Disclaimer: This is my own original work and may not be duplicated, copied, or reposted without my written consent. I printout is fine for personal enjoyment as long as the Author, title, disclaimer, warnings, and copy write remains on the printed copy.
Warnings: This story contains adult themes with sexual content, strong language, and occasional violence. If you are a minor or if it is illegal for you to view this story then please refrain from doing so.
Author's Notes: This is the fourth part to the Mother Earth Series. I'm not sure how often I can work on it. My Beta Reader is out of town for the next few months and she's the one who normally applies the cattle prod when my Muse gets lazy. I'm also attempting to reedit the first three parts. Let the soap opera continue!
Cierra sighed heavily and rolled her eyes. "Pam, is Eva as bad as JP? I swear if that spouse of mine fusses one more time today I'm gonna strangle her." The shaman's hormones were on overload, playing havoc with her moods. At the moment she was annoyed at JP's over-protective streak. Cierra shook her head and took another bite from her roll.
Pam did her best to look sympathetic. She though JP was being really sweet to their queen and doing her best to make sure Cierra didn't overdo it. "Eva can be a little cautious too, but we have to cut them some slack, Cierra. After all, this is the first baby for each of us. It's only natural that they want to protect us, don't you think? I'm sure they will relax in time. Just be patient with JP. It could be worse. She could be having empathy symptoms like Eva is having."
"My God, is she still suffering from that?" Eva having morning sickness and food cravings still amazed Cierra. In the meanwhile, Pam blithely went about her day as though she wasn't even pregnant. It was Pam that had to make sure the engineer ate properly since the woman couldn't afford to lose weight.
"I'm afraid so. It's getting better though. Doc Pat told Eva that I shouldn't have any problems from now on so Eva's symptoms are fading."
The women finished their meal and walked together to the water pump to wash their dishes. Pam glanced in the direction where Eva was working. They made eye contact and Eva smiled and waved. Pam blew her a kiss before going back into the communal building to place her dishes onto the shelves.
Pam turned to Cierra and asked where she was working.
"On the new long house. I had to promise JP that I wouldn't climb up the frame anymore or carry anything heavy." JP had nearly had heart failure when she had spotted her mate climbing up the frame as though she was a monkey the day before.
The piping had been finished a few days earlier and now the outer walls were being put up. They hoped to have the building finished within ten days. They had fewer people working on this long house than the other one since they had other projects in the works.
Time was slipping away from Cierra. She knew that soon she would need to make a jump to the Old World and bring back the few families she would allow to move to their community. She had come to terms with the idea of making such decisions but still was nervous about being surrounded by so many people.
They did what they could to reduce the risks but there were still so many things that could go wrong. Cierra had popped into the Old World and mailed the short list to Jim. He had given them a stamped envelope for that purpose. The man would contact the hopefuls and make arrangement for everyone to meet Cierra at a quiet location.
Each person or family was to come prepared, bringing their belongings and supplies with them. The new long house could hold six families of four plus still have quarters for up to six guests. It would be tight living but as long as no one collected too many personal belongings they would do fine. A list of suggested items would be sent to each family.
The council and Cierra had decided families would be the best for the new long house. It would be the last of the buildings built with the flow toilets. The colony would have to build sewers by hand and heavy labor after that.
Of the people chosen, there were four traditional families plus one nuclear family consisting of a gay couple that were raising one of the men's two children from his earlier marriage. Cierra wanted to make certain that none of the families were there to escape from the authorities and that they were truly committed to leaving the Old World behind.
Cierra was still waiting for Carl and his family to decide if they would remain or return. If they left then their quarters would be set aside in case a family from one of the tribes wanted to be adopted into their community.
The Hollingsworth family only had about week to decide. If they wished to return and get their children registered for school it would have to be soon. She would have to push them for an answer. If they wished to go back she could take them along when she went to meet the other families.
Perhaps she ought to have Jenny approach them. She had good people skills and could sit down with them and find out what they wanted to do.
Jenny pushed her blonde hair behind her ear and approached Gail. She believed the woman would be the best person to start with.
"Gail? Could I speak with you privately?"
The woman nodded and said she'd be a moment. Gail was using a wet leather strip to tie off two poles. Once it dried it would tighten and hold just as securely as a nail.
"What's up?" Gail asked as she dried her palms on her jeans.
Jenny pointed to a quieter part of the village where they could talk. They sat down on a log and the young woman turned her gaze to Carl's wife.
"I thought we should talk. The summer is nearly over and we were curious if your family had decided to stay or go back."
Gail blew out her breath, clearly uncertain. "I wish I could tell you. I have mixed feelings about it but I think Carl wants to stay. He wants to be near Sharon since she's getting up there in years. But if we stay that means I won't get to see my family. You can see my dilemma. As to the children, I really don't know what they want. I wish I could help you, Jenny, I really do."
"Hmm, then maybe you all need to sit down and discuss it. Cierra is going to the Old World later next week. If you're going back it should be then. Talk it over and let her know, okay?" Jenny asked then tried to bring up another facet. "Gail, what if half wanted to stay and the other half wanted to leave? What then?"
"Oh, don't open that can of worms." The woman sighed and waved a hand in confusion. "I suppose, if Luke wanted to remain, he could. He's seventeen and old enough to make up his mind. Marcus and Kim would be different. I think if I returned they would leave with me."
"You would separate from Carl if he wanted to stay?"
"I honestly don't know. I do like it here but the idea of never seeing my family again has me scared. On the other hand I love my husband and don't want to leave him either. I guess, well, if he decides to stay I will too. I just wish there was a way to contact people from the real world when we wanted."
Jenny giggled. "I think of this as the real world now."
"I'm sure you do. You and the others built this colony after imagining it and made it real. In a way, I envy you. You don't seem to have any regrets about leaving everything behind."
"Except for chocolate," Jenny said with a silly smile.
"Oh, by all means, don't forget chocolate!" The women giggled and chatted for a bit before promising to talk again later.
Sharon sat down with her son and his family later that evening. She was privy to almost everything that went on in the village, missing very little. She knew that Jenny had approached Gail earlier.
"Carl, you know I love you dearly, but I want you to go home."
"Mom! How can you say that? You know I want to stay." Carl was upset. He had made up his mind to remain at the colony.
"I can say it because it's what is right for your family. Carl, I am getting old. Once I die you won't have any reason to be here. You didn't come here to build a future or the adventure. You came to be with your mother. It's time to realize your little vacation from reality is over and go home." Sharon saw that her son was fighting the idea.
"Carl, if you hadn't found a way to wangle a ride here then we would have never seen each other again. I had made that choice already and accepted it. Your visit gave us time to really talk and spend time together, to say our final good-byes if you will. You know I'm happy here and can go back with a clear conscience."
The fight left the middle-aged man. "Alright. I suppose you're right. This was your adventure, not ours. We'll talk to Cierra and make arrangements to go back."
"No! I don't want to go back!" Kim shouted, standing up and clearly upset.
"You don't understand, Mom."
"Then make me understand sweetie. Talk to us."
Kim glanced at her grandmother, begging for her to see the truth so she wouldn't have to say it aloud. Sharon saw it, in fact had seen the signs more than a year ago. She understood how Kim felt but she needed to tell her family the truth.
"Tell them, dear. It'll be okay, I promise."
Kim was clearly unwilling to say anything but she saw the look in the elderly woman's eyes, telling her to say something or accept going back. "I'm gay," she whispered, barely audible.
Carl heard her but wasn't convinced it was true. "Honey, you're only fourteen, you can't poss--"
"Son, don't tell her what she does or doesn't know or feel. I knew when I was ten years old, even though I didn't know what I was then. I just knew how different I was. Having crushes on women or other girls. Having no interest in boys," Sharon said quietly, thinking back to her early years.
Carl and Gail both sighed. They knew that the town they lived in was small minded. Kim would have a difficult time fitting in as a lesbian. Perhaps it would be better if she stayed with her grandmother. At least here she would be accepted.
"You would let her stay with you?" Carl asked.
"Of course. I'll have one of the women build another bed in my house. We'll get along fine, won't we dear? Once she's a bit older, she might decide to move into the barracks. But in the meantime she can keep me company."
Carl looked at his wife. She smiled weakly and nodded. She would allow it.
"Okay, she can stay here."
Gail sniffed and wiped away a tear. "I wish we could write letters or something. I'd like to hear how things are going with you."
Sharon snorted with humor. "Simple enough. Contact the post office and see if you can arrange a mailbox and lockable delivery box near the old farm. Cierra can jump over once in a while and drop off letters and pick up any mail we might have. Just make sure you mail us some postage stamps. Maybe some stationary too. We won't risk sending Cierra to the Old World just to pick some up."
"Deal. Spending a few dollars is worth hearing from the two of you. Just promise to write," Gail asked tearfully.
To Be Continued
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