Heart's Choice

Chapter 9

By

Lois Kay

Emma exhaled slowly to push away the anger she felt bubbling up inside her chest and pulled the woman in her arms a little closer. Resting her cheek on top of Kyra's head she closed her eyes for a moment and tried to organize her thoughts.

"I don't think they can pressure you into this, honey," she finally spoke in a soft, empathic voice. "Rick never signed anything that officially states he acknowledged Simon as his son, did he?"

"No," was the muffled response. "But according to the law he can still do that."

"But he would need your written permission to do so, right?"

"Yes."

"Well, then," Emma sighed with a small smile. "It sounds like your mother and his mother are just trying to give you a hard time. I can imagine you are upset by their meddling, but try not to let it get to you, honey. They have no leverage."

"I know," Kyra sighed, raising her head from its comfortable resting place and glancing up at Emma with a stormy look in her eyes. "Pisses me off though."

Emma chuckled and lovingly squeezed the body in her arms.

"Don't let it ruin your vacation," she said, kissing Kyra's forehead.

"I won't," Kyra promised, snuggling closer. "Besides, I honestly can't imagine that Rick agrees with all this, unless he and his wife are truly desperate."

Emma nodded and stared into the distance, while her mind was pondering over the situation her lover was in. She didn't know a lot about Civil Law, but she knew that Simon's biological father could do nothing to claim the boy as his son, without Kyra's permission. Still, Emma did not underestimate Vivian LeJeune's motivations and she realized it was possible that Kyra's mother would try anything to pressure her daughter into cooperation.

"Does Simon know about his father?" she softly asked.

"Little bits and pieces," Kyra admitted. "Of course he has moments when he wonders why his friends have a father and he doesn't. Up until now he has been satisfied knowing his father and I were not married. But I'm sure he wants to know more as he gets older and I won't lie to him, but I decided to let him set the pace. If he asks me a question, I will truthfully answer. I just don't want to tell him things he is not ready to hear yet."

"That's sensible," Emma agreed.

"Of course right now I might have to," Kyra mumbled disappointedly. "Knowing my mother she will start working on Simon to get her way."

"Would she do that?" Emma asked, deep down inside knowing the answer to that question already, but still hoping Vivian LeJeune would spare the little boy's feelings.

"Oh, yeah," Kyra snorted. "She would, believe me."

"I'm sorry, honey," Emma sighed. "I wish you didn't have to go through this. And I ," she paused a moment to gather her thoughts and then hesitantly continued. "It's none of my business, of course, but if there is anything I can do to help, I am here for you. Always."

In spite of the situation Kyra smiled and she reached out a hand to cup Emma's cheek, lovingly tracing the soft skin with her thumb.

"I disagree," she gently smiled. "I love you and I want you to be a part of my life and that of Simon. So, as far as I am concerned, this whole situation involves you as well. Especially after I tell my mother I love you and want to share my life with you."

Kyra held her breath after that last admission and slightly nervous she glanced up into a pair of deep blue eyes that looked at her with a mixture of love, surprise and confusion.

"I it's not like I didn't mean that we'll have to get the U-haul already, it's just that it's how I feel and I ," she rambled, while her fingers fidgeted with the hem of Emma's shirt. "Maybe I I don't want to overwhelm you or I mean, it's not that I am trying to put a claim on you, just because you know, after last night "

"I feel that too," Emma interrupted her, grabbing the fiddling fingers and bringing them to her lips, tenderly kissing them. "I want to share my life with you as well. And to me, last night was a confirmation of that."

Kyra let out a shaky breath and hid her face against a conveniently close shoulder.

"I'm a babbling idiot," she groaned, making Emma laugh out loud.

"No, you are not," Emma disagreed with sparkling eyes. "You are absolutely adorable when you babble, believe me."

"I don't want to rush things," Kyra softly confessed. "I mean, I love you and I want to be with you badly and even thinking about leaving again Tuesday is driving me nuts, but I don't want you to feel I am pressuring you into anything. I so don't want to sound like my mother," she ended with a touch of bitterness in her voice.

"Don't worry, you are not," Emma smiled. "And just for the record: my stomach is doing flip-flops and my heart aches when I realize you will be heading back home in a couple of days. I wish you could stay here, with me. I'll miss you when you leave," she added in a whisper.

"Then I guess we will have to make the most of this vacation," Kyra said with a watery smile, knowing she couldn't play hooky from work for too long. "So, what's on today's schedule?"

Emma answered the smile and brought her face closer to capture Kyra's lips in a warm, tender kiss, aware of the fact that they were basically standing in front of the kitchen window and would provide an interesting sight to see for anyone inside. But she didn't care. All that mattered was the woman in her arms and the bond they were sharing and that was rapidly deepening, wrapping itself around their hearts as a comfortable, warm blanket.

They were interrupted by an amused, deep voice that suddenly sounded behind them.

"Excuse me girls," Dirk Altena smiled. "But you two are blocking the entrance."

His gray eyes were twinkling when he looked at his daughter and saw the blush creep up her cheeks.

"Dad! I didn't hear you," Emma bashfully admitted.

"That's obvious," he winked. "And I'm sorry to have interrupted, but you two are between me and a plate of pancakes."

His eyes traveled to Kyra's face and he smiled warmly. He had been tending to the animals in the barn and had overheard Kyra's conversation with her mother and after that the one between his daughter and her friend. He managed to hide the anger he felt for Kyra's mother, wondering why some parents made life so difficult for their children sometimes. But he admired Kyra's attitude and he knew that the two women would be able to deal with any problem they would encounter, because he could see how much they loved each other.

But as a father he also worried about the well-being of his children, especially since his daughter had just gone through so much already and he decided to have a word with Emma later, just to make sure she knew that he and his wife would always be there for them.

"Please, let us not keep you," Emma grinned, stepping aside and pulling Kyra with her.

Dirk Altena chuckled and stepped out of his wooden shoes, before opening the kitchen door and stepping inside.

"Ooops," Kyra moaned when he had closed the door behind him. "That was embarrassing."

"Don't worry about it, honey," Emma smiled reassuringly. "My parents have seen their share of .romantic intermezzos. If they would use all they knew against us, we would all be in big trouble."

Kyra laughed and wrapped her arm around Emma's waist, having the almost uncontrollable need to constantly touch her lover.

"That barn story, about Hester, was that a romantic intermezzo as well?" she asked.

"Oh, yeah," Emma grinned mischievously. "It's my secret weapon to shut her up."

"Care to share?" Kyra curiously asked, smiling when she saw the amused sparkle in Emma's eyes.

"I was thirteen and I think it was spring time, like now," Emma started. "At the time Hester was twenty three and she had just gotten involved with David. He was doing his last year at the university and was only around during the weekends, so they didn't see each other much. Anyway, that weekend he came for a visit and as usual he was supposed to share a room with Bart and Robert. Hester and David had been visiting friends and my guess is they came home way too late. My parents had this rule that if we weren't home at a certain time, the door would be locked and getting inside would be impossible," Emma grinned. "So, they were late and decided to spent the night in the barn, in the hay," she added with a smirk. "That all sounds innocent enough, of course, but when I walked into the barn the next morning to get hay for my pet rabbit, I heard some unusual noises coming from the loft."

Kyra chuckled and her eyes danced when she pictured a teenage Emma walking into the barn to catch her big sister in a compromising situation.

"At first I didn't know what it was and I was ready to bolt and call for dad, but when I looked up I noticed some very familiar clothes, scattered all over the place. Then I knew Hester and David were up there."

"So, what did you do?" Kyra laughed.

Emma chuckled and pulled Kyra with her towards the big barn across the yard. The huge door was open and she stepped inside, wrapping an arm around a pair of slender shoulders and pointing towards one of the walls.

"What do you see?" she asked grinning.

Kyra looked at the wall with a frown and was just about to answer her lover that she didn't see anything particular, when her eyes lit up and she started laughing.

"Oh, no! You used the hose?"

Emma threw her head back and laughed out loud, remembering her sister's angry eyes peeking over a bale of hay.

"Yup, I took the hose and doused them with a nice cold shower," she smirked. "You should have seen Hester's face, it was priceless. First I heard this enormous squeak that almost rattled my teeth and then Hester wanted to jump up, but of course she wasn't really dressed for the occasion. So the only thing I saw was her head, as red as a tomato and a pair of eyes that was shooting daggers at me."

"You were a little brat!" Kyra laughed, hugging her lover affectionately, thoroughly enjoying the funny story. "Did she ever get you back for it?"

"She wanted to," Emma grinned. "But I could blackmail her perfectly, because my parents were not supposed to know. I know my parents knew that their children were no saints and they never made an issue out of that. They just made sure we would all be responsible enough to use protection. But Hester was the oldest and at the time Richard was sixteen, I was thirteen, Willem was eleven and Imke was only seven years old and my parents would not have agreed with any of the older kids having sex in the barn. Especially not when there were small brats around."

"Sounds like your parents have always been very accepting," Kyra smiled.

"They were," Emma agreed. "And they still are."

Kyra nodded and pondered over what Emma had just told her. A question was forming in the back of her mind and she shot her lover a slightly insecure glance.

"You can ask me anything you want to know, Kyra," Emma softly stated, seeing the question in those dark green orbs. "I have no secrets for you."

"Did you Have you had ?" Kyra stammered, not comfortable about asking what was on her mind. Not because she didn't want to broach the subject, but more because she didn't want to hurt Emma's feelings.

"Did I have many girlfriends?" Emma calmly finished the sentence.

With her eyes cast down Kyra slowly nodded. She felt silly for wanting to know a thing like that, especially since she knew that Emma loved her, so the past would be just that, history.

Strong fingers lifted her chin and she was forced to look up into a pair of warm, understanding blue eyes.

"You are number two," she smiled, seeing the relief in Kyra's green eyes. "And if I would have known you existed, I would have waited for you. Come honey, let's sit down. I need to tell you something."

Grabbing Kyra's hand Emma tugged her towards a bale of hay where she sat down, pulling Kyra next to her but never letting go of her hand.

"I was still pretty young when I figured out I was gay," she said. "Thankfully I have a pair of loving, understanding parents and a bunch of accepting brothers and sisters, so it never really was an issue for me. I never felt the need to experiment or prove myself. So I guess my puberty was pretty boring," she smiled. "I was a very romantic girl and I had decided I wanted to be swept off my feet by Princess Charming. I waited for that. And it happened, during my first year in teacher's college."

Emma exhaled and a sad smile crossed her face.

"Jessica came, saw and conquered. She was charming, witty, intelligent and, in my inexperienced eyes, loving and devoted. It didn't take long for us to get involved and after a few months I even moved in with her, because she had her own little apartment and I was still living at home. During our college years we made plans for the future and life looked wonderful to me. We both graduated at the same time and my family threw a huge party for us. It was great. Jessica and I had decided to go on a well deserved vacation to Greece and when we came back we would both start working at the same school. We had already started to look into buying a house and the world was ours to conquer."

Emma paused, involuntarily thinking back to that period of her life when the world was a great place to live in and the future was bright and full of promises. She had been so terribly naive.

"What happened?" Kyra softly asked, gently running her thumb over the back of Emma's hand.

"We did have our vacation in Greece. But two days after we had come back, which was a week before we had to start our new jobs I came home from visiting my parents, to find the apartment empty, except for my personal belongings. There was a note stuck to the door that thanked me for the great years, but Jessica had decided that she didn't want to spend the rest of her life cooped up in a dull city. She wanted adventure, so she had packed up and left to join some missionary group that taught children in third world countries."

Emma laughed humorlessly and slowly shook her head.

"What a fool I was. She must have been planning for months and I didn't have a clue."

"Or maybe she was just a sneaky, devious bitch," Kyra spat. "She took advantage of you."

"Yes, she did," Emma admitted. "I was convenient to have around. Not to mention the fact I worshiped the ground she walked on. Afterwards I learned she had not been very faithful either. When I was working during the evenings, or weekends she often'entertained' other women. Of course naive little Emma had no clue about that either."

"Where is she now? Do you know?" Kyra asked in a strained voice.

"I don't know, honey and frankly, I don't care. I think she might still be somewhere in Africa or South America."

"Good, and she'd better stay there, because if I ever see her, I will kick her in the shins."

Emma's blue eyes warmed with love when she looked at the woman next to her. Kyra's face was flushed and her dark green eyes were shooting fire.

"My little protector," she tenderly whispered, brushing away a rebellious curl from Kyra's forehead.

"She hurt you," Kyra grumbled.

"Yes, she did," Emma admitted. "She hurt me deeply and she made sure it was hard for me to trust other people ever again. But there is more to this story."

"Okay," Kyra whispered, tightening her hold on Emma's hand.

"After Jessica left me I started my new job anyway, which was hard, because every day countless things reminded me of her and the way she had treated me. So, I got rid of the apartment and moved back home, where at least I had the safety net of my family to help me through. A year after I graduated I applied for a job at a small school in a little village near the German border. It was one of those typical farming communities. But I grew up in one and I felt right at home. It was a tiny school, with only four classes, so I had to deal with different age groups in one setting, but that was a nice challenge. The only downside was that I had to move to be closer to work, but on the other hand I thought that could only benefit me. My family was only an hour's drive away from me and since I was twenty five at the time I decided I needed to be able to be on my own. So, I did. With no regrets, because my coworkers were nice, the children were great and I love the small town life. I felt that finally I had managed to get my life back on the track again."

"But something happened, right?" Kyra sighed, wincing when she saw Emma nod.

"Halfway through my second year the school was celebrating the fact it existed for one hundred years and there was a reunion. A lot of people showed up and it was a great week, with a lot of festivities. On the last day, when there was a big party I ran into a person who had attended teacher's college with me and Jessica and who knew about our relationship. I know she was one of Jessica's conquests, but I didn't know Jessica had dumped her for me. No need to say she didn't really like me," Emma chuckled. "Anyway, before I knew what was happening she had spread a rumor about me being expelled from my former school because I couldn't keep my hands off the girls."

"What?" Kyra exclaimed.

"Yes," Emma smiled sadly. "It shocked me as well. Of course the community being as small at it is, was completely upset. And as you know, rumors usually get worse as time goes by, so before I knew it I was summoned by the parent's committee to explain what the deal was. The local minister preached hell and damnation and basically forced the committee to send me on a leave. A permanent one. My coworkers didn't want to hear any of that and thank goodness they stood by me. The principal contacted my former school and learned that all the accusations were false, but still, the damage was already done. The minister was forced to publicly apologize, which he did, but I didn't want to stay on there. I had to leave. No matter how many times people told me that my sexual orientation didn't matter and that I was a good teacher, I was still devastated. I resigned and again I went back home. It took me the rest of the year to come to terms with what happened. At first I wanted to quit teaching, but my family, especially my mom and Hester helped me to change my mind. I love teaching," Emma smiled wistfully. "So, when I came across a job offer in the south, I decided to go for it. I told them everything that had happened. They were genuinely upset by it and told me they would do anything in their power to protect me from gossip and rumors like that. The job was mine for the taking and I took it."

"I am glad you did," Kyra whispered.

"So am I," Emma smiled. "It brought me to you."

They sat in comfortable silence, Kyra leaning against Emma, who had her arm wrapped around her lover and was idly playing with a strand of long, curly hair. Her blue eyes were fascinated by the way the lock curled around her finger and carefully she untangled it, to let it curl around her finger again.

"Having fun?" Kyra's amused voice sounded after a while and Emma let out a deep sigh.

"I love your hair," she confessed.

"You do, huh? Well, there have been times I was ready to cut it all off. I still have those moments as a matter of fact."

"That would be a waste."

Kyra snorted and half turned to look up into a pair of soft blue eyes.

"Try and untangle it every morning," she grunted. "Especially when in a hurry. That would sufficiently change your mind."

"You'll just have to get up a little earlier then," Emma teased, not able to resist kissing Kyra's nose.

"Oh, I see. So you would be comfortably snuggled up in bed, while I would be trying hard to not look like I spent the night with my fingers in an electrical outlet?"

"Something like that," Emma grinned. "But you do look adorable with your hair all messed up, honey."

"Mmm I don't know. I still haven't decided about leaving it the way it is now."

Emma smiled and cautiously raked her fingers through Kyra's hair, enjoying the way the soft hair tangled around her hand.

"Last night, in bed, when I was holding you, the sight of you lying there naked, with those beautiful curls surrounding your face and falling down your shoulders, took my breath away," Emma confessed in a husky voice. "It was one of the most spectacular, erotic things I'd ever seen."

A pair of dark green eyes looked up at her in surprise and with a sigh of resignation Kyra pressed her forehead against Emma's shoulder.

"You fight dirty," she accused.

"Sorry."

"No, you are not," Kyra grinned. "But that's okay. I am glad you feel that way."

"So, no trips to a hair salon any time soon?"

"Nope," Kyra promised with a laugh. "I want to keep you interested."

"You don't have to worry about that," Emma responded seriously. "Honey, even if you were bald, I would still love you. I love your hair, but I don't want to tell you what to do with it. If you decide you want it cut, then who am I to tell you not to do it?"

"Bald, huh?" Kyra repeated with twinkling eyes. "Now there's a thought."

Emma chuckled and pulled Kyra closer, precariously balancing on the bale of hay.

"If we fall off this lump of dried grass, we'll be in trouble," Kyra mumbled, slipping her hands underneath Emma's shirt and letting them slide up her sides.

"Why is that?" Emma gasped, feeling the electrifying jolts that her lover's touch invoked, making it hard to think clearly.

"Because, Miss Altena," Kyra kissed Emma's neck and took some experimental licks, almost humming in pleasure. "If we would end up horizontally right now " She pressed her lips against a wildly beating pulse point. " I could not be held responsible for ravishing you ," she ended in a heated whisper, hearing Emma whimper in response, before she claimed her lips in a searing kiss.

At some level of her sub consciousness, Emma knew they were walking a very fine line between behaving like responsible adults and love struck teenagers. It would not take much to push her over the edge and let Kyra have her way with her. But somewhere, in the back of her mind, she realized that if any member of her family would walk in on them, they would never live it down. Besides, what if Simon would come running in?

"Kyra, honey," she moaned, gasping for breath. "We need to stop this. We really do."

"I know," Kyra responded breathlessly, slowly untangling herself from Emma's arms.

She pushed back her hair with trembling fingers and took a few deep breaths to try and calm down her racing heart.

"I'm sorry, Emma. I don't know what came over me."

"Don't be sorry, Kyra," Emma sighed. "I told you before not to apologize for being passionate. If we weren't running the risk of being discovered by the family, I'd have let you have your way with me," she admitted with a rakish grin, seeing the faint blush on her lover's cheeks.

"My hands are itching," Kyra confessed with a mumble.

Emma smiled and brought her face closer to Kyra's.

"Then hold that thought," she whispered in her ear, chuckling when she saw the goose bumps erupt on the dark haired woman's skin.

"Oh, don't worry, I will," Kyra promised with a sigh. Extending her hand, she felt her lover grab it and she pulled her to her feet. "I don't know about you, but I need some breakfast before I keel over." She cast a look at her lover's still slightly dazed face and let out a soft laugh. "Emma, sweetie, do you need to go for a walk first? Or maybe a cold shower?" she teased, seeing the remnants of desire and confusion disappear out of the dark blue eyes, that now pinned her with a mock angry stare.

"Are you making fun of me?" Emma playfully growled, stepping closer and using her slightly taller frame to good advantage by looking down at Kyra.

A pair of sparkling green eyes looked up at her with nothing but innocence and Kyra smiled sweetly.

"Would I do that?" she softly asked, barely able to keep the amusement out of her voice.

Emma narrowed her eyes and pretended to think long and hard. Then very slowly she nodded her head and glanced at her lover with an accusing look.

"I believe you would," she drawled, stepping closer, which made Kyra back up a little. "We, on this farm, have rules about that," she added in a conspiracy laced voice.

"You do, huh?" Kyra swallowed, taking another step backwards towards the huge barn door.

"Oh, yes. We do. And you know what?" she whispered, almost chuckling when she saw Kyra vigorously shake her head. "I think it's about time you become familiar with the rules and regulations. Number one " She took another step closer to Kyra, who cast a look over her shoulder to estimate the distance to the door and quickly stepped back. "Whoever makes fun of Emma Altena, ends up there where is water "

Kyra nervously chuckled and held up two hands in defense when Emma took another step closer.

"You wouldn't"

"You think?"

Kyra's dark green eyes quickly surveyed the barn and to her utter relief she didn't see anything that Emma could use as a weapon in a water fight. Except for the hose that was neatly rolled up and hanging on the opposite wall. Kyra knew that before Emma would have reached the hose, she would have already reached the safety of the kitchen.

"Well, sweet pea, there is no water here," Kyra grinned, relaxing a little. For a brief moment she had been afraid that Emma would pounce on her and dump her in some muck filled trough somewhere.

"Mm you are right," Emma calmly answered, but there was a mischievous glint in her eyes.

She half turned and pretended to search the barn for something, but in the meantime she kept a close watch on Kyra. From the corer of her eye she saw her lover let out a relieved breath, while her body relaxed. Emma grinned and whirled around, jumping towards her lover. Before Kyra knew what was happening, Emma had knelt down before her, with her strong arms securely wrapped around the back of Kyra's knees and had thrown the smaller woman over her shoulder like she didn't weigh more than a child.

"Emma!" Kyra squealed. "Put me down, you goof, before you hurt yourself."

"Nah!" Emma grinned, jumping a little to prove her point and settle the other woman firmly over her shoulder. She laughed out loud when that elicited a muttered: ‘Uh oh."

Playfully patting Kyra's denim clad behind she confidently strolled towards the door, whistling cheerfully.

"Let's find some water, love," she grinned.

"Emma! Don't you dare!" Kyra cried, grabbing the waistband of Emma's jeans and holding on tight.

"I told you, Kyra, we have rules here," Emma teased.

"Remember the pay backs, Emmie," Kyra laughed nervously, wondering if Emma would be able to really dump her in a puddle of water somewhere.

"Oh, pay backs, now you scared me."

They entered the yard and without slowing down Emma purposefully walked towards the side of the house where Kyra knew there was a little creek. When they passed the kitchen, they could hear surprised and excited children's voices encouraging their aunt and within seconds the door almost flew out of its hinges when a horde of nieces and nephews came running out.

"Emma! Are you going to dump Kyra in the creek?" Christian laughed with delight.

"I might, Chris," Emma laughed, feeling Kyra furiously trying to break free.

"Why?" seven year old Jacco inquired, running along next to his aunt and looking up at her with his big blue eyes.

"It's the Altena rules," twelve year old Frank laughed out loud, having witnessed his uncles dumping each other in the water on numerous occasions.

"That's right, Frankie," Emma grinned, tickling the back of Kyra's knees, which made her wiggle even more. "Ooh, a ticklish spot," she laughed.

"Emma Altena, if you don't put me down right now, I I I "

"Yes?" Emma almost purred, having reached the bank of the creek and turning around so Kyra could have a good look at the cold water.

She noticed Simon standing back a little, with a mixture of confusion and worry on his serious looking face. Their eyes locked and Emma smiled at the little boy, giving him a wink and quickly shaking her head, mouthing: "Don't worry, I won't."

He visibly relaxed and stepped a little closer, so he could have a good look at his mother. Her green eyes peeked up at him from her upside down position and she briefly wondered what his reaction would be if her lover would indeed toss her in the creek.

Simon smiled at his mother and reached out to touch her hand.

"Don't worry," he whispered. "She won't do it."

Kyra chuckled and blew her son a quick kiss, before she mercilessly pinched Emma on the back of her thigh, making her lover jump in surprise.

"Ouch!"

"Serves you right, you bully," Kyra laughed. "Now, put me down!"

"I don't know about that," Emma said in a mock insulted voice. "I was going to, but now I'm not so sure anymore. You hurt me."

"She'll kiss it better, I'm sure, sis," Hester's amused voice sounded and Kyra was glad to be upside down, so the blush covering her face would go unnoticed.

"Make up your mind, Emma," Kyra let out an aggravated sigh. "Toss me in or put me down. This is not exactly comfortable, you know."

"Oh, I don't know about that," Emma chuckled, turning her head and looking at Kyra's backside. "I have a great view."

"Brat."

"But all right. I guess I can be persuaded to put you down. What's in it for me?" she inquired with a laugh.

Kyra snorted but Emma could feel the body that was draped over her shoulder shake with silent laughter.

"I might consider getting you a toothbrush," Kyra cryptically answered, but of course Hester immediately understood and was laughing heartily.

With a smile Emma knelt and carefully put her lover down. As soon as she straightened up a pair of warm green eyes looked at her with a mixture of amusement and affection.

"I knew you wouldn't do that to me," Kyra smirked, pushing back her hair that had escaped its lose confines and was a wild array of bouncing curls.

"A toothbrush, huh?" Emma gently smiled, reaching out a hand and pushing a strand of hair behind Kyra's ear. "I think I'd like that."

"Me too," was the soft reply.

"Oh, no, they're going to kiss," a youthful voice that Emma recognized as Hester's son Peter cried out with disgust, making them both chuckle.

"Good idea, Peter," Emma complimented him and she captured Kyra's lips in a quick kiss.

"I didn't hurt you, did I?" she asked when she released her lover and pulled her in for a warm hug.

"No, although I can't say it was comfy," Kyra replied. "But I didn't know you were that strong. Remind me never to wrestle with you," she chuckled, patting Emma's shoulder.

"Never? What a pity. I like getting physical with you" Emma whispered suggestively in a shapely ear, immediately seeing the expected blush creep up her lover's cheeks.

Emma's whispered words had an unexpected, but profound effect on Kyra and she softly moaned when she felt a hot surge of desire flow through her body. Burying her face against Emma's chest she took in a deep breath and let out a soft laugh.

"Oh, boy, am I in trouble!"

"I don't know yet, Margaret," Vivian LeJeune sighed. "But I'll see what I can find out. Have you talked to Roderick about it yet?"

"I've tried to but every time I bring up the subject he just he doesn't want to talk about it, Vivian."

"But surely he realizes it would be for the best," Vivian LeJeune replied with pursed lips. "You should make that absolutely clear to him, my dear."

"Oh, but I will, don't worry. I guess I should talk to poor Bridget first. Of course, right now she's just simply heartbroken, but I'm fairly sure that, with the right arguments, she can be persuaded to agree with us."

"And then Bridget can convince Roderick about the absolute necessity of it."

"That's right, Vivian. I think we need to be patient a little while longer, but I'm positive this will all work out. I know those two would make great parents, but even if they would adopt, it wouldn't be the same thing. You do understand that, don't you? I mean, I have nothing against people adopting children, but it's just different."

"Of course it is," Vivian LeJeune agreed with her friend. "Just talk to poor Bridget and let me know what her response is."

"I will certainly do that. Did you find out anything yet about that peasant teacher?"

"I'm working on it," Kyra's mother sighed. "Can you believe my daughter is staying with that that Emma's family? On their farm? And she took Simon with her. Sometimes I seriously wonder about my daughter, Margaret. How can she subject her son to such a lifestyle!"

"And she had not informed you before she left?"

"Are you kidding?" Vivian LeJeune almost snorted. "She knows that what she's doing is wrong and if she doesn't want to listen to my advice, I will simply have to show her."

"Did you talk to Emily about it? She's a member of the school's committee."

"I did, but she said there's little she can do. What Kyra and Emma are doing in their free time has nothing to do with the school, she said."

"Oh, that's just absolutely dreadful!"

"But I will come up with something Margaret. Don't worry. I have some acquaintances in Friesland and I'm sure they will be able to tell me more about this teacher. And I can assure you, it won't be pretty!"

To be continued in chapter 10

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