Disclaimer: The characters are mine, you may need to read Books 1 & 2, just to get an idea as to what is going on, there are expressions of same sex love in this story, if this offends you. . . please don't read this story. 'Lido Shuffle' was used without permission, no copyright infringements were intended, I think that covers everything. . . JAZ © May 2007


Book 3

By J. A. Zollicoffer



Elizabethtown, Maryland

January 1, 2007

one a.m.


“One. . . Two. . . One, Two, Three. . . hit it!”

The bass guitar player stroked out a steady rhythm, then the drummer added a heavy bottom beat as the lead singer grabbed the microphone and sang the first verse.

“Lido missed the boat that day he left the shack

But that ain't all he missed and he ain't comin' back.”

Then the other musicians came in, first the keyboard, then the lead guitar, next the rhythm guitar joined the others as the percussion came in, completing the full sound of the band.

“Next stop Chi-Town, Lido put the money down, let it roll”

He said, “One more job oughta get it

one last shot fore we quit it

one more for the road”

The entire band sang the chorus.

Lido, whoa oh oh oh

He's for the money

He's for the show

Lido's a waitin' for the go

Lido. Whoa oh oh oh. . .

{He said} “One more job oughta get it

One last shot then we quit it

One more for the road

The band was in full swing, entertaining the New Years Eve crowd, this was the third year that they had played for the celebration that was held in the community center.

The celebrants were having a very good time, and occasionally, someone in the crowd would look up on the stage and take note of the stunningly attractive band members who were enjoying them as they played.

Fourteen year-old Anna was pounding out a beat on the drums, sixteen year-old Griffin was holding the bass line steady with his instrument and twelve year-old Stan was handling the rhythm guitar like a pro.

Evan's skills on the free standing conga drums were flawless, he looked-up and caught his mom's blue eyes as she played the lead guitar, she then turned, and winked her eye at her wife, the blonde woman ran her fingers over the keyboard effortlessly as she tapped out each note.

The Kendrick children had been playing instruments since they were able comprehend the concept. It had been Griff's idea three years before to start playing at the annual New Years Eve party that was held at the community center.

It was now, one of the most anticipated events of the year. They all took turns singing lead, “Lido Shuffle” was Griff's song, and the next song in the set, Hoobastank's “The Reason” was Evan's to sing.

After nearly seventeen years the property that Dani and Lisa had purchased, was now a town, and the empty lots were selling at a steady pace, the only land that the two women refused to sell was the property in the areas that were zoned for commercial buildings.

Instead, they chose to erect the structures that were to be used for business', and then lease the dwellings out to the business owners for their use.

They knew that they were being controlling, but the women also felt like this was the only way to guarantee that someone wouldn't become tempted by big business bucks and sell the property.

It would only take one large national chain to move in, then more would follow, next thing you knew, all of the small business owners would slowly be moved out.

That's not the type of community that Lisa and Dani had envisioned, so they were determined to do what they could to maintain the integrity of their dream.

There were already family owned grocery stores, clothing stores and shoe stores, book stores, restaurants and places to go and dance, drink and listen to music, you name it and someone in town was in the process of opening it.

The town had a post office a bank, a police force and a movie theater, Lisa was still trying to talk Dani out of building a drive-in theater.

The years had been very good to the women, because of smart investments and pouring money back into their business' they were two of the richest women in America, and because of the type of business' that they owned, their anonymity was safe.

If someone didn't make it a habit to keep up with the who's who in the financial world, they had no idea who Danielle and Lisa Kendrick were, and the women liked it that way.

They used their wealth to help with the efforts during hurricane Katrina, they volunteered their time, and donated a few homes for that home make over show, and they anonymously donated school uniforms, supplies and books to schools with underprivileged students.

They were also very supportive of the causes geared towards keeping music and art programs in the public schools, they wanted to give back as much as they could.



As the band was ending their set and was about to take a break, Dani walked over to Lisa and they made their way to the table that had been reserved for them, where their friends were waiting.

“You guys should go pro.” Shirley said as she sipped her champagne.

Dani looked at Lisa and smiled. “Beth says she's too old to travel in a bus and play in smoke filled pool halls.”

The blonde teacher rested her head on her wife's shoulder after kissing her neck. “I didn't hear you protesting my love.”

The builder rested her head on top of Lisa's soft golden hair before she responded. “The only long bus trips I want to take, are with you in the Winnie, speaking of which, is there any place special that you'd like to go this year?”

“Nah, I say let's leave that behemoth parked out back and just spend a weekend sleeping in it.”

Cynthia rolled her eyes. “You two can afford to go anywhere that you choose, and you want to go to the backyard?”

Dani pulled her wife closer and looked around the table at their friends, tonight, it was back to the basics, just the original core group, and their partners, their friendships had grown stronger over the years, and now they were more like a family than just good friends, and they took every opportunity that they could to spend time together.

Lisa sat next to Shirley, and Kat sat next to Cynthia and Elaine, while all of the kids had been seated at a table across the room, along with the Kendrick children, there was Shirley and Kat's eleven year-old daughter Jamie and Cynthia and Elaine's eight year-old Diana.

Shirley saw a very familiar twinkle in a set of piercing blue eyes after Cynthia's comment, and knew that Dani was about to start something.

“As I look around this table I don't see anyone here that would be considered. . . poverty stricken. the builder said.

Elaine laughed. “She's got us there.”

The doctor smiled, and small lines appeared at the corners of her eyes. “I must say Elizabethtown has been very good to us.”

Lisa blushed deeply, it still embarrassed her that Dani had named the town after her. The tall woman looked at the color rising on her spouse's neck and whispered close to her ear.

“You're never gonna get used to it, are you baby?”

Clear green eyes looked into brilliant blue. “I will eventually, it's just so strange.”

Before she could continue, their children came to the table. Anna climbed in Dani's lap and Griff sat in Lisa's, at six-two, he easily dwarfed his mam's small frame.

Evan stood behind Dani and leaned forward, wrapping his long muscular arms around her neck, Stan mimicked his actions as he stood behind Lisa, and laid his cheek on his mam's honey colored head.

The small blonde kissed Griff's mole, located in the center of his throat, and reached up to run her fingers through Stan's blonde curls.

Dani bounced Anna's long body on her knee, and turned to look up into Evan's blue eyes, that were the same as hers.

“What are you four up to?”

Anna tugged on her mom's dark hair. “Nothing mom.”

Evan kissed the top of her head before he stood-up. “We just wanted to come over and say bye before we left.”

Both Stan and Griff kissed Lisa before they separated from her, Griff stood-up, and he reached down to rubbed his mam's thighs with his large hands.

“Sorry mam, I'm not trying to paralyze ya.”

Lisa playfully swatted his retreating rear end. “I hardly knew you were there.”

As the two women stood to hug their children goodbye, the other ladies at the table sat and watched the interaction, to say that the Kendrick family was beautiful, was an understatement.

They all had movie star good looks and with the exception of Lisa, they were all long, tall and lean, the two oldest boys were big strong young men, they played on the basketball and baseball teams at the local high school.

Anna played on her schools volleyball and basketball teams, and found herself the shortest of the siblings, at fourteen she was already five-eight and still growing, her long chestnut brown hair was pulled back in a ponytail, because it kept it out of her face when she played the drums.

At twelve, Stan was already five-ten and closing in on his brothers quickly, he was an excellent musician, and seemed to love it more than his siblings, any instrument that was placed in his hands, he could master.

Before she let them go, Lisa gave them instructions on driving home carefully. “Evan I want you to take your time and obey the speed limit.”

Evan looked down at his small mam, taking in the picture of his much larger mom wrapped around her from behind, and felt a huge surge of love for his parents flow through him.

He knew that it had taken a lot of convincing on his mom's part to get his mam to agree to buy them a van to transport their instruments in ,and to get back and forth to school, so there was no way that he was going to do anything to make them feel like they had made a mistake.

“Don't worry mam, we'll be careful.”

Lisa reached up and cupped his face. “I know you will, I just worry sometimes.”

The kids turned and headed in the direction of the stage, so that they could breakdown their equipment, and load it into the van.

Before they got very far Dani called out to their youngest. “Hey Stan, want a ride?”

The blonde boy had always loved getting rides on his mom's back and even though he was five-ten, the fact still remained that he was only twelve years-old and couldn't turn down the chance to hop aboard.

His handsome face lit-up with a smile, and when Dani turned and showed him her back, he took two long strides, and jumped on.

The picture was nothing less than comical, the boy's long legs were being held-up by his mom's, forearms that were tucked under his knees, and his long arms were loosely wrapped around her neck while his blonde head towered above the room.

Dani turned her head and looked-up at the boy. “You know, you're just like your mam, she likes for me to carry her too.”

While his brothers and sister laughed at the sight, Lisa watched her wife carry their youngest child to the stage and smiled.

“With each passing day, I fall more in love with that goofball.” She shook her head and followed them to the front of the room.



As they were getting ready for bed, Lisa and Dani shared their thoughts on the night, and what it meant to be able to perform every year.

“It seems like every year there are more and more people in attendance.”

Dani was sitting on the edge of the bed pulling off her boots. “Yeah, I noticed, I guess we're not too bad.”

Lisa pulled back the bedding and slid under the blankets. “I kinda figured that when they kept making request, just to keep us on stage.”

After Dani was undressed, she joined her wife under the covers. “Stan eats it up, did ya see that kid's eyes light-up every time someone yelled out a song?”

Lisa turned on her side and snuggled up close to her spouse's warm body. “Yep.”

Lisa pulled back a little and looked at Dani. “I wonder what happened to our parents tonight.”

Over the last sixteen years, all of their family and friends had relocated to Elizabethtown, Lisa's brothers, Ron and Stan had even opened another auto shop there.

All of the job foremen had purchased property, and built their own homes, Ron and Jess' oldest child, Ron, Jr. and his wife, had even come aboard, and opened the towns only bowling alley.

Dani pulled Lisa closer. “I don't know Beth, I guess they just decided to stay in this year. You know how hard it has been to get pop to leave that cabin he built in the woods.”

Lisa was making her customary swirls on Dani's bare chest as she became pensive. “Dad hasn't been the same since Taid and Nain passed away.”

Dani felt a twinge of pain run through her heart at the mention of Casnar and Heulyn, her grandparents had passed away three years before, at the age of eighty-four, Heulyn suffered a heart attack and died in her sleep, and just five months later Casnar had followed her.

It wasn't really a shock to anyone, because it was plain to see that he no longer had the desire to live without his mate, and they all thought that the old man had willed himself to die soon after her death.

In their honor, Lisa had insisted that the community center be named for them, and that was one of the reasons that Griff had suggested that they start singing at the New Years celebration, he had hoped it would temporally take everybody's mind off of their loss.

Lisa felt the hitch in Dani's heart, in her own, she kissed the tan shoulder that her head rested against and whispered. “I miss them too my love.”

Dani exhaled deeply. “I'm just glad that they're together.”

Lisa raised-up on her elbow and looked into Dani's blue eyes. “Do you think that we'll always be together?”

Dani raised her hand and cupped her wife's soft cheek, then she pulled her down and kissed her slowly, and deeply before she pulled back a little so that she could look into her beautiful green eyes.

“I know that we will Beth, because even in death, I will never leave you.”



JANUARY 10, 2007


As Griffin walked down the school hallway on his way to history class, he saw his brother talking to Debbie Simpson, he rolled his eyes and thought to himself. ‘Trying to talk her into a date no doubt.'

When he walked past them he looked in their direction and spoke to the girl. “Run away Debbie. . . just run away.”

Evan gave his brother the evil eye, knowing that Griff would know exactly what it meant.

The tall boy continued on to his class, but yelled over his shoulder before he turned the corner.

“Save the eye for someone that doesn't know all of your secrets Evan.”



Griff sat at his desk, and pulled his history book out of his backpack, so that he could study the chapter that they were going to be tested on, when he felt a presence at his back.

When her turned around, he was greeted with a big smile from his history teacher, Ms. Gordon, she was thirty-eight, medium in height and average in looks.

Griff felt like she wore her clothes too tight, too short, and she smelled like she bathed in her perfume, at the moment she had her hand resting on his shoulder, and was squeezing it, just barely, almost like it wasn't happening.

The young man slightly rolled his broad shoulders, hoping to dislodge the teacher's hand, she seemed to get the hint and moved on to her desk.

She had been doing little things like that lately, and it was starting to bother him, he decided that he was going to talk to Evan about it and get his opinion on what he should do.



“You need to tell mom.”

Griff's eyes went wide in horror. “No! If I tell mom, she will rip Ms. Gordon a new one.”

Evan snorted. “That's exactly what she should do, that woman has no reason to continuously put her hands on you.”

The nervous boy started pacing. “I know Ev, it's just that, I don't want mom to cause a scene.”

Evan had to laugh a little, he knew what his brother meant, their mom had very little tolerance when it came to someone causing harm to her family, and had no problem taking care of business in front of who ever was there when she handled it.

Evan took pity on his twin and offered a solution. “How about this, you talk to mom and mam at the same time, and then beg mam to stick close to mom if they decide to confront Ms. Gordon.”

Griffin started to relax a little. “Yeah. . . that's a good idea, if anyone can keep mom calm it's mam.”

The two boys took a moment to envision their little mam having total control over the most powerful human being they had ever known, the Kendrick children knew, intuitively that their parents were. . . special, almost mythological beings.

There were still times when the four of them would sit in the game room, and recount their memories of the many months of testing that they had gone through, when they were younger.

It was during that time that they had discovered that both of the women that were raising them, were indeed, their parents.

The foursome had always knew that they were a family, but it wasn't until their grandmother had tried to gain custody of the two oldest, that they found out that, both Dani and Lisa were the biological parents of all four of them.

It was then that the Kendrick children started to believe, that through the power of love, their parents could do anything.

Evan sent out a mental prayer. ‘Please make this lady leave Griff alone, because, I have a feeling it's gonna be a toss-up between, which one of our parents is gonna have to be held back when they confront her.'



FEBRUARY 17, 2007

As Lisa walked by Anna's open door, she stopped to look at her daughter, Anna looked a lot like Catherine Zeta-Jones, without the exception of her eye color, and the blonde highlights in her chestnut brown hair.

At the moment, she was sitting at her desk, reading yet another law book, at fourteen Anna's determination to become a lawyer was unwavering.

Lisa stood in the doorway and noticed for the hundredth time her daughter's framed photographs of famous female lawyers, ranging from Clara Shortridge Foltz, the first female admitted to the California state bar, to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

When Lisa's eyes wondered back to her daughter, blue-green eyes were looking at her with amusement twinkling in their depths, much like Dani's.

“What's-up mam?”

Lisa walked into the room and sat on the edge of Anna's bed. “Nothing, I was just walking by and saw you sitting there and. . .”

Lisa was at a loss for words, how do you tell your child that you just stopped to stare at them because you were suddenly overcome with love for them, without embarrassing the kid.

Anna held up her hand and Lisa couldn't help but notice that her fingers were long and slim like Dani's.

“And you couldn't resist the urge to stand and take in the vision that is Anna Kendrick.”

Lisa couldn't stop the laugh from erupting from her mouth. As attractive as their children were, none of them seemed to take it very seriously.

Lisa stood from her perch on the bed, and started walking out of the room, before she crossed the threshold she looked over her shoulder at her daughter one more time.

“Dinner will be ready in a couple of hours, do you think you'll be done with your reading by then?”

“Yeah, I only have a few more pages to read.”

The small blonde left the room and headed downstairs to the kitchen with thoughts of how blessed she was to be surrounded by a love that she had never dreamed was possible.



When Lisa finished basting the four large chickens she was cooking, she straightened-up and felt two strong arms wrap around her waist immediately, then her ear was covered with by a moist warm breath.

“Hey good lookin' watcha got cookin'?”

The educator turned in her spouse's warm embrace and raised-up on her toes for a kiss.

“I'm cooking four chickens.”

Dani raised her dark brow in question, as Lisa leaned back a little, resting her back against the counter while she laced her fingers around her mate‘s strong neck.

“Don't look at me like that, you know that Evan and Griff can eat one, you and Stan can eat one and that would leave one for me and Anna to share, and you know that her appetite rivals the boys, I cooked an extra one because without fail, someone will want leftovers to make a sandwich before the night is through.

Dani leaned in and started nibbling on Lisa's lips. “You take very good care of us Beth.”

Lisa tightened her hold on Dani's neck. “And so do you baby.”

Dani leaned in and took possession of the sweetest lips she had ever tasted, they were so involved in their kiss that they didn't hear their children enter the kitchen.

Griff walked right past them like they weren't there and opened the refrigerator.

“I'm gettin' a fruit punch, what do you guys want?”

Stan asked for an A&W, Anna wanted a Pepsi and Evan asked for a Lipton Green Tea.

Griff collected everyone's request and walked past his parents again, he noticed that they had stopped kissing, but were still embracing each other, so he stopped.

His siblings closed the distance between him and them and grabbed their drinks out of his hands, they all opened their beverages before Griff decided to ask a question.

“Now remind me again, how long have you two been together?”

Dani smiled crookedly at the kids before she picked Lisa up and sat her on the counter, then she turned around and leaned back between the smaller woman's legs.

“Almost nineteen years. . . why?”

Evan picked-up on his brother's line of questioning.

“And how many nights in nearly nineteen years have the two of spent apart?”

Lisa rested her chin on Dani's shoulder.

“One. . . the night before we got married. . . again, why”

Anna joined in. “Even when we were born, you two never slept apart?”

Dani rolled her eyes, their kids already knew the answers to these questions.

“No, I stayed with your mam until it was time to go home.”

Griffin's blue eyes started to spark with mischief. “I guess what I want to know is… after spending everyday together since the night that you met. . . aren't cha tired of each other yet?”

Stan started to laugh. “Yeah, they are pretty disgusting, I think we have the mushiest parents in town.”

Anna burped after taking a swallow of her cola. “Oh, excuse me.”

Then she smiled and started to slowly back out of the kitchen. “You know what guys, the two of them being mushy with each other isn't the problem.”

They all looked at her, confused, as she turned to run from the room, and just before she was out of sight, she yelled.

“It's not their mushiness that we should be concerned about…. it's when mam turns up pregnant again that we're gonna have to separate them!”

The boys laughter was immediate and loud, as Lisa wrapped her legs around Dani's waist and held on to her neck.

“Let's go baby, I bet we can catch her before she hits the stairs.”

Without hesitation, Dani took off, with Lisa in tow while they went in search of their daughter with the boys close on their heals

The three males had been on the receiving end of their parents double tickle torture enough to know what Anna was in for, and couldn't wait to see it happen.

Evan yelled with glee. “Oh yeah, the Raven Queen is gonna get it now!”

Just as Dani's foot was about to make contact with the first step leading upstairs, they heard the basement door close, they immediately changed direction and headed for the door leading to the game room.

Lisa was holding on to Dani's shoulders with one hand and smacking her on the rear with the other as the tall woman ran after their daughter.

“Giddy-up goofy, we've got fresh meat to tenderize.”



FEBRUARY 19, 2007

Kimberly Gordon was sitting at her desk, school had just let out and she was gathering up her materials, her hands were on auto pilot because her mind was somewhere else.

She was remembering the first time that she saw Devonald Griffin Kendrick, she was taking roll and when she called out his name, he raised his hand and said here.

His voice was deep and when she looked up, she was mesmerized by cobalt blue eyes, so caught-up in them she almost missed his request to call him Griffin.

When class was over, she watched him leave, taking note of his long muscular body, her mind started to short circuit when later in the week, she saw him in the hallway talking to his exact double.

At that moment, her thoughts started to swirl with one sentence. ‘How on earth can there be two of them, that must be some family.'



She was in the parking lot, heading for her car, when she saw the Kendrick twins getting into their van, without thought, she called out to Griff, having no idea what she was going to say to him.

As she approached the boys, they turned around, when she got closer, she noticed that the only difference between the young men was that Griffin had a mark on his throat that his brother didn't.

‘Well, that's one way to tell them apart.' She thought.

When she was standing in front of the tall tenth grader she reached out and rubbed his coat covered arm.

“I was wondering if you were having any problems in class?”

Griff stepped back a little from her touch. “No I'm feeling very comfortable, but thank you for asking.”

She stepped forward to regain his personal space. “Good, I'm glad to hear that, but if you come across something that you can't grasp. . . let me know and I'll set-up some after school tutoring sessions for us.”

Evan was trying his best to remain calm, he couldn't believe how obvious this teacher was being, so he pulled his brother back and stepped in between them.

“If Griff needs any help, our parents will tutor him, our mam is a teacher and runs her own prep-school.”

Kimberly Gordon looked into Evan Kendrick's eyes and saw another difference between him and his brother, his eyes were now hard and threatening, she inhaled and took a couple of steps back, hoping the distance would give her a chance to calm her nerves.

“Oh, I. . . I umm, didn't know that. . . okay then I won't hold you up any longer, have a good evening.”

She turned and almost ran back to her car thinking. ‘I don't think I want to run into the other one that often, he's a little scary.'



All four of the kids were in the basement playing with the various games that they had acquired over the years.

Evan and Anna were playing tennis on the Wii game system that they had gotten for Christmas, while Stan was playing an old Pac-Man game sit down floor model.

Griff was on the far end of the room throwing darts as he talked to his brother. “I don't know what to do Ev, it doesn't look like she's gonna stop.”

Evan was moving backwards in preparation to return his sister's serve. “I told you a month ago what you needed to do, after what I saw, she needs to have an up close and personal experience with mom and mam.”

Anna returned her brother's volley with a fast ball that Evan couldn't get to quick enough, and took pleasure in the point that she had received.

“What are you two dorks talking about?”

Evan looked at his twin, and wasn't surprised when Griff walked over to his siblings and plopped down on a seat near where they were playing.

“My history teacher is flirting with me.”

Anna stopped what she was doing and missed the next ball, the game was forgotten and she went to sit beside her brother.

“What do you mean by flirting with you?”

Griff sunk down into the sofa and stretched out his long legs. “It seems like every chance she gets, she's touching me somehow or squeezing by shoulder or patting my arm, I don't know, maybe I'm over reacting.”

His sister's litigious mind kicked in and took over. “Does she touch the other students the same way that she touches you?”

“No, not that I have noticed”

“Does her touch make you fill uncomfortable?”


Anna was becoming angry at this point. “Then she needs to be reported.”

Stan stopped playing Pac-Man and walked over to join his brothers and sister. “Who needs to be reported?”

Evan didn't look at his little brother as he answered his question. “Griff's history teacher.”

Young green eyes went wide. “Why?”

The four siblings were very close, they shared most things with each other, so when twelve year-old Stan wanted to know what was going on, there was no hesitation in telling him.

Anna turned to face Stan. “Because she's trying to make Griff be her boyfriend.”

The blonde boys face twisted in disgust. “That's gross!”

Before Anna could comment, they heard a very familiar deep sultry voice. “What's gross Stan my man?”

They all went stiff at once, and this didn't go unnoticed by Lisa, she stepped around her spouse after they had reached the bottom of the stairs and started to questioned their children.

“What's going on down here?”

Anna looked at Griff and whispered. “Tell them.”

Evan looked at Griff. “If you don't I will.”

Dani and Lisa were starting to get a bit anxious, the cryptic conversation going on between the kids was setting them on edge, and just as Dani was about to demand an answer Griffin stood-up and walked towards them.

“Mom, mam, I want you to have a seat.”

The young man didn't realize that his request was making his parents crazier, they both sat down on one of the sofas and waited.

Lisa looked at their sons for a second and noticed that both of them were starting to grow facial and chest hair and their bodies and features were starting to settle into those of a man, leaving childhood behind, but in this moment, Griffin looked like her little baby again and she wanted to know why.

“Honey, you can tell us anything. . . you know that don't you?”

Griffin looked into his mam's soft green eyes and understood why his mom was always calmed when she stared into them, so he pushed forward and spilled his guts.

“I think my history teacher is making passes at me.”

There. . . it was out. . . he had told them and now it could be dealt with.

Dani jumped-up off of the sofa and started to yell. “Your what, is what?!”

Griff was nervous, he knew that his parents would never hit them, but the energy rolling off of his mother was making him a little nervous.

Lisa grabbed Dani's belt loops and pulled her back down. “Baby, just calm down and let Griff tell us what is going on.”

The young man sat on the floor at his parent's feet and told them everything that had gone on, when he was finished, he looked up at them and waited for their reaction.

Dani was furious, the only thing that stopped her from jumping in the truck and finding this woman was Lisa's firm grip on her.

Lisa was angry too, but she was trying to think of a solution that didn't end with the teacher's body parts being scattered across the parking lot.

She stood-up and reached down for Dani's hand, Griff stood at the same time, and Lisa hugged him as she told him that she was glad that he trusted them enough to tell them what was going on.

Dani hugged him too, and that was when it really hit her that their children were growing up, as she embraced Griff, she couldn't help but notice that he was now two inches taller than she was, and was going into manhood.

She thought about a time when they were still in diapers, and how she used to tuck them under her arms and carry them into the house for their baths, and a wave of protectiveness clenched at her heart, she didn't care how tall, or how big, or how old they got, they would always be her babies and she would move mountains to keep them safe.

When Dani pulled back from the hug, Lisa grabbed her by the hand to lead her upstairs, and she looked lovingly at their children before she spoke.

“It makes us very happy to know that you guys feel like you can tell us when you're having a difficult time, we are going to go and talk about this, then we are going to fix it.”

She then looked at Griff. “Don't worry sweetheart, we ARE going to fix this problem.”

This made the young man feel one hundred percent better, so much so, that as his parents climbed the stairs, he yelled out, injecting some humor.

“You won't let mom pulverize her will ya?”

Lisa laughed a little. “No I won't.”

But just before their parents reached the upper floor, the kids heard Dani say.

“And for that, she should be truly thankful.”



FEBRUARY 24, 2007


The kids had decided to drive up to their grandfather's cabin and visit with him for awhile, they piled out of the van and knocked on the door of the cabin, when they didn't get an answer, they went around back and saw him standing at a picnic bench cleaning fish.

“Hey pops!” Evan yelled as they approached.

Gil raised his head from cleaning the store bought fish to see who was calling him, although he hadn't caught them in the creek that ran behind his home, he still liked the feeling of being outdoors when he cleaned his catch .

When he saw the kids, a broad smile covered his handsome face, he really enjoyed the times when his grandchildren came to visit.

He started wiping his hands on the towel that was draped over his shoulder and went to meet them half way.

“Hey there ya troublemakers, to what honor do I owe this visit?”

They all took positions around the picnic table that Gil had built from the leftover trees that remained after he had built his cabin.

“We haven't seen you for a couple of weeks so we decided to come by and make sure you hadn't up and moved away.” Anna said with a smile.

Gil looked around the table at his grandchildren, it was still sometimes hard to believe that all four of them were a product of Dani and Lisa.

When he was told about the DNA test results, he found it difficult to believe, but the older they got, the more he could see the subtle influences in their features that came from both of their parents.

Small things, like the shape of the twins ears, that were mirror images of Lisa, or the strong set of Stan's jaw that was all Dani, and Anna. . .

Anna's features were such a mix of both of her parents that trying to pick out just one was a waste of time, it was his granddaughter's resemblance to both, Lisa and Dani that had convinced the carpenter that the test results were accurate.

He sat on the edge of the table to greet them, glad for their company “I've just been hanging out up here doing little improvements on the place.”

Stan put the backpack that he was carrying on the tabletop, then unzipped it so that he could pull out the drinks that they had brought, after he gave everyone, including their grandfather a can of soda, he zipped the bag back up.

Griff popped open his can before he spoke. “We were just starting to miss the influence of our very own personal mountain man and decided to come up for a dose of the bad habits that only you can provide.”

Not for the first time, Gil wondered what he could have possibly done right to have such love bestowed upon him. . . but he wasn't believing their story for a minute, they were here for a reason other than what they were saying, and wanted to know what it was.

“Come on ya little smart-alecks, spill it, what's the reason you're here?” The corner of his mouth turned up in a smile while he waited for an answer.

“Ya got too much of my offspring in ya to just be showing up for no reason.”

Griff put his soda can down and looked deeply into his grandfather's blue eyes. “We just wanted to make sure that you were okay pops.”

Anna wrapped her arm around the older man's shoulder and kissed his grizzled cheek.

“It's just that ever since Taid and Nain passed away. . . for the last three years you've been. . . I don't know. . . kinda anafu. (Hurt)

Gil felt the sting of tears in his eyes from the concern he saw in his grandchildren's faces, he inhaled deeply through his nostrils in an effort to dry the tears before they fell. ‘Get a hold of yourself Gildas, ya actin' like you ain't never felt loved before.'

He took a large swallow of his drink to stall for time, and when he felt more in control, he sat at the table and told the kids to move in closer.

“If I tell ya kids somethin', can ya hold yer tongues?”

All four of them shook their heads yes.

“The last couple of weeks I've been up here trying to decide if I should ask Audrey to marry me, I mean we've been seeing each other for five years now and we ain't gettin' any younger, soooo. . .”

The children were relieved and happy, their pops thinking about getting married was a much better story than the ones they were coming up with during the times when they wondered what was going on with him.

But what they didn't know was that at sixty-seven, Gil was finally feeling the need for a permanent connection with someone.

He felt like a spoiled old man, it wasn't until after his parents had passed away, that he felt an emptiness start to grow inside of him, it had taken him a long time to realize what his problem was, but when understanding took root in his soul, it brought him to his knees.

He realized that his parent's love for him, and each other had made it unnecessary for him to seek out any long term relationships for himself.

Their presence in his life made him feel safe, and in a way their love for each other filled him with a sense of wholeness, he felt like he was already a part of something so concrete that he didn't need to go outside of their family to find completion.

It wasn't until his mam died and his father had became a shell of his former self, that it hit him, the two of them were the unit, just like Dani and Lisa were their own unit, and one day his grandchildren would go out into the world and become apart of their own unit.

He finally realized that he had to make a connection for himself, one that was between him and someone that he could love, and that could loved him in return.

After Marilyn, he had never thought about marriage again, who needed to risk that hurt and disappointment again, but now, after being around people that loved and needed each other, he understood what the noise was all about, and he wanted it, he needed it for himself.

“So what do you think, should I ask her?”

Their faces were beaming with joy and then Evan spoke for the group. “Go for it pops.”



Lisa, Cynthia and Shirley were sitting in a booth at the local pizzeria, the three women would occasionally look in the direction of the arcade games to make sure that Shirley's eleven year old daughter, Jamie, and Cynthia's eight year old, Diana were still occupied with their play.

Shirley pushed her blonde curl's off of her face before addressing her tablemates. “You're kidding. . . right?”

Lisa shook her head no.

Cynthia leaned in closer. “This is really happening?”

Lisa sat back and exhaled. “Yep, some scanky teacher is making advances towards my baby.”

“That is unbelievable, not only because it's wrong, but doesn't this bimbo have any idea who Griff's parents are?” Cynthia asked.


Lisa blushed a little and cleared her throat. “Umm. . . I guess not Cyn. It's not like we go around announcing ourselves to people.”

“Oh yeah, I forgot. . . modest millionaires.”

Lisa rolled her green eyes. “Anyway, it's all I can do to keep Dani from storming down to the high school and dragging the woman down the school hallway.”

Shirley and Cynthia took a moment to envision their tall friend pulling the teacher down the waxed hallway by one ankle.


“Last night I had to talk her out of withdrawing the boys from the school and having them attend the high school here in town.”

Shirley noticed her daughter not allowing the younger Diana a chance on the game they were playing.

“Jamie, you've had your turn, now let Diana play.

The little girl was careful not to let her mother see her roll her hazel eyes before she responded. “Yes ma'am.”

Shirley pulled her attention back to the table. “If you enroll them in the local high school, won't you be defeating the purpose of sending them outside of the town so that they can see how other people live?”

“That's exactly the point I made to her, but it still took a little more persuading on my part to get her to give up that idea.”

Cynthia raised her eyebrows. “Oh really. . . come on blondie spill it, what did you do to the stud?”

Lisa rolled her eyes and exhaled a breath. “After all of these years aren't you two tired of hearing about our sex life?”

Shirley snorted through her nose. “I can't believe after all of these years that you still have a sex life, I have to practically hook Kat up to jumper cables to get her started. ”

Cynthia chimed in. “Tell me about it, Elaine is so wiped out sometimes that I don't have the heart to start with her.”

Lisa got a smug look on her face and rubbed the backs of her fingers up and down the front of her shirt, polishing her nails.

“Well what can I say. . . when ya got it. . . ya got it.”

Shirley took a drink of her soda. “You two got it alright, four children, a multi-million dollar corporation and to top it off, you're forty-five years old and still have an active sex life.”

The architect stuck her tongue out at her friend. “I think I hate you.”

Then Cynthia added fuel to the fire. “Don't forget the fact that she has an entire town named after her.”

Shirley propped her elbow on the table and rested her chin in her hand. “Now I'm depressed.”

The curly-haired woman stopped talking for a moment, seeming to be deep in thought, then just as suddenly, she focused on Lisa and asked her question that had been on her mind for years.

“Lisa, why does Dani and her mother have such a terrible relationship, I mean, my god, the woman tried to take your children away.”

Lisa used her napkin to soak up the moisture that had pooled on the table top around the bottom of her soda glass, in an effort to gather her thoughts so that she could answer her friend in a way that didn't cause hurt feelings.

Well Shirley, that is a matter between Dani and Marilyn.”

“Aw come on Lisa, in all of the years that you two have been together, you have never given us even a small tidbit of information on your not-so-talkative wife… why?”

“How can I put this… okay, imagine finally finding the one person that you feel like you can trust enough to share all of your secrets, fears, and desires with.”

Both women shook their heads in understanding, neither spoke, knowing that the teacher had more to say.

“And then you discover that the only person that you have ever trusted in your entire life, goes around and shares what are the most private, personal aspects of your existence with others, doing what really amounts to nothing more than gossiping.”

Shirley started to feel offended by Lisa's take on her reason for asking her about Dani's disagreement with her mother.

“I don't think that is a fair definition Lisa.”

Cynthia sat and silently listened while the two life long friends navigated their way through what was slowly escalating into a heated conversation.

“Really?… what would you call it then, I mean, I haven't asked for advice, she isn't having any problems that needs to be addressed… why would you need to know about what has gone on between her and her mother if it isn‘t just to hear a juicy bit of information?”

Lisa could see the red tint that was starting to rise in Shirley's cheeks, and had known her friend long enough to recognize the signs when she saw them, her anger was in it's early stages.

“Shirley, please don't get mad, maybe I'm not stating my position as clearly as I should, so I'll try and say it as plainly as I can.

I'm not just her lover, I'm her confidant, and friend, and I'll take every secret that she keeps from the rest of the world with me to my grave.

I love her too much to ever betray the trust that she has placed in me… even if she never found out that I passed something on that she has told me, I would know, and that‘s just like her knowing.”

Understanding started to bloom in the architect's hazel eyes, and Lisa knew that it was time to move past this conversation and talk about something less serious.

A slight smile twitched at the corner of Shirley's mouth as she relaxed and let the anger go. “You know Lisa Kendrick, I really hate you sometimes.”

Cynthia watched the end of one of a hundred disagreements that she had witnessed over the years between the women and took a look at her watch as she blew her hair out of her eyes, feeling bored.

“It's been a long day, but I'm not in the mood to go home.”

Lisa started piling their dirty plates on the edge of the table and tried to think of a way to change their frame of mind.

“Well I've got just the plan to cure that problem.”

“And that would be?”

“Drop the kids off with the wives and go out to have a few drinks together.”

Hazel eyes twinkled. “I take it back. . . I don't hate you. . . I love you!”

All three women pulled out their cell phones and called their spouses to inform them that they were on babysitting duty for the evening.



Kat and Elaine sat on the couch in the large living room waiting for Dani to return with there drinks, when the tall woman came back and sat in a chair across from here friends she handed out the beers.

After taking a deep swallow, Kat sat the bottle down on a coaster. “That hit the spot. . . you know Dani, we really appreciate you inviting us over for beers and a few games of Texas Hold'em.”

“I, for one can admit that you saved me tonight” Elaine said.

“Cynthia didn't leave any sandwiches, leftovers or anything, so when you called, the timing was perfect”

The doctor crossed her legs before she scooped up a handful of peanuts. “You're the only one out of the three of us that have kids old enough to be left alone, so it was with great appreciation that I accepted your invitation to have a communal babysitting night.”

Dani picked-up the game controller and took it off of pause so that the television screen would come alive again with the start of a new game.

After pushing the deal button, the land developer took a sip of her own beer. “I told you guys you got started on your families too late.”

The gym teacher pushed the raise button on her controller before she gave her hostess the evil eye. “ If we had a chance to be in the running with you and Lisa, me and Shirley would have had to start making babies before we met.” Kat said.

Elaine laughed at the truth of the statement. “Even with my skills as a fertility specialist, I don't think I could have pulled that one off.”

The doctor became quiet for a moment, trying to gather the courage to ask a question that had been on her mind for a few years.

“Um… has there ever been a time over the years when you guys have been tempted to… you know… stray?”

Dani paused the game again and focused on the woman that had made it possible for her and Lisa to start a family.

“I can't speak for Kat, but for me, no, there has never been a time when I have thought about being with anyone other than Beth.”

Kat looked a little uncomfortable, and took another swig from her beer bottle. “I've never cheated on Shirley, but I have to admit that there have a few women that have caught my eye over the years.”

The doctor looked relieved before she spoke again. “Me too, I can say that I've never cheated either, but there have been times when I came close.”

The admission seemed to fuel Kat's confidence. “Elaine, have you ever kissed another woman since you have been with Cynthia?”

The older woman hung her head and started to peel the label from her beer bottle. “I hate to admit it, but, yes, once, the temptation was so strong that, I found myself in a storage room with a nurse, and I did kiss her, but afterwards, I felt so guilty that I got sick to my stomach.”

“I guess that I can tell you guys that one time, I found myself alone with one of the other gym teachers, and well… one thing lead to another, and we kinda kissed a little bit.”

Kat quickly tried to minimize her actions by saying that it was only a momentary laps, and that it had never happened again.

She looked at Dani with brown eyes pleading for understanding, waiting to see what the builder would say.

Dani felt the eyes of her friends upon her and knew that she had to answer their silent questions, she hoped that her response wouldn't lower their opinion of her, but she had to tell them the truth.

“Look guys, I know that you think that me and Beth are the perfect couple, and nothing could ever come between us, so what I have to say on the subject is just going to piss you off.”

She ran her large hands down her denim covered thighs and told them the truth. “Neither Beth, nor I are blind to the beauty of other women, yes, we have noticed them, but I can honestly tell you that I have never… ever been tempted to do anything with the ones that have showed and interest in me.”

Both women spoke at the same time. “Never?”

“No, never, Beth completes me, and I have never felt the desire for another's touch.”

The construction worker was surprised by her friends reaction, both Kat and Elaine smiled in a way that was reassuring, it was almost as if they were relieved to hear her answer.

Kat picked up her controller to resume their game. “You give me hope Dani, you and Lisa are what dreams are made of.”

Dani pushed the button that made the electronic dealer turn over three cards in the deck and assumed a cocky air.

“What can I say girls. . . I saw who I wanted and I claimed her right away.”

She hit the raise button and leaned back in her chair. “Just like I'm gonna claim this hand, now, what do you want to do Kat, raise your bid or fold?”



Lisa came home long after her family had turned in for the night, she made her way upstairs to the bedroom, and then into the bathroom on wobbly legs, she managed to brush her teeth and remove her clothes without making too much noise.

She turned off the light after she was finished in the bathroom, and made her way through the dark room from memory.

When she reached her side of the bed, she pulled back the covers and laid down, as her body hit the soft mattress, she exhaled deeply.

Dani felt the bed move and rolled over to pull her wife close to her. “Did you have fun baby?”

Lisa released a soft moan. “ To be honest, I think I had a little too much fun.”

Dani raised up on her elbow and looked down into her wife's face. “You didn't drive did you Beth?”

Lisa rolled her green eyes with much effort. “No. . . we called a cab.”

Dani snorted through her nose. “So what you are saying is, those of us that didn't over indulge tonight, get to go pick-up the cars tomorrow. . . is that the plan?”

Lisa turned over and wrapped her arms around Dani's neck. “You. . . are. . . a . . . genius, I knew there was a reason why I married you.”

The tipsy blonde pulled her spouse closer and kissed her soft lips, before Dani could pull away, Lisa deepened the contact.

That's when Dani realized that her wife was naked, as Lisa reached down and started to pull the brunette's t-shirt up, long fingers wrapped around a delicate wrist and Dani pulled back from the kiss.

“Baby you know what happens every time we make love after you've been drinking.”

Lisa was trying to pull her wrist out of Dani's grip as she peppered the tall woman's face with kisses.

“No, what happens when we make love after drinking?”

Dani felt her resolve melting as warm lips attached themselves to her neck and small bites pricked at her skin.

“The. . . umm. . . the kids look at us funny the next day.”

Lisa finally worked her wrist free and started to rub the warm skin under her spouses night shirt.

“I don't know what you're talking about baby.”

The small blonde brought her hands around the front of Dani's body, and started to rub her palms over Dani's nipples, instantly making them hard.

The taller woman moaned deep in her chest as nimble fingers started to roll the already extended dark tips that were becoming more and more sensitive.

“Beth. . . baby. . . you know how loud you get when your inhibitions disappear.”

Busy hands changed direction and moved down to take hold of a tight firm rear end as Dani's hot breathe warmed her ear. “It's late, the kids are asleep, they won't hear a thing.”

Lisa maneuvered her body so that she was pressed against her spouse's need, when wet dark curls made contact with a lightly muscled thigh, all of Dani's reasons for wanting to stop her wife's advances went out of the window.

She pulled her sleep shirt over her head and threw it to the floor, Dani immediately moved down Lisa's neck, kissing the soft skin as she made her way to an extended pink nipple.

She latched on to the puckered tip with her mouth as she reached down and cupped her wife's round bottom, Lisa grabbed two handfuls of dark hair and held her partner to her breast.

Dani shifted their positions just enough to press their centers tightly together and started moving her hips in a rhythm that had been perfected over the years.

“You don't play fair Beth, you know that you are my weakness.”

The blonde woman didn't care about fair at the moment, all she was concerned about was expressing her love for her soul mate.

She opened her legs further apart to give herself more room to touch her mate, as she pulled Dani away from her breast and took her mouth in a deep kiss, her hand reached down and caressed the tall woman's thigh.

Dani knew what was coming next, so she wasn't surprised when a hand worked its way between their bodies and started to move through her damp curls.

When Lisa's fingers reached her hard nub, Dani threw caution to the wind, and started to make love to her wife, as if they were the only people in the house.

The last coherent thought Lisa had before giving herself over to the passion that had reached a boiling point was. ‘I won't ever get enough of her.'



The next morning Lisa was moving at a slower pace than usual as she served her family breakfast, Dani entered the kitchen with a little pep in her step and poured herself a cup of coffee.

When she noticed her wife's condition, she took over the cooking and sat her down at the table and pressed the cup of coffee she had just poured into her hands.

The Kendrick children ate their breakfast and silently gave each other knowing looks around the table, when they finished their meal and placed their dishes in the dishwasher, they crabbed their coats to leave.

Each one kissed their parents on the cheek and headed for the side door, before leaving the kitchen to enter the mud room, the four of them turned as one and started singing.

“Rock- a- bye baby, on the tree top. . . !”

Without finishing the song, they all took off running out of the door laughing hysterically.

Dani raised a dark brow and looked into her spouses green eyes. “I told ya.”

Lisa dropped her head onto the table top and mumbled. “Yeah, well, that and a buck will get ya a cup of coffee.”



FEBRUARY 26, 2007

After spending the week talking about how to handle Griffin's teacher, Dani and Lisa decided that Lisa would go to the school and have a talk with the woman, feeling like they needed to hear her side of things.

As Lisa read through the documents in front of her, she felt like she was missing something, she had pulled the teacher's file and read through her career, what she read didn't fit the personality of a predator.

There was even a letter of performing excellence in the folder from the high school that she was now working in.

Being the owner of one the most prestigious prep schools in the country, allowed Lisa the convenience of requesting and receiving the files for any teacher that she might be considering for employment, so getting Kim Gordon's files had posed no problem for the educator.

Now Lisa walked down the hallway of her son's high school looking for Griff's history class, she and Dani had decided years before that they would send their children to public schools after the age of twelve, because they didn't want them growing up in a totally isolated environment.

Because they needed to know that the rest of the world didn't live the way that they did in the town that they were growing up in, both parents thought that the outside exposure would help to make them well rounded members of society.

As Lisa checked the doors for the correct room number, she thought to herself. ‘Unfortunately this is what the world is coming to, a society where teachers are preying on their students.'

She shook her head. ‘One would think that people would be more concerned about the reported threats to their children instead of the imagined ones.'

The numbers on the doors showed her that she was almost there. ‘Teachers, priest, politicians, scout leaders, all of the heterosexual leaders in our communities are damaging our children at will, but all the country can concentrate on is whether or not two consenting adults of the same sex should be allowed to marry.'

Lisa reached her destination and as she pulled the door open, she wondered, not for the first time. ‘What is wrong with people, the same person that can show compassion for the homeless by dropping a dollar in their outstretched hand, can then turn around and spit in your face if you walk by holding your same sex partner's hand. . . it's all so strange.'

When Ms. Gordon heard her door open, she turned from cleaning the board to see who it was, she didn't recognize the small blonde woman that entered her classroom, but recognized the purpose in her body language.

“May I help you with something?”

Lisa continued walking until she was standing in front of the woman, Kim could see the woman clearly now, she still didn't know who she was, but the beautiful blonde looked familiar for some reason.

Lisa extended her hand. “Hello, I'm Lisa Kendrick. . . Griffin's mother.”

Kim's heart skipped a beat, she could see it now, Griffin didn't look exactly like this small woman, but she could definitely see the similar features in their faces, and now she knew where that cute little patch of blonde hair came from.

The history teacher excepted the hand that was offered to her and shook it. “Please have a seat Mrs. Kendrick and tell me what I can do for you.”

Lisa sat at one of the desks and took in the woman that was in front of her, she was of average height, build and looks, her mousey brown hair was parted on one side and fell to her shoulders, overall, the woman was ordinary.

Lisa looked into the woman's blue-gray eyes and asked her first question. “Ms. Gordon, how old are you?”



The questioned shocked the teacher, but looking into those compelling green eyes, she had no choice but to answer.

“I'm thirty-eight, why?”

“Because my son just turned sixteen two months ago and I was wondering what would make a thirty-eight year old woman risk her career by touching a sixteen year-old boy in a way that makes him feel uncomfortable.”

On a whim, Lisa had decided that instead of asking the teacher her side of the story, she would use one of Dani's tactics and be blunt, hoping that the shock would reveal the truth on the woman's face before she could come up with a lie. . . it did.

“Mrs. Kendrick, I have no idea what you are talking about, I haven't done anything to your son that I haven't done to my other students.”

Lisa stood to leave, she had the only answer that she needed. “Well Ms. Gordon, I advise you to stop doing what ever it is that you are doing to your students before you find yourself out of a job.”

Kim felt the need to defend herself so that this woman would get it out of her head that she was after her son, she didn't need her to stir-up suspicions, she wasn't going to let this little woman stand in her way, she knew that given the time and opportunity, she could have what she wanted.

“You are mistaken Mrs. Kendrick, if your son is feeling uncomfortable it has nothing to do with me, I've been nothing but a professional with him.”

Then she paused for a second, so that she could get her look of concern just right.

“Maybe you should find someone for him to talk to, you know, someone that can help him to understand why he thinks a person in a position of authority is making advances towards him. . . has he every been. . . you know. . . molested?”

Lisa's head was about to explode. “You just made a huge mistake lady, I came here to try and solve this problem without. . . ”

Just them, Lisa's phone rang, when she saw the name on the screen, an evil smile crossed her lips.


Dani was sitting outside in the parking lot, she had promised Lisa that she would wait at home to find out how the meeting went, but she couldn't do it, so she figured that she would wait out in the parking lot so that she could get the news sooner.

“Hey baby, I know that I promised that I would stay away, but I couldn't just sit at home and wait.”

“Where are you?”

Dani smiled sheepishly. “Umm. . . in the parking lot out front.”

“Oh really, I'm actually glad to hear that.”

Dani became a little concerned. “Why, what's going on?”

“Well it seems that Ms. Gordon feels like Griff is making up these accusations about her because maybe. . . someone in his past has molested him.”

Lisa had to pull the phone away from her ear, when Dani stopped screaming, she put it back.

“Yes I'm standing here in front of her. . . okay, it's room number two-twenty. . . I'll be waiting.”

Lisa closed the phone and looked at Ms. Gordon. “Someone else would like to talk to you about Griff's. . . problems.”

Both women could hear the sound of Dani's work boots coming down the hallway, Kim had no idea who was coming to talk to her, but the self satisfied look on the blonde woman's face told her that it wasn't going to be a good thing.

Dani pulled the door open and was standing beside her wife in a few long strides. “Is this the. . . mmmph.”

Lisa covered Dani's mouth before she could get the insult out. “Yes, this is her.”

Kim's mind screamed. ‘If the blonde is their mother. . . this is most definitely their. . . father.'

Her brain didn't have time to consider how ridiculous the thought was, because she was being held in place by blue ice.

‘Now I know where the other one got that look from, in a few years, his will be just as frightening.'

“Ms Gordon, I'd like for you to meet my wife, Dani Kendrick.”

Something in the teacher's brain was telling her that she knew who these people were, but she couldn't get a hold on it.

“I guess me saying that it's nice to meet you, would just irritate you further.”

“Damn right it would, where the hell do get off saying our son was molested?”

The dark woman's beauty was only enhanced by her sultry voice, even in anger the sound of it was like being cut by velvet steel.

She shook herself to clear her head, when she looked again, she realized that she could be in big trouble, the tall woman looked like she had every intention of causing her bodily harm.

“Ms. Kendrick, I didn't mean that your son had been molested. . . I was just looking for a reason as to why he would think that I was making advances towards him.”

Dani took a step forward, with intent. “Maybe because it's true.”

Lisa hooked her fingers in Dani's belt loop, and pulled her back . “Annwyl, bod da.” {Annwyl, be good}

The tall woman physically relaxed and stopped her forward movement. “Okay, Beth.”

Kim couldn't believe her eyes, in that one motion, it became obvious that the small blonde had complete control over the dark menace, and her only thought was.

‘It must be intoxicating to be in control of that kind of power.'

Lisa had been looking at the teacher throughout her interaction with Dani, and recognized every change in her face for what it was.

First there was surprise, then there was fear, soon that turned into lust and now she saw envy.

Lisa's face barely registered any emotions about what the woman was feeling, after all of their years together, the blonde had absolutely no doubt as to whom Dani belonged to, so the teacher‘s interest didn‘t even register as a threat on her radar.

Your assumptions are wrong Ms. Gordon “My wife is very much in control of herself, she only listens to me because she chooses to.”

Dani looked down at her spouse. “What are you talking about Beth?”

Lisa rubbed Dani's back. “Ms. Gordon thinks that I am in control of you and your actions sweetheart, I'm just trying to set the record straight.”

Lisa was speaking to Dani, but once again, her eyes never lost contact with those of the history teacher.

Dani's blue eyes bore a hole into the teacher as a predatory grin showed on her face as she spoke. “She's absolutely right Beth, I stopped because you told me to, but I would just as quickly rip her a new one if it was what you wanted.”

A chill ran down the woman's back, in that moment, she knew that if the blonde hadn't been there, she would be in physical danger, consequences be damned.

Lisa broke the tension. “Ms. Gordon, this is what's going to happen, we are going to transfer Griffin out of this class and you are not to have any contact with him, if we hear that you are making our son, or any of the other students uncomfortable by touching them, I will see to it that you never teach again. . . anywhere.”

Lisa turned to leave and Dani followed her. “You had better listen to her lady, that was no idol threat, she has the power to do exactly what she is threatening to do.”

And with that, they were gone. Kim sat at her desk and rested her forehead in her palms. ‘Well, I think that visit cured me of my crush.'

She never wanted to see those two again, she had no idea what had come over her, never in her life had she acted the way that she had with Griffin Kendrick with another student, in a way, Griffin telling his parents probably saved her career.

The teacher stood-up and went back to cleaning the chalk off of the board, there was still something tickling her brain about the couple, she just didn't know what it was, but there was something very familiar about those two.

When she finished cleaning the board, she decided to go to the office and pull Griffin's file, maybe she could find some answers there.

She pulled up Griffin Kendrick's files on the computer and started reading. “Let's see here, he's a straight A student, an athlete, one of four children, attended Kendrick Preparatory school from pre-K through grade six.

Her heart started to pound in her chest at the mention of the prep school, she quickly scanned down the page to read the parent's information section.

She almost fainted when she read the words, Danielle and Lisa Kendrick, owners of Kendrick Construction, Kendrick Homes and Kendrick Preparatory school.

“Ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod was all that she could say over and over, she read the home address and nearly passed out.

“Elizabethtown, Maryland.” She rested her head on the counter that the computer sat on as she mentally kicked herself for not putting it all together.

“How stupid am I, a gay couple, last name Kendrick, the tall woman called the shorter woman Beth, Beth is short for Elizabeth, as in Elizabethtown.”

Kim raised her head and just stared at the door that lead to the hallway, the enormity of her mistake finally setting in.

“I almost screwed-up royally.”



MARCH 3, 2007

Lisa was headed into the laundry room when the front doorbell rang, she changed her direction and went to answer it, when she opened the door, she was happy to see her father-in-law standing there.

“Well look who finally decided to give the wildlife a break and come into town to visit with people.”

Lisa grabbed the older man by the sleeve of his flannel shirt and pulled him into an embrace.

“We've really missed you dad.”

She pulled him the rest of the way into the house and led him to the kitchen where she poured him a cup of coffee.

Gil took a sip of the hot liquid and then took a moment to look at his daughter-in-law.

“Well little girl, I must admit, I've missed ya'll too.”

Lisa placed a box of cheese danish on the table and took a seat across from the man that had been missing for nearly two months.

Lisa noticed that Gill was fidgeting with his coffee cup and knew that this wasn't just an ordinary visit, he was trying to figure out a way to say something that was very important.

The small woman's heart started to pound a little. ‘Please don't let him be thinking about leaving, it would kill my baby if her pop disappeared on her after all of these years of having him so close.'

“Okay, spill it old man, what's on your mind?'

Gil's blue eyes smiled, his daughter-in-law was always one to get to the point and he was happy to see that this time wasn't going to be any different.

He cleared his throat and leaned back in his chair. “Well, ya bossy little thing, if ya must know I've been thinking about asking Audrey to marry me.”

Lisa jumped out of her chair and hugged the seated man before he could take his next breath, relieved by his admission.

Gil laughed and patted her back. “I guess I can take that as a sign that you approve.”

Lisa kissed his cheek. “You most certainly can dad, this is great news.”

Dani came through the back door and took in the scene unfolding in front of her with great interest.

“What's great news?”

She walked over to her spouse and kissed her softly on the lips.

“Your father… Gildas Kendrick is going to leave bachelorhood behind and ask Audrey to marry him!”

Dani's eyes glowed with excitement and she clasped her father on his back.

“It's about time pop, I thought for sure you were trying to see how long you could date a lady without making an honest woman out of her.”

Gil's eyes dimmed a little at the jab and he hung his head in shame, the fact that he and Marilyn had never set an example of a loving relationship for their daughter hit him hard .

“I'm sorry my Merch (daughter), because of the selfishness of both of your parents, you were left to find out what a loving relationship could be on your own.”

Both Dani and Lisa looked at Gil in confusion.

“What are you talking about pop?”

The tall man brought his hands up on top of the table and started to twist them together trying to control his nervousness before he spoke.

“Since tad and mam died, I've come to realize that because of the depth of love they had for each other, I never had to really risk my heart to anyone.”

The younger women looked at him bewildered, Dani moved behind Lisa and leaned forward, wrapping her long arms around her seated spouse.

“What are do you mean pop?”

Gil looked at the two women across from him, and the feelings he had been having were brought closer to the surface.

“What I'm saying is. . . because my parents loved each other so deeply, that love spilled over into me, it wasn't until they died that I realized that I was living in the warmth of their love for each other.”

Dani released her hold on Lisa and took the seat beside her. “I still don't understand what you are saying.”

Gil leaned forward and held the two women with his eyes. “What I'm saying is this, I never felt the need to truly connect with anyone because what I should have been looking for, for myself, was already surrounding me and never felt the need.”

It was then that Lisa got a clue. “Are you saying that the deep love that Casnar and Heulyn had for each other fulfilled that need in you?”

Gil sat up in his chair and a broad smile covered his handsome face. “That's exactly what I'm saying, why would I look for what I was already experiencing”?

Lisa looked at Dani and saw that her spouse still didn't understand what was being said, she covered the much larger hand with her own and looked deeply into the blue pools that defined her existence.

“Baby, dad is saying that the love his parents had for each other spilled over into him, and because of that, all of his life he always felt a sense of fulfillment, never needing to make his own love connection.”

Understanding dawned in Dani's blue eyes and she held her father's gaze. “Nain and taid's love was so strong that it filled them as well as you, and by doing that, you never felt the emptiness that a lack of true love can bring.”

Gil had been unable to put it into those exact worlds, but they defined his feelings more than anything that he had come up with.

“Yes, that's exactly what I mean.”

While looking into the eyes of his only child, he spoke from his heart. “After the love that my parents shared left me, I realized what I had deprived you of, I've been staying in my cabin thinking about everything that I have done in my life, and I realized that the thing that I regret the most, is not giving you the love by example, that my parents gave, not only to each other, but to me.”

Dani's eyes softened and she made sure that her voice held nothing but understanding.

“Pop, I have to admit that there were years that I spent resenting both you and mam.”

At the admission, Gil could no longer hold his daughter's gaze so he lowered his head, waiting for her to ridicule him.

That wasn't the reaction that Dani wanted to see, so she pushed her chair from the table and stood to go around and stand beside her father.

“Pop, I didn't say that to make you feel bad, I said that so that I could tell you that if you and mam's lives hadn't played out the way that they did.”

She raised her eyes and held the green eyes that had become her salvation. “If that hadn't happened, then I don't think that I would have ever met the love of my life.”

The blonde woman's smile bloomed on her face and filled the kitchen with its warmth.

Dani dropped her gaze and focused on her father again. “So I guess that you can say that, because of how you and mam's relationship was, it brought me and Beth together.”

Gil felt a load leave his shoulders, for more that thirty-five years he had carried the burden of feeling like he had let his baby down in a big way, but with her few words, she had let him know that she didn't blame him.

The aging carpenter knew that he would always carry a bit of guilt for the pain that he had put his daughter through, but her understanding and forgiveness opened his heart, and he knew that he could go on and try to find his place in this world of love with her blessings.



APRIL 10, 2007

Although Dani was a very wealthy woman, she still got up early every morning and went to work on a job site, the alarm sounded, just as it had for twenty-eight years, and pulled her out of a deep sleep.

She found herself waking up the way that she had for the past eighteen years, Lisa was draped across her body, and the small woman's warm breath on her neck, brought her to wakefulness in a most comforting way.

The tall woman inhaled deeply and released her breath as she pulled her smaller mate closer to her, the motion did what it had always done, and signaled Lisa that it was time to wake-up.

Their routine would began in one of two ways, either the two women would indulge in an early morning session of love making, or, Dani would move from under her wife and walk to the bathroom for her daily shower without giving in to the temptation of Lisa‘s soft skin.

There were times when Lisa would join Dani in the shower and began what hadn't been started in the bed, but on this morning, the educator remained between the warm sheets, and let her spouse prepare for work without any distractions from her.

Dani lowered her head and let the warm stream of water beat down on her, loosing some of the muscles that had tightened up during sleep.

She went over her day in her head and decided that her first order of business would be to run the conduit pipes along the ceiling of the structure that they were building, and then thread the wire through the newly laid pipe.

After she dried herself off and got dressed for work, she leaned over her sleeping spouse and kissed her cheek.

“Are you going in today Beth?”

Lisa stretched out on the mattress and slowly opened her eyes, she just stared at Dani for a moment before she answered her.

“Yeah, but I'm only gonna do a half day because I need to catch up on some things around the house.”

Dani lowered her head and took Lisa's lips in an all consuming kiss before she headed out. “I'll see you this evening Beth, don't forget, you promised me lasagna tonight.”

Lisa turned over, and buried her head in her pillow, making her response sound muffled.

“Yeah, I know goofy, don't worry, you'll have your pasta.”



Dani was high above the floor, running a length of conduit in the ceiling, as the tall electrician backed up on the lift that she was standing on, her focus was fully on the aluminum piping that she was laying out, and not her surroundings.

She didn't realize that the platform of the lift was running out and that there was only about a foot of support left, when she took a step backwards, her right foot hit nothing but air, and she immediately felt her body falling into nothingness.

Before she hit the concrete floor of the open structure, her last thought was. “Beth is going to be soooo mad with me.”



Lisa was sitting in her office sorting through the new applications for teachers and students that were to be enrolled into the prep school, she checked her watch and realized that it was after three o'clock, so she closed the folder of the last applicant and filed it into the cabinet.

When she calculated how long it would take her to get home and get dinner started, it hit her that she had only twenty minutes to get home and start cooking, disappointed that she had only been able to spend four hours in the office, she picked up her briefcase and locked the door behind her as she left.

When she pulled into the driveway, she noticed the van that their children drove was parked in its usual spot, as she gathered the paperwork that she wanted to go over, she ignored a disturbing feeling that passed over her and went into her home.

Her ears picked up the sounds of her children in various locations throughout the house and went about her normal routine, after she changed into her leisure ware, she went down to the kitchen and started to prepare dinner for her family.

After putting together the ingredients for a lasagna, she sat down at the table and started sorting through the mail, all of a sudden, she was enveloped by a feeling of dread, she tried to shake it off as she stood up to check on the lasagna.

When she reached the stove, darkness consumed her mind, and she slowly fell to the floor, her last thought before going completely under was. . . Dani.



Evan smelled the pasta sauce cooking and his stomach started to answer the call of the aroma, he put down the notes that he had been reading on his parent's business progress and felt the need to check on the meal that was being prepared.

“Who knows, maybe mam will give me a sample.” He said to himself as he made his way downstairs to the kitchen.

When he rounded the corner and walked into the kitchen, he saw his mam dropping to the floor and rushed to cushion her fall, while calling out to his twin for help.

“Griff!!. . . come here, something is wrong with mam!”

Griffin heard the panic in his brother's voice and left his room in a rush, Evan's voice also alerted his other siblings that there was a problem, and Anna and Stan arrived in the kitchen at the same time as Griff.

Evan cradled his unconscious mother's blonde head in his lap and his blue eyes were filled with uncertainty as he looked up at his sister for help.

“Anna, what is wrong with her!?”

Rhiannon Kendrick looked on the slack features of her mam and all she could think was that they had to. . .‘FIND MOM!'

Before she could voice her thoughts, the phone rang, Stan raised from his position on the floor and went to answer it.


“I need to speak with Lisa Kendrick.”

Stan looked at his siblings and held the telephone away from his ear. “Some body wants to talk to mam.”

Griffin stood to his full height and walked towards his younger brother, when he reached the twelve-year old, he took the phone from his hands.

“Hi, this is Griffin Kendrick, my mother isn't available at the moment, is there something I can do for you?”

The person on the other end hesitated for a minute and then told the young man what was going on.

“My name is Don Reynolds, and I'm working on a job site with Dani, she just injured when she fell off of a lift and paramedics are taking her to the hospital, I wanted to let Mrs. Kendrick know what was happening so that she could meet the ambulance when it arrived.”

Griff dropped the phone from his ear for a moment to gather his thoughts, when he had made a decision, he spoke to the person on the other end of the phone.

“Okay, I'll let my mam know what is going on, what hospital is our mom being taken to?”

The man on the other end of the phone breathed a sigh of relief. “She's being transported to Greater Eastern Hospital.”

Griffin told the man that they would be there as soon as possible before he hung up the phone.

He looked at his siblings and told them what was happening, then they decided that they needed to call the paramedics and have them take their mam to the same hospital.



When the Kendrick children arrived at the hospital with their mam, they were relieved to see their uncle Doug there.

Anna ran to him and asked what had happened, the tall redhead looked at the four children that he had known their entire life and told them what he knew.

Your mother was up on a lift running pipe, she forgot to hook the chain across the back, and as she backed up, she stepped off of the edge and fell fifteen feet, landing on the cement floor.”

Evan took the lead and started asking questions. “Do you know if she is seriously injured?”

Doug ran his hand through his thinning hair. “I don't know Evan, all that I can tell you is that she hit her head and has been unconscious every since.”

It was at that moment that Doug realized that Lisa wasn't with her children. “Kids, where is your mother?”

Stan started to cry and Anna wrapped her arm around the tall boy's waist to pull him closer to her.

Griff looked at Doug with sad blue eyes. “Mam was in the kitchen cooking, Evan went downstairs to see what we were having for dinner and arrived just in time to catch mam as she passed out.”

“At about the same time, a guy from the job site called and told us about mom, so we had the ambulance bring mam here too.” Evan added.

Doug started to pace around the waiting room, and was mentally going over a list of things to do, first, the parents needed to called, he took control of the situation and started handing out assignments to the Kendrick children.



Dani's first thought was, ‘I love the way the hot sun feels on my face, and the cool sand on my back,' then she realized that she was in the dark.

‘Okay, don't panic, there is a reason for this,' then it dawned on her, ‘open your eyes idiot.'

The electrician slowly opened her blue eyes and was greeted by the most beautiful landscape she had ever seen, she was laying on the beach of what looked like a tropical island.

There was white sand, clear blue water, palm trees, a waterfall, and when she turned her head to look into the thick trees that lined the beach, she saw a small cottage nestled in between them.

As she stood up, her foot hit the pole that she had used to catch the stringer of fish that rested beside it, she gathered her fish and the pole and headed in the direction of the small dwelling, where she knew her spouse would be waiting.

When she pushed the door open, their stood her petite wife, wearing a colorful swatch of material as a top, and a solid colored sarong covered her hips, she was standing in front of a counter, placing the last slices of fruit that she was neatly arranged on a wooden platter.

Dani dropped her catch by the door and walked towards her wife, she wrapped her arms around the small blonde and tried to steal a chunk of pineapple from the assortment laid out in front of her.

Lisa stopped the large hand before it took possession of the yellow fruit and substituted it with a slice of banana with a strawberry wedge on top, Dani accepted the treat that was being fed to her, and pulled in a little bit of finger in with it.

Lisa was mesmerized by the warm tongue that caressed her finger. “Umm . . . sweetheart, did you catch any fish for dinner?”

Dani stopped sucking on her wife's finger and pointed to the bundle that she had left by the door. “I hope that's gonna be enough.”

Lisa walked towards the door and picked up the bounty before she headed out of the back of the cottage where a fire pit with a spit over it was located, there was also a low table off to the side that was used to prepare their meals.

Dani sat cross legged in front of the table and started to clean the six fish that she had caught, while Lisa placed an iron skillet that held her vegetable mix over the fire pit so that the contents would start to roast.

After placing the pan were she wanted it, she sat beside her partner and rested her head on her shoulder. “I really love it here baby.”

She inhaled deeply and took in the clean air. “I could stay here forever.”

Dani looked down into her wife's green eyes and saw the happiness that shined in them. “Me too love, me too.”

A strange feeling passed over Lisa and she raised her golden head and furrowed her brows, she looked around the area and then back to her spouse.

Blue eyes looked back at her with concern. “What's wrong baby?”

Lisa tilted her head to the side as she tried to figure out what was bothering her. “I don't know sweetheart . . . I just feel like we're forgetting about something.”



APRIL 14, 2007

The Kendrick children were starting to panic, it had been four days, and their parents were still unconscious, the doctor that examined Dani explained that there was swelling in her brain and until it was reduced, she would most likely remain unconscious through the healing process.

As for Lisa, they not only didn't have an explanation as to why she was unconscious, but they didn't understand why she was staying that way.

The doctors were bewildered, but the family and friends of the two women had a pretty good idea as to what was going on.

They only discussed their theories with each other, because they knew that the health professionals would not believe that the two women were one.

What did surprise everyone initially, was Lisa's reaction to Dani's injury, never in anybodies wildest dreams did they think that the women's connection was so deep that if one was in a coma that the other would just. . . join them.

It seemed like they were witnessing a miracle of some kind, and they all felt blessed to be a part of it.



Gil, Herman and Alice were participating in their daily vigil, visiting their daughter's hospital room, hoping that today would be the day that they woke up.

They sent the kids down to the cafeteria to eat something and to give them a break from sitting around their parent's room, with nothing to do but imagine the worst.

The two women laid together in a large bed, the room itself looked almost like a bedroom instead of a hospital room.

There had been plenty of opposition when the family insisted that the women not only be placed in the same room, but in the same bed.

All arguments stopped when the staff discovered who the women were, now any request that was made, was carried out with no hesitation.

Gil stood with his back to the bed and stared out the window, deep in thought, Alice held Lisa's hand and rubbed it, willing her child back to consciousness, Herman sat and took in the peaceful look on his daughter's face and couldn't help but think. ‘She seems to be very content wherever she is.'



Lisa pulled the six fish out of the hot coals and removed the leaves that they were baking in, she then placed them on the plate beside the roasted vegetables and fresh fruit slices that had been prepared earlier.

She sat down beside Dani and placed a plate in front of the tall woman. “Umm Beth, this smells delicious, you always put together the most amazing meals.”

The women ate their meal in companionable silence, each just basking in the peaceful existence that they shared together on their island.

After their meal, Dani gathered their dishes and headed into their home, after scrapping the leftover food off of their plates, she place them into the pan that was filled with water set aside especially for dish washing.

The tall woman looked out of the small window that was over the sink and saw that the moon was high in the sky, shining brightly.

“Hey Beth, what do you say we go out on the beach and star gaze for awhile?”

Lisa came up behind her partner and looked around her, into the night sky. “Sounds like a plan.”

The women sat on a blanket as the cool breeze that blew off of the water made their skin prickle, Lisa leaned back further into the strong chest that she was using as backrest and wrapped the long arms tighter around her.

The feeling of contentment that filled her made her speak her words out loud. “Baby, this is so perfect, this must be what heaven feels like.”

The statement caused a jolt to both of their hearts, then worried green eyes looked up into concerned blue.

“Dani, I'm telling you, as wonderful as this is, I feel like we're forgetting about something.”

Dani understood exactly what her wife was saying, she was experiencing the same feelings of something missing, she just couldn't put her finger on the problem.

She kissed the top of her wife's head and whispered into her ear. “Don't worry Beth, we'll figure it out eventually.”

She then raised her eyes to the sky and pointed out a formation of stars that she had never seen before.

“Baby.” She pointed a long finger towards the sky. “Have you ever seen that constellation before?”

Lisa followed the direction of her spouse's digit and saw four stars in the shape of a diamond shining so bright, that it was the most noticeable light in the sky.

The gnawing in her brain became more persistent. “No, I haven't, but it does remind me of something.”



APRIL 17, 2007

Stan was becoming inconsolable, he wanted his parent's to come home, his world wasn't right, and only the return of his daily routine would fix it.

Alice was preparing breakfast for the kids as she watched the blonde boy chew continuously on his thumb nail, she and Herman had moved in with their grandchildren, wanting them to stay in their home until their parents return.

But the longer that the women remained unresponsive, the more the Kendrick children became unraveled, the usually lively house was now always quiet, and if they weren't sleeping, Evan, Griff, Anna and Stan never left one another's presence.

It seemed that on an unconscious level, they knew that it would take the strength of all four of them to bring their parent's back.

Of course their was no way for them to know it at the time, but their instincts were right on target, it was going to take the four of them to make Lisa and Dani want to come back from the utopia that they were living in.



Both women's bodies were slick with sweat, Lisa kissed her wife's damp neck as her hands once again traveled down the long muscular body that her fingers knew by heart.

When she reached the patch of dark curls that rest between two strong thighs, she slowly ran her fingers through the wet folds.

She wasn't in a hurry, they had been making love for most of the night and she was happy just to make contact with her spouse's point of pleasure.

Lisa took comfort in knowing that Dani could still become very aroused by the slightest touch from her, if the river that flowed from the dark woman was any indication of her excitement, the small teacher was in for a long night.

As Dani basked in the warmth of her spouse, as she had similar thoughts, it always made her feel blessed that even after all of their years together, Lisa responded to her touch with a fierce passion.

The truth of that fact was brought home to her when she felt the moisture build up on her leg, there was no faking the blonde woman's desire for the construction worker, the proof was painted across the long muscular thigh that she rested against.

Dani pulled the blonde woman tight against her side causing Lisa's center to make closer contact with her thigh, while she rubbed her hands along the smooth skin of the other woman's back.

It never ceased to amaze the brunette how physically in sync they seemed to always be, they were at a point in their relationship where most couples had left an active sex life behind, but theirs just seemed to get better.

“You know Beth, at this rate, I wouldn't be surprised if by some miracle, I got you pregnant one day.”

The hand that had been combing through soft curls, stopped all movement, and then resumed its journey, Lisa raised up on her elbow and gently kissed her wife's lips.

“I would love nothing more than to have your babies, what do you say we try it again, who knows, this time you might just leave me with a little present.”

Dani rolled over on top of her shorter partner and moved her hand down between them to join the hand that was already there.

They slowly entered each other and started to slowly rock against each other, joining together in a dance older than time.

“Oh god Beth . . . Beth . . . Beth.”

“I love you Dani, so very much.”



The nurse that was in the private room, entering the latest reading of the two women's vital signs, was surprised when she heard moaning coming from her patients.

She moved from the foot of the bed, thinking that maybe, they were coming around, and was encouraged when the smaller woman whispered, “Dani.”

Then the dark woman groaned right before her lips parted and released a whimpered. “Beeeth.”

Upon closer observation, she realized that two women weren't waking from their coma, upon closer observation, she took note of their flushed skin, and realized that the sounds were not because they were waking up, but was the result of some shared intimacy during a dream.

A deep blush warmed her neck and she quickly finished entering her findings on their charts and hurried out of the room, wanting to leave them with a small amount of privacy.



APRIL 21, 2007

Evan was pacing around the game room in their large basement, he had called this meeting with his siblings in order to come up with a plan to reached their parents.

“Look guys, we know that they're in there, I mean how many times have we heard them exhale or saw a smile come across mam's face?”

Griff leaned back in his chair and crossed his long legs. “You know, I bet that's the problem.”

Anna was desperate for any kind of solution that would end their waiting . “What Griff, what's the problem?”

Griffin stood up and joined his twin in the middle of the floor. “Think about it, the way mam exhales. . . the smile that's on mom's face. . . wherever they are they are enjoying it. . . together.”

Instead of this revelation easing Anna's fears, it made her more frightened. “How are we going to get them to want to leave where they are if they are enjoying it?!”

Her outburst caused Stan to shed silent tears. “Please.” He looked around the room at his older siblings

“You guys have to do something, I want mom back.”

Evan sat down beside his younger brother and wrapped the smaller boy up in his muscular arms.

“Know this Stan, we miss them too, that's why we are going to wake them up.”

“How Ev?” Griff asked his twin.

“Okay, here's the plan. . . ”



The two woman stood embracing each other under the waterfall in their private oasis. “So my love, what would you like for lunch?”

Dani raised her head from the crook of her wife's neck where she had been slowly sucking on the smooth skin that she found there.

“How about I climb the tree and throw down a few coconuts, and you make some coconut shrimp?” Then she went back to nibbling the soft skin under her lips.

Lisa wrapped her fingers in the thick dark tresses of her partner and pulled her closer. “Umm . . . you keep that up Goofy, and all we'll be having for lunch is each other.”

Dani laughed deep in her chest and bent her knees just enough to scoop her small spouse up into her arms, Lisa hugged her tall partner's neck as long strong legs carried them out of the water.

“ Well, I guess I'd better go shrimping before we find ourselves waking up in the middle of the night hungry.”



APRIL 24, 2007

The grandparents were seated against the wall of their daughter's hospital room, as their grandchildren positioned themselves on both sides of their parent's bed, in preparation to start Evan's plan.

Griffin and Anna were on one side, and Evan and Stan were on the other, they stared at the unconscious women and noticed that they were holding hands, the fact that their fingers were intertwined filled Evan with panic.

Griff looked into Evan's eyes and shared a silent communication with him. ‘We gotta get to them now, or they won't be coming back.'

Evan nodded his head and prepared to start what he hoped would bring their mom and their mam back to them.

“Are you guys ready?”

Everyone nodded their heads in the affirmative. “Anna, you go first.”

“Mam, I know you can hear me, it's time to come back now, we need you. . . ”



Lisa and Dani sat at their table in the back yard, as Lisa dished up their meal, the cage that Dani had brought up out of the water had been filled with an impressive amount of shrimp.

The coconuts from the trees had been shaved and roasted to coat the pan seared shrimp, and the left over coconut juice had been poured into a mug that held sliced pineapple, strawberries and bananas to serve as a beverage.

Lisa had broken off the tops of the buried turnips and boiled the green leafs in a pot of seasoned water so that they could have a green vegetable with their meal instead of the usual corn, carrots or potatoes.

Before Lisa sat down across from her wife, she leaned down and gave her a soft kiss against her lips, after she took her seat, she bit into one of the shrimp.

“Mmm . . . baby, the shrimp was a really good idea.”

Dani placed a whole shrimp in her mouth and began to chew. “You really out did yourself this time Beth.”

Before the tall woman took another bite of her food, she looked around the table, she stopped in mid motion, taking in their surroundings before she dropped her hand back to the table.

“Beth . . . umm . . . why did you set four extra places?”

The blonde looked at what she had done, and a confused look came over her face. “I . . . I don't know, I really don't remember doing it.”

A distant memory tickled at the back of their minds, and they realized, once again, that they were forgetting something very important, they just couldn't get a grasp on what it was.

Dani stood up and went to the other side of the table to stand in front of her spouse, she grabbed the smaller woman's hand and pulled her up before leading her to the cushioned sofa that sat between two palm trees.

“Beth, something is just not right, I mean when you think about it, why is every kind of fruit or vegetable readily available to us in the jungle, you know, some of these things don't even grow together in the same climate.”

Lisa wrapped her arms tighter around the taller woman's waist. “Now that you mention it, that is odd.”

“And where did this cottage come from, granted, it feels like home . . . but there is something not quite right about it.”

“Yeah, it almost feels . . . empty.”

Dani kissed the top of the soft golden tresses. “I think that we are over looking something very important, it's like this is perfect, but we should be somewhere else.”

Lisa raised her head and looked into blue eyes that reflected her concern. “Sweetheart, as wonderful as all of this is, I can't shake the unsettled notion that there is something that we have forgotten . . . this isn't . . . I don't know . . . right.”

The two women decided that they were not going to solve the puzzle that night, so they gathered the rest of their meal, took it into the cottage, and retired to their bed, they wrapped themselves tightly around each other, trying to grasp a missing element ,that they didn't understand.



Each of the children took a turn trying to reach their parents through their individual pleas, but it wasn't working, so Evan stopped them and took a deep breath.


He looked at his twin. “I think that we should talk to them all together, maybe then they will hear us.”

Griff trusted his twin enough to dive into his suggestion right away, Anna, believed deep within her soul, that Evan would instinctively know what to do, and Stan just wanted his mom to open her blue eyes and make everything right again.

So, the Kendrick children stood around their parent's bed and started to talk to them as one.



Lisa was pulled from a deep sleep, she awakened in her usual position, on top of her wife, but there was a tickling in her brain that she couldn't ignore.

Just as she was about to shake her spouse awake, Dani's brilliant blue eyes opened and captured the green of her mate.

“Beth, something is really wrong, whatever it is, wont let me sleep.”

Lisa leaned over her partner and looked at her with concerned eyes. “I feel it too.”

They became silent for a moment, and then they began to hear quiet murmurings in their mind, something, or someone, was trying to communicate with them.

“Baby, do you hear that?” Dani asked.

Lisa titled her head to the side and concentrated. “Yes, it sounds like voices.

They both concentrated and narrowed down their awareness to focus on the faint voices that were filtering into their minds.

They started to pick up individual words, like mom, or mam please wake up, the request were strange to them, why would anyone be trying to wake them up, when it was plain that they were awake?

Then a very familiar voice stood out to Lisa, when she heard it, she had visions of dark curly hair and a dark spot on someone's throat.

Dani was experiencing the same kind of pull, a voice continually pleaded for their mom to wake up . . . please.

Green spoke silently to blue, and then Lisa spoke her thoughts out loud. “Sweetheart, somewhere there are people trying to speak to us.”

They both sat up in the large bed and through non-verbal communication, decided to concentrate on the voices as one.



Griff, ran his hand through the blonde strands of his mam's hair and pleaded with her to open her eyes, Stan had tears streaming down his fair cheeks as he tried to will his dark- haired mom to come back to them.

Their sprits became hopeful when they saw both of their parent's brows furrow, as if they were thinking about something.

Evan smiled a little and looked at his siblings with encouragement shining his blue eyes.

“I think we're getting through to them guys, let's keep it up.”



The two women rested against the headboard of their bed, with their arms wrapped around each other and concentrated on the sounds that they were hearing, instinctively knowing that they should remain joined as one while they listened.

Then, all of a sudden, realization hit them like a bolt of lightning at the exact same moment, their eyes connected, and they both spoke at the same time.

“Oh my God! We forgot about the children!”



Everything happened at once, Evan, Griff, Anna and Stan were speaking to their parents one moment, and in the next, they were graced with the colors of blue and green eyes opening.

For a few heartbeats, there was only silence in the hospital room, then all of a sudden cries of relief spewed from the children's mouths.

Lisa and Dani awakened to utter confusion, one moment, they were in a tropical paradise, cuddled together, and the next, they were in what appeared to be a hospital room, surrounded by their offspring.

The confusion was evident in their eyes. . . Dani spoke first.

“What is going on?”

She was taken aback for a moment when Stan flung himself across her prone body and sobbed into her neck.

She wrapped her youngest child in her strong arms and tried to comfort him. “Hey, what's wrong Stan my man?”

The blonde boy raised his green tear filled eyes to her and could barely speak. “Mom, you and mam have been asleep for two weeks, we didn't think that you would ever wake up again.”

Dani comforted the slim boy in her arms as she looked at her soul mate with soft blue eyes. “Beth, do you remember where we were?”

Lisa looked at her wife with eyes filled with the knowledge of time. “Yes sweetheart, and now I know, without a doubt, we will be together for eternity.”



May 1, 2007

It had been a week since their parent's recovery and Stan still followed Dani everywhere she went, she loved the company of her youngest child, but after a while, she started to become concerned.

They were in their bedroom, Dani was sitting a chair watching Lisa put away a load of laundry. “Beth, do you think Stan's okay?”

The teacher knew what her spouse was referring to, she had also noticed how the blonde boy never let his mom out of his sight.

“I think he'll be alright, he's still just a little frightened of losing you.”

Dani raised a dark brow in question, and Lisa spoke her next words with compassion.

“Sweetheart, our…. recent episode affected all of our children, but Stan seems to be the most shaken by it.”

Lisa moved Dani to the bed, and sat beside her as she ran her fingers through the ebony locks that were starting to sprout strands of gray.

“You know that you are his hero, when we wouldn't wake up, I think it scared him more than the other children.”

Before Dani could respond, there was a knock at their bedroom door. “Come in.”

A blonde head peaked around the door, before tall twelve year-old entered the room.

“Um, mom, I was wondering if you were hungry, I… if you are, I could fix you a sandwich or something.”

It was taking a huge effort on Stan's part to keep his nervousness at bay, but he was determined to show his mom how strong he could be.

“I read that sometimes when a person hasn't eaten in a while, they might… kinda… pass out.”

Dani motioned for Stan to come to her, when he was standing in front of her, she pulled him down onto her lap.

She looked into frightened green eyes that looked so much like Lisa's, she felt her heart clench with her love for him.

“Stan my man, you do understand that I was unconscious because I fell and hit my head… right?”

The boy shrugged his broad, but still adolescent shoulders. “Yeah, I know, but…”

He looked at Lisa. “Mam didn't bump her head, she was in the kitchen cooking dinner.”

The land developer looked at her wife for help, and the educator answered her call, Lisa reached over and rubbed her confused child's arm.

“Stan, you know how much your mom and I love each other, right?”

The boy nodded his head. “Well, because of that love, sometimes we…”

She had to stop for a moment to think of a way she could explain her and Dani's connection in a way that he could understand it.

“Well, because of that sometimes we share the same feelings.”

The boy wasn't sure that he understood what his mam was saying, his siblings had tried to explain it to him too, but he just didn't understand.

“So if you get sick, mom will get sick too?”

“Not exactly.”

The boy breathed out his frustration and Dani hugged him closer to her.

“Stan, you gotta stop being afraid, me and your mam are fine.”

Tristan Kendrick raised himself up from his mom's lap and headed for the door, he was confused about the whole situation, none of it mad any sense to him, the only thing he did understand was that his parent's were in the hospital and his mom was almost taken away from him because of love.

Before he left the room, he made a vow to them. “If this is what happens when you fall in love, I'm never gonna fall in love.”

With that said, he exited the room, leaving two bewildered parents behind to figure out what to do next.



MAY 23, 2007

A little more than three weeks after Lisa and Dani woke up from a two week comma, the two women couldn't help but think of their time alone on their island, as a sweet vacation from all that wasn't just the two of them.

They went back to life as they had known it, with Lisa resuming her duties as head of the prep school, and Dani showing up on their newest job site.

After their experience on their private tropical island, Dani and Lisa found themselves bonded even closer than before. . . to their friends irritation.

Shirley looked at her childhood friend through her curly locks and breathed out an air annoyance. “So, it seems that you and the stud are even closer now than ever.”

Lisa looked at her with questions running through her green eyes. “What do you mean?”

Shirley had started spending her lunch breaks away from her architectural firm to share that time with Lisa at prep school.

‘The Incident,' as everyone called it, had frightened Shirley more than she was willing to admit, the thought of Lisa not being around, caused a hole to open up in her heart, and she decided that she would spend as much quality time with her friend as she could.

“What I mean is, the two of you were already as close as two people could be, but now. . . I don't know. . . it seems like you are one person more than two individual people.”

Lisa took a moment to think about what her friend was saying, it did seem that since they had left the hospital, they were closer than ever, if that was possible.

There was no doubt in the educators mind that a final block had settled into their soul's foundation, after their time on what she now thought of as their island, but she didn't know that other people had picked up on it.

“I don't know what to tell you Shirley, after all of these years all I can say is that , now more than ever, I know that she is my beginning and my end.”

Shirley looked at her friend and realized, not for the first time, that she had to accept her friend's destiny, and let what would be. . . be.





JUNE 2008


Lisa, Shirley and Cynthia were walking down the sidewalk, looking into the shops along the now rejuvenated streets of downtown Washington D.C., and deciding what stores they wanted to venture into.

Shirley was biting into a hotdog that she had purchased from one of the street venders, and Lisa was trying to think of something to get for Gil and Audrey's first anniversary, when Cynthia suddenly stopped walking.

Lisa realized that there was a problem when she found herself talking to nothing but thin air, she stopped walking and looked behind her to find her two friends standing still.

Cynthia held her meal in mid-air and Shirley was looking at her friend wondering what had stopped her progress.

Lisa walked back to her friends to find out what the problem was.

“What's going on guys?”

Hazel eyes looked at Lisa with confusion. “I don't know, Cyn just stopped for no reason.”

The two women surrounded their friend with concern before Shirley spoke. “What's wrong Cynthia?”

The brunette just stood motionless for a few more minutes before she could speak, she used her free hand to point at what appeared to a homeless woman sitting in a store front.

“I. . . I think that's Freda.” She said with a shaky voice.

Shirley and Lisa followed where her finger was pointing and took in the huddled person with brownish blonde hair that was resting on the sidewalk in front of a fast food restaurant.

The homeless woman wasn't looking at the trio, so they had time to take in the disheveled person that was sitting on the sidewalk.

After a few minutes, Cynthia slowly approached the woman. “Umm, Freda?”

The dirty woman looked up at the person that was talking to her, the chocolate brown eyes seemed to show a flicker of remembrance before she spoke.

“Cynthia, is that you?”

The brunette approached the seated woman with caution, when she was standing above her, she squatted in front of her.

Before she could stop herself, she pulled the other woman into a warm embrace. “Freda, it is you.”

Then she whispered in the woman's ear. “ I've missed you so much.”

The dark blonde took a moment to just bask in the warmth of familiarity before she pulled away, that was when the defenses of the streets kicked in and she took in her surroundings.

She looked at Cynthia for a moment, before her eyes fell on Shirley. . . and lastly her gaze settled upon Lisa. . . Lisa, the beginning of her misery.

She had spent ten years institutionalized and four on the streets because she couldn't accept the reality of this woman's good fortune, and now, after all of this time, here she stood, in front of her, surrounded by what Freda had always considered, her friends.

She had to tap into her memories of the time she had spent in Saint Elizabeth's mental hospital, and how through long hours of therapy, she had finally come to realize that Lisa wasn't her problem, and that her past life experiences had been the cause of her disconnect from reality.

She slowly stood and squared her shoulders, trying to project a strength that many years of living on the streets had instilled in her.

“Well if it isn't the crew, what have you ladies been up to for the past. . . ”

Freda cocked her head to the side in thought before she continued. “Fourteen years?”

She stood there, taking in the appearance of each one of them, she had to admit, they all carried an air of success about them and she felt a twinge of jealously course through her, but she brought it under control immediately.

If she hadn't learned anything else after her years of being institutionalized, she learned that her feelings of jealously and entitlement would destroy her.

They all stood in an awkward silence for a few moments before Cynthia broke it with the suggestion that they go into the fast food chicken place and share a meal.

The former photographer hesitated slightly before she spoke. “I um… don't have the money to pay for a meal, so I'll just stay out here.”

They all spoke at once, telling her that she was talking was non-sense, and that she should join them, it would be their treat.

“Look… I'm not a charity case, if I can't afford to pay my way… then I don't go.” Freda said defiantly.

Cynthia stepped forward and pulled her friend away from the other women. “Freda, we're not trying to treat you like a charity case, all we want to do is sit down, share a meal with you, and catch up on the last fourteen years.”

The homeless woman looked into the light brown eyes of the one person she had missed the most, the person that she had always felt closer to than her own siblings, and she felt her resolve weaken.

She had to admit that at this moment, more than anything… she wanted to reconnect with Cynthia.

“O… okay, but just this once.” She said.

The journalist couldn't stop herself, she pulled the thin woman into a tight embrace and spoke softly to her.

“Thanks Freda, you know I didn't lie… I really have missed you.”



The four women shared a booth, and for awhile, it felt like old times, Freda's sense of humor still sent Cynthia into belly laughs, and the four of them realized that even though there had been some really bad times at the end, the in-between time had been really fun.

After their shared meal, they stood outside of the chicken joint, Cynthia spoke to Freda privately, and got a general idea of how to find her when she wanted to.

On their way home, the three women talked about how they could help their friend and hopefully bring her back into the fold.




It had been three months since the women of Elizabethtown had run into Freda on the streets of D.C., Cynthia had kept in constant contact with the photographer, and had brought Freda to the home that she shared with Elaine and their daughter, Diana, the homeless woman had even been talked into attended a gathering at Dani and Lisa's home.

The former photographer had been shocked to see how successful her friends had become, and was astonished that the Kendrick couple had increased their offspring to four beautiful children.

Instead of being angry and feeling vengeful, Freda was saddened that her illness had caused her to miss out on so many wonderful changes in everyone's lives.

And for the first time, she truly saw the error of her ways, instead of focusing her energy on being jealous of Lisa, she should have been thankful for the gift that was right in front of her.

Being granted the once in a lifetime experience of bearing witness to something as rare and beautiful… as the rejoining of two souls.



SEPTEMBER 29, 2008

Lisa and Shirley stood in the middle of a newly furnished, one bedroom apartment that was located in a building owned by the Kendrick corporation.

The three women were very pleased with the plan they had come up with, after their first meeting with Freda, they had decided that they wanted to help their lost friend.

When Dani heard their plan, and said that she didn't have a problem with it, the friends sat into motion an idea that, hopefully would get Freda back on her feet.

The first part was to set up a home for the indigent woman to live in, hoping that they could convince the former psyche patient to move into the apartment.

The second part was to talk her into accepting a job at the local paper that Cynthia owned, as their photo journalist, hoping that she would see that as a way to pay her rent.

Cynthia had spent the most time with the absent woman, and the friends depended on her to convince Freda that this wasn't an act of charity, but a union that would be beneficial to all involved.

Lisa placed her hands on her hips and looked around the room with satisfaction.

“What time did Cynthia say she would be here with Freda?”

Shirley looked at her watch. “In about forty minuets.”

“Okay, that gives us enough time to order a pizza and have the table set before they arrive.”

Twenty-five minutes later, the table was set with pizza, plates and beverages, when the knock sounded at the door, Shirley went to answer it.

Although Freda hadn't shown any hostility towards Lisa, the educator still felt more comfortable dealing with the homeless woman cautiously, the architect opened the door with a bright smile, and ushered the two women in.

After exchanging pleasantries, they sat at the table in the small dinning area and dug into their meal, Freda was curious about the well appointed apartment and came to the conclusion that the wealthy women used it as a get a way when they wanted to have some alone time.

As the meal progressed, and the conversation drifted towards their careers, Freda just listened and occasionally shared a past experience from when she was in the field.

Two sets of eyes, one hazel and one green, looked into light brown and sent a silent signal to the journalist to start the conversation that would lead them into the reason why they were there.

Cynthia swallowed her last bite of pizza and leaned back in her chair. “Freda, um… do you ever miss your job, you know taking pictures that showed your view of the world?”

Freda sipped her cola and looked at her friend with suspicion. “Yeah, sometimes.”

Lisa and Shirley sat twisting their paper napkins nervously, waiting for the journalist to continue.

“How would you like to get back into it?” Cynthia asked the question quickly, afraid of how Freda might react.

The lost years that she had spent in the institution and on the streets had taught Freda how to read people's body language, and what she was seeing from the three women, made her defenses go up, not having to give in to social graces for many years caused Freda to be blunt with her response.

“What's going on, what are the three of you up to?”

Shirley and Lisa looked at Cynthia, hoping that she would answer the question, the brunette took Freda's hand into her own and looked into her chocolate brown eyes.

“I want you to come and work for me at the paper as my photographer.”

She felt the other woman try and pull away from her, but she held her hands tighter. “I really need someone with a good eye, and I know that there's no one better than you.”

Freda felt like she was being set up, she didn't want the women's pity, she had lived a hard life early on, and had become successful on her own, without anyone's help, and if she was going to become successful again, she would do it by herself, like she did before.

“I don't need you to feel sorry for me Cynthia, I made it to the top on my own once, and if I choose to, I'll do it again… on my own.” The woman said with determination.

“Freda, it is not my intention to discount your ability to be a success on your own, I just need someone that has an eye for great pictures to come aboard and help me take the paper to the next level.”

Cynthia started to feel desperate. “For instance, I plan on adding an insert in the Sunday edition, it'll be about the local business', you know, things like how they started and why, and eventually I'd like to go into the outlaying areas and speak with the local farmers to get their stories too.”

She saw the interest in the brown eyes and pushed forward. “I want to write about why they chose this town to start farming in, and find out how well they are doing.”

She was close to pleading with the photographer. “I'll need someone with an eye, someone that can bring not only who they are to a picture, but let the readers see the individuals that I'm writing about .”

Freda stared deeply into her friend's eyes, and only saw sincerity there, and she felt herself start to waver.

“I don't have any equipment.”

Cynthia felt like she was reaching the other woman. “We have all the equipment that you will need in the paper's storage room.”

The photographer seemed to think about the offer before she spoke. “I don't have anywhere to keep the cameras.”

Although the plan wasn't unfolding in the order that they had mapped out, they stuck with the original dialog.

When they had talked about who would bring up the use of the apartment, it had been decided that Lisa would remain silent, and Shirley would broach the subject of the living arrangements.

It was now time for the curly-haired woman to join the conversation. “We kinda thought that you would live here and pay the rent out of your salary.” Shirley added hesitantly.

All of a sudden it started make sense to the homeless woman, this invite was a set up, they wanted to get her here so that they could ambush her and back her into a corner, leaving her with no choices.

She had promised herself years ago that she would never again be in a position where she felt like she didn't have any choices.

Panic started to rise in her, no one would make her do something that she didn't want to do not now… not ever again!

The homeless woman started to sweat and hyperventilate, when Cynthia saw the stricken look in her friend's eyes, she wrapped Freda in a warm embrace and whispered in her ear.

“No one here means you any harm, we only want to help you… we love you Freda, please let us be here for you.”

Cynthia could feel the frail body in her arms start to release the tension from its muscles, and held her tighter.

“That's it Freda, it's me, it's Cynthia, I only want to help you.”

Freda felt the warmth of someone that truly cared about her and relaxed into the other woman's embrace. After many years of not trusting anyone, the photographer gave in to the safety that she felt in Cynthia's arms.

The tears that streamed down her face were the tears from a pain that had never been acknowledged. Freda was tired, she was tired of the games, she was tired of the façade, and she was tired of acting like she didn't hurt.

Lisa and Shirley sat on the other side of the table and saw the release in the photographer's body, and wiped the tears from their eyes with the take out napkins.

They all felt like, finally, the healing would begin for a child's soul that had been damaged long before it had ever had a chance at life.

“I… I guess I can give it a try.” Freda said through her tears.

Cynthia kissed the damp cheek under her lips.

“That's all that we can ask.”



JUNE 10, 2013


Dani and Lisa were getting dressed, they had an hour and a half to get to Cole Field House, where Evan and Griffin were receiving their bachelors degrees from their mam's almamater, Maryland University.

Evan had majored in business, and was headed to Wharton Business School in Pennsylvania, to attain his MBA.

As Griff was going to continue his internship at Smith Memorial Hospital on his way to becoming a pediatrician.

Anna was at Harvard pursuing a law degree, while Stan was attending Julliard, hoping to get a degree in music.

His parents weren't sure if he would finish, because his solo music career was really taking off, the handsome green-eyed blonde was already on his way to becoming a teen idol, he had appeared on the covers of a few popular magazines, and was building an impressive following.

“Dani, do you think that Stan will arrive it time for the ceremony?”

The graduation was taking place on Dani's fifty-second birthday, and Lisa had planed a celebration for later that would combine both events.

“Baby, you know that Stan wouldn't miss this for anything.”

Lisa was standing in front of the mirror brushing her hair as she talked to her spouse. “I know, I just want to make sure that everything goes according to plan.”

Dani stepped up behind her wife and wrapped her arms around a waist that was still surprisingly slim, of course the years had added a few extra pounds to both of their bodies, but the Kendrick matriarchs were still capable of turning a few heads.

“Beth, how do you do it, you are still as beautiful as you were the night that I first saw you sitting across a dark room.”

Lisa looked at their reflection in the mirror, and turned her head to gaze up at the woman that had been her spouse for going on twenty-four years… well, twenty- five if you count the dating period.

“So, you are saying that twenty-five years ago you saw a fifty-two year old woman sitting at that table?”

Dani nuzzled the soft skin at the base of the shorter woman's neck and spoke into the silky flesh that she found there.

“I'm saying, you still look like a woman in her twenties.”

Lisa turned in her partner's long arms and placed her hands at the back of her neck, preparing to pull her in for a kiss, unfortunately, that was the moment that twenty year-old Anna decided to enter her parent's bathroom.

She cleared her throat as she leaned her long body against the door frame and cleared her throat and smiled as her parent's turned their heads to look at her questionably.

“You know, all of my life you two have never hesitated to show each other how you feel… and I gotta say… it fills me with hope, the example that you've set keeps me believing that true love is not just a fantasy, but it‘s real and attainable.”

Her parents broke their embrace and looked at her with concern before Lisa spoke.

“Things aren't going well with you and Andrew?”

Anna walked further into the bathroom and sat on the edge of the tub. “Things are going fine with Andrew, we just don't have that…. spark that I'm used to seeing.”

Lisa sat on the floor in front of her daughter and rested her hand on Anna's knee, she took a moment to gather her thoughts before she spoke because she wanted to say the right thing to her child without discouraging her, then she pulled in a deep breath and spoke the only truth that she knew.

“Anna, what me your mom have together is unusual, the only way to explain it is to say, we were lucky enough to find our soul mate in this lifetime, we weren't looking for each other, it just happened.”

She held her daughter in a compassionate green gaze, hoping to speak to a feeling that Anna hadn‘t spoken out loud.

“If you spend your life looking for that perfect person, you're going to be blind to your potential happiness when it comes, for most people, this type of connection is never realized.”

The small teacher smiled when she felt the weight of very familiar hands rest on her shoulders.

“Don't spend your life looking at what you don't have, instead embrace the love that comes to you when it presents itself.

Your mom and I would be heartbroken if you cut yourself off from your many possibilities because you're judging every relationship against the example that you grew up seeing.”

Dani kissed the top of the blonde head and squeezed her spouse's shoulders before addressing their daughter.

“Little bit, do you think that the only way that you can find happiness is if a person can make you feel like they are recreating our relationship?”

Anna couldn't answer immediately, the litigator in her had to debate both sides before she could give an opinion.

“Now that I exam it, I guess that is the problem.”

Dani stepped around Lisa and pulled her up from the floor. “Then you're not being fair to yourself or anyone that you might date.”

She looked at Lisa. “Babe, what's that saying we always heard growing up…. you can't see the forest for the trees?”

Lisa smiled at her partner, Dani didn't talk with the children about emotions very often, she usually left those conversations to her, but when she did say something, it always stuck with them.

“She's right Anna, if you would stop looking for that great oak, you may find that your taste lean more towards a willow.”

She pulled her tall daughter off of the edge of the tub and hugged her close. “Because, I'm here to tell you Branwen Rhiannon Kendrick, you're gonna need someone that is willing to bend to you, without breaking.”

Anna pulled away from her small mother and laughed. “So what are you saying mam, I'm hard to get along with?”

Green eyes twinkled as they held the blue-green of the future lawyer. “No, I'm saying that you are a young woman that knows what she wants, and you're gonna need someone that can understand that and still have the self confidence to know when it's time to give in, and when it's time to stand strong.”

Anna shook her head and laughed at her mam's observation as the three of them exited the bathroom, and left the bedroom.

Dani let the two shorter women move ahead of her as they entered the hallway, when Anna passed by, she nudged her with her daughter with her broad shoulder, causing the young brunette to stumble a little.

“Hey, watch it stretch, I may not be able to take you.”

She then looked at her mam and gave her a loving smile. “But I have an in with the one person that can bring you to your knees without ever throwing punch.”

That was a statement that Dani couldn't argue with, and as she wrapped her arm around Lisa's shoulder and they headed down the staircase, she whispered in her wife's ear.

“You know she's right Beth, from the moment I saw you, I was helpless.”

Lisa patted the large hand that hung over her shoulder and then squeezed it.

“Yeah, well, some of us are more suited for willows, and some of us are meant to be with that great oak…. and if we're lucky, we'll discover that the oak has few willow branches strategically hidden amongst its strong limbs.”

As they exited the house, Lisa pulled Dani close for a brief hug.

“I have been fortunate enough to be given a spouse that is everything that I need, when I need it… I love you Goofy.”



The auditorium was filled to capacity, Shirley, Kit, Cynthia and Elaine worked their way to the seats that Lisa and Dani had saved for them and as Shirley sat down, she asked Lisa if they had missed anything.

“No, we still have ten minutes before they start.”

The four women took their seats, surrounded by members of the Kendrick and Crawford families, and in a way they felt like it wasn't just Lisa and Dani's sons that were getting their degrees, they felt like they were their sons too.

The pride that they felt couldn't be more genuine if they had given birth to the boys themselves, Elaine felt especially close to the Kendrick children because she had been apart of their lives from conception, so to be able to watch the young men walk across the stage and receive their degrees, filled her with happiness, to be able to witness another step on their road of life was gratifying.

The hall became quiet as the professors took their seats on stage and Lisa leaned over to whisper in Dani's ear.

“I hope Debra can make it through the ceremony without any problems.”

Debra Kendrick was Evan's wife, and high school sweetheart, after a year and a half of marriage she was now almost nine months pregnant with their first child.

“I'm sure that she will be alright Beth, it's a Kendrick child that she is carrying, and we always know when it's time to make an entrance.”

Before Lisa could comment, they heard the first strands of pomp and circumstance, signaling the graduates entrance.

As the men and women walked by, they noticed that Debbie, Evan and Griff were lined up behind each other.

As they graduates took their seats, Lisa looked around the auditorium, hoping to see their youngest. “I don't think that Stan is going to be here in time baby.”

The land developer scanned the room and was disappointed when she didn't see the musician. “He'll be here Beth, don't worry, there's no way that Stan would miss this.”

When everyone had taken their seats and the program was about to start, a commotion could be heard from the back of the room.

All of a sudden, the hall came alive with hundreds of voices chanting, ‘Tristan… Tristan… Tristan!'

Lisa covered her eyes because she knew what the chants meant….. their youngest child had arrived.

Stan's popularity was sometimes overwhelming, his family understood people's reaction to him intellectually, but on a personal level, they were bewildered.

The youngest member of Lisa and Dani's family had reached a level of notoriety in his short years that left them astonished.

His parents feared that his sudden fame would cause him to drop out of Julliard and push him in a direction that his youth couldn't handle.

But they also knew that their children where at an age where they could only offer advice and had to leave them to their own destiny.

As Stan and his entourage made their way down the aisle so that he could find a seat near his parents, he told his crew to break off and find places to stand against the walls of Cole Field House.

He made his way down the row of seats and found himself seated beside his mom, he also noticed that people had vacated their seats to make room for him sit down.

The eighteen year-old had grown accustomed to people putting themselves out for his comfort, and didn't give the gesture a second thought.

Before he reached his seat, he kissed his parents as he passed by them. “Hey mam, hey mom.”

When he saw the disappointment in Dani's blue eyes, he threw his hands up in defeat. “There's nothing I can do about it mom.”

Dani could see the pride in his green eyes before he spoke again. “They love me…. what can I do?”

Lisa and Dani had spent many sleepless night discussing what they could do about the public's adoration of Stan, they felt like he was too young to handle the power that was being given to him, and they felt helpless in their efforts to keep him grounded.

The world of indulgence had claimed their son, and it was with heavy hearts that they realized that there was nothing that they could do about it.

Dani's voice held a little heat when she addressed her son. “Did you plan this grand entrance on purpose?”

Stan gave her his most charming smile when he answered her. “No mom, I was running late, I didn't know that everyone would be seated when I arrived.”

The blonde hair and the smile were so much like Lisa's that Dani almost accepted his explanation, but when she focused on his green eyes, she became annoyed, as much as Tristan Wynn Kendrick looked like Lisa, any resemblance to her left him when you looked in his eyes.



When Stan was twelve years-old, the part of him that came from Lisa was pushed down and ignored, he continued to be the same loving boy that he had always been with his family, but a coldness had started to grow in him that no one could melt.

He lost himself in his music, and that became the only place that he allowed his feelings to truly come out, his talent and good looks opened many doors for him, and by the time that he was seventeen, the original compositions that he performed were constantly being heard over the airwaves.

During these days of excess and instant fame, his talent was quickly recognized and the sycophants and opportunist came out of the woodwork.

Lisa and Dani saw the road that he was going down, and knew that he was now a child of the world, all that they could do was love him, disciple him in their home, and be there when it all came crashing down.



Lisa leaned across Dani and whispered harshly to Stan. “Remember that this is Debbie and your brother's day, I expect you to take control of your…. posse and let the focus stay where it belongs.”

Stan knew that he could have anything or anyone that he desired, but he also knew that he would never do anything to disrespect his parents, at least not in their presence, and his eyes filled with love for his mam.

“I'll boda.” (I'll be good.)

She reached across her spouse and touched Stan's thigh. “That's all that I ask.”



When the first speaker took their place at the podium, Cynthia's heart filled with joy when she spotted Freda down front with her camera taking pictures.

The photographer had come so far over the years, and with the help of her partner, Brenda, she had found her place, and for the first time in her life, Freda knew what it felt like to have peace.

It was then that Cynthia decided that she would ask Freda's permission to write a story for the paper, telling of a child's struggle to overcome abuse at a young age, she wasn't going to use Freda's name, she would leave the subject's identity anonymous.

With her idea set in place, she relaxed in anticipation of the awards ceremony, but somewhere in the back of her mind, a little voice started to make it's presence known in her subconscious, she chose to brush it off, and decide to exam it at a later date.



JULY 4, 2013


At six o'clock in the morning, the ringing of a phone shocked Lisa out of her sleep, the blonde untangled her limbs from her spouse and reached for the instrument.

“Hello.” She answered with a voice filled with the remnants of slumber.

“Mam, it's time, Debbie's water broke and we're in the car on our way to the hospital!”

Before Lisa could move to wake Dani up, the builder was leaning over her with a question in her eyes, Lisa put her hand over the receiver and told Dani what Evan had said, she was left speechless when Dani jumped from the bed and started to get dressed.

She turned her attention back to the phone and told Evan that they would be their as soon as they could.

“Okay mam, I'll be waiting.”

When Lisa hung up the phone, she to get dressed in the clothes that Dani had pulled out for her and listened to her spouse's excited voice.

“Hurry baby, our first grandchild is about to be born!”

As Lisa put on her clothes, she took a moment to watch her wife, Dani was just as excited as she had been when their own children had been born.

Before she was fully dressed, Lisa walked up behind Dani and wrapped her arms around her waist, she rested her head on the broad back that had always been her strength and kissed her between her shoulder blades.

“Wow Goofy, our first grandchild is about to be born.”

Dani turned around and lifted Lisa up, wrapping the smaller woman's legs around her waist and walked them over to their bed where she sat down.

“It's strange Beth, at this moment I feel old, but I also feel young, it's like seeing the beginning of us, and the end of us all at once.”

Lisa massaged Dani's scalp in a way that had always given the dark woman comfort through the years.

“I know what you mean, when you have your children, they are an extension of you, but when they have children, you start to realize that you won't always be here.

But that's okay, because in a way, we and our ancestors will live on, this child is not only a part of us, but it will be the continuation of Casnar, Heulyn, Gildas, Herman, and Alice, not to mention, the beginning of many generations to follow.”

Dani pulled Lisa closer and rested her head on her wife's shoulder. “That's it exactly Beth, in a way, it almost makes you feel immortal.”



The waiting room was filled with Kendricks and Crawfords, Alice, Herman, Gil and Audrey were surrounded by their children and grandchildren.

They were all waiting for the doctor come in and to tell them about Debbie's progress, so they were shocked when Evan entered the room with a big smile on his face.

“I am proud to inform you that, Daniel Betsan Kendrick has made his debut, he weighted in at eight pounds, two ounces, and has a head full of black curly hair.”

His parents rushed him and embraced him a huge hug, he looked over their shoulders and smiled at the rest of his family.

“Deb is doing fine, and after they clean him up, you can all see him through the nursery window.”

While everyone congratulated each other on the new arrival, Evan grabbed Griffin by the arm and pulled him off to the side for a private conversation.

“Griff, I couldn't believe it when I saw him, Sonny, that's what we are going to call him, when Sonny opened his eyes…. they looked just like mam's,.

They are the same green in color, and their depths are as deep as hers, they're still a little cloudy, but there is no doubt, he has mam's eyes.”

“Why are you so surprised?”

Evan searched for the right words to explain his feelings. “Even though we have always known that we were a product of both of our mothers, I gotta tell you, when he opened his eyes for the first time and I saw mam looking back at me…. I felt something that I can't describe, we have mom's blue eyes, and Deb's eyes are brown, so to see those green eyes looking at me was a shock.

But it wasn't just the color, when you see him, you'll know what I mean, his eyes aren't just green, they are hers…. exactly like hers, it was a little overwhelming to see the truth of who you are in the eyes of your child.”



After mother and child had been settled, the family pressed their way into the hospital room, an oversized chair had been left vacant for the new grandparents.

Dani sat down and Lisa snuggled into her lap, Stan removed Sonny from his mother's chest and placed him in the arms of his mam as she rested in Dani's embrace.

And for the first time in years, Stan's green eyes held the influence of his mam. “Mom, mam, tell him, tell him the story.”

Gildas, Anna, Stan, Griff, and Evan stood around the two seated women and smiled their encouragement, Evan ran his fingers through his son's hair before he spoke.

“Yes, tell him.”

He looked lovingly at his mothers and made his request. “Tell him the story of us.”

Lisa held her grandson close, and ran the tip of her finger over his soft cheek, the action caused the infant to open his eyes, and when he did… Lisa couldn't stop the tears from filling her eyes.

“Oh my god, Dani, do you see what I see?”

Dani was so choked up that her voice was barely above a whisper. “It looks like a middle name isn't the only thing that the two of you share.”

Lisa looked at Evan and saw the pride on his face. “I… I can't believe it Evan, he…he has my eyes.”

The tall man smiled brightly as he leaned down and kissed the top of his mam's head. “How cool is that?”

Lisa turned to kiss her spouse, and they exchanged a silent communication before they started to speak as one.

“Ni are Kelts, a ni dod gan Ga+l……” ( We are Celts, and we come from Gaul.)




October 19, 2016


“Hurry up baby, the limo will be here any minute.”

Lisa was reluctantly getting ready for Stan's hometown stop of his national tour, the years of indulgence had turned their youngest child into a prima donna, although he never showed his mothers nothing less than respect, the media constantly reported on his lifestyle of excessive living.

The women, booze, and drug use were plastered all over the tabloids on a weekly basis, and Lisa was left feeling helpless, and when she and Dani talked about the situation, they always found themselves at a dead end.

As Dani got dressed, she knew what was on her partner's mind and tried to ease the pain a little. “There's really nothing that we can do Beth, Stan has to walk his own road.”

“I know, I just hate to see him this way, he doesn't have anyone looking out for him, they only care about what they can get from him.

The media has made sure that the world has a front row seat to witness the melt down of every young entertainer that can't handle the fame, and it frightens me to see that our son will most likely be their next headline.”

Lisa turned her back, signaling Dani to zip up her dress, Dani closed the back of the garment and rested her hands on the small blonde's shoulders.

“I know Beth, and I'm just as frightened, but we have talked with Stan, and we always end up frustrated, he says all the right words in our presence, and then leaves us to continue living the life that he craves.”

Lisa leaned back into the tall body behind her and exhaled in defeat before she spoke the words that had almost become a mantra.

“All we can do is love him, and be there for him when he reaches his breaking point.”

Dani leaned down and kissed the side of the teacher's neck, picking up a hint of Eternity, the fragrance that Lisa had been wearing for more than twenty years, she nuzzled the soft skin under her wife's ear and whispered to her.

“We need to get a move on, the limo still needs to stop at Griff's place and pick up him and Spence.”



Griff had come out to his family when he was seventeen years-old, over the years there had been a few boyfriends, but nothing appeared to be permanent, until now.

Griff had met Spencer McDonald when he started his internship at Smith Memorial Hospital, while pursuing his goal to become a pediatrician, Spence was starting his rotation in emergency medicine, and they hit it off right a way.

The tall brunette had thick brown curls, hazel eyes, and tan skin that spoke of his black and Irish heritage, his father, Simon, was a third generation Irishman from Killarney, Ireland, and his mother, Angela, was the product of a black mother and a Creole father from Louisiana.

Dani would often tease Griff when he would blush profusely after Spence had whispered something in his ear in French, knowing that the pediatrician got weak in the knees from what ever was said.

Lisa and Dani's first thoughts upon meeting Spence were, ‘what a beautiful young man', where Griff stood tall at a strapping six foot three, Spence stood a little shorter at five ten, he was soft spoken and was almost too pretty to be a man.

Although there was nothing delicate about him, when he smiled at you, his hazel eyes became soft and compassionate, leaving no doubt as to what his bedside manner would be like.

They didn't live together… yet, but when their parents got together and talked, the older couples felt like it was just a matter of time before the young men made a permanent commitment to each other.

“I'm almost ready love, knowing Spence, he's probably had Griff dressed and ready for the last hour, the man is so much like you when it comes to being on time, I have to wonder if you stepped out on me and got Angela pregnant in your spare time.”

Dani stopped what she was doing and stared at her wife. “Beth, you know that there could never be another, it has been you and you only…. forever.”

Lisa knew that Dani didn't take the joke seriously, but it seemed like every few years, her spouse had to make a declaration of her unshakable love and devotion, so she responded in a way that would break the seriousness of the moment.

“I know that Goofy, but sometimes you are so easy to tease that I can't resist taking the opportunity when it presents itself.”

Dani laughed out loud and smacked Lisa on her rear as they headed for the limo… just because she could.

“Watch it stud, I may be fifty-four, but I still have your number.”

Dani looped Lisa's arm through her own as they walked down the driveway. “I know, you proved that last night.”

The moonlight hid the smaller woman's blush, but Dani felt the heat as it spread through her wife's body, landing in her hand.

Trying to think of a way to get the best of her spouse, Lisa entered the car first, and just before she sat down, she gave Dani a cheeky smile.

“And if I remember correctly, Goofy, you more than returned the favor this morning.”

The tall woman groaned as she took he seat beside her wife.

“Why do I even try with you Beth, you always get the last word.”



While being escorted to their seats, they weren't surprised to see how packed the building was, Stan was a very popular entertainer, and they had to admit that his music was inspiring.

He had been dubbed, ‘The Balladeer' by his fans, where most male singers were in a group, or were one hit wonders, Stan had been lucky.

His original words and music had never faltered over the years, his songs spoke of the beauty that love could bring if the chance was taken.

When the lights dimmed after the opening act left the stage, the room became electrified with the audience's anticipation, they were about to experience the artist that some of them had waited on line all night to see.

The first strands of his latest hit flowed over the crowd, and the noise became deafening, a lone spotlight glowed at the corner of the stage, and then Stan's voice could be heard singing the first line of the song.

The tall blonde walked across the dark stage, unseen, until he reached the light that was shinning on center stage.

When he reached the bridge in the song, the overhead lights came on and the audience could see the band and back-up singers as they joined in.

That's when the room went wild, Dani and Lisa didn't know how anyone could hear the song over the noise, but it didn't seem to matter, they were getting what they came for, a look at 'The Balladeer', up close and personal.

Lisa had an overwhelming urge to stand up and tell them all to stop, she wanted to let them know the kind of poison that their adulation was infecting their son with, but she clamped down on the desire when she felt a long arm settle around her shoulders and pull her close.

It was too loud for Dani to speak to her spouse, but her eyes sent a calming message that Lisa received.

‘Let it go.'



After the concert, the four of them were suppose to go backstage and visit with Stan, but Lisa decided that it would be best if they went to visit him the following day at his hotel.

So when Griff and Spence headed to Stan's dressing room, Lisa and Dani left to catch a cab home, with the intentions of seeing their son the following afternoon.



About ten o'clock the next morning, Lisa was in the kitchen when she received a call from Griff. “Hey mam.”

She could hear the strain in his voice immediately. “What's wrong sweetheart?”

“I'm worried mam.” He paused for a second.

“When me and Spence saw Stan after the show last night…. It wasn't good.”

Lisa put her hand over the phone and called out to Dani, the builder rushed into the kitchen wondering what was wrong.

“Griff is on the phone and says there might be a problem with Stan.”

Dani took the phone from her wife and talked to their son. “What's going on Griff?”

“Mom, I think Stan is in trouble, when we saw him last night, he was totally out of it.”

“How do you mean?”

“Well, he couldn't focus, and he would leave every few minutes to disappear into the bathroom with his…. Hanger-on's, we all know that he's doing things that aren't healthy, but he's never done anything in front of us, I'm scared mom, I think that he has lost any control that he had.”

When Lisa saw the crease in her mate's forehead and the worry in her eyes, she started to panic.

“What is he saying love, what's going on?”

Dani told Griff to hold on while she filled Lisa in on what was happening, when she was done, Lisa left the kitchen and headed up to their bedroom to get dressed.

“Griff, I'll call you back later, if I'm right, we are about to make a trip to your brother's hotel room.”



They arrived at the Washington Hilton at twelve thirty, they knew what room Stan was in, so they took elevators to the tenth floor.

When they got close to his room, they saw two men positioned in front of the door, but they didn't slow down in their approach.

When they were standing at the entrance, the men had nervous looks on their faces, they knew who these two women were, and they knew that they couldn't stop them from going in without having their boss reprimand them for treating his parents like groupies.

“Um… hello Ms. and Mrs. Kendrick, I know that you want to see Tristan, but I don't think that this would a good time to go in there.”

Dani moved forward and challenged the man that stood a good six inches over her. “Are you stopping us from seeing our son?”

The big man became flustered. “No ma'am, I was just trying to stop you from seeing some things that might be a little…. embarrassing.”

The tall woman easily read between the lines and pulled her wife across the hallway to speak with her privately.

“Beth, maybe we should go down to the lobby and give Stan a chance to…. Um, straighten himself out.”

When the heat flared in her spouse's green eyes, she knew that what ever secrets that waited on the other side of that door was about to be brought out into the light.

Dani threw her hands up in defeat and didn't try to change Lisa's mind. “Okay, I know better than to try and stop you.”

She reached up and held Lisa's face in her hands and spoke with conviction. “Beth, whatever we see when we go into that room, you have to keep yourself under control, our son is an entertainer, and he probably does all of the things that we imagine entertainers do, so prepare yourself for anything that your mind can conjure up, okay?”

The educator had to take a second to pull herself out of ‘mommy mode', and let some of her worldly intellect seep in.

“Hold me.” She said, and immediately felt the warmth of her soul mate.

After a few moments of comfort, she pulled away and stood tall, ready to meet whatever awaited her, head on.

As they returned to the door, Dani nodded her head and one of the guards knocked on the door, signaling the occupants that it was okay to open up.

When the door opened and they stepped in, the people in the front room that knew who they were, started to scramble around, trying to get dressed and hide the drugs that were laying out.

The women didn't say a word to anyone, they just headed for the closed door that was obviously the bedroom.

Dani moved in front of her wife, and slowly opened the door, she was immediately assaulted with the combined smells of stale smoke, alcohol, sex, and drugs.

It took her eyes a second or two to adjust to the dim light that was coming through the window, and when she could see, she was left speechless.

Their baby boy was laying in the middle of a king sized bed, surrounded by empty liquor bottles, cigarette buts, and three naked women, her first instinct was to stop Lisa from entering the room.

“Baby, I think we should have someone wake him up before we go any further.”

Lisa's temper bloomed, as she pushed her way around her spouse, she didn't wait for her eyes to grow accustomed to the dark, she just reached around the wall until she felt the light switch, and flipped it on.

The sharp breath that she took in before she spoke was more from anger than shock.




The loud voice that was interrupting his slumber was very annoying, no one ever woke Stan up before he was ready, and the person that was doing it now…. was going to pay.

As the blonde man sat up to confront the intruder, a half finished joint rolled down his chest, leaving its ashes stuck in his golden chest hairs.

“Shut the fuck up, or you'll find yourself on the unemployment line!” He yelled.

Before he could bring himself fully awake, he felt a powerful hand land in the middle of his chest, and push him back down in the bed.

His first instinct was to call his guards, but before he could form the words, he focused on the face that hovered over him, and he met blue eyes that were filled with a fire that he had only heard about, and before he could sensor himself, he whimpered.

“Oh shit…. mom!”

Without thought, Dani grabbed Stan's throat and tightened her grip. “Just who do you think that you are speaking to little man?”

The fear that filled Stan's eyes was instantaneous, Lisa sidled up beside her spouse and grabbed her forearm in fear of their son's life as she spoke.

“Dani…. let go, this is Stan, he didn't know who he was talking to.”

She ran her free hand through the salt and pepper hair at Dani's temple in a soothing motion, hoping to bring her out of protection mode.

When Dani slowly released her hold, Stan rubbed his neck and was left with the memory of being up close and personal with the power that lived in his mom.

When she felt Dani's body relax under her touch, Lisa took the time to focus on her surroundings, the three women that that were in the bed were so shocked by their wake-up call, that they sat silently, unsure of what to do next.

Lisa solved their dilemma when she picked up a discarded shoe and started to beat them out of the room with it.

The fact that they were unclothed didn't seem to faze her at all, she just wanted them gone so that she could talk to their son, alone.

“Mam, I'm so sorry, I didn't know that that it was you.”

Lisa sat on the edge of the bed and ran her fingers through Stan's thick hair. ‘His hair is thick like Dani's,' she thought.

‘I wonder if he knows how much of her lives in him.' When she looked into his eyes, she had her answer, although they were green, Stan's eyes held Dani's spirit, he was hers, through and through.

“What is happening to you sweetheart?”

As Stan's head started to clear, he became aware of the pain that he was causing his parents, he looked at Dani and saw the turmoil that she was in and knew that he had put it there, he broke down in tears from the hurt and confusion that he saw in her eyes and felt raw.

In that moment, he realized how far gone he must be to have made his beloved mom handle with such force, and for the first time in nine years, he allowed his fears to surface.

He gripped Lisa's hand as he looked over her shoulder into his mom's stricken blue eyes and saw what he had done to her.

“I'm so sorry for how I have shamed you, you have taught me better than this.”

He shifted his gaze to Lisa and held the eyes of the woman that had given birth to him and all of his defenses were laid to rest as he lowered his head on to her breast.

“Mam, I feel so lost…. I don't know what to do.”

As Lisa felt his tears soak her blouse, she rubbed his head and comforted him in a way that only a mother could.

After a few moments, Dani pulled Stan from Lisa's shoulder, and looked at him, deep in his eyes, showing him all the love that she had in her heart for him.

“What can we do son?”

The blonde man broke down even more, and his green eyes pleaded with the blue that held his heart.

“Help mom… please help me.”

Dani's heart broke as she took in the red rimmed eyes and runny nose of her baby, and a decision was made.

She looked around the pigsty of a room and spotted a discarded pair of sweatpants that she gave to him to put on.

The women turned their backs as their son wiggled into the clothes while still under the covers, when they turned back around, he didn't look like a grown man any more.

The look on his face was so forlorn that to Dani, he appeared to be a little boy again, waiting to jump on her back at every opportunity to go for a ride.

Dani leaned over him and scooped him up in her arms, it didn't matter that she was in her fifties, or that Stan was a grown man, it was with the strength of a mother's love that she cradled him in her arms to carry him out of the hell that he had been living in.

When Stan felt the warmth of his mom's embrace, he buried his face in her neck and cried out all of the years of fear that he had lived with, a fear that had built a wall around his heart, since he was twelve years old, Stan's only fear had been the possibility of… losing her.

As he was carried through the living room, Dani walked pass the human garbage that was there, one of the men came forward, and made a motion, like he was going to take Stan from Dani's arms.

Lisa got between them and her voice was dripping with venom. “Don't you dare, don't you dare attempt to offer him help now.”

She looked at each one of them with disgust. “How many years have you watched him slowly kill himself, with your only care being, what else can I get out of him before it all comes to an end?”

She opened the door, so that Dani could take their son to the elevators, before closing it, she took one last look at what she considered nothing more than parasites.

“You all just sit there like you've always done, this free ride has come to an end… I suggest that you clear out of here, unless one you can pay the bill.”



MAY 8, 2018

Dani sat Lisa's breakfast plate down in front of her before she went back to grab their cups of coffee and her own plate.

“What's on your agenda for today baby?”

“Well first, I'm gonna check on the parents before I head to the school.”

Dani sat down across from her spouse and tucked into the food that she had prepared, she thought about the second house that they had built on their property for Herman and Alice.

Five years prior, when the couple had reached a point where they needed family around them, but didn't want to feel like they were dependant on anyone for their care, Dani had suggested that hey build a second house on their land for Lisa's parents.

It took a lot of convincing, but when the Crawfords saw that Gil and Audrey were more than willing to live in the guest homes, they warmed to the idea.

So now, Lisa and Dani lived in the main house, Gil and Audrey lived in the guest house, and Herman and Alice lived in the new house that had been built for them.

Gil had won Herman over when he told him about the equity that could be gained by living on their children's land, and renting out their own property.

Herman finally gave in to the idea when Gil told him that Lisa an Dani had pulled him in with the same argument.

Lisa ran her finger around the rim of her coffee cup, trying to think of a way to bring up a subject that she and Stan had discussed at length.

“Um… baby, I was talking with Stan last week, and he expressed to me how fulfilling it has been to him, being a music teacher at the prep school.”

Dani bit into a slice of toast as she waited patiently for her wife to get to what ever point she was trying to make.

“Well… see.. He feels like, after the year he spent in rehab, and the year that he has spent teaching, that he feels ready to perform one last time… and um… announce his retirement.”

Dani picked up her cup of coffee and took a sip, her gaze never dropped from Lisa's face as she thought about what she had just heard.

“How do you feel about that Beth?”

The educator used her napkin to clean the crumbs from her fingers, and finished the last of her orange juice before she answered.

“He's almost twenty-four years old, but his life experience has advanced his years, I believe that Stan has more control over his life than he ever has.”

Dani pushed her chair out from under the table, just enough to stretch out her legs.

“Well, he after spending his first year out of the business living her with us, and the last year out on his own without any relapses, I have to agree with you.”

“I'm glad you fill that way, I spoke with him last night, and he told me how excited he was becoming at the prospect of performing one more time, he didn‘t want me to tell you right a way, because he was afraid that you wouldn‘t agree with his decision.”

Dani's eyes immediately filled with hurt. “Why… why would he want you to keep a secret from me?”

Lisa saw the pain in her wife's blue eyes, and quickly explained Stan's reasoning. “It's not about him having any trust issues with you love, Stan is afraid that his decision will disappoint you.”

“What about your disappoint Beth, isn't he worried about that?”

Lisa moved over and sat in Dani's lap. “My relationship with Stan has always been different from yours.”

She cupped one of her mate's cheeks, and softly kissed her lips. “It scares him when he thinks that he has let you down.”

She pulled back and looked into Dani's eyes. “Do you know what made him go into rehab to stop what he was doing?”

The dark head shook from side to side.

“When you pinned him to his hotel bed that day, and treated him like you would anyone that had disrespected me, he saw what he had become.”

She left her mate's lap and sat in the chair beside her. “You have always been his hero, and when he saw the fire that he had stoked in your eyes, he finally saw himself.”

The teacher covered her spouse's hand and held her gaze before she spoke again. “He loves you more than anything in this world, he told me that it was during his counseling sessions that he realized that he had cut off his feelings after we fell into that coma years ago.”

After getting up to refill their coffee cups, she sat down again. “When you restrained him as forcefully as you did, he saw something in your eyes that terrified him.”

“What Beth… what did he see?”

“He saw the stranger that he had become, he knows how much you love him baby, and when his actions made you react in the way that you did, his eyes finally opened.”

The tears that started to make their way down Dani's cheeks, made Lisa's heart ache. “It's a good thing love, don't be sad.”

“Beth, there aren't many things that I regret doing in this life, but the day that I lost control with our child, weighs heavy on my heart.”

Lisa knew the depths of Dani's love for their children, but she also knew how deeply the builder's love her ran.

“My love, don't beat yourself up reliving those images.”

She tilted her head until she could see her partner's eyes. “Do you remember the day before we got married?”

Dani was confused by the question, but nodded her head in understanding.

“That day, as we sat in the kitchen of the first house we ever shared, you told me that even when we had children, there would never be anyone more important to you, than me… remember that?”

Dani thought for just an instant before she recalled the conversation from almost twenty-nine years before, and her body let go of the tension that had started to build.

“Yeah, I remember that.”

The smile that Lisa was trying to hold back, couldn't be stopped. “The only thing you did that day with Stan, was prove to me that you are a woman of your word, when that disrespectful language came out of Stan's mouth, it didn't matter to you who he was.”

Her green eyes softened and her smile became loving. “All that mattered to you was that someone was attacking me.”

When Lisa saw her mate's features relax fully, she knew that she had reached her.

“Beth, I'll never bare witness to anyone, I don't care who it is, treating you with anything less than respect.”

“I know love… and now Stan knows it too.”



JULY 12, 2018

Evan Kendrick had held his MBA for three years, and was now working side by side with his mom for the Kendrick Corporation, Anna and Griff were near the end of their pursuits to become a lawyer and a pediatrician respectively.

On this night, they were sitting in the living room of their parent's home, watching Dani as she waited at the bottom of the staircase for their mam to come down.

This was the night of Tristan's farewell concert, and they were all excited to attend, Stan had decided that since this was going to be his last performance, he would do it in his hometown, at the Elizabethtown concert hall.

The musician felt like he had finally found his place, he was so settled in his position as a music teacher in his mam's school, that he was able to focus more on his personal life.

Through therapy he was slowly opening himself up to his emotions, and discovered that although love could be painful, if you let it in, the rewards were great.

Griff and Spencer were waiting in the living room with, Evan, Deb, Anna, and Paul, the litigator had taken her parent's advice, and when she stopped trying to force her expectations on her potential suitors, she found Paul.

He was a tall ad executive with dark hair and blue eyes, when he met the family for the first time, they all secretly thought to themselves that his resemblance to Dani was undeniable, but they never voiced their opinion, for fear that Anna would start to find fault with the man.

The quiet in the room was broken when the click of heals sounded on the oak floors above them, causing everyone to turn and watch Lisa's descent.

She personified the term ‘the light in the darkness,' the contrast from the black dress that she wore made her blonde hair glow, as if it were illuminated by a golden light.

As the Kendrick offspring gazed at their mam, and then turned their attention to Dani as she waited at the bottom of the staircase, they were able to define the balance that they had always felt in their life.

Between their grandfathers, uncles, and friends, they had never lacked for a male influence in their lives, but they also had never missed the presence of a father.

Their mothers seemed to fill that emotional and psychological void without any effort, Lisa had given them the soft, cuddly love that a mother provides, by fixing their boo-boos, and making their home a safe haven to return to.

Where Dani, provided them with the type of love that made them feel protected, safe, and secure in their surroundings, they knew that when ever their mom showed up, whatever the situation was, would be rectified in short order.

Between the two of them, the balance of hard and soft was doled out in equal measure, but always wrapped in a cushion of unwavering love.

It didn't matter if it was Lisa teaching the four of them how to make a cake from scratch, or Dani helping them cut wood and nail the boards together to build a tree house, they knew that they were getting the best of both worlds.

They had never felt the absence of a dominate male figure in their lives, after all, didn't society dictate, that to raise a healthy, productive citizen, a child should learn how to be compassionate were needed, and firm when necessary.

The Kendrick children felt very lucky that their parents exemplified those qualities naturally, using very little effort.

Yes, the women were opposites, but neither one of them were stereotypical, Lisa wasn't overly feminine, and Dani was not some hardcore butch.

They were just two women that loved each other, and their children and used whatever their strengths were to raise them as best as they could… and for the four of them… it was enough.

As Evan looked at Lisa, he remembered the time that he and Griff were helping Dani cut wood for the various fireplaces throughout the house.

They were about nineteen then, and were getting the winter wood supply together before they returned to school in September.

The two of them were taking a break from splitting wood while their mom continued with the chore.



“You know Griff, I think mom has more testosterone than the two of us put together.”

Griff titled his head back and squeezed a stream of water into his mouth from the sports bottle he was holding, as he watched the tall woman stack her cuts of wood.

“I think you're right, but you know what's funny?”

Evan grabbed the water bottle from his twin before he answered. “What?”

“There's nothing overly masculine about her, it's kinda strange, I mean, looking at her now, you would think that she would go into the house, prop her boots up on the table, and demand that mam bring her a meal.”

Evan laughed under his breath and handed the bottle back to his brother. “Like mam would ever go for that.”

“That's what I mean, as strong and intimidating as she can be, there is also that soft, feminine side to her.”

He bumped his brother's shoulder and tried to cover his snicker. “Remember that time, when mam bought that dress, with the thin straps for mom, and talked her into wearing it, just around the house, and to pose for a few pictures?”

“Oh yeah, we still need special permission to pull those out.”

“Do you remember how she looked?”

Evan stretched his long legs out in front of him while he pulled up the memory.

“Yeah, she was… she was beautiful.”

“Right, I think that's one of the special things about them.”

“What do you mean?”

“We are told that if you live a certain way, you have to act a certain way.”

He tilted his head in his mom's direction. “They have never fallen into a category, they were just… them.”



Evan came back to himself as his mam took another step down the staircase, her eyes were focused on the person waiting for her to reach the bottom.

Griff watched his mom as she stood patiently for her mate to reach her, he had always taken is upbringing for granted.

Because of the open mindedness of the citizens that lived in the town that they had grown up in, he had made the mistake of thinking that's how it was for everyone.

It wasn't until he and Evan had started to attend school outside of Elizabethtown, that he realized that there was a difference.

He came to see that his hometown was the exception, not the rule, as he became older, and acknowledged his sexuality, he was faced with the duality in which he had to live his life.

Within the boarders of the town, he could freely express himself, but once he left that circle, the real world made its presence known, and that's when his internal battle began.

His mind went back to the day, when he was seventeen, sitting in the upstairs rec-room, having a heart to heart talk with his mam.



“I don't know mam, on one hand, I was raised to be who I am, living openly, and freely, and on the other hand, I have to decide who to reveal my true self to, and who to keep quiet around.”

Lisa sat at the large table that had replaced the child sized one years before, and pushed a mug of hot chocolate in front of him.

“Well Griff, I don't know what to tell you, I can give you my point of view, but that will be coming from the perspective of a forty-six year old woman, that has had the opportunity to pretty much create the world that she lives in.”

She took a sip from her own mug of hot chocolate before she continued.

“Even when I met your mom, I was at an age, where I could surround myself with people that didn't judge me for the life that I lived.”

“It's so hard mam, I want to be the person that I am all of the time, but if I do, then I'll have to deal with people that don't accept or understand who I am.”

As Lisa listened to her son, she relaxed into her emotions, in an effort to feel what she should say to him, instead of thinking about it.

When she felt comfortable with the message, she gave him the best answer that she could. “Griff, just be true to yourself, you don't need to raise a flag or walk in a parade to know who you are.

The people that you meet, the kids that you go to school with, will eventually become shadows in your past.”

She got up and opened the cabinet that had always held their treats, and pulled out a box of cookies, she grabbed a plate and spread the cookies out on it before she sat back down.

“You don't have to tell anyone, anything, if you choose to go through high school, and never reveal your true self… there is no shame in that,

all that matters, is that in your private life, when you are away from prying eyes, that you be who you are, defining ones self, comes by what you do when the world isn't watching.”

As Griff bit into a lemon cookie, Lisa could that she was confusing him, so she tried to explain it to him in different way.

“Okay, I'll put it like this, what I'm about to say may embarrass you, but it will help me make my point, let‘s say, you take a girl out on a date because you discover that your classmates are talking behind your back about a lack of interest, so to stop the talk, you ask a girl out.”

The teenager wasn't having a problem following this explanation. “Okay.”

“Now, it's up to you how you handle the situation in private, do you…”

Lisa blushed before she finished. “This is the embarrassing part… do you, attempt to have sex with her, because it would stop the speculation, or do you take her out, show her a good time, and drop her off at her doorstep, leaving her with a chaste kiss goodnight?”

Finally, understanding bloomed on his handsome face. “Oh, I see, I could take her out to stop people from talking, but I don't have to compromise myself, sexually, just to drive the point home!”

“You got it!”

Lisa reached across the table and held one of his hands, that was already much larger than Dani's, and looked into his blue eyes.

“In all things Griff, be true to yourself, that doesn't mean putting rainbow stickers on your backpack, all it means is that when you look into a mirror, you can look yourself in the eyes, and not feel shame.”



Anna's sigh brought Griff out of his thoughts, in time to see Lisa reach the step that stood just above Dani.

When her mam lovingly ran her hand through her mom's hair, the young lawyer was taken back to a time, a few years before, she was sitting in her room, and had become unsure of her choice of vocation.



Dani walked by Anna's open door, and took notice of her daughter's slumped shoulders before she entered the room.

“What's wrong little bit?”

Anna's blue-green eyes were filled with doubt when she looked into the vibrant blues of her mom's

“I… I'm not sure mom.”

Dani sat on the side of her daughter's bed and waited for the girl to turn away from her computer desk to face her.

“What aren't you sure about?”

Anna exhaled a long breath, and her hands motioned to the computer screen, and the various books that were scattered across the desk top.

“In it's first two hundred years of existence, there has only been two women appointed to the supreme court, Sandra Day O'Connor was appointed in nineteen eighty-one, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg was appointed in nineteen ninety-three.

When I really digest that information, it makes me wonder if I have what it takes to make the kind of impression that only two other women were able to achieve in two hundred years.”

Dani rubbed her jaw in a way that was reminiscent of Gil, and she took a moment to acknowledge the irony.

“Do you think that you aren't smart enough?”

“No mom, that's not it… I just… I just don't know if I'm strong enough to handle the challenge of dealing with the ‘old boy's club', mentality.”

Dani stood up and started pacing in front of the bed. “Let me tell you something about having to be strong, little bit.

When I started out as an electrician, there were practically no women in the field, the companies that hired me had to fill a quota, and the men were none too happy to see me coming, I gotta tell you, it wasn't easy.”

Lisa was coming down the hallway, in search of her mate, and heard part of the conversation, when she reached Anna's room, she entered and quietly took a seat on the bed.

“It wasn't that they treated me badly, because they didn't, they just didn't teach me anything.”

“What do you mean mom?”

Dani stopped pacing, and sat down beside Lisa. “They were nice enough, but when I asked them questions, they acted like they didn't understand what I was saying, and just brushed me off.

I was in the second year of my apprenticeship before I realized that their sabotage wasn't overt, they didn't isolate me, or stop talking to me, that would have been the honest way to make me fail.

Instead, they kept information from me that would advance me in my chosen field, they taught me just the basics, passing on only enough knowledge to keep me in a position where I would always be considered a helper, never a journeyman electrician.”

The story was starting to pique Anna's interest, maybe her mom could help with her problem.

“When you realized what was going on, what did you do mom?”

Dani laughed low in her chest, in a way that Lisa had come to realize meant ‘I got you.'

“I started to ask more questions in class, and spent more one on one time with my instructors at the trade school, then in my spare time, I read every basic and advanced electricity book that I could find,

I went to the electrical supply store, and purchased wires, switches, and batteries, so that I could practice hooking up circuits, by the time I started the third year of my apprenticeship, I was on track with field experience.”

“So you're saying that I need to apply myself more?” Anna asked.

Dani stood, and pulled Lisa up beside her as she led her out of the room.

“That's part of it little bit, but what I really want you to understand is that, you come from strong willed people, on both sides, and when we are faced with a challenge, we find a way to overcome the obstacles… no matter what they are.”



After that day, Anna studied the cases and backgrounds of not only the two women supreme court justices, but every one that had served, and now she felt so confident in her choice, that she sometimes felt an adrenaline rush, just from thinking about what her future held.

Spencer looked at the couple as they held each other's gaze, and not for the first time, he saw shinning in their eyes, the love and devotion that they had for one another.

“You know Griff, I don't think that there is anything in this world that could come between those two.”

Dani raised her hand and caressed Lisa's cheek. “You are the most beautiful woman that I have ever seen, I am so thankful that you chose me to live your life with.”

Lisa covered the large hand that rested on her face, with her own. “I had no choice my love, my life would have been empty if you hadn't come into it.”

She leaned forward and kissed the soft lips in front of her, but before the kiss could become deeper, Anna spoke up.

“Would you two please give it a rest, I've dealt with twenty-five years of this mush, can we please get in the car and go to the concert?”

The room erupted in laughter as the adults headed out to the waiting car, Dani and Lisa spent the ride, snuggled in each other's arms, they both had the feeling that this would be a night to remember.



That night Stan sang all of his hits, and the audience responded to his performance with enthusiasm, there were screams of, ‘don't retire!', and 'say it ain't so!' heard throughout the show.

But the decision had been made, and at the close of the show, Stan had a stool brought out on stage, along with his acoustic guitar.

As he sat down, and pulled the guitar strap over his head, the lights dimmed, and a gospel choir could be head humming in the background.

He strummed a melody for a few minutes that pulled at the heart string, his first words were almost a whisper, but the mic was able to pick them up.

No man can find, no matter how hard he tries,

No man can know, no matter what his money buys,

No man, not one, no matter the son,

Can ever find a love, truer than that of his mom.

Dani's heart clenched in her chest when she realized that Stan had found her in the audience, and was looking at her as he sung his song.

Lisa didn't miss the message, and she held her spouse's hand tighter as tears started to prick at the backs of her eyes.



After the choir's last note faded out, Stan leaned into the mic. “I love you mom, thank you for my life.”

The silence lasted for only a few seconds before thunderous applause, and cheers erupted in the hall, Stan waved to the crowd as he made his way off of the stage.

The noise could still be heard in the dressing room, as Tristan's last performance ended with a standing ovation.



Backstage, the singer was given a bottle of water, and a towel, his staff had been reduced considerably, from the huge entourage that he had surrounded himself with in years past.

Now instead of his dressing room being charged with a party atmosphere, it felt more like a small gathering of friends.

His families arrival filled the room with excitement, and a sense of celebration, when he came face to face with Dani, they embraced each other without a word… none were necessary.

Before breaking contact, Dani kissed Stan on the side of his neck, and moved, to rejoin her mate.

His siblings gathered around Stan, and smothered him with congratulatory hugs and kisses, then Evan spoke.

“Stan, that was an amazing show, I don't think that you've ever sounded better.”

Before another comment could be made, a man's voice boomed above the rest.

“I couldn't agree more.”

Stan's agent, Mark, had been trying to talk the singer out of abandoning his career for over a year, to no avail, but after the crowd's response, he felt compelled to try and talk his client back into touring.”

“Tristan, you can't tell me that you didn't feel the energy in that room tonight.”

Stan took a swig of his water, and faced the short, stocky man. “Yeah, I felt it Mark, but it doesn't change anything, I like what I'm doing now.”

“You can't make me believe that being a music teacher at some rinky dink school is more fulfilling than performing on stage in front of thousands of screaming fans.”

Lisa heard Dani growl low in her throat as she stood behind her, and reached back to pat her side, and calm her down.

“That rinky dink school, that you are referring to is owned and operated by my mam, and there is nothing dinky about it.”

Mark's plump face became flushed when he realized that he was in a room filled with Stan's family, and immediately started to back peddle.

“No, no, of course not, I meant no disrespect, I know that the Kendrick Preparatory school is one of the most prestigious learning institutions in the country,

I was just saying that, after living in the spot for so long, how could you ever be satisfied with being just a music teacher.”

“Easy Mark, that life was slowly killing me.”

Then he looked at his parents. “It took me a while, but I finally realized that there was nothing more important to me than the way that my mothers looked at me, the pain that I put in their eyes, is something that I will never forget, or be responsible for again.”

He looked over at his mothers, and was held in a loving gaze of green and blue, before her returned his attention to his former agent.

The singer lifted his hand, pointed a long finger in their direction. “That's what I want to see when they look at me, it makes me feel like I have become the man that they raised me to be.”

When Mark followed the direction that Stan was pointing in, he became silent, what he saw made his chest ache, the two women were looking at the singer with such love and pride that understanding hit him like a brick wall.

He patted the young man on the shoulder as he turned to leave them to enjoy their celebration.

“Not me, the industry, the fans, or anyone else can compete with that Tristan, I wish you success and happiness in whatever your aspirations become.”

That was the last thing he said, as he left Stan to live his life in peace.



SEPTEMBER 15, 2028


Lisa and Dani were sitting in the church pew, waiting for the minister to start the christening ceremony for their twelfth grandchild.

Their oldest grandchild, Sonny, was now fifteen years old, and was already showing signs of the politician that he was to become, with the diplomatic manner he used to keep his cousins and siblings settled before the ceremony began.

Trying to keep tabs on, his two brothers, and two sisters, Anna's two boys, Griff and Spencer's son and daughter, and Stan and Jamie's two boys, his hands were full.

Everyone had been shocked, and pleased when Stan started dating Shirley and Kat's daughter, Jamie, the friendship that had started in childhood, had blossomed into a full blown relationship after Stan left his touring career behind.

Two years later, the childhood friends got married, and now they were standing in front of a crowded church, holding their youngest child, Annwyl Elizabeth Kendrick.

The newborn's brothers, seven year old Travis, and four year old Wynn, were anxious for this thing to be over with, so that they could take possession of their little sister.

Everyone had been surprised when the boys had greeted little Liz with such love, they all thought that the boys would be disappointed that the new baby wasn't a boy, but it was a pleasant surprise.

Lisa and Shirley were overjoyed when their children had made a commitment to each other, the two friends had always felt like family, and the union of their children just made if official.

Shirley sat between Lisa and Kat, and leaned over to whisper in her friend's ear. “Well, grandma, what is this, number twelve for you?”

Lisa bumped her friend's shoulder, making her curls bounce a little. “Who are you calling grandma, I do believe this is grandchild number three for you, old lady.”

Kat looked at her wife, and shushed her. “It's about to begin baby, be quiet.”

Shirley was about to tease her spouse, but stopped when she saw the pride that shined in her brown eyes, she knew that Kat had never imagined that her life would be filled with children, and grandchildren, so instead of giving her a hard time, she chose to lean into her shoulder and squeeze her hand in support.

She turned back to Lisa, with a twinkle in her eyes, and stuck out her tongue. “I can't talk to you right now, momma bear doesn't want to miss a second of little Liz' christening.

Lisa looked to her left and saw the same look of pride on her own spouse's face, so she sat back in her seat, and exhaled a breath of fulfillment.

Life was good, and she had no complaints.

After the christening, the families gathered at Shirley and Kat's house for lunch, Lisa got Gil settled in a chair, and sat a plate of food in front of him before she joined the crew.

“How old is he now?” Cynthia asked as she handed a piece of cheese to her two year old granddaughter.

Lisa looked affectionately at her father0in-law before she answered. “Eighty-nine.”

“Wow, he‘s really getting up there.”

“Yeah, after Audrey died, he just kinda started hanging around the main house more and more, now, he sleeps in the den downstairs every night, no matter how much we try, we can't get him to come upstairs to sleep in one of the bedrooms.”

The educator scanned the circle of friends, and realized that they had know each other longer than anyone at the gathering, even their spouses.

“Shirley, can you believe that we have been friends for more than fifty years?”

The curly-haired architect took a moment to ponder the question. “That's unreal.”

Hazel eyes went inward, as her mind was filled with memories. “I still remember spending weekends at your house, and your brothers giving me a hard time, calling me, ‘Shirley Temple,' I can't believe how long ago that was.”

Lisa turned to look at Ron and Stanley, and was shocked at how old they had gotten, then she looked at Lance, and really felt old.

Dani's younger brother, wasn't so young any more, he had a grandchild of his own now, when her eyes moved to check on her father-in-law, her heart skipped a beat, the body that had once been so big and strong, was now a little shorter, and some what more frail.

When Dani's mother, Marilyn, had died ten years before, it didn't make a big impact on the builder, she hadn't even gone to the funeral.

But when Lisa's parents had died, she felt the loss as much as the teacher had, Dani had been her rock, even when the builder had spent a few nights, shedding quiet tears, when Lisa needed her strength, she was always there.

Lisa spoke to her friends in voice that was filled with wonder. “I didn't see it happening, but now as I look around… damn… we are old.”

Shirley took a sip of her beer, and brushed Lisa's comment away with a wave of her hand.

“Speak for yourself kid, I still feel like I'm thirty.”

Hearing the long used term of endearment, made the teacher smile.

“How many times must I tell you that I'm older than you are?”

Shirley smacked her on the leg. “Until I believe it.”

“Can't we drop this conversation?” Freda asked.

“I, for one, am not going to think about death and old age, on a day when we are celebrating new life.”

“She's right.” Cynthia added.

“So what, we are close to seventy.” Then she amended her statement.

“Okay, so what, I'm already seventy, but we need to do what we feel, and right now, I feel like going over to my wife, and planting a big, juicy, life affirming kiss on her.”

The crew sought out their spouses, and as a group, stood up and converged on the unsuspecting women, with serious intent.



Lisa snuggled closer to Dani, and felt her arms tighten around her, Sonny was sleeping in one of the spare rooms down the hall.

They loved the fact that their oldest grandchild wanted to spend time with them, but they were worried that their influence would make him older than his fifteen years.

“Beth, what were you and the crew up to when you guys sprung those kisses on us?”

Lisa stroked the mostly gray hair of her life partner, and kissed her lips.

“We were just reminiscing.”

Dani turned on her side, and ran her hand down the back of Lisa's nightshirt.

“Reminiscing about what?”

Lisa mirrored her wife's position, and found herself face to face with the only person that she ever truly loved.

“At first, we were talking about being old, then it changed to how young we really felt, and one thing led to another, and naturally the next step was to find our mates, and prove that we still had it.”

Dani brushed her fingers over Lisa's cheeks, and rested her large hand behind her neck. “Do you Beth, do you still have… it?” She asked with mischief in her eyes.

“What are you doing Goofy, are you making a move on me?”

Dani put pressure on the back of Lisa's neck and pulled her forward, she captured her lips, and didn't waste anytime deepening the contact.

When they broke apart for air, their breathing was labored. “What do you think.” Dani asked.

“I think that our grandson is here, and we shouldn't traumatize him with the sounds of our geriatric love making.”

“Come on Beth, you know as well as I do that we can be quiet.”

Lisa rolled over, and laid on top of the builder. “You really are delusional aren't cha?”

Dani pretended not to understand. “Delusional… how?”

“Just because we have learned how to turn down the volume, doesn't mean that we are quiet.”

Large hands started to slowly push the smaller woman's nightshirt further up her body, when she reached the soft skin of her back, she exhaled, and pulled the body on top of her closer.

“I want you Beth, and I'm not going to deny myself your touch.” She glanced over at the clock on the nightstand.

“He's probably asleep anyway.”

When Dani dropped her hands to cup the teacher's backside, Lisa lost her resolve. “I guess it's a good thing that he's on the far end of the house, cause you are in for a long night.”

The purr that came from Dani's throat, raised her spouse's excitement. “Oh my Goofy, does that mean that you are a cat, and I'm your bowl of milk?”

Dani flipped her partner over and removed her shirt before she positioned herself between the smaller woman‘s thighs.

“Come' ere woman, you know the drill.”

For the next few hours, they made love using a reserve of stamina that hadn't been tapped into in years, afterwards, they laid in each other's arms and whispered words of love, as they fell asleep to the beating of one heart.



AUGUST 6, 2045


The barbecue slash birthday celebration was going on around them, but Dani and Lisa sat in a swing, away from the party goers, with Lisa's head resting on Dani's shoulder, they were happy, just being in their own world.

Dani gently ran her hand through Lisa's soft hair, as they sat and communicated, silently through their shared bond.

They were celebrating Sonny's bill being signed into law, and Dani and Lisa couldn't be any prouder of their oldest grandchild, but that wasn't what was on their minds at the moment.

“Beth, can you believe that we have been together for almost fifty-seven years?”

The swing shifted as the small teacher positioned herself closer to her spouse.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would one day, be more than eighty years old, surrounded by a family filled with children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.”

Green eyes looked into vibrant blues as she spoke words of love. “You gave my life meaning, if I had never met you, I know that my life would have been one of just existing, living with the constant ache of never finding my other half.”

Dani's eyes wondered over to where Sonny was playing with his children, and turned back to her reason for living.

“You brought magic into my life Beth, I always believed that it existed, but you made it happen, I see the truth of it as I look around the yard.”

“We brought the magic my love, it took the two of us the create what is surrounding us, as I look around me and see the generations of our family, I know that their is something greater than us guiding the planet, and we have been lucky enough to be a part of it.”

Sonny approached the swing that his grandmothers sat on, and kneeled down in front of them with a slight hitch to his lips.

“What are the two of you up to?”

The two women looked down at the young that was a reflection of both of them, and felt a surge of love pass through them.

Lisa brushed her hand through his dark hair, and Dani held the gaze of his green eyes. . . then she pushed him over with a small nudge of her foot.

“Hey, that was a sneak attack!”

They both laughed at him. “What ever do you mean Sonny?”

“Nain B.” He pointed at Dani. “I expect something like from her, but you, I'm shocked.”

Green eyes twinkled. “No you're not, you're just trying to make me feel guilty…. Save it for your constituents Sonny.”

The politician laughed from deep in his belly. “You've been with Nain D for too long, you're starting to be as paranoid as she is.”

Sonny heard a very familiar low growl coming from his Nain D's chest, and smiled, because he knew what would come next, it was a scene that he had witnessed many times over the years.

“Stop that Goofy, be good.”

“Okay Beth.”

“Ha, it never fails, she can always get you to stop.”

Dani turned up the heat a little in her eyes, and leaned forward. “And aren't you happy that she can?”

Sonny swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat, he thought that particular look had been retired years ago, now he knew that his Nain D had just put it on a shelf, until it was needed.

“That's not fair, I'm a grown man now, a respected politician, and here you are, making me feel like I'm seven years old again.”

Dani gentled her eyes, and gave the man a winning smile. “Come on Sonny boy, can't you take a little heat from an old woman?”

Sonny stood up and brushed off his pants as he walked away. “Save your breath Nain D, the only way that you two will ever be old women, is when you decide to be.”

He stopped and turned around to look at them, love showing in his eyes. “And I hope you guys don't make that decision for a long time.”



November 11, 2048

“Beth, I don't feel like getting up, I think I'll spend the day in bed.”

Lisa tucked herself into the position that she had woken up in for the last sixty years, and kissed her wife's shoulder.

“You'll get no argument from me, I don't feel like getting up either.”

“Before I woke up, I was dreaming about our life together.”

Lisa raised up a little so that she could look into her wife's eyes. “What did you see love?”

“I saw joy and happiness, I saw a life filled with dreams that came true, and wishes that were granted.”

Dani tightened her hold on her mate, as she continued to speak. “I realized that I have been given everything that I needed, and most of the things that I wanted.”

Lisa snuggled back down into her spouse's embrace, knowing what the answer would be, but having to ask the question anyway.

“So, what are you saying?”

“I'm saying that I think that it's done, we have lived all that this life had planned for us.”

“Have we come to the end of our road my love?”

Blue eyes looked into green, and for the first time they say their years together as they passed by, and was filled with such joy, that they shed happy tears.

“I think so Beth, I'm ready to go to a place where we'll never grow old, a place where we'll bask in the sunshine all day, and make love all night, a place where we will be together, until it's time to start again.”

Lisa pulled herself closer to Dani's ear so that she could speak her heart. “My love, where you go, I go.”

They looked wordlessly into each other's eyes, and brought their lips together for one final kiss, before their lips parted, they released their last breath into each other's mouth.

It was finished.




There was a flash of bright light, and then all was quiet.

Dani opened her eyes and was met with the vision of Lisa standing on a newly built pier.

“Are you gonna sleep on the deck all day, or are you coming into the cottage with me?”

She wiggled her eyebrows suggestively. “For a little afternoon delight.”

She didn't have to be ask twice, the tall woman jumped over the side of the boat, and grabbed her wife's hand, as they made their way down the boardwalk.

As their feet hit the sand, and they started running for their home, they heard their names being called in the distance.

They stopped and looked to their left, they could see the outline of four women walking down the beach, coming in their direction.

As the sunlight reflected off of the bouncing curls of one of the figures, Lisa and Dani had no doubt as to who the visitors were.


Lisa took off running, with Dani right behind her, the curly-haired blonde had also started to run, when they reached each other, both women were winded.

It only took seconds for them to fall into each other's arms, Shirley pushed Lisa away, and held her at arms length.

“We didn't think that you guys would ever get here, what took you so long?”

Dani came up behind Lisa and wrapped her arms around the smaller woman, as she rested her chin on her shoulder.

“What's up curly-top?”

Kat, Cynthia, and Elaine had finally caught up with their spouse's and greeted the Kendrick women with labored breaths.

“Don't what's up, me stud, what took you guys so long?”

Lisa rested her hands on the arms that circled her waist. “This one just had to take the new boat out for a sail before noon.”

Dani finally noticed the food baskets that Kat and Elaine were carrying. “What cha got there?”

Cynthia rolled her eyes. “I swear, you two have the memory capacity of a gnat. . . this afternoon. . . barbecue. . . we bring the drinks and sides… you guys bring the main course?”

Dani looked down at Lisa, and then a broad smile covered her face. “Gottcha!”

They both laughed as their friends kicked sand on them, Dani turned Lisa around and held her hand as they headed back to the boat.

She called back over her shoulder. “We'll get the cages, while you guys set up the tables.”

The four women broke off and headed towards the cottage that Lisa and Dani shared, while the hostess' headed back to their boat to retrieve the fish, shrimp, and lobsters they had caught for the feast.

“Well Goofy, I guess I'll have to give you a rain check on that afternoon delight.”

Dani stopped them from walking, and pulled her little blonde close. “Don't worry about it Beth, we have all the time in the world.”

As she lowered her head and captured her wife's lips, she could hear Shirley yelling in the distance.

“Look Dani, we all know that you're a stud, but we would like to eat some food…… today!”

They broke their kiss, and resumed walking. “Boy, Beth, if she's this cranky now, I'd sure hate to see what she's like when she's an old lady.”

“Well, my love, thank goodness that's a long way off.”



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