By Colleen



General Disclaimer: 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 2003-2004

Love/Sex Disclaimer: 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 other than this story.

Author's Note: This is the third story in the Jamie and Erin series. You might want to start at the beginning with At First Sight and Seeing You Again for the First Time to get the full impact of this story.

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Chapter 16

Jamie stepped from the bathroom after a relaxing, hot shower. She flipped the light off, sending the adjoining bedroom into total darkness. Her bare feet automatically headed for the lamp by the bed when her eyes caught sight of the window. More precisely the moonlight beaming through the window, which lusciously silhouetted her beautiful wife, where she stood staring into the night. Erin's pensive stance gave Jamie a start for just a second before she remembered the developing mood. Erin turned, bringing her protruding belly into sight. She ran a hand over the bulge and whispered some inaudible message. Jamie slowly moved across the room, joining her partner in the moonlight.

"Are you tired?" she asked, rubbing Erin's lower back and kissing her cheek.

The mother to be nuzzled the face next to hers. "Mmm, tired, but not sleepy," came the languid reply.

Jamie noted the hint of pre-occupation in her voice. "It was a good day," the rancher said. Erin agreed with a murmur. "I think everybody had fun, children and adults alike," Jamie added.

The author concurred again. "There sure were a lot of smiles and laughter." One particular smile filled Erin's memory.

"I think our friend Chad is smitten with little Scott's mother."

The blonde chuckled softly. "Yeah, I noticed."

"It's good for him. I know he's been lonely." Another mumbled agreement and Jamie continued her light massage as they stood in easy silence for the next little while. Finally, Jamie guided them to sit at the padded bench below the window. "I bet I can tell you what you've been thinking about all evening."

Erin cracked just a tiny grin. "Okay, amaze me," she said.

Jamie dramatically placed her hands on Erin and with squinted eyes pretended to peer inside the curious and intelligent mind. "You are thinking…umm…thinking about…about another woman." A blonde brow hiked. "Okay, a female," Jamie amended. "A young female about three feet tall with dark curls and the most adorable dimple when she smiles."

Erin nodded, a mixture of delight and sorrow shaping her features as she looked out the window again. A thick cloud mass had shaded the moon, throwing the night into deep darkness. She remembered the darkness. It was frightening. Lonely. "Oh Jamie, she was the sweetest thing. Did you see her playing with Arte?"

The rancher nodded. Silently she thought, "Yeah, I saw her playing. I saw her touching your stomach and sitting with you during the stories. And eating with you. I saw that you spent nearly the whole day with her. And I saw the look in your eyes when you brought her over to the corral. And as I rode with her. I saw it all.


A heavy sigh. "It's just not fair Jamie. She has no sight. She has no parents."

"I know honey," Jamie said, "she touched me too."

"I know her Jamie…I've been her. But even when I was blind, I had family with me. I had people who cared. There will be no miracle operation for her; she will be blind the rest of her life. She should not have to be alone also."

"Of course she shouldn't," Jamie agreed. "I've been her too, honey. I know how she's living, how alone she feels."

Remembering the stories of Jamie's childhood, after she lost her family, Erin felt the added pain. She caressed Jamie's cheek. The strain of sadness sounded in her voice. "I know."

The dark head nodded. "No child should be alone." Jamie pulled Erin in for a hug and they sat quietly, breathing and heartbeat in sync as they processed their thoughts and feelings. Jamie pulled back and brushed aside a few loose blonde hairs. "Should I amaze you with my physic ability some more?"

Erin smiled softly. "Sure."

Jamie took both of Erin's hands. "You are thinking that we could adopt her."

Erin sucked in a breath. "Your powers are astounding."

They were quiet again, just holding hands.

Jamie broke the silence, cautiously. "Okay, I'm not saying no, but let's talk about this. This is a very difficult and important decision and we need to make the right one. Sarah is a beautiful, sweet little girl and any parents would be very proud of her." Jamie studied Erin's eyes as the author waited for her to continue. The green orbs were at once soft with sincerity and intent with expectation. "I would assume that a child Sarah's age, and one facing her…challenges needs almost constant supervision." A nod of agreement. Jamie rubbed the soft swell of life and received a thump of a greeting. "In just a short while now, you…we are going to have our hands full." She paused. "Do you think that would really be fair to put Sarah into that situation…or us?"

Erin thought about it. Would it be too much? She knew they could easily hire a nanny to help out. But she also knew that it would ultimately frustrate her not be able to personally take care of everyone's needs. Someone would be left out. Young, vulnerable children with constant needs, a spouse, animals, a job; it would be too much. The realist in her pictured the inevitable struggles. Jamie and Erin both had an unending supply of love to give, but Sarah needed and deserved more time and attention then they would be able to provide. "Believe me," she spoke quietly, "my head knows all of that. My heart…is resisting every word." Erin closed her weary eyes tightly for a few very long moments. When she opened them again, she immediately caught the concerned stare of the warmest blue she'd ever seen. "But it will have to," she conceded. "I know it's in her best interest. And it wouldn't be an easy or comfortable situation…for any of us. But Sarah needs someone special to love her."

"Aw sweetheart, after today she has that." Jamie touched her forehead to Erin's and let the love pass between them. The calm silence gave them both the time for further reflection. Erin's heart was still hurting, no matter how logical the facts. She did not regret her pregnancy for even a second; it meant everything to her. The timing of her meeting little Sarah just could have been better. Jamie was able to accept the decision a little easier, although she still felt the sadness. But at the moment it hurt more to see her wife's pain. Can I keep my promise and make it right? "You know," she said with a hopeful lilt, "just because we might not be the right family to adopt her, doesn't mean we can't find the one who is."

Erin pulled back suddenly, jade eyes flashing…but was it resentment or approval. Jamie wasn't quite sure for those few tense seconds. But the resounding answer finally came when Erin placed a kiss on Jamie's lips that nearly removed the rancher's fillings. "That's brilliant!" Erin shouted. "I knew I loved you for more than just your gorgeous face and sexy body. Of course we can do this; we have lots of contacts. Mom has her friends at church and Dad knows people all over the world. We can do this, can't we? Sarah will have a family." A slight trace of sorrow glazed her expression once again. "I just hope her new parents will let me call her…maybe even visit sometimes. Even if I can't be her mother, I still want to be her friend."

"Honey, I'm sure you will know Sarah for a long time to come. And you will continue to be a positive influence in her life."

"I hope so."

"I know so." Jamie gave her a quick kiss. "You are incredibly loving and kind hearted. Compassionate." A kiss. "Devoted and thoughtful." A kiss. "Persistent."

A double laugh.

Another kiss.

"Generous and gentle." A longer kiss and Jamie's train of thought diverted to a slightly more passionate track. "Enchanting. Irresistible. Beautiful." A much longer and slower kiss. "So beautiful. Do you know just how much I love you?"

Erin panted a few times. "Oh yes I do. I love you just as much. But will you still love me the same when you're covered in baby spit up, changing messy, stinky diapers and listening to hours of endless crying?"

With exaggeration, Jamie's nose wrinkled in mock odorous aversion and she tugged on an ear in future auditory distress. Erin giggled at her antics. And she smiled. Jamie's heart danced with joy. Yes! "I'm afraid not," she answered. "I'll love you more, because I always love you a little more every day."

* * *


Erin was onto the task bright and early the next morning…well not too early; she did allow the sun and her parents to rise for the day before making the calls. Erin excitedly explained to her mother the story of the adorable little girl and her need of a family. She trusted her mom to pass on the urgency to Tim and all the other necessary parties.

Several hours later, when Erin had finally scratched off the last name on her list, she felt satisfied that she had done all she could do...for the moment anyway. Her thoughts then turned to Sarah and the other orphans at the children's home. She wanted to do more for all of them and jotted down some ideas, which included finding out more about their living arrangements to see if anything needed done to make improvements.

Erin glanced at the calendar on her desk. It was only the end of October. November was only two days away. "I'll make sure they have a great Thanksgiving dinner," she said. "And then Christmas. What can I do to give them a very special Christmas?" She thought seriously on that for the rest of the day. And for the next several days, until she had at least half a dozen plans to execute in the coming weeks.

Thanksgiving came and Erin and Jamie knew that they had everything in the world to be thankful for. They had their love, good health, good friends and a wonderful family, current and future. They were also thankful for each new day and since they were reunited after Jamie's disappearance, tried never to take it for granted.

Just days after Thanksgiving, Erin and Jamie moved into their new home. Jamie and the hired movers actually did most of the physical moving. Erin did good to move her bulky body from the car up the stone stairs and into the new family room, where Jamie had placed her comfortable recliner. There she sat…and napped…and ate, and watched a movie while everything bustled around her. Most of the rest of the furniture stayed at the old house, where Chad was going to be moving into and adding his own veterinarian office. So even after everything was moved, the new house was still largely empty. Their master bedroom and the kitchen were the only fully furnished rooms. Other furniture was on order, but the rest would have to wait until long after Erin gave birth. The nursery was their only immediate concern. Erin had her furniture choices narrowed down to three styles and the bedding down to two. She promised Jamie that if she didn't make a final decision by Christmas they would draw the winners from a boot.

Heading into the final weeks of her pregnancy, Erin felt mostly content. One of the things that brought her any kind of sadness was knowing that after a month, Sarah was no closer to finding a family. Erin kept in touch with Miss. Gibson, from the children's home, and although there had been some inquires, no one was seeking to adopt the precious little girl Erin had fallen in love with. But Erin would not give up hope. The author had been pleased to hear that two older boys were now being fostered and would probably go on to be adopted.

While Erin had been busy on her many plans, other people, her mother and sister to be exact, were busy with some plans of their own. A baby shower. It didn't make much sense to make the party a surprise since it would have to be at Erin's new house; it was just too uncomfortable for her to make the long drive to Los Angeles. But that was okay, Bridget and Danielle had arranged a much better surprise for Erin.

* * *


It was the second Saturday in December. Jamie had taken Erin to the nearby town for breakfast and then to visit the children's home, while Bridget, Anne and Leah decorated the family room with equal amounts of pink and blue streamers, balloons and other banners. Oversized baby blocks, miniature rocking horses and even more balloons created an appropriately festive centerpiece on the large table that would hold the coming presents. Danielle was busy in the kitchen, preparing food and her special fruit punch for the mid afternoon celebration.

The guests of honor returned to the house a little before two o'clock. Jamie was helping her wife from the car when they heard another vehicle pull up behind them. Jamie turned and recognized her brother's car. For obvious reasons he had not been invited to the all female shower, so she was surprised to see him. She was even more astonished when she noticed his passenger. This particular young lady was to be a guest, but her chauffer was totally unexpected. So was what happened next.

Erin finally got to her feet and glanced back to the other car. "What's Jer…?" The question was cut short as her jaw fell open. Jamie was also struck mute and goggle eyed at the sight inside the vehicle. After several seconds, the rancher struggled to kick start her brain and asked in a totally dumbfounded tone, "Did you see what I just saw?"

Erin rubbed her tumbling belly. "If you just saw your brother kiss my cousin, then yes." She waved to the young woman who was now approaching them, carrying a brightly colored package.

Jamie acknowledged her brother, while mentally scratching her confused noggin. "But I thought they couldn't stand each other."

Her blonde wife giggled. "We'll talk later hon. Hi Katie." The smiling cousins hugged. "I guess you've got something to tell me," Erin said.

Katie's smile widened. "Oh yeah! But later; this is your afternoon."

* * *


Before long, twelve of Erin and Jamie's family and friends, including Chad's girlfriend, Minda Hale, were chatting, laughing and getting a bit hungry. Or maybe it was just the expectant mother who was hungry. Everyone was conspiring to keep Erin out of the kitchen, causing her curiosity to soar, wondering just what kind of present they were hiding in there.

As the latest round of laughter subsided, Bridget addressed the small crowd. "Before we officially get this baby shower started, mother and I have a very special surprise. Close your eyes Sis."

Erin glanced at her spouse who gave a shrug; Jamie didn't seem to know what was going on either. A pair of green eyes closed and Erin took in a deep breath of anticipation.

"Mom, we're ready," Bridget called out.

A shuffle of feet across the new hardwood floor, the clearing of a throat and a familiar, but immediately unidentifiable aroma put Erin's senses on high alert. Suddenly, the hand across Erin's shoulder gave a loving squeeze and Jamie gave a happy, breathy chuckle.

Jamie gave the word and Erin blinked open her eyes to a most unexpected, but incredibly wonderful sight. A few tears sprang from those eyes as Erin sprang to her feet. Her spring was a little rusty, but Jamie gave a boost.

"Grandma!" Erin gave her beloved, Irish relative a long hug. And everyone applauded the touching reunion. "I can't believe you're here," she whispered.

"I wasn't going to miss the birth of your first child."

"You're staying for a while then?"

"Long enough to see this wee one's first smile…and maybe then some."

Erin hugged her again and then let loose with rapid fire questions. "How are you? How's everything back in Ireland? Did your gentleman friend come with you? You look great."

Kathleen let out a hearty laugh. "We will have a long visit tonight, darlin'. Right now I believe these nice folks would like your time."

Three hours later, games had been played and food and cake enjoyed. The floor was littered with pastel shaded paper pieces and ribbons. On top of the table were piles of the cutest clothes, shoes, blankets and toys. The parents to be, properly praised each and every thoughtful gift and added their thanks to the giver.

A cry pierced the air from the monitor at Bridget's side. "I think my son needs a change," she said, as she grabbed for the green bag by her chair.

"Can we take care of him Bridget?" Erin asked, as she took her wife's hand and moved across the room.

"Umm, sure…be my guest." With a tiny grin, Bridget handed the necessary paraphernalia to Jamie, who gave it a glare of momentary panic.

Erin caught the look. "Come on scout, you need some real life practice." She pulled Jamie into the next room where Matthew had been sleeping in his portable crib. "Hang on buddy, help is here," Erin soothed as she performed a preliminary inspection. She turned to Jamie and smiled. "You're lucky; it's just a wet one."

The dark head shook uncertainly. "Are you sure I should do this by myself?"

"You have to do it sometime Jamie. Unless you expect me to change every diaper for two years."

"No, no I don't expect that. But he's not mine; what if I hurt him?"

"It's a diaper change Hon, not major surgery. I'll give you some pointers."

The hesitant rancher managed to get his one piece outfit unsnapped between his slightly flailing legs. His wailing had calmed to sobs and teary eyes as Aunt Erin spoke to him, telling him to go easy on his virgin diaper changer. The last tab was pulled free and Jamie went to pull away the wet covering.


Jamie stopped. "Oh right, the outdoor plumbing." She gave a running commentary as she continued. "Keep him covered. Take out a new diaper and unfold it." She took a second to orient it. "Turn it in the right direction. Backwards won't work too well. Lift the legs and slide it under." Jamie tossed aside the old diaper.

"Check for diaper rash," Erin suggested.

With a puzzled brow, Jamie quickly examined the delicate skin. "What does it look like?" she asked.

"It's red," Erin explained. "If it's there, you'll see it."

"Okay. All clear…I guess." With diaper secured, tight but not too tight, she refastened the legs of his dark red clothes.

"What do you think Matthew?" Erin asked, placing her ear close to the baby's mouth. She listened intently, nodding twice during the short, imaginary conversation. "Are you sure?" She paused as Jamie chuckled a bit. Their eyes remained locked. "Okay. I agree. Well," she announced, rising and snuggling up to her wife, "we have tabulated our votes and give you a score of nine and a half."

Jamie gave a suddenly confident, cocky, little grin. "Not bad for a first time, huh?"

Erin kissed her soundly. "Not bad at all since only one of your first times will ever get a perfect extra bonus points." She gave a saucy wink and grabbed Jamie's perfect, denim covered behind.

"Hmmm, feeling frisky?" Jamie kept her tone neutral as she asked, not wanting to sound deprived.

"Thinking about it, yes. Wishing for it, yes." Erin let slip a huge sigh. "But feeling it…I'm afraid not. I'm sorry."

"You have nothing to apologize for. It's okay Honey. I won't melt if I go without for a while."

"But three months ago I was attacking you at every turn."

Jamie let out a low, deep chuckle. "Believe it or not, even that had it drawbacks. Don't get me wrong, I was lovin' every minute of it. But I was always exhausted. And there were a couple of mornings when I could not sit in the saddle." She grimaced, comically.

Erin laughed and then smiled lovingly. "I guess everything will be back to… No, it won't be normal again, will it?"

The rancher's hands came to rest on Erin's shoulders. "What is normal? It's true, things won't be the same as they were before, because it will no longer be just the two of us. We're gonna have to create a new normal."

Erin nodded and thoroughly enjoyed the impromptu massage she was receiving. "That feels so good."

"Look forward to even more of it tonight." A high pitch squeal broke their intimate moment. "I think someone wants more attention," Jamie astutely pointed out.

Erin wound up the musical mobile above his head and pulled a nearby chair beside the canvas crib. She sat down and began rubbing his belly, lulling him back to sleep within minutes. Jamie had quietly watched the tender scene, greatly anticipating many more in the future. When Matthew's eyes had slipped close in slumber once again, Erin moved to the window without a word and Jamie sensed a sudden sadness. She went to Erin's side, seeing the faint trail of tears on her face.

"Honey, what's wrong?" Jamie asked, wicking away the wetness with her thumb.

Erin smiled at her own silliness. "One of those pesky mood swings." Just recently, her soul was like a new sports car, racing from peace to chaos in seconds. She buried her face in Jamie's neck and took in the warmth and comfort as she thought about what she was feeling. She wasn't really sad; she had everything that really mattered to bring her happiness. She was a bit disappointed that her special little friend Sarah was still without parents. She just couldn't understand why no one wanted that precious little girl. But a smile always came to Erin's face when she talked with or visited the child.

Erin was never alone, yet somehow there was a spiraling kernel of something inside that she could only describe as loneliness. But that was ridiculous. Her spouse was wonderful, giving Erin all the necessary attention. But something was still… She didn't know what. It was so difficult for the author to understand this odd feeling. And she couldn't discuss it with Jamie, fearing that the rancher would feel guilty for failing to do something, since she was supposed to be Erin's complete support system. What a frustrating hormonal smorgasbord, she thought. Erin chuckled at her own word selections and was suddenly in a better mood once again.


She smiled and kissed Jamie's cheek. "This has been such a great day, hasn't it, with our wonderful, generous friends? And Grandma being here." Erin couldn't say she had a favorite relative…blood relative that is. She loved them all. But there was no denying her very special bond with her paternal grandmother. They were soulmates of a different kind and being so far apart all the time was distressing. She talked to her dear grandmother on the phone at least once a month. But it was never the same as being able to look into those eyes, eyes that despite their advanced age still danced and twinkled with glee and wisdom. And sometimes a bit of mischief. Erin planned on having a long conversation with her grand grandmother later in the evening. She had many questions to ask and much advice to seek. "It is just so fantastic having her here," Erin said. "Did you know she was coming?"

"No. Surprised me too. Why don't we ask her to stay here, at least for a while? I think you could use the company during the day."

The green eyes brightened. "That's a great idea Sweetheart! Thank you."

"For what?"

"Everything." Erin hugged her tightly. "Could you do something for me?"

"Name it."

"Would you go out and make my excuses; I'm kinda tired. I'm just gonna sit over here and take a little nap. I know the family will stay, but I'm thinking our friends are ready to leave."

Once Erin was on the plush, copper colored chaise, Jamie tossed a very soft throw over her, whispering, "I love you." After a tender kiss, she left the room and quietly closed the door, leaving the two sleeping souls in peace.

* * *


Erin awoke an hour later to a dark, quiet room. The winter evening brought her a little chill and a little hunger. She rubbed her arms and got up find Matthew's crib empty. Opening the door, Erin heard voices in the family room and walked in to find her younger nephew having dinner and her mother removing the baby shower decorations.

"Hey sis, have a good nap?"

Erin yawned and massaged her lower back. "Any nap is good one lately," she said. "Where is Jamie?"

Danielle stuffed some crumpled wrapping paper into a trash bag. "She said she had some things to check on in the barn. Do you want to call her?" she asked, slightly alarmed.

"No; I just wondered where she was."

"Well, I was about to put together a casserole for dinner," said Danielle. "You have about an hour before it'll be ready."

"Okay." Erin paused a moment, thinking what to do. "Well…I'll be in the sun room."

Their new house consisted of five bedrooms on the second floor and a large, open play area between two of the bedrooms. Over the three car garage and accessible through the master bedroom and from the hall, was a large room divided into two sections. At the far end was a fitness area, which Erin planned to take full advantage of, after giving birth. Closer to the bedroom was a home theater, which, after the holidays, would house a large screen TV and plush, recliner seating for six. On the main floor, tucked into a back corner was a large and airy kitchen decorated in sunny yellow and sage green. A cozy breakfast nook and a sizeable, but relatively informal dining room took care of their eating needs. A spacious great room with a vaulted ceiling and exposed dark wood beams would host large family gatherings. And their family was growing larger by the month. A substantial, river rock fire place added to the rustic, yet charming feel of the room. Next to that was a smaller den that doubled as Jamie's home office. Of course it was predominately decorated with paintings and sculptures of horses and other old west memorabilia that she had collected through the years. Across the hall was a large library, already well stacked with books of varied topics, many of them personally autographed by some of Erin's acquaintances. At the other end of the house was the lovely sunroom, its glass walls allowing an unobstructed view of the yet to be fully landscaped backyard. In the summer, a natural shaped, underground swimming pool with rockwork and a hidden slide would be installed. Jamie helped design the pool and was quite proud of it. Erin had decided to use the cheery, inspirational sunroom as her office. Her files were cleverly hidden beneath large blooming plants, leaving only her laptop computer on top of the small, glass topped desk in the corner.

Erin flipped on the light, momentarily watching the shadowy, mysterious trees along the back, swaying to a winter wind. She sat down at the desk and jotted down a few reminders on a yellow notepad. Scratching out a final sentence, she heard a knock on the door case.

"Are you busy?"

Erin smiled. "No, come on in." She walked across the room to the colorful, jungle print sofa. "Have a seat."

Katie couldn't keep the giddy expression from her face as she accepted the offer. "I guess you're a little curious why I was kissing Jeremy."

"Well, yes. But you don't have to talk about it if you're not ready."

The younger woman giggled. "After our little display this afternoon, it's no secret. Jeremy and I are dating."

"Okay. I guess it's a good thing…isn't it?"

"It's a great thing!" Her outburst startled them both. And they laughed. "Sorry. I'll start at the beginning. When we were here, just before Halloween, Jeremy and I talked. We discovered the reason we always had such…conflict. From the moment we met, there was an…attraction, at least a subconscious one. But we agreed it was more then that even. It's hard to put it into words, but it was like there was a pull…a connection between us. Does that make sense?"

Erin grinned fondly. "Perfect sense."

Katie studied the twinkle in her cousin's eyes. "You felt like that?" she asked. Still smiling, Erin merely nodded. "Wow!" The young, strawberry blonde paused to consider that revelation. She vaguely remembered her big sister saying something similar about her first meeting with her future husband. But Katie had been a clueless teenager at the time and had laughed it off. But now she had cause to believe and hope. Continuing their discussion, Katie said, "I think we were both kind of mad, again subconsciously, that we were already with someone else. I was dating Chad, even though there was no commitment. And Jeremy was engaged. He told me that he never would have betrayed his fiancé. But I always knew that. And I never would have expected him to."

"Jeremy is very honorable," Erin interjected. "That's one of the qualities I like best about him."

"Yeah. He's so much more mature than any man I've ever dated. Well, except for Chad." Erin nodded, knowingly, as Katie went on. "He honestly told me that if Rachel hadn't lied to him, he would still be with her. He was in love." She was silent another moment. "When we talked that day, it just felt so natural…so right. Jeremy asked me to give him a little time for his heart to begin to heal and then we could see what we might have. I agreed. But I knew the day would come, and it did. About two weeks ago, he called and asked me out. After that first date, I knew he was something very special. We are taking things slow. We want to really get to know each other, not just have fun, although we do. And not just jump into bed. But I'm really hopeful that we can have a special relationship. You and Jamie have been one of my inspirations. Your phenomenal love defied the odds and brought you back together. And now you're having a family together. That's incredible."

Erin thought about Jeremy's part in that family. She knew Katie should be aware of the truth, but it would be up to him to tell her. But I can give him a little encouragement. "I really hope it works out for you Katie. I wish everyone could know the love and devotion of an extraordinary partner like mine. Jamie is and always will be the best thing in my life. My hero. My dream maker. My passion."

A mumbled interruption sounded in the doorway.

"Well Jamie, your ears must be burning," Katie said, preparing to make a graceful exit.

Erin walked…waddled over to her spouse. "Her face is burning too by the looks of these cheeks." She kissed each crimson side and finally landed on her lips, where the kiss lasted long after the cousin's departure.

Jamie caressed Erin's face, her eyes soft and glowing with love. "You know I feel exactly the same…right?"

"I know. That's the second best thing about being married to you."

* * *


Erin never got the chance to have that long conversation with her grandmother that night. After a nice family dinner, Danielle, Katie, Bridget and Matthew said goodnight and went to spend the night at a nearby bed and breakfast, since only one of the guest bedrooms was furnished and that had been reserved for Kathleen. She had turned in early. Only having been in the country for a few days, she was still adjusting to the time difference and was tired.

Erin checked in on Kathleen about ten o'clock, placing an extra blanket across the foot of the bed. "Good dreams Grandma," she whispered.

Tomorrow would come soon enough.

* * *


The next morning, the three of them had a hearty Irish breakfast, which Kathleen insisted on cooking. After helping with the clean up, Jamie excused herself to start on her day's chores. Erin and her grandmother took a pot of steaming tea into Erin's office for some quiet time alone and to enjoy the bright morning sun.

They chatted about their respective lives, the ordinary happenings on the ranch, and the farm across the ocean. Life was treating Kathleen very well, as she sailed into her golden years. She and her gentleman friend, Shamus had been spending a lot of time together, going dancing and to movies or just spending quiet evenings together, eating good meals and enjoying each other's company. With a charming smile, she admitted how nice it felt to find love again and to have someone to share with.

In the past months, Kathleen had attended two weddings of children she had delivered in her midwife duties. And sadly she had to pay her last respects to another. A young man she had helped into the world in 1982 had been serving in the United States military and had lost his life in the Middle East. He had been brought to his mother's homeland for his final rest. Kathleen's pride in the courageous young man poured through in her voice as she told of her conversations with his aunt, who was a life long friend. He had been an honor student and was expected to have a successful career in law.

There were minutes of silence as each reflected on his fate and added prayers for his family. Kathleen sipped half a cup of her fragrant tea before insisting that the conversation turn to more pleasant things. So Erin told a couple of cute tales in which Kathleen's grandchildren, Conner and Caitlin, were the shining stars.

Kathleen laughed. "Oh the precious and precocious. My granddaughter is a good mother." She reached for Erin's hand. "As you will be." The hand in hers trembled slightly and a haunted expression appeared. "What is it Dear?" the older woman asked. "I've felt yer distress since I first laid these old eyes on ya yesterday."

"I didn't know it was that obvious."

"I'm sure it's not ta everyone else. Ya even seem to hide it well from yer Jamie."

"I just don't want her to worry. But it's not there is anything wrong." Erin caressed her belly. "We're healthy. Everything's fine. I guess it's just hormones. But I hate to blame everything on that."

"I remember when I was heavy with yer da. His arrival was just weeks away. He was me first and I was very confused and scared. And no matter how many stories ya hear, ya still don't know what ta really expect. I'm sure yer mother and sister have offered their knowledge on the subject." A nod and a roll of the eyes. "But ya still don't know how it's gonna' feel, how ya are gonna' feel about it. And ya worry so much because ya care about the innocent and dependent life within. It is a big, scary deal. And no matter how many people are around ya, no matter how much Jamie loves and supports ya, in the end, ya have to do this alone. Given birth is a task for one."

Erin turned toward the floor to ceiling windows, watching some birds fluttering around the backyard, impatiently waiting as Jamie refilled the various feeders. The rancher's muscles bunched beneath her shirt as she hefted the large bag of seeds across the grass. She judiciously cleaned the Old West saloon shaped feeder and replaced the avian food. Jamie took care in everything she did, from the most mundane to the most exciting. The dark haired woman caught the blonde peering at her. She blew a kiss and then a second one that Erin knew she was supposed to pass on. And she did, brushing her hand along the swell of her belly.

Jamie was a very proud parent to be.

Her partner.

In all things equal.

But one. Erin implicitly trusted her elder's incite. Beyond their emotional bond, they also shared a secret, a special ability to sense some future happenings. They revealed their secret to very few; most people wouldn't understand or believe it possible. It wasn't considered a psychic ability at all, more like a very strong intuition. Kathleen had enchantingly called it the leprechaun's whisper. And so far it had never failed either of them.

In the past, as now, Kathleen had given her excellent advice and Erin only hoped she would be able to pass on that kind of guidance to her own children and grandchildren. A push against her ribs and another kick reminded her of those possibilities. "It is lonely… and scary," she mumbled to herself. "That's exactly what I've been feeling," she said, returning to her grandmother's attentive gaze. "But I couldn't figure out why? Consciously, I know I've done everything I was supposed to. I have confidence in my doctor. And I thought I had confidence in myself."

"Ya do dralin'. Ya do. Nobody's gonna question that. Just remember, whatever yer feelin', it's all valid. Whether it comes from the heart or the head…or the hormones, now that ya know what it is, ya can handle it. And ya will never be without someone who loves you. Of that I'm certain."

Erin nodded with a recaptured self-assurance. "This part will be over in just a few weeks." She chuckled ironically. "Then I'll have a whole new set of things to worry about."

"Yes Darlin'; I'm afraid the worrin' never stops."

Erin tossed her arms around Kathleen's neck. "I'm so glad you're here Grandma. I love you."

To be continued.

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