Disclaimer : Characters and situations are all from my imagination.
Warnings : Sex and love between women
Feedback : Constructive criticism and feedback, both welcomed at firstname.lastname@example.org
A Squire's Isle Birthday
February 11, Alexandra Crawford
by Geonn Cannon
Copyright © 2013 Geonn Cannon
Rachel Tom drove directly to the fire station from the hospital. She parked across the street from the little gray-brick fortress, the lights on the second floor burning softly even at this early hour. Both garage doors were standing open, the department's shiny new engine waiting within like a prehistoric beast waiting to be called into action. The radio was on and, after Roy Orbison finished singing about the Sandman, the voice of the new morning disc-jockey startled her. The woman's voice was soft and soothing, exactly the kind of person you'd want to wake you up.
"Good morning out there. It's another cold and dreary day, but that's what we live for in this part of the world. Let the rest of the country have the sun, we'll take the shade any day. Coming up next we have a very special birthday request from Rachel to Alex. This is from the Beatles, and it's a beautiful little ditty. Happy birthday, Alex. My name is Bernadette Winters, and I hope you'll stick with KELF for the rest of your morning."
Rachel shut off the engine as the song started, slipping out of the car into the pre-dawn drizzle. She clutched the collar of her coat shut and jogged across the street to the poorly lit bay of the fire station. As she walked in Alex was descending the stairs from the second-floor office. She wore black pants and a fitted navy blue T-shirt. Rachel stopped just over the threshold and Alex spotted her. She could hear the piano from the Beatles' song 'In My Life.'
"Hey." Alex smiled.
"Hi. Happy birthday."
"Thank you. I love that song." She came down the stairs and joined Rachel on the floor. "I've missed you."
Rachel nodded and looked down at her shoes. "Yeah. I've missed you, too."
It had been a bad few weeks, starting with the New Years' party where Rachel kissed another woman. She confessed that same day, leading to a fight when Rachel said she wasn't sure she regretted it. Alex had finally asked what Rachel wanted, and Rachel had to admit she didn't know. Alex packed a bag and moved into the fire station. They had gotten together for dinner and to talk in the weeks since, but always planned and scheduled. Alex was tense because she knew a sudden appearance meant something had changed, but she was unsure if that was a good thing or a bad thing.
"Come on in. We can sit, we can have breakfast--"
"I don't want to come in..."
Alex dropped her head. "Don't do this on my birthday, Rachel. Please. Any other day."
Rachel came forward another few steps. "Alex... everything I've done in my life has been working toward the next step. For high school, it was to get into a good college. From there, medical school. Then I was an intern, and I had to work to get to be an attending. The same with relationships. From dating to being girlfriends to living together. I was always looking for something more. The next level. When I got to my current job, I decided I was happy where I am. I didn't want to be the hospital administrator, so I set up camp. I'll retire in this job, and I'm very happy with that.
"You and I have been together for six years. What happened on New Years with Zoe, that was just me questioning what the next step was. If there was a next step. I thought I was happy with the way things have been with us, but my reaction to Zoe proves that I'm not. A part of me is still looking for a place to settle down and say 'this is it, this is as far as I want to go.' I have the job I want and now I need the relationship I deserve."
Alex had started shuffling her feet, hands in the back pockets of her slacks. "The house is technically yours. I'll move my stuff out, find--"
"Shut up. The relationship I deserve is you." Alex looked up. "I've been your girlfriend long enough, Alex. I need to take the next step. We need to change what we have, and we need to advance rather than being satisfied with what we have just because it's comfortable." She reached into the pocket of her coat and took out the small velvet box. She dropped to one knee, kneeling on the concrete of the floor as she held out the box.
"Alexander Crawford, will you marry me?"
Alex stared at the ring. She stepped forward and then shifted her gaze to the tears on Rachel's face.
"I've never been happier than I am with you. And no one has ever made me feel as complete as I feel when you're with me. That song I requested for you... I requested that for a reason. Because everyone I've ever known and everything I've ever done is only special because it put me in your path that day at the hospital. And because it made me the kind of person you would consider sharing your life with. I'm not content to just be your girlfriend anymore. I want to be your wife. I worked my entire career to become a doctor, and I've settled in there. Once I'm Mrs. Rachel Crawford, I will be content. I'll have everything I want, and I can stop looking for what's next."
Alex cleared her throat. "You'd take my name?"
"If you say yes."
Alex pressed her lips together and, after a moment, nodded. "Yes. Get up." She gripped Rachel's arms, helping her to stand. They collapsed against each other, kissing as Rachel hopped up. Alex gripped her thighs and supported Rachel's weight as she wrapped her legs around her waist. Rachel ended the kiss but didn't pull her face away, smiling as she settled against Alex's hip.
"My big tough firelady. Did I make you cry?"
"Yes, you did." She kissed the corners of Rachel's mouth. "I was waiting for you to end it. I thought you'd want to be with someone else."
"Who else is there?" She moved her empty hand up to stroke the neatly-trimmed hair at the base of Alex's skull. "In this whole world, who else could compare to you for me?"
Alex's smile widened.
"I woke up last night and I knew it was your birthday today. I spent the first half of my shift thinking about you, and the second half kicking myself wondering why it had taken me so long to make up with you. I didn't need six weeks. I didn't need six minutes. It's just you." She brushed her thumb over Alex's cheek. "Am I getting too heavy? You can put me down if you want."
"Not yet." She turned and carried Rachel toward the stairs.
Rachel twisted to see where they were going. "What's up there?"
"It's my birthday. We just made up after six weeks of estrangement. And we just got engaged. By my count, I'm owed three different kinds of sex."
Rachel faced forward again. "I don't think I know three different kinds."
"That's okay. I can teach you a new one." She swatted Rachel's rear end, making her squeal as she was carried upstairs. She looked into Alex's face, the now-dry tears on her cheeks covered over by tears of happiness. She knew that they needed the hiatus, knew that if she hadn't kissed Zoe she would never have taken the time to examine where she was with Alex and where she wanted to be. The time away from each other had only firmed her resolve and ensured she wouldn't ever panic about what she had missed or if she'd settled. She was glad they had taken the time, but she was determined to never again waste time, or do anything that would risk her losing Alex. All that mattered now, though, was that Alex had said yes.
Rachel had the rest of their lives to make up for the time they'd lost. She planned to make every second count.
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