Heart’s Choice

Chapter 4


Lois Kay



Kyra was about to press the little red ‘off’ button on the phone, but her mother’s words halted her movements and with a hesitant glance at Emma, she brought the device back to her ear.


"I have talked to different people who are involved with the school board and from a reliable source I have heard that she has…a history."

"Don’t we all have one?" Kyra snorted. "And I know your reliable sources, Mother. They are lazy, good for nothing, gossiping, sherry sipping busy bodies, with the common sense of a garden rake."

Emma suddenly clasped her hand in front of her mouth to stifle a laugh and Kyra rolled her eyes at her.

Vivian LeJeune just ignored her daughter’s comments and continued.

"Something happened, Kyra and I am determined to find out what that was. I don’t like the idea of a teacher like that being involved in my grandson’s education."

You have no idea, Mother!

"Well, good luck, Mother. Spare me the details when you find what you’re looking for, all right? Emma Altena is a qualified teacher who also happens to be good with kids and on top of that she is a very nice person. So, I don’t care what you dig up about her. Bye mother."

With a trembling finger Kyra pressed the ‘off’ button and threw the phone on the table. With two hands she pushed back her thick, curly hair and let out an explosive breath.

"Arrogant, self righteous…woman," she almost growled.

For a moment, while Kyra was trying to control her anger, both women temporarily forgot the fact that they had almost kissed a few minutes earlier.

"Like I told you, my mother is not a nice person," Kyra sighed. "I’m sorry you had to witness this, Emma. I just…whenever she starts about her issues with people of different color, I just explode."

"I can’t blame you," Emma gently answered, curious as to what Kyra’s mother had said about her. "Umm…does your mother have a problem with me being Simon’s teacher?" she hesitantly asked.

Kyra looked up and noticed that Emma did not seem to be upset. She slowly nodded and felt ashamed for her mother’s words and actions.

"I’m sorry," she almost whispered. "She…um…apparently she has been trying to get some information about you and one of her ‘friends’," Kyra used both hands to make the quotation signs. "Who happens to be on the school board, told her that you have a ‘history’ and she’s determined to find out what that is."

"So much for my privacy," Emma cynically remarked, raking her fingers through her hair.

With a nauseous feeling she remembered a time, not all that long ago, when her world was upside down and she seriously wondered if she would ever be able to go back into teaching again. At her new school she had been painfully honest and had told them everything that could ever come back to haunt her, but the principal had told her to try and leave the past behind. A new school and a new town would provide her with a fresh start and he and her fellow teachers had welcomed her on board with genuine kindness.

"If she finds out you are gay she’ll have a coronary," Kyra said as gentle as she could to take the sting out of those words. "She would try and get you fired."

"They will not fire me for that," Emma answered with confidence. "I told them I was gay before they hired me. It…" she took a deep breath and even though she really did want to tell Kyra the whole story, she knew it wasn’t the time or the place…yet. "I had a problem with that at my old school," she confessed, keeping her eyes fixed on the coffee table. "It’s a long story and it’s not a nice one either. Just...well, I…"

"Don’t tell me if you are not ready for it," Kyra interrupted softly. "It’s okay, Emma. I am glad it won’t be an issue. You are an excellent teacher and the kids love you, that much is obvious. That’s enough for me."

"Thank you," Emma answered with a small smile, raising her head and seeing the warmth in Kyra’s eyes.

"It’s been an…interesting evening," she added with a touch of humor in her voice.

"It sure has," Kyra agreed. "Very interesting…and very nice as well."

Their eyes met and they both smiled at each other. The gentleness in Kyra’s eyes suddenly filled a cold, insecure spot inside Emma’s heart and she cleared her throat.

"Umm..Kyra, listen, about…before, I…"

"Don’t ," Kyra interrupted with a warm smile, that deepened when Emma looked at her with a puzzled expression.

"You don’t have to apologize," she explained. "I…it…" Kyra sucked in her bottom lip and a small frown creased her forehead when she tried to come up with the right words.

"It was an unexpected…but nice moment," she slowly said. "And if the phone had not started ringing, I really don’t know what would have happened."

You do know. You would have kissed her, Kyra. Don’t deny it.

"I don’t want to apologize for it, I just want to…"

Forget about it and stay friends, Emma mentally finished the sentence and she hoped that Kyra would not notice the disappointment on her face.

"I just need some time to…think things over," Kyra shyly admitted, feeling a blush creep up her cheeks. "I’m really…confused, but it has nothing to do with you," she quickly added. "Well, in a way it has, of course, but…you know what I mean!"

"I think I do," Emma smiled, thinking how adorable Kyra looked when she was flustered. "I just hope you don’t think I tried to…take advantage of the situation."

"I don’t think that at all," Kyra replied strongly. "I was…to be honest, I was completely…your eyes, they just dragged me right in," she added with a nervous chuckle. "I bet you’ve had a lot of people, men and women, already tell you how beautiful your eyes are, huh?"

"Not really," Emma dryly answered, having regained her composure and looking at her friend with an amused twinkle in her eyes.

"Oh," Kyra seemed a little taken aback, but then she smiled, secretly pleased with Emma’s answer. "Well, for what it’s worth, you do have beautiful eyes," she said.

"Thank you," Emma smiled. "And I would like to return the compliment. Your eyes are captivating as well, but, you probably knew that already."

"No," Kyra dead panned and they both laughed, relieved that they apparently felt so at ease with each other that they had been able to discuss what had transpired between them without feeling awkward.

"I’m glad we met, Emma," Kyra unexpectedly said. "It’s so nice to have a friend. I almost forgot what it was like."

"In that case I’m pleased to be the one to remind you of that," Emma stated formally, but her eyes were dancing.

It felt so good to be with Kyra. True, they had only met a few days ago, but still, Emma felt like she had known Kyra a lot longer than five days and she knew by looking at her friend that she was feeling the same strange, but heartwarming thing.

In spite of the serious and personal information they had shared, Kyra’s posture was relaxed and there was no sign of discomfort in her eyes.

It was weird, Emma mused, to have met somebody who had become so close, in such a short period of time. But it was a nice feeling though, it soothed places deep inside her soul that she didn’t even know were raw and painful and it filled her with a warmth that seemed to nurture her soul.

"I’m still taking a risk here," Emma thought. "A few more hours with her and I know I’m lost and I’m not even sure if she would be able to return the sentiment. What if I am wrong? My gut feeling says she’s not straight, but what if my gaydar is off? It would be the very first time, but still…I don’t want to run straight into heartache, pun not intended."

"Penny for your thoughts," a soft voice interrupted and Emma looked up with something that closely resembled fear. Kyra noticed the look in her eyes, even though it had only been there for a split second. She frowned and cast Emma a worried look.

"Are you all right?" she asked, her voice full of concern.

"Just …some bad memories," Emma replied, not looking at Kyra. "I am okay," she looked up. "Honest."

Emma glanced at her watch and shot Kyra an apologetic look. It was not really late yet, but so much had happened she felt like she needed to be alone for a while to bring order to her disorganized thoughts.

"I guess I should go," she softly said, knowing that leaving would be the best thing to do, before she would make a fool out of herself and create a situation Kyra would probably regret later.

"You don’t have to," Kyra replied in a subdued voice, suddenly not looking forward to spending the rest of the evening alone, even though she was used to it.

"I…there is a lot I need to think about, Kyra," Emma honestly answered. "To be honest, I would like to stay, but I need some…I need to clear my head. It’s nothing personal, believe me.

"Well, except that I think I have fallen head over heels in love with you, but surely that’s nothing personal.

Kyra tried to ignore the hurt Emma‘s words had caused. She knew it was irrational to feel that way and she was wondering where that feeling was coming from, but it was hurt just the same. Maybe it would be good to do a little soul searching herself.

Make that a lot of soul-searching. Great! Another sleepless night and you already have a headache the size of Antarctica.

A wave of nausea and dizziness suddenly made her head spin and involuntarily Kyra grabbed the arms of the chairs and dug in her fingers to steady herself. The world was spinning and with a strange feeling of detachment, Kyra told herself it was a good thing she was sitting down, because had she been standing up she would be sprawled across the living room floor by now.

The annoying buzzing in her ears was interrupted by a sound she did not recognize at first and she slowly shook her head to try and clear it. But that only intensified the spinning and she swallowed hard when she felt the bile rise in her throat.

The incoherent sound became more persistent and gradually Kyra came to understand it was Emma’s voice that was trying to penetrate the fog in her head. A hand had been placed on her shoulder and strangely enough the scent of Emma’s perfume suddenly became very clear, while the rest of the world was still hidden in fuzzy clouds.

"Smells nice," Kyra mumbled with difficulty, feeling like her mouth was filled with cotton wool.

"Kyra," Emma’s voice became more persistent and Kyra could feel a hand cup her cheek and lift up her face towards the light. "Kyra."

Slowly, very slowly, a pair of very worried blue eyes became visible through the foggy haze and Kyra exhaled in relief.

"M’okay," she whispered, glad to feel she could move her lips again and make coherent sounds. "Guess that migraine blindsided me. Sorry about that."

"Did you have a migraine this morning as well?" Emma asked in a no-nonsense voice.

"Well, a little one," Kyra answered, not able to look in those concerned blue eyes. "I …I took some aspirin and then things became a bit better."

"Do you have them often?"

"Thank goodness, no," Kyra sighed. "Every once in a while. I guess now is ‘every once’ huh?"

Emma ignored the attempt of a joke she was sure Kyra used to try and distract her from the real issue and she shot her friend a stern look.

"What do you usually do when you have a migraine like this?"

Kyra realized Emma could not be sidetracked and she closed her eyes with a sigh. Her head was throbbing so bad she was afraid to move and she still expected her dinner to return with a vengeance.

"I have medication for it," she softly explained, giving up the nonchalant facade and wordlessly admitting how bad she was feeling. "Normally I don’t let it come this far. I would have taken a decent painkiller and gone to bed."

"Why didn’t you tell me?" Emma softly asked, giving in to the temptation to brush away a strand of dark hair from Kyra’s forehead.

"Because I wanted you to come," Kyra replied in a hoarse voice.

"And I wanted to be here," Emma confessed. "But not when you are hurting like this, Kyra. Can you walk?"

Kyra opened her eyes and carefully put her feet on the floor. With Emma’s steadying hand on her back she slowly stood up, glad her friend was standing close, because she had to grab Emma with both hands to prevent herself from falling down when suddenly her knees buckled.

"Damn," she grunted, resting her forehead against Emma’s shoulder and trying to catch her breath, waiting for the pounding in her head to subside.

"I guess you’re not one of those super women who can just scoop me up and carry me to the bedroom, huh?" she faintly joked.

"Sorry," Emma smiled. "I left my Butch-card at home. I can give you a hand however, that is, if you want me to."

"Please, I need to lie down and I don’t think I can get upstairs all by myself." Kyra brought a hand to her forehead and Emma saw her shiver. "I feel like I have a fever, weird."

"Yes, you do feel hot to the touch. Maybe you are coming down with something" Emma admitted. "Come on, I’ll help you to your bedroom."

Emma wrapped a strong arm around Kyra’s waist and slowly helped her out of the room, into the hallway. With a look of despair Kyra glanced up at the stairs and softly grunted.

"I wonder if I’ll be able to make it," she sighed.

"Just think about your nice, soft bed," Emma encouraged. "I’ll be right behind you, all right? Just take it nice and slow."

It took them about five minutes to finally reach the second floor and Emma cast a worried look at Kyra whose face was pale, with perspiration coating her forehead and who was breathing hard.

"I feel like I’m going to throw up," Kyra moaned, feeling another wave of dizziness almost sweeping her off her feet. "You better watch out, Em," she said.

Emma smiled at the abbreviation of her name and her arm tightened around Kyra’s body.

"I grew up on a farm, remember? I have been covered in things they didn’t even have a name for, so don’t worry about me, okay?"

In spite of everything, Kyra chuckled, immediately grabbing her pounding head and letting out a grunt of pain.

"Don’t make me laugh," she whispered, pushing open the door to her bedroom and stumbling towards the bed, where she carefully let herself sink on top of the cool comforter, closing her eyes with a soft moan.

"Where are those painkillers, Kyra?" Emma asked, looking around the large, tastefully decorated bedroom.

"Top shelf of my closet, left door," Kyra answered with difficulty, hoping that if she would lie real still, the painful hammering inside her head would stop.

Emma quickly walked towards the large, four door closet and opened the left door. The scent of freshly laundered fabric mixed with a little touch of perfume, wafted out and Emma breathed it in with appreciation. It smelled like Kyra and that realization immediately quickened her pulse.

She grabbed a little bottle on the top shelf and carefully read the label, before she took out two white tablets and walked towards the adjoining bathroom to retrieve a glass of water.

When she came back she perched herself on the edge of the bed and gently rubbed Kyra’s shoulder.

"I have your painkillers here, Kyra. Can you sit up?"

"If you’ll help me," was the soft response.

For a moment Emma hesitated, but then her practical mind jumped over all the hurdles of objection and she grabbed Kyra’s shoulders, helping her to sit up and then slid behind her to keep her upright.

"Open your mouth," she gently said and Kyra obeyed without hesitation.

Emma put the pills in her friend’s mouth and with one hand she took the glass of water from the night stand and brought it to Kyra’s lips, who drank the cool liquid greedily.

"Thanks," she said in a weak voice when the glass was empty.

Emma put the glass back on the night stand and looked down at the curly head that was tucked against her shoulder. Kyra had slumped against her body, using Emma’s chest as a backrest and the dark haired woman did not seem to be inclined to move any time soon.

"This is comfy," Kyra whispered sleepily, feeling Emma’s body move when she chuckled.

"I’m glad you like my pillow skills, but I think it will be better for you to lie down."

"Better for me or better for you?" Kyra sighed, feeling another chuckle and she managed to produce a small smile.

"I’m not the type of person who would take advantage of a defenseless woman," Emma smiled, leaving the spot behind Kyra and lowering her friend back on the bed.

"Pity," Kyra muttered so softly that Emma was not sure if she had heard it right.

"I guess I’d better help you take your shoes off," she mumbled, grabbing one of Kyra’s leather shoes and carefully slipping it off her foot. The other one followed suit and Emma looked down at the woman on the bed, wondering what her next step should be. Kyra was lying on top of the comforter and even though she was still fully dressed, she would eventually get cold.

"Kyra, I will help you to get underneath the cover, all right?" Emma softly spoke, not sure her friend would hear her, since she had her eyes closed and her breathing had become slow and deep.

Grateful for all those years helping out her parents on the farm, which had contributed to her strength, Emma slipped her left arm underneath Kyra’s body and carefully lifted her up, while her other arm quickly pulled back the comforter. She cautiously let her friend sink back into the pillow again and almost jumped when she noticed a pair of half lidded green eyes peek up at her.

"You’re strong," Kyra’s voice croaked, holding a touch of admiration.

"Farm work," Emma explained with a smile. "I thought you were asleep already."

"No, I wish I was," Kyra sighed, pushing herself upright with a grunt, immediately grabbing her head. "Ouch."

"Lie down, Kyra, let those painkillers do their work first," Emma gently scolded.

"They will knock me out," Kyra explained. "And I don’t want to sleep in my clothes."

"Oh, I see," Emma remarked. "Um…I guess I should…I’ll be waiting outside," she stuttered, turning around to make a hasty retreat, but Kyra’s voice stopped her.

"What’s wrong, Emma? You’re gay, but you have never seen a naked woman before?" she joked, chuckling at her own joke and grabbing her head in pain. "Oh, ouch."

Emma was grateful to see that Kyra’s eyes were closed, so her friend could not see the deep blush that colored her cheeks. Shaking her head she turned around and walked back to the bed.

"Tsk, tsk, that’s what you get when you tell me not to make you laugh and then break your own rules. Come here, let me help you."

"Are you sure?" Kyra asked, "I was…just teasing you. I don’t want to make you feel uncomfortable, so I’m sure I can manage to get into my nightie."

"I have a bunch of sisters and we used to share rooms, on top of that, I have seen naked women in my career as a lesbian, so you’re right, there’s nothing I haven’t seen before," Emma dryly remarked.

Kyra bit her lip and softly groaned. She cast Emma an accusing look and nudged her with her shoulder.

"Don’t be funny! Tomorrow you can make all the jokes in the world again." Kyra sighed and started to pull her shirt over her head. "This sucks. Those pills make me fuzzy headed and sleepy, so if I topple over and fall asleep, don’t worry, okay? It happened before."

"I’ll wait until you are asleep and then I’ll go back down and clean up a bit. If you tell me where your keys are, I can lock up behind me when I leave and put the keys in the mailbox."

"Okay," Kyra answered, reaching behind her back to unclasp her bra, while Emma looked the other way, her heart suddenly pounding in her chest. She had to force herself not to sneak a peek and mentally slapped herself for her primal peeping inclinations.

"Okay, what?" she repeated Kyra’s answer with a touch of humor. "Where do you keep your keys, Kyra?"

"Purse," was the one syllable answer and when Emma heard a soft thud she quickly looked at the bed, where Kyra was lying on her side, obviously completely knocked out.

"Peachy," Emma sighed, eyeing the dark green satin shirt that was only partly covering Kyra’s torso, exposing her skin from just below her breasts to where the waistband of her jeans started. "I guess I’ll have to finish the job." She wiped her suddenly clammy palms on her shirt and slowly headed towards the bed. "I can do this. I have undressed countless sleeping nieces and nephews. This is the same right? She is just a bit taller."

And she is not related. And she is a beautiful woman. And you are so attracted to her. And…do I need to continue?

With quick, but stiff fingers Emma unbuttoned and unzipped Kyra’s jeans and carefully pulled the fabric down, hoping that the jeans would be the only piece of clothing that would slide down. To her utter relief that was the case and softly chuckling about her own nervousness, she completely pulled off the denim, noticing the soft, lightly tanned skin of Kyra’s legs. Her hormones whistled in appreciation, but Emma ignored them and after pulling down Kyra’s night shirt, she gently covered her friend with the comforter.

She reached out a hand and cautiously felt Kyra’s forehead. It was still hot to the touch and frowning Emma wondered if there would be more than a migraine that was making Kyra sick.

"Mmm…nice and cool," Kyra mumbled, letting out a contented sigh and almost making Emma jump.

"I thought you were asleep," she softly spoke, brushing away a curl and watching in fascination when it wrapped itself around her finger.

"I was, sort of," Kyra answered, not moving and keeping her eyes closed. "Thanks for helping me out of my jeans, I didn’t have the energy."

"My plea…you’re welcome," Emma answered, hearing a soft chuckle come from her friend and she smiled, feeling Kyra grab her hand and pressing it against her cheek.

"Thank you for taking care of me, Emma."

"That’s what friends are for," Emma replied, gently brushing her thumb over the soft skin underneath her fingers.

"You don’t have to go," Kyra suddenly wistfully said, startling Emma whose eyes went round. "You can stay here if you want."

It was silent for a long time and finally Kyra carefully opened her eyes, grateful for the dimmed light in the room. Turning her head she looked up at Emma, who sat rooted on the edge of the bed, a pensive expression on her face as she stared down at her friend.

Suddenly feeling a little nervous, Kyra moistened her dry lips and briefly closed her eyes. Was she being honest with Emma? No, she was afraid that was not the case. A few times she had seen a look in her friend’s eyes that had quickened her pulse and made her wonder if it wouldn’t be better to share that part of her past which had been buried so deep, for so many years. She didn’t want to hurt Emma and she knew her friend was attracted to her, she had seen in those beautiful blue eyes. But she had to think about Simon as well. He was only five. True, he was a very smart little boy and sometimes wise beyond his age, but Emma was his teacher. What if she turned his world upside down? How would he cope with that?

Am I being selfish, asking Emma to stay? Kyra wondered. I think I am. I am making it harder for her to keep a distance I know she is trying to maintain. But do I want that? Do I want her to keep that distance?

No! I don’t. I want to be closer to her, but I am afraid. Oh, God…

A tear escaped from underneath Kyra’s closed eyelids and Emma stared at it in wonder. Another tear appeared and followed the moist track and Emma felt a lump in her throat. Her heart went out to the woman in the bed and the thought of standing up and walking away, which would probably be the best thing to do, seemed to get harder by the second. Every heartbeat tied her closer to Kyra Hartman and she was very aware of that.

If I don’t leave now, I will be in so deep, it is going to be impossible to steer away from heartbreak, Emma knew. Or maybe I am in too deep already. I think I was lost the moment she walked into my classroom.

Involuntarily Emma smiled when she remembered the first time she had met Simon’s mother. The elegantly dressed woman with the beautiful face and the warmest, greenest eyes she had ever seen. As soon as they had looked at her she had drowned, willingly.

Emma bit her bottom lip and tenderly brushed away a tear that was rolling down Kyra’s cheek. Seeing Kyra cry hurt. It was a strange sensation that made her tremble inside and awoke a strong need to protect her friend, to keep her from being hurt.

Staying would be like jumping off the deep end, not knowing how to swim, Emma mused.

With my feet in a block of concrete. And my hands tied behind my back. Trouble….

"You got a pair of jammies for me?" she gently smiled.




A tentative ray of sun carefully peeked through a small opening between the curtains, gently kissing Emma’s skin. It highlighted the deep red color of her hair and emphasized the long eyelashes that were a few shades darker and rested on her cheeks, since she was still fast asleep.

Kyra bit her lip and felt her heart rate pick up when she realized she had to control herself not to reach out and stroke the skin of Emma’s face, that looked soft like silk in the early morning light. She could detect a hint of Emma’s perfume that still clung to her skin and breathed in the scent with a decadent pleasure.

When she woke up, she immediately became aware of the warm body that was lying next to her, so close they were almost touching. Kyra’s eyes had shot open and as soon as she had seen Emma’s peacefully sleeping form, her face completely relaxed in her sleep, she had let out a sigh of contentment, glad to know her migraine had disappeared and grateful for Emma’s decision to stay the night

Kyra shifted her body a little, so she was lying on her side, careful not to wake up Emma. With her hand tucked underneath her chin she just stared at the sleeping woman next to her, wondering why waking up with Emma in her bed seemed like the most natural thing in the world.

Kyra smiled when she remembered how Emma had taken charge of things the evening before. Helping her to bed. Locking the doors and cleaning up the living room. Returning to the bedroom, tip toeing around, careful not to wake up Kyra, who had been lying with her eyes closed, but who had not been asleep. Sleep had finally come when Emma had slipped in the bed beside her, clad in a dark blue night shirt, turned off the little light on the night stand and had softly brushed the back of her hand against Kyra’s face. Feeling utterly safe and cared for, Kyra had given in to the pain killers and had let sleep claim her.

"Morning," Emma’s sleepy voice suddenly sounded and Kyra’s eyes shot open, evoking a soft chuckle from her friend. "How’s the head?"

"As good as new," Kyra smiled. "It feels a bit…heavy, but I’m sure that will clear up soon. I’m grateful the pain has gone away. That was no fun."

"I bet," Emma yawned, turning on her side so she could have a better look at her friend’s face. The serious blue eyes studied Kyra’s face for a long moment and then a radiant smile broke through.

"You do look a whole lot better than you did last night. Your face was so white!"

"I feel better too," Kyra returned the smile, amazed at how natural it felt to wake up with Emma and chat after having spent the night in the same bed. "Again: thanks, Emma, for looking after me and…"

"No need to thank me, Kyra. I was glad to be here and help you out."

"Umm…I know you and your family are close," Kyra started a little hesitant. "I hope you didn’t miss any calls last night, because you were here. I wouldn’t want your family to worry."

"Well," Emma drawled. "I’m sure Hester did try to call me, because that is what she’s been doing every evening, so, I guess I am in for a serious scolding session later," she grinned. "But, that’s not something I can’t handle."

Emma raised herself up a little and supported her head with her hand. She looked down at Kyra, whose hair was in complete disarray, which she found absolutely endearing.

"I have a good excuse," she continued and Kyra noticed the twinkling in her dark blue eyes.

"You do?" she asked with a smile.

"Yeah, I couldn’t pass up the chance to spend the night with a beautiful woman, could I?" she laughed, seeing Kyra blush a charming shade of pink.

"You really believe that, don’t you?"

"What? That you are beautiful? Yes, Kyra, I do, because you are."

Emma’s eyes studied the face in front of her and involuntarily her eyes traveled down to roam over Kyra’s satin clad upper body, to slide back up again and rest on her face.

"You are very beautiful," she added with a husky voice, feeling the flush of her skin and the quickening of her pulse and suddenly she was very conscious of her friend’s close presence. Kyra’s eyes had become a few shades darker and both women stared at each other for a breathless moment, both aware of the physical reaction they had caused in one another.

Kyra’s eyes were so…inviting and her lips seemed so soft…and they were so close, Emma could feel her friend’s warm breath on her skin.

Emma took a deep breath and shook her head. Quickly rolling onto her back she pushed herself upright.

"I need a shower," she announced, getting up from the bed and grabbing the towel she had used the evening before when she had washed her face and brushed her teeth. "A cold one,’ she added with a dramatic sigh that broke the tension and made Kyra laugh.

"I’m sorry, Emma," she apologized a little shy, not used to the effect she had on the other woman. "I didn’t mean to…"

The bedroom door was suddenly thrown open and Simon came barging in, with tousled hair and clad in his favorite pajamas. As soon as he saw Emma he stood stock still and looked at her open mouthed.

"Go shower," Kyra smiled, sensing her friend’s discomfort. "I’ll explain. Come here, honey," she told her son, opening her arms in invitation.

Simon jumped on the bed and snuggled into his mother’s arms, while his gray eyes followed Emma until she disappeared in the bathroom, closing the door behind her with a soft click.

"I bet that was a surprise, huh?" she said, pulling Simon closer and kissing his forehead. She could feel his brisk nod and chuckled.

"Well, I was feeling pretty sick last night, Simon and Emma helped me out. I asked her if she wanted to stay and sleep here and she did."

She allowed her son to process the information and did not need to look at him to know his little face was scrunched up in thought.

"Did you have…like a slumber party?" he asked. "I heard the girls at school talk about that once. It’s a girl thing, huh Mom?"

"Something like that," Kyra grinned. "But being sick was no party, honey. We were both really tired and just fell asleep."

"Then maybe you need to have another party," Simon concluded with the logic of a five year old. "When you are feeling better again."

Kyra just smiled and enjoyed the cuddle Simon was giving her. That was one things she really loved about her child. He still didn’t feel too big to cuddle his mother and Kyra thoroughly enjoyed those quiet moments with her son. In the bathroom she could hear the sound of running water and involuntarily her thoughts focused on her friend. She made a mental note to talk to Emma about the potential problems she could face, by being so close to one of her pupils’ parents. The last thing she wanted was Emma to get into trouble at school. Her friendship with Emma was quickly developing into something she treasured, but she had no desire to forbid Simon to talk about that at school. Her little boy had always been open and honest about anything and she really wanted him to stay that way. Being secretive about her friendship with Emma would set a wrong example. She also realized it would only be a matter of time before her mother would find out about it and she already knew that it would cause a major catastrophe.

With a sigh Kyra snuggled closer into the pillow, still feeling a little tired after her major headache the evening before. Simon’s warm body was curled up against her and she slowly drifted back to sleep.



When Emma exited the bathroom she noticed a pair of gray eyes peeking up at her from the bed. Simon brought his finger to his lips in a silent question to be quiet.

A closer look showed her that Kyra was fast asleep again and she nodded to let the little boy know she had noticed.

"Do you want to go downstairs and make your Mom some coffee?" she whispered, seeing an enthusiastic grin in response.

She held out her hand and Simon allowed her to lift him from the bed and put him next to her on the floor. They tip toed out of the bedroom and carefully closed the door behind them, grinning at each other like a pair of conspirators.

"Can we make breakfast too?" Simon asked when they were descending the stairs. "Mommy likes breakfast when she has time to cook it."

"I suppose I can handle that," Emma answered with a smile, liking the idea of surprising her friend. "But you need to help me, okay?"

"Okay,’ Simon beamed, skipping ahead of her and opening the door of the kitchen.

Emma looked around the perfectly equipped room that clearly showed its owner must love cooking and she lifted Simon up on one of the high bar stools in the corner.

"Let me see, what do we need…? Coffee. Orange juice?" Simon nodded and pointed towards the refrigerator. "Eggs?" Another nod. "Toast?" A wrinkled nose as response and Emma grinned. "Pancakes?" An enthusiastic nod was the reply and she laughed.

"All right, buddy, pancakes, eggs and orange juice it will be."

"And bacon," Simon added with sparkling eyes.

"And bacon, of course," Emma smiled, secretly pleased to find out her friend shared her fondness for a big breakfast.


Kyra slowly awoke from a nice dream that involved a lot of sunshine, a fragrant forest and a huge picnic basket. Languidly stretching her body she softly moaned, wondering if it would be a grave sin to spend a whole day in bed. She yawned and sleepy eyes blinked in surprise when she detected the smell of freshly brewed coffee. She sniffed with appreciation and her eyebrows shot upward when she also smelled bacon and something that suspiciously smelled like pancakes.

"Oh,’ she mouthed, pushing herself up and noticing her son had disappeared from the bed.

Her stomach rumbled and a quick glance at the digital alarm showed her it was close to nine o’clock.

"I guess Simon and Emma were busy when I was lazing around," she mumbled, throwing back the comforter and stepping out of bed. She padded towards the bathroom and splashed her face with cold water. She grabbed the warm, fluffy bathrobe that was hanging on the inside of the door, quickly slipped it on and headed towards the source of those enticing smells.

As she descended the stairs she could hear the sound of laughter coming from the kitchen and she smiled in reaction. It was such a nice feeling to know that Simon and Emma really liked each other a lot. Her friend was excellent with children and Kyra knew her son adored his teacher.

Emma was just adding a tasty looking pancake to the growing stack when the door opened and a curly head appeared. A pair of twinkling green eyes in a smiling face looked at her with something that could only be described as genuine affection and she swallowed hard.

"Mom!" Simon exclaimed, jumping off the barstool and running towards his mother to give her a hug. "Emma and I made you a surprise."

"So I see," Kyra laughed. "And it’s a great surprise, Simon. It smells really great in here."

"I made the batter," Simon proudly announced, which his mother already suspected when she saw the white patches of flour on his pajama.

"Great job, honey," she smiled, pulling the little boy in for another hug. "It smells wonderful."

"And you are just in time," Emma stated, adding the last pancake to the pile and turning off the gas. "The table is set, so breakfast can be served, ma’am."

"Come, Mom," Simon said, grabbing her hand and pulling her towards the dining room table.

"Go ahead, honey,’ Kyra encouraged. "I’ll help Emma bring in the stuff."

"Thank you," Emma smiled, deciding that a barefooted, disheveled Kyra, dressed in a yellow bathrobe looked absolutely adorable. "I hope you like pancakes."

"Are you kidding?" Kyra chuckled. "I love pancakes. Especially with…are those banana pancakes? Oooh…"

"A little bird told me these are you favorites," Emma shyly admitted, pleased with the beaming smile that was sent her way.

Kyra touched Emma’s arm and lost for words she just stared at the other woman with a grateful look.

I could get used to this.

"Thank you," she softly repeated.

"If you’ll take the bacon and eggs, I will bring in the coffee and pancakes," Emma smiled.



Breakfast was a happy affair, with the two women constantly smiling at Simon’s chatter. The little boy was positively beaming, because he was sharing breakfast with two of his favorite people.

"Can we go to the park later, Mom and feed the ducks? Benjamin said they’re having babies."

"Who?" Kyra asked in a serious voice, but her eyes were twinkling. "Benjamin’s mother has another baby, I thought…"

"Mom! The ducks!" Sam interrupted with a sigh.

Kyra laughed and affectionately ruffled her son’s already unruly hair. He looked up at her with a radiant smile, while chewing on a piece of pancake.

"I’m just teasing, honey. We can go to the park later, or if you’d like we could even drive over to the lake. I bet there are a lot of ducks there."

"There’s a lake around here?" Emma asked with evident surprise.

Kyra nodded and put her fork down to grab her mug of coffee. She cast a look across the table and noticed a pair of blue eyes shooting her a puzzled look.

"You don’t think you Northerners are the only ones with lakes, I hope," she teased. "We have a beautiful lake, in the middle of the forest, with a beach and all."


"Yes, really," Kyra grinned, finding Emma’s surprised look extremely cute. "If you’re good, we might show you. We Southerners are known for our hospitality, you know."

"I have noticed," Emma answered in a serious voice.

"I even dare to…"

Kyra halted in mid sentence when she saw a familiar car park in front of the house. Her heart skipped a beat and a wave of nervousness suddenly washed the smile off her face, leaving her pale and anxious.

"What’s wrong?" Emma frowned, following Kyra’s glance but not seeing anything out of the ordinary.

The door bell rang and Simon slid of his chair, yelling: ‘I’ll get it’ and he ran into the hallway.

"My mother," Kyra suddenly croaked. "Oh, boy. I bet she is on the warpath."


To be continued in part 5

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