A Whole New Meaning
By Carrie Carr
Disclaimers: I’m sure you’ve seen these gals before, if not, have you got some catching up to do! This story takes place before my last Lex and Amanda story, To Hold Forever, so if you haven’t read it, you may be a teensy bit confused. (Which is coming out April 2008 in printed form from Regal Crest Enterprises – shameless plug!!!) It also mentions a time during the story, The Way Things Should Be – so maybe you’d be better off reading the entire series <wink>. This was just a little fun something that tapped me on the shoulder. Very special thanks to my beautiful wife, Jan, for tolerating my bad moods when I can’t write, and for my all-nighters when I can. You are my greatest gift. Forever and always, my love.
All comments can be directed to me at email@example.com . Thanks for reading!
The noise in the room was deafening. Lex glanced around and silently wondered what possessed her to listen to Amanda and agree to such hazardous duty. Everywhere she looked, more of the tiny terrors seemed to appear out of nowhere. Being a chaperone for Wanda’s daughter’s Valentine’s party was not Lex’s idea of a good time. She grimaced when she felt a sticky hand tangle in the back of her best shirt.
Lex turned and squatted so she would be on the same level as the adorable little girl. Her two-year old niece Lorrie had red and white frosting all over her face. “What’s up, lil’ bit?”
Lorrie leaned closer, allowing the mess to transfer to her aunt’s hair. “Thomas ‘tinks. He pooped.”
“Ugh.” In one smooth motion, Lex scooped Lorrie into her arms and stood. “Where’s Thomas now?” She scanned the room, but couldn’t pick him out of the squealing children chasing each other around Wanda’s living room.
“Da bafroom. He’s crying.” Lorrie wrapped her arm around Lex’s neck, getting more cake in Lex’s hair.
Lex cringed when a small finger began to play with her ear. “Lorrie, cut it out. That feels yucky.” She headed for the kitchen, since she was the only adult in the living room. “Let’s go find Amanda to get you cleaned up, and then I’ll take care of Thomas.”
Lorrie started to squirm. “Manny?” She bounced in her aunt’s arms. As they crossed the threshold to the kitchen, she spotted her other favorite person. “Manny!”
Amanda turned away from where she’d been washing dishes in the sink. She started laughing at the pair. “Look at the two of you, covered in cake. Lex, you need to get her cleaned up.”
“That’s why we’re here.” Lex handed her sticky charge over. “I’ve also been informed that one of our little guests has had an accident.” The look of disgust on Lex’s face told Amanda just exactly what kind of accident.
“Oh.” Amanda set Lorrie on the counter and used a damp paper towel to clean her face. The little girl sputtered and shook her head from side to side, trying to avoid her. “Lorrie, stay still.” Over her shoulder she asked, “Do you want me to handle that other problem?”
“Nah, it’s not like it’s my first accident to take care of.” Lex kissed Amanda on the cheek. “I’ll holler if I need any help.”
Amanda finally got Lorrie clean and helped her down. “Go ahead and play, sweetie. But try to stay a little cleaner, all right?”
“Otay.” Lorrie’s grin was reminiscent of Lex’s as she took off again.
With a fond smile, Amanda thought back to her spouse’s first foray into the wonderful world of child-rearing.
In California, only days after Frank’s funeral, Lex and Amanda were alone in the large house that Frank and Jeannie shared. The rest of the family was at the hospital visiting Jeannie, and trying to get things organized for her move to Texas.
Amanda was awakened by a soft exclamation. She rolled over and noticed her lover leaning over the changing table in the corner of the master bedroom. Lex appeared to be speaking to the baby, and she had to strain to hear.
“You know, for someone so new, you sure are a stinky one,” Lex whispered. She studied the disposable diaper Lorrie wore, trying to figure out the best way to remove it. When Lorrie began to cry and kick, Lex quickly tore the tabs away. “Shh. Your Aunt Amanda is sleeping. If you’ll just bear with me, I’ll try to figure this thing out.”
Amanda bit back a laugh at the look on Lex’s face when she opened the diaper. She only wished she had a camera to record the moment.
“Good god, kiddo. How can a tiny little thing like you have a mess this big?” Lex wrinkled her nose and quickly pulled the diaper away, rolling it up. She took a handful of baby wipes and proceeded to clean Lorrie, grimacing at the smell. “You know, I’ve been around all sorts of critters in my life, but I don’t think I’ve ever come across one so good at this. Next time, I’m wearing rubber gloves.” Once the baby was clean and a new diaper was in place, she kissed Lorrie on the belly. “Don’t tell anyone I did this, okay? They’ll want me to do it more often.”
Amanda rolled over and pretended to go to sleep. She decided that Lex’s secret was safe, at least for the time being.
The sound of Wanda’s voice broke Amanda from her musing. She blinked and met her friend’s questioning gaze. “I’m sorry, did you say something?”
Wanda grinned at her. “I asked if you would mind calling Thomas’ mom. Lex had to dress him in one of Dirk’s tee shirts. Poor little guy isn’t feeling well, and he soiled his clothes.” She touched Amanda’s arm. “But I think I’d like to know what you were thinking about that gave you such a sweet look on your face.”
“Just reminiscing, that’s all.” Amanda winked at Wanda and headed for the phone.
Later that evening, Lex came out of the bathroom, dressed in her bedtime boxers and tee shirt. Her hair was wet and combed away from her face. She yawned widely before sitting on the edge of the mattress. “Damn, I’m beat.” She stretched before falling back onto her usual place on the bed beside Amanda. “Tell me again why we let Wanda talk us into today?”
Amanda rolled over onto her side and propped her head on her hand, so she was leaning over Lex. “Because we’re masochists?” She laughed at the look on her lover’s face. “Yeah, I know. Although I think after today, Wanda’s been broken from her need to throw a children’s party for every little occasion.”
“I seriously doubt it. That woman is deranged.” Lex closed her eyes when Amanda started combing her fingers through her hair. “Whose bright idea was it to serve cupcakes with red frosting? You wouldn’t believe where my skin is stained pink.”
“Oh?” Amanda’s fingers trailed down Lex’s neck and pulled back the collar of her shirt. “Care to share?” She was teasing, but was surprised to see a reddish tint deep in Lex’s cleavage. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
Lex sighed. “I should have known better than to wear a button-down shirt. Somehow there was a chunk of cupcake that I didn’t notice until I was getting ready for my shower. Martha’s going to have a field day.”
“’Cause I was wearing my white sports bra. Which is now a lovely shade of pink.”
Amanda laughed and laid her head on Lex’s chest. “She will have a good time with that.”
They rested quietly for a while, just enjoying being together. Amanda traced her fingers over Lex’s stomach. “This is my favorite time of day.”
Lex ruffled Amanda’s hair and exhaled heavily. “Me, too. You know, the real Valentine’s Day is this weekend. Got any plans?”
“Other than being with you? No.”
“How about we get away, just the two of us?”
Amanda sat up and looked at her. “Really?”
“Yep.” Lex stretched one arm and opened her nightstand drawer. She brought out an envelope, which she handed to Amanda.
Amanda pulled out an itinerary. “Lex, this is for five days.”
Lex sat up and looked very pleased with herself. “I can’t take all the credit. Martha made all the reservations for me online.”
“But it says we have a flight out tomorrow afternoon. Are you going to be okay with this?”
“Sure. Once I figured out why I was so spooked of flying, I was able to get over it.”
Amanda fingered the papers and pursed her lips. “I can’t just drop everything and take off like this.”
“Sure you can. Martha and Charlie are going to look after Lorrie, and your grandmother is going to keep an eye on the office for you. Everything’s taken care of.”
Raising her gaze from the papers, Amanda couldn’t help but smile. “And you were able to keep this a secret from me?”
Lex grinned. “Yep. It was easy – I just didn’t tell Lorrie.” She had to lift her hands to catch Amanda, who fell into her arms. “I thought we could both use a little vacation.”
“You thought right.” Amanda’s voice was muffled by Lex’s chest. “I love you.”
“I love you too, sweetheart.” Lex helped her get settled before turning off the light.
The beginning of their trip was not without drama. Lorrie was inconsolable when she realized Lex and Amanda were leaving without her. It was the first time they’d ever left on a trip since they’d begun taking care of her. It took Martha’s considerable wiles to get her back in the house, and Lex could swear she could still hear her crying as they drove away from the ranch. She used her index finger to wipe at her eye as she pulled her truck onto the highway.
Amanda noticed the motion. “Are you all right?”
Lex cleared her throat before answering. “Uh, yeah. Must be my allergies acting up.”
“Uh-huh.” Amanda took a tissue from the console and handed it to her wife. “Maybe this will help.”
“Thanks.” Lex took the offering and crumbled it in her hand. “I’m fine, really.” But she kept checking the rear-view mirror, almost expecting to see Lorrie racing behind the truck.
Amanda patted her arm. “She’s probably already got her mind on something else.”
“Right.” Lex sniffled and sat up straighter in the seat. She put a smile on her face and glanced at Amanda. “We’ll bring her back something really cool from Santa Fe. That should make her happy.”
“She loves presents,” Amanda agreed. She linked her left hand with Lex’s right. “I’m really looking forward to spending some time alone with you.”
“Me, too. It seems like something’s always popping up at home. A few days for just the two of us is just what we need.”
They spoke of inconsequential things on the drive to the airport. Although Lex outwardly appeared calm, Amanda could see her tightening up the closer they got to Austin. “Are you doing all right?”
“Sure.” Lex made a point of loosening her grip on the steering wheel while taking a deep breath. She was more worried about Lorrie than she was about flying. I wonder if I can sneak a call back home before we board the plane?
The trip nearly ended before it began, when Lex set off the metal detector at the airport. She grinned sheepishly at the female guard and was about to remove her belt, when the woman glared at her and motioned for Lex to step to one side.
Amanda had already gone through and stood nearby. “What’s the matter?”
The guard ignored her, hitching her polyester pants up around her ample hips. She ran her wand along Lex’s body, slower than necessary. It tripped near Lex’s waist and she seemed pleased. “You hidin’ something?”
“No.” Lex started to unbuckle her belt. “Sometimes this is the problem.”
“Hurry up,” the guard ordered. “I ain’t got all day.”
Lex slid the belt off and handed it to her. Her eyes widened when the woman dropped it on the counter and used her gloved hands to feel the inside of Lex’s waistband. “Uh—”
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Amanda started forward.
“Uh, lady? You dig any deeper, you’d better be buying me dinner,” Lex joked nervously.
Another guard passed Lex’s belt through the x-ray machine. “Get a move on, Rhonda. We’re starting to stack up.”
Satisfied that Lex wasn’t trying to smuggle anything illegal, Rhonda waved her through. “Go on.” Her eyes lingered on the way the lanky woman’s jeans fit, before she turned her attention back to the line.
Amanda handed Lex her wallet and belt. “Good thing she stopped when she did,” she growled, still perturbed.
“No kidding. I didn’t feel like posting bail today.”
“Were you that upset?” Amanda looked at her wife’s face.
“Nah, but I figured you were less than a minute away from kicking her ass.”
Amanda laughed as well. “You got that right, Slim.” She linked her arm with Lex’s and headed toward their gate.
“Oh, my god. This is beautiful,” Amanda exclaimed from their private patio. The bed and breakfast’s rooms were spacious, and opened up toward a private courtyard. Off in the distance she could see the Sangre de Cristo mountains, and the view was breathtaking. “How did you find this place?”
Lex stepped behind her and pulled Amanda into her arms. “I didn’t. Martha did.”
“The woman’s got skills,” Amanda murmured. “I’ve never seen anything so beautiful.”
“Yeah.” Lex continued to stand quietly with her for several minutes. The only thing ruining the evening for her was worrying about Lorrie. She wondered if she was still upset. Lex sighed.
Amanda felt the arms around her tighten. “What’s the matter?”
“Uh-huh.” Amanda waited patiently, knowing Lex would speak up when she was ready. She had a pretty good idea what was on her partner’s mind. “We should probably call Martha and let her know we made it okay.”
“Good idea.” Lex whipped out her cell phone. She hit the familiar speed dial without looking and waited impatiently for an answer. “Hello, Martha? We’re here.” She listened for a moment. “Yeah, the flight was fine. Yep, it’s fantastic, thanks.” Lex paused until Martha finally took a breath. “Uh, how’s Lorrie?” She exhaled in relief. “Really? Not at all?” She covered the mouthpiece. “She said Lorrie quit crying as soon as they got inside, and hasn’t said anything else about us.” Partially disappointed that they weren’t being missed, Lex decided to end the call. “Yeah, thanks, Martha. If you have any problems, call. No matter how late. I know, I know. Okay, bye.” She clicked the phone closed.
“I take it Lorrie’s fine, huh?” Amanda turned in Lex’s arms and grinned. “You know, there’s a hot tub in the next room.”
“Yeah? Are you propositioning me, Mrs. Walters?”
“Damn right.” Amanda pulled Lex’s head down and kissed her, then led her back into their room.
By the third evening, they had explored the town, bought souvenirs, and worn each other out in the hot tub more times than they could count. They were curled up together in bed, listening to the muted sounds of the city.
Lex sighed for the third time in as many minutes.
“What’s wrong?” Amanda asked, not bothering to look up.
“Nothing.” Lex kissed the top of Amanda’s head and closed her eyes.
Amanda fought back her own heavy sigh. “Yeah, I miss her, too.” She twisted so she could see Lex’s face. “As much as I’ve enjoyed out little getaway, I can’t wait to get home again.”
“Yeah.” With her head nestled against Lex’s chest, Amanda heard her heart beat faster. “Want to see if we can get an earlier flight home?” She found herself alone in the bed, when Lex hopped up and picked her cell phone off the dresser. “I take that as a yes.” Amanda sat up against the headboard and enjoyed the view of her naked lover talking on the phone. She’d rather spend Valentine’s Day at home with Lorrie, anyway. Maybe the three of them could start a new tradition for the holiday.
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