Scared?  Why?"  Alex crooned.

"In case I failed you.  I didn't want to see you hurt anymore ... I ... I couldn't bear it!"  Bryn just wept; too emotional to speak.

Alex's heart melted. "Now listen.  Your lovemaking exceeded my wildest dreams!  It was wonderful ... and I wasn't afraid anymore.  I begged you to touch me, and when you did, it was more than I ever expected."  She chuckled.  "Hopefully, I didn’t break any windows around here!" Alex ducked her head, blushing. "The important thing is that you gave me much more than incredible sex.  You gave me the courage to face my fears, and to conquer them."  She caressed her lover's soft cheek.  "You told me before that we could work things out, and you were right ... as usual."  Alex grinned crookedly.  "Now dry those tears, and let's go find our dessert.  It's white chocolate mousse with raspberries," she teased.

Bryn stopped crying and smiled.  "You always did know how to cheer me up.  Ice cream when we were little, and white chocolate mousse now!"

"Hey, I have to know what my best girl likes.  Now let's go eat that dessert.  We have a lot of exploring to do before morning."  Alex winked devilishly.  "By the way, where'd you put that black satchel?"

Bryn giggled.  "I'll go get it as soon as we finish eating our mousse. But maybe you should consider reinforcing our windows first, Lex."

"Let ‘em break!"

"By the time I get through with you, they’ll all be broken," Bryn purred.

Alex swallowed hard. "Um … Bryn? Maybe we should forget the dessert for now!"

Sunrise found them in each other's arms; dreaming of the love they had shared.  Two mended hearts - joined together forever.


The petite blonde sighed contentedly as she curled up on the couch with her cup of cocoa.  She watched the waves break onto the shore, the pleasant sound almost lulling her to sleep.  She was blissfully happy. Last night had been like a dream come true.  She and Lex had spent the entire night exploring a brand new level of intimacy.  Bryn felt like writing poetry about it.  Their lovemaking had always been wonderful - but now … it was … magic.

"I wish you'd hurry home, my love," she spoke aloud.  "I miss you."  Alex had driven to Children's Hospital in Boston to call on a former colleague.  Bryn remained behind - she was exhausted from the previous night's adventure.

Lex, on the other hand, seemed rejuvenated.  As Bryn had kissed her goodbye, she was fairly glowing - happy, confident, and totally at peace with herself.  Just like the Lexi of long ago.

Bryn's pleasant memories were interrupted the sound of the front door closing.  "Lex?  Is that you, honey?"

"Honey?"  A tall, striking woman with shoulder-length, chestnut colored hair, and large hazel eyes, stepped onto the screened in porch.  She was immaculately dressed, and very attractive.  Bryn immediately recognized her from the cold stare on her face.

"Olivia Morgan?  What are you doing here?  In our home?"  The blonde eyed her cautiously.

"I'm here to see Alexandra - my daughter.  And who on earth are you?"

The sweet blonde exploded in anger.  "Well, you're out of luck!  LEX isn't here right now.  Allow me to introduce myself - again!  I'm Bryn O'Neill.  I don't suppose you remember me.  I was a heart patient of your husband's at Children's Hospital in 1975 - and your daughter's best friend.  But, thanks to you, she lost me! Fortunately, just a few months ago, we found one another again.  And now we're more than just childhood chums.  A whole lot more!  In fact, we're lovers.  And this house you just waltzed into, belongs to us.  So hand over that key, and leave!  Otherwise, I'll have to call the police and have them arrest you for breaking and entering.  Oh, just one more thing: be sure and let the door hit your prim little ass on the way out!"

Olivia gasped, fanning herself.  "Why you little..." She sank down onto a chair, in shock.  "You ... and Alexandra ... you’re..."


"Gay is the word I believe you were looking for.  Yep, we definitely are.  You're shocked, no doubt.  How could you have known?  You never paid the right kind of attention to your daughter to find out.  Of course, there's a lot about her you never even bothered to find out about.  For instance:  Did you know she's one of the most respected and skilled Pediatric Heart surgeons in the country?  And that she sometimes performs her services for free?  No?  Didn't think so.  Did you also know that she's very tough and stoic on the outside, but very tenderhearted on the inside?  That she loves Chinese food, Pinwheels, anything blueberry, horses, dogs, children, old movies, The Red Sox, snow, and most of all, ME? That she suffers from migraine headaches when she's upset. That she has a sensitive stomach?  That she worshipped and emulated her father?"

"I ... I..." Olivia was completely speechless.  For some reason, the tiny blonde spitfire intimidated and unnerved her.

"Did you also know that after a long week of surgery, her shoulder aches so much that it wakes her up at night?"

"What ... what do you mean?"  Olivia's face grew pallid.

"That's right ... the one YOU dislocated.  It's starting to give her some problems."

Olivia gasped.

"Yes.  She remembered EVERYTHING.  It took a lot of love and therapy, but she finally remembered."

"It was just an accident," she replied coldly.

"Sure.  You go on believing that if you want to, Olivia."

"You have no right.  No right at all!"

"Don't I? I have every right! You do realize that I've given Lex the love and acceptance that you never gave her. I've held her through many dark nights of pain and despair. Encouraged her to show her emotions. Dried her tears. Taught her how to feel again. And for the first time since her father died, she is a complete, whole, happy individual.  She managed to survive a childhood almost totally barren of tenderness and affection, to become a compassionate and skilled heart surgeon.  David Morgan would be so proud."

"Yes.  I believe he would."  A tall figure entered the room.  Alex Morgan gave her mother a withering look.  "I see we have an uninvited guest, Bryn - in our home."


"Yes, sweetheart.  But I've taken care of it.  Olivia was just leaving.  After all, this is supposed to be a happy home."  She moved over to Lex, putting an arm around her supportively.  Instantly, she could sense that her strong partner was capable of handling things on her own.

Alex sighed.  "Why are you here, Olivia?  Bryn and I have plans - and they don't include you."

"I imagine you do have plans, however perverted they are! You ... you and your little … girlfriend!  I always knew there was something sick about your relationship!  And I was right!"

"Now you just wait one God damned minute!"  Bryn fumed.  "Our childhood friendship was just that - a beautiful friendship - innocent and pure.  Of course, someone like YOU wouldn't understand that.  You're a cold, heartless, bitch!"

Alex smirked, thoroughly enjoying her feisty partner's defense of her. She had never heard Bryn swear before now.

"How rude can you be? You barely know me."  Olivia was flabbergasted.

"Don't I?  I know enough!  Usually, I make it a rule not to judge a person before I actually meet them.  But when it comes to Lex, I'm afraid all my rules just fly out the window!  And speaking of rules, I'm this close to breaking my rule of non-violence!"  Bryn held up her thumb and index finger. "The only thing keeping me from slapping you senseless, is that I wouldn't touch you with a ten foot pole!"

"Alexandra Devin!  Are you just going to stand by and let her talk to me this way?"

"Um... let me think for a minute.  Sure ... why not?" she replied coolly.

"How can you treat me this way?   Allowing this, this WOMAN to be so disrespectful to your own mother!  And what have you done to turn your brother against me?  He won't even speak to me anymore!"

Alex laughed bitterly.  "David must have finally gotten a ball transplant!  It's about damn time, too."

Bryn bit her lip to keep from laughing.

Olivia turned pale with rage.  "You always did have a foul mouth, Alexandra!"

Alex shrugged.  "Sorry.  You just bring out the best in me!  And by the way, Olivia!  It's ALEX - not Alexandra!"  The tall surgeon pulled her lover close.  "Now ... if you'll excuse us, Bryn and I have a life to live together - a life that will never include you."

"Oh, dear God!  I've got to get some fresh air."  Olivia turned to leave.  "You'll be hearing from me!"

"You can let yourself out, Olivia."  Bryn snickered.

Alex looked at Bryn in complete awe.  No one had ever gotten the best of Olivia the way her sweet natured partner had just done.

When the door finally closed, Bryn hugged Alex tight.  "I'm so proud of you!   You were so cool!  And you didn't even mention the accident.  How can you be so calm after all she's done to you?"

"I surprised myself.  Alex Morgan - the bitch on wheels. I've had to fight every battle, climb every hill alone ... since my father died.   Three months ago I would have simply pushed you aside and ripped Olivia's heart out."  She gently took Bryn's face in her hands.  "But my own personal angel showed me that I could share my burdens, and that it's not a sign of weakness to ask for help.   Walking in on you confronting Olivia made me realize I didn't need to yell and scream and throw things at her.  All I needed to do, was tell Olivia I don't give a damn about her - and that her opinion means zip to me.  And, I did that.

"It's over.  You said I needed to forgive her.  To be truthful, I haven't.  I'm not sure if I ever can.  But I don't hate her anymore. She's in the past, Squeak.  I'm ready to move forward with my life - my life with you.  What do you think about us having our commitment ceremony on New Year's Eve?  We'll start the Millennium together."  She took Bryn's hand and opened the door.  The soul mates walked toward the beach.

"Sounds like the best idea I've heard all day.  You and Mom and I can start planning it as soon as we get back to Atlanta.  Of course, we also have to get a Christmas tree for our house."

"And pick out two dogs," Alex added as they made their way to the ocean.

"And buy season tickets to see the National League Champion Braves," Bryn enthused.

"Alex tried to stifle a smile.  "I already did that.  It was supposed to be a surprise, but I couldn't resist telling you. I’ll hand over the tickets as soon as you promise to go with me to Fenway Park to see my Red Sox.

Bryn gave her beautiful lover a huge hug and a kiss.  "I promise! You're such a sweetheart!  Thank you, Lex!  We have so much to look forward to together."

"Yes, Squeak.  We do.  Oh ... I almost forgot!  I phoned Stephanie while I was in Boston.  She said that Riley had been moved to a regular room."  Alex grinned crookedly.  "He guzzled down an entire bottle of formula for his first Thanksgiving dinner."

Bryn beamed.  "That's great!  His mom and dad must be so happy - almost as happy as we are.  I can't believe we've come this far in only a few months."

"In reality, it took twenty-four years.  Don't forget that tomorrow we're going back for a visit to Children's Hospital - where it all began."  Alex faced Bryn, taking her in her arms tenderly.  "Best friends forever?"

"Best friends ... forever and ever."


The End

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