Here Comes My Woman

by G.S. Binkley


xxgsb@hotmail.com

Synopsis: HERE COMES MY WOMAN continues on with the lives of Lacy and Gage a few years later as the writer reveals more about her dark past. The dynamic duo work together on a movie while raising their family and someone from Gage's past makes an unexpected appearance. This is the third story in the WOMAN I LOVE series. The second story is entitled A WOMAN LIKE YOU.

Sexual Content: F/F partners

Code:

L: Love between two people with kisses, embraces and tender moments.

LS: Love scenes described in more detail, involving scenes of lovemaking.

ES: Explicit love scenes.

· This story is rated: LS

· Fiction (Alternative)

Language: Caution - some language used may be offensive, however, it is only used in the context of the situation or the character's personality. Overall - minimal usage.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: I salute you, Sam!! Thank you so much for beta reading this story. The gift of your time, knowledge and skills has been invaluable to me. Anyone wishing to show Sam their appreciation for making this story flow so much better can contact her at scammer68@yahoo.com.

This is copyrighted material, © 2002 Binkley…all rights reserved. It may be reproduced, duplicated or printed for personal use only. For all other uses, please contact xxgsb@hotmail.com

When Stella finally returned in the early evening, she checked on Dani and Derek while Gage headed up stairs where she found her partner just as Lacy herself predicted, asleep in the rocker holding her son.

Gage gazed fondly upon mother and son. I wished he liked me. Oh, well, two outta three ain't bad. Gage decided holding off on talking with Derek until she had a chance to discuss the issue with Lacy. While they were swimming earlier in the day, Lacy silenced her anxious partner who was being very impatient about finding out about what the two talked about on the beach. "We'll talk later." It was the kiss that accompanied her words that convinced the blonde to wait.

Gage eased the sleeping young boy from Lacy's arms, putting him in his bed. The blonde didn't realize Lacy was now awake and was watching her as she placed a gentle kiss on Sammy's forehead.

"He loves you." That statement met a doubtful shrug. "And, I do, too."

Gage winked. "Come mere."

"Anytime."

They shared a tender kiss. Holding each other, green gazed into blue. "Are you going to tell me now?"

"Later… after I talk with Dani." Lacy assured the blonde.

Grasping the younger woman's hand, Gage pulled her out of the room. "Then let's get the show on the road." The older woman didn't want to wait another second. The thing with Derek had gnawed at her all day.

************************

After a short talk with Dani and a quick goodnight to her oldest son, Lacy found her way to her bedroom. "Did you talk with Stella?"

"Yes." Gage was busy arranging the covers and pillows in the bed just the way she liked them. "And, I tucked Derek in…." Without looking back, she continued. "No, I didn't talk with him and he didn't say anything to me but…" Gage suddenly stopped what she was doing, demanding her partner's full attention. "…he kissed me goodnight."

Both hands came to Lacy's face in mock surprise. "Will wonders never cease!" Quickly shedding her clothes, Lacy joined the patiently waiting blonde in bed. "Now… come mere."

Gage hurried to her side of the bed, pulling Lacy closer. "All right. Now what are you going to do with me?" The blonde cocked an eyebrow and smiled. When Lacy's still sleepy eyes drooped, Gage sighed. "Nothing, I guess."

Lacy eased her long form against her lover. "Let me close my eyes for a few moments, okay?"

Adjusting Lacy even closer to her, Gage held her tightly. She brushed her lips against the younger woman's forehead. "Are you too tired to tell me what Dani said?"

Lacy yawned. "As I…. we suspected. David. His smart comments to Derek are hurtful and Derek feels… he's very sensitive right now. "

The blonde tried to control her rising rage. "Why in the world would a father… treat his son that way?"

"He doesn't beat him." Lacy countered weakly.

"No. Something much worse." Gage sat up. "Words, at times, are far more damaging then……" Gage's own words trailed off as she remembered far too many times when reckless and careless words stung her like a slap in the face. You don't forget some things people say….hateful, mean, vile things that a young child never forgets. "Lacy?" Gage pleaded and got Lacy's full attention. The dark haired woman's blue eyes were wide open now. "You know, I was only kidding. He usually takes it so well."

Lacy hushed her partner with her fingertips. "Gage, sweetheart, it wasn't you. You're right. Words can be… very damaging. Derek knew you were just teasing. It reminded him of the kind of things David has said to him. Only when he says them there's a kernel of truth to it."

"And, even a five year old is smart enough to know that." Gage concluded.

She kissed her lover. "Talk to him tomorrow. I suggest you two do something together. I'll get Stella to go shopping with the kids and me. I promised Dani."

"Okay. I can come up with something we'd both like."

"No trouble!" When Lacy admonished her partner, Gage simply offered her an innocent yet devious wink. "I mean it sweetheart. I do not want to come home and find this place in shambles like I did….."

Smothering her lover with a soulful kiss, Gage doused the head of steam Lacy was building inside. "Save that fire for later." Gage waggled her eyebrows.

Snuggling closer, Lacy yawned again. Hoping her partner would take the not so subtle hint, Lacy said barely above a whisper. "Just a little sleep before I have to get up in the morning and…. oh, that reminds me I didn't…."

Gage stopped her with another gentle kiss. "You know I love you, don't you?"

"Yes. I know." Perplexed, Lacy crunched her eyebrows together.

"I'm gonna show you……." Gage wiggled up and over her lover. The blonde kissed Lacy deeply before running an eager hand along her lover's side. "…..just how much." When it looked to a very tired Lacy that Gage was determined to her have her way, the blonde jerked back up. "I'm gonna wash the dishes." Gage planted one more sweet kiss on her lover then was up and out of the room, heading for the kitchen.

Snuggling under the covers, Lacy inhaled deeply the scent of her lover. "God, I love that woman."

Chapter Five

After forcing Gage to swallow several vitamins to counter the affects of being anemic, Lacy kissed her and Derek before bidding them farewell on their great expedition together. Then, Lacy slipped back into bed, savoring a few quiet moments before she gathered up the rest of her brood and headed out on their shopping adventure.

************************

The long drive to the Meadow River slipped by in relative silence. Both sleepy heads were excited about the float trip, but the early morning hour waged war against their enthusiasm. When they finally arrived and readied the raft, Gage asked Derek if he wanted to be in front or back. The blonde realized this was a huge risk. There was no way she would allow him to be at the stern of the raft since they would be encountering a few nasty rapids. But, she wanted to encourage confidence in the shy child and make him feel somewhat of an equal in their upcoming adventure.

Gage allowed a grateful breath to escape when Derek finally revealed the answer he was pondering. "No, you drive." With his life vest snuggled securely around him, he jumped into the raft.

"Whatever you say, skipper!" Gage shoved off and soon the current caught them and away they went.

************************

Lacy hurried to the front door so she could bring the car around while Stella finished helping the kids get ready. When Lacy opened the door, there stood David. The startled look on her face prompted David to announce. "Surprise!"

"What a nice one it is." Lacy said in a deadpan voice.

"Oh, come on." Attempting to kiss her, his lips barely brushed her cheek because she hastily evaded his unwelcome overture. Frowning, he said. "Guess that's the way it's going to be."

Impatient, Lacy quizzed. "Did you want something David?"

"Matter of fact, I was still supposed to have the kids and since you came back early….. I came over to spend some time with them." He waggled his eyebrows and displayed his snake-like charming smile then concluded. "You're not going to deny me, are you?"

Easily recognizing his double entendre, the actress coolly replied. "No.

Not that anyway." When Stella arrived with the kids, Lacy suggested. "Why don't you come along?"

"Yeah, dad." Dani wholeheartedly agreed. "It'll be fun."

"Okay." David followed them to his car. "Ahhh…, where are we going?"

She slipped into the car then answered. "Shopping." Lacy didn't have to turn around to see the pitiful look on her ex-husband's face.

************************

"You know, Derek." Gage paused. "Why don't we pull up onto that sandbar?" The blonde wanted to talk and didn't want any distractions.

"Aye, aye." Jockeying to the other side of the raft, Derek paddled with all his might.

After a few moments both sailors settled down on the big rocks. Derek jammed his hand in the watertight bag, retrieved a sandwich and gave it to his mate.

"Thanks." Gage said. Grateful that Lacy got up early to fix them something to eat, she chomped down into the delicious sandwich of peanut butter and bananas. I do love that woman.

Drawing Gage from her musings and much to her surprise, Derek asked. "What's on your mind?"

Shifting her green eyes to her son, Gage smiled. That's the way I've thought of him… my son… from the very beginning. And, Dani, too. Now, Sammy…

"Gage?" The five year old demanded her attention. "What is it?"

Gage mussed his hair which he tolerated but only because it was from her or his mother. Derek liked Stella yet he thought he was getting too old for her to do that. When his mind started to drift, Gage brought him back to the present. "You're a smart young man. You know that?"

A shy smile rose on his perfect young features. "Yep." Then he quickly revealed. "Mom told me you had something you wanted to talk to me about."

"Ohhh, she did, did she?" Stalling a bit longer, Gage threw some crushed ice in a plastic cup and poured her soft drink in it. She chewed on the ice for a few moments. "The other day…"

A sad look crossed his face. "I know. Dani said I overreacted…." The last word was said with a dramatic flair. "Mom had to tell me what she meant by that."

"No." She interrupted him. "I should have realized…. Derek, I know things are a bit difficult between you and your father. He does love you."

The young boy cast her a very suspicious look.

"I know. I know. It may not seem like it." Retrieving a distant memory, Gage continued. "There was a time when this woman came into my life. She helped me stop stuttering." Gage winked at Derek. Both knew they shared this one time obstacle. "I really came to like her. Before that the only other person I trusted was my caseworker lady. Anyway, there we were getting along so well and I thought she cared. Then, one day…." The blonde snapped her fingers. "…she was gone. I was very young then…. the things that will go through a young kid's mind when something like that happens."

Derek nodded thoughtfully. "Where'd she go?"

"For years I didn't have a clue." Gage revealed. Sucking in a deep breath, she continued. "I guess I was bout twenty-one, twenty-two. I decided to look for my parents." She said with a hint of remorse. "My only lead was the caseworker. So, I found her. Now, she wouldn't reveal anything about my mother." A fond memory surfaced as Gage recalled when the caseworker gave her the necklace that Lacy now wore. "But, she did tell me a few things about that woman. It wasn't that she didn't care or love…." Gage found it hard to say the word even now. "…me. You see, I was up to be adopted. She felt it was only right to, well…. give me the best chance to bond with my new family."

"Did you like them?" Derek fondly looked up at his hero.

Mussing his hair again, Gage refused to entertain that dark and gloomy part of her life. "Now, that's a story for another time." Releasing a heavy sigh, Gage did entertain another thought that she would soon have to do something about. I never did tell Lacy any of this. Guess I'll put that on my list of things to do. Glancing at Derek, Gage let out a small laugh. Dani, is sure to interrogate her little brother and if she knows then Lacy….well…. that just jumped up to number one on my list.

Derek pondered the blonde's story. "Mom says that, too. And, Dani. Bout him caring about me." The small tyke crossed his arms, gnawing hard on this idea then concluded. "Me, too."

There were still words left unspoken between the two. However, with the relationship they had formed over the last few years, both grinned in silent understanding, both knowing that they loved each other very much. Derek stuck out his fist. Gage did the same, slapping his fist with hers together from the front first, then the top and finally from the bottom.

"Are we okay?" Hesitantly, Gage asked.

"Yep. If you let me drive now." Derek jumped up and headed for the raft. "Those rapids are gonna be soooooooo smooth."

Shocked green eyes nearly popped out.

Derek gathered the cooler, leaving the trash on the ground behind.

"Derek. Let's pick up the trash." Gage snagged a piece.

"Oh, Gage…" Derek pouted.

Nodding, she said. "Keep America clean, that's what I say."

He did as he was told, stuffing the trash in a plastic bag. Turning around, he spied his floundering partner still slightly stunned from his earlier request of being at the helm. Her green eyes tracked him as he approached the rear of the raft. When Derek quickly redirected his feet to the bow of the boat, an impish smile rose on his face. "Gotcha." Derek let out a full belly laugh. "Dani said it would work."

Recovering, Gage shook her head and mumbled. "You're getting more like Dani everyday."

************************

After a couple hours of shopping, David persuaded the small group to have lunch. When they were finished, David tossed his young daughter a couple of twenties. "I saw you eying that CD. If you can get Stella to take you back there……" His words quickly dropped.

Fully aware of David's no so subtle tactic to spend some time alone with her, Lacy agreed. "Stella, would you mind?"

"Not at all. Shall I take Sammy with us?" The nanny inquired.

"Yes." David ordered.

Stella patiently waited for Lacy's approval. "Yes, thank you. We'll wait here."

Dani happily hurried off with brother and nanny in tow.

David leaned forward and reached across the table. He placed his hand over hers. "I'm surprised Lacy. I didn't think you'd fall for that."

"What? Quality time for us?" Withdrawing her hand, Lacy picked up his hand and placed it back in front of him. "This belongs to you."

"There was a time it was yours. It could be again….. that's not all." Throwing her his sexiest grin, David winked.

Refusing to return his rude serve, Lacy volleyed back to him. "Besides, it worked to my benefit. I wanted to talk with you alone."

Tipping his hand to her, he acquiesced. "Advantage Lacy." David relaxed back in his hard chair. "What's on your mind?"

"Derek."

************************

As they traversed the worst section on the river, Derek noticed a small fish trapped in the protruding roots of a tree at the water line. Desperately flapping its fins, the small fish tried to escape its plastic beer holder prison.

Tossing his paddle on the bottom of the raft, Derek launched toward the port side of their ride. "Gage. Look!"

Nearly hanging over the side, Gage reached out to the young boy, grasping the top of his shorts. "Derek! Get back in the boat."

"Gage, we gotta get him." His concerned hazel eyes remained glued on the little fish even as the raft floated past.

The blonde yanked the small boy back from the edge. Planting him firmly between her legs, she navigated the swift current, bringing the raft safely to shore.

Derek hurried out of the craft then rushed to the water's edge.

"Derek!"

Turning to her, Derek pleaded. "Do something… please?"

Gage's shoulders slumped in resignation. "I hate fish." Trudging upstream through the rough water, Gage fought the current across the river then secured herself to an exposed root. After several attempts, the slippery fish eluded her causing Gage to slip against the moss-covered rocks. The deluge of water doused her completely. Now soaked and still hanging tightly to the root, Gage rifled her hand through the water capturing the frightened fish. Carefully, she made her way back through the rapids.

Derek plopped down beside her at the shoreline. "Is he still alive?"

"Yep. Hold on little fella." After a quick search in her pocket, she snapped her small knife open. Carefully, she slipped the steel blade between the plastic strip and the fish, cutting it away. "That's why we pick up after ourselves. This river belongs to him as much as us. Even more so I reckon."

Handing the fish to Derek, he scrambled up, waded out a few feet in the water then released him. "Keep America clean, right?" The brilliant smile Derek threw her way was all the reward Gage needed.

************************

Lacy thoroughly spelled out her evidence, detailing incident after incident where David verbally mistreated his son. When she was finished, there wasn't much for him to say.

David huffed. "If it wasn't for her….."

Blue eyes flared at him. "Don't you dare blame Gage! This was going on long before she came in our lives."

Reluctantly, David retreated from that approach. "I'll try."

She shot him a doubtful look. "Promise me. David, I will not allow our son to be exposed to this kind of treatment any longer. You've done it in such an off-handed way at first I didn't recognize it for what it was. Abuse! Don't make me do something I would never want to do. But, I will protect him."

Realizing that Lacy was threatening his right to see his son, David relented. "Fine." He couldn't help but add. "You know, a judge might not see your side on this…. your relationship…."

"Is none of your business." She spat at him. Sucking in a calming breath, she held up her hand, stopping him and reluctantly admitted. "All right. I do realize that my relationship with Gage does affect our children so indirectly it is somewhat a concern for you."

The producer produced a smug smile in victory.

"I want all of us to get along. David, we need to do what's best for our children." Lacy pleaded. "Leave this… what has happened between us regarding Gage…..and Hayston out of it."

David pondered her words for a long moment. Realizing it was the best arrangement he could get at the moment, he concurred. "Deal."

She took his proffered hand in agreement.

"So, all is right between us?" David asked, figuring he had come out ahead in the negotiations.

"There's one more thing I'd like to discuss."

The handsome producer raised a concerned eyebrow.

Chapter Six

With Gage and Derek's relationship back on track, the blonde and Lacy prepared for shooting their upcoming film. After dinner, the couple gathered with Stella and the kids enjoying a relatively quiet evening together. They played a few turns of charades before Dani suggested they read through Gage's script for her mom's movie.

Gage took it as a compliment and Lacy took it for what it was. She's got some ulterior motive. "Any particular scene you'd like to go over?"

Flipping to the earmarked page, Dani handed it to the couple that was sitting on the couch. "How bout this? I'll play the young Jordan."

Sammy grabbed for the script, attempting to get a taste of it. He pouted when Gage pulled it back then tried to hand it back to Dani.

Dani rejected the script. "I already have it like… memorized completely."

Lacy settled her son in her lap who gave Gage the evil eye. "Sammy, here." She handed him Derek's old yellow duck. It was a gift from Derek to his brother on his second birthday. It became Sammy's favorite toy. Turning her attention back to her daughter, Lacy concurred. "I'll bet you do."

Gage was totally oblivious to what was transpiring between mother and daughter. With a cocked eyebrow, she shot her partner a questioning look.

"Dani, why don't you explain to Gage?"

Shocked blue eyes met her mother's knowing identical blue ones. "Like …. what? I haven't the slightest idea….." Dani countered with a dramatic flair. Trapped by her mother's knowing glare, the eleven year old caved. "Oh, all right. I was thinking… and I don't want any like special treatment but….. what about me playing the young Jordan?" Dani laid out her case. "I'm a natural….. just like my mom." That has got to score points with both of them.

Lacy and Gage watched the young would be actor continue in what turned out to be an audition.

The television program he was watching was boring compared to his sister's performance. So, Derek plopped down on the couch next to Gage. Stella sat quietly in an easy chair thoroughly enjoying the antics of this young and very precocious child.

Dani started act two. "I grew up on the set of the very best show of all times." Dani mentally checked off another point in her favor. Now, for the closing act, she concluded. "One more thing, I look exactly like you when you were my age…. beautiful."

"Dani, if you've read the script, then you would know that young Jordan is six years old in it."

"Maybe you could re-write it… make her, say, eleven." Dani eyed Gage and said seriously. "It shouldn't be a task for you. You're a great writer."

"No." Lacy said.

Gage shot her partner concerned look.

"No to Dani… not you." Lacy kissed her lover. "She's right. You are an excellent writer." That brought a jubilant smile to Gage's face.

Dejectedly, flopping down on the floor in front of them, Dani weakly suggested. "Then can Derek play little Jordan?"

Derek huffed up at his sister's proposal. "I will not play a girl." It was probably the first time Derek ever totally disagreed with his sister.

"You don't have to play anybody, Derek." Lacy assured her irate son. Pursing her lips together, Lacy formulated an idea. "You know, Dani, there is a scene where Jordan has to sing and dance. Perhaps you could help choreograph that."

Bolting up off the floor, Dani warmed up to the proposition immediately. "Just what I was thinking. As a matter of fact…." Dani shoved aside the coffee table. She entertained them with an impromptu dance routine.

************************

As the evening came to a close, Lacy and Gage readied the kids for bed and tucked them in. When they returned to the living room, Stella was fast asleep in her easy chair.

Gage generally allowed Lacy to deal with the nanny. Her continued wariness of the older woman plagued her. So, in a rare show of concern, Gage offered. "Should we… wake her up?"

With eyes still closed, Stella said. "I'm awake. Just resting my tired old eyes."

"Good then." Pulling Gage down beside her, Lacy asked. "Do you mind if we go over a few things… regarding the movie?"

It was hard to break Stella of calling her ma'am like she did with Julie Grant but Lacy finally won. "Whatever you say, Lacy."

Seeing the puzzling look on the older woman's face, Lacy inquired. "Is there something wrong?"

"No….no. It's quite unusual for the nanny to have it so easy. I'm used to putting the kids to bed, getting them up… taking care of them. Working for you is like being on… vacation." Stella admitted. The older woman felt that Julie Grant, her former boss, would have been the same as Lacy except for the fact that she ran her own production company. Though there were many times that in spite of her demanding schedule and being totally exhausted Julie found the time to be there for her children.

"That's about to change." Lacy informed her. "I'm afraid the movie will take a lot of our time. However, I want the kids to be with us as much as possible."

"As if Sammy would ever let you get more than ten feet away." Gage said with mock sarcasm.

"Whatever you want." Stella agreed.

"Stella." The dark haired woman sat up straight. "I want…." She sighed. "I want this to be more than an employer employee relationship. You've been with us for nearly two years now and…. we think of you as family."

Stella chanced a hasty look toward Gage.

I see. Lacy mused. She jabbed Gage with her elbow and requested confirmation from her partner. "Right, Gage?"

"Hey." Following suit, Gage agreed. "Family, right." Somehow that statement did not meet a warm reception by either party especially Lacy. "And….." Gage rapidly continued. "…everybody likes you, the kids, Lacy…." Another nudge prompted her again and her voice squeaked. "..me. Matter of fact, the kids love you… just like a grandmother." Feeling as if Gage just saved herself from falling off a very tall cliff, she smiled.

"That's the nicest thing you've…." Stella made a quick verbal detour. "Thank you." The brilliant smile on the nanny's face gleamed. It took a great effort for the older woman's eyes to peel off the blonde, coming to rest on Lacy. "I've never been on a movie set. Mrs. Grant let her children come to the studio offices but not on the set."

"It'll be fun. My producers were so thoughtful…." Lacy spared Gage a loving glance. "..they have set up two trailers. One of them for my costume changes, etc. and the larger one is for… all of us."

"We realize you and kids may want to stay home… there's lots more to do here. Or, you guys may want to come by later in the day." Gage said then added. "However, when you do that…." The blonde paused to glimpse at her partner. "Lacy and I will have a car pick you up. We don't want to take any chances."

Stella nodded.

Lacy leaned forward, placing her hand on Gage's thigh. "Stella, if at any time you feel the children….. it's about their safety."

"You will be the first to know if I see anything or anyone suspicious. Mrs. Grant had the same concern. Trust me, I know the drill." The nanny assured them. Pushing herself from the easy chair, Stella said. "If there's nothing else…."

Gage nodded and Lacy bid her goodnight.

Long moments passed before Lacy spoke again. "If we were shooting this movie in St. Troy, I'd feel much better. I know crime is everywhere and you can never be too safe but….."

Seeing the worried and forlorn look on Lacy's face, Gage suggested. "Lacy, we could hire a bodyguard."

Laying her head on Gage's shoulder, the dark haired woman snuggled closer. "I thought about that. Having family close is another reason I'm glad our home is in St. Troy."

A brilliant idea popped in Gage's head. The blonde shifted her body up and around, facing her partner. "Lacy, let's build a studio there."

"What?"

"Lacy, listen. Hank and Jason could build it. Oh, nothing fancy… enough that we could use it. At least, when you're doing a film Mark and I are producing and what the heck even if you do someone's else film…. we'll rent it out cheaper than they could get here in LA."

Mulling the idea over for a moment, Lacy reached up and kissed her lover. "Knew I loved you for more than your body." The younger woman crawled onto her lover, knocking Gage back onto the couch and growled. "But that's the part I want now."

As if being trounced by a great hunter, Gage felt like the prey. With the way her lover was devouring her in their heated exchange, all she could do was pray that she would survive.

************************

The next day Lacy's agent, Arthur Graham met with her at Mark's home. "Hi, Art. Thanks for meeting me here. Why don't we go in the library?" Lacy led the way. "Would you like something to drink?"

"Nah." Even as he followed his client, Art was rifling through his satchel. Pulling out some papers, the uptight man handed them to her before she sat down. "Not much there to speak of……." His words trailed off. Art didn't relish breaking the bad news to Lacy. However, it was his duty as her agent. "Lacy…."

"Art. Please sit down. Relax." It didn't take her long to peruse the document that revealed the skimpy offers. "Beating down my door, aren't they?"

In a rare display of emotion, Art replied. "What the hell do they know?" Catching himself before he completely dropped his ever-present professionalism, he continued. "Sorry. Lacy, it's not about your talent. Everyone knows you're the best. The quintessential actor."

That last statement brought back fond memories of when Gage first said that about her acting. She allowed that recollection to wash over her, relishing in the image of Gage's soapy hands gliding over her body, lingering, tantalizing every inch as she fell blissfully into the wonderful touch of her lover.

"Lacy!" Art elevated his voice to get her attention.

It was Lacy's turn to apologize. "Sorry."

"It's…. well, it's like this. Hollywood wasn't too happy about the way you seemingly turned your back on them. It was your self-imposed exile." He shifted in his chair when she raised her eyebrows. "Crackdown was a huge hit. You were riding on a wave that everyone and I mean everyone wanted a piece of. You know, when you announced that it would be the last season, the offers poured in. Your popularity was higher than….." Art paused briefly. "….at one time I would have said the pope but, now…… Anyway, the execs….the producers felt you rebuffed them personally when you walked away." The actor started to protest but met an upraised hand. "Let me finish."

************************

Gage bolted through the door, practically falling into the kitchen. Upon seeing Stella near the sink, she hastily shoved the item in her hand behind her back.

Stella's astute green eyes recognized the item in question. "She's in the library."

An embarrassing smile found its way to Gage's face before she shuffled sideways across the kitchen. After she passed through the doorway, the blonde heard a knowing laugh escape the nanny. "Damn." Though that didn't deter her from finding the love of her life. Gage sped down the hallway and around the corner then just as she was about to approach the library's door, she recognized Art Graham's voice. His words froze her in place. Perched just outside the slightly opened door, Gage couldn't help but overhear.

"Then there's your involvement with Gage." Once again, Lacy opened her mouth to protest, meeting that same hand. "Lacy, hear me out." The balding forty-five year old agent cautiously proceeded. "The whole town's gay if you ask me. It's just that working and living in this fantasy world of theirs, they would much rather pretend to be straight. As if it legitimizes them. Oh, you got your one or two….. mutineers that come out and when they do…. what happens? Actors, producers, directors, all of them run for the hills acting so appalled as if they aren't gay themselves…so most of them dig deeper in the closet. It's really all about money." Art sat back in his chair. "For any person who comes out in this business, it's like signing a death warrant for their career. It's a fact of life, Lacy."

With those words, Gage's world crashed down around her. Dropping the single red rose to the floor, the very dejected blonde ran.

"I'd do it all over again, Art. Wouldn't change a thing." Lacy adamantly stated to her agent. "Yes, it's a fact of life as you say. It's a fact that needs to be changed." Lacy stood up. "I never wanted to be a poster girl for anything. Role model or anything else. I'd much rather live a very private and quiet life." This time it was the actor who cut off the agent's protest. "Apparently, that's not in the cards. If my relationship with Gage costs me roles then so be it." Leaning over the desk, Lacy propped herself up and vowed. "Lacy Levine will not go quietly into the night."

It could turn into a hornet's nest but….. Art grinned. "Right with ya."

"One more thing, could you set up an appointment with my lawyer? Sometime in the next couple of weeks would be great." Lacy guided her agent out of the house but not before picking up the fallen rose.

Chapter Seven

The first day on the set was going to be extremely hectic so the decision was made to leave the kids at home. It was a welcome relief to Stella as she had a couple of telephone calls to make and wanted the privacy.

The couple arrived at the studio at dawn and immediately met up with Mark and Ryan White along with several other members of the cast. Over the next few weeks they would be shooting most of the interior scenes in the film. After a holiday break on the fourth of July, the schedule called for the 'arch scene' to be shot in St. Louis. Then it was back to LA for the final few weeks of shooting.

While many of the players coveted their early morning coffee, Gage sucked on the ice in her cup. I can't seem to get enough of this lately. The novice producer decided to sit back and let Ryan and Mark lead the way. She relegated her role as producer to gopher. At least, I'd go fer anything Lacy wants. Gage spared a glance at her delicious looking lover across the room as Lacy reacquainted herself with Shanti James.

"Does my aunt know?" Shanti inquired.

"Gosh, I haven't talked to her in years." Lacy answered after a short moment. Out of the side of her eyes, she saw her partner watching her.

Shanti placed a friendly hand on Lacy's forearm. "Neither have I. She's been traveling all over the world for a while now." Leaning in conspiratorially, she added. "Husband #4."

"Lacy, Shanti." The director interrupted. "I'd like you to meet Ben Thomason."

The twenty-seven year old sandy haired actor leaned in, extending his hand to Lacy then Shanti. "Toffer." (Toe-fur) Meeting Shanti's questioning look, he continued. "My character."

"Ohhh…" The reddish-blonde actress smiled. He's cute.

Ryan continued the introductions. "And, this is Boyd Dietrich… he's playing Michael Cooley."

Boyd nodded.

Turning to the tall black actor, the director made the final introduction. "Shonnel Westin."

Shonnel clipped his heels and fell into character before he quoted one of his lines. "Jackson, Jackson Bodine… don't you just love it… the name, I mean."

"Everything's here, Ryan." Michael Jessop announced.

"Good. Everyone. Take a seat." Ryan directed.

It took a few minutes as everyone rushed to make a quick trip to the breakfast buffet laid out on a nearby table. Gage saw the stampede headed her way and evaded being tromped on but not before snagging a donut and bagel for her partner.

"Michael. Give everyone their packet." The forty-three year old director commanded then waited a few moments as his young assistant director finished his mission.

Lacy covertly handed her partner an iron pill along with a vitamin. Completely ignoring Gage's disgusted face, Lacy nodded then glared at the blonde until she reluctantly swallowed the pills.

"You'll find the schedule in there along with everything else you'll need. Michael's…."

The young man snapped to attention. "Yes, sir."

Ryan ran a hand through his gray hair, attempting to relieve the growing stress. Twenty minutes into it and that young man's gonna cause me a nervous breakdown. Michael Jessop begged Ryan to work as his assistant director for the film. Over the last couple of years, Michael worked for Griffen Studios and the studio boss there kept the young man's talent harnessed. It was Jessop's dream to direct. When Ron Griffen showed no sign of allowing Jessop to develop his talent, he quit.

Directing his comment to Michael, Ryan said. "I was just going to say that you're the AD on this shoot. Now, siddown and relax."

"Right."

Gage pushed the empty chair next to her out for him.

Addressing one of his partners, Ryan continued. "Mark? You got anything before we start the read through on these scenes?"

Mark shook his head.

"Gage?" Ryan turned to the other producer and writer of the script.

"Me? Oh, no…no." In a vain attempt to don a very professional producer's decorum, Gage rubbed her chin and said. "Let me get back to you on that."

The room erupted with laughter and Lacy nudged her lover.

God, that was embarrassing. Gage's spirit deflated but soon soared when she looked into the loving blue eyes staring at her. Leaning in close to her lover, Gage whispered. "Why don't I call it a wrap and get the heck out of here."

Lacy brushed her lips against the blonde's cheek. "See you later."

"Mark, come on." Gage scooted back her chair and rose. When Mark closed the door behind them, the younger producer fell against the wall. "Great first day, huh?"

Mark rubbed his chin with his fingers and said seriously. "I don't know. Let me get back to you on that."

Sneering at the smiling man, Gage growled. "Funny. Very funny."

************************

When Lacy arrived at her trailer, she spied a note attached by a magnet to the small refrigerator. LL, be back in a bit…. had to run an errand for Mark. All my love, G

After waiting for a half an hour, Lacy gave up the vigil and headed back to the set. Ryan's schedule called for a run through of a couple of scenes that afternoon. Not knowing where her partner was at, Lacy knew she'd be a bit distracted until she saw Gage again. I'll have Michael look for her. God, I can't believe I'm so worried or how much I miss her. She walked out the trailer and right into Boyd Dietrich.

"Ryan sent me. Thought you got lost." His lips curled into a snakelike charming yet poisonous smile.

"Boyd." Lacy recognized the excellent job Mark and Ryan did regarding casting. He was so much like his character, smug and self-serving. "Did I mention you are going to be a perfect Michael Cooley?"

A knowing smirk crossed his face. He took her covert insult as a compliment. "Thanks. I knew you had brains as well as beauty." The thirty-eight year old dark haired actor had heard all the rumors regarding Lacy Levine and her female lover.

"Bright, too." Smiling, the actress added sarcastically.

As they walked side-by-side back to the set, the slightly shorter man stood straight up. Gotta put those lifts back in the shoes. God, she's tall. Another viper smile spawned on his face. And all mine!

Boyd had a theory about women. He figured even if they had a boyfriend or husband, or in this case a girlfriend, no matter how perfect the woman's partner was, they always had a flaw. He would find that flaw, exploit it, then Lacy would fall into his arms.

There was one thing that was definitely flawed with his thinking. No matter what kind of flaws the blonde had and, there were a few, nothing was more powerful than Lacy's love for Gage.

************************

Across town, a very desperate and demanding daughter was pleading with her powerful producer father to get her a job on the set of a new movie. Reluctantly, he acquiesced. "You know, I'm going to owe him big for this one."

Skipping around his massive desk, she plopped down on his lap and kissed him. "Thank you, daddy."

He watched his stubborn daughter leave. "I hate owing anyone. I got a feeling this ones gonna come back and bite me in my derrière." Reluctantly, he picked up the telephone and called his old friend.

************************

Gage rushed back onto the studio parking lot. Checking her watch, she knew she would miss Lacy so she headed straight to the set. Swirling around the corner, she pounced head on into Mark. Jamming the small article into his chest, she apologized. "Sorry."

"Hold on there." Mark stopped her. He spared a quick look in the small box then pocketed it. "Thanks. Wanted it to be a surprise."

"No problem." Gage moved away and was jerked back suddenly.

"Hey, what's the hurry?" Still holding on to his impatient partner. "I hoped you'd go over a few things while they're rehearsing."

Squinting her green eyes at her friend, Gage said. "Mark, we're tight and I'd do anything for ya… which I just did." Nodding to the small parcel in his pocket. "But, nothing and no one gets in the way of me finding my woman."

Mark ignored the teasing sneer on his friend's face. "Later?"

She nodded. "Right after I tell her I'm back. You know, you made me miss lunch with her. I can't believe all that traffic. Sure, quick trip there and back."

Mark chuckled at the serious look on his friend's face. "What can I do to make it up to you?"

"A million dollars to start." Gage teased.

"You got it."

The blonde paused only a millisecond pondering if he was serious before she headed off to find her partner. Gage ducked every technician, carpenter, prop person and stray actor there was as she flew through the set. Rounding the last corner, she met Lacy's relieved eyes. Staring at each other across the set, the couple was oblivious to everyone else there.

Ryan took quick note of the exchange then dismissed it as he had things to do. It was Boyd who squinted his beady brown eyes and smiled. Standing up your woman once, she may forgive you but twice? Let me see what I can do about that.

Lacy and Gage mouthed 'I love yous' before the blonde waved and mouthed. 'Mark's expecting me.' Gage didn't want to interfere with the production. She remembered all too clearly the day of Lacy and Koda Kannon's big love scene. When Gage's jealous rage got the best of her, she bolted onto the set and made a fool of herself. Something she vowed never to do again.

************************

Gage met up with Mark in his studio office. "This is nice."

"Sure you don't want one?" He pushed aside some papers he was perusing.

"Nah. Be spending most of my time on the set or in the trailer with Lacy and the kids." Gage plopped down in the wooden chair. "What'd ya need from me?"

Mark and Gage went over a few last minute items regarding set changes, an electrical problem and making sure that everyone on the cast and crew were being notified when and where to report. It was like juggling a hundred bowling pins all at once. It was a good thing Mark had so much experience running a multi-million dollar company. Gage admitted to Mark that she was clueless.

So, at first, Mark thought Gage was nervous about all of the plans he was going over but something told him there was something else gnawing at his friend. "What's on your mind?"

"Like I said…. all of this is….foreign to me." Gage drooped back against her chair. His concerned blue eyes repeated the question. Shoulders slumping, Gage decided to seek his advice. She fiddled with the ring on her finger, remembering their wedding day. "Lacy….. " Looking up, she continued. "It's all my fault you know. Her career's been …."

"I thought that was her decision."

Throwing Mark a knowing look, she pursed her lips. "It was the only decision she could make… with me in the picture."

Mark leaned up against his desk. "She wouldn't be in this picture if it wasn't because of you." He stood up and crossed around his desk, resting on its edge. "This role is a perfect opportunity for Lacy to showcase the depth of her talents. We've got a winner here, Gage. Ahhh…ahhh.." Waving a dismissive finger at her protest. "You can't tell me she'd change these last few years with you."

"Neither would I." Gage stretched out her legs and crossed them. "Why …. why in the world does it have to matter? Why does it have to affect your life, your career…. your children?" Jumping up, Gage twisted sharply around as she thought of how the children might be tormented or teased because of her and Lacy's relationship. "What the fuck do they know about our love anyway?" Unshed tears rushed to her eyes.

"Gage." Mark placed a comforting hand on her shoulder.

Refusing to meet his eyes, Gage remained in place, fuming at the prospect of society's attitude, moral judgment and condemning eye looking down on them. This from a God loving nation of people.

Fully understanding his friend's dilemma, Mark gently turned her around. He pulled her closer, wrapping his soothing arms around her. "Let me think about this?" Taking a chance, Mark whispered. "I'll get back to you on it, okay?" Relief consoled him when Gage muffled a small laugh.

************************

When Mark and Gage arrived on the set at the end of the day, Shanti yelled over at them. "You guys want to come, too?" A small group including Michael, Ben, Shonnel and Boyd surrounded her.

Mark raised his eyebrows in question as Gage watched her lover sashay toward her.

"We're all going to Heyduke's." Realizing Mark was unfamiliar with the name of the establishment, she informed him. "It's a bar… couple of blocks from here."

"Maybe another time." Mark begged off.

Lacy welcomed her lover with a kiss. "I declined for both of us if that's okay?"

"Mmmmm…. bar full of drunks or a houseful of kids." Gage pretended to wage one idea against the other. "I'll take the kids any day. Besides, I've missed them."

"And they've missed you, I'm sure. Even Sammy." Lacy added before Gage did.

"Ryan… you coming?" The handsome young Michael called to his boss.

Waving a dismissing hand, Ryan White never took his eyes off the paper in front of him. "Go on… I'll catch up with you later." Finally, he looked up, searching for the man who could answer his pending questions. "Mark? You got a minute?"

"See you two tomorrow." Mark said to the couple before meeting up with Ryan.

Gage turned to Lacy. "It's been a long day, huh?"

"Yeah, and it's not over yet." Hand in hand, they headed through the studio set to their car. "I'm sure the kids will be bounding with energy when we get home."

"You're right." The blonde sighed, offering a rhetorical question. "How many more days are left on this film?"

Chapter Eight

The rest of the week and weekend flew by. Lacy and Gage met profound fatigue up close and personal. During the three years since her show ended, Lacy had temporarily forgotten about how hectic making 'magic' was. Gage's only experience making movies was when Lacy was making her movie with Koda Kannon shortly after they met. Her only responsibility was taking care of Dani and Derek while Lacy worked. The short stint where she replaced Mark in New Orleans, when he went back to New York after finding out his brother-in-law was alive, was relatively easy. Ryan did most of the work. It would have been a piece of cake if Griff hadn't been on the set causing trouble. Gage smiled fondly as she remembered when Lacy, her pregnant knight in shining armor, came to rescue her from the raging, flaming redhead just in the nick of time.

************************

The couple arrived early on set with Stella and the kids. They helped the nanny settle the two sleeping ones before heading off to shoot the upcoming scene.

"Mom, I get to go, right?" Dani's wide blue eyes questioned her mother. "I know this isn't the dance scene but….you'll have to kinda like…. dance." Dani was referring to the scene in the movie where Jordan has to step in for the photo shoot and pose for the cover of a magazine since the assigned models never showed. "Just in case, you need some technical advice about it."

After being exposed to millions of flashbulbs popping and camera's snapping, Lacy smiled at her daughter's offer. "Will you? That would be so cool. I'm not used to having someone take my picture."

"Oh, mom." Dani whined. "You don't have to be so sarcastic." The young girl was out the door and headed straight to the set as if was born to lead.

"Sweetheart, this could be trouble." Lacy teased.

Glancing at the sleeping duo then to Lacy, Gage replied. "With you guys, there's always trouble." The blonde made her way out of the trailer.

The nanny was the only one who heard Lacy when she pondered out loud. "Whatever am I going to do with her?"

"Apparently whatever you want." Stella wielded the smart aleck but accurate remark.

Flabbergasted by Stella's statement, Lacy swung around before agreeing with the nanny. "You got that right."

************************

Several hours later, Lacy waited patiently while the crew switched a few lights and cameras. It turned out that some of Dani's advice was very helpful. When Ryan wasn't satisfied with the lighting during one of the takes, he called. "Cut."

Dani yanked out the magazine she had hidden somewhere and approached the director. This was nothing new to Ryan since Dani practically grew up on his mother's show. The one he helped produce and direct. "Ryan, see." She pointed to the latest, greatest teen magazine. "How the lighting is casting shadows in the background…. like it gives off that ethereal effect."

Stunned, Ryan stared at the bright young girl then to her mother.

Lacy peered over his shoulder and agreed. "She's right."

"I… I… agree." Ryan confessed. After Dani strutted off to talk with the lighting technicians, he scratched his head. The director frowned at Lacy and reluctantly asked. "What does ethereal mean?"

Cast and crew held it for as long as they could before bursting out in a hardy laugh. Gage joined in though she felt sorry for the director and felt a bit of an accomplice. Over the weekend Gage searched the dictionary for that very word when Dani walked in. She was bored and decided that torturing Gage would kill sometime. Instead, they discussed the story Gage was writing. It was then Dani learned the definition of the word.

Gage was so lost in the moment she didn't notice Mark approach. His hand on her shoulder startled her. "Ohhh… hi!"

"Can we talk?" His voice was stone serious. "I got a call."

Mark and Gage quietly discussed the call. "If we do this, I know him, he'd feel he owes me. That may end up helping Lacy's career in the long run if we go along with his request."

Reluctantly, Gage agreed. This is going to be a real pain and Lacy will never understand but….. Mark's right.

************************

It was a hectic day on the movie set with plenty of extras for the runway scene. After a difficult morning, the director called for a late lunch. Lacy was a bit on edge this morning and Ryan allowed the irritable actor extra time while the crew made some set changes.

Due to the morning scenes running late, Lacy had lunch alone. She desperately wanted to talk with Gage but when she returned to the trailer, Lacy found a note from Gage. It read.

LL,

Stella's sick. I'm going home to pick up the kids and bring them

back. Eat something… it's in the fridge.

Love, G

The food and the time alone did temporarily soothe her unbundling nerves. When filming started in the afternoon, Lacy's stomach had settled some. She anxiously watched for her partner's return and prayed the rest of the day went smoothly. God, I can't wait to get home and fall into her arms.

Gage talked a reluctant Mark into sitting with the kids in the trailer so they could eat the take out she got for them while she went to let Lacy know she was back. Gage hated to leave her ailing partner though there was nothing she could do when the nanny called.

The blonde arrived at an opportune time. Ryan had just yelled 'cut' and the crew busied themselves changing the set. It was a quick change so Lacy and Gage only had a few minutes.

Ignoring everyone else on the set, Gage missiled toward her lover. "Hey." Grasping her partner's hand, Gage led Lacy away, hoping for a clandestine rendezvous. "Come with me." The blonde whirled her lover around and up against the wall. Pressing the full length of her body against Lacy, Gage kissed her. Her arms wrapped tightly around the actor and breathed deeply the scent of her woman after she broke the kiss. "Let's not ever be away from each other that long again."

Lacy giggled in between her nibbling of the blonde's neck. "It was what… a couple of hours."

"Too long." Gage captured the willing lips again.

Pressing their heads together, Lacy asked. "Stella?"

"She's fine… still feeling the affects of the flu."

"The kids?" Sharing a few quick kisses between the questions and answers.

"Mark's watching them while they eat." Lacy moaned as Gage's hand roamed down her side then back up coming to rest perilously close to her left breast.

"Don't go there."

Gage pouted.

"This dress…." Lacy was wearing a sleek white evening gown for the runway scene. "…is so sheer…. you're making me wet already."

"Oh….." A triumphant smile dawned on the blonde's face. "So, you're telling me….."

Lacy stopped her partner's all out assault. "Later." The dark haired woman saw the disappointment in her partner's green eyes. "Sweetheart, I just want to get this day over with so we can go home and ….." Lacy kissed her lover deeply. "… relax."

"Okay….. feeling better?"

"With you near I always feel better." Lacy heard the director calling for her.

Gage placed a quick kiss on her partner's lips before she said. "Good. I'll get the kids and watch… if that's okay?"

"More than okay." Even after she heard Ryan yell across the room that they needed her now, Lacy refused to budge until she tasted the sweet lips of her lover once again. Now, I feel much better.

************************

When Gage arrived back on set with the kids, she ushered them over to some seats a short distance away. Dani was in heaven. She couldn't wait to see all the frilly dresses the model wore for the big scene. Derek sat quietly, heeding his hero's request while his mom worked. Gage held the wiggling two year old on her lap as she whispered in his ear. As he pointed to different spots on the set before him, Gage identified what each thing was.

Lacy waited patiently off to the side for her cue. Her headache had returned, extending to the pit of her stomach. If I can just make it through this last scene flawlessly then I can go home.

The very astute director pulled Lacy aside before the scene and informed her that after they finished it he wouldn't need her for the rest of the day. The many years of Ryan's close working and personal relationship with Lacy was enough for him to be tuned into how his actor was feeling. So, after a little bit of mental juggling, Ryan directed Michael to take care of the necessary arrangements.

The upbeat music permeated the room as each model strolled down the runway. When it was Lacy turn to march down the catwalk, every eye turned to her. As she sauntered along, her sense of confidence was building. Twenty more feet and I'm home.

Gage's pointed finger to Lacy caught Sammy's blue eyes. Before the blonde realized it, the young agile boy slipped from her lap and raced to his mother. "Momma! Momma."

At first, no one in the crowd heard him over the din. Desperate to retrieve her young charge, Gage did just that, charged after him. Like a seasoned racecar driver, Sammy shuffled, evaded and slipped through several of the crew's legs. His small body met less resistance than Gage's larger frame.

Ryan was the first to hear the scuffle behind him and turned just in time to see the dark haired boy whiz past him on a direct course to his mother. And, that's when he noticed the cameraman making his scheduled move as Lacy neared the end of the runway.

"Momma!"

Even without seeing her son's approach or hearing him, her mother's instinct kicked in. Lacy's keen laser blue eyes scanned the mass of movie equipment and crew before her. Spotting her son and even with four-inch heels on, Lacy rushed to him, scooping him up before the oblivious cameraman trampled the little boy.

The very concerned and emotionally near the edge mother met her son's beaming eyes. "Love you, momma." Sammy jumped into her arms.

Kneeling down on the floor, Lacy hugged him back. "I love you, too." She said, and kissed him. Relief washed over her but the pounding headache and upset stomach bit at her last nerve. Seeing Gage, Lacy stood up, still holding her son.

"Sorry." Gage offered apologetically.

When the blonde attempted to retrieve the small boy who had interrupted the costly scene, Lacy refused. "Dani! Come here."

Her daughter did as Lacy requested and took her brother from his mother.

"Take him and Derek back to the trailers…" She ordered then softened her tone. "Okay?" After Dani nodded, Lacy turned to the assistant director. "Michael, would you escort them there?"

It only took a few seconds for Michael to round up the children and guide them off the set. To Gage, it seemed like a lifetime. She felt the burning heat of the movie lights sear through her but they were nothing compared to the look Lacy shot her way.

"Gage!" Lacy's sharp voice sliced easily through steel armor Gage wished she was now wearing.

Gage prepared for the worse. This can't bode well for me. She usually calls me sweetheart.

The actor sucked in a deep breath in a vain attempt to calm her fragile nerves. She knew they would have to repeat the whole scene again. What would have been the last take in her mind falsely escalated into a dozen more takes. Feeling the ill affects of the hammering in her head and nervous stomach, Lacy needed a place, in this case, someone to lash out at. And, Gage provided the perfect target. Rubbing her forehead, the dark haired woman ploughed ahead. "Gage Ballant!" Lacy fumed. "Ahggg….. Now, we're going to have to take time to re-shoot the whole damn thing… not to mention the extra cost…." Her arms shot down to her side as she slammed her eyes in frustration. "One simple little thing... like watching my children while I work…. Can't you handle that….even Stella does a better job than…….." Finally, opening her eyes, blue met the shocked and embarrassed green ones that halted Lacy from her tirade.

Being browbeaten by your lover in front of fifty or so cast and crewmembers was not Gage's idea of fun. Especially since, to her, she didn't see the problem. Sammy was unhurt after his search and destroy mission to get to his mother. "So, you have to shoot it over." Gage felt a great more confidence about her partner's skills as an actor than Lacy did at the moment. "What's the big deal?"

"It's not." Ryan watched the two embattled lovers in front of him. "Take five." He yelled to the rest of the cast and crew.

The silence that brewed between the couple spiraled into a deafening tone as the others hurriedly left. Only Ryan and the other producer standing a distance from the set remained. Attempting his hand at mediating, Ryan said. "Lacy, Gage…. listen….." The director was unable to force another word to his lips. The heated energy burning off the couple caused him to take a step back. Ryan had always considered himself a smart man and did the intelligent and safest thing to do. He existed, leaving the couple alone to sort it out.

Blue drilled into green. Gage was the first to flinch. God, it's happening all over again… the movie. Lacy's mad… I'm in trouble. But, this time I don't know… Awakening from her own concerns, Gage finally noticed Lacy rub her temple again. "Lacy?" Gage tentatively reached for her, grabbing her partner's upper arms before Lacy doubled over and fell to the floor. "Baby! What's wrong?" The blonde's trembling voice asked.

"I don't feel… so…. well." The weak woman pulled Gage closer.

Mark, who witnessed the whole thing, called the paramedics.

************************

Being married to the producer of your movie had its benefits. But, too much is too much. The very restless actor listened as Gage insisted that she take the next couple of days off. It was something she was very unwilling to do since she felt better that very night. As the lead actor on the movie, Lacy felt a great sense of obligation and responsibility to the success of the film. And, being a professional with a thoroughbred work ethic that was drilled into her by her hard-working ex-husband, Lacy reluctantly acquiesced. It was the pouting face and pleading words that came from Gage that crushed her resolve.

By the second day of rest, Lacy was chomping at the bit. "Gage, sweetheart, I'm fine… really." She insisted.

The blonde cocked her hand on her hip and glared at her forced bed-ridden partner. "You are not getting out of that bed until the doctor gives you the okay. She'll be here this afternoon." Gage placed the tray of sandwiches and milk on the side table. "Here take your vitamins."

"Only if you do." Lacy insisted, and then mumbled. "The doctor already did the other day."

The patient waited until Gage grabbed one pill and swallowed it. "Happy now."

Lacy popped in her own pill. "What about your iron pill?"

Ignoring her partner, Gage walked to the door and called the kids in before she turned back to Lacy. "We have something planned for you."

When Gage came to Dani and asked for her to set something up to entertain their ailing mother, the young girl squealed in delight. She was in charge and it was something she loved to do. Entertain. Being the center of attention is right down my alley.

Gage flopped Sammy down next to his mother on the bed. "He wouldn't play nice." No matter how hard Dani, Derek or Gage tried to get Sammy to act in the little play Dani made up, he stubbornly refused. "Wanted his momma, go figure."

Stella joined the waiting audience of two as the trio conspired together about the last details of their show. Leaning forward in her chair, the nanny asked Lacy. "Feeling better?"

"According to whom…. her?" Lacy pointed a frustrated finger at her lover. "Or, me?"

Stella's green eyes equaled her knowing smile. Over the last couple of days, Gage never stopped once except to comfort her partner. When Lacy was sleeping or resting, Gage took it upon herself to cook, clean and take care of the kids' every need. She barely let the nanny help out at all. Somewhere in Gage's mind the statement Lacy wielded at her about Stella being able to take care of the kids better than she could still haunted her. It was something Gage refused to share with Lacy, not wanting her partner to feel any guilt over the hurtful words. When Lacy tried to talk with Gage about it, the blonde shucked it off as if it was nothing. This further frustrated the younger woman when it came to her partner sharing her feelings.

The anxious blonde checked one more time on her partner. "You okay?" Gage brushed her lips against Lacy's forehead. "No fever." She declared.

"I never did have it."

The older woman leaned in closer. "Just wanted to kiss you again. And, you know how Dani ….."

It was Dani's turn to cock her hand on her hip. "Gage! If you're finished making out with our mother then do you mind joining us on stage?"

Caught, the blonde's shoulders slumped and she winked at Lacy. "Just like you…. demanding." Gage scooted away before Lacy's backhand caught up with her.

Dani allowed Gage to play second fiddle to her and Derek's performance. She sang and danced while Gage and Derek supported the young star during her solo performance. Switching gears, the dark haired girl played a superhero young girl in pursuit of saving the world with Derek getting the cool part as the villain. Gage was reduced to acting like a very dense traveler roaming around haphazardly in the night. They each had to sing out their parts. When the villain was hawking the unsuspecting traveler, Dani's superhero came to the rescue. Dani saved Gage from Derek's evil villain before he skulked off into the dark night never to be heard of again. A very reluctant actor rolled her green eyes at the next part. Oh, well, I did ask her to come up with this whole thing. When Gage stepped forward for her big scene of the skit, she dropped down on her knee and sang out the praises of her savior.

Lacy and Stella laughed, Sammy giggled and a loud clap drew the blonde's attention to the doorway. Having Mark and Julie catch her in a very embarrassing situation, Gage stood up and brushed her knee, mumbling. "What I won't do for love."

************************

After Stella took the kids outside for a swim, Mark asked Gage if they could talk which left Julie alone with Lacy. "I thought you were feeling better? Relapse?" Julie Grant asked as she sat on the edge of the bed.

"No. Gage." Lacy flipped back the sheet and stood then pulled off her nightgown, revealing the top and shorts she was secretly wearing. "Come on. I gotta get out of here for a while."

************************

Continued in Part 3.


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