Love's Many Blessings

by psyche-b

Disclaimers: This is a story of two women who love each other. If this sort of thing offends you, please do not go any farther, (or further, whichever applies). If you are not old enough to read this please come back when you are older. I promise not to destroy it until you are of legal age, and if you live in a state where this sort of thing is illegal, please move as I don't have the time or energy to fight the cyber police.

This little piece is part three of the continuing story of Danni and Brie. This is my very own creation that has sprung from my fertile and oh so warped little mind. A story that started with Child of Love and continued with The Family that Love Built. While not necessary to read the first two there will be references to them in this story. If you have not read either of these stories and wish to they can be found at the Academy of Bards.

There is a resemblance to people we all know and love. In fact by their physical descriptions they could all be identical twins. I do not want to infringe on anyone's copy writes or things of that nature. No disrespect for the powers that actually do own them.

Sexual disclaimer: Yes there will be sex between many of the characters. Some could be a little close far side of an "R" rating, but nothing "X" rated.

Violence: Yes there will be some, again nothing explicit. There will be the aftermath of a struggle and some violence, but nothing graphic. No one loses his or her heads. Sorry MaryD.

Bad poetry warning: Thank you: This hasn't changed. You can still find them in chapter 1. I have returned from Orlando, and while I didn't get any writing done, I did pick up a few ideas that I will incorporate into the story. Thank you Pups for the ideas you have given me. Also I sent out chapter 1 without a title because I really don't do titles well and asked for help. Many pups offered suggestions. All of which were excellent and I have them book marked for future use. This title came from Eb, who lives in Alabama. Thank you Eb.

Any ideas, suggestions,or general comments can be sent to gwieniechi@yahoo.com

 

Additional Disclaimers: My friend Eb will be making another appearance in this chapter. There will also be appearances in the future for other friends to drop by for a visit. If anyone would rather not pop up in this story please let me know. Otherwise, you can never tell what will happen.

So without any more disclaimers, Chapter 1

PROLOGUE

In a small dingy apartment across the state line, a slightly built dark haired woman sat with several men as they talked. Their hushed tones as she pointed to a map and several large pictures of a house on the table in front of them. The pictures showed the house with snow people standing on the front lawn, as well as shots taken from different angles. Their plan was set. All they needed to do now was to wait until their contact at the clinic told them their target had been admitted. They would move then to take the child.

Chapter 1

For the first few weeks after the ultra-sound, Danni walked around in a daze. She couldn't believe it. Just her luck to be carrying twins. Thoughts that changed the day they were able to hear the heartbeats of both the girls. Both were steady and strong and changed her outlook entirely. She no longer went around thinking, 'just my luck,' but now thought, 'how very lucky I am.'

The babies were both active. Again she lucked out as they had their active and quiet times together. She had heard of women who had multiple births getting very little sleep during their pregnancy due to the fact the babies had different active times. She was still able to sleep most of the night, except for those times when she had to use the bathroom, which as the babies grew became more and more frequent.

They were due in middle July, but as the time grew near, Danni became eager and restless for their arrival. She started working shorter hours. Often going in later and leaving earlier so that by Memorial Day she was barely working four hours a day. Even with the shortened hours she still felt drained. Her energy level had been decreasing steadily for several weeks. She finally talked to Steph who assured her everything was fine and to just cut back on the work and worry. That what she was feeling was natural and cutting back on the work and worry would not only help her but help from driving both her and Brie crazy. Brie had also called to ask the same questions.

In the proceeding months, Adriana had started walking and her vocabulary grew by leaps. She definitely started showing many of Danni's characteristics. She was a bundle of energy that was constantly in motion. Brie had no trouble picturing Danni at that age and her respect for Danni's mother jumped right off the respect scale. She kept the three of them hopping, with each new discovery. They were hard pressed to keep ahead of her in baby proofing their home. Each day seemed to bring a new favorite discovery. Her latest being a sudden fascination with the wide curving staircase and they were constantly on their guard. Danni finally had to have a fancy gate installed to keep their precocious youngster from climbing the stairs.

With the warmer weather, they started spending more time out doors. The three of them would take walks around the property. Never straying too far from the house and always carrying a cell phone with them in the event the twins decided to be born early. Danni had been having pains on and off for a few days and they didn't want to take the chance of being caught too far away when the time came. Brie was kept very busy watching her two loves. They both needed plenty of watching and she tried not to let them out of her sight.

They sat together, by the newly opened pool. Neither brave enough to actually get into the still chilly water, they sat on the edge and dangled their feet in the pool. This helped relieve some of the swelling Danni had been having in her legs.

Danni had been feeling irritable for days. She had trouble dealing with the forced inactivity that was definitely NOT one of her stronger points. The mandatory rest was just a small worry, but the one worry that stuck out above the rest was the woman who had disappeared from the mental hospital the day they learned Danni was carrying twins. The same woman that had tried to kill me with a bomb in my car. The same woman who had planned to kill Brie in order to get to Adriana.

She had yet to be found.

Extra security had been added, as well as a direct link to both the police station and the Chief's home. Every call coming into the house was monitored. No one left the house with out a security officer with them. So with everything that was taking place Brie needed some way to make her anxious partner relax.

Brie had to come up with some creative entertainment to keep Danni from driving her crazy. Finally after a little of thought and a lot work she came up with an idea that would be exciting and pleasurable for both of them. She decided to recreate one of the most special times in their lives, their Commitment ceremony. They had just celebrated their anniversary quietly the week before and the thought of having a party to celebrate the event, fired her imagination. She thought back to that day and the events leading up to it.

It's hard to believe that in a little over a week Danni and I will be legalizing our commitment to each other. I know I really should be mad at Danni and Pony for going out and getting trashed tonight, but I can't. I should know better than to let those two go anywhere alone. Who would have thought that a simple thing as choosing a dress would be turned into an all day drink-a-thon for them? From what Steph and I could gather they not only hit every dress shop in a 50 mile radius they also hit every bar. God only knows how they were able to actually get Danni's dress picked out.

Danni was so cute tonight when Steph and I finally found them, thanks to the call from the bartender. She looked like a little child who had been caught doing something naughty when she saw us walk into the bar. They are both going to hate themselves in the morning for this little excursion. I will probably have to do some heavy fielding with Cy over this. She was not too happy with Danni when we finally got her home.

The night before the ceremony I decided to stay with Steph. Danni was not happy with this but she gave in to me when I pouted just a little. I did start to question this decision when Pony walked in with a box containing junk food some very questionable videos and the curious clinking sound I heard could only mean one thing. These two were planning on having one heck of a blowout. I was glad our friends from Florida had come in earlier to help keep an eye on them. I don't doubt Cy would do an admirable job, but those two can be slick when they want to be. I really hope Barb and Linda can make it for the ceremony. They were trying to find someone to baby-sit their turkey project while they were gone. Jo and Tonja had also arrived earlier in the day and would be staying with Steph and I tonight. Danni won't be the only one having a party. To be on the safe side Steph and I made them both promise they would not leave the house tonight. I was actually surprised when they both readily agreed.

Danni walked me out to Steph's car and gave me a kiss that set my soul on fire. Her words to me gave me chills when she whispered, "after tonight nothing this side of death will ever keep you from sleeping by my side". I know she watched for a long time after we left. We had a good time that night. I think I rambled for several hours while everyone politely listened to every story I told about our last two years together. From that first meeting up to and including today.

I sat up long after everyone else had gone to bed thinking about our lives and how we never felt complete unless we were together, when I heard Danni's voice as it filled my mind. Was it just my imagination? Was she really talking to me? Are we so in tune with one another that we can hear each other's thoughts? I listened to her words and sent my own, "I love you too Danni," on the wind. Only then was I able to sleep.

I was dressed long before I needed to be for the ceremony. Why all of a sudden did I fell so nervous? Danni and I love each other. This would be a very special chapter in our lives. I don't know how many times I paced from one end of Steph's house to the other, while my friends watched and smiled. I lost track of the time Jo threatened to hog tie me if I didn't sit down and relax. It was finally time to leave. We needed to be at the restaurant before Danni. Don't know why exactly, but that's what I was told.

I waited in a closed room while Danni was in the main hall. I could hear her voice from time to time whenever the door was opened. She sounded more nervous that I was and sent Steph out to talk to her. Steph returned a short time later with the real funny look on her face. She commented on my dress. "It's the color of Danni's eyes isn't it. You know Brie, you two really do think alike."

I wondered about what she meant for a minute but only for a minute because she was then opening the door and walking out as the music softly played in the background. I let her get to her place before I started out the door myself. My eyes caught Danni's and she drew me to her side. It was then that I noticed what the comment Steph had made actually meant. Our dresses although different in color were exactly the same. "Wow. We really do think alike." I thought. I felt her hand take mine in her strong grip and hold it protectively as the deacon read a poem we had both chosen. We said our vows to each other as we placed the rings we had picked out on each other's fingers.

Danni tipped my head up and her lips met mine in a kiss that conveyed a beautiful promise. When we finally parted we were both breathless. "God," I thought. "We still have to get throughout dinner and this party before I can collect on the promise she gave me with that kiss. It's going to be a long night."

Brie's thoughts were interrupted by a soft nudge in the side. She turned to look into Danni's smiling eyes. "What to tell me where your thoughts were just now?"

"Sure. I was just thinking back to our commitment ceremony and how you promised so much that night with just one kiss."

"And...?"

"And you have kept every one of those promises." She leaned into the arms that held her securely. Their hearts singing their song of love in perfect harmony.

Danni kissed the top of Brie's head as it nestled on her shoulder.

Before they knew it June was half over. Danni had less than a month to go in her pregnancy, when she was forced awake. She had been irritable all day, finally admitting that she was troubled by a backache and was unable to find a comfortable position. She glanced at the clock, surprised to see they had only been asleep for a short time, after spending a long, lazy, and totally enjoyable exploration of each other. She was a bit disoriented as to what had awakened her. She lay quietly for a few minutes when the pain hit, and she quickly realized why she woke. She waited and timed the contraction. Hesitant to wake Brie unless this was the real thing. She had one false alarm already and wanted to wait to make sure this was actual labor before waking everyone. She decided to get up and walk around. Danni slid out from Brie's arms, and stood by the bed. Once she had donned her robe she stood and watched Brie sleep. She smiled as Brie frowned slightly in her sleep and watched as her hand sought her missing partner. A sea green eye opened to take in the empty bed beside her. She sat up quickly and sent a questioning glance at her partner. She didn't need a medical degree to understand what was happening. She was instantly awake.

"How far apart are the pains?"

"Not sure. Something woke me up and then I felt the pain."

"Just one?"

"One that I realized."

"Let me call Steph, then I'll get Cy."

"Brie, wait. They could have just started. I'm not even sure how long I have been having them. There is no sense in waking everyone up yet. Especially if this another false alarm."

"Danni, this is no time for that too tough routine."

"Brie, honey listen to me. Let's just wait a few minutes to see if I have any more."

"How long ago did you feel the last pain?"

Danni glanced at the clock. "About five minutes ago."

"Five minutes and you woke up when? "

"God I'm not sure, Brie."

"Take a guess, Danni."

"Maybe a couple minutes before that."

"So we are quite possibly looking at maybe seven minute time span here. Correct?"

"Yeah. I guess."

"I'm calling Steph, then we are getting you to the clinic."

"Brie...."

"Why don't you get dressed while I make the calls. Unless you want to parade around in just your bathrobe. While I have absolutely no problem with that, other people might." She gave Danni a little push toward the bathroom as she reached for the phone.

"All right, Brie, you win."

She smiled. "I usually do, Danni."

Within 30 minutes Danni was safely tucked into a bed at the clinic. The monitors picked up the strong steady heartbeats of both the babies as the pains continued.

In the staff lounge a call went out with a cryptic message. "She's here and it looks like she's staying....."

Chapter 2

Steph met them as they walked into the clinic. From one look on Danni's face, she knew this was it. This wasn't a case of false labor. The nurse admitted her and got her into one of their deluxe model hospital gowns. Steph was in shortly after to check the labor's progress. She made notes on the chart in her hand as she recorded Danni's vital signs. She then examined Danni to check on how far she was in her labor. She was surprised at the results.

"Danni, how long have you been feeling the pains?"

"Maybe forty five minutes an hour tops. Why?"

"Well my friend, you are well over half dilated. Are you sure about the time?"

"No, I was sleeping at the time and something woke me. It was then I felt the pains."

"How did you feel today?"

"Not too bad?"

"Danni?" Brie interrupted. "Tell her the truth. Steph, she been miserable all day. She's had a backache and a lot of pressure."

"This backache, was it a steady pain or did it come and go?"

"Periodic pain, Steph."

" The pressure, did it seem worse when your back hurt?"

"Yeah. And I needed to go to the bathroom each time."

Steph smiled at her friends. "Danni, that was no ordinary backache. You were in labor." "It didn't feel like labor pains are supposed to feel...." She stopped as a pain took hold. She held onto Brie's hand. Steph timed the contraction and noted the time the machine recorded. Danni was panting by the time the pain ebbed. Once she was able to speak she stated. "Now that felt like a labor pain."

"Labor comes in all forms my friend. Sometimes you have the kind of pains you just felt, or it could be in the form of back pain, or even just the feeling of bad cramps, but you have definitely been in labor for awhile." "I still have almost a month to go, are the girls all right?" Danni asked with concern.

Steph checked the heartbeats. She watched the fluctuation of the readout for a long time and frowned at the numbers. Danni watched her friend's face as she concentrated on the monitor. "Steph? What's wrong? I don't like the look on your face right now."

"Danni, one of the babies heartbeats isn't quite up to par right now. Don't be alarmed. This can happen at times during labor."

"If this is a so normal, why are you worried?"

"Hey, that's my job, remember. I'm the doctor here. You pay me to worry about those little details."

"So what do we do? Is there anything we can do?" Brie asked.

"Yeah, you both can relax. We will monitor this very closely and if it continues then we will intervene." "That means exactly what, Steph?"

"It means, that if she shows any signs of distress we will speed this process up. I would like to see if you could have them naturally first. Your pressure is up, Danni, you need to relax. That could help also."

"Just how the hell am I supposed to do that?" Danni asked angrily. "You just said one of the girls could be in trouble. How do I relax knowing that?"

"Danni," Brie interrupted. "don't yell at Steph. She's trying to help you. She's being cautious. Come on love, calm down. You relax and I'll do the worrying, all right?"

"Brie,..."

"No listen to me. If you are upset, it could affect the girls. Right, Steph?"

"Exactly right. The process of being born is hard enough on them and they don't need you adding to it. Her heartbeat could very well straighten out as your labor progresses. Would you like me to give you something to help you?"

"No, I'll try to do this on my own."

"Good. I'm going to send the nurse in to finish getting you ready. Try not to scare them too much. All right?"

"Steph, better make it someone who isn't afraid of my partner to handle her little outbursts." Danni's eyebrows reached her hairline as she scowled at Brie. "Don't give me that look, Danni, it won't work on me. I'm not afraid of it. Besides, you are in no condition to even follow through on those scare tactics."

"Want to bet on that?" Danni smiled, reached up and pulled Brie close.

Brie slapped her hand. "Be good, Danni, You need to relax."

"Yeah, but this will help. You know how much this relaxes me." Danni pulled Brie in to kiss her. Her hands gently massaging the younger woman's back.

Steph cleared her throat. She knew from her experiences with her friends, that they had forgotten she was in the room. Brie pulled back blushing a deep shade of red. Danni smiled innocently.

"Danni, none of that right now."

"Why not? I seem to remember you allowing this same thing to happen just before Adriana was born."

"True but this is different."

"Exactly how?"

"Because I said so."

"Is that right. You seem to forget I sign your paychecks."

"Really? Well my friend, you seem to forget yourself that I am the doctor here and you are my patient. You stopped being my boss the minute you walked into the clinic tonight. I give the orders and like Brie, I am not afraid of you. Now I need to get Eb, your nurse in here to finish getting you ready. I know you won't be able to bully her. Brie would you come with me while Danni is being prepped?"

"Sure, Steph." Brie leaned over to kiss Danni. "Be good." She said again, before following Steph out the door.

Within minutes the nurse walked in.

Danni tried her best scowl on the nurse, but was surprised when she just smiled back. She finally gave up and let Eb do what she had to do.

Once they were out in the hallway, Steph took Brie into the lounge, where she poured them each a cup of coffee. Brie took the cup from Steph, took a sip and waited for her to talk. Steph walked to the window and stared out at the stars, thinking. The silence stretched out, and made Brie start to worry that Steph was more concerned about the baby than she had let on.

She was indeed worried about the baby's heartbeat. Yet she wasn't sure how to tell her friends that. She thought back to how upset they both were when the first implant didn't take and they had to try again.

After the implant, I knew Danni had followed my orders to the letter. We wouldn't know until after the first month if it worked. The procedure at best had a fifty-percent success rate on the first try. I watched my friends as they became more excited as the month's end came closer and pass, only to have their hopes fall just two days later, when I received the news, that the procedure failed. Danni shocked me with the level of sadness she felt. Which meant that they would have to try again. If they still wanted to. I knew the hell and havoc the hormones they both took reacted on their lives. Their deep love is what enabled them to overlook the stress and tension to reach the end. This meant at least another two months of the tension for them. I wasn't surprised when they both said they would continue. The second time we were lucky and the procedure worked.

Then to find out she was carrying twins, I laughed at her reaction to the news. I couldn't help it. I knew it wasn't funny to her. I watched Brie struggle to keep from laughing, but when Danni shouted "TWINS", she couldn't hold it back any more and joined Pony and I. I was amazed at the calming influence Brie had over Danni at that point. She was even able to keep Danni from going off the deep end when we found out Maureen Riker had somehow escaped for the hospital and was free to torment them yet again. Yet through it all they managed to hold everything together.

Brie watched Steph as she stared out the window. She knew her friend was lost in thought and waited patiently for her to say what she had to. She had no idea of the internal struggle Steph faced. They hadn't been told of the call that had been monitored by security as coming from the clinic. A special undercover Security officer was stationed only a few feet away from Danni's room and another shadowed Brie.

Double guards were in place at home to protect Adriana and Cy, the minute Danni and Brie had left the house. Exactly how much they would be told was left up to Steph. Steph knew the last thing Danni needed was the added stress and worry about how safe Adriana was.

Pony had gone to the house the minute they were notified of the origin of the call and was waiting for a call from Steph, to move Adriana and Cy to a safe location. To make that decision she needed Brie's permission. She turned to face her friend who waited expectantly for Steph to talk.

"Brie" She started. " I need you to listen to what I have to say. To listen to everything I have to say."

"That sounds very serious, Steph." Brie replied. "Is it something to do with the baby? Is there something wrong that you didn't want Danni to know about?"

"Brie, listen. Yes I am a little concerned about the baby's heartbeat, but that is not the problem. It's not life threatening. Now hear me out. Please?"

"All right. What's wrong?"

"Shortly after Danni was admitted, I received a call from Higgins." She held up her hand when Brie jumped. "Wait... Please. It seems there was a call that was made from here stating that Danni was admitted. This is not the first strange call that had been picked up. The police have yet to find out who made the call. All we know at this point is, it was a woman's voice and made from phones here in the clinic." "What was said?"

"Just that Danni was admitted, that you were here with her and now was the time to move. Higgins suggested that both Adriana and Cy be moved to a safe location. Pony is at your house waiting for me to call her to give her the go ahead."

"Where will they be taken?"

"Right here so you can all be guarded in one spot."

Brie didn't need to think for a second. "Do it." She said. Steph nodded and pulled out her cell phone to make the call. She waited for the phone to be answered. One ring... two... three...

The phone sat discarded on the table ringing through the empty house...

Chapter 3

The sound of the phone echoed in the empty hall, as it continued to ring. The large vase of flowers that normally sat on the table in the hallway lay shattered on the floor. The water from the vase mixed with the crimson drops that dotted the rug, and turned the water to pink. The sliding doors to the living room were off the tract and furniture overturned. The front door left open.

One man lay just inside the door. His eyes closed. A large angry lump oozed blood on the back of his head and trickled down his neck. Another man was near the living room in much the same condition. As the phone continued to ring.

Then there was silence.

Steph listened for a long time, to the phone, as it rang in her ear. She cast nervous glances at Brie, who sat perched on the edge of the chair. She watched as Steph finally shut the phone off and shook her head. Steph then redialed and waited... and waited...and waited. She got the same results as the last time. "Still no answer." she said worriedly.

"Could it be Pony's phone isn't working?"

"We check them both every night before we go to bed. They were working fine."

"What about trying the house phone?"

"That was the second number I called, Brie."

"That doesn't necessarily mean something is wrong. Right? I mean they could be on their way here right now. Couldn't..."

Steph shook her head, which stopped Brie. "If that were true, why did Pony leave her cell phone?"

"What about security? Huh? They might be able to tell us something. There is always someone in the control room."

"I'll give it a try." Steph dialed the phone, only to hear the same unanswered ring in her ear. Brie watched as Steph's face paled and went to her friend. "Something's wrong, Brie, there's no answer there either."

Brie clutched Steph's arm as the thought and the pain of worry hit her. She doubled over as if kicked in the stomach. Steph dropped the phone and grabbed Brie as the younger woman slumped against her. She helped her back to the couch and made her sit down, before picking up the phone and dialing the police chief.

Within seconds she had the Chief on the phone. She started talking before he had a chance to even say hello. "Chief, This is Steph Baldwin. I think you need to send someone over to the Spiros house. There may be trouble."

"Hold on Dr. Baldwin. What is going on first of all."

"Well Danni and Brie are here in the clinic. Danni is in labor. Their security picked up a call from the clinic that was rather threatening. My partner went over to check everything out while I talked to Brie about this. Higgins suggested we move everyone here. To which Brie agreed. I tried calling Pony's cell phone, the house phone and even security and there is no answer. Brie and I are really worried that something might have happened."

"All right I will be there shortly to check and get back to you."

"Thank you, Chief." She hung up the phone and put her arm around Brie. The younger woman was pale and shaky beside her. "He's going right over Brie."

"Steph what about Danni? How do I tell her what is going on?"

"Brie you know Danni, Even in labor, if you tell her there is something wrong, she is going to rush home. You can't tell her anything, at least for now. As soon as we hear back from the chief we can deal with it. I can knock her out if I have to. Right now you need to compose yourself my friend, because she takes one look at your face and she will know something is going on."

"I don't know if I can do that Steph."

"Brie, you have to. For the twins sake, you have to."

"Steph, how serious is the baby's heartbeat?"

"Brie, it has the potential to be a serious problem, but that is always a possibility with any pregnancy. Not just this one."

"But Steph, we were so careful. We made sure she ate right, got plenty of rest and exercise and..."

"Stop it Brie." Steph ordered. "Stop trying to second guess the situation. Like I said earlier, it could very well straighten out as the labor progresses. It isn't anything you could have done or not done. These things happen a lot. Especially with multiple births. If I thought either were in any danger I would have already done a section on Danni."

"You're not just saying that are you? "

"That is the truth, Brie. I am a little worried but that is because I am a doctor and your friend. I am more worried about what has happened at your house. I think I might just give Danni something to keep her butt in that bed. Not enough to knock her out, but something to relax her, before the Chief gets here. Are you ready to go back in there?"

"Yeah I think so."

"Good, let me get what I need and we'll go together."

One man started to move slowly. He opened his eyes cautiously as he felt the bump on the back of his head. He sat up gingerly and looked around at the mess that the hallway was in. the throbbing pain in his head intensified as he slowly tried to stand, and forced him to grab the door frame to keep from falling back down. He held onto the wall as he made his way to where the other man lay.

He somehow managed to keep a precarious hold on his consciousness while he made the slow trip to the open door a few feet away. Once he had gained his objective, he sat down next to the still man and check to make sure he was still alive. He breathed a sigh of relief when he felt the slow steady pulse.

"Higgins?" He said softly, the sound of his own voice amplified in the quiet and made the throbbing worse. He took a deep breath, gritted his teeth and tried again. "Higgins, Come on Skipper I need you to show me some sign of life." He turned Higgins over unto his back and cradled his head when he noticed an identical lump on the back of the security Chief's head. "Skipper, come on, you need to wake up. You have to try."

Higgins groaned as he started coming back to consciousness. His eyes fluttered open briefly and shut quickly. He licked his lips and whispered. "Call police."

"I will. You hang on, buddy." He stood once again. His legs still as shaky as before and made his way to the table where he picked up the discarded Cell phone to dial the police station.

"This is the Spiros residence. We need you to send officers to the house immediately. The house has been broken into. Also send an ambulance." He managed to get out, before the room started spinning on him and he slumped to the floor. The phone still clutched in his hand.

Pony felt the moving vehicle bounce along the road. From her position she couldn't see where they were headed, not that she would have been able to see much in the darkness. There weren't too many lights from any on coming traffic so she could only guess they were on a back road. She felt for her cell phone knowing that before she tried that it was gone. She could see feet without moving too much and cautiously raised her head to see who it was. Under the quick illumination of the car's interior from the streetlights, she was able to make out who the other person was. Cy held the still sleeping baby. Her face white with fear. A soft touch on her foot eased some of the tension as she looked quickly down into Pony's eyes. A slight upturn of the woman's lip silently assured Pony she was unharmed. She looked at the sleeping child in her arms. Pony placed her hand back on Cy's foot in her own form of reassurance. She saw Cy stiffen as the car suddenly stopped and heard the woman's voice.

"What the hell is going on here..."

Chapter 4

Pony felt the door behind her move as it opened. She turned to try to see who the angry voice belonged to, but the dim lights made it next to impossible. She felt herself being pulled out of the car. Her legs were numb and rubbery from being in a cramped position for so long.

Cy was escorted more gently next to her. The baby still asleep in her arms. Pony was able to get her first good look at the woman. Her eyes widened in recognition. On legs that still trembled, she moved quickly to stand in front on Cy and Adriana, to protect them. She looked in shock as the woman just smiled at her defensive stance. The words spoken to her sent a chill up her spine.

"Well, well, well. What do we have here? If it isn't the good doctor queer. You know of course that you are not really necessary, here and that makes you very expendable. In fact the only one who isn't is that child." She looked from Pony to Cy and back to Pony, all the while keeping that insane smirk on her face.

Pony heard Cy's sharp intake of breath as the woman reached to take the sleeping child. Pony heard her own voice as she reached to stop her. "You touch that baby or Cy in any way and I will take you apart with my bare hands." To her surprise the hands stopped and were pulled away.

"Such brave talk from one who doesn't have any right to live."

"Why because I am Gay? Who decided that you have the right to make that sort of judgment."

"Get them inside before someone sees them here." She ordered and pointed to Pony. "Tie that one up until I decide what I want to do with her."

Pony felt something hard jab her in the back. She knew from the feel that it was a gun and knew that if they were to make it out of there safely she needed to keep her head and wait for an opportunity to get them all to safety. She put her arm around Cy's shoulders and helped the older woman. She leaned in close to whisper, "We'll find a way to get out of this." Cy only nodded and kept close to Pony.

* * * * *

The chief walked cautiously to the open door. He saw the two men unconscious on the floor and quickly checked both before calling for medical assistance and additional police. He stayed with the men until the ambulance arrived. The officers had arrived just before the ambulance and were searching the house and grounds for any information as to what had transpired.

Higgins had regained consciousness while the Chief waited. With a great effort he was able to tell part of the story. "About thirty minutes after one of my men took them to the clinic, we picked up a transmission from the clinic. The attack came shortly afterwards. I was upstairs with Cy and the baby to take them to be with Danni and Brie at the clinic. It would be easier to watch them all if they were in the same location. That's when I heard the commotion...." He faltered in his story.

The chief understood and didn't push for more facts until the security head was able to collect his thoughts from his still rattled brain.

"I...ahh...I came downstairs to find the front door kicked in... Matt unconscious by the living room... Is Matt all right? "

"The EMT's are checking him out right now. Higgins, can you continue?"

"UHmmm...yeah.... I ummm.... I saw Matt and tried to go to him but there were these two intruders with guns... and I was able to keep them from reaching Cy until someone hit me over the head... That's all I remember."

"Would you recognize either of them if you saw them again?"

"Yeah, I...uhhh... think so."

"Okay, you just take it easy."

"Chief, Check the control room. The alarm should have been sounded but wasn't"

"Higgins, I will send an officer there immediately. You go get check out at the hospital, I'll take care of things here."

"Someone has to tell Danni and Brie..."

"I'll get everything coordinated here and get to the hospital to tell them what has happened, personally." The Chief moved away from the injured man to allow the EMTs to be able to check him out. He talked quietly with the officers as they stood waiting for their orders. One man left the room, only to return within a short time with bad news.

"The control room was empty. Who ever was supposed to be watching the monitors had left his post. I gave a quick look around the outside. There was no sign of a struggle. Looks like he just walked out."

"Damn" the chief cursed. "Can this get any more complicated?" He walked back to the security head and asked. "Higgins, who was on duty in the control room tonight?"

"New man. Been here about a month...Is he all right?"

"Don't know. He's missing. What do you know about him?"

"The usual. We did a background check on him...everything was clean...His name is Troy Masterson. You can find his file in the top drawer of my desk in the office..."

"All right, I'm going to take that file with me, but will get it back when I'm finished. Looks like they are ready to move you. I have to get to the clinic to tell Danni and Brie what happened. I will check in on you at the hospital after I see them."

The security head nodded weakly as he was put on the stretcher and wheeled out the door. The chief followed close behind.

* * * * *

Brie stood and stared out the window for a long time. Her thoughts centered on their missing daughter and friends. She wanted so desperately to leave but knew that she would stay by Danni's side. The not knowing what was happening was driving her to distraction. So deep in thought she didn't hear Steph talking to her and didn't react, until she felt a hand on her arm. She turned sad, worried eyes to her friend.

"Danni's ready to see you. You have to get that look off your face before you go in, Brie. One look and she'll know something is up."

"I know, But, I have to tell her Steph. There is no way I can keep this from her. She has a right to know. The sun rose and set on Adriana."

"No Brie, that distinction is reserved for you. Adriana and the twins are an added bonus to the love you have for each other. Look I have a way to keep her calm and it just might help the baby's heartbeat in the process. It does mean I will have to give her something to keep her mellow. "

"You do what you have to do. If you tell her it's for the baby, she just might not fight you." "Good, Eb is getting the shot ready. But one word of caution, do not say anything until it kicks in. Do you think you can fake happiness for a short time?"

"I'll certainly try."

"Good. Let's go check on her then." They walked out of the lounge and into Danni's room where the monitors softly beeped in the background. Steph checked on the babies' progress while Brie leaned over to kiss Danni. Their eyes met over Danni's shoulder. "Looks like things are progressing very nicely, Danni. The pains are barely 5 minutes apart."

"How about the baby's heart beat?"

"I am still a bit concerned about that, but there is something we can do."

"Which is?" Danni demanded

"It will mean having to give you a very mild sedative and just might help the baby out in the process. I know you wanted the birth to be natural, but..."

"Steph, Never mind what I wanted...." She paused as a pain took hold.

Steph watched the monitor closely during the contraction. She went back to the readout of the previous contractions and frowned at what she saw. Brie watched Steph's face closely.

"What is it? What do all those squiggly lines tell you Steph?"

"I won't try to gloss over anything here, but every time there is a contraction, the baby's heartbeat drops. Which gets slower with each contraction. I am starting to get worried now. We might not have a choice here guys. To save her I may have to do a C-section."

Danni and Brie looked at each other, and gathered the strength they both needed. Brie nodded slightly and Danni turned to Steph. "Do it, Steph. Do everything you can to save her. To save them both."

"I will my friend. Tell you what, I can give you a spinal which will allow you to be awake to see your daughters born, if you would like."

"Yes, we would both like that."

"Okay, let me get Eb back in to prep you. I'll go get ready. Brie why don't you come with me so you can get changed."

"Be right there Steph. Just give me a minute all right?"

"Sure, I'll go have the staff get the delivery room ready." She left the room as Brie climbed up on to the bed with Danni and held her tightly.

Danni felt the tremors go through her partner's slim form. "Hey love, easy. You heard Steph they have a better chance this way."

"I know Danni, I'm just a little scared."

"We'll be all right. There is only one problem that I can foresee right now."

"Yeah?" Brie sniffed and wiped the tears from her eyes. "What is that?"

"I won't be able to wear a bikini?" Danni joked.

Which caused Brie to laugh in spite of the worry. "Danni, you don't even own a bikini let alone wear one."

"Hey you know, you are right. I guess it's not a problem is it then, babe."

"I love you, Danni."

"Love you to. Go get ready." Danni kissed the head that rested on her shoulder.

"Okay, see you shortly, love."

"Count on it."

Brie slowly climbed off the bed and walked to the door. She gave one last look at Danni, who smiled back at her, before she left the room. She joined Steph at the nurses' desk, where she dropped her head into her hands. Eb placed a comforting hand on Brie's arm before she moved away from the desk.

"Hey, Brie, easy there. At least you didn't have to tell her anything about Adriana being missing."

"I know, but it's not only that Steph. It's also that Cy and Pony are also missing, You have to take the twins. What are their chances with the section?"

"Brie, their chances are good. They are only a few weeks early. We won't have to worry about underdeveloped organs. I'm not even worried about their weight. This problem could just be because of the labor and will straighten out immediately after birth. This is not all that uncommon. Try not to worry so much. Let me do that all right?"

"Who is going to assist you? Pony isn't here to do it."

"I've already arranged with one of the other doctors, who is already on duty tonight. So that's covered. Come on; let's get changed. It won't take Eb long to get Danni prepped."

They walked into the changing area and then to the scrub area. By the time they had finished, Danni was being brought into the delivery room. Brie lowered her mask just long enough to kiss Danni, then moved out of the way so that the anesthetist could get her ready. "All right Danni I need you to turn over onto your left side and hold very still. This will feel extremely cold, but please don't move. It is imperative you don't move."

She turned with help, and felt her back exposed to the air. She grasped Brie's hand. Her only reaction to the cold was a sharp intake of breath. Within seconds she lost all feelings from the waist down and she was slowly positioned on her back. Steph was at her side as were the delivery nurses and an unfamiliar doctor. "Hey where's Pony? I figured she'd be here with you."

"She's away from the clinic and can't get back here in time so, Susan's here to assist me." Steph stated quickly. "If you have any objections I don't want to hear them until we have finished." She ordered.

"Hell no. I don't have any objections at all. Hi Susan."

"Hi Danni. Are you ready for your daughters?"

"As I'll ever be."

"All right. Now how about you just be quiet and let us get to work. Everyone ready?" Steph looked around the table to the staff who all nodded. "Good. Scalpel." She ordered......

Chapter 5

Pony felt the hard edge of the gun as it pressed in her spine. She placed a protective arm around Cy and helped her into the building. In the darkness, the outside looked like a small cottage that had seen better days. The inside did little to cheer her. The faded wallpaper hung in large strips from the walls. What little furniture the room had was dirty, torn and old. She took a quick look around at her surroundings. Most of the windows were intact, which meant they would be protected from the elements, should the weather decide to change. A change that could very well happen, due to the fact that it was only the end of May.

The cottage if fixed up properly could actually be cozy. A fire blazed in the fireplace, keeping the night chill from the room.

Pony helped Cy over to the battered couch where she sat, still holding the sleeping child. They both kept their eyes on the dark haired woman before them. Not trusting this obviously disturbed woman, They knew only keeping their wits and waiting for the opportunity to arise, in order to make their escape. Pony knew trying something as tricky as an escape would be dangerous under the best of circumstances. With Cy and Adriana to think about, she couldn't take a chance on a half backed idea working. The best she could do was to bide her time and hope that she wasn't tied up or moved away from Cy and Adriana. She would not and could not leave the two of them at the mercy of the woman. They would leave there together. They were her responsibility and she would not let them down. She looked at Adriana and her thoughts and prayers went out to her mothers and the eminent birth of her sisters.

* * * * *

The chief walked into the clinic shortly after Danni was taken into the O.R. He waited in the empty room for his friends to return. He needed this time alone in order to choose his words carefully. "But, just how the hell am I going to tell them, that their eldest child had been kidnapped." He thought. "This is going to call for very delicate wording, especially with Danni just giving birth. I just hope the doctor can keep her from rushing right out of here."

The atmosphere in the operating room became charged with anticipation, as Steph felt the scalpel as it was slapped in her open hand. Her fingers closed instinctively around the handle as she moved it to the correct position. With a steady hand she began the first incision, a straight line from just below the navel to mid pubis. The nurse gently swabbed the thin line of blood as it welled up along the cut. Steph dropped the used instrument into the basin near the table and held her hand out for the next knife to be handed to her. The next cut went in deeper. "Clamp" She called as she gently pulled the two edges apart. She clamped the edges open and that instrument followed the first. The procedure was repeated until she was looking at the outside wall of Danni's uterus.

Brie held tight to Danni's hand as Steph started the section. Their eyes locked onto each other. Their attention focused only on each other as the operating room staff worked. They were secure in the knowledge that Steph would let them know when their daughters would be born. They were lost in each other's eyes as they let the rest of the world disappear into the background.

* * * * *

The woman sat at the broken scarred table. Her brown eyes twin mirrors of hatred, as she looked at Pony. The man at her side talked in a hushed tone. Pony strained to hear what he was saying. She was only able to catch a word or two, but what she heard gave her a small measure of hope that she would be able to get the three of them out of this situation unscathed. She watched at the woman's eyes lit up at what was whispered to her. Her insane eyes took on a glaze as she slipped farther and farther from reality. She nodded frequently as the man continued to talk. When he finished, she smiled for the first time since they arrived. A smile that did little to dispel the knot Pony felt in the pit of her stomach.

She stood and walked to where the three sat. "Well," She said in a very menacing tone, "This seems to be your lucky day, Doctor" She sneered at the last word. "It seems your worthless hide might just be worth more alive than dead. You can thank Richard for the fact that you are still in one piece. You see he's convinced me that seeing how I now have the child that was stolen from me, I am going to need some money to take proper care of her. How much do you think you two are worth? What will your queer friends pay to get your worthless carcasses back? Think two million is a fair amount?"

"How do you expect them to get that kind of money?"

"It really doesn't matter to me how they get the money as long as they get it."

"You can't possibly think they will pay two million dollars and not get their daughter back."

She never saw the slap heading her way. Her head rocked from the force of the blow. "That's my child, not theirs." She screamed. "Mine, stolen from me for the measly sum of twenty thousand dollars."

"She wasn't stolen from you." Pony argued. "Your husband signed a contract with the Danni and Brie to father that child. He was paid for the service he rendered. The money he was paid, helped insure you were given the best possible medical care, because he loved you and didn't want to lose you."

"Oh please, spare me that sickening drivel. I've heard it all before. That child should have been mine and I intend to make sure she stays with me at any cost. The money I get for you and the old lady will help me raise her in a proper home. Not one inhabited by degenerates, who will teach her God only knows what type of crap and ruin what ever chances she has for a normal life."

Pony prudently kept quiet as she realized that arguing with the woman was a waste of time.

She smiled again and turned her back on Pony. As she walked back to the table she called for paper and a pen. She waited until the requested items were brought to her before sitting and composing the note. She spent several minutes writing. When she finished it, she handed it to one of the men and stated. "Bring that to the clinic and make sure you aren't caught delivering it."

He folded the paper and tucked it into his pocket as he walked out the door.

* * * * *

The operating room was quiet as Steph stood, poised to make the final incision.

The low steady sound of the fetal monitors was the only sound for a minute as the scrub nurse wiped the sweat off Steph's forehead. She held her hand out for the final scalpel she would need. She made the incision into the uterine wall. "Clamp" She called out and waited until the clamps were in position. Before she continued in the procedure she stated to her friends, "Hey you two, if you want to see your daughters born, you just might want to join the rest of us."

They pulled their attention from each other to the activity at the middle of the table. They both nodded as Steph smiled and reached down. "Ready with the suction?" She asked.

"Yes." Came the reply.

"Here we go then." She slowly lifted the first baby who started crying almost immediately, as her mouth and nose were suctioned out. With each breath her lungs expanded and the fluids pushed out. Her arms and legs flailing at the sudden change from the nice warm place she was to this cold air. Steph placed her on Danni's legs as she reached in for her sister. She gently lifted the smaller baby. She cradled her protectively as her mouth and nose were suctioned, but unlike her sister, the only sound was the gently suction. There was no cry as the silence filled the room.

 

Chapter 6

Time stood still as the staff worked on the infant, willing her to breathe. For a very long minute the only sound was the suction. Even the first child, sensing the problem with her sister was silent. Steph looked briefly at her friends and renewed her efforts when she saw the hope for their daughter's life. Her mothers waited. Hands clasped tightly. Their eyes on their tiny daughter praying that she would take that first precious breath.

When the soft sound did come, she grinned broadly beneath her surgical mask. The soft cry slowly intensified as her lungs expanded. With the crises passed her twin joined her cries. The operating room filled with the sounds of the two babies. The tension eased as the chorus continued. Danni and Brie cried along with their daughters. Their tears of joy flowed freely down their faces.

Steph held up the umbilical scissors and asked. "Brie? Are you up to this?"

She looked at Danni who nodded. "Yes, Steph. I am, now." She released Danni's hand and walked to stand in front of Steph, who handed her the scissors and showed her where to cut the cords. Both babies were now on their own. She looked at Steph who nodded and picked up the smaller child as Steph picked up her sister and brought them to Danni.

Danni looked lovingly at the two small bundles cradled in her arms. Each had a very light colored down covering their heads. Twin colored eyes zeroed in on hers. Eyes that touched her soul and filled her heart with overflowing with love.

Her eyes met Brie's and though no words were spoken knew what the other thought. Brie lowered her mask long enough to gently kiss Danni as both women smiled.

The nurses took the babies for their first bath and clothes, while Steph finished closing the incision. They were brought back to their mothers for a short time before being taken to the nursery and the incubators that awaited them. When Danni was taken to the recovery room until the spinal anesthesia wore off, Brie went to her room to wait. She was surprised to find the police chief waiting for her. He met her before she was halfway across the room and helped her to a chair. She was pale and shaken as she collapsed into the chair. He gave her a moment to collect herself before asking. "How are the babies?"

She took a deep breath before she answered. "We had a scary time with one of them, but, she started breathing. We hope she'll be all right."

"You know the staff here will do everything in their power to make sure she's fine."

"I know Chief. I have to ask you, is Adriana Safe?"

"Brie, I wish I could tell you yes, but I don't know."

"Would you tell me everything, please."

"Yes Brie, There was a break in at your house. We received a call from one of the security guards, who also requested an ambulance."

"Ambulance? Who was injured?"

"Two of your security men. Higgins and Matt were both knocked. Higgins was semi-conscious by the time I arrived."

"Will they be all right? Was there any one else injured?"

"Yes they will and no, no-one else was hurt, that we know of. Higgins was able to fill me in on most of what happened."

"And?" She questioned.

"It seems that shortly before the attack, your security picked up a call from here at the clinic. The call stated that in part that Danni was here and to move right away. Guards were place inside the house to protect Cy and Adriana. Higgins was upstairs when he heard a crash and went down to find the front door kicked open. Matt was unconscious and two men with guns standing at the foot of the stairs. One man went up and brought Cy and Adriana down. It was at that time Doctor Carter arrived and tried to protect them."

"Was she hurt?"

"Not that 'Higgins could tell, just threatened. There was a third man who can in behind Higgins and knocked him out. When he regained consciousness they were all gone."

"Wait a minute." Brie exclaimed. "Why didn't the guard in the control room pick up the movement on the monitors. The cameras must have picked up some sort of activity on the property?"

"Brie, we believe that third man was the guard who was on monitor duty. No call came in reporting the intruders after Higgins went to the house and left this one alone in the control room."

"God, how much worse can this get?"

"Not too much., We have three missing people, who we have absolutely no idea where they were taken. Two injured security and a traitor. Does Danni know anything about any of this?"

"No, not yet and I have no idea how I am going to tell her. Or tell Steph for that matter."

"Tell me what?" Came the voice from the doorway.

"Steph, is everything all right with Danni and the girls?"

"Yes, Brie, relax. All three are doing well. The babies are in their incubators right now. Their vitals are stable and they are both breathing good. We are keeping a close eye on both of them. They will have to stay in the nursery."

"I know. But, Steph, would it be all right if we put someone on to watch them?"

"Of course, my friend. With all that's happened tonight I think that is a very good idea. Danni should be out of recover in about 30 minutes. Now what do you have to tell me?"

"Steph... It looks like..." She hesitated as she struggled to find the words to soften the blow to her friend. "It looks like Pony... that she was taken along with Cy and Adriana. She watched as her friend paled at the news. Brie went to her and held her tightly. She felt Steph tremble in her arms as she clutched Brie tightly. The tears that Brie had kept from falling would be contained no longer as they both cried.


CHAPTER 7

Steph sat alone in her office, her back to the door, staring out the large window behind her desk, watching the sun slowly rise. She was tired emotionally, physically and mentally. Just 10 short hours ago she and Pony were sleeping when Brie's call came. Ten short hours that saw the birth of the twins that after a hectic birth and a few heart-stopping moments, now slept peacefully in the nursery. "How in the world can so much have taken place in that short time span?" She asked the rising sun. "Ten hours, ten little hours and three people have been forcefully taken. Two little angels have joined this miserable world. This world that condemns us for who we love. Will the hatred ever end?" The sun continued to silently rise.

She didn't have time to think earlier, but now she couldn't shut her mind off. When the excitement had wound down, she couldn't stop the thoughts that crowded her tired mind. Thoughts that she was able to push into the background and wouldn't allow herself to have when her attention was needed elsewhere. But now that the birth of the twins was behind her and mother and daughters all doing well, she couldn't stop those thoughts. Each thought was like a stake being driven through her heart. She pulled a faded piece of paper from under the class top of her desk as tears filled her eyes. She remembered the night when they first admitted that what they felt was so very much more than just friendship and Pony handed her the poem she wrote.

"We had finished our last exam and went out for a celebratory dinner to a fancy restaurant. This was not a time for the jeans and t-shirt pizza joint that had been their main stay throughout college. This was to be a special night. We pulled out all the stops. The gold colored dress that Pony wore brought out the caramel color of her eyes. We spared no expense. But it wasn't the dinner that made it special. It was what we had said to each other. We had been friends since early childhood, lovers since our mid-teens, but this was the night we told each other how we really felt. The first time love entered our lives. We lingered after dinner to finish the bottle of wine and them headed to the limo we had rented for the occasion. Our little two-room apartment became magical with the help of the candles that were lit as we entered. Our hands and lips never more than a hair away from each other. Clothing was dropped behind us as we slowly made our way to the battered old couch. The flames of passion were further ignited with just three little words.

"I love you" we whispered at the same time. The impact of what we had just said to each other stopped us momentarily.

"Did we both say what I think we said or was it just an hallucination brought on by that last glass of wine?" Pony asked.

"If it is just an hallucination then I had it too. Did you mean that?"

"I certainly did. Did you?"

"With all my heart Pony, With all my heart." I said as I snuggled in her arms, my head resting on her shoulder. I looked up into those beautiful eyes and my heart melted at the love that shone back at me.

"I do have a confession to make Steph."

"What's that...Love. OHHHH I do like the sound of that."

"I have been wanting to tell you how I felt for a long time but was afraid you wouldn't feel the same."

"You can't be serious." But the look she gave me said otherwise. "Pony, what would make you feel that way?"

"I would see how you would watch other women, especially if they were more physically endowed than I. It drove me to distraction at times to see you looking at them. It was almost as if you were trying to become a C.H.I."

"A what?'

"A Certified Hooter Inspector"

I had to laugh. "Pony, it's true I did enjoy checking out others, but yours are the only ones that make my heart pound, my blood boil, my... my... my..."

"Steph, I get the point, so why don't you shut up and kiss me."

That kiss led to many others that night, I'm not sure how we even managed to get into the bedroom, but somehow we did.

Waking late the next morning to sunlight streaming in the window I looked over at Pony to see her furiously writing. I tried to see what had her attention. She moved the paper away. "Nope, you can't see it until it's finished." She said. "Be good and you can read it shortly."

I lay back down on my side of the bed and waited for her to finish. After several minutes she put down the pen and read over what she had written. Satisfied she handed the paper to me saying. "I woke earlier with these thoughts in my head and had to get them down. I am not really any sort of a poet but this is how I feel, and one way of saying just how much you mean to me."

I read the words written in her neat handwriting.

Steph, When you told me last night that you loved me, it felt like I was walking on air. These feelings have been with me for so long and now I know you feel the same. This morning as I watched you sleep these words kept going around in my mind and I had to write them down. I am by no means any type of poet, but I will at least try to get the words to rhyme.

The flames of passion and desire
consume my every waking hour.
thoughts of you run through my mind,
leaving me feeling like I have climbed the highest tower.
Memories of your soft touch, your low voice in my ear,
telling me how deep your love for me grows.
My heartbeat quickens each time the thought of you enters my mind,
of your eyes and how they sparkle with love's glow.
I think of how you have helped me up, when life knocked me down.
Your encouraging words help me continue, help me to go on,
to face another day, to fight another battle,
to just get up each morning to watch the rising of the sun.
You give me the strength not to turn my back on what I am.
You help me to see that there is a light at the end,
and I know that I can make it through any hardships,
because of the love and support you give me, my very special friend.

I love you Stephanie Denise Baldwin.

Pony

"I love you Patricia Orelia Natalie Yvette Carter. Your poem is beautiful. Thank you"

"Just for you, my love. Do me one favor though - don't tell Danni about this. I'll never hear the end of it if she were to find out I wrote you a poem."

You got it, honey. This stays between us."

"It has, Pony, No one's eyes but mine have ever read your poem. Be safe, my love. So that you can return to my arms." She said to the picture on her desk.

She wiped her tears away at the sound of the door opening. Clearing her throat she looked up into the understanding eyes of Danni's nurse.

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

"Steph, you said to tell you when Danni was brought back to her room"

"Thank you."

"I do hope that after you have seen Danni you will try to get a little sleep. You look wiped out."

"Don't think I would be able to sleep."

"Steph, I do hope they find Pony, Cy and Adriana safe and soon."

"Me too, Eb. As soon as Danni knows what has happened I am going to have to knock her out to keep her butt in bed." Steph made a quick stop at the drug room where she prepared a syringe, before going in to face Danni. She could almost picture her friend's reaction when she found out about the kidnapping.

"That should keep her down for a few hours."

"We can only hope."


Danni knew something was wrong as soon as she saw Brie. The fact that the police chief was also there added to her fears. Her first thought went to the two tiny babies now sleeping in their incubators in the nursery. She waited until they were alone before voicing her questions. Her eyes never left Brie's as she waited for the nurse to finish checking her vital signs. When the door closed behind the nurse she demanded.

"What's wrong, Brie? Are the girls all right?"

"Danni, at last report both girls were sleeping peacefully."

"Then why do you look as if the whole world has caved in?"

"Danni... I... When..."

"Briana," Danni hissed through clenched teeth. "If it's not the girls, is something wrong with my mother or brother?"

"No it's not either of them. They are great and will be by later to see you. It's... it's..."

"Damn it, Brie, spit it out. Is it you? Are you sick? Tell me it's not that."

"I'm fine, Danni, it's Adriana" She was finally able to choke out as the tears she tried to hold back coursed freely down her cheeks.

"What about Adriana?" Danni demanded, unable to keep the panic from her voice. She attempted to sit up, but the pain from the incision forced her back down. She gasped at the intensity of the pain.

The Chief joined Brie at Danni's bedside. "Danni, please, you'll break open your stitches. I'll tell you what has happened. Shortly after you were admitted, security intercepted a call made from here at the clinic, stating that you had been admitted and to get the child.

Higgins and Matt went to the house to guard Adriana and Cy when the attack came. They were overpowered and injured. Doctor Carter arrived just as Cy and Adriana were brought downstairs."

"Pony? What was she doing at the house?"

"She went to make sure everyone was safe."

"AND?" Danni felt the panic rise inside her. Brie finished as she held tight to Danni's hand.

"All three were kidnapped."

"Kidnapped? You are kidding right?" The sadness in Brie's eyes told her more than any spoken words could. She struggled slowly to sit up again. She threw the sheet off and started working on the tape that held her I.V. in place.

"Just where the hell do you think you are going." Steph demanded from the doorway.

"You knew!" She accused. "You all knew! That's why Pony wasn't in the delivery room. You knew before we went in there that they had been taken."

"Yes, we knew. I also knew that for the twins sake you couldn't be told until after the delivery."

"Are the twins in danger also?"

"No, They are under a police guard right now and will remain so until you are all discharged. They are safe."

"Then explain to me why I wasn't told earlier? Brie, why didn't you tell me?"

"It's not what Brie wanted to do. I advised her to keep silent. I take full responsibility for her silence."

"Why damn it?"

"Because we all knew you would react exactly as you are now. I couldn't let you leave then and I'm not about to let you leave now." As she talked she removed the syringe from her pocket and injected the sedative directly into the I.V. "Get back into bed before you hurt yourself. I took a lot of pains to make sure that incision wouldn't leave too big a scar."

"The hell I will. What I need to do is find our daughter and friends. What the hell did you just give me?"

"Something to insure that you stay put." Danni glared at Steph who shrugged. "Don't give me that look - it only works on people you can scare."

"You're supposed to be my friend. Don't you even care that three people are missing? Pony your partner in life and your practice, that person who you have professed to love is missing don't you even care. And Adriana, you are her Godmother. Not to mention Cy who has supported us all though everything..."

"Danni, stop it. That is totally uncalled for." Brie cut in angrily. "Steph is just as worried and scared as we are over this."

"Don't worry, Brie, if I thought for one second that she really meant anything she just spouted I really would knock her out instead of what I just gave her."

"Has there been any sort of ransom demand yet?"

"Not yet, Danni. The way these things usually work is the kidnappers will wait before making contact. This way they let you get really worried so that you will give into their demands a lot easier."

"Then they can call because I fully intend on paying whatever they ask. I don't care if it takes everything we have to insure all three are returned safely"

"Danni, I have to advise against that."

"Chief, you have been my friend for many years and have given me a good deal of advice over those years. Some of which I even listened to. This however is not one of those times."

"Danni, listen..."

"No, Chief, that's my daughter and friends they have. I don't care about the money. Getting all three back safely is what matters here. This subject is not open for discussion."

She laid her head back on to the pillow, her eyes growing heavy as the drug took effect. She shook her head to fight off the drowsiness.

"Won't do you any good to fight it, Danni. You can't beat that stuff I gave you."

For several minutes she struggled to stay awake, but the words Steph spoke were true as the drug took her deep into sleep. They all breathed a sigh of relief as Danni sunk deeper into sleep. So deep that even the ringing telephone didn't wake her...

Chapter 8

Brie stood by the bed, holding Danni's hand while she slept. Her own mind was far to active to allow her any type of rest, even though her body cried out for a respite from the worry and anguish the kidnapping had brought. A cot stood empty by the bed, as Brie stood alone. She had turned down Steph's offer of a sedative, preferring to be alert for the call when it came in.

Tracking and recording equipment had been installed throughout the Clinic. The main switchboard, the phones in Danni's room, Steph and Danni's offices and the nurses╠ stations were all covered. The identity of the person who worked with the kidnappers had yet to be discovered, so the police had to play everything real close, with only the principal people told. Guards stood watch in the nursery and outside Danni's room.

The chief took advantage of the quiet to rest up in order to be better able to make the judgment calls that would be needed.

Steph sat alone in her office. All her attempts at sleep only brought dreams of her missing partner. Her only regret of their life together was that they had never legalized their commitment to each other. She tried to update her charts, anything to keep her mind occupied, but nothing worked. Her thoughts drifted continuously to Pony. She threw down the pen and left heft office. She sought solace away from the office that scream out at her. The silence reminded her of her missing partner. Every corner, every piece of furniture even the wall decorations screamed out what was missing.

The chief had explained to them, how kidnappers thought. How they would wait hours even days before making contact with the families.

"The longer the families had to think and worry, the more readily they would give in to whatever demands were made"

Brie informed him. "We will pay whatever is asked in order to get the three back safely." To which Steph readily agreed.

He didn't try to talk them out of it. One look at their determined faces and he knew that nothing he could say would change their minds.

Steph checked in on the twins who were sleeping peacefully in the same incubator. She nodded to the guard and walked to Danni's room.

Twelve hours had passed since the kidnapping took place. Twelve hours of silence from those responsible. Twelve hours of anguish for those left behind. She had to give Danni another shot to keep her from attempting to try to look for their missing child and friends.

Steph had just entered the door when the phone rang. The chief was instantly awake and motioned for Brie to wait until the red tracking light and the recorder came on. With the light he nodded to Brie, who picked up the receiver.

"Hello" She said softly, her voice shaky.

"I'm only going to say this once. If you want to see your friend alive, you'll get two million dollars in non-sequential, unmarked bills. Nothing larger that hundreds. We'll contact you later on where to bring it." The man's voice stated gruffly.

"Wait a minute." Brie exclaimed. "How do I know you are the ones responsible?"

The sound of rustling reached her ears. The voice who now spoke to her was one she knew she would never forget.

"Listen you queer bitch, I don't think I need to tell you who this is. I'm sure you remember me."

"I remember you Maureen."

"Isn't that nice, I certainly remember you, especially that perverted partner of yours. Thanks to her my hands will never be the same."

"Look Maureen as much as I would love to sit and reminise with you, Just tell me what you want. You know you really should just return to the hospital...."

"Shut up." The voice screamed at her.

"Listen Maureen, as much as I would like to continue, I am waiting for a very important call, and can't tie up the phone."

"This is your important call, you bitch. I have your friends and the child you stole from me."

"I don't believe you"

"You can't take that chance now can you?"

"Then you wouldn't mind if I talked to one of them."

"Yes actually I do mind very much." She snapped. "This is what you are going to do. You give me two million dollars and you get your friends back. safely. It's very simple of does being queer also make you stupid?"

"I'm far from being stupid, Maureen, that why I want to talk to one of them. I need proof you have our family and friends."

"You have my word."

"Sorry that just not good enough. If you expect me to hand over all that money you'll give me the proof I need.".

The line went silent. Brie waited for what seemed to be hours but in fact was only a few seconds as she listened to the muffled sounds. She released the breath she wasn't aware she held when she heard the voice call her name.

"Brie?"

"Pony? Are you all right? How are Adriana and Cy?"

"Whoa girl I only have a second. We are all fine. Adriana slept through most of it. We'll be all right. Tell Steph I love...."

Her words were abruptly cut off and the voice that replaced her friend was angry and menacing.

"All right you have your proof. Two million and they stay safe."

"I'll need a little time."

"You have 6 hours. I'll call back with direction then. Bye bye." Brie heard the maniacal laughter before the line went dead. She clutched the now silent receiver. Steph took the received from her clenched hand and replaced it in the cradle.

"They want two million. Brie."

"Exactly."

"Pony and I have a good amount saved, thanks to those excellent salaries you pay us.. It's yours to help pay their demands."

"Forget it Steph." Brie cut in. "Danni would have a fit if she knew I had allowed you to use up your savings."

"Ya gotta, Brie, Pony is my partner..."

"She's also Adriana's God mother, not to mention our friend."

"But Brie...."

"She said no Steph." Came the voice from the bed.

"How long have you been awake?"

"Long enough to hear the demands."

"Danni, I want to..."

"The answer is no. Pony went to the house to get Adriana and Cy to safety. She was taken along with them. We will pay."

"Danni." The chief cut in. "It is my duty as a police officer to advise you not to pay."

"Them we no longer need the services of the police department Chief."

"Hold it right there and let me finish. I said as a police officer I disagreed, but as your friend and a father, I fully agree with you. Call the bank and I will see to the safe transport of the money. We just need to hear from the trace. Brie kept her on long enough to get a very accurate location."

When the phone rang again, he picked it up. And wrote down the information received. When finished he turned to the three anxious women.

"It's not a federal case. They stayed inside the state. We will be able to keep it local. I just have to contact the police there for permission to come into their jurisdiction."

"Just where is "There" Chief?"

"No way Danni. I tell you the location and the next thing you are trying to interfere. You are in no condition for this. Even if I have to put you into protective custody, and handcuff you to that bed. You will not interfere."

 

The day wore slowly on as they waited for the second call. The money sat in two large briefcases in the room as the hours slowly ticked away. The sixth hour finally arrived and past by without the call coming. So did the seventh and the eighth. The three women tried to keep their sanity as the waiting added to the tension. With the approach of the ninth hour the phone finally rang causing all three to jump. Brie again waited for the red tracking light before picking up the receiver.

Danni held out her hand for the receiver, which Brie turned over to her. Before she could speak the voice on the other end began.

"Bet ya though I wasn't going to call back didn't ╬cha" Came the sing-song voice."

"I knew you would call. You want the money too much. But you know Maureen no amount of money can ever replace what you have lost. It won't make you a happier person."

"You are right. You took that happiness away from me when you stole my child."

"Let's not get into this again. Just tell us where you want the money delivered."

"You aren't enjoying our little visit? Oh well then here is what you are to do. I do hope you are familiar with Pomfret?"

"Somewhat."

"Oh goody, that way you won't get lost along the way and keep me waiting to see your smiling face again."

"Maureen. Just tell me where to go."

"Go down route 169. You stay on this road and a black cavalier will meet you. Follow it to the exchange point. Don't need to tell you not to bring the police."

"Exactly where is the exchange point?"

"Oh no, no no. I tell you that and you'll have the cops crawling all over this place. You come alone."

"Well that's a problem as I can't drive right now. I'll have to have someone else bring me. "

"Fine have the little wife bring the money but she comes alone. You understand?"

"Yes I understand. She'll be there."

"You have one hour to get here." With that the line went dead. Danni handed the phone back to Brie.

Brie looked at Danni with tears in her eyes. She knew what it took for Danni to turn this responsibility over to her. She knew the love and trust and was placed in her care.

"Let's get you set up with the homing device before you leave. That way we can follow without their knowing."

Brie turned and let the chief place the device on her, along with the wire for recording any conversations that would take place. After he was finished she said.

"Give us a minute alone please?"

"Of course. I'll get this money into the car and make sure it's ready to go. "

When they were alone. Danni opened her arms as Brie laid her head on her shoulder. No words were spoken. They didn't need any words between them. After a few minutes, Brie raised her head and kissed the waiting lips, before she stood and walked to the door.

One last look at Danni who nodded and smiled her confidence in her partner. Brie smiled back and left.

Chapter 9

Brie had taken this drive many times; it was a quiet country road they both loved to ride down. It was quiet and peaceful and in the fall the colors of the area could rival their northern neighbors. Today Brie could not think of the peace and beauty that surrounded her. Her every sense was zeroed in on meeting the car that would take her to their daughter and friends.

She found little comfort in the fact that several carloads of police followed less than a mile away. Or that several more dotted the countryside as she entered the town limits. There was little comfort in the fact that her every sound was recorded. She knew she wasn't alone yet she had never felt more alone, more vulnerable, or more exposed.

She slowed as she approached the crossroad and prepared to stop. It was then that she noticed the black car facing her. When the lights flashed she knew this was the car she had been waiting for. She flashed hers in return. When the car turned onto the side road she followed and relayed the information to those following her.

"We are now going west on 71" She said into the small microphone she wore. She heard the response through the small speaker that was attached to the dash.

"We hear you Brie, and are closing in a bit more. You are doing great. We're at the crossroads now."

"We are now turning off the road. Take a right, there's a log fence, it looks like a driveway, although I can't see a house or anything."

"We find you Brie. "

"I see a small house at the end. The car has stopped there."

"We're turning in there now. We'll be there in a minute. Don't let them see you talking to us." The speaker fell silent as she stopped a few feet from the house and waited. She didn't wait long. The door to the house opened. She watched the small procession come out. First out was a tall man with a gun in his hand, followed by Pony and Cy, they in turn were followed by another man with a gun. She didn't see Adriana and hoped the child was safely away from the doors or windows. She took a deep steadying breath and reached for the car door.

Danni watched Brie leave and with Steph at her side they watch the car drive away, followed by the police trackers. The two women sat quietly for a time. A gentle tap on the door alerted them to company as a nurse wheeled the babies' crib into the room. Their guard stood just outside the door.

"Looks like your girls want to be fed. I know you wanted to nurse them, but it will have to wait a couple days until the drugs I gave you have completely left your system." She picked up one baby and handed her and a bottle to Danni. She then picked up the second child and sat down next to the bed to feed her.

"Have we developed a crib shortage?" Danni asked.

"No. Why?"

"You have them both in one crib."

"This is a fairly new technique that seems to work with multiple births. The babies have spent the last nine months never more than an inch or tow away from each other. Then one day they are taken from their nice warm home and thrust into a cold big place. Now they no longer have your heartbeat to comfort them or each other. By putting them together in one crib, they at least have each other. They rest better, eat better and are generally better adjusted babies."

"I guess that makes sense" Danni stated.

"Plus that little gizmo there," she points to a little box that's part of the crib, "they hear what they think is your heartbeat. Helps to make the trauma of coming into this miserable would a little less traumatic." Danni nodded.

"Steph are they both really all right?"

"They are. After that scary start that little one you are holding us, she╠s doing good. They are both a little under weight and will have to stay on a few days, but they are both doing good."

"How far under weight?"

"Baby A, which is this one and the older by only a minute or so weighed in a 4 lbs. 3 oz. Baby B, 4 pounds. It helped that you were only a few weeks early."

The friends sat silently as the children ate, each lost in their own thoughts until Steph brought up a question that was on her mind.

"Danni I need to ask you something."

"Sure."

"How did you ask Brie if she wanted to ...Um..."

"Be my partner?" Danni finished.

"Yea"

Danni took and deep breath and thought back to that time in question before telling Steph.

"We had just spent a year lobbying for legislation that would allow same sex marriages. The one that failed by a single vote. Brie was really upset by that loss. Even the Domestic Partner's Act they did approve did little to help her. Cy suggested we go away for a long weekend, if only to get away from the horde of reporter who seemed to be following us everywhere and not giving us a moments peace. We went to that little cottage on the sound. It's on a private beach so we wouldn't be bothered. We spent our days walking on the beach or sitting and watching the waves break over the rocks that ringed the cove. Our last night we planned to have a cookout on the beach and watch the sun set. I knew Brie didn't want to leave our little piece of heaven. She was sitting by the fire watching the coals burn down and waiting for the sun to set. I watched her from the cottage for awhile before I got my courage in place and then joined her. I sat down behind her and pulled her into my arms. She leaned back against me. I said something really silly like.

"Do you let just anyone come up behind you and put their arms around you?"

She slapped my arm and laughed. "You know I wouldn't"

"Well you didn't even turn around when I sat behind you. How did you know it was me and not someone after your virtue."

"Danni, After all the time we've spent together, I would know your touch blindfolded and in the dark." She stated

We sat together for awhile as the food cooked and watched the sun start to set. I had the words plotted in my head, but now they seemed so inadequate. How do you tell someone that they are the reason you get up every morning. I'm no poet. I finally just took the plunge.

"Brie, I know you had your hopes pinned on that bill passing. I did too.. I want you to know that not being able to marry you does not diminish my love for you in any way. When the Governor does sign the Partners Act, I would like to make our relationship as legal as we possibly can. Would you consent to being my domestic partner?"

"Danni, I have been sitting here trying to come up with the words to ask you the same thing. You are the most important person in the world to me. Being with you has made me very happy. You make me whole. You give me a fulfillment and a direction that I never had and missed terribly. I would be proud to be your domestic partner."

"The rest, as they say in books, is history" Danni finished "We were present when the Governor signed the act and had our commitment ceremony a week later."

Brie opened the car door and was met by the man she followed, who reached in to take the moneybags. She looked around the area once again; then to the group by the door.

"You have the money now let everyone go."

"Of course" Came the voice from inside the house. "A deal is a deal. They are free to go."

"Where is Adriana?"

She received no answer. And spoke again. Cy would you get Adriana for me?"

Cy didn't move. She could not meet her friend eyes.

"She is not part of our little deal." Maureen stated as she walked out the door the child in her arms. Adrian, upon seeing her mother held out her arms to Brie.

"What do you mean, she's not part of the deal. You demanded two million dollars for their safe return. I brought that amount, now I want them all." Brie demanded.

"You can have your friends." She sneered at the word. "But this child, my child, stays. Get them out of here. " She turned to go back into the house as Adriana started crying for her mother. Brie Screamed.

"NOOOOOOOOOO." and rush forward. Pony and Cy took their cue from Brie and attacked the men next to them Cy kicked her guard in the shin, knocking him to the ground and Pony pulled back her arm and hit the man next to her. His gun dropped as he fell. Pony kicked the weapon away from him.

Brie continued to run toward the group as Pony yelled "No" and leapt at the third man, as he was about to fire his weapon.

The night air was shattered with the sound of a gunshot as lights from a dozen police cars filled the yard.

 

To be continued. Shortly I promise.


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