Just a Breath Away

By Colleen


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

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 4

Carson cut the tape on another box. Two weeks after moving in and she was still unpacking. She didn't realize just how much stuff she had accumulated. Pulling open the flaps, she revealed a stack of photo albums and on top, her prized baby book. On the cover was a parade of jungle animals and the proudly stated name Logan Clay Galloway. Inside the front cover, was the tot's birth information. Born: July 28, 2008 . Weight: 8 lbs.1oz. Carson read through the rest of the facts, even though she knew them by heart. That little boy with his dimples, green eyes and white blonde hair was her heart. He was all she had now. But she also knew it was for the best. Logan didn't need an indifferent parent. And she certainly didn't want a phony partner. Shaking off those glum thoughts, Carson began flipping through the dozens of beautiful photos of her beautiful baby.

She finally glanced up at the clock and noticed that half an hour had passed. “Shoot,” she admonished herself. “I've got to get more of this unpacking done.” The photo albums were soon placed in the wood cabinet where her DVDs and CDs were now stored. Out of the stacks of other boxes, she hunted down the one that was labeled collectables. It held all of her dolphin treasures. She had always been captivated by dolphins and had started collecting images of the swimming creatures in many artistic mediums. Her collection was small and tasteful; she was very selective in her choices. She had carvings from three inches to twelve inches high, and made in materials from pewter to glass to exotic woods. She also had a few art prints and one fantastic oil painting. It had come from an exclusive gallery in California and had been a present from Carol. The gesture was nice, but Carson had always thought that her ex-partner had purchased it to flaunt her wealth during the auction.

It was 10: 42 , the next time she looked up at the clock. Carson suddenly had a taste for a glass of milk, thinking her son would be doing the same soon. He, of course, preferred his in a bottle. Spying the tin of cocoa powder on the counter, Carson dumped a spoonful into her glass and popped it into the microwave. Removing the sweet drink, she took a hearty sniff before blowing gently across its hot surface. Carson settled into the plush recliner by the window, savoring the careful sips of her hot chocolate. She reached over and pulled aside the curtain. The view into the snowy back yard was delightful. The full moon glistened across the four inches of hard packed snow. But Carson soon pictured a sunny summer day and the swing set that would reside on the carpet of green. A giggling eleven month old would sway back and forth, wiggling his arms, having the carefree fun that every child should experience. Coming back to the present, Carson took another drink and surveyed her new home. The three bedroom one level house was more then spacious enough for the two of them. Carson certainly wasn't going to be looking for a new girlfriend anytime soon; her heart was still aching. But the hurt didn't necessarily come from the breakup. Looking back now, she knew that had been inevitable. And maybe it wasn't so much pain as anger at herself for totally misjudging Carol. She had been blinded by the thought of love and family and a future together. But a barrier was building around her heart. She was the only one who could protect it. Love, if it ever came again was a long way off. And next time Carson would have to be certain beyond the shadow of a doubt. Because now she had a son to protect too. He was her heart.

Caron suddenly jumped as the silence was broken by the audible cries of her heart. She quickly shuffled down the hall and into the nursery, which was the first room she had completely finished. Only flipping on the nightlight, Carson moved smoothly across the hardwood floor to his crib. “Hey Sweetie, is it time for your midnight snack a little early.” She scooped him up and cradled the upset baby against her chest. Instantly she heard it, the wheezing and the struggle to take in a full breath. Pulling open the snaps on his pajama suit, she saw the muscles around his rib cage and how they bowed in. It was a definite asthma attack. “Oh baby, I'm so sorry,” she said as she moved into the bathroom. Trying to sooth his cries with her voice, Carson searched around inside the cabinet for the medicine to ease his breathing. Picking up the container, she noticed it was awfully light weight. She desperately shook it next to her ear. Just a few drops rattled around inside the plastic cylinder. “Oh God no!” Fumbling through a couple of boxes on the counter, Carson frantically searched for another bottle. But there was none to be found. With one last try, she ran to her bedroom and dumped the contents of her purse on the bed. No medicine, but a folded piece of paper caught her attention. Her fears were realized as she read the prescription for his medication. “What have I done?” she scolded. With no time to waste, she ran back to the nursery and grabbed Logan 's heavy blanket. Having already shoved her keys and wallet into the pocket of the loose pants she was wearing, Carson grabbed his diaper bag and ran to the front door and out into the cold night. About to slide into the seat of her car, she saw a lighted window a few houses down. With just a split seconds decision, Carson quickly went down the drive and crossed the quiet, suburban street. Hurrying down the sidewalk, she silently thanked whoever had shoveled the path, making the walk more effortless on the way to her destination.

The doorbell rang at 11: 16 . A strange occurrence for the calm neighborhood, Drew thought. She cautiously moved from the kitchen to the front door. Carefully checking out the view port, before opening, she saw the nearly hysterical face of her new neighbor. With a quick flick of the lock, Drew pulled open the door. “ Carson , what's wrong? Come on in.” She escorted the chilled woman to the sofa. Drew now heard the muffled cries under the heavy cover over her shoulder and saw the tears running down Carson 's face.

“Please help him,” Carson sobbed. “It's his asthma. No medicine. I'm such a bad mother. Please.”

“It'll be okay,” the pediatrician assured. Drew peeled away the blanket and took the baby, making a visual examination and confirming the attack. “Hey buddy,” she said to the wiggling baby. “Not feeling too good huh? We're gonna get you taken care of.” Handing him back to his mother, Drew stood. “I've got some medicine and a face mask here,” she said before going into another room.

While Drew was away, Carson kept apologizing to her son over and over. Her own breaths were coming in heaves as the panic continued inside her. It was heartbreaking. Drew soon returned and began administering the life saving drug. The baby struggled in his mother's grasp. “I know you don't like the mask over your face,” Drew said, “but it's gonna make you feel much better.”

“I'm sorry to come here so late,” Carson apologized, without taking her eyes off of her ailing son. “He's been so happy. And I've been so careful; I don't know what triggered this. He hasn't had an attack in a while.” She cried harder. “I forgot to get his prescription filled. I was caught off guard…the move, the breakup.” She sobbed again. “But it's no excuse. I'm just a bad mother.” A hand rubbed her shoulder.

“ Carson , you are a wonderful mother,” Drew assured. “You made a mistake. Every human parent has made at least one, and most many more than that.”

“But not mistakes that put your child's life in jeopardy.”

“It was a bad attack,” Drew said, quickly following with, “But it wasn't severe. His life wasn't in danger.”

“Yet.” Carson explained her decision as she kept hugging her son. “I started to go to the hospital, but saw your light…”

Drew smiled. “I'm glad you came here. He's going to be just fine.” Logan still struggled as Drew held the mask securely over his little face. His crying had stopped, but he kept looking up at his distraught mother. “You need to calm down Carson ,” Drew suggested. “He's picking up on your anxiety.” Carson looked even more worried. Drew instructed further as she pulled the baby onto her lap. “Take a deep breath.” A few seconds passed as Carson followed directions. “Release it slowly. Now dry your tears. And smile at your son. If you think everything is okay, he will too.”

Carson adhered to the suggestions and took his tiny hand in hers. He was much calmer now, even smiling behind the clear plastic over his mouth. She took him back and spoke to him in a warm, soothing voice. Soon, Drew eased the mask away and listened to the babe's lungs with her stethoscope. “He's just fine,” she proclaimed with an easy grin, cupping the back of his blonde head.

Carson took a heavy sigh, tossing her head back and silently saying a prayer of thanks. Then she expressed her gratitude to the mortal savior. “Thank you is not enough. You saved his life Drew.”

Drew didn't want to argue that his life probably wasn't in danger, but she just accepted the praise humbly. “I'm glad I was here and had the medicine to help. Anytime you need me to help, please call or come by. I'm not just a neighbor; I want us to be good friends

Carson smiled and nodded an agreement. She needed a good friend. Little Logan was wide awake now and happy at last. He bounced in his mother's lap and grabbed for whatever he thought would make a nice toy, including Drew's stethoscope. “Well,” Carson said, “I guess we'd better get back home.”

“I'd like you to spend the night here.” At Carson 's surprised expression, Drew explained. “I'd rather you didn't take him back out into the cold right now. And I'd like to keep an eye on him for awhile. It's just a precaution. Besides, it looks like he's gonna be awake for some time and you look exhausted. If you trust me to watch him, you can get some sleep right here on the couch.”

“Of course I trust you; you're a doctor. I just don't want to be a burden.”

“You could never be a burden,” Drew declared. “It's a sincere invitation. Let me take care of both of you for one night. I was going to catch a late movie anyway. During the week I don't get the chance to watch much.” She addressed the boy that had hold of her hand. “We'll just sit here on the floor and play and watch some TV. How does that sound? We'll let mommy get some sleep, huh?”

Once Carson agreed, Drew retrieved a pillow and blanket from the linen closet. She settled the blonde onto the couch and moved to the thickly carpeted floor, where she proceeded to play with Logan . She had retrieved a set of plastic blocks and began stacking them as he watched gleefully, sitting in the V of her out stretched legs.

Tired green eyes observed the kind doctor interacting with the small baby. Only then did she notice that Drew was ready for bed. But then it was late. The doctor was wearing a pair of loose fitting, black flannel pants and a short sleeved t-shirt with a picture of Tigger on the front. Carson hadn't yet changed into her sleep clothes for the night before her son's attack, but luckily she had been wearing a soft loungewear set. So she was comfortable enough to get some sleep. “You're a natural with him,” she said as they played.

“Oh, I love children; that's why I went into pediatrics. I'm looking forward to having one…or two of my own someday.” Drew laughed as Logan knocked over the stack of blocks. “There's nothing better than seeing life through the eyes of a child. Watching them learn. Helping them grow into fine young people.”

“Yeah,” Carson agreed sleepily. “How can you be so certain that I'm a good mother?” she asked after sort time.

Drew looked up seriously. “Because you were so terrified. You have to love something very strongly to be that worried. With that kind of love, you couldn't be anything less.” Drew saw a faint smile and a whispered thank you before Carson finally succumbed to slumber.

Drew flipped to the channel she had chosen earlier and placed the remote far behind her on a table, out of the baby's reach. But Logan was much too playful for her to pay a lot of attention to the movie. But that was okay. Playing with the beautiful baby was much more entertaining. More block building and destruction ensued.

An hour later and he still showed no signs of sleep, and he was getting a little vocal. Drew picked him up, turned him towards her and stood him on her thighs, where he danced in his footy pjs. “You're having fun aren't ya?” she asked. “It sure doesn't take much to entertain you.” Tiny fingers scrubbed at the picture of the cartoon feline on her shirt. “That's Tigger,” she explained happily. “I'm sure you'll be into Pooh in a few months. Do you know what Tigger does…he bounces.” Drew demonstrated by gently bouncing him on her lap. “You're a happy guy. I bet your mommy has a lot to do with that huh?” Logan looked behind him to the sofa. “Yeah, that's your mommy. You know where she is. She's very tired though. We have to be quiet and let her sleep.” Drew watched her new friend. “She looks so peaceful now. She sure loves you.” Logan squealed. “Hey, hey calm down here fella. What's that on your jammies huh?” She pointed to the galloping animal on his chest. “That's a horsie. How does a horsie sound?” Drew fluttered her lips in imitation. Logan was momentarily stunned at her action and Drew laughed quietly at his expression. “Would you like to ride on a horse someday?” she asked. “I like to ride. Maybe you could come with me.” She did her equine impression again and Logan suddenly became interested in the moving lips that were within his reach. The nose looked like fun too and was soon the victim of a few squeezes. Drew was very good natured and let him have his fun, even at her discomfort. She pretended to munch on the little exploring fingers, making him flash his big, toothless, grin. “Your mommy is pretty great,” she said between bites. “I like spending time with her…and you of course.” Drew smothered his chubby cheeks with kisses and he laughed adorably. “In fact you are just about irresistible.” Drew got him interested in the blocks again, but eventually he started throwing them across the room in frustration. She picked him up to face her once again. “What's wrong huh?” She studied his eyes. They were as wide and bright as ever. But Logan twisted in her grasp, tossing his head back with unvocalized complaints. “Are you hungry maybe? I bet that's it. Where is your bag?” The doctor searched one handed as the other held onto his squirming body. “Here we go.” She pulled the big bag around. “I bet your mommy put a bottle in here.” Logan found something new to his interest and bent over, peering inside the pouch, to see what goodies were inside. “Is your bottle in there?” Drew pointed to it, wanting to entice Logan to reach for it. “There it is. Can you grab it?” The baby made a couple of unsuccessful attempts, but after a determined grunt, his two small hands finally found purchase on its top and he pulled. Its liquid weight was quite a challenge. “You got it buddy!” Drew was very excited for his accomplishment. But then it slipped from his little fingers, falling back inside. “Oh, that's okay.” She retrieved it and climbed to her feet. “Here we go. Let's go take the chill off of this.”

When they returned, Drew noticed that Carson had rotated to her back and that the move had dislodged the covers. Drew whispered in the baby's ear. “Let's cover mommy back up so she doesn't get cold.” She resettled the red blanket. Carson shifted and moaned as some bad dreams began invading her peace. Drew softly rubbed her shoulder. “Shhh, everything is okay Carson . Sleep well. We're right here.” The blonde drifted under the tranquility of calm slumber once again. Turning back to a chair, Drew had a seat and faced Logan toward the television. He latched onto his bottle as soon as it was near his mouth and sucked greedily. Drew helped him hold onto it, but in the quiet, her attention floated back to the woman asleep on her sofa. But her words were directed at the hungry babe. “You have to take good care of your mommy, because she takes very good care of you. I think she's had a pretty tough time recently.” Drew absently rubbed the baby's belly as she spoke her thoughts. “Do you think I could help once in a while? She and I had a good time at the movie last week. I want to spend more time with both of you.” Drew went into quiet reflection. The warm, solid weight in her arms felt so good. There was just something so special about holding a baby. It made her feel hopeful, doting and protective. Drew always felt protective of her patients, especially when they were sick or injured. And their cheerful faces, even in the event of pain, always filled her with hope. But she didn't have the opportunity to dote on them; they really spent so little time with her. But Drew was feeling a special connection with this child. Maybe it was because she had helped ease his distress. But somehow she felt that it went deeper than that. He was joyful and loving. His smile warmed her heart. She wanted to be a part of his life. She wanted to be a part of Carson 's life.

Logan finally submitted to sleep a little after 2:00 in the morning. Drew changed his diaper as he slept on, and then she fixed a makeshift bed close to his mother. She didn't want Carson to wake up and panic if she didn't see her baby nearby. Drew caught the end of the movie she had planned on watching and then she joined the others in sleep.

* * *

Carson 's eyes blinked open. She instantly realized that she wasn't in her bed or any bed. “ Logan ?” Luckily the word came out muffled under the dryness of her throat. Carson 's mussed head whipped around, where she spotted her precious baby, still sound asleep. Drew had brought out an inflatable mattress, where she had bedded down for the night alongside of Logan . Lying on her side, she had a long, protective arm tossed over his blanketed body. Carson smiled softly at the sight. She saw a very caring woman. She saw love. Drew loved Logan . And Carson wanted her son's life to be full of love. She knew she could never make it up to him for giving him just one parent, but with her family and people like Drew Dixon around him, maybe it would help just a little.

When the doctor and the baby awoke about 20 minutes later, Carson invited Drew down to her house for breakfast. Drew happily accepted and said she was going to take a shower and then she would join the little family. She escorted her blonde friend to the door. Unexpectedly, Carson threw her free her arm around the doctor's neck. The hug was ferocious with emotion. “Thank you Drew.” Carson 's voice nearly broke with the intensity of her feelings.

Drew spent nearly the whole day at Carson 's, helping with the baby while Carson unpacked. The ease and comfort that they felt in each others company was warm and welcoming, and both were quickly cherishing their time together.

To be continued in part 5

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