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 2009-2010

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 6

“ Carson , I have a taste for some great Mexican food. How about joining me at that new place on Deacon Avenue tonight?” Drew asked.

“That sounds good, but it is short notice. I know mom and dad aren't home tonight.”

“Don't bother with a babysitter, bring Logan along. He can't eat the food, but he needs to get used to places like that. Don't you think?”

“You're right; I guess I just never thought about it like that. You are one smart person Dr. Dixon.”

“Why thank you Ms. Galloway. Meet you there about six?”

“Sounds good. Bye Drew.”

 

* * *

 

The hostess greeted them at the door and led them to a booth in the front corner. She retrieved a wooden high chair and Carson put her son down and buckled him in. Giving Logan a toy to pacify him, Carson took in the décor. The room was brilliantly lit and showed the bright, hot colors associated with the country south of the border. She absently rubbed the weathered wood table beneath her fingertips while checking out the menu.

“Smells great in here,” Drew said. “I've heard they have fantastic guacamole.”

“Mmmm, I love guac. But I also adore white queso.”

“Hello,” said the young girl who appeared at their table with chips and salsa in hand. “I'm Sydney and I'll be your server.”

“Hello,” Carson greeted. “This will be separate checks.”

“All right. What can I get you ladies to drink this evening?” After taking that order, she asked, “Can I also start you out with an appetizer?”

Drew jumped in, addressing her friend. “Why don't you get the queso, I'll get the guacamole, and we'll share.”

Carson agreed enthusiastically. “What a great idea.” While still perusing the extensive menu, Drew helped herself to the spicy salsa. Carson pulled a container of prepared baby food and a tiny spoon from the diaper bag. Logan started grunting, which made Drew laugh. “And what is the little sir's dinner choice this evening?” she asked.

Carson gave him a spoonful. “We have chicken and noodles tonight.”

“Oh, I love chicken and noodles. But I prefer mine homemade and not pureed.” Drew directed her next words to the hungry tot. “You think you like this, well just wait until you get a few teeth buddy. Your choices will increase dramatically.”

The baby had just swallowed and let loose with a loud. “Mmmmmmm.”

“Looks like someone started without you,” the server said with a grin as she arrived with the duel appetizers and drinks. Logan reached for a bowl as it passed over his head, but Carson merely held his hand out of the way in a practiced manner. The young lady took their entrée orders and left again, but not before she gushed over the adorable boy in the highchair.

“Your son is a shameless flirt,” Drew said with a grin.

Carson nodded. “I know. But what I don't know is who he learned it from.” She watched as Drew was making faces at Logan . “Now that I think of it, he only started doing that since he met you,” she teased.

Drew simply gave her friend a smooth sideways glance and an utterly enchanting smile. And she threw in a pair of wildly wiggling eyebrows for good measure.

Somewhere during the conversation over the meal, Carson had been looking at her companion and something unexpected popped into her head. “This may sound like an odd question, but is that your natural hair color?”

Drew answered succinctly. “Yep.” But then she elaborated. “You should see my baby pictures. When I was born I didn't have much hair, mostly just a little bunch right on top. But it was very dark. It looked like I was wearing a beanie.”

Carson laughed. “Awww, I bet that was cute.”

Drew nearly blushed. “Well, I'll let you see those pictures sometime. They are reserved for my closet friends only.”

“Have you ever tried another color, just for fun?” Carson asked in a casual manner. “I tried a darker shade once…only because someone else asked me too. But I didn't really care for it. I prefer a more natural look.”

“I'm with you on that,” Drew agreed. “But to answer your question, I colored it red once.”

“Red, you mean like cinnamon?”

“Oh no, I mean bright red.” As the green eyes grew more rounded, Drew explained further. “It was for a college Halloween party. The theme was to create your own super hero or mythic figure. You had to come up with a costume, name and a back story about your character.”

Carson encouraged more, dying to hear the details. “And you were?”

Logan chose that moment to toss his toy aside. But Drew's quick reflexes caught it. “Oh no you don't,” she admonished. But the happy baby just grinned at her. She couldn't help but smile back. Putting the toy out of reach, she let him play with her hand as she continued. “I was Inferno, the fire god, hence the red hair.”

Carson laughed behind her hand. “Fire God?

Drew shrugged. “It was my butch period.”

Carson tried hard to envision the crimson locks. The look didn't really come together in her mind. She tried even harder to picture a butch Drew. The doctor wasn't ultra feminine, but Carson thought the woman could pull it off quite nicely if she needed to. But Carson enjoyed Drew's everyday look just fine. The picture of the butch Drew was there, just a little hazy…but intriguing. “So tell me about Inferno, and please tell me you have those pictures too.”

“Maybe,” Drew admitted somewhat shyly. “Anyway, Inferno snatched flames from the sun and gave it to early man to brighten his dark existence. Cooking the food wasn't a bad use either. I could shoot flames from my eyes. I could turn flooding waters to steam.” She waved her hand in the air with a theatrical flair. “And I could melt a cold heart with the touch of a hand.” Drew giggled at her own dramatics. “I've always thought myself a touch fiery and adventurous. That's why I can eat this triple spicy chicken dish.” Drew proved her point by biting into the jalapeno pepper that came with her meal.

Carson smirked as something occurred to her. “Oh, so you think you're hot stuff.”

Drew choked a bit as the spicy juice slid down her throat. Or was it because of Carson 's words. The question is, Drew thought, will you ever think so? She brought the napkin to her mouth, which also helped cover her sad smile. Her eyes became a bit teary under the heat.

Carson assumed the actions were from surprise at her flirty comment. “Sorry,” she apologized.

“I'm fine.” Drew coughed again and reached for her water. “So much for my cast iron constitution.” After finishing the cooling drink, she said, “I think a piece of cheesecake would help. How about you?”

“Well, I was sort of eyeing that chocolate explosion cake.” Drew's blue eyes sparkled at her. They were reminiscent of a clear mountain lake on a warm sunny day. Carson had only seen one once, when her grandparents had taken her fishing one summer. But the sight had made quite an impression on Carson , filling her with tranquility. She always used that memory when she was plagued by stress. But now it seemed that she had something more than a memory to bring her serenity. Drew's easy smile reminded her that friendship can fill a heart with enough love to erase the darkness from a damaged spirit. But Carson also knew that not just anyone could have brightened her life when she needed it. There was, undoubtedly, something special about Drew Dixon.

Drew and Carson were savoring their respective desserts when they noticed a little face looking at them. If he had been an adult, they would have described his expression as craving, but as a baby maybe it was more like curiosity.

Carson took his hand. “Sorry baby, but all I have is chocolate and nuts. You can't have that just yet.”

Drew looked at her caramel drizzled cheesecake. “Do you mind if I give him a few bites of this?” she asked. “I can work around the caramel.”

“Well, you're the pediatrician, what do you think?”

“It's soft and mild enough; it'll be fine.” Drew picked up his special rubber coated spoon and scooped out a tiny bit of creamy confection. Logan started smacking his lips as the spoon started his way. She gently slipped it inside his open mouth and they waited. Logan started just a bit at the slight tang, but then he swallowed, kicking his legs with enjoyment and opening for more.

“Oh yeah,” Drew exclaimed, “that was good.” She spaced out his bites with hers so he wouldn't get too much. He ended up with about five tiny mouthfuls, but he was bound to want more of the tasty treat the next time some was within his sight.

The conversation had diminished during dessert, a testament to the delightful sweets, but Carson had slyly observed the interaction between her son and her friend…her best friend. They had known each other such a relatively short time, but there was a definite bond that she couldn't really explain. But she didn't really need to. She just liked it.

The three, very satisfied individuals walked slowly to their cars, not from over eating, but from a desire not to leave each others company just yet. They had to park about five spaces from each other and they reached Carson 's car first. Before putting Logan in his car seat, she turned to say goodbye. “Thanks for inviting us to eat with you tonight, Drew. I feel safe in speaking for my son when I say we both had a great time.”

“I'm glad you were able to join me.” Drew pulled them into a group hug, holding just a few seconds, taking pleasure in the closeness. I'm definitely going to have to do this more often. She still harbored hope that someday, Carson might just fall in love with her. She added a kiss to the baby's head. “Bye little guy. Goodnight Carson . Be careful driving home.”

 

* * *

 

“Hey Duncan .” Carson gave her big brother a hug and then repeated the gesture on his wife Dana. The family had been invited to dinner at Carson 's on Friday night.

“Aunt Carson!” An exuberant six year old ran in the door and hugged her aunt around the waist. The girl was so glad that Carson had come back home to Illinois .

Carson returned the hug. “Jenna Sweetie, how are you?”

“Good.” The sweet child had a front tooth missing, adding to her already adorable quality. Like her mother, Jenna had long, chestnut colored hair. But she shared the same eyes with her father and her aunt.

“How was school today?” Carson asked.

“It was fun,” the girl answered excitedly. “We planted seeds in little pots and put them on the window sill. Miss Penny said we'll have beautiful flowers in a few weeks.”

“Good for you Sweetie. That does sound fun.”

The girl hugged her again. “I'm gonna give mine to you to make you happy Aunt Carson.” Then her attention quickly shifted. “Can I play with Logan ?”

Carson smiled. “Sure. He's over there in his play pen.” With her niece and son occupied, Carson ushered Duncan and Dana over to the kitchen table. “So what's been happening with you two?” she asked.

Dana poured herself a glass of iced tea from the pitcher on the table. Carson was especially fond of Dana. They were the same age and had known each other since high school. When Carson was in California , she and Dana had talked on the phone all the time with Dana always filling Carson in on the hometown happenings. Carson felt like she had the sister she'd always wanted. “Well, we're trying to decide whether to take a vacation this summer or put in a pool,” Dana said.

“If we go with the pool,” Duncan explained, “the rest of the family can benefit too.”

“Yes, that is a plus,” his wife agreed. “I just think Jenna is at a good age to go to Disney World for the first time. I think she should have an experience as a child and maybe again as a teen as well.” Duncan rolled his eyes in obvious annoyance. His wife surely didn't understand his reluctance.

Carson snickered. She knew the reason. “I know why he's pushing for the pool.”

“Why?” Dana asked.

“He doesn't want to go to Disney because of what happened when we went there as kids.”

“Let's not get into that Carson ,” Duncan said. “Besides you had an incident too.”

“But I haven't let it bother me big brother,” Carson shot back. “I'd go back anytime. And I intend to in five or six years. I agree with Dana.”

Dana crossed her arms and leaned on the table, anxious to hear a good story. “So, just what were these…incidents?”

“I was eight,” Carson explained. “ Duncan was twelve and Brett fifteen. The three of us were having ice cream while mom and dad were watching a show. My older brother decided to have some fun with his little sister. I was too busy watching as Cinderella and Prince Charming were dancing by to see what he was doing, but Brett had a feather and started tickling the back of my neck. I brushed it off the first two or three times. After the last time he tickled me, he told me there was a spider on my neck. I was taking a bite from my sundae just as he said that. I jerked forward and my face plunged right into the bowl. I sneezed out ice cream and strawberry seeds for an hour after.”

The three of them laughed at the memory, and then Dana turned to her husband. “Why would she be embarrassed by that?” she asked.

He shrugged. “I guess it doesn't sound so bad now.” He looked toward the cooking pot on the stove. “That sure smells good Sis. Isn't it just about ready?” he asked anxiously.

“Oh no,” Dana objected. “You're not going to get away with that. Continue Carson . Just what has my hubby so worried?”

Carson gave her brother a sideways glance, paying his menacing glare no mind. She addressed his curious wife. “I'll give you the short version,” Carson said with a smile. “He was startled by Captain Hook and wet his pants.”

“In my defense,” Duncan interjected, “I had to go to the bathroom badly; in fact that's where I was headed. It was just bad timing. That never would have happened if I hadn't had to go.”

“Okay, that sounds reasonable,” Dana agreed. But as she looked back and forth between the siblings, Dana detected the unspoken narrative on their faces. “There has to be something more to the story.” She pointed at her husband. “Your face is too red.”

Carson chuckled. Duncan had dropped his head, and it shook slowly in defeat. “Go on Carson ; finish my humiliation. But keep your voice down; I don't want my daughter to hear.”

Carson chewed on the inside of her jaw and nodded. She leaned in close and almost whispered the story. “Mom had a few things in her bag and Duncan had to go back through the park to the hotel, wearing a pair of boxer shorts…with little red Mickeys all over them. She had bought them for dad. As you know, Dad's a big guy and my brother was a bit scrawny at that age. So these shorts were three sizes too big for Duncan .” Carson fought to hold in the laughter as she finished the tormenting tale. “Just before we reached the castle, he lost his hold on the waistband and they fell to his knees before he could grab them.”

“Oh no!” Dana nearly fell from her chair with laughter. “Moon over Miami !”

“We were at Disney World, not the beach,” Duncan said indignantly. But his low grade ire was soon soothed by his wife's touch.

She cupped his stubbly cheek. “Aw Honey, I'm sorry. I can imagine that was traumatic for a twelve year old. But do you really believe that anyone besides your family will remember that?”

“No, but I sure remember.”

“Couldn't you get passed this for your daughter?” Dana asked, then smiled brightly. “I'll be sure and bring extra clothes...the right size.”

Duncan finally laughed a little. Carson walked across the kitchen to check on her meal as he and Dana continued their conversation. The couple whispered and nuzzled, expressing their affection honestly. Carson admired their deep and committed love. Her other brother also had a wonderful relationship. She began to feel a little ashamed, being the only one of the family in three generations to have a failed marriage. Sure there were some bad relationships along the way, but the commitments were always strong, faithful and lifelong.

“I love how the place is coming together,” Dana commented as she looked around.

“Thanks. I'm going to start on the family room in a few weeks.” The ladies discussed more decorating ideas as Carson worked at the stove. “I hope you're hungry,” she said a few minutes later as she put out a stack of bowls, small plates and silverware. A large bowl of mixed green salad, a tureen of soup and a plate of crusty bread was placed on the table next. She stopped to place a small kiss to the top of her brother's head, as an apology for telling his embarrassing story. He acknowledged her with a tiny smile. Carson ladled the aromatic soup into the deeper bowls and passed them around to her family.

“This looks fantastic,” Dana said as she added some fresh pepper to her bowl. “I love soups.” She called over her shoulder. “Jenna, come over here and eat now.”

The child obeyed her mother, but only took about four spoonfuls of broth, two or three carrots, a couple of bites of salad and a piece of bread before asking to be excused to play with her little cousin some more. Carson peeked into the child's nearly full bowl and silently raised an eyebrow.

Dana noticed. “Don't be insulted Carson . She's becoming a finicky eater. You'll find that out in a few years.”

Carson mutely absorbed the warning.

“How are you really doing Sis, with the big change and all?” Duncan asked.

“Fine,” she told her brother honestly. “A little tired I guess. Single parenting is kind of tough. But we're doing great.”

“Good. I worry about you, you know. But you look as pretty as ever.”

Carson adopted a surprised expression and turned her attention to his wife. “I see you've finally turned him into a sensitive human being.”

Dana nodded in mock exhaustion. “It's been hard, but the training is just now kicking in.”

Duncan tossed a waded up, disposable napkin at his spouse. “Yeah, yeah. Laugh it up you two.”

Carson pitched her own paper ammunition at her burly sibling. “Now there's the brother I remember,” she laughed.

“Seriously,” Dana said, “how about a social life? Are you getting out of the house?” Carson wavered with an answer. “I could watch Logan some evenings too, if that's a problem,” Dana suggested.

“Thanks, but mom and dad have been great about babysitting. And uh…I have been getting out to movies, the theater once…and we've gone out to eat a couple of times.”

“Who's we?” Duncan asked innocently between bites of his meal.

“Drew Dixon,” she answered casually.

“And Drew is?” Dana encouraged.

“She lives down the street. She's a pediatrician.” Before she could explain any more, not that she was really going to, the phone rang. “Hello,” she answered.

“Hi Carson ,” the ragged voice said. “I thought I'd return your call, while I still can.”

“Drew, what's wrong; you sound awful?”

“That's good, because I feel rotten. That's worse than awful, isn't it?” After a significant sniff she continued. “It's just a sinus infection. I usually get about one a year.”

“I'm sorry to hear that. You didn't work today, did you?”

“No; Shelia and Joseph covered my appointments. Actually, I just woke up after…” Drew glanced over at the clock, “a four hour nap.” Drew tried to laugh, but winced in pain. “Ow. Laughing is not a good idea right now.”

“Poor thing,” Carson cooed. “Have you eaten today?”

“I had a little breakfast. And I was just about to order something in.”

“You will not! You need something healthier than that.” Carson eyed the big pot on her stove. “My brother and his family are over for dinner tonight and I made a ton of soup. I'm going to bring you some.”

“I don't want to take you away from your family. I'll be fine.”

“I'm sure they don't mind.” Carson smiled as her sister-in-law signaled with a thumbs up. “They can watch Logan for a few minutes. I'll be right down.” Carson put some of her homemade vegetable soup into a traveling container and wrapped some bread in a piece of foil. “I'll just run this down,” she told her family. “She's not contagious; it's just a sinus infection. But she doesn't feel like cooking.” Carson grabbed her jacket from the closet while still explaining. “I shouldn't be gone more than a few minutes.”

Duncan handed her the prepared food. “Take your time Sis. We can manage here. Go help your friend.”

Carson kissed her brother on his stubbly cheek. “Thanks Dunc. I'm really lucky to have you for a brother.” After the dimness of her previous relationship, Carson had decided to start praising the guiding lights in her life. She always wanted her family to know just how important they were to her.

After hanging up the phone, Drew opened her door just ten minutes later. Her short hair spiked in a few places and her eyes had dark circles under them. She only held the tired pair partially open because of the pain behind them. Her short robe was knotted around her waist, but she still shivered slightly.

Carson quickly ushered her back inside. “Oh Drew. I'm sorry you're feeling so bad.” She noticed that the doctor had been sleeping on the sofa. “Go on back and sit down. I'll warm this in your microwave and bring it in.” Carson returned with a tray and placed it over Drew's lap. The ill doctor took several spoonfuls, praising its flavor. “This is great Carson .” She broke off a sizeable chunk of bread and dunked it in the rich broth. “I bet it would be even better if I could smell it.” She managed a small smile through her misery.

“Well, I'll have to make it again once your nose is working better.”

Carson patiently waited as Drew finished her soup and bread. After swallowing the last of her water, she leaned back against the sofa cushion and her sore eyes fell shut. Carson quickly washed up the dirty dishes and stepped back into the living room. Drew heard her friend moving around quietly. “I'm not asleep,” she said.

“You probably should be.”

The blue eyes opened again. “But I just woke up.”

“Didn't a doctor ever tell you to get plenty of sleep when you're sick?” Carson smiled sweetly after her reminder.

Drew scratched her mussed head. “Let me think…I do recall hearing something along those lines in med school.”

Carson moved behind the sofa and rubbed her hands together. “Well, I didn't go to medical school my friend, but let's see what else I can do to make you feel better.”

Drew had a few ideas. If I didn't feel so bad, I could definitely think of something. Maybe… Ooooh yeah. That works too. Drew moaned aloud and commended her friend's magic fingers.

Carson kept gently massaging Drew's temples. When she had heard how bad her friend had sounded over the phone, Carson almost felt a little ill herself. The idea of Drew hurting was painful and Carson was willing to do just about anything to help her pal feel better. “I'm glad it's helping,” she said, kind of enjoying the intimate moment herself. “Are you falling asleep yet?” she asked after a few more minutes.

“Ummm, not yet,” Drew murmured. “But you may just turn me to jelly. I may not be able to make it to the bed.”

“Well, we can't have that.” Carson 's massage moved to the back of Drew's head. As her fingers brushed through the dark locks, she noticed just how thick, but soft the doctor's hair was. Drifting lower still, her hands gently fell upon a pair of tight shoulders. Increasing the pressure, Carson gradually felt the tension melt away. She smiled as Drew began humming, almost purring. You are kind of like a big cat, aren't you, Carson thought. You're long legged and lean like a cheetah. Powerful. Fierce when necessary…but… Carson silently chuckled at her line of thought. She leaned over next to an ear and whispered, “I hate to bring this to an end, but I think you should head off to bed now.”

“Hmmm, really? Cause I'm sure I could sleep right here under your hands, all night long.”

Carson wasn't sure what to answer to that. A fleeting thought whispered across a tiny spot in her brain. But it suddenly ran into a wall and disintegrated on impact. “Unfortunately,” she finally said, “there's someone else at home that I need to put to bed also.” Carson circled the sofa and held out a hand. “Come on Doc, bedtime for all good patients. If you're good, I'll tell you about a surprise before I leave.”

Drew managed another smile. “I like surprises.” She obediently followed orders and shuffled into the bathroom and then into her bedroom, where she changed the grungy clothes she had been wearing all day for some fresh and comfortable sleepwear. A shower was just going to have to wait until morning. Unless, I could talk Carson into helping me with that too. Drew sleepily giggled at her naughty thought. Must be a fever making me feel so…hot. Carson knocked before opening Drew's bedroom door. “Come on in,” Drew said. “What's my surprise?”

Carson walked over and placed a large glass of water on the nightstand. “Did you take your medicine?”

“Yes Mom. Now what's my surprise?”

Carson patted the top of the doctor's head. “Good girl. There is a piece of homemade brownie in the kitchen for you tomorrow.”

The patient grinned. “Yum.”

Carson lifted the sheet and blanket. “Climb in.” Once the long legs slipped under the warm covers and the dark head sank into the soft pillow, Carson pulled the blanket up to her chin. “Goodnight Drew.”

“Thank you.” The blue eyes closed. “Love ya,” Drew slurred.

Carson stepped away in surprise. But she soon realized the harmless meaning of the two words. She quickly relaxed and kissed the flushed forehead. “Love you too pal.” Carson turned off the bedside lamp and backed out of the room, her eyes never leaving the pretty face.

 

* * *

 

Carson walked in her front door to find her brother sitting on the floor playing with Logan and Jenna. All three were laughing, with Logan squealing the loudest. Carson admired her brother a lot; he was a wonderful family man. “Well, it looks like things are going good here. I bet my baby didn't even miss me.”

Dana walked out of the kitchen, wiping her hands on a towel. “Sure he did,” she said. “He just hides it well.” Her explanation was punctuated by another screech of delight from the happy tot. “I put the rest of your soup in the refrigerator and the dishes in the dish washer.”

“You didn't have to do that Dana. But thanks.”

“No problem.”

“It's getting close to Logan's bedtime,” Carson said, “but since he seems to be having such a good time, I'll let him be.”

The ladies took a seat at the table and poured themselves some coffee that Dana had also prepared. “You regularly let Logan stay up past eight o' clock,” Dana asked.

“No, he usually goes down about now.”

“Well, it is after eight,” Dana pointed out.

Carson swung her head sharply to see the clock on the kitchen wall. “But I just left a few minutes ago.”

Dana smiled. “ Carson , you were gone nearly an hour.”

Carson 's cheeks pinked up. “Oh, I didn't realize. I'm sorry.”

“It's fine; don't give it another thought. So how is Drew?”

Carson 's lips automatically lifted into a smile at the sound of the name. But then it drooped when she thought about how bad her friend was. “She's feeling pretty crummy right now, but she'll be fine in a few days.”

Dana grinned behind her coffee cup. “I'm sure you'll see to it.”

“I'll help her in any way I can.” Carson began mumbling to herself. “She'll probably need another healthy meal tomorrow. I'll have to think of something good. She might also need some things from the store.” Her attention was finally drawn back to Dana. “Drew's become a really good friend,” she told her with another smile.

“I'm sure.” Dana patted her sister-in-law's hand. “Good for you. I'm glad your happiness is coming back.”

Carson gave it a moment's consideration. But she didn't really need that long to know that it was the truth. “Yeah it is,” she agreed. And when she thought about that happiness, aside from her son, the face that popped into her head was her lovely, blue eyed friend.

 

To be continued...

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