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"Just how much a beached whale do they think I am?" Willow cursed, plastic Hefty bag in hand. "Oh, I need to sit down." She lowered herself to the couch, feeling like an eighty year old man. "I mean, she used half the darn roll of toilet paper!" she continued her tirade, the three remaining women hiding their smiles.
"Whale or wale?" Rachel muttered.
"I heard that!" Willow yelled to her friend, who was throwing away the paper plates and cups from the party.
"Alright, alright, no picking on the pregnant woman," Christine said, all the while grinning at the redhead and nodding.
"What am I going to do with all this stuff?" Willow sighed, looking around at the piles of boxes and bundles, all wrapped in pink and blue.
"Thank your lucky stars, my love," Myra said, sitting next to her granddaughter, patting her thigh. "When I had your father, they didn't have all this fancy schmancy stuff," she waved her hand at the room. "You're going to do just fine, my love."
"Thanks, grandma. And thanks for coming." She leaned her head against the older woman's shoulder, so happy to see her.
"Oh, honey, this is my very first great-grand child," Myra said softly, running arthritic fingers through the thick, blonde hair that she used to love to comb for a young Willow, so many years ago. Long ago, when the girl had her hair down to her waist, she used to call it spun gold, which it was. It nearly broke her heart when all that gold was cut off in favor of the new, shorter styles of today. What were these young women thinking, making themselves look like boys?
"So, what do you think?" Rachel whispered, pouring soup into the little dish in the dish washer. Slamming the door shut, she turned the dial to the correct setting, and sent the machine whirring to life.
"I think now is a good time," Christine whispered back, tying the black Hefty back shut, and setting it by the kitchen door to be taken out later. The redhead grinned, matching Christine's own mischievous look.
"I'm so excited!" the nurse hissed, rubbing her hands together. Giggling like school girls, they headed into the other room.
Clearing her throat, Christine spoke. "Willow, the three of us would like to give you our gifts, now," she indicated Rachel, Myra and herself. Willow lifted her head from her grandmother's shoulder, looking confused.
"But you guys already gave me a gift,"
"Purely a smoke screen, my love," Myra said, continuing the secret smiles and winks of the other two.
"Oh, okay," she was wary, but stood, with Rachel's help.
The four of them made a slow trek up the stairs, Rachel helping Willow and Christine holding Myra by the elbow
"I'm so grateful my granddaughter has you to help her," Myra said softly, tucking her arm into Christine's.
"Thank you, Mrs. Wahl," the singer said, a soft smile gracing her features.
"Oh, nonsense! You're family. You call me grandma, or you don't expect me to answer, you understand?" Blue eyes bore into Christine's, and in that moment, the younger woman knew just exactly where Willow had gotten her spunk. She nodded.
"You got it, grandma."
Though on the outside Christine was the picture of calm, but inside she was bouncing with delight, like a child on Christmas morning. She had never uttered the title, let alone bestow it upon someone. The warmth that spread through her made her limbs tingle. That tingle spread to her heart when she saw Willow smile back at her from two steps above. The little blonde had obviously heard, and approved. Christine smiled back.
"You know," Rachel said, once we'd stopped before the closed third bedroom door upstairs. "thank god you've been too exhausted to get nosey," she smiled at her friend, squeezing her hand as she turned the knob, slowly pushing the door open.
Willow's retort was cut off as the smell of fresh paint and stained wood met her nose. Turning to the three grinning women around her, she pushed through the door, gasping, hands flying to her mouth.
"I hope you still wanted Care Bears," Christine said softly, placing a gentle hand on the blonde's shoulder. Her fingers were quickly grasped in a tight grip, bringing the singer's arm further down, and finally wrapped around the blonde, her own little nook, between her breasts and the baby bump.
"Oh, Christine," Willow whispered, "it's beautiful." She took in the painted walls, little Care Bears bouncing all over the place, on clouds, sliding down rainbows, and dancing on green grass. Misted green eyes took in the white crib set up in the corner, next to a matching changing table. Nestled in the other corner was a large, padded rocking chair, a spit up towel already hung over the tall back. A tall dresser stood next to the closet, knobs painted a different color of the rainbow, matching long dresser across the room.
"I figure as the baby gets older, those can be stained or painted to whatever color she wants," Christine explained.
A small sob escaped Willow's throat, and she turned into the taller woman, burying her face in her neck. Wrapping her up in her arms, Christine rested her cheek against the top of the blonde head.
Rachel stood near the door, shoulder resting against the Care Bear light switch, and watched to two. Her face showed a mixture of reactions. A small part of her was jealous, as she had been the one Willow was close to, and would hug. But somehow that jealousy was canceled out as she had the gut feeling that their bond went far beyond any Willow had shared with the redhead. She couldn't quite put her finger on it, but it was heartwarming to see that Willow had such a strong pillar to lean against.
"How did you do all this?" Willow asked, swiping at her tears, looking around again.
"It wasn't just me. We all have been working on it for awhile," Christine explained. "It's a good thing you don't like to go down into the basement," she grinned. The blonde laughed, squeezing the singer's arm.
Pulling slightly away from Christine, Willow turned to Rachel and her grandmother. "Thank you guys so much. It's so beautiful," overcome by fresh tears, the blonde found herself the center of a group hug.
"Concentrate on Mickey, honey, breathe with me," Christine said softly, holding Willow's hand. Green eyes squeezed tightly shut, then opened, focusing on the figurine that stood on the tray over Willow's bed.
"Sing," she panted, "sing to me,"
Christine was surprised at the request, but happily complied, her mind spinning for a moment as she tried to think. Nothing came to mind, so she began to hum, her voice soft and soothing, visibly calming the blonde.
Willow cried out as her insides were twisted once again, another contraction seizing her, leaving her breathless. Christine checked her watch- four minutes apart. She stopped humming, softly encouraging her friend to breathe through the pain, to stay focused.
Rachel ran up the stairs, not even bothering with the elevator, heaving in exertion and excitement. Bursting through the stairwell door to the fifth floor, she looked around, seeing Cameron Dawes, a day nurse she used to work with before she moved to maternity.
"Cameron," she exclaimed, startling the poor woman. She hurried over to her, out of breath. "What's Willow's status?"
The darker woman's eyes immediately lit up, excitement flushing her cheeks. "She's just been wheeled in. She's dilated to eight and a half, so she's just about ready." Her grin was contagious, Rachel taking the woman's hands, both giggling like little girls for their co-worker and good friend.
"God, I can't wait to see the baby," Rachel exclaimed.
"I know." She sobered. "How's security?"
"It's pretty tight. Nobody's getting into this ward without us knowing about it," Cameron said proudly, personally taking it upon herself to make sure everything was in place. Rachel looked around the ward, seeing uniformed officers everywhere, doing their best to keep the press out. "How the hell did that little fireball get a famous singer as her Lamaze coach?"
Rachel chuckled, patting the darker woman's arm. "It's along story."
"Hmm. Do you see her often? I mean, is she all snobby and high and mighty?"
"No, not at all." Rachel and Cameron moved around to the nurse's lounge, grabbing a cup of coffee. "They come over all the time. She's a really great person, and a wonderful friend to Willow."
Cameron shook her head, stirring in some creamer. "Crazy, and right here in Oklahoma City."
"I know. It's a crazy world," Rachel grinned, squeezing the woman's arm again, then heading toward the unit's waiting room, to wait with Myra and Willow's mother.
Willow's head slammed back against the gurney, eyes closing, face pale and clammy. She felt light headed after that last push.
"You're almost there, baby," Christine whispered, smoothing back the hair that was sweat-soaked, and sticking to the blonde's face.
"I can't," Willow panted, "I can't,"
"Yes you can." Christine leaned over, laying a soft kiss on her forehead. "One more, Willow. One more,"
"Come on, Willow, give us one more good push," the doctor said from between the blonde's legs. "The head has crested, so just one more good one, and I can do the rest," she encouraged.
"You can do this, Willow. I have faith in you. Come on, baby,"
The blonde opened her eyes, looking into the blue ones, so close to her own, the blue almost matching the scrubs that Christine wore. Looking into those eyes, focusing on their color and brilliance, focusing on how calm they made her, she was able to block out the pain. She could do it. She'd do it for Christine.
Scrunching her entire face, eyes squeezing shut again, she used every last little bit of energy she had, yelling out as she pushed, teeth bared, mouth slowly opening into a scream as she felt a sudden release, a numbing pain, followed by the screech of a very unhappy baby.
Her scream turned into a laugh of relief, feeling Christine's tears on her face as her head was cradled close.
"You did it! Oh, baby, oh, Willow, you did it!" was breathed into her ear.
"You have a healthy baby girl!" the doctor proclaimed, holding out a very long, skinny pair of scissors. "Christine, would you like the honors?" she asked, eyes smiling behind her mask.
A wave of pride swept through the singer as she took the tool in trembling hands, having to be guided to the chord by the doctor a couple times.
"It's okay," the doctor murmured. "you won't hurt her,"
A simple snip, and the chord was cut. Christine quickly handed the scissors back to the doc, then turned her attention back to Willow, who was half unconscious, pure exhaustion winning over her need to see her daughter.
"Christine," the nurse said softly, walking over to the singer, a newly cleaned and swathed baby in her arms.
"Oh," she breathed, looking down into the tiny, wrinkled face that looked back up at her, as the newborn was placed in her arms. "My god," she breathed, unable to keep the smile from her face, "she's so tiny," looking up to meet the nurse's understanding brown eyes, she looked back into the baby's face, squinty blue eyes blinking rapidly, face beginning to contort as short bursts of upset erupted from the tiniest mouth Christine had ever seen.
The nurse smiled, never tiring of seeing a parent fall in love with their child for the first time. This was no different.
"Oh, listen to you," the brunette cooed, suddenly forgetting anyone else in the entire world existed, save for the itty bitty life she held in her arms. "You are beautiful, just like your mommy, yes," tiny arms waved uselessly, trapped in the blanket. The little bursts stopped for a moment, as if the baby were uncertain of what she was supposed to do. Eyes opened again, big for just a moment, then squinting again as a full out cry escaped.
Christine moved over to Willow, her heart feeling as though it would burst, love oozing from every pore she possessed.
"Thank you, Willow," she whispered to the sleeping woman. "Thank you for sharing this with me."
"It's a girl!" Christine exclaimed, exploding into the waiting room, still in her scrubs. A dozen faces turned to her, but only a handful stood, three stood and hurried over to her. She found herself wrapped up in a sea of questions and emotional hugs. She answered the questions as best she could- seven pounds, fourteen ounces, twenty inches; blue; dark; fine, but asleep; no, I didn't faint.
Christine felt exhausted, as she'd been up with Willow during her entire thirty-seven hour labor, and she was drained. Sitting in a chair next to Willow's bed, the noise of excitement all around her faded, blissful darkness easing in around the edges of her consciousness, head lulling back against the wall, arms dangling over those of the chair, lids getting heavier and heavier, closing.
Everyone finally cleared out, and Willow, braced against pillows, held her daughter to her breast, listening to the quiet suckling sounds. Head turning, she spied Christine, who'd been out for well over an hour, and a soft smile brushed her lips.
Giving birth had certainly been a trying experience, and there was some of it she couldn't recall, but she remembered the singer there with her, never leaving her side, even leaving the bathroom door open in Willow's room, to make sure she could hear if the blonde needed anything while she was in labor.
Her heart, already so filled with life for the bundle she held, but somehow those walls expanded to the breaking point as she felt a strong love for Christine join that for her daughter. She couldn't help but think of how incomplete the day would have been without her.
She remembered the look in Christine's eyes as she encouraged her in the delivery room, the way she'd kissed her forehead, and had done her best to keep Willow's hair and sweat out of her eyes during the difficult delivery.
How was she going to be able to handle it when one day Christine decided to leave, to return to her life? The blonde knew it was a matter of time, seeing Christine standing before the piano more than once, fingers absently hitting a key or two, caressing the ivory, a look so wistful crossing her beautiful face that it broke Willow's heart.
There was no way she could compete with that.
As she watched, blue eyes slowly blinking open, Christine groaning as she unfolded her long body from the uncomfortable chair. She looked around, getting her bearings. When she saw the two in the hospital bed, an instant smile spread across her lips.
"Hey," she said, her voice rough from sleep.
"Hi," Willow said, her own smile in place. She felt so bad as she saw how red Christine's eyes were, knowing that the woman had to be utterly exhausted.
"Where is everyone?" she stood, stretching with a groan, arms raised over her head before she walked over to the bed.
"They all went home. It's late."
Looking down at the two, Christine reached her hand out, gently brushing a few brown strands that were littered across the baby's tiny head. "I can't believe how little she is," she whispered in awe.
"I know," Willow looked down at her daughter, absently reaching for Christine's hand. She winced slightly as she scooted her body over, making room for the singer to climb up onto the narrow bed beside her. "Come join us," she whispered, never taking her eyes off the baby, who had fallen asleep against her mother's breast.
Carefully climbing onto the bed, Christine stretched her legs out, wrapping an arm around Willow and the baby, watching her sleep.
"I'd like you to meet Emma Christine Bowman," Willow said softly, meeting her friend's eyes. Christine felt the sting of emotion behind her eyes, and blinked it away. "Don't look so surprised," Willow smiled. "Without you, very little of this would have been possible today,"
"Well," she said through her amazement, "I think Kevin deserves that credit more than I do,"
Willow chuckled softly, leaning forward and resting her lips softly to Christine's cheek. Heads together, the women eventually fell asleep.
A month quickly bled into two, life filled with the blind leading the blind, trying to raise a newborn baby.
Christine had no idea something so little could be so smelly. Holding her breath as she dumped yet another tiny diaper into the Diaper Genie, she headed back upstairs, Willow still calling for her to bring the new tube of Desitin from the diaper bag.
"Coming," she called up, taking the stairs two at a time, finally slapping the tube into the waiting mother's hand.
"How's my messy girl?" Christine cooed, making a gaggle of crazy faces at Emma, the little one's eyes, which had steadily started to turn green, shone, and the little dimples appeared that made the brunette's heart melt. "Willow, it's official," Christine said, looking at the blonde seriously.
"What's that?" Willow asked, handing her a fresh diaper to put on Emma.
"I've lost my heart to a female."
"Oh you have, have you?"
"Yes." She looked down at the baby, waggling her at her as she crossed her eyes.
"Hmm. Well, it's about time you made a decision between the sexes."
"I agree. Guess you can call me a baby dyke," Christine burst into laughter, Willow looking at her like she was nuts. "I thought it was funny," she muttered to Emma, who blew raspberries in response.
Willow put all of Emma's diaper stuff back on the shelf above the changing table, chuckling to herself. She loved to watch Christine with the baby. She tried to imagine how it would be as Emma got older; she'd have two kids on her hands.
The phone rang, and she walked across the hall to her bedroom, grabbing the cordless off its base.
"Yeah?" the singer asked, tucking Emma into the bend of her arm.
"Phone, hon," Willow exchanged the baby for the phone. "I'll give her back when you're done," the blonde said to the protesting brunette. Christine growled, but headed out into the hall as she put the phone to her ear, steps creaking under her booted steps.
Willow hummed softly, gently dancing with little Emma. The baby had been fed and changed, and her eyes were getting heavier and heavier. Her voice got softer, lulling her to sleep. When finally Emma let out a final, and adorable, little sigh, the blonde placed her in her crib, making sure she was safe and warm. Kissing her softly on her head, Willow left the room, closing the door to a crack.
She jumped, heart pounding, when she heard a loud bang, then another, another, a crack, then more pounding.
Racing down the stairs, she ran to the kitchen where she saw pieces of something flying, then realized it was the phone, Christine pounding it against the counter in a frenzy, leaving it obliterated.
"Christine!" she called out, trying to get the ferocious woman under control. She stepped toward the singer, reaching a tentative hand out to touch her arm, only to have Christine jump away from her, eyes ablaze.
Dropping what was left of the cordless onto the counter, Christine turned away, hiding her face.
"Sorry about the phone," she whispered, voice thick. Willow reached out toward her again. "Don't touch me," Christine sobbed, hurrying out of the room, the front door slamming behind her.
Willow was left standing there, shaken to her core. Her frayed nerves started again when she realized Emma was crying upstairs.
Taking several deep, shaky breaths, she ran a trembling hand through her hair and hurried back to her daughter's room, almost glad for the distraction of having to calm Emma.
Christine pushed her way out into the late April afternoon, a sob caught in her throat. She tried to swallow it down, but it wasn't going anywhere. All she could hope for was to get far enough away, away from the house, from Willow and Emma, away.
Hands bunched into fists, her vision was beginning to blur, images and colors bleeding together, causing her to stumble over a the new growth that was spreading across the flat land like wildfire. Catching her balance, she hurried on, only to stumble again, but this time she fell to one knee.
Doctor Weitz, calling on behalf of Alice ...
She let her other knee fall, hands touching the earth, fingers digging into the soft soil.
... emergency appendectomy ... complications ...
Droplets fell, making little round spots of mud, more, little spots joining, making bigger ones.
... infection ... immune system too weak ...
Christine threw herself back to her haunches, eyes squeezed shut, mouth falling open as a scream ripped from her throat.
... so sorry ...
Willow started, holding Emma close, eyes wide and frightened. "It's okay, my love," she whispered into the baby's ear. "It's okay,"
Willow glanced over her reading glasses, hearing soft footsteps in the hall. She put her novel down, listened. Emma's door creaked open slightly, more soft footsteps, whispered words, then the door creaked again. The footsteps stopped in front of Willow's door, the floor creaking under the weight, then the footsteps moved on, down the hall, where a door clicked softly into place.
Pushing the covers aside, Willow got out of bed, putting both the novel and her reading glasses on the bedside table, and hurried to the door. She flicked her light off before opening it, then tip toed out into the hall, listening again.
There was a light under Christine's door, but as she watched, the crack under the door became dark.
Chewing on her lip, the blonde tried to decide what to do. Remembering the look of absolute anguish that had taken over Christine's features earlier that day, she decided to check on her.
Standing in front of her door, she paused again, then finally raised her hand, knocking softly. She barely heard the invitation, slowly pushing the door open. The room was dark, Christine stood at the window, her form a silhouette against the moon lit night beyond.
Willow stepped inside, closing the door behind her so as not to wake Emma. She said nothing as she made her away across the room, stepping up beside her friend.
"I'm sorry," Christine whispered, eyes staring out, unblinking. Willow took in her profile, her finger reaching out to catch the glistening tear that slowly rolled down her cheek.
"Oh, honey," she said, "what's going on?" Her heart broke as another tear made a lazy trail after the first, followed by another.
Christine turned, face crumpling as she grabbed Willow, releasing a soft sob into the blonde's hair. Willow held her tight, eyes squeezed tightly shut as she felt the pain and sorrow radiating off the taller woman.
"Just hold me, Willow. Please, just hold me."
"Of course. Anything." Willow's hand reached up, fingers petting the thick dark hair, pulling Christine even closer, trying to give her every bit of strength and comfort she had.
"Willow?" Christine said, her voice thick, raising her head from the blonde's shoulder. Willow said nothing, just looked up into that tortured face, bringing a hand up, brushing the continuous stream of tears away with her thumb. "Stay with me tonight? Please, please, be with me tonight?" her whisper almost filled with panic.
"Anything you need," Willow whispered back, her last word almost cut off by Christine's lips on her own. Her eyes popped open, stunned, feeling the persistence of the kiss, still feeling the wetness of Christine's tears against her own skin. She found her eyes fluttering closed, a tentative hand resting on the brunette's shoulder, Christine's arms wrapping around her, pulling her closer.
All thought was gone, only bare, naked need, as Christine's kiss became insistent, her breathing quickening with her heartbeat. Moving on bare instinct, she walked Willow backward until the blonde hit the bed, falling back onto it, the singer falling with her, on top of her.
Willow's mind was blown wide open, all thoughts flying out. She kissed Christine back, her hands in the thick dark hair, pulling the brunette's mouth further into hers, hearing Christine's desperate whimpers as their lips opened, the kiss deepening as Willow brought Christine's tongue into her mouth, her body relaxing under the comforting weight of Christine's body.
"Don't leave me," Christine begged, leaving Willow's mouth, finding her neck, licking and nipping, her hand moving up under Willow's t-shirt, fingers brushing against a bare breast, Willow gasping at the contact. "Stay with me,"
"Yes, Christine, yes," Willow whimpered, her hands reaching down Christine's back, finding the hem of her shirt, tugging at it, feeling her frustration grow until Christine sat up on her knees for a split second, just long enough to whip the shirt off, and throw it into the darkness, falling back to find Willow's mouth again, her hands desperately trying to remove Willow's own shirt, tugging it over the blonde's head, her hands immediately going to her breasts, filling her hands with them, hearing Willow's hiss as the blonde's nipples became rigid, tickling Christine's palms.
Willow arched her back, mind exploding once again at the incredible sensations racing through her body. Not enough. Reaching down, she tore at Christine's jeans, the button fly's giving way, shoving them as far down the brunette's hips as she could reach. Again, Christine was off her, this time standing, throwing her clothes off, a boot hitting the wall. She grabbed the ends of Willow's shorts, roughly tugging, Willow barely having a chance to lift her hips as the material almost ripped off her. She shoved her own panties down, kicking them off, then grabbing Christine around the back of her neck, cruelly tugging her back onto the bed, back onto her.
Christine didn't feel any pain, just need. She ravaged Willow's mouth, right hand sliding down the blonde's body until she found the wet warmth between her thighs. She entered her, two fingers sliding right in, Willow gasping and crying out, legs parting.
"I need you," Christine moaned, her mouth everywhere, kissing, licking, sucking. Willow couldn't keep up, having no idea where the brunette was going next. She decided just to go with it, her hips bucking in time with Christine's thrusts, her body on fire, and climax not far away.
Grabbing Christine's arm with claw-like fingers, Willow bit her lip, trying not to scream, as she so badly wanted to do. Christine realized what was happening, and quickly found the blonde's mouth, intercepting her cry.
Fingers still inside Willow, they lay there, panting into each others mouth, bodies covered with sweat and desire.
Willow shuddered as Christine slowly, carefully, removed her fingers, bringing her arms up, wrapping the blonde in a cocoon of warmth, holding her close, burying her face in Willow's hair.
After a few moments, their bodies cooling, a chill settled over both, Christine helping Willow to climb beneath the covers, then pulled her near, not daring to let go.
Willow laid there, shutting her mind off, raising herself when she felt Christine's body shaking anew with silent tears.
"Let me hold you, baby," she whispered, pulling the taller woman to her, Christine resting her head on Willow's chest, wetting the skin with her profound sorrow. Willow still had no idea what had happened, but figured it would come in time.
The morning sun was harsh. Willow tried to squint against it, but it awoke her, and there was no going back to sleep.
Slowly opening her eyes, she blinked a few times, looking around, seeing Christine's room. The night came back to her, and she realized she was alone in the bed, but not in the room.
Christine sat in the chair in the corner, fully dressed, Emma asleep in her arms. Blue eyes were heavy, lids at half mast.
"Hi," Willow said softly, bringing the sheet up to cover her naked breasts.
"Hey." Christine's eyes opened a bit more, her hand absently caressing Emma's tiny arm.
"How is she?"
"Good. She's changed and fed. Happy."
"Guess that breast pump came in handy, huh?" Willow said, feeling self-conscious in the light of day. Her eyes scanned the room, trying discreetly look her clothes. She blushed when she saw they were folded neatly, and placed at the end of the bed. Reaching for them, she put her shirt on, then leaned back against the pillows. She was at a loss for words, not sure what to say to Christine when she had no idea what to say to herself.
"I'm going to have to go to New York for a few days, take care of some things," Christine said softly, breaking through Willow's muddled thoughts.
"New York?" Willow's brow drew.
"Alice is a mess, and she needs me right now." Christine looked down at the baby, leaning down to lay a gentle kiss on the top of her head.
Willow's mind somersaulted over the information- New York, Alice, she gasped, hand going to her mouth. "Adam,"
Christine's eyes closed as she pressed her forehead to her tiny bundle. "Gonna miss you, little one," she whispered.
"Oh, Christine," understanding flooded Willow, her eyes filling for her friend's deep loss. Throwing the blankets off her, she blushed deeply again, realizing she was naked there, too. Tugging her shorts on, her feet hit the floor with a thud, and she hurried over to Christine's chair. Falling to her knees beside it, she caught the sad blue eyes.
"I don't know what to say," she said lamely. Christine smiled, weak and heavy.
"There's nothing left to say."
"When are you leaving?"
"I have a flight this afternoon."
"How long will you be gone?" Willow turned her attention to her daughter. Looking into Christine's eyes was breaking her heart all over again.
"A few days. Maybe a week."
Willow took in the information, her voice small when she spoke next. "Do you want me to come with you?" she met the blue eyes she'd grown to adore. It hurt to see them so far away. Christine shook her head.
"No. It would be too difficult to travel with Emma," again she looked down at the baby, brushing the silky soft hair atop the baby's head.
"Okay," she was silent, chewing on her lip, a question bouncing around in her head, refusing to go away. Without looking at the other woman, her voice small, "Are you coming back?" Christine's silence made her look up, immediately caught in an intense gaze.
"Do you want me to come back?" Christine asked, voice hard.
"Yes," Willow whispered.
"Please be safe," Willow murmured into Christine's ear as she hugged her tight, eyes squeezed shut. She wouldn't allow her mind to think about how that body felt against hers the night before, naked, needing. She had plenty of time to think over the next few days.
Christine held her, laying a kiss on the blonde head. "I will," she promised. Pulling gently away, she looked into concerned green eyes, giving Willow the most reassuring smile she could, though she didn't feel it. She didn't feel anything. Numb. That was the only way she could describe it. "See you soon."
With that, Christine climbed into her Jeep, and turned the engine. A final wave, she pulled out of the yard in a cloud of dust.
Willow watched, her heart in her throat. Finally, just the echo of the Jeep's engine in the still day, she closed the front door, leaning against it. She had a feeling of dread pulsing through her, and she hated it.
She walked through the rest of that day in a daze, doing what needed to be done around the house, only really coming alive when she had to attend to Emma, who was cranky. It was almost like she could sense something was amiss. Willow wished so badly that Christine were there to sing the baby into calm.
Later that night, Emma fed and changed, and asleep, Willow sat in the huge, Roman tub in the main bathroom upstairs. Body reclined, eyes barely open, she stared up into the ceiling, the steam making her feel as though she were looking through gauze.
A bit of a dance was happening in her mind- memories from the night before, a look on Christine's face, the feel of her hand, her mouth, would enter into Willow's mind, and she'd push it away, only for another memory to take its place.
What had happened? What force had taken them both over? Willow never would have done something like that on her own, and she trusted that Christine wouldn't, either. Christine had needed her, that much was clear. Why had Willow willingly given all she had to give?
True, she'd do anything for the singer, give her anything she asked for. But not that.
"God, what did I do?" she asked the empty room, burying her face in her hands. Part of her wished she and Christine had talked about it, had cleared the air. How did Christine feel about it?
Willow knew it wasn't a gay/straight issue, nor did she see it as one. Never did. But why had she let the situation cross the boundaries of friendship, regardless of how close and deep that friendship was. What had possessed Willow to let it happen?
She sighed, closing her eyes. She knew she could turn it every which way in her mind all night. What it boiled down to was it happened, and though she couldn't say she regretted it, she worried that they'd be able to move past it. She worried it would become a hang up, something between them.
Though all this surfed through her mind, somewhere inside Willow felt honored. She knew that what happened had been something that Christine wouldn't have shared with just anyone. She had trusted Willow enough to allow her inside. Even if the singer wouldn't talk to her, wouldn't let her inside her head, she'd let her inside her heart, and the blonde cherished that realization.
When Christine came back they would talk about it, perhaps. But no matter what, Willow wouldn't allow it to effect what they had built. Christine was part of Willow's family, part of her daily life, and she already felt lost and alone, just nine hours after the singer had driven away.
As Willow allowed herself to relax fully, the bubbles in the water easing sore muscles, she forgot to also remind herself how amazingly wonderful it had felt to have Christine's hands on her, mouth on her, body on hers. She also forgot to remind herself that though it had been a brief encounter, her body still burned from it, and never, in all her sexually active years, had she been made to feel so much like a woman.
Kevin often said she didn't like to deal with things.
"Yesss," Willow moaned, feeling fingers glide down between her breasts, over her abdomen, making the muscles there twitch, and finally lower. She gasped, back arching as those fingers slipped between the saturated folds of her sex, the wet heat gathering, overflowing. "Oh yes, baby," she moaned again, hips moving to find even more purchase to ease the ache.
Suddenly she was filled, head arching back, feeling hot lips on her skin, licking a trail up her throat as the pressure continued between her legs, a dull ache that was beginning explode almost painfully into constant need.
"Kiss me," she begged, opening her eyes to see intense blue looking down at her.
Willow's eyes flew open with a gasp, the cool, night air grazing her half naked body, breasts exposed to the room, one covered by her own hand. The other was nestled between her own legs.
Groaning, she slammed her eyes closed again, bringing her hands up to cover her face. Groaning again when she smelled herself on her fingers.
"This is insane," she whispered, her body still making its demand known, sex throbbing with every beat of her heart.
The water rained down over her skin, Willow's eyes closed as she raised her face to the spray, the last of the soap vanishing into the drain at her feet.
Slicking her hair back from her face, she blinked her eyes open, then turned the knobs. Sliding the frosted doors open, she stepped out onto the bathmat, reaching for her towel.
She was looking forward to the day. Rachel would be over soon, and they planned to get out of the house. Willow was in the last couple weeks of her maternity leave, and she hadn't been out much, enjoying her time with Christine and the baby. Christine was gone, so now it was time to introduce Emma to the outside world.
Wrapping the towel around herself, she padded into the dark bedroom, the heavy curtains only allowing thin slivers of golden light from around the edges. Grabbing the bottom of the shade, she tugged until the shade snapped up, a bright flash startling a gasp out of the blonde.
Looking into the tree not far from the window, she screamed when she saw a man clinging to a branch with one arm, a camera in his other, the lens held up to his eye as he snapped off several more shots.
Getting her bearings, she quickly pulled the shade, running over to the side table to grab the cordless. Seeing an empty base, she remembered the phone had been destroyed, so ran down the stairs, frantically digging through her purse until she found her cell phone.
Closing every shade she came to, she was freaked out of her mind, the surprise of seeing him there, taking her picture, bringing to mind someone breaking into the house. Somewhere inside she knew that was ridiculous, but thinking clearly was not on her agenda at the moment.
Struggling with the cell phone in one hand, the other holding her towel to her body, she managed to speed dial Christine's phone.
After two rings, she picked up.
"They're outside the house!" Willow exclaimed, hurrying from room to room, peeking out the window. She gasped when she saw someone running from the house, jumping into a dark blue mini van, which sped away.
"What? Wait, what are you talking about?" instant concern was in Christine's voice.
"The guy! He was in the tree, I got out of the shower, and he took my picture!"
"Fuck," the singer growled. "Those son of a bitches."
"Who was that?" Willow hurried up the stairs, into Emma's room to make sure the baby was okay. She was sound asleep in her crib.
"They found out I'm there," Christine said absently.
"The press. Listen, lay low, keep the shades drawn, and I'll handle it, alright? They're trespassing on private property. Are you okay?"
"God, Christine, I was half naked," Willow cried, shame filling her, making her feel nauseous.
"I'm sorry. God, I'm sorry," Christine whispered. "I promise I'll take care of it right now. Okay?"
"Okay," she took a deep, calming breath.
"Are you okay?"
"Yeah. He just really took me by surprise. I'm sorry to bother you-"
"No! Don't you dare apologize. It's my fault that bastard was there. Listen, I'll be home tomorrow, okay?"
"Christine, don't cut your trip short. I know you have things to do-"
"No. You need me there. I'll be home as soon as I can, okay?"
"Okay," Willow said, her voice quiet, relief flowing through here. God, she missed her. "How are you doing?"
Christine sighed heavily. "I'm okay. We went through Adam's papers last night, and today I'm settling some things for him. Alice isn't doing well."
"But how are you?" Willow gripped the phone tighter, wishing she could be there for Christine.
"It hurts. It hurts bad," the singer said, her voice soft. "I never thought I could hurt so much, and yet not be bleeding somewhere," her chuckle was humorless.
"You are bleeding, honey," Willow slid down one of the walls in the nursery, pulling her knees to her chest. "in your heart."
"Yeah. Guess so. Look, Willow, about the night before I left-"
"No, don't think about that now, Christine. You have too much else on your plate right now. We'll deal with that when we deal with it."
"Are you sure? I," she sighed. Willow could almost imagine her running a nervous hand through her dark hair. "I feel like such an asshole."
"Don't. Please don't," Willow's voice had grown even softer. "I'm just," she swallowed, "I'm just glad I was able to be there for you." She waited. "Christine? Are you there?"
"Yeah. I'm here. Are you going to be home for a bit?"
Willow could tell the subject had been effectively changed. "I was planning to go out with Rachel, but now I don't know," she shivered, the memory and surprise still fresh.
"Please stay in today. For me? I'd feel so much better knowing you and Emma were safe inside the house. Not that you're not safe, but I don't know if those idiots will try and follow you or something. I don't want to put you through that."
"Okay. We'll stay here."
"Good. How is she? Emma?"
An instant smile lit Willow's features. "She's fine. She's been cranky. I think she misses you." Her heart softened at the soft chuckle she heard on the other end of the line.
"I miss her, too. I need to get going, so you take care of yourself, and give her a great big hug and kiss for me, okay?"
"Okay. Talk to you soon."
"Christine?" Willow gripped the tiny phone with both hands.
"I ... I miss you."
"I missed you, too, Willow. Be home soon."
The phone went dead, silence complete. Slowly flipping the phone shut, Willow rested her head against the wall behind her, a deep sigh leaving her lungs.
For all of Kim Pritekel's works, go to www.coloradobardsplace.net
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