Floridian Valentine

by Lara Zielinsky



© January 2008

Kennedy opened her eyes to the gray yellow of dawn seeping in through the bedroom blinds. She gave the morning a lopsided smile and rolled over toward her companion. Reverently she nudged aside several silky strands of honey blond hair to look upon Jean's unique face in peaceful repose.

Her high brow bore no furrows as when she was intensely caught up in her work. Her high angular cheekbones were slightly reddened from the hours Jean spent in the sun out on the water at her life's work. Faint lines etched the skin around her mouth, full lips relaxed in a hint of a smile.

Which Kennedy kissed now, lightly awakening with explorative nips and warm nibbles. Jean's smile broadened, the first muscles to stretch, then her arms, long and willowy, encircled Kennedy's shoulders and the two rolled over in the bedding.

"Happy Valentine's Day," Kennedy said, lifting her mouth away from its pleasurable task at last.

Jean's fingers flowed through her hair a sybaritic pleasure for Kennedy while Jean's senses came alive one by one until she finally blinked her eyes, revealing crystal blue depths. “Mmm hmmm,” Jean managed before burying her nose in the apex of Kennedy's neck and shoulder, inhaling and nuzzling the sensitive skin.

"Hungry?" The question earned Kennedy a nip against her throat. "Coffee?" earned a wet tongue tracing her earlobe.

Shaking from the pleasure of Jean's touch, Kennedy found herself on her back, her nightgown pulled up and off. She was deluged by sensation as Jean's hands and mouth traveled from her throat to the modest swells of her breasts. The contact hot and electric wrestled a tortured cry from her soul. She burrowed her fingers in Jean's hair, holding the woman closer. Jean suckled deep on one breast then the other, rapidly awakening a burning wet need between Kennedy's thighs.

Jean answered that need with long fingers pressing deep and sure, stroking throbbing inner flesh with precision and adoration. Kennedy's body coursed and ebbed, thrashing like a raging river, tossing her again and again on the waterfall of passion.

As she soared at last, Kennedy panted and howled, rocking rhythmically on Jean's probing tongue until the waves subsided to ripples and then languorous and still waters.

"Oh, God. Unh. Mmm," Kennedy tingled as Jean's stroking gentled, soothing touches of her tongue over engorged flesh.

Kennedy dragged Jean up, gasping before fastening her mouth over full lips. “God, what you do to me,” she breathed when finally she let the long blond woman go.

"Well, we missed each other last night," Jean started to explain, eyes averting shyly.

Tugging Jean into her crook of her left arm, Kennedy stroked the planes of her lover's face. “I'm sorry about that.”

"Did you catch him?"

"The surveillance was successful."

"I didn't get a call to go to the hospital so can I assume no scratches?"

"You've just been thoroughly reintroducing yourself to my body," Kennedy chuckled. "Find anything wrong?"

Jean's eyes darkened. Kennedy recognized the hurt with contrition.

"No. Listen. I'm sorry." Kennedy pulled up Jean's right hand and kissed the knuckles one at a time. "I don't have any new scratches. In fact it was an exceptionally boring collar. The fifteen-year old only had a cap gun."

The vivid hurt in Jean's pale blue eyes diminished only marginally. Clearly Kennedy had a longer stretch of bridge to mend. She thought quickly. “Listen. We can go out on the boat for the whole weekend.”

"A whole weekend?"

"Four days. You, me, and the open Gulf."

"What about --?" Kennedy laid her fingers across Jean's lips.

"What good's my promotion if I can't take time off to be with my family?"

That brought the forgiving tears. “Family?” Jean choked softly.

"Well? Wanna be a McMasters?"


"Canada's legalized marriage. Or if you'd rather, Massachusetts is closer."


"Well, we don't have to go up to the frozen north today, but..." Kennedy smiled. "Dad'll want to come along anyway."

"You've talked to your father about this?"

Kennedy understood some of Jean's surprise. Michael McMasters, Kennedy's father, was a retired Ocean Cove cop himself, second generation Irish-American and devout Roman Catholic. Such a profile, as the department psychologist would say, practically dictated the personality of a man who would be in total, even vocal opposition to such a liberal, and queer, idea.

But it had only taken Kennedy being shot, nearly fatally, six months ago, and Jean's daily vigil at her hospital bedside for Michael McMasters to consider “something different,” as he had told her, his eldest daughter, over beers at O'Brien's Tavern. “That gal deserves til death do you part, like your mama and me,” he said.

Kennedy had not shared that conversation with Jean, treasuring something even more personal in that one conversation with her father. When he accepted Jean's love for her, he also had conveyed an acceptance of Kennedy's true self.

"I think you'll be beautiful in white," Kennedy interrupted her own ruminations with a gentle smile, and tug on a lock of Jean's golden hair wrapped around the fingers of her right hand.

"Will you wear your dress uniform?"

"You really want a reminder that I'm a cop?"

"It's who you are, and who I fell in love with."

"It's all right?"

Jean nodded and lifted her gaze even with Kennedy's. “I'm all right. I just missed you last night.” She lazily stroked a thumb over Kennedy's nipple.

Trapping her lover's hand, Kennedy reached for the bedside phone. “Let me call in. Then I'll take care of you.”

Kennedy's groin pleasantly throbbed at the sight of Jean laying back, hair spread against the dark rose pillow and her nude tanned body spread out long and lean against the soft rose sheets.

Punching numbers, Kennedy swallowed and steadied herself, putting the receiver to her ear. “Lois? Yeah. Hi. Can you put me through to Denton?” Out of the corner of her eye, Kennedy caught Jean stroking her splayed fingers down the muscular plain of her stomach, edging close to the damp curls at her apex.

"Oh," she was reluctantly drawn back by a voice on the other end. "Captain Denton, yeah, it's me. I already submitted my report. I'd like to take... Yeah, the weekend. Thanks. I'll be back on Tuesday if that's all right." She grinned painfully as Jean's long fingers caressed open her intimate folds. "No, I can't meet you for a beer... Going out of town. Yes. Oh, mmm hmmm. Bye." Perspiration dotting her hairline, Kennedy hung up quickly on her talkative captain. "Finally." She exhaled then inhaled, catching Jean's musk on the air. "Remind me to tell Dad that Ralph says 'hi'."

"Certainly," Jean said then could speak only incoherently as Kennedy groaned and dove hungrily and voraciously into her hot pulsating center. With joy she cried out, filling Kennedy's ears with pants of passion, and her mouth with passion's juices.

* * *

So rarely did Kennedy get to sleep past dawn that Jean coaxed her after their lovemaking to remain in bed. “It won't take long to pack for the boat. I'll make breakfast and have your father take Cutter while we're gone.”

She persuaded by giving Kennedy a languid massage until she relaxed and closed her eyes. Smoothing the fine hairs from Kennedy's forehead, Jean eased out of bed, leaving her lover with a tender kiss on the temple.

Relieving herself then tugging on a blue cotton robe from the back of the bathroom door, Jean slipped her feet into poofy house slippers before stepping outside to collect the rolled up newspaper off the front lawn.

She unfolded it and set it at Kennedy's place at the head of the large kitchen table. The coffee, a Jamaican blend, was already ground. Jean had hoped to serve it to Kennedy the night before. Now she just turned on the coffeemaker.

Surprised at her own peace at the domestic behavior, Jean hummed a little and set about preparing sunny-side eggs, country bacon, and finished it off with grapefruit halves.

* * *

Kennedy leaned against the bedroom doorway, a careful picture of nonchalance should Jean look up from her packing. Breakfast had been a wonderful surprise when Jean came in and coaxed her awake with whiffs from a rich roast cup of coffee.

She was still a little stunned at her proposal that morning and trying to figure out where the urge had come from. They were not even living together.

Jean had literally sailed into Kennedy's life only four months ago when she motored her university's research boat into Ocean Cove marina and found a man's bloated body floating offshore. An innocent bystander in the incident, Jean had been stalked by the actual killer for weeks before Kennedy solved the murder of the harbor master.

Close quarters and constant contact had forged a surprising bond between the marine biologist and herself, a career officer with the Ocean Cove police department.

But Jean had returned to Tampa, where her studies for a doctorate in reef ecosystems kept her teaching part-time on the campus of the University of South Florida. They had phoned a few times, and Kennedy had taken a state-level prisoner transport to Tampa, and met Jean for dinner, spending the night as they both realized how much they had missed each other.

Since then, every other weekend Jean packed an overnight bag, climbed in her rusting, clunker of a Ford pickup, and showed up on Kennedy's doorstep a few hours later. Half the time the woman had to find the stashed key and let herself in, usually spending the balance of the day reading from various marine research journals – or half the time cleaning Kennedy's minimalist home -- until Kennedy returned from this or that surveillance or case interview.

Then the woman cooked her supper, uncomplaining and just glad to see her. Once Kennedy had only found out that Jean had broken down on Interstate 75 when the woman finally appeared at her door liberally spattered with grease and dirt on her peach tank top and cargo shorts. Feeling guilty that she had left her cell phone off while on a surveillance, Kennedy had treated Jean to a bath, a jacuzzi jet hose on the faucet nozzle, and lovingly washed every inch of her begging her forgiveness.

How many times though would making up be worth being left alone? Twice, after Jean had already arrived, Kennedy had been called to the station to handle a case development. Their dinner and movie plans had been put on hold.

They had only fought about it once, after the second time. Kennedy still relived the agony of watching Jean throw her things back in her bag, climb in her truck and drive away.

Had that remembered pain and the guilty feelings of being out on an albeit unexpected call again last night when Jean arrived pushed the thought of marriage forward, as some sort of balm?

Kennedy watched the blonde going through her overnight bag, talking to herself about needing to purchase this or that forgotten amenity. The longer Kennedy studied the face half-hidden beneath the silky fall of golden hair the more she realized that circumstances had been damn generous to her.

Fate, or kismet, or whatever had sent the studious intellectual into Kennedy's path and she could not let Jean Randall exit her life.

Suddenly the possibility of a wedding to Jean could not materialize soon enough.

Secure now in her choice, and feeling it was the right time after all, and with the right woman, Kennedy stepped out of the doorway and settled on the bed behind Jean, tucking her left arm around the other woman's stomach, giving her a hug from behind.

Jean straightened a little and turned her head over her right shoulder meeting Kennedy's gaze. Kennedy smiled faintly, eyes glowing slightly, aware her love was shining in unshed tears. Saying nothing, Jean reached down to where Kennedy's hand rested over her stomach and squeezed gently, smiling back.

"Ready to go?" Kennedy asked when she felt she had gained control of her emotions and voice. Still the words were soft.

"Anytime." Jean turned in Kennedy's light grasp and pulled the slightly smaller woman willingly down atop her sprawling on the mattress, nibbling her lips leisurely. After a while like that she pulled back and looked serious. "If you want to withdraw your proposal..."

Kennedy shook her head fiercely. “Never. I want you as I have never wanted anyone else in my life. As my lover, my partner. You are my soul.”

She grasped Jean's hand, where the woman had started to put it against her chest. Their joined fingers lay against her beating heart and she knew Jean felt the strong muscle thundering in peaceful rhythm.

It was Jean's turn for tears. Unlike Kennedy however she let them fall, and Kennedy rolled them over until Jean was cuddled in the crook of her shoulder.

A loud bark erupted next to her head. Kennedy jumped away from it and covered Jean. No more sounds. She looked up to see Cutter, her German shepherd, panting and drooling happily on the sheet next to her head, standing patiently at the side of the bed.

"Your timing could improve, dog," Kennedy muttered. She kissed Jean's cheek and scurried from the bed. "Out," she ordered the shepherd then shut the door firmly when he complied.

"You'd better dress and run him down to your father's," Jean said. "I'll finish your packing and drive down to pick you up from there in half an hour."

Kennedy smiled, moved by how efficiently Jean thought and how she so easily presumed to order Kennedy's agenda. Her business-like tone had only enhanced the impression. Chuckling, she answered, “Yes, Mom.”

Jean blushed, glad Kennedy could not see as the other woman walked over to her closet and pulled out three casual tees, tossing two at her pile on the bed, and dropped the robe to pull the third on over her head. Underwear followed similarly, two to the pile – one, a pair of silk boxers – and a high cut red thong to cover the dark auburn triangle of her sex. Shorts, two cotton with the green patch of the Ocean Cove High School track team dropped onto the pile and a third pair of denim ones bearing the logo of the University of South Florida Bulls – a gift from Jean – at last hid away the fire-engine red thong.

Taking in the total package seconds later, from Kennedy's auburn hair in a neat ponytail to the canvas deck shoes, Jean could not help thinking 'mine,' as Kennedy smoothed her hands over her shirt front tucking the length inside the denim shorts.

Kennedy McMasters truly was one in a million, the most beautiful woman Jean had ever seen. She only hoped with ten more years of living under her own belt, at forty she would complement the compact woman as they went around together.

Scrabbling at the door prompted Kennedy's sheepish, “I'd better go.”

* * *

"You certainly know beauty."


Kennedy McMasters drew a hand over her flustered face as she and her father watched Jean pull up the dirt driveway, her undercarriage bouncing ominously and noisily over the ruts and ridges left behind after the overnight rains had washed away the looser sand. She and Cutter had jogged over, arriving only a few minutes ahead of Jean.

Father and daughter rose from the ladder-back rockers, setting aside their lemonades in tandem as the blonde strode across the lawn toward them.

"Good morning, Mr. McMasters," Jean greeted the man and held her hand out.

He looked at the hand then over to Kennedy. Surprising both women, but perhaps Kennedy more than Jean, he brushed the blonde's hand aside and grasped her shoulders, pulling her lean body against his in a hug. “Good to see you again, Jean.” His voice was gruff but warm.

Michael McMasters was not a small man, standing every inch of an imposing six feet. At 70 years old, he was also still exceptionally fit. Jean carefully extricated herself from the smothering feeling. Looking abashed she asked, “Sir?”

"Call me... Dad, if you want. After all, Kennedy's asked you to join the family." He frowned when it seemed his gesture only met with confusion. "Or, um, Mike... if you'd prefer?"

Jean worked hard to unfurrow her brow and affixed a functional smile. “I... well, all right. I... Mike, I guess. That would be all right.”

Mike turned to Kennedy. “You said you asked her. Didn't she say yes?”

Kennedy reached for Jean's hand, finding it and drawing the woman along her right side, putting a little space between Jean and her father, as the woman still looked, and felt – since her fingers twitched under Kennedy's touch – uneasy. “I think it's ... well, it might be all happening too fast.”

"Ah. Oh. Hey, listen. Sorry 'bout that." He gestured toward the door. "You wanna come in for a lemonade before you go?"

The blonde nodded. “Thank you.”

The smile returned to her father's face and Kennedy let Jean's hand drop as she followed Michael then Jean, into the house.

It was not the first time Jean had been inside the McMasters home. And he had always been a pleasant host, if reserved. The whole experience was different now as Michael pointed out knick knacks or pictures, congenially informing the blonde of each one's history and each person's identity. Soon she felt serious information overload.

He settled her on the couch in the living room, and after pointing his way through an array of Kennedy's siblings, nieces, nephews, and the older, time-worn pictures of grandparents, he asked if she was comfortable then disappeared into the kitchen.

Jean looked up from the pile of framed pictures in her lap which had been collected from the mantel to find Kennedy leaning on the doorway wearing just as puzzled an expression.

When Michael returned, he had a large photo album tucked under his left elbow. “Here's your lemonade.” When she took the glass, ice clinking slightly in the off-white drink, he dropped an album into her lap so suddenly she startled, almost dropping the drink.

Kennedy caught the glass. “Dad!”

"They're pictures of you," he said.

Jean took back her drink from her lover, who looked stunned like a fish had slapped her in the face. “Oh really?” she mused, interested. She opened the cover. “I bet you were adorable.”

"Adorable hellion," Michael informed her. Jean grinned and began studying the pictures arranged chronologically, caption information written in a careful handwritten script beneath each.

From infancy – a very redheaded Kennedy pulling at the ties of a frilly white bonnet she was pulling through her toothless gums – to a toddler chasing after one of her brother's toy cars. Distinctive intelligent eyes characterized every instance. Jean almost asked to keep the one taken at Kennedy's second birthday. She had to bite her lip at the impish desire to recreate the pink sailor suit. Kennedy would likely force feed it to her should Jean make the attempt.

When Jean offered no comments and just kept turning pages, Kennedy shifted uneasily. She eased onto the couch alongside Jean, fingers frozen on her own thighs resisting the urge to snatch away the album.

Michael however settled easily to a chair opposite. “So you still want to marry my daughter?” he asked in a stern questioning tone.

Jean looked up at him. Something in his demeanor, in her position, clicked, and she understood exactly what was happening, what had been happening since she arrived. She sat up straight, setting aside the album with care. “Yes, sir. I do,” she responded formally.

"Oh." He blinked then nodded. "Good."

Kennedy finally found her tongue. “So, it's all right?” she asked Jean.

"Of course it is," she smiled. "You probably don't remember but --" and she glanced to Michael. "I bet your parents did this to all your siblings' spouses too."

Michael nodded. “Your mother,” he told Kennedy, but then faltered. He waved a hand at the albums. “She made one for each of you, for...”

Numb from her emotional rollercoaster from embarrassment to confusion to unease at Jean's lengthening silence, and now reminded of her mother's death, Kennedy dropped her head and gazed at her hands, visibly flexing them to relax. “Oh.”

Jean laughed softly and, putting her hand over Kennedy's, kissed the woman's near cheek. “I passed the test,” she said. “You're stuck with me.”

Kennedy turned her face into Jean's shoulder and hugged her briefly with her outside arm before smiling at her father. “Thanks, Dad.”

* * *

As they left the house some twenty-five minutes later, Kennedy apologized profusely to Jean. “I had no idea he was going to do that.”

Jean chuckled. “To you? Or me? Personally I'm very flattered to be caught up in a family tradition.”

"But those pictures... and putting you on the spot like that." Jean's hand covering hers quieted Kennedy's runaway tongue.

"It's really all right," she reiterated. "Just tell him anything is fine for the wedding as long as there is no bachelor party planned. The only woman stripping for you will be me."

Finally seeing the humor dancing in Jean's eyes, Kennedy laughed as well. Teasing she elicited, “You promise?”

Jean paused at a red light, leaned across the space separating their seats and kissed Kennedy with utterly lustful seriousness. “I promise,” she breathed when she finally released Kennedy's tongue from her mouth.

Hormones rampant through her body, Kennedy began to hope the damn truck could fly to the marina.

* * *

Kennedy and Jean sat together on the bench seat in front of the guidance console on the 35-foot cabin cruiser. The sun was almost at its high point as they motored out past the last of the marina markers into the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

While making the course adjustments indicated by the global positioning system, Kennedy rested her other hand along the back of Jean's neck. It was bare, and inviting. Resolutely she ignored the urge to idle the boat and nibble. Her thumb stirred in the loose tendrils idly, relaxing them both in the mood of the mini-vacation.

Finally she spied the shadowy horizon indicating land – a small cay, or island, some five miles off Florida's coast. They had picnicked on this one, known to locals as Runner's Cay, once before.

Today Kennedy sincerely wanted to make love with Jean on the hammock grasses under the cypress trees, setting the birds in flight with their commingled sounds of passion. International waters were a wonderful thing.

"It was nice of your dad to let us raid his fridge for lunch," Jean said, thinking in amazement of the large wicker basket Michael McMasters had pressed on them and practically ordered them to fill from his pantry and refrigerator. He had even slipped in a bottle of sweet muscadine wine from his pantry rack.

"He's really accepting this," Kennedy marveled.

"I think he was beginning to despair you would ever marry," Jean replied with a smile.

"Are you saying I'm getting old?" Kennedy's hand drifted from Jean's nape to brush under the bottom of her tank top where she caught Jean's waist in a light tickle.

The blonde laughed and the reflex of her stomach muscles reminded Kennedy of her lover's body movements during sex. Ah, she grinned. Can't wait. "I'm young enough to keep up with you," she pointed out.

Jean grasped Kennedy's fingers lightly, halting the assault on her skin. “I just meant you need a partner in this life.”

"Are you happy I chose you?" Kennedy leaned over and pressed gentle kisses to the soft skin just behind Jean's right ear.

Jean's gratified moan was the perfect response. Kennedy released her hold on the speed lever and grasped Jean with both hands, wrapping tenderly but insistently around her upper arms from behind. Maneuvering the taller woman onto her lap, Kennedy lifted Jean's top, fondling the pert breasts and tugging at the pebbling nipples while she kissed along the satiny skin covering prominent shoulder blades and the ridges of spine.

Her lover arched into her hands, filling them with flesh. Kennedy squeezed rhythmically until Jean writhed in ecstasy. Her rear bumped Kennedy's groin with arousing results.

Releasing a breast Kennedy pushed her fingers inside the front of Jean's denim shorts and fingers folds, lavishing attention on an emerging clit until Jean came, arching and screaming Kennedy's name in exultation.

Slipping further inward and thrusting, Kennedy brought Jean over the edge again and again until the blonde pushed her own hand inside and cupped Kennedy's knuckles with a weak grip.

"Oh God, Kennedy." Jean breathed deeply, eyes barely open, watching over her shoulder as Kennedy removed her fingers and languidly licked them clean.

Like the proverbial cat with a plate of cream Kennedy smiled. Her gaze heated with promise of hours more pleasure, proving her insatiable appetite for Jean, body and soul.

The boat rocked suddenly drawing their gazes forward to the bow. Unpowered they had drifted into the currently curling around the small cay and been caught on a barely visible sandbar.

Reversing the engine slowly Kennedy rocked them free. “Guess we should go ashore,” she said sheepishly.

Jean dropped the anchor behind the boat. Kennedy pulled out the picnic basket stowed in the cabin's miniature kitchenette. Bringing up both their bags she shoulders one and passed the other to Jean. Kicking off their canvas sneakers they tied the laces together and looped them around their necks.

Over the side and into knee-deep water they waded ashore. Choosing a fern-lined hammock above the sandy beach, in the shadows of overarching cypress trees, they laid out their things. Jean returned to the boat fetching the plastic bag full of blankets and towels for their private lover's nest.

* * *

Jean awoke gradually from her doze. Sprawled on her belly, Kennedy still lay sleeping beside her. Jean sat up on an elbow and looked upon the woman she loved, completely relaxed. Exhausted.

            Inventive as all lovers are they had turned a snack of grapes into an event, painting one another's anatomy with the fruit juices and then licking the surfaces clean. Which of course had led to licking other parts. Jean had lost track of how many times Kennedy had wrung pleasure from her body, and she from Kennedy's. They had scared away the birds. The glade around them remained silent and still.

Shading her eyes Jean glanced up through the canopy gauging the time. Her exertions notwithstanding her stomach felt cavernously empty. It had to be mid-afternoon.

She started to roll over and reach for the lunch basket when a warm hand laid on her thigh. “Going somewhere?” Kennedy's voice burred.

Turning back Jean answered, “No. Just hungry. You want something?”

"We just ate."

"Over two hours ago sleepyhead," she teased. "I'm ready for a real lunch."

Kennedy rolled onto her back resting her palms, fingers interlaced, across her bare stomach. The older woman's body was so fit, Jean thought, noticing how little her breasts sagged, and how smoothly her stomach tapered to the thatch of reddish hairs covering her sex.

A blue eye swiveled up from beneath a sensuously lifted eyebrow.

Jean declined the implied invitation after offering a consolation kiss. “My blood sugar's low,” she said gently.

"There's crackers in the basket. Why don't I spread a little cheese on them?" Kennedy rose up, keeping contact with Jean's lips as she spoke.

"Thanks," Jean said.

"I promised I would take care of you forever." Kennedy leaned past Jean, her breasts brushing the blonde's arm and testing Jean's resolve to eat first.

Kennedy however continued forward and gave Jean a delicious sight, the woman's muscular back as she foraged in the basket.

"You have to stick around that long," Kennedy said, coming back to her knees with hands full of crackers and cheese spread.

Kissing Kennedy, Jean traced her fingers over the scar remaining just below Kennedy's collarbone from a bullet wound the woman had taken on duty. “You too.”

After the sensible lunch of chicken legs, and biscuits, washed down with filtered water, the two women splashed in the shallows. Catching one another proved slippery and sensual as nudity remained the order of the day.

The sound of a boat's motor however soon crashed on their idyll.

Kennedy spotted the fifty-foot cabin cruiser crossing from the southwest first. No one seemed to be on deck so no one could see them. However, her reared Catholic inhibitions prompted her out of the water.

"What's up?" Jean asked, still treading.

"Feeling a little exposed." Kennedy pointed. "C'mon out."

Jean did not argue, knowing she had been victorious to get the woman out of her clothes this long. While Kennedy donned her suit, and shorts, and finally a three-quarter sleeve tee, Jean pulled on the suit she frequently wore under her dive gear, a silver one-piece, and tugged on drawstring shorts over her hips.

Intimacy however was not quashed. Invited to lay down against Kennedy, they dozed watching the surf. Jean's fingertips swirled over a knife scar in Kennedy's thigh. “Kay, do you think you'll ever want children?”

Wondering what prompted that, Kennedy knew from the use of a nickname only Jean ever used that the topic was born from deep, uncertain thoughts. “I'm a little old to be a mother,” she answered honestly.

"But I'm not."

"No, you're not." It was true. Only 33 years old, Jean could easily still have a child, even more than one. "Do you want them?"

Jean's gaze drifted back to the clouds. “I... don't know. Your dad got me thinking I guess.”

"He has four grandchildren already. He'll live if we don't give him another." Kennedy leaned forward and kissed Jean's lips, stroking her cheeks. "However, anytime you want, I'll invite the nephews and nieces over to stay."

"To cure me?"

"Nah. They're great kids."

"Do you think they'll like me?" Though Kennedy and Jean had been together for months, the entire McMasters clan had not yet been introduced to their oldest sister's partner. Now that the two of them were engaged, it would probably be expected to be introduced to everyone. Hopefully before any wedding party.

Ah. “Everyone will love you.”

Jean nodded slowly, holding Kennedy's hand against her cheek, and returned her gaze to the clouds. “That would be nice.”

"That sounds like bad memories talking."

Jean looked up at Kennedy sheepishly. “I'm not used to a supportive family.”

"Well, you've got one now." Kennedy nudged Jean up and stood, holding out her hand. "Come on, let's go pick out your bridal bouquet."


"I think you'll like the island wildflowers. Especially after I make love to you buried up to our necks in them." Kennedy smiled with an edge of lust.

Jean laughed, mood instantly lightened by Kennedy's attention.

"Honestly, I know you will remain worried until it's proven, but Jean, male or female, you are my perfect match. They'll see that. And support it." She grabbed the second blanket and rolled it under her left arm, catching Jean's left hand in her right and starting the hike deeper into the interior of the little island.


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