Disclaimers: Just the usual. They may look like people we all know and love, but these characters are my children. They came from my warped little mind. If they resemble anyone living or dead, real or fictional, it is strictly by choice. I mean no disrespect and do not want to infringe on anyone's right or stuff like that. I will return them to the land of their ancestors or my subconscious when I have finished with them. That is if they will let me. They seem to have taken on minds of their own lately.

Subtext/Maintext: This is a story about two women who love each other. So if this sort of thing bothers you, do not go any further (or farther which ever applies in this circumstance) If you are underage, please come back when you are older. I promise not to destroy this story until you are of age. If this sort of story is illegal where you live, please move to where it is legal. I don't have the time or energy to deal with cyber-police.

Any comments can be sent gwieniechi@yahoo.com

That said here without further adieu is chapter 1.

The Family That Love Built

By: Psyche-b

Chapter 1

Winter in Connecticut, sometimes has a habit of not wanting to let go. This was one of those winters. Fifty-year old snow fall record were broken and obliterated as the state received more than ten feet of snow over the course of the winter. While that may not seem like a lot to our neighbors to the north, to the little state it was. A normal winter usually produced about three feet of snow in a season that lasted from late November to mid March. This year, however, snow started falling in the middle of October and lasted until mid April.

Tall snow laden evergreen trees dotted the peaceful hills. In untouched areas, the snow lay like a brilliant white fluffy blanket. The state was teased with an early thaw in March, giving residents false hopes that they were done with snow for the season. Mother Nature, however, had other plans and sent yet another storm to batter the state. Road budgets were hard hit as towns scrambled to find the money to keep the roads clear. The foot of snow that fell in mid-April was the kind that kids of all ages enjoyed. This was the good snow. The kind that made snow people, snow forts, and snowball fights possible.

Danni had surprised Brie by taking the day off from work. She'd been doing that a lot lately. Ever since...Brie shuddered as the memory of her kidnapping resurfaced. She shook her head to get rid of the thoughts that filled her mind. She hated what they had both gone through and the price they paid for it. Although, she did enjoy the extra attention lavished on her by her partner, at least for the first few days. It did come with a price. One that might have drove them apart if she hadn't gotten the courage to put a stop to Danni's hovering. She smiled as one memory of that time surfaced.

I woke up first that morning, which really surprised me as it didn't happen too often. Danni still had me wrapped tightly in her arms. I looked at her for a long time. Her face still had the tense lines of worry etched in her brow. the thoughts sped through my mind as I recalled what Steph, Pony and Cy had told me. That knowledge scared me.

I knew that if anything were to really happen to me, where I couldn't be with her or Adriana, Danni would have a hard time coping. I silently asked her, 'Would you still be the loving person I know you to be, or would you let your heart blacken? Would you look for love again? I know you would be here for Adriana, but would you be here for yourself? I know you wouldn't just give up. Or would you. I hope you wouldn't. You have too much love inside you to ever hold it in. That wouldn't be fair to you or Adriana or even to what we have.'

"Do you know how much I love you Danni." I didn't realize I had said those words out loud until she returned the sentiment. I thought she was still asleep.

"I love you too, Brie."

"How long have you been awake?"

Just for a few minutes. What were you thinking about just now?"

"You actually." I said.

"I'm flattered. What about me?" She asked softly. "Is there something I forgot to say or do?"

"Not to my knowledge. I was thinking about how strong our love is. How my being...gone affected you. Is your love so deep that you would just close up like that?"

"Brie honey, without you, I am nothing. I would be unable to go on. There is no life without you by my side."

"You would still have Adriana. She would need you to be here for her. Would you promise me something?"

"If I can"

"If something were to happen to me..."

"No, Brie..."

"Please, just hear me out. If something were to happen to me, I want you to promise that you would find love again, and not just shut yourself off."

"I can't make that promise, Brie. I wouldn't be able to keep it."

"Why not?"

"Love like ours comes along only once in a lifetime. Anything else would be just a pale and cheap imitation. It wouldn't be fair to another, because she would only be getting an empty shell, because everything in here," she pointed to her chest, "Everything in here belongs to you. My heart will forever belong in your hands." "I hate to think about you spending the rest of your life alone."

"I wouldn't be alone. As you said I would still have Adriana. Would you be able to make that promise?"

"No, I wouldn't. So I guess that means you're stuck with me for eternity."

"I can live with that. Besides I plan on seeing in the year 2100 with you right here in my arms."

"I guess I had better start taking some industrial strength vitamins then, if I expect to be able to keep up my end of the deal." I joked.

"Can we at least promise each other, that no matter what, Adriana would never lack for love or attention?"

"Yes, love, I can make that promise."

She was staring out the window into space, when a white projectile hit the glass startling her, and in turn startling the baby in her arms. She frowned as Danni smiled from outside. Brie motioned for Danni to come in. Danni had been enjoying finally being free of the cast she had worn since the attack in February. This was her first week of actually walking unaided. She had burned the crutches she had been forced to use even after she was given a walking cast. She broke the crutches up and threw them into the fireplace, wanting to get rid of every reminder of what had happened.

Danni made her way into the house. Stamping her feet to get rid of all the snow that clung to her sneakers. She joined Brie in front of the window, her strong arms circling her two loves. She rested her chin lightly on the top of Brie's head. Brie noticed the chill in the arms that held her.

"You're cold. What in the world were you doing outside without your coat? Are you trying to get sick? Cy will have your hide, you know."

"Nah. It's actually not that cold out there. It feels like it's going to warm up real nice later on. Hey, is she all set for awhile?"

"Yeah. Why?" Brie asked suspiciously.

"Because I have a proposition for you."

"I do like the sound of that."

"Thought you would. So what do you say I go ask Cy if she would watch the little princess for awhile so you and I..."

"Hmmm, yes, continue."

"While we go play in the snow."

"What? Are you crazy? Play in the snow. Danni, we are adults."

"Your point being? Look Brie, It's the real good type of snow. Packs real nice. We haven't had this type all winter. We can make a snow family. We haven't done that for a long time. Come on, Brie, Please?" She begged, her eyes taking on a puppy look, her lower lip pouting.

Brie smiled at the look she was receiving. "Okay, but on one condition, you rub my tired achy muscles later." Arching her eyebrows seductively." I'm definitely up for that challenge. Let me take her. I'll go ask Cy to watch her while you get changed."

Danni took the baby in to their housekeeper. Cy had been with Danni's family for many years. Back when Danni was a child, and she remained in Danni's service after the elder Mrs Spiros moved out of their big house and into a smaller condo. Cy watched the two from the window. Their antics made her laugh. They had constructed four snow people. Three representing them and the fourth standing a little apart with snow hands on her hips, scowling was Cy. Cy watched as Brie bent over to scoop up another handful of snow to smooth onto their creations. Danni took one look at the target presented to her, smiled, scooped up a handful of snow, packed it good and let it fly, hitting Brie in the backside. Brie was startled when the cold snow hit her. She turned and threw the ball she had in her hand back at Danni. In a few minutes they were having a full blown, no holds barred snowball fight. Cy laughed harder when Brie actually managed to get inside Danni's defenses and land a few solid hits. One snowball hitting her on the back of her head, causing the snow to fall down her back. With an evil glint in her eye, she started stalking Brie, who took off running. Danni hot on her heels clutched a snowball ready to throw. Cy wiped the tears of laughter from her eyes as she picked up the phone when it rang. "Spiros Residence"

"Cy, it's Steph Baldwin. Is Danni there?"

"Just a minute, Doctor Baldwin, I'll call her in. She's out having a snowball fight with Brie."

"No, no, no. It's not important. Let them play for awhile. Just ask her to call me when she's through playing."

"Okay, if you're sure. Oh my, she's going to feel that later."

"What happened?"

"Danni just tackled Brie. Those two are just like little kids today. I swear they are acting like ten year olds."

"Ah let them enjoy it, Cy. It been too long since they were actually able to relax."

"Yeah, with the court appearances and the arraignment, I'm just glad they were spared the ordeal of a trial when Brie's family decided to plead guilty."

"They had no choice Cy, There was just too much evidence against them,."

"You're right. Oh! I had better stop this. There are laws against...Oh my God."

Danni had Brie on her back in the snow, kissing her neck and reaching under her coat to tickle her.

"Danni," She squealed, "Stop that."

"Throw snow down my back will you"

"Hahahah, wait you started this. You threw the first snow ball."

Nuzzling her neck, she asked, "Do you really want me to stop?" her hands continued to wander under Brie's coat.

"Yeow! Your hands are cold. Where are your gloves?"

"Took them off. I can't feel you with them on."

As Danni's hands continued their journey, Brie found it hard to remember where they were. Danni's mouth left a trail of fire on her neck and she felt Danni's hands working the buttons on her jeans. She shivered as the cold air hit her rapidly heating skin.

"Danni...you do...realize that...ohhhh."

"Something wrong love?" Danni questioned, knowing exactly what she was doing and the effect it had on her partner. "Ahh well you do..." She found it increasingly difficult to form a coherent thought as Danni's hand moved southward. "We're outside". She finally managed to say.

"So, you point exactly? I am just collecting on that bet we made before Adriana was born" She laughed seductively as her lips captured Brie's sensitive earlobe. Her hand found its destination, which caused Brie to jump. She traced the contour of the small ear with her tongue.

Brie was lost in the feelings that were evoked by Danni's mouth and hand and it didn't take long before she crashed over the edge. Her back arched as the spasms continued to course through her. "Danni" She called out. Danni's mouth moved from the ear she was teasing to capture Brie's lips. Gaining ready entrance, her hand continued it's movements. Not allowing Brie to catch her breath before taking her over again, until she lay spent and trembling in her arms. When she finally caught he breath she scolded.

"That wasn't fair Danni,"

"Ah but you forget my love, all fair in love and snowball fights."

"You planned all this didn't you?"

"Nope, the thought never entered my mind, until you presented me with a perfect target."

"I know you're 'NOT' saying I have a big butt, are you? Because if you are, I'm going to have to hurt you."

"Brie, I'm crushed. I offer you a compliment and you accuse me of something else. I said you presented me a perfect target not a big one. And I think you are forgetting one thing love, I still have you right where I want you." She moved her hand and Brie jumped.

"Okay, okay I surrender." Brie said.

"That's better."

"Speaking of my butt?"

"We were?"

"Yes, and that particular body part is about to get frozen off. Any chance you could let me up?" Smiling she bent down and nipped Brie's nose, debating on whether or not to give in to her request. From over her shoulder they heard.


"She sounds mad, Danni."


"Sounds like we're both in trouble, love. Want to see how much more trouble we can get into?" she asked, moving her hand again, which caused Brie to yelp.

"Danni? Please?" Brie begged.

"All right, love."

Danni stood, reaching down she helped Brie up. Her legs were shaky as she stood behind Danni quickly rebuttoning her jeans. When she had finished, they walk together to face their angry houskeeper.

"What's up Cy?" Danni innocently asked.

"Stop" she ordered. "You both make sure you get all that snow off of you before you come into the house. I just cleaned the rugs and will not have you tracking them up." She waited for them to do as she ordered before letting them into the house.


No one noticed the car as it slowed down when passing the house. Or that it stopped just beyond the property line

Chapter 2

When she was satisfied that all the snow the two had on them was once again on the ground where it belonged, Cy let them in the house. She fixed them both with an angry stare, making them feel like naughty children. Danni watched, as Brie became increasingly uncomfortable under their housekeeper's intense scrutiny, stepped in front of Brie to protect her.

"What's up, Cy?" Danni asked, unable to bear the silence any longer herself.

Cy stepped around Danni to face Brie. She took in the sight of the wet jeans the younger woman was wearing and ordered. "Briana, you get upstairs, out of those wet clothes and into a hot shower immediately, before you get sick."

Brie ducked her head, unable to meet Cy's angry look and started walking around the two, who were still staring at each other. Danni started to follow, but Cy held up her hand to stop her.

"Not you Dannieara. I still have a few things to say to you."

Brie came quickly to her partners defence and stood between them. "Ahh, Cy, look," She stated quietly, "What ever it is you are mad at, we are both at fault. I can't let Danni take all the blame."

Turning to Brie she states, "I'll get to you later. Right now you do as you're told, before you get sick." Brie looked at Danni who resembled a scolded child. When Danni nodded she left, but not without a backward glance at her partner.

Danni waited for Cy to speak. Her one attempt at an explanation was halted when Cy held up her hand and her glare forced her back into silence. Danni suddenly felt like she was once again eight years old. Back to the times the housekeeper was truly angry with the active child. Deciding it was best to keep silent, Danni waited for Cy to start yelling. Knowing she would eventually speak her mind. She watched Cy take a deep breath and knew she was about to let loose.

"Of all the hare-brained, stupid stunts, you have ever pulled in your life, what you did today was the worst. It beats anything you have ever done and I have seen you pull some crazy stunts. Just where was your mind? It's one thing to behave like that around the pool, where at least you are fenced in and your antics are hid from prying eyes, but out on the front lawn? What were you thinking?"

"Cy, we are right in the middle of three acres of land on a quiet back road." Danni defended herself. "Anyone watching would need high-powered binoculars to see anything much less make out what we were doing."

"That's not the point, Danni. You just don't give into your cravings just anywhere. Not only that, you had Brie on the cold ground in the snow, while you... What are you going to do if she gets sick and can't nurse Adriana? Can you take over that little duty?"

"No I can't, Cy." She answered contritely. "I know I wasn't acting responsibly earlier. But it's just been so long since we've been able to just kick back and relax and have fun."

"I know how it's been child. The last four months haven't been pleasant for either of you. I am really glad that you both can finally enjoy life, but..."

"Cy, I didn't plan on this happening. She was there. I was there and for the first time in months there was nothing hanging over our heads. I lost control, and let loose. I'm to blame for this, not Brie. Please don't yell at her over this. It wasn't her fault."

"Danni you have been driving me crazy for over twenty years. I swear you two are just like little kids sometimes. But, you just remember one thing. You remember that no matter how old you are, no matter how big you are, you'll never be too old or too big for me to take the strap to your backside. And don't you be saying that might be fun. I can guarantee you will not enjoy it."

"I won't forget Cy."

"Just do me a favor. Next time you want to kick back and relax, do it by the pool, where the fence will keep you from being seen."

"I promise, Cy, that's why I had that stockade fence put up." She laughed and kissed the woman on the cheek. "Just what the hell was that for?" Cy pushed her away.

"Just for being you and for caring."

"Get out of here. Go change your wet clothes. Don't worry I won't yell at your sweetie. Although I just might give her a few pointers to make her a more formidable opponent."

Danni walked away laughing, not watching the older woman, who reached behind her and brought her hand with a wide strap in it swinging around. The end of the strap caught Danni on the butt, which caused her to yelp at the sting. "I still got it." She said triumphantly. "Ohh one more thing, Doctor Baldwin called. She wants you to call her back later. She said it wasn't important. If you want to 'relax' a little bit more, Adriana is sleeping, I'll watch her." She winked at Danni, who caught the meaning immediately and ran up the stairs.

She felt only the slightest twinge of discomfort in the newly mended bones. She hoped she could catch Brie before she got dressed. 'maybe' she thought' a hot shower certainly sounds good right now.


The car that had stopped earlier remained. Its two occupants continued to watch the house. Binoculars rested on the seat between them along with a cell phone. Picking up the phone the driver dialed a number. He is a young man, with dark curly hair dark brown eyes, had a neatly trimmed beard and moustache. He possessed a muscular build. If it weren't for the long jagged scar across his face he would have been a handsome man. His partner was just the opposite; a balding, paunchy man with a scraggly beard. His nose was misshapen from having been broken too many times. When he smiled, there were several missing teeth. He was an aged street fighter.

The driver waited for the phone to be answered. His deep voice menacing as he spoke. "We saw the place. Them too. Acting like a pair of crazed weasels. Right on the lawn. You were right to want to get the child out of that house and away from that type of perversion. It won't be easy. There are security cameras, motion detectors, probably electric eyes all over the place. They really went on the alert after the crap in February."

The voice on the other end was angry. "I don't want to hear excuses. I want results. If you had done your job right the first time..."

"Hey that wasn't my fault. I never seen anyone move as fast as she did."

"What else do you have to report?"

"That's it really. We're going to have to find a way to bypass those cameras before we try anything. Taking them out will only increase their surveillance of the property."

"Just keep watch. I'll contact you later." The voice on the other end replied. It was the voice of a woman. A very angry woman.

Inside the security room a scanner picked up and recorded the entire conversation.


Danni entered their bedroom, set a CD in the stereo, pushed a few buttons, then loosing her clothing she hurried into the bathroom. The sound of running water told her Brie was still in the shower. The bathroom itself was huge. Double sinks lined one wall, with tall mirrors hanging in the space above them. The huge double shower took up another wall. There was also a large tub with built in whirlpool, just right for when they both just wanted to relax. The shower had twin side by side shower heads so that when the opportunity arose and they showered together they could each have the temperature they enjoyed. Although when that happened they would meet in the middle when the two sprays mixed. As she opened the door she was aware of the rise in temperature from the hot water. Reaching in she turned on the second spray and quickly entered so that the heat and steam did not escape. Brie was startled when she felt the cooler outside air hit her back when the door opened. She quickly regained her composure, as she smile seductively at Danni, and handed her the soap, presenting her back to be washed. Danni obliged, running her soapy hands in a sensuous massage from shoulders to hips, paying close attentions to the muscles in Brie's back. Feeling her partner relax under her loving ministrations, Danni felt her own passions rising. Placing her hands on Brie's arms, she slowly turned the smaller woman around. She lifted Brie's chin with her finger's, and bent down to gently kiss her.

"Adriana's sleeping," she stated, "Cy said she would watch her if we wanted to relax a little more. Want to? What do you think?"

"I think we need to give Cy a big raise. And yes I want to very much."

They finished their shower with Brie returning the favour and washing Danni's back. She felt the taught skin move under her fingers. Bringing her arms around her partner's waist, she hugged her, with her hands softly caressing the smooth skin of Danni's stomach. Danni reached over to shut the water off and handed Brie a large fluffy towel, which she used to quickly wipe off the excess water.

They wrapped the towels around each other, taking their time in tucking in the ends, their eyes locked. Danni smiled and bent slightly to pick Brie up and carry her into the bedroom, where she gently placed her on the already turned down bed. Danni picked up the remote control and hit the play button. Within seconds the room was filled with music as Danni's favorite song played. There were times when Danni would sing that song to Brie just before they made love. This was one of those times. Danni stood by the dresser and looked lovingly at Brie. She took a deep breath and began...

There was a time, when I was everything and nothing all in one. When you found me, I was feeling like a cloud upon the sun. I need to tell you, how you light up every second of the day, but in the moonlight, you just shine like a beacon on the bay. And I can't explain, but there's something about the way you look tonight, Takes my breath away. It's the feeling I get inside you deep inside. And I can't explain, but there's something about the way you you look tonight, Takes my breath away. When you smile, you pull the deepest secrets from my heart, in all honesty, I'm speechless and I don't know where to start. And I can't explain, but there's something about the way you look tonight, Takes my breath away. It's the feeling I get inside you deep inside. And I can't explain, but there's something about the way you look tonight, Takes my breath away. The way you look tonight.

When she finished singing she had one knee on the bed. She gently lowered herself so that they were side by side. Each undoing the towel they had so recently wrapped around each other. Taking the smaller woman in her arms, she kissed her. The smaller mouth giving her willing entrance. Their mouths and hands danced seductively against each other. They kept their actions slow, not wanting to rush their passions, fully enjoying the taste and feelings they were bringing to each other. Wanting to savor the moment and not rush it. The song Danni had programmed continued to play in the background.

Their bodies continued to move against and for a long time explored the other, until they both felt the urgency and their movements moved them higher and higher until they both crested together. Calling out to each other.

They held tight to each other as their passions left them gasping and shaking. They slowly felt their bodies return to normal. They were happy, content, and at peace with their love surrounding them.

Outside the car remained just beyond the property line, yet still able to see the house. The men picked up the binoculars and focused their attention on the house and surrounding area.

Chapter 3

I have borrowed a poem by Helen Steiner Rice called "The Magic Of Love" for the Commitment Ceremony and also have a visit from another friend. ­ Claire

The car remained for quite some time. They had several different locations where they watched from, never actually staying in the same place for very long as to avoid detection or arouse suspicion. The barn across the road or the empty house next door was used in their spying. There had been someone watching the house for weeks to develop a pattern of Danni's comings and goings. They knew when she would leave and when she would return from work each day. They knew which car she always used. They were working on their plan when the phone on the seat beeped. The driver answered.


"We found someone who will loop the film we have and will feed it into the camera with a computer. Once that is done you can deliver your package. Just make sure the little wife and child aren't in the car."

"If they are, we can override the commands until the next time she's alone."

"Good, because under no circumstances are they to be hurt. That means the car has to be away from the house when it blows."

"Hey no problem. I'll just put a timed delay on it so that it won't start counting down until the car is put into gear. But wouldn't it make more sense to take them both out? That way you can get the child legally."

"No the child is still to young. She still needs the woman who gave birth to her. Be ready to move as soon as the tape is ready. It could be as early as Monday."

"What if she doesn't co-operate once her partner is disposed of?"

"Then when the child is old enough, we take her out too. One way or another, I will have the child that should have been mine."


The scanner continued to record the conversation as security listened. The head guard picked up the phone to call Danni. She needed to be aware of what was happening.


Lying in each other's arms after their heartbeats and breathing returned to normal, they relaxed, shutting out the world around them. For a little while they slept. Their dreams taking them back to events in their lives. Danni dreamt about their Commitment Day.

We had been fighting the State government for over a year, trying to get the bill passed that would allow same sex marriages passed. Calls, lobbying, putting in 20 hours days to gather enough support to put pressure on the legislature until finally the bill was up for vote in the house. We kept close eye on the debates and finally the voting. It all came down to one vote. That one lousy damn vote shot down the bill that hundreds of us worked thousands of hours on. All the time, energy, money spent, all our hard work came to a screeching halt by just one person. As an appeasement, however, the state did pass the Domestic Partners Act. This act would recognize those couples who were willing to make a legal commitment to each other. How this differed from actual marriage was just a matter of semantics.

But no matter what word the state government used, we were married on the night of the full moon in May. We didn't plan on the moon being full, but it was an extra-added bonus, a little extra-added romance for this special day.

We had spent months planning the ceremony. Writing our own vows to each other. We had completed all the forms necessary for our commitment. We wouldn't need a license or blood tests, just a notarized form on file at the town hall.

Everything was set. We had planned the ceremony down to the smallest item. We sent out invitations, rented the restaurant where we had first met. We had discussed music, opting for a DJ instead of a band. We went to pick out our rings. It wasn't an easy task as we each had a picture in our minds of what we wanted. It took us going to several jewelry stores before we found exactly what we were looking for. The wide gold bands holding sapphires and emeralds called to us from the second we walked into the store. We were drawn immediately to the case, where the rings were nestled in their velvet bed. The stones represented the colour of our eyes, as we both believed that the eyes were the doorway to the soul. We looked no farther. Our search was indeed over.

All that remained was to pick out the outfits we would wear. For this we went separately. Brie was adamant about two things. First we were not able to see the dresses we picked out until the ceremony, and the second which was the hardest to accept was that we could not spend the night before the ceremony together. I would abide with the first, but had trouble accepting the second, which I thought was silly. We had been living together for almost two years and seemed pointless to be separated at this point. I told her how I felt, but as usual, she was able to convince me to abide by her wishes. It really wasn't hard to do as she has me wrapped around her little finger, which she knows and uses to her advantage when the need arises. A few well placed sighs, a little pout and I cave in. I am such a wuss with her. I can't deny her anything. I don't want to. She doesn't ever ask for much. She holds my heart in her small hands, and I know there is no safer place for my heart to be. That night would be the first night in two years that we would sleep apart. She would spend the night with Steph and Pony would stay with me.

This was not the best choice for them to make as Pony and I were always the instigators in our college pranks. If it wasn't for Steph's frequent intervention and the fact that all three of us continuously made the Dean's list, we would have probably been bounced from school. Not to mention the day Pony came with me to pick out my dress. Ten stores and as many bars were visited that day. We sat in the last bar, my dress safely tucked away in the trunk of the car, we realized that neither of us was in any condition to drive. Yet neither wanted to call our partners to come get us. Neither wanted to face their anger at the state we were in. We tried several times to flip a coin, but after losing several on the floor, gave up and had the bartender call for us.

Brie and Steph both came to pick us up. We knew from the identical looks on their faces that we were in trouble. We did the only thing we could do under the circumstances, we surrendered. Hoping that their love for us was strong enough to overlook our little adventure. We were not above begging for their mercy, which we shamelessly did, hoping their mercy was still in working order. I don't know how Pony fared that night, but Brie let me know exactly how she felt about my getting drunk. She sure is a little spitfire when she wants to be, which is just one of the many reasons why I love her so much. I don't know how she managed it, but she somehow took care of me.

Brie was just leaving when Pony walked in carrying a box containing packages of junk foods, some questionable videos and a few bottle of liquor hidden under her clothes. Knowing us the way our partners did, they made us promise that we wouldn't leave the house. We promised readily as neither wanted to face the wrath of our partners. Not fully trusting us to keep our word, they delegated Cy to watch over us. We were crushed that they would doubt our word, until they mentioned the day they had to come get us from the bar. We both sheepishly backed off.

I walked Brie out to Steph's car, carrying her dress and her overnight bag. After placing the dress and suitcase on the back seat, I took Brie into my arms and kissed her. Throwing every fiber of my being into telling her with that kiss exactly how much she would be missed that night. I made her one more promise as I held her tight in my arms.

"Brie, after tonight, there will be nothing this side of death that will ever keep you from our bed. Nothing" I vowed.

She readily agreed. Promising the same just before she got into the car. I watched as the car drove off carrying the love of my life farther and farther away until it disappeared from sight. I stared down that road long after I could no longer see the car before slowly making my way back into the house.

Pony and I did drink quite a bit that night, but it didn't ease the pain in my heart brought about by our separation. I talked of nothing but Brie. What I liked about her. The things I loved. Silly things she would say or do. I even pulled out our pictures. The videos did little except to remind me she wasn't by my side. Friends stopped by to offer their support. True to her word, Cy did keep a close eye on me, expecting me to try to sneak out to see Brie. She caught me as I started out the door. She took my keys, gave me an earful of her anger and sent me back into my guests.

One of the biggest surprises of the evening was when our friends from down south showed up. Barb and Linda were unsure if they would be able to make it for the ceremony. Pat and her Barb had arrived earlier in the day and we had quite the reunion. We hadn't seen each other in months, keeping in touch by phone, letters and email, so I was happy when Cy showed them in. Brie would be happy also as she really cared for those four crazy fun loving women. We partied well into the night. But by four a.m. we had all crashed. I gave up my waterbed to whoever wanted it. Barb and Linda ended up there.

Somehow I just couldn't face the thought of sleeping alone in that big bed. Pat and her Barb took the spare room. Being the good hostess that I am I gave Pony the couch and I took the floor. Actually the couch was where Pony fell asleep. But sleep evaded me for a long time until I had a mental conversation with my absent partner, ending with 'I love you, Brie'. Just before sleep claimed me I heard her voice on the wind, saying,' I love you too, Danni. I was able to sleep after that.

I awoke to the smell of fresh coffee and bacon frying, as the sounds of low voices reached my ears. Cy was telling my friends all my most embarrassing stories of my childhood. I drifted back to sleep listening to their voices and the sound of their laughter. I didn't return to the land of the living until almost noontime. This was something I have never done in my entire life. I was a morning person, who loved to watch the sun come up. Often taking my first cup of coffee out on the back porch to watch as the sky slowly lightened and hear the birds and the other sounds of nature as they woke to face another day. Yet even with that late start, I didn't think the day would ever end. The ceremony was set for eight p.m. and I think I wore out the carpet with my pacing. Finally at six I decided to take a leisurely shower. I fixed my hair, put on my makeup and got dressed. Managing to even put on my nylons without snagging them, considering how the closer it got to eight, the more thumbs I seemed to develop.

Somehow we all managed to get ready and arrive at the restaurant by seven forty five. I caught a glimpse of Steph and knew that Brie was close by. This actually helped to calm my frazzled nerves a little. Everyone floated from where I stood to the room where Brie was. It was then that I started to notice the strange looks that came my way after our guests saw Brie. But it was the little head shake that got to me. My imagination kicked into overdrive. I started to get worried. I feared she would back away at the last moment. I was afraid her parents' disapproval had persuaded her not to go through with this. I knew she was saddened by their refusal to accept us as a couple and how keenly she felt their absence at this very important point in our lives. Well if that was the case, if she was indeed backing away, then I needed to hear it from her. I started towards the door that separated us.

Steph stopped me just as I reached my destination. She pulled me bodily from the door. I could have easily hurt her, being that I was physically stronger, but I let her lead me from the door. Why? Fear. Fear of what might actually be taking place in that room. Fear of actually hearing the words of rejection from Brie. She pushed a glass of wine in my hand and talked to me. I needed to hear the words, and knew if indeed there were any kind of change, Steph would tell me the truth, no matter how painful it would be. I took a deep shaky breath and asked her.

"Steph, has Brie changed her mind?"

"Changed her mind? Danny, have you gone completely over the edge? Good God, you have to be kidding. All she talked about last night was you how much she loved you, and how happy she was that you chose to give your heart to her. She even mentioned a few things that I would rather not have heard. Let me tell you my friend some of those stories impressed me." She jokingly scolded.

"Then why am I getting all these funny looks when everyone come out from seeing her: I countered.

"Because my worried friend, your minds are on the exact same wave length. But then, you'll see the reason shortly. By the way, nice dress. It's the color of Brie's eyes isn't it? "

I nodded, unable to find my voice. My knees felt weak. She wasn't backing away. She still wanted me. She still wanted there to be an 'us'.

"Well I had better get back to Brie. It's almost time to get this show on the road. Relax before you have a heart attack." She ordered walking away.

Pony was at my side when the music started. She had this funny look on her face. I leaned over to ask her about it, but she just said to wait. The Deacon from the church we attended stood with us as we waited. Robin, who we lovingly all referred to as Reverend, was the closest we could get to an ordained person to officiate at this ceremony. The door opened and we all turned. Steph came out first and walked toward us stopping when she was directly in front of Pony. We all looked towards the door again. Suddenly there she was standing, the keeper of my heart, which had started racing in my chest. I couldn't take my eyes off that vision in blue as she slowly started walking towards me. It was then that I realized what all the funny looks were for. Our dresses, though different in color, were exactly the same.

She was at my side, her small hand in mine, her sparkling green eyes smiling up at me. Robin spoke briefly about love and read a poem we had both picked out.

Love is like magic, and it will forever be. For love still remains life's sweet mystery! Love works in many ways that are wondrous and strange. And there's nothing in life that love cannot change! Love can transform the most commonplace. Into beauty and splendor, and sweetness and grace! Love is unselfish understanding and kind. For it sees with it's heart and not with it's mind! Love is the answer that everyone seeks- Love is the language that every heart speaks- Love can't be bought, it is priceless and free. Love like pure magic is a sweet mystery.

After she finished reading, she motioned for us to say what was in our hearts. With our eyes locked I made my promises first. "Briana," I said as I slipped the ring on her finger, "The day you came into my life is the day my heart started to feel. I knew from the moment I looked across this very room to see you that we would be together. That we were meant to be one. I promise you in front of our family of friends that I will spend the rest of my life making sure that you don't regret, for even one second, your decision to be my partner. I love you, Briana."

Then in her clear sweet voice as she slipped the ring on my finger, she said. "Dannieara, I never knew love could feel this way. We have spent many hours talking, laughing and sometimes even crying together. There have been times when we sat side by side, not saying anything, yet I felt your love surround me, holding me securely. I also promise in front of our family of friends, that I will spend the rest of my life making sure that you don't regret even for one second, your decision to be my partner. You are my life, my soul, and my reason for living. I love you Dannieara."

She smiled at me. I felt Pony nudge me as a reminder of what came next. As if I would ever forget that. I gently pulled her into my arms. Her soft lips met mine as I held tight to the body my arms ached to hold last night. The applause finally broke the kiss that left us both breathless. Our hands were still tightly clasped as we accepted the congratulations of our family and friends. This was the happiest night of my life.

She awoke to green eyes smiling at her. The love radiating from them.

"Hey". Brie said.

"Hey yourself," Danni answered.

"You had the goofiest smile on your face just now. Want to tell me what you were dreaming about?"

"Our Commitment Ceremony and how happy you made me that night. How happy you make me every day of our lives."

I love you, too, Danni." She said.

She held her close, bending her head to kiss the lips that smiled at her, when the phone rang. "Hold that thought" She said reaching for the phone. "Yeah?" she growled into the receiver.

"Ms. S., Higgins here. The scanner picked up something I think you should hear."

"All right. I'll be there shortly." She hung up the phone and turned to Brie. "I have to go. This sounds important. Sorry love."

"That's all right Danni, it's almost time to feed Adriana."

They both dressed. Danni felt a fear in the pit of her stomach that their lives were about to be thrown once again into turmoil.


Danni went directly to the security room where the guards were still listening to the tape. She felt a chill go up her spine as she listened to the tail end of the conversation. The reality of the situation they were facing almost brought her to her knees. She could live with her life being threatened, but they were also threatening Brie's life and that was unacceptable. She was once again the target of a sick mind. A mind that plotted her death to get to our baby. The tape stopped when the conversation did. One of the guards removed the tape from the scanner, rewound it and played it back so that Danni could hear the entire conversation.

Her face paled as she listened while the voices plotted her death and the reason why she had to die. She grabbed the back of the chair she was leaning on. Her hands clenched tight on the wooden rung. When the tape ended, she ordered, "Play it again." The guard rewound the tape and played it again. Over and over she listened to her death being planned. Each time her hands got a little tighter around the wooden chair, until the wood finally cracked under her continued assault.

Higgins grabbed her hands and yelled, "That's enough. Stop it."

His voice softened as he tried to calm his boss down. He had great respect for this woman and considered her a friend. "Come on, Ms. S. let go of the chair." Her hands remained clenched around the wood, muscles jumping in her jaw as she tried to gain control of her temper. Many long tense minutes passed before she released her hold on the chair. She started to pace the room.

"None of this is to leave this room." She ordered. Her mind kept playing one phrase over and over. "I will have the child that should have been mine." Her frantic pacing actually helped her think as a face popped into her mind. The face of the man who actually fathered Adriana, as her mind took her back to the events that led to that meeting.

The first few months after our joining were like a little slice of heaven for us. We laughed, we played, and we planned as we watched our house being built. We had lots of silly arguments over how we wanted the rooms decorated and furnished. I wanted warm, rich, dark colors, where Brie wanted soft warm light ones. we finally compromised. The rooms that were basically mine like my office would be done as I wanted, but those we both would enjoy would be as Brie wanted. I was lucky to get away with my office being my choice. Then there was the portrait we ordered. I couldn't sit for hours at a time so we had a special picture taken and brought that to the artist to make a portrait of. It was to be the centerpiece of our living room.

We had gone to several malls and furniture stores, picking out everything we wanted for the house. It was right after one of these trips that I noticed how quiet Brie had become, which was unusual for my normally talkative partner. I didn't worry at first. She has the right to be moody. God knows I can be. But when the quietness continued, I began to get worried. When she started tap lose interest in the house, I took a close look at her. Her eyes that once held only smiles were now tinged with sadness. She shrugged off my questions about her health, refusing to see a doctor to get checked out. I didn't push her, until her appetite diminished. I decided to take matters into my own hands. I made an appointment with Steph and forced her to go, promising a day of shopping afterward. That would perk her up if nothing else did. Not that Brie spent money foolishly, but she did enjoy the thrill of just window-shopping.

Steph assured us that everything was fine, and told us, or rather me, to relax. We strolled through the mall window shopping, as we already had everything we needed Fr the house picked out. Keeping a close eye on Brie, I finally caught her looking wistfully at mothers and children. When she saw the mother carrying a baby, that couldn't have been more that a few weeks old, her eyes filled. The truth finally hit me. She wanted a baby. She wanted, no, she needed to be a mother. Truth be told, I felt the maternal bug nipping at my subconscious for awhile. Squaring my shoulders, I took matters into my own hands. Saying quietly," Brie, honey, why don't we go home? I know what's been bothering you, and I think we need to talk."

Once we got home I sat her down and asked point blank, "Why didn't you tell me you wanted to have a baby?"

She hung her head, ashamed at being found out. I lifted her chip so that she would have to face me. I say the tears fill her eyes. She drew a shaky breath before she answered me.

"Danni, you have given me everything I could possibly ever want. The only thing you haven't given me, you physically can't. I didn't want you to know. I didn't want to hurt you by telling you. I'm sorry."

I watched as the tears that filled her eyes slowly ran down her cheeks. I took her into my arms and held her while she cried.

"You have nothing to be sorry for, love. Those feelings you're having are natural."

"If they're so natural, why aren't you having them? Wouldn't you like to have children?"

"Of course I would. Just what makes you so sure I haven't been feeling the exact same way as you?"

Shocked by my admission, she looked at me and asked, "So what do we do know? It's not as if we can give each other the children we want? Because if that were possible, I'd want one that look exactly like you."

"Yeah well", I replied, "I want one that looks like you. There are ways to handle this. There are fertility clinics that handle this sort of thing for people who can't have children the conventional way, and for people like us. The smile that lit up the face I loved so much was dazzling.

"Do you really mean that, Danni?"

"Of course I do, Brie. I have never lied to you, nor will I ever lie to you."

"So who goes first, you, or me?"

"We'll flip a coin. Loser has the first baby," I pulled a quarter form my pocket and tossed it in the air. "Call it" I told her.

"Heads." She chose. We watched as the quarter landed on the rug. It landed tails up. I had won. Brie would have the first baby.

We spent the next few months visiting several fertility clinics in the area, and some that were out of state. They were all willing to help us, until we told them what we wanted to do. Then they showed us the door, quickly. Steph had told us they might react that way. When she saw how despondent Brie was after the latest rejection, she stated, "Why don't you let Pony and I do this at the clinic?"

"We can't ask you to compromise your license to practice." I said.

"Compromise? Hell no. What you are asking isn't against the law. It's a little bit crazy but it's not illegal. I can perform the procedure. We find a donor, remove the eggs we need from Danni, fertilize them and implant them in Brie."

"Is it just that easy to do?" Brie asked.

"It isn't easy at all. In fact it can be quite difficult. The hardest part will be regulating your menstrual cycles. We need to get them as close together as possible. That means hormone shots for you Danni. Then we also have to give you additional hormones so that more than one egg matures at a time. Using this method you both will be the child's mother. In this case, Danni, you would be the biological mother while Brie would be the nurturing mother. The roles would be reversed when it's Danni's turn."

"Can we do It, Danni?" Brie begged me. As if there were any way I would turn her down on this request. I may be a cold-hearted bitch at times, but there was absolutely no way I would tell her no. Not on this. Not something that was so important to both of us.

"Of course we can, Brie."

"Wait a minute, guys, There are a few other things you need to know first. Theses shots will raise hell with you, Danni. They will make you irritable and miserable, then there's the chance the procedure doesn't take the first time and we would have to redo it. Are you both willing to put yourselves through that hell, because that's exactly what it will be. Hell."

I looked into Brie's smiling eyes and found my answer. "Yes we are, Steph." I answered for both of us. To which Brie nodded. I haven't seen Brie this happy in weeks, and I wasn't about to let anything bring back the sorrow and longing I had seen in her eyes.

"When do we start?" I asked.

"Tomorrow morning? We need to get your cycle regulated to Brie's so that when we are able to harvest the eggs. It will also help us to know when ovulation occurs which is the most receptive time for this procedure to work. Steph started making inquiries that next morning. We were looking for one particular man, one who physically resembled me. I started getting the shots. Steph wasn't joking when she said the shots would make me miserable. I don't know how Brie put up with me during that time. I was jumpy and irritable. Yet she didn't let it bother her in the least. Well not to often anyway.

We had several meetings with prospective donors. I refused to acknowledge them as fathers, as they would have to relinquish all rights to the child. All the meetings failed, until the last one.

We talked about many things during the first part of the meeting, getting to know each other, feeling the other person out. Brie took to him right away. I knew she would, she more of a people person than I am. I joked that it was the physical resemblance that she was attracted to. She agreed readily. Being the suspicious person that I am, I withheld judgment, until he answered a few questions.

"Why are you doing this?"

He met my gaze squarely and answered. "I love my wife dearly. She's been very sick lately. I almost lost her. The end result is she can't have children. I am conceited enough to want a little piece of immortality in this world." His gaze never faltered as he spoke. His straightforward answer prodded my suspicious mind to accept him. To end our search. There were however a few things that needed to be discussed.

"You do realize that if we choose you, there will be no physical contact between you and Brie?" All the other applicants failed at this point, because they actually thought they would be allowed to make love to Brie to impregnate her. I was prepared for his reaction to be the same as all the others. He once again surprised me. "As I said before, I love my wife. I would not hurt her by taking another woman to bed. I will do this however you want me to."

"You are willing to go with Dr Baldwin to...for lack of a better description...give her your deposit. She will be handling the procedure."

"I understand."

"You also have to understand that if this does result in a child, you can have no contact with the child ever. And I mean EVER."

"Yes I agree. I would not do that to my wife. I couldn't shove that in her face. It would be a reminder of what we can't have and I refuse to hurt her that way."

"I assume that you have no medical problems, and there is no drug use?"

"Look, Ms. Spiros, you have my complete medical file right there in front of you. Doctor Baldwin has looked it over. I am healthy, there are no hidden diseases and I don't have the money to support a drug habit. I even quit smoking ten years ago, and rarely drink."

"Would you excuse us for a minute while we discuss this?"

"Of course, I'll be over by the counter."

"One more thing would you be able to do this today."

"That won't be a problem."

He gave us the privacy that we needed. The animation I saw in Brie's face told me everything I needed to know. What could I do? I couldn't refuse her. I didn't want to. Steph was confident that we had at last found the donor. Even the cynic in me was silent. I called him back.

"We decided to go with you. We will just need your signature on these papers. This is a contract stating just what we talked about today. That you also agree that if this doesn't work the first time you will agree to donate until the procedure does take for a nominal fee. That you relinquish all rights to the child and will never try to see it. Also that you accept the amount offered.. You can read it over, if you want, to make sure there are no hidden clauses." He gave the papers a quick glance before signing. We all signed the papers. There were four copies, One for him, one for us, one to be kept at the clinic and one to the lawyer who had drawn up the contract. When all the papers were signed, I handed him an envelope containing half the money.

"That's it? We can get this thing done?"

"Just one more thing. Brie and I would like to thank you for what you are doing for us."

"You're welcome." He stated then followed Steph out the door. Brie and I remained behind, waiting for almost an hour before they returned.

"Everything looks good, Danni. Good motility, high numbers. You have your donor." Steph stated. I handed him the envelope containing the balance of the money promised. We shook hands and he left.

Steph continued after he left. "Well, Danni, lets get you checked out to see how things are developing with you. It might be a few days before we can begin the actual retrieval and fertilization though."

Now that we had our donor, I was anxious for the procedure to start. "Let's do it." I said. We headed for the clinic for what was to be my final checkup. Two days later, I was ready. Brie was close to ovulation so the time was right all around. But it was the longest two days we had ever endured. I found myself suddenly nervous as we got ready. I was given just enough anesthesia, so that I wouldn't feel the probe that was inserted into my ovaries. We both watched the monitor as Steph retrieved the necessary eggs. Brie held tight to my hand as six eggs were removed. Steph assured us this was a normal number. Each egg was then placed in a sterile dish, and the prepared sperm added to each. After the eggs were fertilized they would be introduced directly into Bries's uterus. This way we would each have our fondest wish. We would both be the child's mothers. This is what we both wanted. What we both craved.

Brie was at my side during my part of the procedure, and I could do no less for her part. I stood there, holding her hand as the six fertilized eggs were implanted. We both laughed at the instrument used for this procedure. It looked like a giant turkey baster. As she worked, Steph cautioned us again of the higher possibility of multiple births using this method. But in many instances only one fertilized egg would attach itself to the uterine walls. Nine months later we had Adriana.

That thought brought her back to the present and the problems they now faced. "Gentlemen," she said, "I am open for suggestions."

"The three of you could leave until this all blows over?" One guard suggested. Higgins answered before Danni could.

"Then instead of having a psycho on our hands we would nave a frustrated psycho."

"Are we even certain that you are the intended targets?" asked another.

"Well think about it. We are the only Gay couple in the area that has recently had a baby fathered by somewhat unconventional means. A man whose wife was very sick and couldn't have children of her own. How close does a cell phone have to be to be picked up by a scanner"

"Within a mile or two. The transmission was pretty clear so I would say within a mile. What about notifying the police?"

"That will be taken care of, but at this point we don't have a lot to go on. We overheard a conversation. They probably wouldn't put too much credence on this evidence yet. But maybe just talking to Chief Spencer, so that we don't tip our hand. He might be able to recommend what course we should take." Higgins stated.

"So that means we sit here and wait." The guard who operated the recorder stated.

"No, there is another way." Danni stated. "We give them what they want. To protect Brie and Adriana we give them exactly what they want. My death......"

The Family That Love Built By: Psyche-b

Chapter 5

"You are going to do what?" Higgins shouted in disbelief".

"Give them what they want. Seems like a clear enough answer. What part of that didn't you understand?" She walked to a table that held electrical parts and picked up a circuit board. She turned to the guards and asked. "What's this?"

"Those are parts for a remote control car. I build them when things are quiet." The guard stated. " I'll get that stuff out of here."

"No. Wait. You build these?' He nods. "Is this the biggest you can do or can you make them bigger?"

"How big?"

"Oh say for a regular sized car?"

"Hey, hold on a minute, Ms. S, I can see where this is going and I have to tell you I am against this completely." Higgins stated interrupting her.

"You objection is noted and accepted, but here me out first."

"Go ahead, but I am still against this."

"So can it be done?"

"Sure. If I can get all the parts."

"How long will it take?"

"Day or two."

"Where would you get the parts?"

"Same place we got everything here. Any electronics store will carry the parts I need."

"Do it." She ordered. He nods and leaves.

"Ms. S. can I talk to you alone?"

"Sure." The two walk outside away from the building so their conversation cannot be overheard.

"I hope you don't mind if I talk plainly." A wave of her hand gives him permission. "Mind telling me just what the hell you think you are doing?"

"Protecting my family."

"How? By committing suicide? How is that protecting them? You do realize that you are asking us to put a remote control device on a car that has a bomb in it."

"Your point exactly?"

"Radio frequencies. If they can control when the bob goes off or change the timer if the conditions don't go according to orders by remote control, using a similar device could set the bomb off prematurely. Where does that leave your family then? I can't let you do this."

"It's my family, my choice, my decision. There is no room for discussion here."

"Well are you at least going to tell..."

"NO! Brie is not to know anything about this. My hope at this point is that I can pull this off. She knows when I am trying to hide something from her."

"All the more reason she should know. Ms. S....Danni...I really think you are one hell of a woman, a real gutsy lady, and I admire what you are trying to do here. But you have to realize what this is going to do to your family."

"I do understand, believe me, and it's like a knife tearing through my gut, knowing how this will affect Brie."

"Then for God's sake don't even consider this course of action."

"I have already made my decision. There is something you can do for me."

He sighs in resignation. "Tell me what you want me to do."

They walk off with their heads together as Danni details her plan.


Brie had finished feeding the baby and had placed her in the cradle when Danni walked in. She walked up behind her partner and put her arms around the smaller woman, holding her close. Forcing a smile on her face, she rested her chin on Brie's head.

"Not that I would ever complain about this, but to what do I owe the pleasure."

"Simply because I love you."

"Well that's good because I love you too. Can we do this for the rest of our lives?" Danni flinches at Brie's words. She takes a shaky breath before speaking.

"I certainly hope so love. It's something I want to do very much."

Brie notices the chill in Danni's hands, turns and look at her partner. "Hey are you all right?"

"Yeah? Why?"

"Your hands are like ice."

"I was just outside. It's getting chilly out there. Looks like our snow family may be frozen by morning."

"Think maybe Cy will let us bring them, in?"

"That's one question I'm not about to ask her. She yelled at me enough for one day. If you want you can ask her. She won't yell at you. I think she likes you better than me."

"Come on Danni, Cy loves you like a daughter. What did security wan?"


"Yeah you remember those guys. They are the ones who operate all the fancy equipment, wear sunglasses and try to look inconspicuous. They did call you."

"Yeah, I remember. Hey feel like a fire?" She asked removing her arms from the smaller woman. She walked to the fireplace. She knelt down to add wood and tinder to keep her hands from shaking, before holding a match to it. She watched until the tinder caught the logs on fire, before standing and closing the screen.


"Yes, love." Her eyes go immediately to their portrait. "Think if we give the artist a picture he can put Adriana in there."

"Of course he can. He told us that when we had it made. And stop doing that."

"Doing what?"

"Distracting me. What are you trying to hide from me?"

"Me? What gives you that idea? Why would I try to hide anything from you?"

"I don't know. Suppose you tell me. Why are you answering my questions with questions? Why do you keep changing the subject? What gives?"

"I used to be able to hide things better."

Yeah, but then you opened your heart to me and I can see what's inside. So are you going to tell me?"

"Hey I have an idea. How would you feel about going on a little vacation?"

"Great. Where? When? Can you really take time off from the clinic? I like the sound of a vacation. Just the three of us. You, me and Adriana." She stops at the look Danni gives her. "What?"

"I can't get away. It would be just the two of you."

"Then the answer is no. And now I know something is wrong. So spill it Danni." The phone rings, Brie being closest picks up the receiver. "Hello?"

Mrs. Spiros, this is Higgins." "Hello, Mr. Higgins." Brie notices Danni jump at his name and the quick grab she made for the phone. Brie moves out of her reach scowling. "I had better give you to Danni before she jumps out of her skin."

Danni takes the phone. "Yeah Higgins."

"I know you can't talk right now."

"You have that right."

"We have the preliminary report."


"The man, died in a car accident in November. His wife almost had a breakdown over his death. No children."


"Worked for you at the clinic. Registered nurse. Quit right after Christmas."

"You're kidding? Right?"

"Unfortunately, no. We have a picture of her that we will send over with her employment history. Blond hair, brown eyes, not bad looking. You have to tell her. With this new information, she needs to know."

"Yeah I know. Keep on it." She hangs up the phone and closes her eyes, rubbing her forehead as if in pain. She turns to Brie who is still scowling.

"Hey are you all right?"

"Brie honey, sit down. We need to talk."


"Please, love?" She gestures to the couch and waits until Brie is seated before continuing. "You remember the man who helped us have Adriana?"

"Of course I do. What?..." Danni holds up her hand to stop the question.

"Remember why he said he wanted to help us?"

"Yeah. But..."

"He died in a car accident. "

"Danni, I don't understand..."

"Damn it Brie," she snapped. "We have his only child. His wife wants to take her away from us."

"She can't do that. He signed the papers."

"Yeah, he did, he signed the contract. A contract that he entered into without her knowledge. She didn't sign. Now she wants Adriana."

"She can't do that legally. Can she? The courts wouldn't take her from us. We're her mothers."

"They could, if they prove that we were unfit parents."

"But we're not unfit parents."

"Brie, we're Gay. In many courts that means we're unfit to raise a child. We could lose her...But,"

"But?" Danni turns back to the portrait. "Danni what are you not telling me?" Silence is her only answer. "I could call security to find out." She reaches for the phone as Danni turns.

"NO." She said loudly. "He said you needed to be told. I didn't want to, but he's right. Sit down love and I'll tell you what's going on."

Brie sat and listened as the story unfolded of the tapes, the threats. Danni told her most of the plot. She left out the part about the bomb and her plans. Brie looked dumbfounded when Danni finished. She became angry. "You weren't going to tell me any of this were you?"

"No." For such a little word Danni found it difficult to get out.

"For heaven's sake why? No, no don't tell me. You wanted to protect me. "

"Brie, honey, I..."

"No, Danni." She interrupted angrily. "You were going to keep this from me.. Weren't you?" Danni is unable to look Brie in the eye only nods. "Damn it, Danni, We're partners. What happens to you happens to me. It happens to us, because there is no you and me. What were you going to do, just let me wake up one morning to find our world being torn apart?"

"Brie, I just wanted to..."

"Spare me the protection bit please. What exactly were you going to protect me from? What aren't you telling me? I can still get all the information I need from security."

"All right, you do need to hear the whole story and from me, no one else. We are partners and what happens to one happens to both. You're right, there is more." They sat on the couch and Danni told her of the entire plot. When she mentioned the plans they were putting into action, Brie's shock turned to anger. She threw off the arms that held her. Standing quickly, she started to pace in front of the fireplace. She stopped just long enough to turn the full force of her anger on Danni.

"I can't believe what you just told me. You are planning on putting yourself in a car that has a bomb in it. That's not what you just said to me. I know it is. You can't possibly think for one second that I would allow that to happen."

"You're not going to allow this." Danni shouted back, equally angry.. "This plan is already in motion. It's the only way."

"No, I refuse to believe that. There has to be another way."

"Then, damn it, Brie, tell me. What other way is there?"

"I don't know." She said her voice softening. "Let me think about it. If I can come up with another way one that doesn't call for you to jeopardize your life, you'll do it?"

"I'll consider it. Honey, that's the best I can do right now."

"But..." Danni's look stopped her and she gave in. "All right, I accept, but only because I hate it when we argue. It reminds me too much of when you were getting those hormone shots and you were climbing out of your skin."

"That wasn't very pretty was it. Just remember, love, you'll be going through the same thing."

"I know. I expect you to have all the patience I had with you."

"Oh, I seem to remember a time or two that you really wanted to knock me upside the head. And getting angry."

"You have me there. I'll let you get away with a couple of times."

Their anger left as they held tight to each other, ready to face this latest crisis together.


Each morning before Danni left for work, Security would check out the car and garage thoroughly for any signs of an intruder. They paid close attention to the monitors. Watching for the slightest disturbance, the tiniest blip, that would alert them that the camera's security had been breached. On the third night the blip occurred. The next morning the bomb had been found. The remote device had been installed in the car, but was yet untested, because of the people watching the house. This had quickly turned into a game of Russian roulette.

Danni went about her normal schedule. Just before she left for work she kissed Brie and Adriana good-bye, before walking into the garage. That morning the waiting guard only nodded to her. This was it. The bomb was in her car. She had a moment of indecision. She turned back to the door that would lead her into the house. Coming to a decision, she whispered, "Forgive me, love." before turning back to her car. Her hands shook as she reached to turn the key. The guard opened the garage door.

Brie stood in her usual place in front of the living room window as she waited for Danni to drive out of the garage. Before she would drive off, Danni always threw Brie a little kiss and a wave. Brie waited for the gesture that would not come her way this day. She watched as the car slowly pulled away from the house, and she was filled with a sense of dread. The car slowly approached the road. Brie watched on as Danni stopped at the end of their driveway. She saw the brilliant flash first, followed by the sounds of the explosion, feeling the house rock with the impact, cracking the window before her. "D-A-N-N-I-" she screamed as she ran to the door. She was prevented from going out by the security whose strong arms held her back as pieces of the car started raining down onto the lawn. She struggled in the strong arms that held her, screaming Danni's name. She felt the blackness start to overtake her. Her knees buckled as she slipped into unconsciousness. Hearing Higgins order as she went out. "Get those doctors here immediately." She collapsed boneless in their arms.

Chapter 6

Brie had not yet awoken from the blackness that had enveloped her following the explosion. She was unaware of the care given to her by Cy, Steph and Pony as she hovered in the darkness. She held tight to the dreams as her memories filled her mind. She didn't stir when Adriana was brought to her to nurse. The baby was still not happy with the formula they tried to feed her. Her screams filled the house, until Pony decided to take her to Brie. They hoped the baby would help bring her mother back to reality. Throughout the day of of them would take the baby to Brie to nurse, holding her in place until Brie returned to them.

Danni's family had arrived to help with phone calls. The police stayed at the house helping to fend off the reporters who were swarming on the property, and to gather as much evidence as possible. They also were waiting for Brie to regain consciousness in order to question her. about the events. But she stayed locked in her dreams and memories.

The first few days after I had returned from being held captive by my family, Danni drove me crazy with worry. If I left the room, I knew she would come looking for me within a few minutes. Not a very good idea, as she was supposed to be keeping her foot elevated. She did a lot of damage when she busted the cast to get upstairs. Now she was dearly paying for it in pain.

The night when Adriana woke for her 2 am feeding, I slipped out of our room to feed the baby in the nursery, so that we wouldn't wake Danni. Danni did wake and panicked when I wasn't in bed beside her. She screamed my name. I carried Adriana back into the bedroom to find Danni in a state of near hysteria. After reassuring her rather angrily that I was still there, I returned to the nursery to finish taking care of the baby.

When I returned, she was sitting on the edge of the bed. Her eyes met mine and I saw the panic in those brilliant blue eyes. I could not bring myself to berate her at that hour f the morning. so I held her in my arms. I pushed her gently back on the bed and gathered her in a strong embrace. I held her tight until I felt the tenseness leave her body, as she fell back to sleep. Remaining awake until almost dawn, I too finally slept after deciding what words to tell her that would help her to overcome her fears. I had to get her over this before she drove not only herself by me crazy. We had been walking on eggs since the incident and I couldn't take anymore.

I helped her into the living room after a leisurely breakfast, Her foot was propped up on the ottoman was still causing her a lot of pain due to the muscles bruising when Pony had to reset the bones. I sat next to her, taking her hand in mine, and rubbing my finger across the smooth skin on the back of her hand. Looking into her eyes I saw the fear and sorrow and pain looking back at me. and knew what I had to say.

"I hate my family. I really hate them.. " I said quietly.

"Brie, no, Don't let them win. Don't let them shut off that light that radiates from your face. Don't let the destroy the goodness and love that shines from your soul."

"I don't hate them because they tried to separate us, Danni, that was ignorance. I hate them for replacing the love and laughter that I used to see in your eyes with pain and fear.. They have won and there is nothing we can do about it."

"They haven't won Brie"

"Yes they have, Danni." I said louder that I should have and she flinched at my tone." Danni I need you to really listen to what I am telling you and understand that I'm telling you the truth because I love you. Do you under stand, I love you.." I waited for her to respond. She only nodded. Danni, you can't keep on like this. There will be times when I am not by your side or within your sight. As hard as this is to say, you have to stop going into a panic whenever I 'm not with you. You are going to drive us both crazy, if you don't stop."

She sighed. "Have I been that bad?"

"I understand your reasoning behind your behavior, but, yeah...you were that bad."

"I'm so sorry my love."

Danni, there is no need to apologize. I would probably have been worse."

"I sincerely doubt that Brie. You are a lot stronger that I am

"I doubt that Danni. You never see me carrying you upstairs like you carry me."

"Brie honey, that is only physical strength. True strength lies in here." She placed her hand on my chest. "I may be physically stronger, but you are emotionally stronger than I could ever hope to be. You always have been. I will try to do better. I just don't want to lose you."

"You can't lose me, Danni. I'm not going anywhere. I'll be here to help you through this. We'll fight this the way we have since we began, together."

Danni did try very hard over the next few days. I could see her swallowing her fear each time I had to leave her side. She fought a battle against those internal demons of fear. Seeing the effort she put forth fighting those demos, I decided to reward her. Valentines day would be the perfect setting.

I had to make several phone calls to get all the plans ready. I knew Danni was feeling depressed because we couldn't celebrate Valentine's Day as we had since we first started dating. I was determined to raise her spirits, one way or another. I first called Pony and sent her to the lingerie store to pick up the little outfit I had my eye on for a few weeks. Then to the florist to order a special floral arrangement. Next was the candy store to see if they had any of that chocolate Danni loved. Finally I checked with Cy to arrange a special menu for that night. I had this plan to make her forget about going out on Valentine's Day. I hoped this would be the proper inducement. Where we normally went out to this little French restaurant for dinner and dancing, which she couldn't do. I would do the next best thing. Bring the restaurant to her. Complete with a special desert. I could never remember the name of the dessert, but when I asked Cy if she could make that flaming chocolate thingie for Danni, she knew just what I was talking about.

I had planned everything. We would have a special candlelit dinner in the living room in front of the fireplace, with many of her favorite music playing. Her most favorite I held back as the evening finale.

I had just finished feeding the baby and placed content and dozing in her swing. Danni stood at the window. I could tell she was still upset about our change in plans by the slump of her shoulders. I joined her by the window and wrapped my arms around her waist. I had to stand on tiptoes in order to rest my chin on her shoulder.

"Dinner will be ready in about 30 minutes. How about I help you get out of those sweats and into something fancy." "I think I'll pass on that tonight, love."

"Come on Danni, I know your upset about the change in plans, but lets make the best of it. I promise You won't be disappointed."

She just stood there and shook her head, no. I knew I had to change tactics. On to Plan B. I removed my arms from around her waist and walked to the fireplace, needing to keep my hands busy, so that she wouldn't see them tremble. I heard her turn as I moved away. I deliberately let my disappointment show, knowing that was the fastest way to get her to change her mind. I cast a glance her way.

"Brie, Please?" She begged. "Come on, baby, not that face." I turned away. "Brie?" After a moment she spoke again. "Brie, does it mean that much to you?"

"I just thought I would make tonight special for you." I explained with just a hint of sadness in my voice. "You don't have to change if you don't want ..."

"I'll be down shortly." She said, knowing she had been beaten. She once accused me of taking shameless advantage of her. I'm am so glad it works. She can be one stubborn woman. If only for tonight, I would make her forget everything. Being injures, my family, everything would be pushed into the background, with only our love shining brightly.

When she returned, she looked beautiful. Even the sneaker she wore on her uninjured foot did nothing to detract from the gorgeous woman, my partner, the love of my life, was. I met her at the door, showing my pleasure by kissing her soundly.

The baby was good and slept while we ate. Cy had outdone herself by making Danni's favorites. Right down to that special dessert that was waiting in the kitchen. We said little while we ate a leisurely dinner, yet our eye spoke volumes. We were both relaxing with brandy, after we finished. Well Danni had the brandy while I had ginger ale. We held hands across the table as Cy cleared away the dirty dishes, giving me a small wink as she did. Once we were alone I helped Danni to the couch. Wantonly I parked myself in her lap. I took her beautiful face in my hands and gazed into those bottomless blue eyes. Was it only five short years ago that we met? What was it Steph called us? ' two old souls meeting again for the first time?' Yeah that was us. My heart and soul told me we had been together for many, many, years, across time and generations. How many lives have we lived? How many times have we met?

How many lifetimes have we spent loving each other?

I gently touched my forehead to hers, thinking of the surprises I had yet to give her. Just as I touched my lips to hers, Adriana decided to wake up. We both groaned, then laughed. Danni's lecture on timing had indeed fallen on deaf ears. But then I would get to show her the remainder of her surprise that much sooner. I kissed her again and whispered, "I will be back with the remainder of your surprise as soon as I take care of this little lady. Okay?"

She smiled that quirky little half grin of hers that melts my heart and said. "I'll be right here, love."

Once she was cleaned and fed, Adriana fell back into a contented doze. The type only innocent children have. I returned her to the cradle in the living room. Danni was standing by the fireplace, adding and adjusting the logs. I hugged her from behind and said, "Give me fifteen minutes tops and I'll be back with the rest of your surprise." Her hands held mine and she nodded. I then went to the kitchen and told Cy, " Give me a ten minutes and then bring the desert in, please. That has to be in place when I come back down."

"It will, I hope you aren't planning on eating to much of this, Brie? There's liquor in it."

"I won't Cy. It's mainly for Danni. I'd better get changed."

"Are you wearing that little green number you had Doctor Conrad pick up for you?"

Cy laughed as I blushed, and chased me out of the kitchen. I ran upstairs. Cleaning quickly, I put on the set I had Pony pick up. It was a lot more daring than I was used to, but it was for a worthy cause. A little bit of Danni's favorite fragrance in all the right places, slipped my feet into the matching slippers and I was ready. I was just coming down the stairs when Cy brought the dessert into the living room. She nodded to me just before she entered.

After setting the tray that held the molten chocolate and strawberries on the coffee table, she lit the brandy and walked out. Danni's eyebrow lifted in question as she watched the flames keep the chocolate in a liquid state. Cy gave me a wink and a thumb's up sign as she walked past me in the hallway, and handed me the remote control for the stereo. I counted the seconds slowly, letting the anticipation build. Taking a deep breath, I stood in the doorway. Danni was still staring at the flames and hd yet to notice me. I pushed the button on the remote control and the sounds od Danni's favorite song started playing. The beautiful melody of 'Something About The Way You Look Tonight', softly filled the room. She looked up at me. I saw her breath catch, and watched as she swallowed hard several times. I stepped just inside the room and slid the doors closed behind me. The look in her eyes told me I had achieved the desired effect. I walked slowly and, what I hoped was, seductively toward her. With the lights turned down the mood of the evening was enhanced. I watched her eyes travel the length of my body. That one long look conveyed everything she was feeling. I felt the heat raise in me following the path of her eyes . My heart hammered in my chest as I made my way slowly towards her waiting arms. We held each other for a long moment, before she gently pushed me back. Her eyes once again took a long slow journey down the length of my body and in a voice husky with desire, said, "You are truly beautiful Brie. I love you."

"I take it that you are no longer upset that we couldn't go out tonight? And that you like my little surprise?"

"Not any longer. I'm glad we couldn't. I wouldn't be able to do what I'm thinking in a restaurant."

"We're here, we're alone, and I love you." I said.

It was then that she kissed me, with a kiss that delivered a promise of things to come. Her hands roamed softly up and down my back. That simple touch ignited the flames of passion where ever her hands touched. She put the cover on the dish, putting out the flames. dipped a berry in the chocolate and offered it to me. I took a bite, savoring the mixtures of flavors in my mouth. I tasted the sharp burning of the brandy, the sweet chocolate and the even sweeter strawberry. I held one up for Danni to eat. Somehow we ended up sitting. We continued to feed one another until all the berries were gone and only a little chocolate remained. She then got this glint in her eyes. Dipping her finger in the cooling chocolate, she traced my lips in chocolate. Leaning in she cleaned it right up with her mouth. Not to be undone, I did the same. This became an erotic competition, as we grew bolder exploring each other's faces and necks.

She pulled me to my feet and slid the robe from my shoulders, as I worked the buttons on her dress. Her feather light kisses lit a fire that her hands fed as she once again dipped her finger in the chocolate. This time painting a design from my throat to the top of my gown. Her lips following the paths of the chocolate patterns. She slid one hand under the thin strap on my shoulder and pushed it down my arm. She followed this with another trail of chocolate, licks and kisses. She did the same to the other side. Lower and lower she continued her chocolate seduction, allowing my gown to expose only small areas of my body at a time, until she had succeeded in letting it finish falling to the floor itself. I only had one brief thought about what the chocolate would do to the silk. The sensations I was feeling soon tossed all other thoughts from my head. My legs suddenly became too rubbery to hold me. Danni lowered me gently and gracefully to the floor. She joined me with a beauty of movement that even the cast didn't take away from. Her lips and hands continued to take me high and higher.

When I thought I could go no higher, she took me there and I went over calling out her name.

The sound of her own voice calling out, finally woke Brie. As she tried to shake off the last vestiges of unconsciousness, the memory hit her. She thought back to those few minutes as she watched Danni's car pull slowly out of the garage. She thought of the little way and blown kiss that Danni sent her every morning, that didn't come. How she watched the car get smaller as it neared the end of the driveway. Then the brilliant flash, the sound of the explosion as it reached her. How she screamed out Danni's name as parts from the explosion rained down on the lawn. Hot tears filled her eyes and coursed down her cheeks. Her scream of anguish filled the house. Within seconds she felt hands reach for her. Hands that she knew instinctively were not Danni's.

The tears stopped as she looked into the sad, red eyes of their friends. Brie's eyes held a depth of sadness and despair they had never seen before. With a shuddering breath, she gave back in to the encroaching darkness her soul was feeling. She returned to her dreams.

Chapter 7

For the remainder of the day she floated in the darkness, letting the dreams and memories take her back to happier times. Her memories replayed events in their lives starting with their introduction up to the present day. Lingering on certain ones as they played out in her tired mind. The next chapter to unfold was her job interview.

I awoke that morning still enjoying the feel of her goodnight kiss when she gently pressed her lips to mine. I could still feel the tingle every time I thought about it. I took special pains dressing for this interview, but still meaning what I had told her last night. I wanted this job to be mine because I was the most qualified for the position, and not because of some undeniable chemistry between us. Although, I mused, chemistry might be an advantage depending on the competition.

When I arrived there were several applicants already waiting outside a closed door, that I could only guess was her office. I barely had time to settle my sudden case of nerves when the door opened and she stood there. Her presence filled the room. Six feet of impeccably dressed, intimidating presence stood before us. I heard several soft groans from those closest to me. She did also as an eyebrow arched into her hairline as the corner of her mouth turned up into a quirky little half grin. I felt my throat go dry. Not smiling, her serious, sensuous blue eyes scanned the applicants seated before her. Her eyes warmed as they met mine, lingering only for a short time before turning cold again and moving on. That slight almost imperceptible warming helped calm my jagged nerves. I became aware of several as they started to fidget under her intense visual assault.

She walked into the room ands on the edge of the desk. Her long legs stretched out in front of her, negligently crossed her ankles. She didn't speak for several heartbeats. When she did speak it was not as I remembered. Gone were the soft warm, sultry tones. Instead I heard the cold, precise voice of a woman in power.

"There will be three parts to this interview. As this position is for a Medical Secretary/Receptionist, I assume you all have some knowledge of medical terminology. So there will be a little test, an exercise if you will, to see if you understand medical and also office terminology. I am not an easy person to work for. I am demanding and exact and will not tolerate mistakes. I can't afford to. This is a medical facility that is held by rigid, carved in stone rules, which we must adhere to. Which brings us to the second part of the interview.

We have a special program that I will run to see how you react under stress. This will test your ability to run computers, corers, multi-line phones, plus have doctors and nurses screaming at you for something they needed yesterday. Plus having to put up with salesmen, visitors, the state and other assorted people. If that wasn't enough you will have me seated right behind that door. This test will show you what utter chaos is like. If you can handle yourself under fire the calm days will be a snap. I don't expect chaos constantly but this is a medical facility and there will be days when it will feel like the whole place is falling down around your head. It will be you job to keep your head while all this is going on. This will happen as we get this facility up and running. The third part will be the interview itself. A little one on one with, quite possibly the most demanding person you could ever work for. I don't accept mistakes from anyone, not myself, my friends, or my employees. Any questions?"

Once more she looked around the room, as if mentally challenging anyone to dare ask a question. As she passed around the papers she continued to speak. "Each paper is different, so there can be no discussion. I will not be here to police you. You are all adults. I will be in my office. When you have all finished, I ask that one of you knock on my door to let me know so that we can move on to the next part of the process." With that she left the room, closing the door behind her.

The test itself was easy, with only ten questions to answer about medical of office terms. At least I thought so. After I finished, I looked around and as the others were also finishing up. We all looked at each other, waiting to see which one would ave the nerve to knock n that door. She had succeeded in her plan to intimidate everyone. No one moved. Taking a deep breath, I stood and went to the door. I was surprised to find myself a little hesitant to knock. Her intimidation had even worked on me. Screwing up the courage, I knocked, hearing her voice from beyond the closed door. "Yes?"

Opening the door, I stuck my head in. She smiled as I did and nodded her approval. She rose from the desk she was sitting at and followed me back into the outer room. She then asked us all to step out into what would be the nurses station, that was situated a short ways from her office. Speaking in that cold tone again she said. "I ask you all to wait out here while this next portion is going on. This could be nerve wracking enough with just myself watching your every move without having everyone else watch it also. There is coffee or tea in the nurses' lounge behind you. Help yourselves.

What will happen now is I will run a special program to create a worst case scenario A real Murphy's law day, in that everything that can go wrong will go wrong. There will be days like these, not to often I hope, but they will happen. If you can handle yourself through one of these without running screaming into the night, you'll have no problems on the slow days. I'll start with you." She pointed to the brunette standing beside me.

They left and didn't return for fifteen minutes after which the applicant looked pale and shaky. Then Danni chose the next applicant and they left. This continued until I was the last one left. All the others had returned in much the same condition as the first. I followed her in feeling very much like a lamb being led to slaughter. My nervousness must have shown. Once the door closed she placed her hands on my shoulders and whispered, "Relax, it's not that bad. You have already past the hard part, the waiting for your turn to come" She smiled at me and I felt my nerves disappear. She motioned me to the desk while she stood by the filing cabinets. Watching. I took a deep breath and steeled myself to concentrate as the program begun. Shutting out everything including her commanding presence. She pushed a button and I was confronted by ringing phones, mad copiers and scores of angry shouting people. Remembering her words, I dug into the program. Before I knew it the time was up and the program stopped. I glanced up at her. Her eyes met mine and she flashed me a brilliant smile and nodded her head. "Very good Brie" She said softly. Seeing how I made you wait until last for this part would you like to be first or last for the interview?"

"I'm not sure how to respond to that question." I replied.

"Well if you go first then you will have to wait around for all the other to finish before I can ask you to have dinner with me. Don't be afraid to turn me down. The interview is really only a formality to listen to their voices. If I can't handle listening to someone speak, I can't work with him or her. My decision is just about made. I based it primarily on how everyone reacted to this program."

"In that case, I will go last. That way you don't have to wait for my answer." I answered. "I have to say that is the first time I have seen an interview conducted in that manner. Does it really work?"

"I certainly hope so, Brie, I certainly hope so."

She told me that night at dinner the job was mine if I wanted it. She had me laughing so hard at her descriptions of the other applicants' voices, that my sides hurt. I admonished her. "Danni, you are so bad. Don't you know making fun of someone isn't nice?"

"I wasn't making fun of them, Brie! I was just describing how they sounded."

I was still worried about her showing favoritism and asked, "Danni, be truthful, did I really get the job because I was more qualified?"

"Yes, Brie you did."

"WOW" I exclaimed.

Returning to my place after dinner, she stood with her back to the door as if afraid to come any further into the room. I stood on tiptoes and kissed her. I felt her tense muscles relax as we both savored the contact. We stood silently in each other's arms. I felt her hands gently trace patterns on my back. I felt her hand tremble and her voice soft in my ear repeating like a mantra, "slowly, slowly, slowly." She kissed me again with a promise to call me the next day.

Brie didn't know how her sorrow found its way through her tired mind or when the tears started to fall, or even aware of the sob that escaped while she slept. Somehow her senses felt a calming presence and as she fought back from the mind numbing sorrow and pain. She became aware of the strong arms that held her close and the soft words whispered in her ear. "Easy, love, I've got you." She fell back into a dreamless sleep.

Chapter 8

The early spring morning sunlight fought a losing battle with the heavy drapes that framed the tall bedroom windows. The very small amount of sun that was actually able to penetrate fell on the lone figure curled up on the large bed. The dreams ended when she felt the familiar strong arms surround her and hold her tight as she fell into a dreamless sleep.

In the back of her mind she heard the baby cry and struggled into wakefulness. Reaching for her partner, she was startled to find herself alone. The large empty space beside her left her disoriented. She could still feel those arms around her. The pillows and blankets still held a trace of the perfume she always wore. Her mind could not wrap itself around the fact that Danni was gone and she called out.


Steph appeared carrying the screaming infant and handed her to Brie. Seeing Steph doing what Danni usually handled, only added to the confusion. The voice that soothed her and the arms that held her throughout the night belong to no one but Danni. While her logical mind told her that wasn"t possible, her heart told her differently.

She smoothed back the dark hair and looked into the blue eyes that matched her mother"s as the baby nursed. She argued with herself. Her heart and mind battled inside her. She blocked out the world around her until Steph"s voice penetrated her thoughts.

"Brie?" Sad green eyes met the gray of her friend. "Are you all right?"

"Not sure. Why?"

I called your name three times before you even looked up. Doing some heavy thinking?"

"Yeah. You could say that. Steph, I need to ask you something. But I don"t want you to think I have...lost it."

"Most of it"s been taken care of. Danni"s family has been here since last night making calls. We all took turns checking on you yesterday. You never even stirred when we brought Adriana into nurse. But that"s not what you wanted to ask is it?"

"No, thanks for taking care of the baby for me. Steph, do you think there was anyway Danni....uhmmm...that she could have..."

"Survived the explosion?" Brie nods. "My friend I wish I could tell you there was. The police have been out there most of the night picking up pieces of her car. There was, unfortunately, for you and the baby, no way she could have survived. I"m sorry, Brie."

Brie brushed the tears from her eyes before she spoke. "Have you ever wished for something so bad and so hard ...Never mind, it"s silly. Forget I asked."

"No, Brie. Have I ever wished for something that it came true?"


"No, I never have. But I know what you wished for. That Danni was here with you safe and...alive."

"I did, and it did work, Steph. I felt her arms around me and her voice telling me, easy love, I"ve got you, which was what she would always say to me. I didn"t imagine it Steph. I couldn"t have. It was too real."

"Brie, if it helps you cope with all that has happened, then I"m all for believing. Plus if anyone could pull off something like this it would be the two of you. Do you remember what she told you the night before your commitment ceremony when you stayed with me? She said that nothing this side of death would ever keep you from her side again. Or something to that effect and you promised the same."

"I remember."

"Then you hold onto that Brie. It will help."

"She said a few days ago that I was the emotionally stronger person. I"ll tell you, I don"t feel all that strong right at this point."

"When was this?"

"Oh, we had been discussing this latest problem and..."

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, time out here. You knew something was going on?"

"We knew, but just not when."

"Were the police notified?"

"Yeah, but until they actually tried something all we had were voices on a tape. There were even any names mentioned, from what Danni told me anyway."

Steph"s next question was interrupted by a knock on the door. She whispered. "We need to finish this later." Then in a louder voice asked, "You up for visitors?" Brie nodded. Steph opened the door to admit Danni"s mother. Her slightly graying hair framed her face. Those same startling blue eyes looked out from a tired lined face. She could easily see Danni in her mother. Her every movement reminded Brie of what was no longer there. She swallowed past the lump that had suddenly formed in her throat. Brie"s heart did a flip when the older woman approached the bed and sat down on the edge.

"Mom, I..."

"There is no need to say anything, Brie. The pain you are in is written all over your face."

"What am I going to do mom. I don"t think I can..."

"Brie, you listen to me. You can do this. That little one in your arms is depending on you. Don"t let her down. Be there for her. Don"t let yourself down either."

"It"s just going to be too hard."

"Brie, now you listen. Danni came to see me a couple days ago. She told me that your emotional strength will carry you through anything life will throw at you. I believe in what she told me. So do you even try to prove her wrong. "

"Mom I hear what you"re saying and I really want to believe it. I really do, but without Danni, I don"t think I can. It"s just to hard to face the thought of life without her at this time."

"I know child. But that little one needs you more right now. She"ll need you to tell her all about her other mother and how much she was loved. Life will go on, Brie. We go on. We have to. If we were to just fold, then everything she worked and stood for would not have meant anything." Brie looked from one set of blue eyes to the other. Seeing only her missing partner reflected back. She nodded as Danni"s mother continued. "We have to start making the funeral arrangements. Everyone has been making calls to your friends. Many are coming for the funeral. We have arranged for them to stay at the hotel. Some can stay here. Everyone we called said they were coming. There will be people meeting the planes as they come in. The funeral home has been notified, and the director will be waiting for you whenever you are up to it."

"I"m never going to see her again am I. Never feel her arms around me."

"You"ll see her each and every time you look at Adriana. And you"ll feel her arms again the very first time she puts her little arms around you to give you a hug As long as you have that child, Danni will be with you."

Brie watched the baby sleeping peacefully in her arms for several minutes, before handing her to her grandmother. Throwing back the covers she gets out of bed. "Let me shower first, then we"ll go."

"No, you shower, then you eat something, then we leave. Cy told me you haven"t eaten since yesterday morning."

"all right, but something light". She sighed. "My stomach is tied in knots right now." She walked to the large closet they had shared. She ran her hand lovingly over the clothes Danni had worn and would never wear again. Her attention was drawn to the green negligee she had worn for valentine"s day. Her eyes filled with hot tears as she grabbed her stomach as if in pain. All the sorrow she was holding back came bursting forth as she collapsed in a sobbing heap on the floor. Steph saw her as she clutched her stomach and went to her side, holding her as she cried. Steph looked up at Danni"s mother. Both were fighting their own tears.

"I know how I feel losing my dearest friend. Yet I can"t begin to imagine what she"s feeling right now. That strong a love is....I don"t know. " Steph couldn"t find the words to continue. She held Brie and let her cry, whispering softly in her ear as the younger woman clung to her.

"Steph, see if you can get her off the floor."

"I will, Mama Spiros, after she lets this out. Her grief has to be released."

"If you say so, Steph. Let me put this child down then I"ll ask Cy to bring a tray up for her."

For a long time Steph sat on the floor holding Brie, crooning soothing words as she continued to cry. Ridding herself of the raw pain, to help her face the next few days. Her sobs finally quieted and her tears stopped, but Steph continued to hold her until she felt some of the tenseness leave her body.

"Feel better?" Steph asked.

"I"m sorry."

"Do you feel better?"

"Yeah, it doesn"t hurt quite so much right now."

"Then you have nothing to be sorry for. Crying has a purpose. You had to let the grief out Brie. There was no way you could have kept that amount of grief inside you. Come on, let"s get you into the shower. Mama Spiros is having a tray sent up for you. Then you can take care of the arrangements."

Steph and Pony stayed at the house handling the multitudes of phone calls as friends called offering their condolences. The worst of the calls were from the reporters looking for a story. There were news trucks on the very edge of the property and lining the road. Police and security were able to keep them well away from the house.

When the family returned hours later, they were all drained from the ordeal. Brie was half carried into the house by Danni"s brother. Her face pale. Steph had only to take a quick glance to make her decision. Brie was on the verge of collapsing and she quickly decided on the course of action she would take. She announced her plans to the rest.

"I"m going to give her something to knock her out for the rest of the day."

"Steph, you can"t." Pony argued. "She has to nurse the baby."

"We"ll have to work around that, Pony. Look at her. She"s drained. She can"t take anymore today. This is my decision."

She called over her shoulder as she followed them up stairs.

From a hidden position, a figured listened and wiped the tears that fell. Waiting until night to come.


Brie went out quickly from the shot Steph gave her after using the breast pump. This would insure Adriana would have at least one more feeding before having to drink the formula she disliked. She had to help Brie to change her clothes and get her into bed. She sat on the edge of the bed and watched her friend sleep for a long time before quietly turning off the light and leaving the room.

Once the sedative took hold Brie floated in a world of dreams. Their life together played out in her subconscious. Their journey together continued through her memories. Back to happier times. She dreamt.

We did work well together. We established a routine we were both comfortable with fairly quickly. There were times when things would go wrong and she would yell. But she yelled at everyone not just at me. It"s funny how that really hurt. Especially if it was something I had done or didn"t do or could have done better. But she was over it quickly and we would soon be laughing together.

We had gotten into the habit of eating dinner together. Sometimes she would take me back to her house where Cy would cook some fantastic meal. Other times she took me out for dinner, and sometimes I would do the cooking at my apartment. She would even help with the dishes. She would wash as I dried. Of course there were those times when I would try to help her wash them by reaching my arms around her, with my body pressed against her back. This always earned me a gentle rebuke and the removal of my hands. After the dishes were done, we would always end up in the living room. Sitting close together we would either watch television or I would let her read the latest of what I had written. I would watch her as she read. That beautiful strong profile, those fantastic eyes scanning across the written words. The lips I loved to kiss sometimes smiling, sometimes frowning as she read page after page. I also loved to play with her hair as she read. It was always so silky, shiny and always smelt of apples. Sometimes I would "accidentally" run the tip of my finger around the outside of her ear. This would earn me either a gentle tap, or she would take the offending hand in hers, bring it to her lips and gently kiss it. I would feel that kiss deep down inside me. She awakened feelings and nerves that I never knew I possessed.

She would hold me as we sat next to each other. Or at those times when I felt adventurous I would sit on her lap. She would roll her eyes and give me this look. Her eyebrows disappearing into her hairline. She was so cute when she did this. We would kiss and cuddle for awhile until our hands started moving of the own volition, tracing new paths until we both found it hard to breathe. At this point Danni would take my hands and say, "No Brie, it"s time to slow down."

It was times like these that I cursed myself for ever telling her that I had never been intimate with anyone before. I seldom agreed with her about stopping. The night of the blizzard I thought we would at last consummate our relationship. We had gone farther in our exploration than we ever had before, and I thought, "yes this is the night", but no, Danni took my hands firmly in hers and said her usual.

"No Brie."

Frustrated I asked, "Why not?"

"Because you are not ready to make this move."

"I think I am. How can you be so sure I"m not." I argued.

"Brie honey, listen to me. We have only known each other for a few weeks. While I am very flattered that you want me to be your first, we will not take that step until we are both completely ready."

"But I love you Danni."

"I love you, Brie."

"Then I don"t see what the problem is if we love each other."

"Until you can answer that question yourself, we will not go any farther. I know you are not happy with my decision, and God knows there are some nights when I"m not. But until you are able to answer that question, we will both have to settle for cold showers. Agreed?" I didn"t answer and looked down unable to see the intensity in her eyes. She placed a hand under my chin and raised my head until we were eye to eye. "Brie? I asked if you agreed?"

"Danni, I..."

"Briana" She stated in her no nonsense, tolerate no argument, office voice that always made me back down.

"Agreed" I mumbled, making it plain that I wasn"t happy with the decision.

She leaned over and kissed me gently, smiling slightly, that crooked little half grin I loved so much. "Good. I had better leave. It"s getting late and from the sound of the rain hitting the window it"s nasty out there."

Sliding off her lap I went to the window and raised the blinds. Looking out in amazement and not the rain that was falling but the snow. The cars in the parking lot were just white lumps. "Danni," I said hopefully, "That"s not rain that"s snow and there has got to be at least two feet out there. And it"s still coming down hard."

"Damn" She cursed. "Well I guess I had better get started cleaning off the car."

"You"re not seriously thinking of going out there are you? Why not stay the night here?"

"Briana" she growled. The sound never failed to send chills up my spine.

"Listen Danni, it looks really nasty out there, and I would like to have you around for a very long time. Call Cy and tell her you"ll be staying here tonight so she doesn"t worry. Besides, i have this big bed and..."

"Hold it right there. If , and that a very big if, if I decide to stay I will sleep on the couch."

"Are you kidding? It"s too short for you. You wouldn"t be comfortable. What about if I promise to stay on my own side of the bed and not try anything? Would you consider staying?"

She sniffed in non-belief. "Why do I find that hard to believe".

"I will Danni, I promise."

"All right." she finally agreed after some thought.

We did share the same bed that night, maybe even falling asleep after a long while. My body was fully aware of hers lying so very close to me. I knew she wasn"t sleeping, she was too tense.

"Are you sleeping"? I asked, knowing full well the answer.

"No," she replied.

"Do you have any plans for sleeping?" I asked, trying to sound innocent but failing miserably.

"Brie, stop that, or I will take the couch."

"All right Danni." I sighed. "I"ll behave. Good night."

"Good night, love." She replied

Somewhere in the early hours of morning we slept. Waking shortly after daybreak in each other"s arms. Danni was flustered when she noticed our positions that she jumped from the bed as if someone had a hot branding iron on her butt. She tried to apologize. I had to laugh. She looked for all the world like a naughty child who had just been caught with her hand in the cookie jar.

"Brie... God...I"m sorry...I didn"t..."

"Danni what in the world are you getting so worked up over. So we snuggled in our sleep."

"But...I didn"t mean to, I...Damn. I had better get out of here before I do something..." Walking to the window she looked at the total whiteness outside. "Looks like I have some shoveling to do."

"Danni, Take a good look out there. The parking lot hasn"t even been cleared yet and from here it looks like the road hasn"t either. You can"t be serious. There has got to be at least four feet out there. It"s right up to the window."

"Brie I have to get home."

"Okay, but what"s the harm in at least waiting until they get the road and lot plowed out. Or are you planning on shoveling your way home."

"So what do you suggest I do for clothes?"

"Well I do have a pair of over sized sweats."


"Yeah, I was thinking of you when I bought them. Besides if you are planning on shoveling, you sure can"t do it in a power suit. Now can you?"

"Anyone ever tell you that you are a conniving little minx? You win"

"YEEEESSSS ! ! !" I replied. "How about I make you some breakfast?"

"Sounds good. Guess I"ll borrow your shower."

"Need some help?" I asked innocently.

"Briana" She growled again.

"all right. I give. I"ll be good. for now. "She smiled. "But I promise you Danni, not for too much longer."

She kissed the top of my head, laughing before going into the bathroom. It was my turn to laugh, when I heard the lock click into place. My big strong friend was actually afraid of little old me.

Brie struggled through the memories, fighting the drug-induced sleep, until her tired mind registered the she was held by strong familiar arms. She relaxed in the arms that held her. The arms that she knew as well as her own. She felt a calm take over and she slipped back into sleep. "Danni" she whispered, as the arms around her tightened protectively

Chapter 9

The days following were a blur. Each day filled with the hopelessness and despair of losing the other half of yourself. Brie made it through these days with the help of their many friends, who had arrived to pay their respects to Danni. She went through the motions of trying to pull everything together. Though her eyes were dry, her heart cried out for her missing partner. The emotional strength that Danni had told her would carry her through was the only thing keeping her from just giving up.

After the funeral, the house filled with many of the people who had attended the service, talking in hushed tones. They all discussed Brie and how she had managed to hold her composure throughout the service. She had even got up and paid a moving, loving tribute to her lost partner. They talked about the sad, lonely figure who remained alone at the grave for a long time after everyone but the security guards had walked away. They watched from their cars, wondering what she had spoken once she was alone. Her lips moved, but no one heard what was said. Even the guards stepped back to give her the privacy she needed. They watched as she finally allowed Steph and Pony to lead her away from the graveside. And they watched as she took one long, last look behind her, before collapsing on the seat of the limo.

The family arrived back at the house after everyone else. Brie had to be supported by family members. Her quiet courage showed as she thanked everyone for coming before allowing herself to be taken upstairs.

Through the closed door she could hear the low murmur of voices, as the soft sounds of the conversations below seeped into the bedroom. She knew she should be there with the guests, but she just couldn't bring herself to move from the bed. Her body was just too drained, her spirit too abused, her heart too battered, to face anyone. She let her mind wander as she stared at the picture in her hands. The picture taken was at their Commitment ceremony; the two of them at that very special moment in their lives. Running a finger lovingly over Danni's face, she was unaware she was speaking out loud to her partner.

"Danni, I miss you. I never thought we would be separated so soon. I know we talked about this happening after I was kidnapped, but I have to tell you, I don't know if I am prepared to go on alone. I do know that there will never be another person in my life. There couldn't be. It wouldn't be fair to anyone else. Any other relationship would just be a pale imitation of our love, and would only touch an empty shell, because, everything that is in here, Danni," She touched her chest. "Everything in here, belongs to you. Heart, mind and soul, and not only for today or next week or next year, but for always. I don't know what the future will bring, Danni. I'm sure if I even care at this point. All I know is that I am not ready to close out our life together. I won't ever let you go. I will never say good bye to you. I can't. I will keep my promise to you. Adriana will never lack for love. I will tell her all about the love we had for each other and for her. She will know all about you, how very special her mother was. She may never meet you, but she will know you. I will keep that promise I made to you."

Brie wiped the tears that started to slowly fall from her eyes before continuing. "You know, I've been think a lot about those early days when we were getting to know each other. You remember all those walks we used to take, especially in the forest, where you showed me the true beauty of nature. I never knew there were so many different kinds of trees in this area. But you did, and you knew the name of each and every one of them. Didn't you?" She wasn't sure when her eyes closed as sleep crept up on her. Still holding the picture as she slept, her memory flashed back to that first walk.

I couldn't get over how beautiful or how quiet the woods were. With no sounds of traffic, no televisions, no radios blaring at us, even our own voices sounded loud in the quiet of nature. This was a very special day for me. The first of two things happened. As we walked side by side you surprised me by reaching over and taking my hand. I felt the tingle of that small gesture shoot straight to my heart. I knew then that the time had come for me to ask you about sometime that had been on my mind.

"Danni," I said. "Would you mind if I asked you a personal question?"

"Of course not. What's on your mind?"

"Well, when did...or maybe I should say, did you always know...I mean...Oh I don't know what I mean. Forget it okay."

"No, Brie, it's not okay. You are trying to ask me a legitimate question. One that deserves an answer, even if you can't quite ask it." She smiled lovingly. "I didn't just wake up one morning to discover that somehow during the night I became Gay. There was no revelation that said, 'okay, Danni, this is who you are.' It was a very slow discovery. Steph, Pony and I have been friends ever since early childhood. We were never comfortable with other people or with the whole dating scene when we were teenagers. We knew there was something different about us, but never put a name to the feelings. Until the night we each snagged a bottle of liquor from our parents and went to a small cabin that sat on the back of our property. We got pretty smashed that night and started playing silly games. Before we knew it we were all naked. We stared exploring our feelings for one another. It was at that pint that we all knew what it was we had been feeling. What it was that made us different. It all made sense. Even after we sobered up, we still felt the same way, still knew it was true. We really became inseparable after that."

"How old were you?"


"14? You guys got tanked and found out when you were fourteen?"

"That's about it."

"What did your parents say?"

"When we finally sobered up enough to go home, I sat down with my parents and discussed what happened. Let me tell you the experience was both comfortable and uncomfortable. They had already suspected about my sexuality. Like I told you the night we met, there has been one in every generation. In this one it's me. They were happy that I chose to find out with Pony and Steph and not go out to find out with someone else. They knew about all three of us. We talked for a long time that night. They told me that no matter what I did, no matter who I was, I would always be their daughter and they still loved me."

"That's beautiful, Danni. So what part was that?"

"What do you mean?"

"You said it was both uncomfortable and comfortable. Which part was that?"

"That was the comfortable part."

"So then what happened?"

"You know, if I remember right, there's a real old Indian burial ground over there."

"Danni, you're avoiding answering the question. What happened after you talked to your parents?"

"You don't want to hear about that."

"You're kidding, right. Of course I want to know. I want to know everything about you. So stop evading and spill it."

"Brie, it's embarrassing."

"All right, Danni, you don't have to tell me if you really don't want to." I said with a little pout. One I knew would get to her.

"Damn it Brie, don't look at me like that." I looked away from her and that got to her even more. "I'll tell you," she sighed. "But don't you dare laugh."

"I won't laugh, Danni, I promise. So spill it. What happened?"

She struggled with herself for a moment, watching my face for any hint of a smirk before finishing her story. She took a deep breath before continuing.

"After we finished talking, my dad took me down to the basement and..."


"He raised a few blisters on my backside. All right?"

"For finding out who you were?"

"No, for snagging a bottle of twelve year old scotch he was saving for their twentieth wedding anniversary." She noticed me trying not to lose my composure. "Remember you promised not to laugh." I had to bite the inside of my cheek to keep from laughing. A motion that she didn't fail to notice. "Don't laugh, Brie, it wasn't funny. I couldn't sit comfortably for several days." It was then that I lost it completely. So did she and we fell into each other's arms laughing. For several minutes we held onto each other until we were finally able to regain our composure.

"Thank you." I said after finally finding my voice.

"Your welcome. What about you?"

I knew this question would be raised and yet I was still caught off guard when she asked. Turnabout was fair play. "They have no idea. They will never accept this life that I choose."

"You don't know that, Brie."

"Yes I do. You should hear them go on any time something about Gay rights is brought up. They think we should all be shot or deported or something to keep us away from so called normal people."

"So in order to be with me, you are giving up your family. I don't know if I can ask you to do that."

"Hey, you aren't asking me to do anything. I am over 21. I make my own decisions. I choose to be with you. If they can't understand how I feel, can't accept me for who I am, then I'm better off without them."

"Maybe you should take some time to think this through. I will give you all the time you need..."

"Is that what you really want to do, Danni? You want me to just walk away because you don't want to come between me and mt family? Can you honestly say that's what you want me to do?"

"No Brie, it's not what I want you to do. But I don't want to pressure you into something you that would cost you your family. Before I met you, I was only existing. My heart was only an organ to keep my body alive. Now with you by my side, I am living. My heart and soul are soaring. It's all because of you that these feelings are awakened. I could never go back to the way I was before I met you. Not after you've awakened...Damn it"

She got so flustered. Running a hand through her hair, she turned away from me so that I wouldn't see the blush that colored her face. I took her face in my hands and forced her to look at me.

"I'm reading a lot into what you are saying to me, Danni. I only hope I am reading this correctly. Are you trying to tell me you love me?"

"Yes," she said softly.

"I'm glad. I have been trying to find the words to tell you. I'm supposed to be the writer, yet those few words you have just spoken to me, put any talent I hope to have to shame. I love you, Danni." With her face still in my hands, I stood on tiptoes and kissed her.

She turned in her sleep as she felt the familiar body join her. Her tired mind told her night had fallen. The house was quiet as her partner kept the promise made on the night so long ago. She knew that with the sunrise she would be alone again. She would enjoy her shadow lover for whatever time they would have.

"I love you, Danni," she whispered.

"I love you, too, Brie, and I always will." she replied, feeling the smaller woman cling tighter to her. She silently begged forgiveness for her part in the hell she had put her partner through. Waiting patiently for the day the illusion could be revealed and they could be together again.

Chapter 10

In the days following the funeral, after all their friends had left, they tried to bring some type of normalcy back into their lives. Brie, Cy and Adriana began this new phase of their lives. A phase that didn't include Danni. Even with the three of them, the house seemed so empty without Danni's commanding presence. Empty and quiet. Until the first little signs started to appear.

Pictures that were moved from their usual place. Danni's favorite music, that had been put away, placed back on the stereo. Brie had noticed these changes immediately, but didn't mention them to anyone. She didn't want them to think that grief had unbalanced her mind. Although, she herself had started to think exactly that.

The only portion of the days that never changed were when night fell. The nights when she continued to feel Danni's presence. She felt the strong arms around her as she slept.

As more signs started to show up, thoughts started taking over most of her waking moments. She came to the decision that she had to talk to someone about this. She couldn't keep this inside any longer if only to reassure herself that she wasn't going crazy. There was only one person she felt comfortable talking to. Cy, the woman who loved them both like daughters.

She placed the baby in her seat as Cy placed a cup of coffee in front of her. Brie motioned for the housekeeper to join her. Brie stared into her coffee cup for a long time before speaking. Cy didn't push, knowing the young woman would speak when she was ready. She looked into sad, concerned eyes as she took a deep breath and began.

"I'm not sure how to say this, Cy, but I'm afraid I may be losing my mind. Or at the very least it's playing tricks on me. Something is going on that I can't explain. Things are happening and I don't know why."

"What type of things?"

"Objects being moved or returned, when I know I had put them away. I am still able to smell Danni's perfume. I know I shouldn't but at times it's as if she had just put it on. It never goes away."

"Child, I wish I knew..."

"But it's the nights Cy. At night I feel her arms around me. I hear her voice soothing me while I am sleeping and I start to think that maybe, somehow...I don't know how she did it, but that she's alive. She survived the explosion." She stated hopefully.

"If that's true, Brie, why hasn't she let you know? Why did she let you go through all the hell that you've gone through?"

"She has to have had a real good reason for it, Cy. I have to believe this. It's that or I really am losing my mind." Brie replied.

"Well if it was all a trick and she is still alive, I just might kill her myself when she does decide to make an appearance. Have you talked to security?" Brie shakes her head no. "Then that's what you need to do first. Isn't it?" "I'm afraid to. What if they tell me it is just my imagination?"

"then you talk to someone else. Doctor Baldwin or even the police. They are going over Danni's car, aren't they? They would know if...if..." She stopped unable to go on. Not willing to get the younger woman's hopes up. Unable to voice her thoughts. She jumped when the phone rang. Silently glad for the distraction. She reached for the phone. "Spiros residence."

"This is Officer Collins. I need to speak to Ms. Spiros." Came the voice on the other end.

"One moment please." Cy put her hand over the receiver and spoke to Brie. "It's Officer Collins. He wants to talk to you."

"Who? Was there an Officer Collins here?" Brie asked.

"Not that I remember, but then there were so many." Cy responded.

Brie took the phone from her outstretched hand. "This is Brie Spiros, Officer Collins. What can I do for you?"

"Ma'am, I need to ask you a few questions, would it be all right to stop over to talk to you?"

"I don't know what else I could tell you Officer. I already told Chief Spencer everything I know."

"We just need to tie up a few loose ends, ma'am. Nothing serious."

"Well I'll be here all day."

"Good. I can be there in thirty minutes."

"Thirty minutes, then." She hangs up the phone and turns to Cy. "I really need you to remember, Cy. Ever see an Officer Collins?"

"Brie, he might be new. But then again the Chief did say he was handling this investigation personally. Why don't you call him just to make sure."

"You think something's wrong with this, don't you?"

"I'm not sure. It could just be my imagination, or that I'm still jumping from Danni's death, but no, it just doesn't feel right. I can't put my finger on why, just that it's not right. It could all be perfectly innocent and he's new on the force."

"All right, I'll call." She picks up the phone and dials. Within seconds a voice is heard on the other end.

"Chief Spencer."

"Chief, it's Brie Spiros."

"Yes Brie, what can I do for you?"

"Chief, it may be nothing at all, but Cy thinks I should call you. I just received a call form Officer Collins and he wants to...."

"Brie, what was that name?"

"Collins? Is he on the force?"

"No Brie, there is no Officer Collins on the force. Why?"

"He just called and asked if he could come over to ask me a few questions, to clear up a few loose ends is how he put it."

"Brie, I am handling this personally. I didn't ask for any assistance. When will he be there."

"Half an hour."

"Good, I'm on my way there. Get security in the house. Do not leave the house. If he gets there before me stall him. Oh and open the garage so that I can put my car out of sight."

"Sure chief." She breaks the connection, but holds the phone turning to talk to Cy. "He's not on the force. The chief said to stall him."

"Good Lord, do you think he's one of the people responsible for the explosion?"

"I don't know. He wants me to get security in here. Would you keep Adriana with you?"

"Of course I will child. Maybe you should call Doctor Baldwin also."

"I really hate to bring them out here if it's ..." From Cy's look she hesitates and changes her mind. "Yeah, you're right. Would you call them while I get security? I'll use the phone in the living room." She starts to leave the kitchen and remembers what else she was told. "One more thing. Would you open the garage so he can put his car in there." "Sure. Go make your call."

Brie hurries from the kitchen to the living room where she takes a long look at the portrait before calling security and explaining the situation. They arrived immediately after getting the call and waited for the chief to arrive. The head of security met the chief as he hid his car in the garage. His face grim. Brie meets him in the kitchen.

"He hasn't arrived yet, Chief."

"Good, Brie, there are a few things we need to discuss. Can we go into the living room?"

"Of course. "

"Higgins, would you have one of your men stay with Cy and the baby?"

"Of course." He motions to one of the guards who escorts Cy, carrying Adriana out of the room.

Brie leads the men into the living room. "Chief? How did you get here so fast?"

"I was actually on my way here when you called. Why don't you sit down, Brie, you look a little pale."

Brie allows him to lead her to the couch. "Look, I am not going to sugar coat this. We think this man is one of the people responsible for the explosion. From what the tape reveals, there are several persons involved who's purpose was to eliminate Danni and make a play for the baby. Thinking that you would be too distraught over her death and be an easy mark".

"You are kidding, right?" The look on his face tells her he's not. "You're really serious. Then if what you say is true, these people are really delusional, because there is absolutely no way I would let Adriana go. Especially with Danni gone, she's my only link to her and the life we shared."

"I know that, but it's obvious they don't. Here's what I propose you do. Let him ask his questions, tip his hand. We may be able to get the whole wheel in this conspiracy and not just a few spokes. But, Brie, in order for you to do that, you will have to appear to be receptive to the idea." She quickly became agitated at the Chief's suggestion. He noticed and quickly continued. "Wait, calm down and hear me out." She nods, but still obviously not happy with his suggestion. "What do you think would happen if we arrested this man today?" She shrugged. "The rest become alerted to the fact that we suspect something and go underground. Or they could make an attempt on you, thereby depriving Adriana of both her mothers. If you at least give the impression that you are willing to listen, we stand a better chance of getting them all. Understand?" She nods. "Good, I can also tell you that after this meeting I will have some information for you on what is going on. I can't tell you yet, as your reactions have to be completely spontaneous. Is there somewhere I can listen to what's going on and still be near in case you need me?"

"Sure, every room is connected by an intercom. You can wait in Danni's...in the office." She replied her voice catching. Sorry, I didn't..."

"No there's no need to apologize, your reactions are perfectly natural."

Brie reaches over and pushes the send button on the intercom, before taking the Chief and Higgins into the office where she pushes receive. She leaves the office with the two men talking quietly.

She didn't wait long for the phony officer to arrive. Before going to open the door she hears the chief say, "This is it. Just remember what I said."

Her hand was shaking as she reached to open the door. The uniformed man standing with his back to the door turned quickly when it was opened. He was tall and dark, his beard and mustache neatly trimmed. His piercing dark eyes took her in from head to foot. The driver of the car that watched the house was more menacing than before.

"Ms. Spiros, I'm officer Collins."

"Come in officer. Oh and it's Mrs. Spiros, Danni was Ms. we preferred it that way." She responded.

"Yes, of course." He stated. His displeasure evident on his face.

"Please come into the living room. We can talk more comfortably there." She leads him to the living room where his eyes go directly to the portrait. A muscle jumped in his cheek as he bit back a remark.

"As I said on the phone Officer Collins, I don't know what else I could tell you."

"I just have a few questions for you...ma'am." The last word spoken sarcastically, which Brie picked up on immediately.

"You seem to be a little on edge Officer. Is something wrong?"

"Oh, no, ma'am." He replied quickly. "I think I may be coming down with something."

Brie thought to herself, 'yeah jackass, it's called homophobia' , She said out loud. "I understand. What do you want to know? I thought Chief Spencer was handling this investigation."

"He is? I mean, he is. He just wanted to see if I could get...uhmm, a different perspective on things."

"I see, well ask away."

"Ms. I mean Mrs. Spiros, you had no idea that someone was trying to murder your..."

"We call it partner, Officer." Brie said, getting testy. "But to answer your question. No. Not that we could report to the police."

"I take that to mean you did notice something's that were quite right?"

"Yeah, but just quirky little things. That could have meant anything."

"So you didn't take any steps at all?"

"We talked about it. Discussed going to the police even with what little we did have. Maybe if we had, Danni would still..." Her voice cracks and she stops. Continuing after she gains control. "Sorry, I'm still a little emotional right now."

"I...understand. You have a child, don't you?"

"Ah, yes, a little girl. She's sleeping right now."

"It's going to be hard raising a child by yourself."

"Possibly, but many women and even a few men do that."

"It may be harder for a person like you."

Brie felt her anger really start to rise. "Exactly what do you mean by a person like me. Officer Collins I think you had better get to the point here."

"Ma'am, I just trying to do my job."

"Then ask your questions, but leave our daughter out of it." Brie replied angrily.

"I can't do that ma'am. She's the reason your...partner is dead."

"How the hell can a child be responsible. She's only five month's old for God's sake."

He gave her an oily smile that bordered on becoming a sneer. "In a roundabout way, not directly."

As the chief listened to the conversation, a voice came through the earphone attached to his ear.

"She's starting to lose it Chief. She needs to calm down or he will never get to the point."

"I know." He whispered into the radio. "Have any suggestions?"

"Yeah. Have to distract her. Get a message to her."

"How?' He asked.

"Phone. It's set up to call each room individually. Just press living room and it will ring only in there."

"Okay." He follows the directions given to him. Immediately the phone in the living room rings. Brie, who is still trying to control her anger at the man seated across from her jumps.

"Excuse me, I need to get that." She walks to the table and picks up the receiver. "Hello?"

"Pretend you're talking to a friend." The chief states. Brie turns her back on the man.

"Hi Steph, what's going on?"

"You sound as if you are getting a little angry."

"A little. It's hard not too."

"I know, but you have to calm down. You can't let on that we are on to him."

"Yeah, it's getting really hard, but Adriana's fine."

"Don't let him get to you." The chief emphasized his words.

"I'll try."

"Good. Just try to set him up so that we can start pulling him in."

"Alright. But it's just so lonely and..." She thought quickly. I just don't know if I can handle taking over the clinic and taking care of Adriana." The man starts paying closer attention to the conversation at the mention of the clinic. "Good girl. Can you see if he's paying attention?" Brie turns and looks at the man, offering him a weak smile.


"Good. Try to keep him that way."

"I will. Thanks Steph. I needed to here that right now. Stop by later. " She hangs up the phone and continues. "Sorry for the interruption. One of our friends checking on me. She wants me to take over running the clinic."

"That might not be a bad idea. Get away from her. From the memories, from this house that screams out what isn't here anymore. So that you can get on with your life." He stated with fake sympathy.

"I don't know. It's hard enough with just the baby, but taking on the added responsibilities of the clinic, might just be too much."

"I just might be able to help you there. I have this friend." Brie thought, 'I just bet you do'. In the office several people thought the same thing. He continued. "She just happens to be looking for a position."

"Really?" Brie replied.

"Yeah. Are you in the market for a uhmm...what do they call a live-in baby-sitter?"

"A nanny or governess?"

"That's the word."

"We had talked about it. Especially if I returned to work. Danni isn't...wasn't the easiest person to work for. She had gone through several secretaries since I have been out."

The chief heard a chuckle through the earphones.

"Well if you do decide to run the clinic, you will need someone full-time to take care of the baby. Or if you really are interested in returning to normal, she might even consider taking the baby. That would free up your time for other matters."

Brie could not believe what the idiot was spouting. The silence became deafening. She had to take several deep breaths to calm herself. When she had sufficiently relaxed herself, she spoke as normally as possible. Only her eyes showed the full nature of her anger.

"What do you mean, Take Her?"

"Just help raise her. That's all."

"That is something I will have to think about. Is there anything else you need to ask me officer?"

"Uhm...no,Ms... Mrs. Spiros. But if there is?"

"I'll be here." She answered, quickly standing, waiting for him to follow signaling that the conversation was over. Brie walked him to the door. Opening it just as Steph was about to ring the doorbell. Steph looks from the officer to Brie and back.

"Hi." She said.

"Hi, Steph, glad you came so soon."


"Steph, this is Officer Collins, he had a few questions to ask me. Officer, This is Doctor Stephanie Baldwin."

"Hello" Steph stated, holding out her hand which the officer shook.

"Pleased to meet you. If you ladies will excuse me. I'll be in touch, Ms...sorry, Mrs. Spiros."

As he leaves, they both watch him until he gets in his car and drives off. Brie pulls Steph roughly into the house, swearing loudly as she closes the door.

"GOD DAMN PIECE OF HORSES ASS SHIT HEAD." Steph grabbed her arm.

"Hey, my friend calm down and tell me what is going on. What did he say to you to put you in this condition? Why was he here?"


"Brie, stop it." Steph commanded as she pulled Brie into the living room.

The chief heard the swearing coming from Brie and another chuckle in his ear. "Looks like I am going to have to talk to her about that swearing again."

"She's on a roll. Let her go. What do you think? Was that one of the voices on the tape?"

"Without a doubt." Higgins replied, as the two join Brie and Steph in the living room where Brie is still spouting obscenities.

"I can't believe the balls on that slimy piece if worm eaten animal carcass shit head."

"Brie, calm down before I turn the hose on you." Steph threatened.

"You don't know what that bastard had the nerve to suggest. God damn..." Steph put her hand over the still spouting woman's mouth as the men entered the living room.

"Chief Spencer, What the hell went on here?" She demanded.

"The man that just left is not a member of the force. We believe he is one of the people responsible for the explosion."

"That put Brie in this state?" She held on to the still struggling woman. "Brie, Stop it. I am not going to let you go until you calm down." She tightened her arms. "I mean it." She stated angrily. "What else did he say?"

"He suggested in a round about way that Brie give Adriana to a friend of his."

"Ahh, now I understand." Hearing the words spoken, Brie started talking against the hand that covered her mouth. "Brie, if you don't calm down I am going to throw you in a very cold shower. Understand?" She nods. "If I let you go I want you to promise me you'll be quiet." She nods again. "Alright" She releases Brie, but stands close by in case she needs to restrain her again.

"I'm all right, Steph. Look I think I need to go up and splash some cold water on my face." At Steph's look of disbelief, she continued. "Really, Steph."

"You have five minutes, then I'm coming up."

"Gotcha" She replied leaving the room. Steph turned to the chief, waiting to hear the entire story.

Brie enters their bedroom and immediately notices a scent she hasn't smelled in over a year. She remembers the first time she smelled it.

We had decided to take a late spring afternoon walk through the same forest we had walked in December. We had finally taken our relationship to the next level. To a place we both really wanted to be. Christmas Eve when our two souls finally became one. We walked slowly, our arms around each other, enjoying the beauty of nature in the spring. We hadn't talked for several minutes, just listening to the sounds of the forest. Danni reached in her pocket and pulled a small cigar like thing and lit it. I could only stare at her.

"I didn't know you smoked?"

"I don't too often" She replied. "I enjoy it once in awhile. Why?"

"How come I never noticed before?"

"Cy would have my head if I smoked in the house. Does it bother you?"

"No," I replied quickly, which earned me a raised eyebrow." How often..."

"Brie, be honest. This does bother you."

"If I said yes?"

"I would stop."

"You would? Just like that?"

"Just like that. I'd do anything for you." She replied. "It's not like I smoke a lot. One or two a week."

"Okay, your turn to be completely honest. Do you enjoy it?"

"Yes I do."

Then why stop? Just because I don't..."

"Brie, I wouldn't want..."

"Danni, listen there is no need to give up everything you enjoy doing for me. Besides, it smell nice"

"Want to try one?"

"No thanks, I'll pass. You can have the pleasure." I replied

The memory of that walk put a name to the smell and she yelled for Steph and the Chief. "Steph, Chief Spencer, hurry!" She heard to sets of footsteps running up the stairs. The found a very agitated Brie. Her small body vibrating.

"God, Brie, what is it? You look upset. What's going on?"

"Steph, do you smell anything?"

She takes a deep breath. "Yeah? What is it?"

"Do you remember those snarky little cigars Danni used to smoke?"

"Of course."

"That's what they smelled like."

"Maybe she had left some around?"

"No, Steph, She hasn't smoked since the day we decided to have Adriana. Thai's not the only thing that's happened. there have been other strange things going on."

"Such as?"

"Oh, pictures being moved, Music showing back up on the stereo, now the smell of those cigars. And at night, I would feel her holding me while I slept. I would feel her body next to mine, her voice in my ear talking softly to me, soothing me, calming me down when things got to be to much. Somehow, I don't know how, but somehow, I know in my heart that she isn't dead. That she survived the explosion. That she's alive and trying to let me know."

From behind her, she heard the voice. "Brie, honey, you're right. I am alive.

Chapter 11

Brie stood rooted to the spot as she stared at her partner, her love, silent from the shock and unable to move. That is until their eyes met. Blue met green and with a cry, Brie flung herself into Danni's open, waiting arms. She was enfolded in those same strong arms that held and comforted her when the night fell. Her shadow lover was no more. In its place was the living, breathing, flesh and blood woman that she loved. She clung tightly to Danni, her sobs the only sounds filling the room.

Steph stood wide eyed and stunned watching her friend's reunion. She watched as Danni leaned down to whisper in Brie's ear. This helped the smaller woman calm down and her tears to stop. Brie took a step back and looked up into the face she held so dear to her heart. Not caring that there were others in the room, she raised her lips to meet Danni's, and she felt the pain of the past few days recede from her mind.

When they separated she asked. "How? ... Where?...I saw?..." She rambled unable to form a complete sentence.

"Easy, love, I will explain everything."

"But?...You?...There?..." she continued to ramble

"Brie, listen, I will tell you everything. First though, it looks like Steph is about to pass out. Hell it doesn't even look like she's breathing."

They walk as one, Brie not willing to let go of Danni for even the short walk across the room. Danni placed her hand on Steph's shoulder to bring her out of the shock. It took a moment before the gray eyes focused on the faces of her friends. Brie's tear streaked face now held a broad smile. It was a smile that Steph didn't think she would ever see on her friend's face again. She would remember this present look for a long time.


Joking Danni turned to the Chief. "Looks like we have an epidemic of unfinished sentences again."

"It's you, Danni. Living, breathing, talking people who are supposed to be dead will have that effect on others."

"So I've noticed. Look, why don't we all sit down. We need to tell you what has been going on. I also have to say that what I am about to tell you can't leave this room."

"Danni," Brie interrupted. "You can't keep this from Cy, Pony and your family."

"You're right. Cy is going to want my head for this. I can only hope that when she hears the whole story, she won't hurt me too badly. Pony, too. Steph, why don't you call Pony. Don't tell her why, just have her come over. I am thankful you were both here for Brie. If this had been real, I know she would have been taken care of."

"Danni, we have been friends for years. Of course we were here for Brie and Adriana. Isn't that why you named us Godmothers?"

"We both did, Steph it wasn't just me. Make your call. Use the phone by the bed."

As Steph made the call, Brie turned to Danni. "What about Mom and Thomas?"

"No not yet. We can't take the chance of anyone else finding out."

"Hey? Wait a minute. How did you know Cy wanted your head?"

"Yes, well, I have heard everything that has been said in this house since the explosion. There were listening devices installed in every room as soon as we knew what we were up against."

"Oh." Brie responded, then thought and said in a louder voice. "OH!!! Danni, you didn't happen to hear me earlier when..."

"Every word Brie. EVERY...SINGLE...WORD...and we need to talk about that later."

"Aaaahhh, Danni, I know...uhmmm.." When Danni arched her eyebrow, all Brie could utter was, "EEEP", as her face turned red.

"That's later. Right now all I want to do is see Adriana."

"I'll go get her." The Chief stated, leaving the room.

"Pony will be here shortly." Steph told them.

"Good, as soon as she arrives, have everyone wait in the living room. Tell them nothing. Okay?" She motions with her head at the door. Steph quickly takes the hint.

"I'll go ask Cy to put some coffee on," Mumbling as she too walked out of the room, closing the door behind her.

"That wasn't very subtle love."

"Good, because I wasn't trying to be subtle. I need to do something and I don't think you want an audience when I do it."

"Danni, look, if this is about earlier and what I said to that jerk..."

"Brie, would you please be quiet for a minute. That is not what I was referring to. I said we would discuss that later. Now is not the time."

"But then WHMPPP" Her words were cut off as Danni's lips captured her in an intensity born from separation. Brie felt the fires of passion, that she had dampened after the explosion, leap into life. Fires that spread their warmth throughout her body, as the two clung together. They separated only when they heard a knock on the door. It opened to reveal the Chief carrying Adriana, who handed the baby to Danni.

"I'll let you know when everything is ready."

"Thanks, Chief." Danni stated as she held their baby tightly.

The three sat on the bed. Danni continued to hold the baby, while Brie rested her head on Danni's shoulder.


Once those who were to be told gathered in the living room, Danni and Brie made their entrance.

The startled, opened mouthed, shocked expressions quickly turned to joy as Pony and Cy engulfed Danni in happy embraces. Cy managed to whisper to Danni. "I will deal with you later". Danni only nodded and swallowed several times. Danni motioned everyone to sit before she started filling them in. Brie never left her side as she told her story. "As soon as we knew about the threat, we put several plans into motion. We notified the chief and asked that he keep it a secret. Which he readily agreed to, a remote control device was set up in my car, so that no one would be in it when it exploded. That morning I went out..."

"Danni," Brie interrupted, "You were in the car. I saw you."

"No Brie. That wasn't me." Danni replied. "When security found the bomb the rest of the plan went into action. That plan was to put a mannequin behind the wheel. One of the security officers operated the car by remote control from the garage. I was no where near the car when it exploded."

The chief added. "We really need to impress on all of you the need for the utmost secrecy in this. This information can not leave this house. If they were to find out that Danni was still alive they could very well try again. We got lucky this time in knowing what their plan was from the start. We might not be that lucky again."

"Why didn't you let anyone know you were alive?" Cy demanded. "Why put everyone especially Brie through the hell of the last week and the horrors of your funeral?"

"Everything had to give the appearance of being real. Your grief especially had to be real. If there had been any other way out of this we would have used it. It's no secret how much we love each other and how the loss would affect the survivor. That depth of emotion cannot be faked. We really had no choice. Believe me. Also believe that I was never more that a few steps away from Brie at any time.

I couldn't let any of you know. It's not over yet. We know they are after Adriana, and until contact was made, I had to stay hidden."

"Except at night." Brie stated.

"Except at night." Danni agreed. "I made you a promise the night before our Commitment ceremony that I intend on keeping. However, it is still necessary for me to remain hidden until this thing is completely finished."

"Well, I guess that means I'm still stuck doing your job." Steph complained.

"For a little while longer, Steph. Sorry."

"All right, but I have to tell you, I do not like your job, and I especially do not like your secretary. Brie, when are you coming back to work?"

"Not sure. We haven't really talked about that yet."

"That's what I was afraid you would say."


"You really owe me big time for this one, Danni."

"Yes I do, Steph, in more ways than one." Danni replied.


After everyone had left, Danni went into the kitchen with Cy, while Brie took the baby upstairs to put her down for a nap. Now that the initial shock had worn off, Brie found herself getting angry at Danni. She thought about the pain and suffering her supposed death had caused everyone, not only herself. She found she couldn't keep still as the anger she felt made it presence known. She moved around the room straightening things that didn't need straightening. Just to keep her hands busy. Through the closed door she could hear the muffled sounds of Cy's voice raised in anger. "She must really be angry for me to hear her through the door," Brie thought. She could only imagine what Danni was having to endure in the same room. She resisted the urge to go downstairs. Danni would join her soon enough, then it would be her turn.

Danni looked like a thoroughly chastised child when she finally entered their room. Her ears still ringing from her talk with Cy. Facing Cy's anger was nothing compared to facing her equally angry partner. She squared her shoulders and waited for the onslaught. She watched the angry, nervous actions of the small blond as she scurried around the room. After several minutes of silence she decided to take the initiative and get it over with.


Brie slammed down the book she was holding, and turned angrily. "No, Danni, don't say anything. Don't you dare say one single word." She shouted. "You have to listen to me now. That morning, when you knew the bomb was there, why didn't you come back and tell me?"

"I thought about it, Brie, I really did, but..."

"You decided to keep me in the dark. You decided that I would be better off not knowing what was going on. Was it you who decided that I wouldn't be able to act convincingly enough?"

Danni shrugged. "Brie, there just aren't enough words to tell you how sorry I am to have put you through that. I am sorry, love." Danni apologized. Brie held up her hands to stop Danni. "Why didn't you have one of the security guards come and tell me? Why did you let me think you were dead?" Her voice raised in anger. "Do you know how much that hurt in here." She puts her hand over her heart. "To think you were gone. You let me think I would never see you again. That Adriana would never get to know you."

"As I said before, your grief had to be real. We didn't know how closely they were watching you or the house. We didn't know where or how close they were. I refused to take that chance with either of you."

"So you put your life on the line. You chanced dying."

"Yes I did. I would do it again to keep you both safe. If I had to choose again I would still do it the same." Danni stated, her own anger starting to rise.

"That night we talked about this, that whole plan was set, wasn't it?"

"Yes, it was." Danni replied.

"You said you would tell me everything but you didn't."

"No, Brie, I didn't. Higgins told me told tell you everything, but I couldn't."

"Couldn't or wouldn't, Danni?"

"Couldn't. I couldn't bring myself to tell you that if this thing failed, you would be alone. Please believe me. I just couldn't look in your eyes and tell you that this world we had created stood a chance of being destroyed." For a long moment there was only silence in the room. Then Danni continued softly. "Brie, are you done yelling at me? Brie turned away. "Brie, honey, please, I love you. It's been a very long week without being able to do the things I have really wanted to do."

Brie remains standing with her back to Danni. "Really. Tell me, Danni, what might that be?"

"I'd rather show you, if I'm forgiven?" She stated softly. For several heartbeats Brie didn't move. Then she pushed the button on the remote control in her hand as Danni's favorite song started to play. She tossed the remote on the dresser and turned and jumped towards Danni, who caught her easily, saying.

"Show me." Brie's lopes met Danni's and she returned the intensity of the kiss she had received earlier. With one hand around Brie's shoulders, Danni lowered her other arm to catch Brie's knees. Lifting her effortlessly, their lips never separating, Danni carried Brie to their bed, where she gently lay her down. The kiss ignited their souls.

Their hands fumbled for the buttons and ties on the clothing that kept their bodies separated. In desperation, Brie grabbed Danni's blouse and buttons went flying in her haste to touch her partner. The rest of their clothing soon followed and was scattered around the room. Laying in each other's arms with nothing separating them they gave into the passion their souls demanded. They both tried to choke down the urgency they were feeling, each wanting to make the moment last, but within a short time the only sounds were the twin set of ragged breathing as their passions mounted. Their hand and lips covering every inch or their partner's body. Soon the clung together as the rode the waves that crashed around them. Calling out to each other.

They held tight as their heartbeat and breathing slowly returned to normal, as their silent tears of joy and reunion slid down their cheeks. For a time they were able to forget that somewhere outside the confines of their home, there were people waiting to rob them of their happiness.

Chapter 12

Many thanks to my good buddies, Barb and Linda, Pat and Patsbard for their help suggestions and corrections in the writing of this little story.

They had woke together, their arms still around each other, and made love again, letting their love shake the last vestiges of sleep from their tired minds. They both knew they would never tire of the feel of the other as their bodies completed the connection their souls had forged. Lying spent they shared a laugh, as the baby demanded her share of attention.

"At least she had the good sense to wait today." Danni stated, rising and putting on her robe as she walked into the nursery. Returning shortly to hand the baby to Brie. Danni smiled at the picture before her. A picture she sorely missed during their separation. Smiling she said, "I have something I would like you to read after. I want to tell you where I was and what I was doing."

"I'd like that." Brie replied.

Danni handed the written pages to Brie after they had a relaxing breakfast. Cy had not yet fully forgiven Danni, but she did show how happy she was at having Danni back.. She made Danni's favorite breakfast and after placing the plate in front of the younger woman, reached up to caress the dark head. This earned her a raised eyebrow from Danni, which she returned with one of her own. A smile touching her lips.

They sat in the living room while Brie read what Danni had written. Danni stood rooted in front of the fireplace, watching Brie's reaction. Her heart beating wildly in her chest.

I can't believe it's been a week since I was last able to make love with Brie. That had to be the longest week of our lives. Brie had it so much worse than I, as she truly believed me dead. I could only watch and listen as she struggled to get her life back together. She has the courage I lack to attempt this. I hated keeping her in the dark, but knew her safety and Adriana's depended on it. I found little ways to make her feel less alone. The moved pictures, music put back on the stereo, and finally when I was able to, that little cigar, I used to enjoy.

I watched the car drive off that morning, the guard manipulating the remote control, as I remained safely hidden in the garage. He did as I had instructed and stopped the car in view of the window, where I knew Brie would be waiting, expecting the wave and the kiss I blew at her each morning. Those gestures would not go to her this day. It's funny how the strangest things run through your mind at times like these. I was suddenly grateful I wasn't wearing anything Brie had given me.

Once we knew the bomb was set, it was only a matter of dressing the mannequin in my coat. Again I was glad of my choice of outwear. With my coat on the mannequin, the guard strapped it behind the steering wheel, while I positioned the hands where I normally placed them while driving.

I noticed how badly my hands were shaking as I reached to turn the key in the ignition. Again glad I thought about removing that one key from the key ring. That key ring was half of a matching pair we had picked up on our trip after our Commitment ceremony. It meant too much to let it be destroyed. With the car started, the guard began to push buttons and move levers to make the car move. This was actually the most dangerous part, as the radio waves from the remote control could possibly detonate the bomb. We held our breaths as the car moved. Not believing it didn't blow up. We now stood a chance of pulling this crazy stunt off.

The car started slowly down the driveway. I hoped they stuck to their plan about a five-minute delay. Any change would shoot this plan down the tubes and we would have given ourselves away. The car was far enough away from the house when the five minutes was up. The bright flash followed by the explosion rock the house. The next sound to reach my ears, as pieces of the car started raining down on the lawn were Brie's anguished scream. I wanted to go to her, but the guards started to pull me away to the security room. I refused until I knew Brie was safe. Her cries could still be heard. Then they were silenced. The only sound was the burning wreck. I was told later that she had collapsed. I so desperately wanted to go to her, but as the house was probably being watched I couldn't take that chance. Couldn't put her and Adriana in danger. As much as the voices on the tape said they were not to be hurt, I couldn't take that chance. I finally let them take me to the room where I would be able to listen as this drama unfolded. I soon had an earphone firmly and constantly attached to my ear, so that I would hear every word she spoke. I don't think I could have made it if I couldn't hear her sweet voice.

I lost count of the number of times I had to be almost physically restrained form going to her side. It was only at night, after everyone was asleep, that I was able to sneak into hold her while she slept. That was the one point I was adamant about. I had made her a promise that I intended on keeping. The nights would be spent holding Brie in my arms. She knew. Even in sleep she knew I was there with her, holding her in the dark. I would feel her tense body relax as I pulled her into my arms. But with the dawn I was back to being her shadow lover.

I insisted on being near her during the rituals that marked my passing. Disguising myself was not all that hard. A short wig, phony colored contact lenses to disguise the color of my eyes, a suit borrowed from one on the guards, and a few lessons on how to walk like a man, and I was ready. I would be able to be close to Brie.

The day of the funeral was the closest I came to completely blowing my cover, when I spotted the woman responsible for all this standing very close to my beloved. The guards were able to read the signs and grabbed my arms to hold me in place, shaking their heads no. Every single fiber of my being wanted to just rip her head from her shoulders, and it took many deep breaths to calm the fury I was feeling.

I listened to the words Brie spoke as she stood alone next to the grave and the ones she later spoke in our room. My heart broke into a thousand pieces. A heart that only her love and forgiveness could heal. As I wiped the tears from my eyes, I made a silent promise that no matter what, no matter how long it took, I would do whatever was necessary to earn back her love and forgiveness. I knew if I had to live without her love, I would have rather never met her. I would have made myself be satisfied with never having tasted that part of life. That part that is her. I would have turned into a lonely, bitter woman who had never lived, merely existed. Yet having known Brie, having her touch my heart, I knew I would never be able to harden it again. For without her love there would be nothing left to harden.

When the phony cop finally arrived all the puzzle pieces began to fall into place. I had seen him before. I knew the incident in February and this one were related. This person sitting with my partner, my love, was also sitting in the front seat of the car that tried to run me down. He was the connecting link between the two attacks.

Brie surprised me with her vehement outburst when he finally did leave. Which reminds me I have to talk to her later about that swearing before Adriana is old enough to pick up on that. I would like her first words to be mama or mommy, not hell or damn. I have to give her credit, though, she is a feisty little one. My gentle partner is quite the little hell-cat when she needs to be. And those creative exclamations had me laughing.

I only hope that when this woman and Brie actually meet face to face, that Brie won't physically attack her. God only knows how long before they make contact again.

Danni stood in front of the fireplace while Brie read the handwritten pages Danni gave her. When she finished reading, Danni waited for her to speak.

"Thank you," she finally whispered, joining Danni at the fireplace. Brie ran her fingers up her partner's exposed arm. "For what?" Danni questioned.

"For letting me read your thoughts. For never being too far away. For holding me when the nights got too long and lonely. For loving me, and for a thousand other things you have brought into my life." She replied

"Then you are most certainly welcomed, love." Danni said softly, gently pulling the smaller woman into her arms, kissing the top of the head that rested lovingly on her shoulder. "I also need to thank you, for loving me enough to forgive me for hiding the truth from you."

"Danni, I do understand when you felt the need to hide the complete story from me, but please don't ever do that again. " Brie begged.

"I promise sweetheart, never again."

"Ummm...Danni, about this swearing thing, you have to realize the...umm...pressure I was under at the time this all took place, don't you?''

"I understand, Brie. Seeing how you could forgive me, I think it's only right to let this one slide. This time anyway."

Brie raised her head from Danni's shoulder and said. "Hey" A raised eyebrow silenced her. "Okay I'll try not to let it happen again." Brie looked up to see the eyebrow still hidden by Danni's bangs and quickly realized why. "I'll put my head back where it belongs." she stated meekly. "You know one of these days that brow is going to like being up in your hairline and stay there. "

"Nah, I have it trained good." Danni chuckled. "Besides how would you know when you've gotten a rise out of me."

"I love you, Danni."

"I love you, Brie."

They held each other for several moments, enjoying the feel of their two hearts beating as one.

They froze when the phone rang.....


by Psyche-b

chapters 13

The phone continued to ring. Brie finally emerged from the trance she fell into when Danni nudged her, to pick up the receiver. Danni stood close by, listening and offering silent support.

"Hello?" She stated softly.

"Mrs. Spiros? This is Officer Collins." Brie jumped at the name. She took a deep breath to control her rising anger. Danni placed a comforting arm around her to help her gain control.

"Yes Officer Collins. What can I do for you? Do you have more questions you need to ask?"

"No...Uhm...mam...Do you remember my saying that I had a friend who was looking for a private position?"

"I remember."

"I spoke to her about the possibility of your needing someone, and she would like to come over to talk to you about applying for the position. Would it be possible to bring her over?"

Brie took a nervous breath and looked up at Danni, who nodded. "That would be fine"

"Great. How about now?"

Brie once again looked at Danni who shook her head, 'no', and held up three fingers. Brie nodded in understanding. "Well actually, Officer Collins, now is not a good time. I'm in the middle of going...over Danni's will. How about three this afternoon?"

"Three it is then. Thank you. Ms. I mean Mrs. Spiros." The line went dead as Brie continued to hold the receiver in a white knuckled grip.

Danni reached to take the receiver and had to pry Brie's fingers loose, before she can replace it in the cradle.

"Brie" she said softly. Calling a second time a little louder before getting the younger woman's attention. "BRIE. Come on love, let it go." Danni brought her hands up to massage Brie's tense shoulders, and felt them relax slowly.

"Danni what are we going to do?" Brie asked

"First of all, we are going to call Chief Spencer and security. Then you and I are going to sit here and hold each other. I won't be able to be with you when this meeting takes place, but I will be close by, and I will be listening to every word spoken."

After she made the necessary calls, Danni sat with her arms around Brie neither spoke a word. Ash held in their thoughts. When the chief and security arrived their plan was outlined. Brie sat tensed by Danni's side, her every nerved coiled, coiled ready to break. Her face void of all color. Once all the questions had been answered, the chief said.

"Look we have a few hours before this meeting, why don't you both go upstairs and relax while we set all the equipment up."

"That's a good idea, chief." Danni stated as she stood and held her hand out for Brie, who grasps it with her own very shaky hand. Together the walk upstairs. Brie went first to the nursery to check on the baby, while Danni straightened objects on the dresser. Not because they needed straightening, but because she felt the need to keep her hands busy. She heard the soft music of the baby's play mobile in the background and smiled. Brie slipped in behind Danni and put her arms around her partner's waist laid her head on Danni's shoulder. For awhile neither spoke. Danni took Brie's hands in her own and turned to face her love.

"We have a few hours to wait. What would you like to do?"

"That depends on my options, Danni"

Danni leans down and kisses Brie lightly. "Well, we have several choices." She kisses her again, this time a little longer and deeper.

"One, we could sit and talk." Another kiss and Danni starts to unbutton Brie's dress. "Two, we could take a little nap?" Another deeper and longer kiss and finishes unbuttoning her dress. "Or three, we could make love?" She pushes the dress from Brie's shoulders, with a kiss that left them both breathless. She took a step back and the dress fell to the floor. "It's your choice, love."

"Oh, the third, "Brie stated. "Definitely the third"

Danni smiled and gathered the smaller woman in her arms and carried her to the bed, clad only in her undergarments, laid her gently in the middle of the bed. Danni quickly shed her own clothes and joined Brie. Side by side, skin to skin, Danni brought her arm around Brie's shoulders and pulled her on to her chest. Their lips met as their hands traveled familiar sensitive areas. Their mouths also found these areas. For Danni, it was the area just below her ear and for Brie at the junction of her neck and chest. The sensations brought about by the nibbles and licks raised goose bumps on them. Brie released the area under assault and headed down Danni's body that blazed a fiery trail, which she followed with her lips. Danni's hands never stilled as she traced gentle patterns on Brie's back.

Moving gently to her sides, she urged her to continue. She swallowed the urge to take control and let Brie dictate their actions. Their bodies moved in unison, slowly, in order to prolong the moment until the intensity grew and they gave into the demands for release their bodies cried out for. Together they climbed the mountain of passion, until the intensity of their love took them both over the edge, leaving them breathless, their hearts hammering in their chests.

They relaxed in the afterglow of love in each other's arms. Brie still lying on top of Danni as their heartbeats slowly returned to normal. Danni flipped a blanket up over Brie's back. With her head still on Danni's chest she listened to the beats slow. "That was intense" She said. She felt rather than heard the soft chuckle from her partner. She raised her head to look into Danni's eyes.

"That it was my love," Danni replied. "That it certainly was. You are fantastic"

"Can I ask you something?"

"Of course"

"Don't take this the wrong way, but, why did you..."

"Let you take control? Lead the way?"

"Yeah. That's not something you like to do is it. Give up that control?"

"You're right. I don't often let go of command. But, Brie, We're partners, in every sense of the word. In life, at work, and most importantly in love. Right?" She nods. "Well, I think it's time I started treating you as an equal partner. You know there are very few people who I actually trust to give up that control to. You my love lead the pack by a very, very, wide margin." While she talked her hands never stilled under the blanket as she traced the contours of Brie's body.

"Oh I like that." Her mind was on the sensations Danni's hands were reawakening.

"What taking control?"

"That too, but actually I was talking about what you are doing right now." She glanced at the clock. "We still have plenty of time, you know."

"You are insatiable." Danni laughed, deftly turning them over. "My turn"

She said with a twinkle in her eye as she leaned down to capture's Brie's lips with her own.


By two thirty, all the plans were set. Tape recorders and video cameras were hidden through out the room. The intercom was set to send, and the one in the library was set to receive. A security guard was stationed in the nursery, with Cy and the baby where he would remain for the duration of the meeting. Additional officers and security were stationed around the house and grounds.

When they heard the car pull up everyone took their assigned positions. Danni was the last to leave Brie's side. As she held her, she whispered words of encouragement. "Remember, love, I will be very near." Brie nods. "I love you" Giving her a quick kiss.

"I love you, Danni" She broke away when the doorbell rang. She didn't move until Danni entered the library. Before the door closed Danni gave her a quick wink. Brie walked slowly into the hall, taking a deep breath, she opened the door to the three people standing there. Besides Officer Collins was a small blond whose hair was several shades lighter than Brie's, and a rotund greasy looking man in a wrinkled suit, whose tie showed signs of several meals. Brie stood back to admit the three. Her nose wrinkled with the less than clean smell of the man as he walked in.

"Ms...Mrs. Spiros, I would like to introduce my friend, Maureen Riker and her attorney, Henry Tranks."

"Mrs Riker, Mr. Tranks" She acknowledged, and shook their hands, desperately she wished she could wash her hand after shaking hands with the lawyer. "Please come in. We'll be more comfortable in the living room."

She motioned them to go first. "I'm a little confused, Mrs. Riker. Why did you feel the need to bring a lawyer?"

The woman looked around the room. "Lovely room." Her brown eyes quickly took in the room and narrowed when they settled on the portrait. Her lips curled into a sneer that she quickly covered. "I asked Mr. Tranks to be here today in case we reached any agreement that might need a contract."

Brie winced as the lawyer gave her an oily smile, as his eyes ran down her body.


In their hiding place, Danni leaned over and asked the chief, "Tranks?"

"Ambulance chaser, real scum, Don't know how he is still able to practice law."

She nods in understanding and listens to the intercom.


"I see Mrs. Riker, but as I told officer Collins, I am not yet ready to return to work. It's only been a few days since the funeral, and I am still nursing the baby. She need me to be here."

"I fully understand, Mrs. Spiros." She replied in a sickly sweet false voice. "But when you are ready, this mundane chore will have already have been taken care of."

Brie looked into the brown eyes that stared at her and saw something that lurked just below the surface of the act she was putting on. Only one word popped into her head. 'deranged,' Yes she thought, 'this woman is deranged'.

"Is something wrong Mrs. Spiros?" She asked.

"What? Oh no. I was just trying to place where I have seen you. You look so familiar."

"Well I did work for your...Partner at the clinic."

"That must be it. If I may inquire. Why did you leave?"

"Of course you can. I have nothing to hide." She replied

'Yeah right' Brie thought. In the library Danni whispered the same thing.

"Working in a maternity hospital really brought home the fact that I can't have children."

"I see. I'm sorry to hear that. Being a mother is one of the most gratifying experiences in my life. But you and your husband can always adopt."

"My husband died last November."

"I'm sorry to hear that. But you are still young and..."

"NO." She interrupted angrily. "Never again."


In the library Higgins nodded. "That's her. That's the woman's voice from the tape, chief."


"You shouldn't give up on love, Mrs. Riker. You may find it in the unlikeliest of places." Her dislike for the three people that sat with her rose and she came to a quick decision and hoped that Danni wouldn't be too angry with her for not sticking to the plan. But she felt the need for a very long very hot shower. "You shouldn't turn your back on love, or close your mind to love from another area."

"Like you?" She snapped. "You dare called that type of perverted relationship, love?"

"Yes, I dare. What Danni and I shared is no less real than the love you and your husband shared."


"What the hell is she up to?" Danni whispered fiercely, starting for the door, only to be stopped by the chief.

"She's forcing their hands." He stated. He spoke into the radio. "Be ready, this thing is deteriorating rapidly."


"That's disgusting" The blond shouted, her voice no longer sweet, but hard and menacing. "I'll tell you about your so called love and your precious family. You only have that child because you stole what is rightfully mine."

"Just what the hell are you talking about" Brie demanded, equally angry. She stood, as the blond was suddenly very close.

"The man who fathered that child was my husband. That child is the only part of him that remains in this world."

"I see. Well where does that leave you. He signed a contract giving up all rights to the child."

The lawyer quickly positioned himself between the two women. "That leaves my client as legal stepmother to that child."

"EXCUSE ME. I carried her for nine months, I gave birth to her. I am her mother."

"Wrong!! Your dead partner," She sneered at the word, "was the mother. We all know about the little deal you had. You used my husband's sperm to fertilize your lover's eggs. You were just the body they used to carry the baby to term. Which was as disgusting as your relationship was. And I will take the child. She's mine." She screamed. Her last tenuous hold on sanity gone.

"I don't think so" Brie stated." You'll have to kill me before I let you within ten feet of my baby."

"Oh goodie. I so hoped you would say something like that." With a scream she leapt at Brie. "I'll just eliminate you like I eliminated that bitch" Brie was surprised by the sudden attack as she felt the hands close around her throat.

Chapter 14: Conclusion

As the hands closed around her throat, she heard the voices behind the closed door. 'All personnel converge' was the order given. She struggled to draw a breath, as the fingers tightened. Danni was out the door and at Brie's side in a heartbeat. She pried the fingers from Brie's throat. She did not let go once she accomplished the task. She held those hands in her strong ones, the anger flashed in her eyes as she applied pressure. The sound of the bones being snapped filled the room and forced the woman to her knees. The men just stood there and starred at the angry apparition before them. Police surrounded the group, to cut off any escape plans.

"You're dead!" The phony officer stated. "There was no way you could have survived. We put enough explosives in that car to wipe..."

"Shut up you fool." Tranks ordered, as his hands were pulled roughly behind his back and he felt the cold metal of the cuffs bite into his wrists.

Danni still held the woman's hands in a vice grip, as she refused to let go until she felt Brie's hand on her arm. When she did finally let go she grabbed Brie in a tight hug.

"Are you all right?" She questioned, her voice shaky.

"Yes, love, a little scared, but I'm okay."

Danni pushed Brie back a little and lifted her chin to see the marks on her neck. Her worry turned to anger. "Just what the hell did you think you were doing?" She demanded to know.

"Danni. Listen, I know you're mad...."

"Briana, I am way past being mad. If we hadn't been here, you would have been killed."

"But I wasn't. I knew you were near. I had to end this, Danni. They were making my skin crawl. You can yell at me later, but for now I really need for you to hold me. I need to feel your arms around me, to tell me it's really over. Please, Danni?" She suddenly felt very shaky.

She felt the strong arms engulf her and heard the voice low in her ear. "We will finish this later, Briana, I promise you." Danni felt Brie relax in her arms.

The police chief gave them a moment apart before he spoke. "Danni, we have enough evidence with the tapes, what we heard and saw here today and your testimonies to slap several charges on the lovelies. Looks like we will finally be able to send you stinking butt up too Henry old boy. Say good bye to your law degree. Although it does look like our lady friend is headed for the psychiatric unit after she gets those hands fixed. Danni you do realize you broke both of them."

"Yeah, I know. She dared to put those hands on Brie, Chief, she's lucky I didn't break her blasted neck."

"I know, Danni. Why don't you get Brie out of here while we clean up. Get some coffee or something. You both look like you could use it."

"Good idea. Would you like some coffee?"

"No thanks, Danni."

She nods. "Come on love, let's get out of the way." Danni takes Brie into the kitchen, where if not for Danni's arm still tightly around her she would have fallen when her knees buckled. Danni helped Brie to a chair. "Brie, honey? Are you all right?"

"Yeah...I...uh...everything just closed in. Danni, it is over? Right?" She felt Danni's arms tighten in support.

"Yes love, it's over."


When they finally re-entered the living room only the chief and head of security remained. A box holding the evidence sat on the table. Danni helped a still very pale Brie to the couch. "Been quite a day hasn't it, Chief?"

"That it has, Danni. Look, I hate to bring this up, but I'll need you both to come down to the station for your statements."

"Certainly. When do you want us there?"

"If you feel up to it, now would be good, or as soon as possible."

"How about it, Brie? Feel up to this?"

"Yeah, just let me check on Adriana first."

"Of course."

"I want to get this done now." Brie stated.

"Okay, when you're ready."

He picked up the box and walked out as Danni and Brie went upstairs to check on the baby. Security drove them to the station.


They returned two hours later, pale and shaken, to a waiting worried Cy. Who took one look at both and ordered. "You both, get upstairs, I will bring a tray up. I don't want to see either of you until tomorrow. Understand?"

"Thank you, Cy." Danni answered as she helped Brie upstairs.

"Oh, one more thing, Danni. Don't you dare yell at her now. You wait until tomorrow for that too." She finished with a smile.

"I won't yell today." Danni promised.


The trial was over before it actually really started. Once the evidence was presented to the court, both men decided to plead the Alford Doctrine, and were sentenced immediately. Collins, for his part in both murder attempts received twenty years in prison. Tranks lost his license to practice law and received a five year prison term. Maureen Riker was sentenced to the psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane until such time, as any she would be competent enough to stand trial.


Summer came quickly and with it days of doing little at the end of the work day, except lounging by the pool. Danni returned to work after the whole story, detailing the plot to kill her and the lengths she went through to protect her family, broke. Brie also returned to work, after Danni's last receptionist was last seen running, screaming out the door. For the first few weeks she only worked mornings as she slowly weaned the baby. She found she missed Adriana more than she thought possible.

At seven months, Adriana already showed many of Danni's traits. She was smart, quick to recognize and differentiate between her two mothers. She took to the water quickly and laughed, as she went from one mother to the other in the pool, while they marveled at their special child.

One such evening, they were joined by Steph and Pony as the friends planned a cookout. The baby was in her playpen away from the water as the adults talked. Brie brought Pony a drink and noticed that their partners still had their heads together in what looked like a very serious conversation. She remarked to Pony. "They're still at it I see. Wonder what's so important?"

"Don't know Brie, but Steph has been making a lot of strange phone calls lately that she won't tell me about."

"Well, I think it's time we break up this little conference. What do you say?"

"Right behind you, kiddo"

They walk to where their partners stood by the bar-b-que grill. Brie demands. "Okay. What are you two up to?"

"Brie, honey, what makes you think we're up to something?" Danni asked innocently. "That my drink?"

"Danni Spiros, are you going to tell me or do I have to get rough with you?"

"This sounds interesting." Pony kidded her friend.

"Honey, it's just clinic business." Danni stated.

"Uh huh. Sure it is."

"Have I ever lied to you?"

"Not lied, but there have been times when you haven't told me the complete truth, Admit it, Danni,"

"Ahem...yeah well.." Danni was aware of the smirks on the faces of their friends. "What are those smirks for?" she demanded glowering at them.

Brie hit her arm. "Danni, be nice." she ordered which caused Pony to laugh.

"Danni my friend, you are so busted. I never thought you would be tamed and by such a little chit as Brie" Pony taunted.

Brie waited to hear Danni's response.

"She certainly did, Pony." Danni pulled Brie close and kissed her. "She certainly did."

"Good answer, love." Brie replied.

"I can't believe it. What a wuss you turned into."

"Pony, you leave Danni alone." Steph ordered. It was Danni's turn to laugh at Pony's discomfort.

"Pony, my friend, it looks like we've both been tamed. I don't know about you," She kissed Brie again, "But I really like it."

Pony took Steph in her arms and kissed her. "So do I, Danni."

"Another good answer both of you." Brie poked Danni's chest, "So are you going to tell us what the heavy discussion was?"

Danni sighed. "Yes, love, I will. We actually were discussing the clinic when Steph brought up the fact that Adriana was seven months old."

"I know that. I was there, remember?"

Well, do you also remember when we were discussing starting a family we decided to have the children fairly close together?"

"Yeah. Continue."

"I told Steph she could start making some inquiries to get the ball started. That is if you still want to go through with this, considering all the trouble we've had since Adriana was born."

"What kind of question is that? Of course I do." She stands on tiptoes and kisses Danni. "Do you know how much I love you?"

"I have a good idea, but you can refresh my memory later if you want to."

"You are on, love. So take it easy on that stuff. I want you in good shape later.

Danni's eyebrows leapt into her hairline. "Well Steph, there's your answer. The boss has spoken."

The four friends laughed together and relaxed. Finally.


In the following months their search for the father had ended; their cycles were still within a day of each other so Brie only had to undergo the hormone shots to help more eggs to mature. It was an ordeal that had her climbing the walls. At times so short tempered, that Danni had to remind herself that it was the shots that had turned her gentle partner into a screaming banshee. Danni was hard pressed to be as patient as possible. She swallowed down many angry words that would have led to many arguments. Once her part was finished, and the fertilized eggs were implanted into Danni, she calmed right down. Before the first month was up, she awoke each morning to the sound of Danni's agony, much like she went through for Adriana.

Three months had elapsed and Danni was already wearing maternity clothes, having quickly outgrown her own. They joked that the baby would be a bruiser. They went together for the ultrasound. Danni lay on the table as Steph ran the wand over her protruding stomach, while Brie and Pony watched. Pony held the shutter control to take the pictures when Steph ordered. The baby was quickly spotted on the monitor above Danni's head.

"You guys want to know what the baby is?"

"Of course," Brie answered.

"Your daughter is quite the little exhibitionist, Danni." Steph said moving the wand. "Picture." She ordered as Pony hit the button. She leaned in closer to the monitor for a better look.

"Something wrong, Steph?" Danni asked. "What do you see?"

"Umm...Danni could you turn to the left just a little?" They watched as the image shifted when Danni moved. "Picture" She ordered again. It was then that Brie noticed what Steph was looking at and started to giggle. This started to anger Danni.

"I asked what you see." Danni said through clenched teeth. Brie nodded for her to continue. Steph cleared her throat.

"Do you remember what I told you about multiple births being more common with the procedure we used."

"Yeah, and?"

"Well... Danni...Ahem...It looks like...uh?"

"Damn it Steph, spit it out."

"You are carrying twin girls, Danni."

Danni was silent for a moment as the news registered.

The nurses at the front desk heard her roar when it finally hit her.

"TWINS" And they laughed.


A news brief scrolled across the television set in the lounge. "MENTAL PATIENT AND FORMER NURSE ESCAPES FROM THE PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL FOR THE CRIMINALLY INSANE........


or is it......

I want to thank my good buddies, Barb, Linda, Pat and Pat'sbard for all their help, support and suggestions during the writing of this little piece. Guys you have done a fantastic job once again. I couldn't have done it without you. I know Danni is not happy with me right now and I don't know how much sleep she'll let me get in the future. I can only hope Brie will be able to calm her down for me.

Thanks again for all who have taken this ride with me. It has been a labor of love. Claire


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