Just a Breath Away

By Colleen

 

Go to Part 1

This is an alternate uber story. The physical descriptions of the two lead characters may remind you of two others we all know and love, but all characters in the story are from my own imagination. This story is an original work and is copyrighted by the author. It cannot be sold or used for profit in any way. Copyright July 2009-2010

This story depicts a loving relationship between two consenting, adult women and contains scenes of intimacy, but nothing too explicit. If you are under 18 years of age or if this type of story is illegal in the state or country in which you live, please do not read it. If depictions of this nature disturb you, you may wish to read something else.

Feedback will be welcomed at coleen30@webtv.net

I have also created a group for discussions of this, past and future stories. Join us at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/colleens_corner


 

  Chapter 13

 

Del , Nathan and Drew took shifts sitting at Carson's bedside. They talked to her, read to her and softly played her favorite music. But more than four days had passed and there was still no response. Carson hadn't so much as twitched a muscle. Her condition did not worsen, she just wouldn't regain consciousness. A plastic surgeon had been in to examine the ghastly wound on Carson's forehead, but wouldn't perform any surgery until she was awake and stable. Nurses moved in and out of the quiet, sterile room, some acknowledging the patient's visitors, while others remained silent and just performed their duties. Hospital volunteers delivered flowers, balloons and other small gifts to Carson. The card on one of those elaborate arrangements had accidentally fallen into the trash can. No one ever saw that it was signed, Carol.

The metal cart that delivered meals, bypassed Carson's room three times a day. More than a dozen operations were performed in the hospital's surgical ward, all successfully. Three babies were born on the floor above, all girls.

Life moved on.

But for Drew Dixon it was at a standstill.

It was time for Drew's sixth visit to her injured friend, and as always she greeted with a smile and a cheery voice, knowing somehow that Carson was listening. But internally, as it had before, her joviality quickly drained. Her heart was never free from the ache and concern. As a doctor, she knew exactly what it meant with every passing hour. There was a real possibility that Carson may never regain consciousness.

The seconds ticked away tediously as Drew's brain furiously scrambled to come up with something to rouse the woman she loved. After checking the machines, which were charting Carson's vitals, for the tenth time, Drew dropped unceremoniously into the chair beside the bed. She was feeling the beginnings of a headache. Drew knew she had been neglecting her health, skimping on meals and sleep. She couldn't control the nightmares that plagued her sleep so she tried to avoid it, often watching Logan in his crib as he slept peacefully.

Drew fumbled in the contents of the backpack that she had robotically tossed together before returning to the hospital that second day. She found a slightly bruised apple and took three bites before it became unpalatable. Tossing the remainder in the trashcan, she took a further look inside the bag. As for food, she came out with a package of peanuts and a chocolate bar. Setting the snacks aside, Drew returned to the backpack and pulled out a portable DVD player. Not quite remembering why she had chosen it, Drew opened the cover to see if a movie was included. It was empty. But it suddenly reminded her of something. Drew looked over to her silent friend and smiled. “Maybe it's time to replay a memory,” she mumbled. Drew kissed Carson on the cheek. “I'll be back in just a few minutes Sweetheart.” She hesitated, running a fingertip across the opposite cheek. Drew bent closer again, this time placing a kiss on the beautiful, but unresponsive lips. “I love you,” she whispered.

 

* * *

 

Drew drove three blocks from the hospital to a mini mall and ran into a movie rental store. Quickly returning with three cases and a bag in her hand, Drew raced back to Carson's bedside. She had made a stop at a vending machine in the lobby and put her soda on the table as she set up the player and started the movie. As the comedy played on, Drew munched on popcorn and the peanuts, laughing in all the appropriate places. She talked to Carson as she had when they had first watched together. Carson had said it was one of the funniest movies she had ever seen.

The popcorn had filled Drew's belly, but her heart felt hollow as there was still no reaction from the patient, and the credits were about to roll. Dismayed, Drew discarded her trash and sighed heavily. She turned back to Carson, taking her hand. “Where are you baby?” she asked wearily. Drew's head fell forward and the lump of emotion stuck in her throat. Suddenly, the dark head popped up. Her fingers had felt the pressure of a light squeeze. “Carson?” She whispered at first, not completely sure of the touch. Maybe her heart was playing tricks. But it happened again. “Carson! Carson, Sweetie, I know you can hear me. Follow my voice and come back.” There was nothing for a few seconds. “Please Carson. I need you. I love you.” The blonde moaned. “That's it baby, that's it! Open your eyes!” Drew pleaded with a heartbreaking timbre. Then she sat mutely, bringing Carson's hand to her mouth and kissing it gently. She wanted to give Carson the time to answer her call. But Drew's mind silently shouted to the woman she loved. She watched as the lidded green eyes twitched. Carson moaned again. “I know you're trying,” Drew whispered as she leaned in closer. After a few tries, the dusky eyes blinked open. But then fell shut again as a grimace of pain contorted her pale features. “I know it hurts Honey,” Drew told her, “but you really need to open your eyes…just for a few minutes at least. And you need to stay awake.” Carson licked her dry lips and tried to ask for water. Drew reached, one handed, for a cup on the table beside the bed. She held on to Carson with the other. She slipped the straw between Carson's lips and instructed her to take just a small sip. “There, is that better?” With no answer, she added, “I know your head hurts, so don't nod. Squeeze my hand for yes.” Drew smiled after the weak grasp. “Good. Can you try and open your eyes again?” Another squeeze…and the green briefly appeared. Drew's smile grew wider. “Hey there.”

“Hh..i. Whe…re?”

“You're in the hospital,” Drew said, but was quick to add, “But you're going to be fine. It may take a little while. But I'm gonna help you.” Carson stared oddly at the dark haired woman for several seconds. Drew scanned the machines attached to the injured woman and they all read normally. She suddenly had a scary thought. “Do you know who I am?” she asked hesitantly.

Carson took just a second to answer. “Drew.”

The doctor beamed. “That's me. Do you know what year it is?”

“Nine,” Carson said almost immediately, but sluggishly.

“Good.” Drew kissed her hand again. She let Carson have a few more minutes to become more aware of herself and her surroundings.

Now a little more alert, Carson asked, “What…happened?”

“What's the last thing you remember?”

Carson's eyes shut in thought. “Sun.”

“Yes, it was a very sunny day,” Drew confirmed. “Anything else?”

“Ducks. Logan.” Her eyes painfully shot open and she flashed a panicked look.

“Logan is fine!” Drew declared quickly. “Take it easy. Logan is absolutely perfect. He's with your parents.” The calm returned to Carson's face. “You were right about the ducks. It was the fourth of July and we were at your family reunion, in the park. Some stupid kids were being reckless and you got hit in the head…”

“Wet.”

“That's right. You were knocked into the water. But like I said, you are going to be fine. I need to go tell the doctor you're awake.”

“Don't go.” Fear laced Carson's weak voice.

“Sweetheart, he needs to know. And I need to call your parents. Your family has been very worried about you.”

Carson gave Drew's hand a tiny squeeze. “Please…hurry back. I'm…a little scared.”

“I will. I know this is a scary situation, but I promise you won't have to face it alone.” Drew smiled confidently at her. “I will always be by your side.” Drew kissed her cheek and walked out of the room. Once in the hallway, she nearly collapsed against the wall, tears of joy running down her face. She took just a few seconds to indulge her overwhelming emotions before taking a deep breath and heading toward the nurse's station. With the two tasks finished timely, Drew returned to Carson's room. The woman had fallen asleep…but that was fine. She was now headed forward down the long road of recovery.

 

* * *

 

Over the next few days, Carson spent a lot of time sleeping, when the doctors weren't running tests anyway. But Drew assured her that all of the procedures were necessary. Because of the severity of the concussion, Carson was in quite a bit of pain and she suffered from mood swings. And it was Drew that most often bore the brunt of Carson's anger. But Drew understood that it was because of the head injury, and she was relieved that the family didn't have to endure that additional anguish. Carson was moved from the intensive care unit after her second full day of consciousness. Drew had kept her promise. Her partners covered her patients, allowing Drew to be at her friend's bedside almost constantly. Logan made daily visits, but was confused every time he had to leave without his mommy. He had many people who loved him and played with him, his family. And while he loved all of them, not one of those was the same as his mommy.

 

* * *

It was just over a week since Carson had regained consciousness. She discovered from Drew and other family that she did have some memory loss. Luckily, it seemed to be mostly inconsequential events or bits of information from the previous few months. But she could deal with that.

Carson had just finished a short walk down the corridor, which was all she could really manage. She had no strength or energy at all. Only by leaning on her favorite doctor for support, did she accomplish her daily exercise. Back in the quiet hospital room, Drew settled her into a chair because Carson was complaining of a sore back. The attentive doctor was going to arrange to get Carson a massage later in the day. Drew flipped on the television, stopping it on the early evening news, wanting to catch the weather forecast. Before that segment came on, the anchor presented another story. A missing child alert had been posted earlier in the day, but the toddler had been found safely just a few hours later. Drew looked over to see tears streaming down Carson's face. She quickly knelt down and pulled Carson into her arms. “Sweetie, that little girl is fine; she's back with her mother.”

Carson sobbed. “I know…but it could have…been different. She might have… Too many children…”

“I know, I now,” Drew soothed. The doctor had to keep reminding herself that it was the concussion causing the intense emotion. She just let Carson cry herself out, continuing to hold her and provide comfort. It was all she could really do. But she silently shared in the pain.

 

 

* * *

Drew had stepped out for a moment and when she returned, she found Carson staring at her dinner tray. “What goodies do we have today?” she asked.

“If you think it's so good, then why don't you eat it,” Carson spat, pushing the unappealing food away.

Drew ignored the snipe. “Actually, I was going to get some Chinese take out.”

Carson looked at her and scowled. “Why don't you then. And while you're at it, just stay there a few hours. I could use the time alone.”

“Well, if I do that,” Drew said, “then I can't bring you some of your favorites. Hot and Sour Soup. Almond and Cashew Chicken. Banana Spring Rolls.”

Carson brightened a bit and her mouth watered. “You're not teasing me are you?”

Drew dropped a kiss on the top of her head. “I would never do that to you. I'll be back in a little while.”

 

* * *

 

Carson savored her last bite. “Now that was delicious,” she said.

Drew smiled. “I'm glad you liked it. I've got a few more appetizing surprises planned until you get to come home.”

“And when do you think that might be?”

Drew cleared away the empty cartons. “I don't think you'll be here too much longer. You're doing great.”

Another gray cloud settled over Carson. “Oh yeah, I can't even stand up without help,” she grumbled. “I can hardly dress myself. I'm not strong enough to take a shower on my own. I can't do anything to take care of myself.”

The compassionate doctor took a seat beside her sullen friend. “Honey, you've had a severe injury. And I know it's frustrating, but it will take quite a while until you are back to a hundred percent. But your strength will return.” Drew held out her hand and Carson clasped it. “And you never have to ask for that help. It's right here.”

Carson was very near tears…but she didn't know if they were happy or sad ones. “Don't you get tired of taking care of me?” she asked quietly.

Drew lifted the drooping chin. She tenderly wicked aside a run away tear. “I could never get tired of you or taking care of you. I…” love you, am your best friend.” She coaxed a small smile from Carson. Their eyes held for a long moment and they both got lost in the gentle intimacy. Something different…some feeling washed over Carson like a warm rain. In a way it felt familiar and certainly not unpleasant, but she couldn't put a word to it. Drew saw the flicker in the green eyes and wondered exactly what was going on in her friend's mind…and her heart.

But the moment was broken as Logan came toddling through the door, followed closely by his grandmother. She immediately noticed the fierce connection between the two women. “Are we interrupting something?” Del asked.

“Of course not,” Drew said. “Come here big boy, come and see your mommy.” She lifted the chunky little fellow and placed him onto Carson's lap. “Here Del, take my seat. I have a couple of phone calls to make,” Drew told them. “You have a good visit and I'll be back soon.”

 

* * *

 

While Drew was gone, Del got a business call and Carson convinced her to go and take care of the problem. She knew Drew could take Logan home. But for now, the baby was content to sit with his mommy and play with a toy. Carson told him a happy story.

 

* * *

When Drew returned, she found tears streaming down Carson's face. “What's wrong?” she asked.

“I forgot,” Carson mumbled as she clutched her precious son to her chest. “I forgot.”

“What Hon, what did you forget?”

“His birthday,” Carson sobbed. “I forgot that my son's fist birthday is next week.”

Drew hugged them both. “Oh Sweetie, no you didn't. You've still got plenty of time. You'll be out of here by then.”

“But…I…can't…I…”

Drew got her some water and a tissue to dry her eyes. “Here, drink this. Calm down and then tell me what you're trying to say.” She dabbed Carson's red eyes and her wet face.

Carson handed back the empty cup, which Logan made a grab for. Without a word, Drew retrieved his sippy cup from the diaper bag, filled it with water and handed it to the thirsty tot. She was just a natural parent. And Logan was satisfied once again.

Carson had settled herself down, but the emotional conflict still shown in her eyes. She kissed Logan's head. “How can I plan a birthday party when I'm like this?”

“This is exactly how.” Drew grabbed a note pad and a pen from the nightstand drawer. “You tell me what you want to get him for presents, the theme for the party and anything else you want. I'll be your arms and legs, but it will be all your ideas. It will be a great party, I promise. Will that be okay?”

That sounded terrible, Carson thought. She sighed loudly. Now she was feeling guilty, because she was making it all about her and not Logan. Get your priorities straight, she scolded mentally. Your friend is willing to go to the ends of the Earth for you and Logan. What else could you really want? She caught Drew's bright, expectant gaze, those pretty blue eyes…and…something…

Logan reached up and touched his mommy's face. Carson glanced down and he gave her a toothy grin. She laughed, but nearly cried again as she gave him a squeeze. Her emotions were changing faster than a pit stop crew at the Indy 500. But one thing was certain; she loved her son more than anything else in the world. Carson finally looked to her friend again and smiled. “Thank you Drew. Anything you can do to make his day special will be wonderful.”

 

* * *

 

Carson was released from the hospital two days later. Although she didn't like it, she was told to use a wheelchair until her strength returned. A physical therapist came to the house once a day to help with the exercises to aid her recovery. Carson worked very hard, tempted to do things on her own to make things go faster. But after a stern and educational lecture from Dr, Dixon the patient followed the instructions to the letter.

Drew returned to her practice, but had decided to work shorter hours until Carson was fully recovered. On Saturday, Drew prepared to do some serious birthday shopping. She didn't want to disappoint Carson. Drew knew that Logan wouldn't realize what was right or wrong, but his mother was another matter all together. Drew was so deeply in love with Carson, she couldn't bear causing her any more emotional distress if everything didn't go perfectly.

Drew had noticed that Carson didn't have a video camera so that was one of her first acquisitions. The toy store, the party store and the bakery was also on the agenda. A couple of surprises were also arranged by phone. By late afternoon, Drew was very anxious to get home and show Carson her purchases. She knew it would bring a smile to Carson's face…and she dearly loved that smile.

Home. The repairs on Drew's house had been finished for three days, but she couldn't even think about moving back there. She hadn't even gone down to check on the completed work. Drew was home, right where she was.

Along with the birthday items, Drew brought home an Italian dinner for two. She planned to turn it into a romantic dinner, with candlelight and soft music. It wasn't a ploy. Drew just wanted to show her love for Carson, but with no strings attached.

That smile didn't disappoint. “Oh Drew, these are adorable!” Carson said as she held up a tiny pair of cowboy boots.

“I thought they would work nicely for the little buckaroo.” Drew gathered up the shopping bags. “I'll put these in my room,” she said. A few minutes later, she came back into the room after checking on the sleeping baby. “How would you like some coffee and some Tiramisu?”

Carson looked up from her seat at the table. “I was just wishing for something sweet. Of course I had to wish for it because I can't get up and get it myself,” she grumbled.

Drew settled her hands onto a pair of tense shoulders, giving them a quick rub. “You're getting there Sweetie.”

Carson looked up at her friend. “I hope that's the truth.”

Drew smiled. “I promise.” She dropped a kiss onto Carson's forehead which still bore a vivid, visual reminder of the accident. But it was looking better. “After our dessert, how about I help you into a nice hot bath?”

Carson's face clouded over with a flash of a memory. “You promise?” she questioned oddly.

“I do,” the doctor said casually as she moved away.

Carson watched as Drew's tall, slim form crossed the kitchen, setting up the coffee pot and dishing out the Italian sweet. Intense thoughts and feelings began forming in Carson's head, even though she still felt somewhat unsettled because of her injuries. Drew is such a special woman . I've never known someone with so much compassion and devotion. How could I have survived all of this without her? What would I ever do without her in my life? Something suddenly tickled the back of Carson's brain, struggling to come to life. She knew that her memory had been damaged by the concussion and that some little things may never return. But she also felt that this was something very important, maybe one of the most important things in her life. And she needed to remember. Carson closed her eyes and concentrated. The fingers of her right hand drifted to her temple and began rubbing in circles. But it wouldn't happen. She just couldn't remember.

“Do you have a headache?” Drew asked as she put the dessert on the table.

Carson's eyes popped open and she stared mutely at Drew's concerned, but beautiful face. She barely blinked for several seconds.

“Carson?”

“Ummm…yeah…a little one,” the blonde finally answered. She hadn't yet remembered whatever it was. But there was one thing she suddenly knew for certain.

Carson believed Drew's promise. She believed in Drew's heart.

 

* * *

“Happy Birthday dear Logan. Happy Birthday to you.” The one year old sat in his high chair in the backyard of his house, listening to his family and friends sing the joyous song. He didn't understand the words, but with all eyes on him, Logan beamed under the spotlight. He smiled and kicked his feet against the chair, his new cowboy boots banging soundly. The cowboy hat hadn't remained on his head for long, but long enough for mommy to snap a handful of pictures, and for Drew to get some great video. Every guest at the party had dressed appropriately in western wear, and had received a cowboy hat at the door. The backyard was decorated with red, blue and brown streamers and balloons. There were a dozen stuffed horses propped in corners and in chairs around the stone patio. Carson and Drew had spent the morning making sure the scene was appropriately set for a wild west celebration.

A new environmentally green, wooden swing set sat proudly off to the side of the yard. Everyone in the family had pitched in money for the big present and grandpa and uncle Brett and uncle Duncan had assembled the play set the day before. There were more presents yet to be revealed, and Drew had planned a surprise that even Carson didn't know about. The partiers had dined earlier on barbequed ribs, hot dogs, baked beans and slaw, all of which were prepared by Carson's mother.

Logan's green eyes popped as he spied the tiny confection that was headed his way. His lips smacked together. “Mama. Mama. Mama.” Carson carefully cradled her son's first cake, and she was carefully cradled by Drew's strong arms, as they slowly walked out the back door. She had given up the wheelchair a day earlier, but was still a little shaky…and she didn't want to drop the important sweet. With the help of his youngest cousin, Logan had blown out a single candle on the big cake, but this small cake was all his own. Grandma had already removed his good shirt and tied on a plastic bib in preparation for his, no doubt, messy encounter. But that was all part of the fun.

“Here you are Sweetie,” Carson said as she set the cake in front of him. Logan dug in with both hands and shoved the chocolate into his mouth. His face was covered in dark bits in just seconds and everyone laughed at the sight.

Drew caught the entire delightful scene on video. Once she had known the party theme, Drew had known right away what she wanted to get Logan. A sturdy, plush, brown and white rocking horse sat in the family room, ready to transport the little buckaroo into hours of fun. She could have thought of a dozen more toys for the tot, but restrained herself, not wanting to outshine his mother. After all, Drew was just a friend and not his parent.

When Logan was finished eating, Del took him into the bathroom to clean up. The other kids were playing on the new swing and the adults were engaged in different conversations. Drew and Carson sat at a table together, just now having the time to enjoy a piece of cake. Carson was quiet and solemn, but not in any way sad. “Was this everything you wanted for his first party?” Drew asked.

Carson smiled and looked around at the remnants of the waning celebration. “It was perfect, just like you promised it would be.”

The doctor grinned blissfully and affectionately squeezed Carson's hand. “I'm glad you're happy.” Drew's phone rang. “Hello… Speaking… Yes, I'll be right out.”

“Are you leaving?” Carson asked.

Drew wiped her mouth to rid herself of any chocolate remnants. “Just for a minute,” she said. “I'll be right back with a surprise.”

Carson's curiosity was certainly awakened. But her question was answered as Drew came through the side gate with a couple of visitors. Carson laughed cheerfully. “Drew, you rented a pony?”

“What's a cowboy without his trusty steed?” Drew said. Logan made his triumphant return just at the right moment. His cousins were gathered around the little equine, ecstatic at the possibilities of getting a ride. Drew took Logan into her arms. “Okay, everyone will have their turn, but the birthday boy gets to go first.” She placed the baby in the saddle and walked beside the black pony as the handler led her around the yard. Carson played the role of videographer this time. She watched trough the lens, enjoying the big smile as the little cowboy made his rounds.

Everyone in the family pitched in and did the clean up to help out the tired mother and the exhausted Dr. Dixon. After everyone was finally gone, the trio retired to the family room for some much needed relaxation. It was early evening, but Logan was high on excitement and sugar, toddling around the family room, playing with his new toys. He had been stripped down to his diaper in preparation for a bath. Carson kept trying to put the cowboy hat on his head, trying to get a picture. But the stubborn baby pulled it off time after time. But she finally got one good shot when Drew distracted him.

“I'm afraid he's not going to be sleepy for a while,” Carson muttered.

Drew was sprawled out across the sofa watching the energetic tot. “It is his day,” she said. “I guess we can't really complain.”

“Do. Do pay.” The baby mumbled a few more unintelligible words, but they both knew who Do was.”

Drew reached down and rubbed his head. “What do you want to play buddy?”

Logan walked over to his new rocking horse, which he still needed help to climb onto. Even though she was tired, Drew patiently dropped to the floor, crawled over to the toy mount and lifted the baby into the saddle, just like she had done earlier with the live pony. But, at least she didn't have to walk around the room with this one. She just sat beside him as he rocked on.

Over the next hour, Logan slowly began to wind down from his exhilarating day. Carson sipped on a cup of tea as she watched her precious baby, slightly melancholy as she thought about nearly having died and missing the rest of his life. But an opportune wink from the good doctor brought her back to the happy present, where all was fine…or soon to be. When Logan began to yawn, Carson called an end to his birthday. Drew picked him up and settled him onto her right hip. She then helped Carson to her feet and settled the blonde under her left arm. Dropping Carson off in the bedroom, Drew went on to the bathroom and proceeded to give Logan his bath. While they were gone, Carson plugged the video camera into the television and started watching the day's footage.

Drew came back into the room about fifteen minutes later with the pajama clad baby. They climbed onto the bed with mommy and watched the TV while Logan had his milk.

“I have a great family,” Carson commented as the camera panned over the jolly faces. They were genuinely happy to be celebrating the birthday of a one year old.

“You certainly do. Everyone was ready to help with the party as soon as I mentioned it.” Drew hesitated, but added, “Your mother and I bonded when you were…”

The blonde head nodded. “Yeah, Mom told me some things. She thinks of you as a daughter.”

“That's nice,” Drew said softly, but sincerely. I certainly wish I could be her daughter in law. Drew laughed as the scene on the television changed. Carson's older brother, Brett was on all fours, crawling across the ground with Logan perched on his back. “How did I miss that?” Drew asked.

“I think you were inside doing something. I grabbed the camera just in time to catch it. It was so cute, especially this next part.” Logan's six year old cousin, Jenna climbed on and hugged the baby to her so he wouldn't fall.

“Awww, how sweet,” Drew said. “I love kids.” That was a fact that Carson knew by heart. And one of the things that made Drew Dixon so special.

It came to the extremely adorable pony ride scene. Logan sat proudly atop the small steed and he was grinning ear to ear, not the least bit scared. He often looked up to his hero with complete trust. After a few seconds the view changed slightly. “Why did you zoom in on my face,” Drew asked with a giggle, “I look like a silly goof.”

Carson playfully slapped her friend's arm, but her eyes never left the screen. “No you don't,” she promised. “You look like love.” The heartfelt description came to her lips without hesitation . And a voice spoke in her head. “You know she already has your heart. It's time to give her your trust. She has earned it. She deserves it. Go toward your light. And believe.” That elusive, crucial memory broke through in the next instance and she sucked in a silent breath. The green eyes slipped shut, but the joyous tears escaped, making tracks down her cheeks. She sat mutely, the breathtaking realization saturating her heart and her soul. The warmth from those feelings wrapped around her, chasing away the chill of loneliness.

Drew continued to laugh and comment on the party moments, unaware of the emotions affecting her friend. She rubbed Logan's tummy, dropping kisses onto his freshly clean hair from time to time, as he sat on her lap. With good timing, his eyes began to droop as the video came to an end. When she was sure he was asleep, Drew sat the empty cup aside. She lifted him up to Carson for a goodnight kiss, noticing the drying tears, but not saying anything. That had been happening a lot during Carson's recovery, and it had been an emotional day. “I'm gonna put him down now,” Drew whispered. “Are you ready to go to sleep?” she asked. Carson was still remembering and processing her feelings, but she managed to say no. “Are you okay?” Drew asked. A nod yes. “Will you mind my company for a little while longer?” Carson smiled slightly and nodded again. Drew returned the grin. “Good.” She placed a departing kiss on the woman's cheek. Vigilantly cradling the sleeping baby, Drew walked toward the bedroom door. She stopped when her name was almost frantically called. Drew turned around.

“Hurry back,” Carson added.

Drew's dark brows wrinkled in wonder at Carson's sudden change in demeanor. “I will.” After covering the baby and quietly closing the door to his room, she stepped back across the hall.

Carson held her arms out. “Please come here.”

Drew now knew something was troubling her friend and she hurried to the bed. She held Carson close, the smaller body trembling, beginning to sob. “Honey, what is it; what's wrong?” the doctor asked.

“Nothing's wrong,” Carson said, her emotional voice almost a whisper. “Everything is right. It's beautiful.” Carson let go, smiling as two hands gently cradled her face.

“Tell me Honey,” Drew said softly. “What are you feeling?”

“I love you.” The words were simple, but the passion behind them was powerful.

The look in Carson's eyes was unmistakable, but Drew wanted to hear the beautiful words again…and hoping she would here them for the rest of her life. “What did you say?”

Carson took the hands from her face and kissed each palm. “I love you,” she repeated fervently.

“I love you,” Drew confirmed. “I've said that every night for weeks, just hoping you were hearing me and believing me. I love you so much.”

“I'll never doubt it Drew. We love each other. I want us to be a real family.”

“Nothing would make me happier.” Drew leaned in and tenderly kissed Carson's lips. The kiss lingered, lovingly dancing, sharing space and sweet breaths. It was quite some time before either one wanted to stop, but eventually they parted, but just slightly. The passion, while deep, was not going to rule the moment. They both realized that time was not an enemy. The moment would not slip away, unfulfilled forever. Now they had forever. Indulging the body would come soon enough. But indulging the heart was the most essential need for two people in love. And Carson and Drew were in love.

“Don't leave us,” Carson begged. “Stay here; don't move back to your house.”

Drew smiled crookedly. “Well, I hadn't planned on it…leaving that is. Unless you throw me out. That's just a house.” She gave Carson a single kiss. “This is home.”

Carson threw her arms around the doctor and hugged her soundly, melding their clothed bodies together. “Thank you.”

“For what?” Drew asked.

“Being the person I always thought you to be.”

“I always want to be the person you need.”

“You are everything I need,” Carson confirmed. “You restored my faith and my heart.”

They kissed again and then sat back on the bed, side by side. Drew didn't ask why the sudden revelation, although she was curious. There would be another time for that later. After the video had finished, Carson had flipped back to the television and some ocean documentary was playing. Even though two sets of eyes glanced at the screen often, the subject matter wasn't important. They could have watching a blue screen for all they knew. Both had much more significant thoughts rambling around inside. From time to time, Carson would sigh happily. Drew would turn to kiss a golden temple or rub Carson's arm. They whispered occasionally, making plans for the next few weeks, remembering times from their short past together, and reminding each other of their love.

Carson finally began to succumb to the day's activities and emotions. Her eyes slid shut and her head fell back against the pillow. Drew eased off the bed, turned off the TV and the light, and softly padded toward the door.

“Where are you going?”

Drew's hands flew out, slapping against the door frame on either side of her head, halting her progress. She turned slowly, regarding her lover. “Well, I was going to bed.”

“But don't you want to stay here with me?” Carson asked.

“Of course I do,” Drew said, “but I didn't want to assume.”

Carson smiled sleepily, patting the bed next to her. “I want you to assume the sleeping position in this bed, right next to me.”

Drew returned the smile. “Hold that thought and let me get changed.”

While Drew was gone, Carson carefully maneuvered herself under the covers. Although still sleepy, she forced herself to stay awake until Drew was back by her side. The doctor bounced into the room on an emotional high, her eyes wide and happy. She didn't figure on getting much sleep, because of her excitement. She slid her long legs beneath the blanket and snuggled up to the tired, but equally happy blonde.

“I am so glad you asked me to sleep here,” Drew said. “It was going to be a very long, lonely night in that bed down the hall.”

Carson reached up and kissed Drew. “You'll never be lonely again, because now this is our bed. And as soon as I have more energy, we'll be doing much more than just sleeping here. And I promise not to flip out the morning after. But my lips happen to be in perfect shape right now.”

 

To be continued in Part 14

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