To Hold Forever
By Carrie Carr
Disclaimers – See Part One.
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The entire family stood by patiently in the waiting room for any news of the impending birth. Martha, who arrived with the Cauble's, hadn't stopped pacing. Her soft shoes squeaked with each step on the clean tile. She considered it very lucky that she had been shopping with Anna Leigh when they received the call from Lois, telling them Amanda had gone into labor.
Michael met her in the middle and held out his arms. "Would you care to dance?"
She curtsied. "Perhaps another time, kind sir." She shared a laugh with him then they joined the rest of the group. "How long has it been? Shouldn't we have heard something by now?"
"I think it's been about five minutes from the last time you asked." Anna Leigh handed Martha a paper cup full of coffee. "I know this sounds ridiculous, but why not have a little of this to calm your nerves?"
Jeannie snorted. "Like she needs caffeine." She sat beside Travis, since her husband Rodney was home with their baby and Lorrie.
Charlie came into the room, jingling a set of keys. "Any word?"
"Not yet," Jacob answered. "We were just enjoying the show your wife was putting on." He gestured to the keys. "Got it unlocked, I see."
"Sure did." Upon pulling into the hospital parking lot, Charlie noticed his wife's SUV – parked sideways with one tire up on the curb, and running. With the doors locked. Not for the first time, he was glad he carried an extra set on his own keychain. "I guess I should give Lex points for remembering to lock the truck."
Martha came up and gave him a hug. "Don't you be giving her any grief. She had more important things on her mind."
Charlie decided now wouldn't be the time to mention to her the "mess" he noticed in the passenger seat. He was going to owe Jeremy big time for handling that little detail for him.
The door of the obstetrics hall opened, and a frazzled, but proud Lex came in. Still dressed in her green hospital scrubs, she was immediately surrounded by the group. She had a hard time understanding all the voices that chimed in at once.
"How is Amanda?" "Was it a girl?" "Is the baby okay?" "How much does she weigh?" "Does she have any hair?" And the funniest question, by an overexcited Jeannie, "Who does she look like?"
"Hold on, everybody." Lex had to raise her voice to be heard. The silence was immediate, as if someone had flipped a switch. "Amanda's great and our daughter is perfect." She was embraced by Anna Leigh and Martha at the same time. "Whoa. Easy, ladies, there's plenty of me to go around."
Martha was the first to recover her voice. "Details, please. Give us all the particulars."
Lex couldn't keep the wide grin off her face. "Um, sure." She held out her hands, spaced a foot and a half apart. "She's about yay big, red and wrinkly, and the biggest little attitude I've ever seen."
Anna Leigh shook her head at Lex's high spirits. "That's not exactly the details we want, Lexington. Specifics would be nice."
"Oh. Well, she's six pounds, eight ounces, and almost seventeen inches long. Better?"
"Much." Anna Leigh turned to her husband, who was standing behind her. "Isn't it marvelous, darling? We have another great-grandchild to spoil."
His grin was almost as large as Lex's. "Best news I've had all day. But why don't we allow Lex a chance to sit down?"
The crowd parted, although Lex stood in place, practically bouncing on the balls of her feet. "Thanks. I don't have time, though. I want to get back to Amanda." She started to leave then turned around. "Oh, yeah. If y'all will give her a little time, she should be ready for visitors." With a quick glance at her watch, she spun on her heels and left.
Martha rolled her eyes. "I'm going to thump her good, when I see her again. That darned kid forgot to tell us what they named the baby."
Amanda watched in amazement as her daughter nursed against her breast. The newborn's tiny mouth worked furiously. She brushed her fingertip along Melanie's cheek. The overwhelming awe Amanda felt was like nothing she had known before. She raised her head when the door opened and her wayward spouse poked her head inside. "Did you find everyone?"
"Yep." Lex was still so excited, she didn't think her feet touched the floor as she moved to stand beside the bed. With a shaky hand, she lightly cupped Melanie's head. "She takes after her mommy." Her eyes rose to take in Amanda's face. She leaned over carefully and kissed her. "I love you."
"I love you, too." The baby stopped nursing, so Amanda pulled her away from her body. She had to tug slightly to get Melanie to release the nipple. When she did, the infant squeaked her protest. "Looks like she takes after you, also."
Lex grinned proudly as she lifted Melanie away. "She knows a good thing when she sees it." She kissed the top of the baby's head and gently rubbed her back. While Amanda covered up, she said, "You don't have to do that on my account, sweetheart."
"No, but I have a feeling we're going to soon have a roomful of visitors."
"Only if you feel like it." Lex cradled Melanie close to her chest. "Besides, I'm not ready to share you two with the rest of the world."
Amanda watched with joy as Lex bonded with their daughter. The nightmares she had before the baby was born, that Lex wouldn't have anything to do with her, was totally unfounded. "I know what you mean. I like it being just us."
There was a light rap on the door before it cracked open. "Hello," Anna Leigh's voice called, "is it all right for us to come in?"
Lex mouthed to Amanda that she told her so. "Sure. Come on in."
Anna Leigh, Jacob and Travis moved slowly into the room. Their eyes focused on the small bundle in Lex's arms. Anna Leigh was the first to find her voice. "Oh, my. She's precious." She stepped closer to Lex, who reluctantly handed the baby to her. "Thank you, Lexington." Anna Leigh placed her lips on the pale fuzz that covered the baby's head. She sent a concerned look to her granddaughter. "How are you faring, dearest?"
"Much better than I thought I would." Amanda tugged the bedcovers higher. Since she had recently breastfed Melanie, she still wasn't comfortable sharing her personal space, even with her family.
Jacob stood next to his wife and peered at the sleepy infant. "Mandy, I do believe she has your nose."
"That's what Lex keeps telling me. I'm not so sure, though." Amanda secretly hoped the baby's eyes stayed blue, so that she'd share the characteristic with Lex. "I've already discovered that she has Lex's appetite."
Travis came to the bed and brushed Amanda's hand. "Are you sure you're up to company? You seem pale."
His concern touched her. "Really, I'm okay. But, I'm curious. How did you three manage to be the first ones in?"
Jacob held out one arm in an exaggerated pose of strength. "We won the arm-wrestling contest. And believe me, Martha's a lot stronger than she looks."
Lex did a double take. "What?" Although she wanted to, she forced herself not to take her daughter from Anna Leigh's loving arms. She hated to share.
"My husband is pulling your leg. It was Jeannie's idea. She thought it would be more fair if we visited according to seniority."
Amanda squeezed Travis' hand. "It sounds like a great solution." She cleared her throat to catch Lex's attention. Her lover came to stand next to her. "I take it you didn't tell them what we named her?"
All eyes turned to Lex, you had the good grace to blush. "I, um, can't remember."
"That's right. You took off before we had a chance to find out." Travis put his arm over Lex's shoulders. "Not that we blame you."
Lex got over her embarrassment, and happily accepted the baby from Anna Leigh. "I'm really sorry about that, folks." She looked to Amanda, who nodded. "Since Amanda didn't like my idea—"
"Junior? Please!" Amanda rolled her eyes. "That's just evil."
"Amanda, Junior," Lex corrected. She shrugged her shoulders. "Anyway, Amanda came up with the perfect name."
"We came up with it."
Anna Leigh gave them both a stern look. "Are you going to tell us before she goes to college? Or are we going to have to find out by reading her diploma?"
Amanda took over, knowing how Lex tended to get sidetracked whenever she was excited about something. "We wanted to give her a name that meant a lot to us, so I thought that Melanie would be the perfect choice."
"And, since she has two amazing great-grandmothers," Lex piped in, "Leigh was the obvious decision for her middle name."
The room became silent as their words soaked in. Travis was vaguely aware of the dampness around his eyes, and wiped at them hastily. "I think Lanie would have been extremely proud, girls."
Anna Leigh watched as Lex handed the baby to Amanda. "I don't," she raised a trembling hand to her mouth, "I don't know what to say."
Jacob pulled her close. "Melanie Leigh Walters. It has a nice ring to it."
The run-down motel was long past its glory days. Even at its prime, over fifty years ago, it had been less than stellar. Now there were too many layers of paint peeled away in places, and the neon sign had long-ago grown dark. There were a dozen rooms, six on each side of a gravel lot, and all but three were vacant.
A brown, four-door Mazda compact, sat in front of the last room. The rear passenger window was partially lowered at an uneven angle, stuck in the same position for years. Three of the bald tires were without hubcaps. The radio antenna was bent in the middle, and the body was scarred with deep scratches and dents.
From the alley behind the building, ran a wild-eyed teenaged boy. His jeans were stained and torn, and his tee shirt hung loosely on his lanky body. He looked behind himself and swore out loud when he heard heavy footsteps coming his way. In a panic, he removed a small plastic bag from his front pocket and tossed it into the old car, before racing through the parking lot and across the street.
A heavily breathing police officer gave chase. Sweat dripped down his face and into his eyes. Parts of his heavy uniform shirt were dark with perspiration. He paused long enough to announce his location through the radio clipped to his shoulder, then sprinted after the teenager. Within moments, the motel lot was quiet once again.
Inside the room, Hubert Walters was propped against an old wooden headboard. There was an empty pizza carton next to his leg. He scratched at his beard, which he had grown to help hide his identity. He didn't know if his sister had filed any criminal charges against him, but he wasn't about to take any unnecessary chances. His once-trim body had turned to flab, and his dark hair and beard were now liberally peppered with gray.
He jabbed at the remote control which was bolted onto the nightstand. The television screen hissed loudly and mocked him with only snow for a picture. "Damned piece of shit." He gave up and in his anger, threw his dinner box across the room.
Hubert looked around at his surroundings in disgust. The only furniture in the room was the nightstand, bed and television. His suitcase sat open on the floor next to the dank and mildewed bathroom, and he decided it was time to move on.
Within half an hour, he had gathered his meager belongings and tossed the suitcase into the trunk of the cheap car. It took several tries before the trunk lid would stay closed. After he turned in his room key, he squeezed his bulk into the car. He pumped the accelerator several times before turning the key and prayed silently until the wreck sputtered to life.
As he backed out of the parking space, the car jarred to a stop with a crunch. "Dammit, what now?" He looked in the rearview mirror and saw the trash dumpster he had just ran into. "Son of a bitch." With another curse, he put the car into drive and scattered gravel as he spun out of the motel.
Long miles of the Oklahoma highway put Hubert in a trancelike state. He blinked tiredly at the white stripes as he tried to stay awake. The radio in his car was broken and he was beginning to regret his decision to head toward Kansas. Flashing lights in his rearview mirror startled him, and he glanced down at the speedometer. No, he wasn't speeding. With an aggrieved sigh, he edged toward the shoulder of the road.
State Trooper Richard Johnson stepped out of his vehicle and adjusted his belt. He pushed his hat further down on his forehead and walked toward the old car carefully. With his hand on the butt of his gun, he tapped on the driver's window.
Hubert swallowed his nerves and struggled with the crank. The window only went halfway down before stopping.
"Sir, could you roll down your window the rest of the way?"
"I can't. It's broken." Hubert tapped his fingers on the steering wheel. He started to sweat. The cop's wary attitude was making him nervous.
Trooper Johnson noticed his discomfort. "Sir, could you please step outside your vehicle?" He took two steps back and unclipped his holster.
"Shit." Hubert struggled with his seatbelt and had to bump his shoulder against the door to open it. He almost fell out of the car, but righted himself and climbed out slowly. "Is there a problem? I didn't think I was speeding."
"No, sir, you were not. But you do have a broken right taillight."
Hubert shook his head. "Well, hell. You stopped me for that? This is bullshit." He started to put his hands on his hips, when the officer reached for his gun.
"Sir, keep your hands away from your body." The trooper took several more steps back and kept his hand on his gun when Hubert didn't comply.
Hubert raised his hands. "Give me a fucking break. I haven't done anything wrong!"
"Get on your knees and lock your fingers together behind your head." The officer waited until Hubert complied, then quickly handcuffed him. He brought Hubert to his feet and stood him next to the old car. He pushed him face first against the trunk. After a careful search of his pockets, the trooper found Hubert's wallet. He was looking at the ID when he noticed a small bag of white powder resting on the back seat of the car. "Sir, I'm going to have to search your car."
"Whatever." The dust on the car made its way into Hubert's nose, causing him to sneeze. One side of his face was now gray from the trunk. He was lifted away from his car, led to the police car and helped into the back seat. "I haven't done anything wrong! What the fuck is your problem?" The door slammed in his face, and he watched in disbelief as the officer took a small plastic baggie from his car. "Hey! That's not mine! You planted that!"
The trooper came back to the car and put the bag away. He typed Hubert's information into his computer, and smiled when he found out his new passenger was not only out of state, but on parole. "Mr. Walters, I'd advise you not to say anything else at this time." He went on to read Hubert his rights. "Do you understand your rights, sir?"
Hubert kicked the seat in front of him. "This is total bullshit! I'm being railroaded!" He continued to yell and curse as the trooper drove down the highway.
The hospital was quiet due to the late hour. Martha moved silently down the hall until she came upon Amanda's room. She opened the door slowly and shook her head at the scene before her.
Lex was slouched in a rocking chair by the window, her head tilted back and her eyes closed. Her hands were linked and resting on her stomach, and light snores escaped from her mouth. She had changed back to the same clothes she had on when she brought Amanda to the hospital, her shirt heavily wrinkled and no longer tucked in.
Martha went to Lex and shook her shoulder. She kept her voice low, so as not to disturb Amanda. "Lexie, wake up."
"Hmm?" Lex's eyes stayed closed, but not for long. They popped open when Martha pinched her arm. "What?"
"You need to get some sleep." Martha's nose twitched. "And a shower, too."
Lex blinked a few times. "I was asleep."
"You know I meant in a bed, you rotten kid." But Martha belied her comment with a tender touch on Lex's cheek. "Honey, you're not going to be any good to your family if you're dead on your feet."
"I know, but—"
Martha took one of Lex's hands and pulled her to her feet. "No buts. Amanda's probably going to sleep until morning, so you have plenty of time to go to Lois and Michael's."
"Okay." Lex watched Amanda sleep. "I'll be out in just a second."
"Good girl." Martha strutted from the room, extremely proud of herself.
After the door closed behind Martha, Lex stood beside Amanda's bed and watched as she slept. Her whispered words could barely be heard in the room. "Martha's dragging me out of here, sweetheart. But I'll be back as soon as I can, okay?" She kissed Amanda's forehead and left the room before Martha returned to fuss at her.
Out in the hallway, Martha tapped her foot. "You didn't wake her, did you?"
"Of course not." Lex took one last look at the door. "I can always get cleaned up and be back before she knows I'm gone."
"You'll do no such thing." Martha took her arm and practically dragged Lex away. "You need to go. Little Lorrie has missed you something awful."
Lex pulled up. "Damn. I should have gone to get her." She headed toward the nursery. "Let me take a quick run to see how Melanie is, first."
Martha had to hurry to keep up with her. "Would you slow down? Not all of us were graced with giraffe legs."
The following morning, Lex showered and dressed, leaving her blue western shirt unbuttoned. She stood in front of the bathroom mirror and fluffed her wet hair with a towel. Still trying to get fully awake, she brought the towel away from her head and leaned closer to the mirror. Several shiny hairs near her temple caught her attention. "I don't believe this." She was about to yank them from her head when she heard the door handle rattle.
"Momma, lemme in." Lorrie pounded on the door for good measure. "Pease?"
Lex draped the towel around her neck and hastily buttoned her shirt before she opened the door. She staggered when Lorrie wrapped herself around her legs. "Hey, there, lil' bit." Lex scooped up her daughter and accepted a sloppy kiss. "How's my girl? Have you been good?"
"Yep. Where's Mommy?"
There was no need to make up any story, since they'd been preparing Lorrie for the time when the baby would be born. "She's at the hospital."
"Does Mommy gots owie?"
"Um, no. Well, kind of, I guess." Lex took Lorrie into the room Lois had given them and sat on the bed. "Remember we told you how Mommy had a baby in her tummy?"
"Yep." Lorrie wriggled until she was comfortable on Lex's lap.
Lex used her fingers to comb through her daughter's unruly hair. "Well, it was time for the baby to come, so we took mommy to the hospital to see the doctor."
Lorrie seemed to think about what Lex told her. She rested her head on her momma's cheek. "I want my Mommy."
"I know, sweetheart. How about after we have breakfast, we go see her? I bet she'll be glad to see you."
"Otay." Now that her curiosity had been sated, Lorrie was ready for action. She climbed off Lex's lap and tugged at her momma's hand. "Can we eats like hosses?"
Lex allowed herself to be dragged from the room. Amanda had teased her about the only breakfast food she could cook without burning. Oatmeal before it was microwaved looked like horse feed, or so Amanda said. It quickly became Lorrie's favorite, which pleased Lex to no end. "Sure thing, lil' bit." Lex picked her up, which caused Lorrie to squeal. "Then you can tell your Mommy all about it." She hoisted her daughter onto her shoulders and did a slow lope to the kitchen.
Voices mingled together in the open room, as several officers and suspects argued amongst themselves. Hubert sat next to a crowded desk with his head in his hands. He raised his head when a heavyset man in uniform dropped into the rolling leather chair across from him.
"Mr. Walters, are you aware of the conditions of your parole?" Officer Griffith flicked through the faxed sheets he'd received moments ago.
"Yeah, I guess." In actuality, Hubert had no idea, other than his weekly reports he made to his parole officer. "When do I pay my ticket and get the hell out of here? I've got places I need to be."
Griffith placed the papers on his desk. "Don't worry. You'll be going, soon enough. Your parole has been revoked, and you're facing charges in Texas, as well as here."
"Revoked? What the hell does that mean?"
"Rescinded, repealed, cancelled. Take your pick."
Hubert slapped his hand against his thigh. "I know what the word means, goddamn it. I'm not an idiot." He thought for a moment. "I need to call my lawyer."
The officer turned the phone around to face him. "That's the first sensible thing you've said since you were brought in here. Don't take all day." He opened the bottom drawer of his desk and flipped through several file folders before taking out a form. "I've got plenty of paperwork to keep my busy."
"Jackass," Hubert mumbled under his breath. He jabbed the buttons on the phone, and waited impatiently for an answer. "Come on, damn it. Pick up the phone." He bounced his knee nervously. "Hey, Kirk. I need a little help.
"Now what? I'm not going to be a part of any more of your schemes, Hubert. I almost lost my license over that last fiasco. So if that's what you're calling about—"
"No, nothing like that." Hubert cut him off before he could go into a full rant. "Would you shut up? I'm in trouble, and I need a lawyer."
A heavy sigh escaped from Kirk. "What else is new? Where are you, anyway? Your sister called me a couple of days ago, ready to rip my head off."
"Forget about her, damn it. You've got to come up here and take care of some things."
Hubert glanced at the cop, who was ignoring him. "Oklahoma. They've got me on some trumped-up possession charges."
"You've got to be kidding me. You crossed state lines? Damn it, Hubert, that's against the conditions of your parole. Wait. Did you say possession? What have you gotten into now?"
"It's not mine, dumbass. Someone planted it in my car. But these bozos won't listen to me. So you've got to get your ass in gear and take care of it. I'm not about to go back to jail."
Officer Griffith chuckled. "Want to bet?" He cleared his throat and continued to type after Hubert glared at him.
Hubert sighed and returned his attention to Kirk. "What? I missed what you said."
"I'm not driving all the way up to Oklahoma, Hubert. I'm not even licensed to practice law outside of Texas. So you'll have to find a lawyer there."
"What the hell do I pay you for, then?"
"You haven't, remember? You told me to get it from your sister, who, by the way, has filed charges against me. I'll be lucky to keep myself out of jail, asshole. So go to hell." Kirk hung up without letting Hubert answer him.
"Fuck!" Hubert hit his leg with the receiver. "Son of a bitch."
The cop turned in his chair to look at him. "Problem?" He seemed to enjoy Hubert's discomfort.
"No. I mean, yeah. My lawyer can't make it. You got one I can talk to?"
"They'll appoint you one, Mr. Walters." Griffith pushed the paper across the desk and held out a pen. "Read this over and sign it."
Hubert took the pen and scribbled his name across the bottom of the page. "Now what?"
"I'll take you back to the holding cell, until your counsel arrives." He stood and gestured for Hubert to do the same. "Do you have any family to notify?"
For a second, Hubert considered calling Lex, but quickly decided against it. He had a feeling she wouldn't help him, family or not. "No, I've got nobody." He walked ahead of the cop, trying to figure out how his life had gotten out of hand so quickly.
The maternity wing of the hospital wing was bustling with activity as Lex and Lorrie walked toward Amanda's room. In one hand, Lex carried a small teddy bear with a balloon attached, which Lorrie helped pick out. Her other hand was held firmly by her daughter, who clutched a page out of a coloring book, which she had colored for her mommy.
Lorrie's eyes grew wide when a woman pushing a cart of books and snacks rolled by them. She'd never seen so many goodies before. "Momma, what's dat?"
Lex was saved by a voice from behind them. "That's something the nice lady takes to all the rooms, so folks will have snacks and stuff to read." Martha stepped around them. "Good morning, girls."
"Mada!" Lorrie released Lex's hand and practically leaped into Martha's arms. She waved the paper in Martha's face. "I made dis for Mommy."
Martha noticed the date and Lorrie's name on the bottom of the page, printed neatly by Lex. "It's beautiful, honey." She was pleased to see that her nagging worked. Lex's eyes were clear, and the exhaustion from the previous day was gone. "You look much better today, Lexie."
"Thanks to you." Lex kissed Martha's cheek. "One of these days I'll learn not to argue with you."
"Uh-huh. It'll snow in July before that happens." Martha turned and continued toward Amanda's room, leaving Lex sputtering in the hall.
Lorrie squirmed in Martha's arms as they stepped into Amanda's room. "Mommy!" She tried to get down, but Martha held firm.
"Hold on there, sweetie, we have to be careful. Your Mommy's pretty tender right now."
Amanda held out her arms when Martha cautiously helped Lorrie onto the bed. "Hi, baby. I've missed you." She kissed the top of her daughter's head.
Lex came into the room and placed the balloon-wielding bear on a side table. She took her place on the other side of the bed and kissed Amanda's cheek. "You're looking great, sweetheart."
"I don't know about that, but thanks." Amanda self-consciously brushed her hair back with her hand. "I'd kill for a bath."
Lex leaned close and whispered in her ear, "I'll give you a sponge bath, later." She kissed Amanda's ear before straightening up. "Love you."
"Love you, too." Amanda noticed the paper Lorrie was holding. "What's that?"
Lorrie stared at the paper before thrusting it in Amanda's face. "I clorled dis for you."
"It's beautiful." She raised her eyes to Lex. "I'm glad you went home and got some rest." She had been surprised to wake up and find herself alone, but had a feeling Martha had sent her partner away.
"It wasn't my idea." Lex pointed to Martha. "She made me."
They all turned toward the door when a nurse came in, carrying a fussing Melanie. "I believe someone thinks it's lunchtime." She handed the baby to Amanda. "How are you doing?"
"Sore, but tired of lying around."
Lorrie's eyes grew wide when she saw the infant. "Mommy? What's dat?"
"This is your baby sister, sweetie. Her name's Melanie." Amanda pulled the baby's blanket back enough so that her arm was showing. "Would you like to touch her?"
Lex moved to stand behind Lorrie. "Yep. Just be real easy." She lightly touched Lorrie's arm with her fingers. "Like that."
"Otay." Lorrie held out her hand cautiously and touched Melanie's arm. "Soft." Emboldened by Amanda's smile, she rubbed her as if the infant were a pet. "I likes the baby."
Melanie, tired of the attention, began to cry, which scared Lorrie.
"It's okay, lil' bit." Lex covered Melanie's arm and kissed Lorrie on the head. "Melanie's still getting used to us. And I think she's hungry."
"Oh." Lorrie tugged on the baby's blanket. "S'okay, Melly. Momma gets you sumpin' to eats." She turned to Lex. "Momma?"
Lex tried to keep from laughing at her daughter's plea. "Actually, kiddo, that's something your Mommy is going to have to do. Right, Mommy?"
"Right." Amanda started to pull down her top, before realizing Martha was standing nearby. She still wasn't too comfortable nursing in front of anyone besides Lex. "Um—"
Martha waved her hand. "Say no more. I think I'll go check out the gift shop."
"Mada, can I goes?" Lorrie loved spending time with her parents, but she loved running around a lot more. Since the baby wouldn't play with her, she'd find something else to do.
"Sure, honey." Martha helped her from the bed. "We'll be back in a little while. I've got to spend some time with my favorite girl."
As soon as the room quieted, Amanda held one hand out to Lex. "Come here. I think this is going to be a two-person job."
Lex eased Amanda far enough up so Lex could sit partially behind her. "How's this?"
"Perfect." Amanda opened her top and guided Melanie to her breast. Not much encouragement was needed, as the infant quickly latched on to her nipple and fed hungrily. "I still say she's got your appetite."
Lex chuckled as she lightly stroked the baby's head with her thumb. "You seem to bring that out in us." She became quiet as she thought about how different her life had become. If someone would have told her ten years ago that she'd be sitting on a hospital bed with her wife and newborn child, she'd have laughed in their face. Now, she couldn't remember what it felt like to be alone. Amanda had brought so much into her life. She kissed Amanda's temple. "I love you."
Amanda turned her head slightly. She could see the moisture pooling in her lover's eyes. "You've made my life worth living, Lex. I love you, too." They shared a sweet, tender kiss, both looking forward to the rest of their lives.
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