Just a Breath Away

By Colleen


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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 Khall828@earthlink.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 16


Carson reached for the scissors in the kitchen drawer. Returning to her seat at the table, she clipped an interesting recipe from the magazine she'd been reading. Later, she'd put it in her growing computer file of meal ideas. Now that she had someone to cook for, she was more excited about trying new dishes and experimenting with old recipes. Drew was always a willing subject, offering praise or constructive criticism when needed. Generally, it was more of the former, because Carson was a very good cook. Drew did a fair amount of cooking herself, reserving Sunday for her day to command the kitchen.

Carson was able to enjoy some quiet time alone on this Sunday, because Drew had taken Logan along while she ran some errands. They had headed out the door shortly after breakfast was through. The Sunday morning meal was always a little later than the rest of the week. Carson had convinced the hard working doctor to take the opportunity to sleep in late…especially since their Saturday nights had become quite active.

Carson poured herself another cup of coffee as she enjoyed the lazy, late morning hour. As any parent would attest to, no matter how much they love their children, finding a little time alone was a treasure well savored. And now that Carson had a co-parent, those opportunities were becoming more prevalent. But she also knew that Drew liked to show off her new son, and that thought made Carson very happy. Everyone was thriving with their new lives.

The doorbell rang and Carson quickly wondered who would be visiting on a Sunday morning. As she passed by the front window, on her way to answer it, she noticed an unfamiliar, dark colored, luxury car parked in front of the house. “Can I hel…” The words stilled on her tongue two seconds after she opened the door. Carson had expected to find a stranger on her doorstep, or a friend coming to show off a new car. She would have even expected the prize patrol, there to give her a million dollars, before expecting to see someone with whom she was so intimately familiar.

“Hello Carson,” the visitor said.

Carson stared mutely into the face she recognized. But it was the visage she remembered from long ago. “Carol?” she asked, flustered. The shiny black hair, bright blue eyes and perfect make up were gone, leaving behind eyes of golden brown and hair to match. Carol was now the natural beauty that had first attracted Carson's attention.

“It's me,” Carol testified calmly, with a small, serene smile. With a slight turn of her head, Carol turned and silently dismissed the man who was standing several steps behind her. “May I come in?” she asked her bewildered ex-lover, once they were alone.

Carson was still in a state of utter surprise. But oddly enough it was the change in Carol's appearance that was more unexpected, rather than the fact that the executive was in a…wheelchair? That fact just registered in Carson's stuttering brain. “Yes,” she finally said, stepping aside. “Of course.”

Carol easily wheeled herself into the house, following Carson into the kitchen. “I'm sorry if I shocked you,” she said, “just showing up like this. I guess I should have called.”

“No, no…it's fine. I just… I never expected…” Natural, human curiosity sparked over the presence of the wheelchair, but not wanting to be rude, Carson kept her eyes on the pretty, but sad face. The anger, disappointment and hurt over the disintegration of their former relationship had abated to occasional, unpleasant thoughts for Carson, but it was no longer fuel for an emotional fire.

Carol held steady to the green eyed gaze. She had fallen in love with those eyes so many years ago. Her eyes clouded with tears as she remembered the laughter, the smiles…and the love. Those eyes still affected her. Almost into silence. But her feelings of guilt eventually incited the words. “I'm sorry,” she said, her voice thick, and hovering with the emotions of a hundred unspoken apologies.

Not completely understanding why, Carson accepted every one of them.

Although the two simple words did not immediately negate the memories of all the lies and indifference, Carson received them with grace and sincerity. For the first time in a long time, Carson Galloway truly believed Carol Chasen's words. And Carson needed to accept the apology to heal her own soul. Wanting only to continue forward with her life, Carson waited, not quite patiently, for the explanation for Carol's visit. A little trepidation bound itself to the curiosity. But Carson kept the concern to a minimum.

“Can I get you something to drink?” Carson offered. “I'm afraid I don't have any vitamin water.”

“Actually, that coffee smells great.”

Carson chuckled as she took a mug from the cabinet and filled it with the hot brew. “I haven't seen you drink coffee since we…first met.”

Carol accepted the cup with a smile. “A lot of things have changed with me,” she stated calmly, taking a sip. “I heard about your accident back in July. I'm very glad to see that you're doing okay.”

Carson nodded. “It was a rough couple of weeks, but yeah, I'm doing fine.”

“I was at a physical rehabilitation center when I got the news,” Carol added. “My car was hit by a drunk driver several months ago.”

“I'm so sorry,” Carson said with a hitch of emotion. She truly wouldn't have wished that on anyone. “What's the prognosis?” she asked carefully.

“I have an appointment with a specialist up in Chicago, tomorrow. I took the opportunity to come and see you while I was in the area. After another surgery, I might regain some limited mobility…maybe more,” Carol answered positively. “I'm going to fight with everything I have to make it happen.” Carol studied the cup in her hands. “You know, it's…very…true…you do re-evaluate your life when it comes so close to ending.” She lifted her gaze to her former…friend…lover.

Carson gave her a friendly smile. “I won't disagree with that,” she said. “I made a very important realization during my recovery.”

“Carson, you always had your priorities straight. My life…I was a total mess…an idiot. I had everything that should have mattered, and I lost it all.” Carol paused, her vision turning inward. “No,” she continued, her mouth curling in disgust. “I threw it away…for money, power...attention. I let the vane vision in the mirror cloud my sight to the treasure I had been blessed with.” She raised her clear eyes to meet Carson's waiting face, ready to take her punishment for past actions and choices. “I hate the person I became, the things I did. I'm disgusted with myself.” The self revulsion in her voice was heartbreaking to Carson's compassionate soul. “There are deceptions you don't know about…lies…”

“I do know,” Carson told her solemnly.

Carol searched her face, it's serious visage confirming the truth. Carson knew the facts, if not the details of Carol's betrayals to their relationship. Carol wasn't sure how her ex had made the discovery, and she didn't want to know. Her tired, guilt ridden eyes fell shut once again. “I was out of my mind.”

“Carol, I…don't…I don't know quite what to say. I can't judge your actions. I just couldn't live with them anymore.”

Carol nodded in complete understanding. “You don't have to say anything Carson, I just needed to apologize. But there would never be enough words to make up for the way I treated you.”

Carson placed her hand over Carol's trembling one. “Let's leave all that in the past where it belongs. I forgive you.”

Carol's eyes slipped shut. “I don't deserve your forgiveness.” She sighed heavily. “You're an adult, at least you understand. But the things I did to my…own…”

“Go find mommy!” The jovial words rang out from the hallway, as Drew put Logan down on the floor when they entered from the garage. Her timing was unbelievable.

Logan toddled into the kitchen, his tiny tennis shoes bouncing off the floor. His smile was wide and toothy as he went straight into Carson's arms, totally oblivious to the stranger in the room. Carson lifted him onto her lap, kissing his soft head. “Hey sweetie. Did you have fun?”

Carol was stunned, not having taken her eyes off the blonde headed baby since he ran into the room. “Oh, my,” she muttered. “He's so big. And beautiful.”

Drew stepped into the room, setting several bags down on the counter. “I forgot…” Her words stalled when she noticed the woman in the wheelchair. But she didn't immediately know the woman's identity. “Oh, I didn't know we had company.”

Carson held out her hand as Drew approached. The doctor was smiling, as she usually did. Carson gave a reassuring squeeze as she made the tenuous introductions. “Drew this is…Carol Chasen.”

Drew's cheerful manner vanished as the words slammed into her gut like a sledge hammer. The Dixon smile fell to just short of a scowl, but being a civil human being, and regarding the woman's physical state, Drew quickly harnessed her angered response. “Ms. Chasen.,” she said simply, and as unemotional as possible. A dozen questions ran through her mind, but they would wait until she and Carson were alone.

“Carol,” Carson said, “this is my partner, Drew Dixon.”

If Carol was surprised at the information, she didn't let it show. She offered a distracted, but friendly hand. “Ms. Dixon.” Carol's attention was immediately drawn back the little boy in Carson's arms. “May I hold him?” she asked cautiously.

Drew watched oddly as Carson passed him over without hesitation. Logan settled onto Carol's lap, looking up into her transfixed face. Carol ran a trembling hand over his head, reveling in the softness of his hair. She tentatively leaned down and kissed it's golden crown, just as his mother had done. Unsure of herself with this tiny child, she spoke gentle words, questions she knew wouldn't be answered. But answers she longed to know. This little person, her flesh and blood, awed her like nothing ever before. Scared her like nothing before.

Carson stepped aside with her obviously befuddled lover. Drew's eyes bounced back and forth, watching closely her son and her partner. Her muscles twitched. Her jaw tensed. “Are you okay?” the doctor asked, her voice hard with tension, but not accusation.

Carson's hand ran the length of Drew's arm, trying to sooth the tangible anxiety. “I'm fine sweetheart. I'll tell you everything later. I promise.”

Drew wasn't quite convinced, but she did trust Carson's judgment. “Okay,” she conceded uneasily. Drew cupped Carson's cheek, feeling the evidence of recently shed tears. “Don't let her hurt you anymore than she already has. I'll be in the office. Let me know if you need anything. I love you.”

Carson smiled, her heart warm. “I love you too.”

Warily, Drew grabbed the packages and retreated. The woman in the wheelchair was too enamored with the child in her lap to notice her absence. She continued to speak in hushed tones to the content baby. Logan had always been good with strangers, and that is exactly what this woman was to him. “How could I have ever ignored him?” Carol mumbled, more tears slipping from her eyes. “You've done a wonderful job raising him, Carson,” she said as the blonde returned.

Carson reached over and stroked his leg, playing with his foot. “He's a very loving, smart, and happy little boy,” she said sweetly. “He got your birthday card. Thank you for the generous gift.”

Carol kissed him again. He smiled up at her, grabbing her heart with the charming action. “It's nothing compared to what I owe him,” she confessed.

They chatted a little longer about Logan and his life of late. But the toddler eventually got bored and scooted down to the floor to retrieve his toys from another room.

Carol painfully felt his absence. “Thank you for letting me see him,” she said. “I know I have no right to ask this, but could I come back to see him again in a few days, spend more time with him?”

Carson carefully considered the implications to herself and her family. But this was not the same woman whom Carson had left months ago, and it wasn't just the outer image that had changed. Carson saw hope and respect in the brown eyes, not the greed or deceit that she was very familiar with. The decision wasn't easy, but her conscience made the only choice it could. “Why don't you give me a call tomorrow. But I think that…would be okay.”

Carol's relief and joy shown in her bright and genuine smile. She said her goodbyes and called for her driver.

Carson gathered up her son and his chosen toy elephant, and watched as Carol Chasen pulled away from the house. Her brain twirled with diverging emotions and thoughts as she walked down the hall and into the room, Drew now used as an office. The doctor looked up as her family approached. She pushed her chair back, silently inviting her lover to sit on her lap. Not bombarding her with a lot of questions, she simply kissed Carson's cheek and allowed Logan to crawl into her arms. Carson rested her head on the doctor's shoulder and Drew noted that Carson's eyed were tinted pink, obviously from the crying she had done. That was an agonizing thought. Drew wasn't worried about her place in Carson's life, but she was concerned about Carson‘s state of mind. The pain and betrayal this woman had caused Carson, had nearly cost them a chance at their love. Drew had to wonder what trouble Carol Chasen's reappearance might bring.

Drew softly ran her hand up and down her lover's arm, just providing support, like a good partner should do. “Is everything all right?” she finally asked.

A small sigh escaped the tense lips. “Yeah.” Carson lifted her head and touched Drew's cheek. She smiled and placed a tender kiss on Drew's lips. “Thank you.” Drew didn't need to ask why, she understood. “I just never expected to see her again,” Carson explained. “And definitely not like that.”

“I know that must have been a shock.”

The blonde head nodded. “To say the least. I'm not really sure what I feel,” Carson admitted uneasily. “I know I'm not angry. That wouldn't do any of us any good. As for the rest…”

Drew hugged her close. “It's okay sweetheart. Just take your time to process your feelings. I imagine it's confusing.”

* * *


Long after Logan had gone to sleep that night, Carson and Drew were lying in bed, each concentrating on their chosen reading material. After Carol had left and Carson had shaken off her brief bout of melancholy, the rest of the day had proceeded on in a normal fashion. Maybe a few extra touches and I love yous were exchanged between the lovers. But those things were given freely, and not out of any perceived expectations or apologies. Drew had prepared them a delicious salmon dinner with rice and steamed vegetables. The meal was enjoyed mostly in pleasant silence from the two adults. Much of their time was spent listening as Logan rambled on in his baby speak, while stuffing small bites of macaroni and broccoli into his mouth. This baby was the light of their lives, and Logan beamed under that spotlight.

After dinner, Drew had spent nearly an hour on the floor, playing with the energetic baby. They wrestled. He laughed. Drew sang. Logan danced. They laughed.

Carson sat nearby, watching, the pride and happiness in her eyes sparked brightly with emerald bursts of love. Her soul was well settled into a state of near perfection. The gratitude over the life she had been granted, was honored by enjoying every day with her family.

She had soon joined the playful pair, where more play followed.

Later in the evening, as the couple had lounged in a warm, bubble bath, Carson had relayed the entirety of Carol's visit. The doctor had listened attentively, commenting honestly, but unsure of all of her feelings. But her feelings weren't really relevant. Her main concern always was the well being of her lover and soon to be son.

Drew turned the page, finding the paranormal mystery intriguing. But her partial focus was on the lovely lady beside her. From the corner of her eye, the doctor noticed that Carson's hands hadn't moved in almost fifteen minutes. She didn't even read that slowly to Logan. Drew looked over, discerning that the green eyes were peering just over the top of the book, unfocused, but solemn with deep thought. Carson was obviously distracted. Drew softly cleared her throat. “You're thinking of her, aren't you?” she asked, returning to the book in her hands.

“Yes,” Carson answered without hesitation. Realizing what she had just said, she turned to the silent doctor. “But not that way,” she assured.

Drew's vision remained on the page. “What way?” she asked casually.

“Don't even go there Drew. And don't play coy. I wasn't thinking about her, romantically or lustfully. But I have to say, it certainly was a shock, seeing her in that chair. If she had died, I probably would have never known. And I realize that could have been very dangerous for Logan. I don't know most of her medical history. He might need that someday. ”

“I agree,” the doctor said in a logical manner. “I guess you should have a contact number from her…just in case. You can get that when she comes back.”

Carson took Drew's hand, linking their fingers. “Thank you for agreeing to let her visit with Logan again.”

Drew nodded a bit. “I understand a parent's need for their child. But she didn't care about him before. I just can't forget everything you told me about her. And I hope she has changed. I just don't want you or Logan getting hurt.”

“I know baby.” Carson squeezed the hand in hers, loving how they fit together so perfectly. “Along with my son, you are the best thing that's ever happened to me.” That garnered the doctor's full attention, and their eyes met directly, the green pair glazing over with the power of her emotions. “My love for you is more intense than anything I have ever felt. It's so strong that it scares me sometimes.”

“I will never intentionally hurt you,” Drew promised staunchly.

Carson smiled sweetly. “I know that.” She closed the book in her lap. “I meant, I don't know how I could handle it if we were separated by things beyond our control.”

Drew brought Carson's hand to her mouth, tenderly kissing the back. “Believe me, I know how that feels,” she agreed. “But it's my hope and intention that when we are about ninety eight, that we'll go to sleep peacefully, one night after making love. And instead of waking up here, we'll be at the start of a new journey, together.”

“I'll pray for that every night. But, for now…” Carson placed a bookmark between the pages of Drew's book and gently tossed it to the floor. She met Drew's hungry mouth with her own and maneuvered the tall woman onto her back, never losing delicious contact. They kissed and touched for over a quarter of an hour, but on this occasion it didn't escalate to more heated passions. They were both content to simply share the gentle side of their love.

Carson pulled away from the delightful lips long enough to proclaim, “It took me too long to accept how I felt about you. But I don't ever want you to doubt me. I always want you to know, I love you, forever.”

“I'll never forget,” Drew said. “I see it every time you look at me. I love you, forever.”

To be continued

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