Disclaimers: See part 1

My thanks to Bookie, my Beta reader extaordinaire.


Part 7



"Good morning. sunshine. How are you this lovely, brisk, morn?" Meg asked as she continued brushing her golden hair.

"Tired." Rachel moaned, stretching out her long luscious body. "I feel like I got hit by a truck."

Meg frowned and sat next to her lover, feeling her forehead with her hand. "You feel cool."

"Oh, I'm not sick, sick. Just pooped out." Rachel complained, rolling her head onto Meg's lap and hugging her around a slim waist. She'd worked a double on Christmas day and was too tired to even exchange gifts with her lover when she arrived home after midnight, totally exhausted. After a quick, hot shower, she crawled into bed, kissed Meg tenderly and fell fast asleep.

Meg ran her hand through long dark tresses. "You've spent a lot of emotional and physical energy the past two weeks. I think you need a break from therapy, Tory and Jenny, and the ER. I was going to ask you about this any way.....so....., what do you say to spending New Years weekend with my family across the lake? Mom's been champing at the bit to meet you. You monopolized the conversation yesterday." Meg leaned down and kissed Rachel's shoulder.

"That's suppose to be less stressful?" Rachel turned to look into bright green eyes.

Meg chuckled. "Well, yeah, actually. My family's very cool. They've known I was gay for the last ten years and probably a long time before I ever came out to them. They really do just want me to be happy."

"Can't relate....." She sighed, heavily. "I wouldn't know how to act....." Rachel sat upon the opposite end of the bed from Meg, wondering what to say. She didn't want to disappoint her lover, but the thought of facing Meg's family scared her. She'd be so far out of her element.

"You said you didn't sign on for next weekend. Come on. Rach. You worked a 16 on Christmas day for Christ's sake! Don't I get ...."

"I offered to replace a nurse who has children, Meg. I do that every year. That has nothing to do with you."

"It has everything to do with me..... Dammit, Rachel! These holidays are important for me to share with you and the rest of my family..... You're a part of my family now....., the most important part. I suppose I'm being selfish. And, I do understand your giving another nurse the opportunity to be with their family at Christmas. As much as I wanted to spend Christmas with you, I knew how much it meant to you to give of yourself, so I tried not to complain. But, I will not give up New Years, too. This has always been a big family weekend. It's important to me, Rachel." Tears streamed down the petite blonde's face as her hurt feelings overcame her control.

Rachel felt like a first class heel. She'd offered her services for every holiday since she could remember. It was her way of giving and made the holidays less lonely for her. It had never crossed her mind to spend the holidays with Meg's family. She was lost in uncharted waters and was feeling a bit overwhelmed, and Meg's tears were breaking her heart. 'Gosh, I've been so insensitive to Meg's needs and she's been nothing but considerate of mine. I can be such a jerk.' Rachel walked around to face Meg and reached a trembling hand to wipe away the trail of tears. "I'm so sorry..... I didn't realize." She pulled her lover into her long arms. "I can be so thick, sometimes. Forgive me, Meggie..... Do you really think your parents will like me?" Rachel asked with apprehension.

The blonde head on her shoulder nodded and sniffled. "They'll love you just like I do."

"That's kinky." Rachel joked, causing both women to break into giggles. "Hey, let's exchange gifts. Ok?"

"Ok. I'll go make us some coffee while you get freshened up and I'll meet you under the tree." Meg smiled brightly.

"Are you insinuating that I am less than fresh?" Rachel said in mock complaint.

Meg shook her head. "Nope. I'm saying your breath reeks!" The little blonde ducked out of her partner's arms and ran for the kitchen with Rachel hot on her heels. The much taller woman was able to grasp the slim waist of her prey and spin her around breathing hot, odorous breath into her face. Meg squealed, "That's so gross!" Rachel just laughed, letting her go and jogged to the bathroom to take care of business.

Meg was sitting on a pillow under the Christmas tree, running her fingers over the colorful wrapping paper of one of the gifts with her name on it. She shook it gently, but couldn't figure out what on earth could be that heavy. 'Maybe it's a new scanner for my computer.' She thought.

"Now, you've gone and done it. It's probably in itty bitty little pieces and the store won't want to take it back." Rachel stated, unable to hide the grin on her beautiful, fresh scrubbed face.

Meg's heart went into her throat, and then saw her partner was pulling her leg. "Can I open it now?"

"Sure." Rachel pulled another pillow off of the sofa and plopped down, enjoying the childlike glee on Meg's face.

Meg ripped into the package, tearing at the paper and tape that held the box closed. Her eyes widened and she yelled her excitement, pulling out a shiny new pair of in-line roller skates in the colors of the rainbow flag.

"Yes! They are gorgeous, Rach. Thank you. I can't wait to try them out."

"They should fit. I stole a pair of your sneakers and brought them with me." Rachel's face shone with joy at Meg's excitement.

"Now, my turn." Rachel pulled a gift from under the tree and held it for a moment in her lap. She wanted to savor this moment in her memory. The 10" X 10" box was inordinately heavy. She raised it in her hands and began to shake it.

"No! Geesum Petes! Don't shake it. Just open it, already." Meg exclaimed, a look of panic on her face.

Rachel paled a bit and gulped, then nodded her head and carefully removed the wrapping so not to disturb the contents anymore than she had. "Wow! A camcorder. I..... I don't know what to say, Meggie. That's..... Wow!" Rachel's face lit up. "We can take pictures of your family when we visit this weekend. But, first you'll have to teach me how to work it."

"It's easy. The salesman taught me. I got the one with the least amount of bells and whistles."

"Smart lady." Rachel reached for Meg and kissed her cheek. "I love it."

There were two more gifts to open and the lovers sat side by side and reached for their respective presents. Meg's was in an huge box that was suspiciously light weight. Rachel's was eleven inches square. She was careful not to shake this one as Meg watched her with a threatening glare.

Rachel got her gift opened first and sighed as she pulled out a beautiful cherry wood frame with a photograph of the lover's with Santa Clause which they'd had taken at Celebration in the Oaks. "Oh, Meggie, thank you. I'll cherish it always."

"You're welcome..... What the heck!?!" Meg exclaimed as she opened her gift to find another beautifully wrapped somewhat smaller box inside. "Rachel, what are you up to?" Meg asked as she tore into the next box, simply to find another slightly smaller box within. "Youuuuu....." Meg started laughing with delight as she tore into the next one and the next until she opened the last box and searched through tons of packaging peanuts to find a small red velvet box, only two inches square. She stared at it for a moment, her heart galloping in her chest. Then, looked up into the soft brown eyes of her partner, which were filled with love and a little insecurity.

"Aren't you gonna open it?" Rachel urged.

Meg smiled and pulled her gaze from her partner to peek inside.

"Do you like it? I wasn't sure..... I ummm..... Didn't know what kind of jewelry you like and I just wanted to give you a symbol of my commitment to you and .....well..... I saw that antique Irish wedding band with the emerald while I was in the Quarter and it reminded me of you and the color your eyes turn when I make love to you....." Rachel fumbled.

"I didn't know that my eyes changed color like that." Meg mused then returned her attention to the very special gift. Rachel removed the ring and slipped it on the ring finger of Meg's left hand. She brought the small hand to her lips and tenderly kissed it.

"I love you, Meggie. I'm so grateful to have you in my life. You've come in and healed my soul. I promise to try and live up to your faith in me..... I know that my emotional growth is kinda stunted, but I'm learning thanks to you and Dr. Morgan. I don't know that I'll ever be the poster child for mental health." Rachel tried to lighten the mood a bit. "But, with your help, I'll do my best to keep learning and growing and not let my fears stand in my way."

Meg blinked the tears from her eyes and pulled Rachel's larger hand to her own lips and kissed it tenderly. "That was so beautiful. You have the soul of a poet. And, I think you are very brave. It takes great courage to conquer demons like yours..... You're my hero, Rachel. You are part of my soul and I love you more than words can say. I'll wear your ring with great pride..... Thank you."

"Merry Christmas, my Meggie." Rachel leaned in and kissed sweet lips with all the love in her heart. Meg returned the kiss, crawling onto her partner's lap and wrapping her arms around an elegantly long neck. The kiss deepened with Rachel sucking upon Meg's tongue, sending a tingling of arousal straight to both women's sex and stoking the fire in their bellies. "Mmmmm.....bed..... Let's....mmmm.....mmmove....." Rachel tried to speak, but the passionate assault on her mouth made that difficult. Meg got the idea and stood up, pulling her lover along with her to continue in the comfort of soft linens.

Rachel pulled Meg's lightweight sweater over her blonde head, then smoothed silky locks. "You are so beautiful." With trembling hands she slipped her own sleep shirt off and stood before her lover in all her glory.

"You're not so bad yourself." Meg ran her fingers between Rachel's ample breasts, marveling at how the dark areola tightened and the nipples elongated and hardened. "Magnificent. I love looking at your body react to my touch." Meg blushed slightly at her own boldness.

Rachel's breath caught in her throat, a surge of arousal hitting her like an electric current passing through to her very soul. She struggled with the urge to ravish her lover and take control, knowing her partner was enjoying herself.

Meg reached down and slipped off her jeans and panties and came closer to the object of her desire. She stood a precious few inches from Rachel, reaching out to touch the scar that started beneath her lover's right breast and followed it around her scapula. "It's looking much better, love."

"Huh?..... Oh..... Yeah." Rachel mumbled, thoroughly entranced by the pleasure she was feeling.

Meg's hands cupped the full breasts, thumbs rubbing the tips of near painfully tight nipples. "I love you, Rachel." Warm lips kissed the soft mounds then licked a trail through their cleavage and up to a tempting collarbone. Rachel ran her long fingers through Meg's hair and gently pulled her close.

"Oh, Meg..... Let me love you, baby....." Rachel pleaded, running her long arms down a shapely back to cup and caress her firm buttocks and pull into her need.

"Mmmm, yeah." Was all Meg could say as her mouth went dry and blood rushed to her nether regions.

Rachel leaned over to suckle upon her partner's sweet neck. Her right hand traveled down a well muscled thigh then up between her legs to the nest of soft curls where lay the heart of Meg's desire.

She slid long fingers between the swollen folds and moaned at the proof of her lover's arousal. "Oh God....." Rachel's need soared as she kissed her way down Meg's quivering body and lay her dark head against damp curls, the scent of her lover filling her senses.

"Rach, I'm gonna fall." Meg moaned as she backed up to the bed and lay down. Rachel followed, grabbing a pillow and instructing Meg to lift her buttocks. She positioned the pillow under shapely hips and eased between strong legs, licking and kissing the soft tender flesh of inner thighs, then spread the folds of the sweet labia and ran her tongue along the length of Meg's engorged sex.

"Oh, yeah..... Right there.... Oh, Rachel....." Meg muttered in the delirium of passion.

Rachel smiled as Meg's nectar flowed, knowing it was all for her. She licked and nipped her swollen labia, then latched upon the throbbing clitoris, suckling as if for nourishment.

"OH, YEAH..... I'M GONNA....." No further sound was heard as Meg's orgasm stole her breath away and she bucked into Rachel's mouth.

Rachel held on to the soft hips, battling to keep sucking the little nub in her mouth, prolonging her lover's pleasure. Only after her lover lay motionless did she release her hold and lay her head upon the heaving belly.

"I think I had an out of body experience." Meg giggled. "Good Lord, Rachel. You send me places I've never even dreamt of."

Rachel kissed the tender skin of Meg's belly button and grinned. "My pleasure." The lovers lay like that until the smaller woman regained her composure and Rachel's need inspired her to pull the pillow aside and slide up the sweat-slickened body. She attempted to straddle her lover's thigh when Meg pushed her gently away.

"No..... Rachel, I need to taste you..... Please." Meg pleaded, as she cupped her dark head and looked deeply into the eyes she loved.

Rachel nodded and rolled off of her partner, willing to open herself up and to fight the fear. Meg saw the "deer in the headlights" look and quickly thought of a way she could allow her lover more control. She slid off the side of the bed, beckoning Rachel to follow. Positioning her partner on the edge of the bed Meg proceeded to kneel between impossibly long legs. Rachel immediately felt her anxiety dissipate as Meg reached up to claim bruised lips and laid a trail of kisses and licks over her breasts and down her quivering abdomen into the greying patch of moist curls, breathing deeply of her arousal. "Trust me, Rachel. I love you. Open to me, my love." Meg beckoned. Rachel spread her legs wide and tilted her pelvis allowing Meg access to her treasure. "Oh, yeah." The petite woman gazed lovingly upon the offering before her. The gift she was being given was so precious it brought tears to her eyes. She gently parted the delicate folds, licking and nipping the engorged flesh. She sensed Rachel relaxing, enjoying the pleasure of Meg's ministrations. Breathy moans floated down to Meg's ears and Rachel's hips pumped ever so gently. She could tell by the swelling of the labia and the constant trickle of delicious nectar that her lover's time was at hand. She rested her forearms on trembling thighs as she suckled upon her throbbing clit.

Rachel used one hand to hold Meg's head in place as she leaned her weight upon the other. Deep groans turned into whimpers as her whole body shuddered with release. Meg didn't stop suckling until Rachel pushed her away from her over- sensitive sex. The little blonde immediately wrapped her arms around her lover and kissed her tenderly, trying to convey in that moment all of the love she felt in her heart. Rachel's face crumpled as she held on tightly and cried out her emotional release. Meg held her, cooing words of love and devotion.

It was several moments before Rachel was able to speak. She sucked air into her lungs with great effort. "We did it Meggie..... You made love to me and I..... I came for you..... Awww, Meggie....., it felt so good.....to just let go knowing you'd be there to catch me." Rachel took in a deep quavering breath as she cried into her lover's golden hair.

"I love you, Rachel. Thank you for trusting me." Meg stroked her lover's back until she calmed. "Come on." Meg stood and crawled onto the bed, pulling Rachel along to lie in her arms. "You know what the greatest present was I got this Christmas?" Meg asked, kissing the top of Rachel's dark head and drawing figure 8's between her shoulders.

Rachel sniffled and shook her head. "No. What was it?"

"You, my love."

Rachel's tears started anew and they held on tightly to each other until falling into a restful sleep.


The couple fell into their normal routine of early rising, a light breakfast, the gym and then coffee at True Brew. They added roller blading in City Park to their exercise program, starting slowly to not chance re-injuring Rachel's shoulder. Then they would wash up and head for their respective jobs. Meg worked later than usual to catch up on all her patient files so she didn't have to bring work home. She wanted to devote all of her time at home to cultivating the fragile trust Rachel placed in her in their lovemaking. Now that she had tasted of her lover's passion, she couldn't get enough of her. The rush she felt when bringing her to orgasm was a heady, intoxicating aphrodisiac. She was well aware of how emotionally fragile Rachel could be and stopped several times during her day to send up prayers of thanks to God and to ask him to help her lover through this period of transition in their relationship.

The days passed quickly and the nights, filled with passion, were a blur. Rachel's schedule kept her from worrying too much about meeting Meg's family and since her therapist was away for the holiday week, she could avoid thinking about it all she wanted.

Friday, Rachel arrived at Children's hospital in time for lunch, which was spent with her patients and their families selecting appropriate menu items to fulfill the dietary needs of the child with type A, juvenile diabetes. She then lectured as they ate. After checking the patients' glucose levels for the last few days, then making entries in their charts and on the care plans, she left for Fortier High School to give a presentation on safe sex.

'Wow, tough crowd. Those kids looked at me like I couldn't find my ass with both hands. I've got to get to them younger. Before the peer pressure does.' Rachel sighed, revved Cherry's engine and headed for Tory's gym to teach a class on nutrition and health. .

The day passed quickly, but then Rachel came home to two overnight cases waiting at the door. Reality struck in the pit of her stomach and she groaned.

"Stop that. You're not going to be executed. You're just going to meet my parents. Now come take a shower with me, so we can hurry up and leave before the Causeway bridge gets too congested." Meg took Rachel's briefcase from her hand and led her to the bedroom. She helped the taller woman out of her blazer, slacks and silk blouse then hung them up before turning the shower on and stripping herself. The lovers soaped up their buff puffs and lovingly cleaned away the day's grime and stress, enjoying the intimacy and tenderness afforded them and forgetting all about the night ahead. Meg washed Rachel's hair for her and both women exercised great self-control when drying each other to not take their ministrations where time did not permit them to go.

Rachel stood behind Meg on the front stoop as the door opened revealing the smiling face of a well tanned, short haired, slightly older looking copy of Meg. The warmth of her smile helped relax Rachel's racing heart.

"Happy New Year! Come in, come in. You must be Rachel. I'm so glad to finally get to meet you. My daughter speaks very highly of you." Marguerite Poche' grasped Rachel's hand in both of hers.

"Pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Poche'." Rachel greeted.

"Please, call me Marguerite. Let me take your coats and you two go find your father." Meg took her partner's hand and led her into the family room where she was sure she'd find her father watching the replays of the Saints/Rams game. 'He just sits there sipping his beer and growling at the screen. It's really sad.'

"Hi Daddy." Meg said as she leaned over the sofa and kissed her father's cheek.

The sandy haired, medium build man didn't take his eyes off the screen. "Hi punkin..... Just wait 'til tomorrow. The Saints are gonna kick your asses." He yelled at the big screen TV.

"Dad, I'd like to introduce you to my girlfriend, Rachel." Meg said.

Her father hopped up from the sofa and spun around to greet the dark haired beauty. "Hi. I'm Ben, Meg's dad." The rather handsome man in his late fifties shook Rachel's hand enthusiastically. "Do you like sports, Rachel?"

Rachel grinned. 'Now here's some common ground.' "Yes, sir. I sure do."

"Come sit down. Meg why don't you get yourself and your friend a cold drink and come join us."

"You're gonna turn me into a football widow like Mom." Meg chuckled as she walked behind the large soda fountain that ran the length of the far wall in the spacious den.

Marguerite Poche' entered the room at that moment. "Ben, I don't want you monopolizing Rachel's time with football. I'd like to actually have a conversation if you don't mind."

Ben sighed as he hit the mute button on the TV. "Sorry, ladies. I tend to get a bit carried away with our boys. But, the Saints are in the play-offs! I guess all those Novenas you said paid off." He patted his wife's hand.

"I'm happy for you, Dad. And, I promise not to bother you during the game tomorrow...., especially if the Saint's are losing." She said aside to Rachel. "It could get rough around here." Rachel snickered and took a seat next to Meg on the sofa.

"So, when are Gaston and Kathy arriving?" Meg asked her parents.

The doorbell rang. "Speak of the Devil. That must be your little brother now." Marguerite said as she went to answer the door. The couple entered with their luggage and greeted everyone before going to the kitchen for a hot cup of coffee.

"What does your brother do, Meg?" Rachel inquired.

"He's a General Practitioner like Dad. He's being groomed to take over the practice when Dad retires..... And, when will that be?" Meg posed the question to her father.

"Don't hurry me. I've got a few good years left..... Rachel, I hear you're a nurse. What area of medicine do you like best?"

"I love the ER. But, I can only take it in small doses now." She smiled self-consciously. "The older I get, the longer it takes my body to recuperate. I also like patient education. That's what I do mostly." Rachel took several long swallows of her cold drink. She felt her energy waning and tried to boost herself to keep up with her partner.

"That's how I met Meg's father." Marguerite chimed in. "He was doing his ER rotation at Charity Hospital and I was in my 'I'm gonna save the world' phase." The older woman chuckled at herself. "I was a bit of a maverick nurse, always had to be in the trenches. I got addicted to the adrenalin rush. Having the skills and confidence to save a patient from the "jaws of death" is pretty heady stuff." Marguerite mused. "But Ben took me away from all that. He was soooo handsome, compassionate and skilled. We clicked right away. Next thing I know I'm trading my stethoscope for a baby carriage and my Nursing career for nursing our babies."

"Awww gross, Mom." Meg blushed and made a face.

"Wow, I didn't know you were a nurse. I work at Charity." Rachel stated, very impressed with her lover's mother. "It would be hard for me to give up the ER completely. You're right. It's like an addiction."

"I help out at the office three days a week and golf as often as possible while I wait for grandchildren." She wiggled her eyebrows at her children.

Gaston piped in. "Speaking of which, I have an announcement to make." He stood, chest out, shoulders back. "Family...., Kathy and I are pleased and proud to be the first to make you grand parents..... We're pregnant!" He bellowed with glee.

"Oh, my Gawd! Oh, my, Oh, my. Congratulations!" Marguerite pulled her son to her and hugged him tightly, then reached for her daughter-in-law and hugged and kissed her. "Congratulations. That's great news."

"That's my boy! Congratulations, son. Come give old gramps a hug, Miss Kathy." Ben slapped his son on the back and shook his hand then hugged his daughter-in-law gently.

Rachel was enthralled by the dynamics before her, caught up in the excitement of the moment. She looked over at her partner when she noticed Meg hadn't jumped into the fray. She was confused by the tears silently slipping down her sweet face and wrapped her long hand around her lover's much smaller one, offering the warmth of her touch.

Meg swiped at her tears and looked into worried brown eyes, smiled and kissed her cheek. "I'm gonna be an aunt."

"You'll be a wonderful aunt, Meggie." Rachel said as both women got up to congratulate the ecstatic couple. Rachel ran for her new camcorder to record the event for posterity.

The family spent the rest of the evening planning out the baby's future.

Rachel found it harder and harder to stay with the conversation as her exhaustion pulled her down like lead weights on her limbs and eyelids. Meg noticed her partner's poorly hidden yawns and bid her family good night as she pulled her partner to her feet.

"Hey Gaseous. Would you, please, bring our bags up to my room?" Meg taunted her brother.

"Sure, pygmy. I wouldn't want you to strain your itzy bitzy self." Gaston quipped.

The women took turns washing up and changing for bed. Rachel wanted to stay awake to talk to Meg about her reaction to her brother's news, but sleep enticed her as soon as her head hit the exquisite 300 thread count linens. Meg slipped in beside her lover and spooned into her back, kissing a soft shoulder and joined her in the land of sweet dreams.

Shortly after sunrise Meg awoke and shuffled to the bathroom to take care of business. She returned to find Rachel still snoring softly and decided the opportunity to sleep in with her partner was too rare a gift to pass up.

Two hours later the couple was jostled awake by a soft knock at the bedroom door. "Rise and shine, girls. Breakfast is almost ready." Marguerite called as she continued down the hallway to the stairs.

"I'll rise, but I refuse to shine." Was Meg's retort. She stretched and luxuriated on the soft sheets. "Rachel, time to wake up, sleepy head." Meg patted her partner's behind.

Rachel moaned and rubbed the sleep from her bleary eyes. "What time is it?" She asked.

"Ummm, it's 0900 and breakfast is almost ready. You sure slept well last night."

"I did?" Rachel rumbled as she struggled to her feet.

"Like a log. Hey, you Ok, love?" Meg asked, concerned by her partner's uncharacteristic lethargy.

"Yeah. I just need a shower to wake me up." Rachel grabbed her robe and headed for the bathroom.

"Want some company?" Meg asked with a lascivious grin on her face.

Rachel's face lit up, then fell. "What about your parents?"

"They know I bathe. Been doing it for years." Meg walked up to her partner, wrapped her arms around her and kissed her chin. "Come on. I'll scrub your back and wash your hair for you."

"Mmmm, sounds lovely."


"Morning, Mom." Meg said

"Morning, Mrs. Poche'" Rachel chimed in.

"Good morning, girls. Did you sleep well?"

"Too well. I feel like I have jet lag." Rachel said. "Your house is very comfortable."

"Thanks. That's a lovely compliment. Help yourselves to a cup of coffee. Gaston went to pick up Gram. He should be back any minute now. So, we'll wait for them to join us for breakfast. What are you two planning for today, walking, golf, riding, foot ball, a boat ride.....?"

"Mom, it's 25 degrees out there. I don't think a boat ride. We'll probably go roller blading before the game starts and you and I become football widows. What do you think, Rach?" Meg said.

"Sounds good to me." Rachel responded as she pulled a chair out for Meg at the breakfast table.

"So, what did you get for Christmas?" Marguerite asked.

"Rachel gave me some great roller blades and this ring." Meg held the ring up for her mother to admire.

"Oh, that's beautiful, Meg. Um..., isn't that an Irish wedding band, honey?" Marguerite inquired as her eyebrows rose.

"Yes, ma'am, it is. It's a symbol of our commitment to each other and I think it's the most perfect gift." Meg gushed.

"Well, you two must be pretty serious. What are your intentions toward my daughter, Ms. Vincenti?" Marguerite teased.

Rachel was flustered for a moment, not knowing if Meg's mom was being serious or not. She decided to just be honest. "I love your daughter and I intend to keep on loving her. I hope to someday make her as happy as she's made me." The tall beauty blushed furiously but held eye contact with Marguerite Poche'.

Meg walked up behind her partner and wrapped her arms around Rachel's shoulders. She kissed her head and rested her cheek against soft hair. "You make me very happy, Rachel. And, I think my Mother was pulling your leg. But, thank you for your admission. I love you, too, very much."

Rachel closed her soft dark eyes, aroused by Meg's voice and touch. She could feel her ears burning as she blushed furiously.

"You are so damned cute when you blush like that, tiger." Meg teased her too.

"Is there a nice rock I can slink under? The women in this family are going to take some getting used to. I hope I have better luck with your grandmother." Rachel sighed.

"Well that all depends. How are you at playing cards? I'm a gin rummy enthusiast, myself." Meg's grandmother stood in the archway between the kitchen and den with a Cheshire cat grin on her wrinkled, round face. Her sea-green eyes twinkled with mischief.

"Gram!" Meg whooped and ran into the old woman's arms. "Gosh, I've missed you so much."

"I've missed you too, little bit. Haven't you grown any yet?"

"Gram, I'm 32 years old. I think I've passed my growth spurt." Meg explained.

"I suppose you're right. I just wish I could stop shrinking. After all, I'm only 75. By time I'm 80 I'll be two feet tall. It's disgusting. You've got to have guts to get old, girls. It's not for wimps."

Meg wrapped her arm around her grandmother's petite but proud shoulders. "Rachel, I'd like you to meet my grandmother, Mrs. Maggie Gravolet, a great cook and cardshark."

Rachel stood and shook Maggie's small hand, surprised at the strength of her grip. "It's a pleasure to meet you Mrs. Gravolet. Meg has told me so much about you."

"Myyyyy....., but you're a big gal and good looking, too. You be good to my grandbaby."

"Yes, ma'am, I will." Rachel blushed again.

"Hi, Mom. Glad you were feeling up to joining us." Marguerite kissed her mother's cheek and gave her a big hug. "Now, let's eat."

Gaston pulled out a chair for his grandmother and his wife then sat between them, giving him a solid buffer between himself and his older sister who liked to tease him unmercifully.

Breakfast conversation concentrated on the upcoming rematch between the Saints and the Rams, the baby news and what festivities were planned for Gaston's thirtieth birthday the following day.

"So, you were a New Year's baby?" Rachel said.

"Yep, I always thought all the hoopla and fireworks were for me." Gaston chuckled.

"So, that explains why you were such an egomaniac." His sister chimed in.

"Meg, quit picking on little brother." Maggie admonished.

"Grams, you have to admit, Gaston has always been the most competitive, vain, jock....."

"That's enough, missy. Tomorrow is your brother's birthday and until midnight on said day, we will all pretend that we can tolerate him." Ben piped up with a mock serious expression.

Rachel broke into giggles, followed by Meg, Marguerite and Kathy.

"Oh, now that's nice. My own wife gives me no respect. I'm just a red headed stepchild around here." Gaston pouted.

"Well, you are red headed, but I'm afraid your father and I have to claim you as our own beloved progeny." Marguerite sighed, dramatically, causing everyone at the table to break into peals of laughter.

"Mom!" Gaston exclaimed.

"That's enough. Don't tease the boy. Gaston, finish your breakfast, dear." Maggie commanded and the entire table went quiet as everyone enjoyed the meal.

After breakfast Rachel and Meg helped clean up the kitchen, while Kathy was given coffee duty and set the pot, cups and saucers on the large, round cocktail table in the den.

"Mom, Rachel and I are gonna try out our roller blades on the black top roads around here. We should be back in time to catch the second half of the game."

"Ok. Just be careful. There's more traffic in the neighborhood now than when you were living at home." Marguerite warned.

"Umm, Mom, that was less than a year ago. It can't have changed that much." Meg retorted.

"Well, just be careful. You keep an eye on her Rachel."

"Yes, ma'am." Rachel agreed.

The couple bundled up in layers, grabbed their skates and walked out on the front porch to change into them.

"Geesum Petes, it's cold out here." Rachel complained.

"Yep. 25 degrees is cold. Come on. The more we move around, the warmer we'll get. Race ya!" With that, Meg took off down the black topped road, which was lined with oaks and willows in the country-like setting. In spite of the large, expensive homes, the neighborhood still maintained a rustic feel to it. The lots were two to four acres and the homes either faced the bayou or the golf course, affording each some privacy. Meg headed for the public launch where she knew they'd find benches to sit upon and hot drinks in the coffee machine. She had slipped several quarters in her pocket for just that purpose.

Rachel easily caught up with her friend, but since she had no idea where they were heading, she didn't pass her, but skated around her, proving her superior prowess to Meg's chagrin. "Show off!" Meg griped.

"You're just mad because I'm sooooo good." Rachel laughed, throwing herself into a short coughing fit.

"Hey, you Ok?" Meg slowed down and looked at her partner.

"Yeah, I'm fine. It's just freaking cold out here."

"Follow me. I know where there's some hot chocolate with my name on it." Meg continued to skate toward the launch area.

"Wow, this is really nice. I could get use to this." Rachel said as she admired the landscaping. It had the ambience of the elegant old south with its great live oaks draped with Spanish moss, weeping willows, huge pines covered in wisteria and confederate jasmine. Everywhere you looked were camellias, especially pink perfection. Everything bespoke of grace and beauty.

"Yeah, I always loved it here. It was a great place to grow up. Lot's to do outdoors, that's if you could tolerate the mosquitoes, snakes and gators." Meg shook her head.

"Gators? There are alligators in that bayou?" Rachel winced.

"Yep. Very disconcerting when one is water skiing." Meg stated.

Rachel shuddered. "On second thought. I think I'll stick to the city."

"You big wimp." Meg goaded.

"Am not."

"Are too."

"Am not."

"Are too." Meg hopped up on her skates and took off back toward home with Rachel hot on her heels.

"Am not!" She yelled, bringing on another short fit of coughing, which her partner couldn't hear as she was skating as fast as she could out of Rachel's reach.

The women sat on the front porch, changing out of the skates and into their sneakers.

"Hi Gram, did you miss us?" Meg asked as she leaned over the sofa to give her grandmother a wet kiss on her cheek.

"Sure did, little bit. Meg, you've been sweating. You two had better go upstairs and freshen up. Then come enjoy the game. The Saints are winning." Maggie said.

"You're kidding. They are? Daddy?"

"Yes, ma'am. HOT DAMNED! That's my boys!" Ben exclaimed as the pass was completed.

Meg took Rachel's hand and led her upstairs to the shower.

"Those boys have more lives than a cat." Rachel shook her head as she pealed her sweaty clothes off and joined Meg under the rejuvenating spray. Soft brown eyes gazed into sparkling green, "Hey gorgeous. Want to play around?"

Meg ran her eyes over the impressive physique of her lover then ran her small hand across her broad chest and down between her tempting breasts. "Oh yeah. You are my favorite playmate."

Rachel gave her a look of mock indignation. "There are others?"

Meg grinned, slyly. "Well, there was Johnny Baccich, Ray Queen then Charlene Jacaway, but she moved away in third grade. I was devastated."

"You are so bad." Rachel griped as she took the small woman in her arms and kissed her deeply. "Did any of your other playmates kiss you like that?"

"Ummm...nope." Meg pulled Rachel back down and gave as good as she got. Rachel's hands followed the flow of water down Meg's shapely arse and squeezed and kneaded the flesh she found, then slid down to her knees, licking and sucking every inch of flesh that came within reach of her hungry mouth. She reached for the body wash and rubbed the foam over Meg's torso, thighs and between her parting legs. Her partner held onto strong shoulders to keep from melting into a heap of quivering flesh. Rachel smiled, enjoying the power she had over her lover. Then she foamed the soft round curves of her behind and let the spray from the shower wash the soap away before she parted Meg's labia with her long fingers and sat back on her heels to watch the already aroused woman's reactions to her ministrations.

Meg's eyes rolled back and her lips parted in ecstacy as she relished the attention her sex was receiving.

"Look at me, Meggie. I want to see you come." Rachel beseeched her lover.

Meg opened her eyes and gazed down into the slightly dilated pupils of her partner. Her legs began to tremble as she became more aroused. Rachel's hand was covered in nectar and she ran her fingers through the labia and around the engorged clit. She moved her fingers faster, knowing Meg needed release. Her partner moaned and began to pump her hips, begging more contact and Rachel complied rubbing three fingers directly over the little nub in a strong circular motion. Raising herself high on her knees she wrapped a long arm around Meg's body and washed her left nipple with her tongue and mouth. Meg locked her knees as wave after wave of pleasure rolled over her. Rachel kept her fingers lying upon her lover's clit as she held her up until the trembling woman was able to stand on her own.

Meg began to laugh at what just happened in her parent's house and in the old bathroom she'd once shared with her little brother.

Rachel stood to her full height. "And, what's so funny?"

Meg composed herself. "Gaston and I use to bathe together with our pet turtles in this very same tub. How weird is that?"

"So which was more fun?"

"Ooooh, now let me think about that for a moment.....ummmm... Oh yeah, I know, being made love to by the most beautiful woman I have ever known."

"Good answer." Rachel smiled down into eyes filled with love for only her. Her heart swelled with pride and tenderness.

Rachel started washing herself as Meg looked on in disappointment. "I wanted to do that." She whined.

"I know, but we're using up all the hot water. Let me finish washing and we can move this to the bedroom."

"Oh, well, if you put it like that. Sure." Meg washed Rachel's hair for her and they both rinsed off and dried themselves before moving to Meg's bedroom locking the door.

Meg opened Rachel's robe and gently cupped her right breast and kissed the tip of the dark nipple. She kneaded the left breast, then alternated between two. Meg was not happy when Rachel pushed her away and covered the objects of her lust. "I'm sorry, Meggie, but I think I must be coming down with a cold. All I want to do is sleep. I need a little nap and some Echinacea." Rachel sighed, feeling guilty that she couldn't respond to her lover's touch. That's how she knew she was sick. Every time she'd get a little feverish, her ability to respond went right out the window.

Meg had suspected her partner wasn't feeling up to par. She tried to hide her disappointment. "Sure, love. You take a nap and I'll bring you some Echinacea and orange juice."

"I'm really sorry, Meggie." Rachel kept apologizing as she slipped on a sleep shirt and heavy socks.

Meg tucked her in and kissed her slightly warm head. "I'll be back in a jiffy." She threw on her sweats and slippers and ran down to the kitchen to retrieve the necessary items, then whispered to her mother, who was comfortably ensconced in a lap rug on her recliner, watching the football game with interest. "Mom, Rachel and I are going to take a nap. She might be coming down with a little cold and I'm going to give her some Echinacea and orange juice."

"That should help, dear. I'm sorry she's not feeling well."

"She'll be fine. I'm sure it's just a little cold. Maybe this will knock it out before it gets a hold on her."

"Maybe it will at that."

Rachel swallowed down the pills and juice and fell into a deep sleep with Meg at her side. Meg waited until she was certain her partner would not wake up before she went downstairs to watch the end of the game with her family.

Rachel awoke with a jerk and looked around the room, trying to figure out what had awakened her so abruptly. Her ears perked up at the yells and whoops wafting from the den. Rachel quickly dressed and went to see what all the noise was about.

"What's going on down here? You start celebrating New Year's Eve without me?" Rachel jibed.

"WE WON!!! YES!!!" Ben whooped as he pumped his fist in the air.

"We won? .....We won? .....THE SAINTS WON!?!" Rachel looked into Meg's twinkling eyes as a light bulb went off and she lifted the little woman in her arms and spun her around the room. "Woohoo!"

"Rachel, put me down. You'll hurt yourself." Meg complained as she giggled with glee.

"Awesome game, Dad. Whew, man!" Gaston exclaimed. "Let's celebrate. Let's all crawl into my Suburban and drive down the River to watch the bonfires and fireworks display tonight. My treat."

Meg shook her head. "Gaston, that whole show is free to the public, you cheapskate."

"Yeah, but I'll pay for the gas and the hot punch."

"Oh, gee, thanks. You are too generous, your gaseousness." Meg curtsied to her brother dripping with sarcasm.

"I've never been to the bonfires." Rachel interjected.

"It's huge. You'll love it." Kathy said.

"Ok then, it's settled. We'll take a nice ride and see the bonfires. But first, I'm hungry." Ben said.

"I can fix that. Who wants a po-boy? We have oysters and jumbo shrimp to fry or if you like, I can boil a few for the diet conscious..... Rachel, what'll it be?" Marguerite asked.

"Oh, I think fried oysters on French with hot sauce, mayo and mustard would hit the spot." Rachel offered.

"Make mine a ....."

"Half oyster, half shrimp with butter and lemon..... I know that one by heart." Marguerite nodded to her daughter.

"I hate being that predictable. Am I that predictable?" She queried her lover.

"I refuse to answer that on the grounds that it's too cold to sleep alone tonight." Rachel grinned and ducked out of the way of Meg's swatting hand. "Hey, Miss thing, it's a long walk across the Causeway bridge."

"You wouldn't dare." Meg glared at her partner, who was feeling her oats.

"Cherry's my baby and she's very sensitive....."

"Who's Cherry? What are you two talking about?" Gaston jumped in.

"Cherry is a 1964, candied apple red, Mustang. Her pride and joy and my one serious competition for Rachel's affections." Meg answered.

"Ho, ho, ho, I beg to differ, my dear. Cherry has no competition." Rachel snickered.

"Where'd you hide it? I'm sure I would have noticed such a treasure when we drove up." Gaston asked.

"You don't think Rachel would leave Cherry out in the weather, do you? Heavens forbid! She's all comfy and warm under her tarp in Mom and Dad's garage."

"That's just because the stairway wasn't wide enough to bring her up to your room." Rachel piped in.

"See what I mean." Meg retorted.

"Rachel, you have got to let me take her out for a spin." Gaston stated.

"Hah! That'll happen." Meg quipped.

"Oh, please." Gaston made puppy dog eyes at the tall woman. "Pretty, pretty, pretty please."

Rachel was taken aback. She never let anyone else drive Cherry and she was not going to set a precedent today. "I'll tell you what I'll do, Gaston. I'll take you out for a spin myself."

Meg's brother pouted.

"Told ya so." Meg rubbed it in.

Rachel shrugged her shoulders. "Sorry, but nobody drives Cherry except me. Not even Meg."

"Not even your own mother?" The young man goaded.

Rachel's face took on a somber expression. "Especially my own mother."

Meg jumped in. "Come on y'all, let's eat. Glad to see you are feeling better, Rachel"

"Yep. I feel like I could eat a horse." Rachel stated as she bit into her po-boy with gusto.


Ben undid his belt buckle and unbuttoned his pants. "Awww, Marguerite, I ate too much of your good food, dawlin." Everyone at the table concurred that they were miserably full. "I need a nap before we head out. Let's say we meet back here at 2030. It should take at least an hour to get to the bonfires from here. We'll still get there in plenty of time." He looked toward his wife. "Care to join me, my dear."

"You girls don't mind cleaning up the kitchen, do you. I feel a long shower coming on." Marguerite looked into her daughter's eyes and winked, causing Meg and Rachel to look at each other with wonder.

"Is your mother a psychic?" Rachel whispered to her lover.

"Sometimes I wonder about that myself." Meg shook her head.

The couple sent Kathy and Gram to lie down as they cleaned the kitchen and then went upstairs to catch some sleep themselves.


The drive down the river to the bonfires took nearly an hour and a half, but the awesome sight before them made the trip worthwhile. Rachel had never seen a fire so huge and so well controlled. The colors in the flames and the delicious heat radiating from it were intoxicating. She grabbed her camera.

The family pulled out the folding chairs they'd brought along and several thermoses of hot coffee and cocoa and got as close to the warmth of the flames as the gathering crowds would allow. It was well below freezing but they found a spot where the breeze brought the fire's warmth along with it.

All types of people gathered around, arriving in cars, trucks, buses, pirogues, skiffs and steamboats down the river. The atmosphere was festive. Music was played and Christmas Carols were sung with a tinge of sadness at seeing the season come to an end. Rachel and Meg held hands, sitting as close to each other as their chairs would allow. They sang along and looked adoringly in each other's eyes. "How are you feeling, love?"

"I'm good. That nap and the Echinacea did the trick, I think." Rachel responded. "Come on and dance with me, Meggie." Rachel urged and she pulled her partner up and two stepped to a familiar old Cajun folk song, Jolie Blanc. The lover's danced to the zydeco every dance until the fire works display began. The river boats came alive with color and sound as they answered with a display of their own. Everyone watched in awe and delight as the New Year was brought in with explosion after explosion and streams of multi colored rockets. It was all gotten on film.

"Happy New Year, my Meggie." Rachel said into her lover's ear.

"Happy New Year, Rachel. I love you." The women kissed and hugged, as everyone around them seemed to do the same.


"Come on, Gram, I'll help you to your room." Meg offered, and put her arm under her grandmother's for support. The very tired old woman accepted her assistance and sighed with relief when she lay down for the night. "Night, Gram. I love you."

"Good night, little bit. I love you too. And, I like your lady friend very much." Maggie patted her grandchild's rosy cheek.

"Thanks, Gram. I can't tell you how much that means to me, to both of us. Now, you rest. You've had a long day." Meg leaned down and kissed her grandmother's cheek, then left to find her partner.

"Wow, that was awesome." Gaston said as they put the folding chairs away and brought the empty thermoses to the kitchen to be cleaned.

"It was that." Rachel responded and yawned for the tenth time. "I'm beat."

"Me too." The little blonde walked up behind her partner. "Let's go to bed." Meg kissed her family and wished them all a Happy New Year and a good night.

The couple washed their faces and brushed their teeth, changed into nightshirts and were asleep by time their heads hit the pillows. Meg spooned in behind Rachel and dreamed of the future with the woman she loved.


Meg woke up and looked at the clock on her bedside table. It was almost 10 a.m. and her bladder was screaming for relief. She slipped out of bed, quietly, so as not to awaken her partner and went to take care of business and freshen up a bit. It was twenty minutes later when she returned to find Rachel still asleep, more than lightly snoring. She slipped in beside her and was taken aback by the heat radiating off her lover's body. Somewhat alarmed she tried to wake her up.

"Rachel..... Hey, Rachel, it's time to get up, sleepy head." Meg said as she rubbed an exposed arm. "Come on, Rachel. I need you to wake up for me."

Rachel groaned as blood shot brown eyes fluttered open and she rolled onto her back to look into worried sea-green orbs.

"Good morning, glory. How are you feeling?"

Rachel took a breath to answer and let go a deep, painful cough. She winced and held her side until she could speak. "I'm sick."

"Yeah, I noticed. I want to take your temperature. I'll be right back." Meg hopped off of the bed and retrieved the thermometer from the bathroom medicine cabinet. "Under your tongue. That's a good girl. Do you need to visit the potty?" Meg talked to her as if she were a sick child. Rachel nodded and Meg assisted her to the bathroom and back to bed.

"102.5 degrees. Yep, you're a sick puppy. I'm gonna get my Dad to take a look at you."

Rachel groaned, again, and pulled the covers over her head.

Meg returned in a few minutes with a breakfast tray, Tylenol and Robitussin DM, followed by her father and his medical bag.

"Hello there young lady. I hear you're under the weather this morning." Ben said as he pulled the small bedroom chair up to face Rachel, who had the covers pulled up under her chin. "Now you are going to have to let go of that cover, so I can listen to your breath sounds. Meg told me about the damage to your lung and we don't want to cause any more.

Meg sat upon the bed and encouraged her terribly embarrassed lover to release the covers. "Dad's a good doctor, Rach. Let him do his job. Ok?"

Rachel let go of the covers and took hold of Meg's hand as she tried to stifle another coughing fit. Ben placed his stethoscope on her chest and listened to all the lung fields, then helped her to sit up and listened to her lungs through her back. "You've got a good bit of congestion building up in that right lung. The left is much clearer. I don't think what you caught was a cold but a respiratory infection from one of your patients. I'm going to give you a shot of Celestone now. Are you allergic to any medications, like Penicillin?" Ben asked as he drew up the injection.

"No. Not that I know of. I've taken Penicillin before with no problem. You're giving me the viscous Penicillin?" Rachel asked.

"I'm afraid so, Rachel. You know it's going to hurt a bit, but we have to stop the infection now. Ok?" Ben explained, a look of compassion on his handsome face. He administered the Celestone. "After we do a sputum culture and sensitivity and a throat swab, I'll know exactly what antibiotic we need for this specific bug. Until then, the viscous Penicillin is our best bet. My office isn't far. I should be back in less than thirty minutes." He excused himself to retrieve the Penicillin and sterile containers for the specimens he needed to send to the lab for C and S.

"Rach, I don't like the sound of this. Are you going to be alright?" Meg asked.

"Sure. I'll be fine after I get the antibiotic and some rest. Don't worry. Your dad's a good doctor. Are those Tylenol for me?"

"Oh yeah. I forgot. Here." Meg handed her two Tylenol and a glass of water. There was a knock on the door. "Come in." Meg called.

Marguerite entered the room with a sympathetic smile upon her face. "Hey there. I hear you're a bit under the weather. I spoke with Ben. He'll be back in about twenty minutes. Can I get you anything?"

"No ma'am. Thank you. You and your husband, your whole family, have been more than kind." Rachel said. Her eyes were getting heavy and she had an irresistible urge to lay back down and sleep.

"OK. Why don't you try to sleep while we wait on Ben? Meg, can you help me in the kitchen for a moment?" Marguerite motioned to her daughter as she left the room.

Meg followed her mother to the kitchen and sat down over a cup of hot coffee. "Meg, I think Rachel should stay here until we know what we're dealing with. I'd feel better knowing we did everything we could to protect her from further damaging her lung. From the injuries you described, she is very lucky to still be with us." Marguerite explained.

Meg looked into her Mother's kind eyes and back up toward the staircase that led to her ailing lover. "Do you really think it's that bad? I mean, she's going to be alright isn't she?" Meg's eyes began to sting with unshed tears.

Marguerite reached across the table to hold her daughter's hand. "Meg, honey, I don't mean to frighten you. In this case, it's better safe than sorry. Your father and I want to be certain that we've done everything we can to ensure Rachel's safety. That's all. I know how much you love each other. It's plain as day. Will you talk to her about staying at least until we know what we're dealing with and can treat her. We just want to help, Meg."

"Thanks Mom. I'll talk to her." Meg said. 'This should be an interesting conversation.' Meg grimaced and sighed. 'Kind of like that old Chines curse, 'May you live in interesting times'.'

To Be Continued in Part 8

Tell me what you think.


January 11, 2001

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