For disclaimers see part 1

Booyong Mountain

part 15


Lois Kay

Sam looked down at the three people she loved most who were all fast asleep, oblivious to the rest of the world. Taryn was lying on her back, both her arms stretched out over her head. Timothy was curled up against his mother, with his head pillowed on her shoulder and her arms protectively wrapped around the small body. It was a scene Sam had witnessed many times before, but one of which she could never get enough. Watching them always filled her with a sense of peace and gratitude. They were her world and always managed to center her. They were her strength.

Sam smiled and bent down to kiss Jody’s forehead gently , careful not to wake her up. In her sleep, Jody smiled and Sam suppressed a chuckle. Her partner could be so incredibly endearing.

"Goodnight, love," she whispered, before turning around and tip-toeing out of the room, carefully closing the door.

The house was bathed in silence. The tension and stress of the past few days had taken their toll and everybody was tired. Sam knew the silence did not necessarily mean that all their friends and family were actually asleep, but they had all retired to their rooms, after Trishia had sternly stated noone but Sam and Jody were allowed to be in the office while they were monitoring the apartment.

It was not just Trishia’s concern for Fiona’s and Robin’s privacy, but also the fear that a constant coming and going of people would somehow interfere with their surveillance. She could not afford to miss one sound, or one image. So Trishia had decided only four people were allowed into the office; Sam, Jody, Peter Jones and Trishia herself.

When Sam opened the door to her office, Peter and Trishia glanced up and sent her a tired smile. Sam took a seat next to Trishia and cast a look at one of the monitors in front of her. Everything looked quiet.

The receiver of the intercom made a soft humming noise, an indication that the device was on and Sam hoped it would continue to work.

"Are Fiona and Robin asleep?" she asked softly.

"Fiona’s taking a shower and Robin’s looking at a few of Fi’s portfolio’s," Trishia answered, before taking a sip of her coffee. "Other than that there’s no activity, not that we expected any already," she added.

"One can hope," Peter mumbled. "I hope it will be quick and painless."

"That would be great," Sam sighed. "Do you have enough coffee, Pete? I could make some more if..."

"No, no, Sam, I’m peachy, really. I’m trying to be positive and hope to be home with the wife as soon as possible. Any more coffee and I’ll be up for the next three weeks."

"Can’t have that," Trishia answered with a smile. "Sharon would have my hide."

"I get it, no more caffeine," Sam nodded with a twinkle in her eyes. She cast a look at the intercom and exhaled slowly. She was afraid it was going to be a long night. Part of her wished it would be a quiet one, but she also wished for things to go back to normal as soon as possible and the only way that could happen was to capture Barry Miles. When he showed up.

If he showed up.

Robin looked up when she heard somebody enter the room. She could not help smiling when she saw Fiona step inside. The photographer was clad in a pair of knit shorts and a matching t-shirt. Her wet hair was tucked behind her ears and her cheeks were still rosy from the shower.

Fiona answered the smile when she sank on the couch next to Robin and lightly touched the other woman’s hand in silent greeting.

"See anything you like?" she asked with a twinkle in her eyes, pointing at the photo album, knowing full well her words implied something completely different.

"Oh, yeah," Robin sighed, tearing her eyes away from the taller woman next to her. With effort, she turned her attention back to the photos she had been studying intently.

"When did you take this one?" she asked curiously, pointing at the picture of a dolphin who was looking up at the camera with something that resembled a smile.

Fiona bent a little closer so she could see what Robin was pointing at and she chuckled.

"That’s my friend, Willy."

"Willy was an orca," Robin corrected with a smile.

"Orca, dolphin, guppy," Fiona shrugged. "They’ re all fish."

"Mmm, some people would disagree on that," Robin remarked dryly.

"You’ re the expert," Fiona grinned. "But, to answer your question: I took this picture a couple of years ago, when Bird took me on one of his expeditions. It was pretty cool. The dolphin just followed us around and it wasn’t hard to take some good shots of him." Fiona cocked her head and frowned. "Or her," she added, which earned her a playful swat from Robin.

"Bird? Was...isn’t that your brother, Gerald?"

"The one and only," Fiona nodded. She leaned back into the pillows, extending her legs on top of the low coffee table. "You’d like him. He’s the marine biologist. I bet the two of you could talk for hours."

"I’m sure we could," Robin nodded, putting the photo album down and leaning back as well. Immediately, she felt Fiona’s arm wrap around her shoulders, pulling her into a one armed embrace. With a small sigh, she leaned her head against Fiona’s shoulder, closing her eyes when she tried to relax.

"Hopefully, this will all be over soon. We could take a trip up the coast and visit my big brother."

"That sounds wonderful," Robin smiled. "I’d love to do that, but I’m afraid we’ re way behind on renovating the resort. There’s a lot of catching up to do."

"Sucks," Fiona sighed and when Robin opened her eyes to cast a look at the photographer’s face, she chuckled when she noticed the expression on her face.

"You’ re pouting."

"No, I’m not," Fiona defended herself.

"Yes, you are," Robin laughed. She brought her face closer to Fiona’s and looked into her eyes.

"But you know what?" she whispered. "It’s pretty cute."

"Cute?" Fiona mouthed with a raised eyebrow.

"Adorable," Robin nodded with sparkling eyes.

"Careful what you say, Big Sister is listening," Fiona mumbled, which earned her another nudge from Robin.

"And we don’t want to ruin your reputation," Robin concluded.

"Exactly," Fiona nodded.

Robin smiled and leaned in closer to give the taller woman a quick peck on the cheek.

"Tell me, what happened that made you think you had to be so tough?" she asked gently, but curiously.

"Life happened, I guess," was the quick answer and Robin pulled a face.

"I’m sure you can be a little more specific."

"I’m sorry," Fiona sighed. "Old habit, hard to break and all that good stuff."

"Yadayadayada," Robin mumbled and both women laughed.

"Alright, let me try to do some self-analyzing," Fiona smiled. "What made me think I had to be tough? It goes back quite a few years, I think," she started, suddenly sounding very serious. "My life was pretty safe, uncomplicated and happy. As the youngest, I had three big brothers who were pretty annoying at times, but also my protectors when I needed them. And I had two big sisters whom I adored," she confessed softly. "Lucy and I are two peas from the same pod. I think we’ve always understood one another, but she’s ten years older than I am and when I was busy growing up, she’d already done that. These last few years we’ve grown pretty close though and it’s nice to be able to communicate on an adult level."

Fiona raked her fingers through her drying hair and pulled Robin a little closer. She loved the feeling of Robin’s warm body molding against her own. She realized she had turned a corner and there was no way back. It felt too good to be in love. It was thrilling and frightening at the same time, but also wonderfully warm, safe and exciting, which made talking so much easier.

"Jody...she’s always been my...idol. My big sister who always seemed to have time for me, to read me stories, to help me with my homework, to play with me. I can’t remember one single time Jody lost her patience with me, but maybe I’ve blocked that out," Fiona joked. "Seriously, she had more patience with me and my constant, annoying questions than anyone else. I always loved to be around her, even when she had her own homework to do. I would just sit on her bed and read or play. All I wanted was to be there where she was."

"Anyway," Fiona continued after a brief silence. "When I was six years old, Sam came into my life, our lives," she corrected herself with a small smile. "And things changed. I could see how much Jody liked her and vice versa. It," Fiona explained, sounding a little shy. "Mind you, I was six and I believed in fairy tales. There was something special between Jody and Sam and even though I was hurt at times, especially when Jody sometimes went away to stay with Sam, I loved both of them. Whenever Sam came to visit us, they hardly ever ignored me. They took me camping and Sam taught me how to swim and whistle and how to tickle Jody and get away with it," Fiona chuckled at the memory. "Life was a fairy tale and I was one lucky princess. Until that one evening my dad started yelling at Jody. I was in bed and heard him rave and rant and I didn’t know what was going on. I did understand he was angry because Jody was in love with Sam. Back then, I didn’t really know what that was, but all the stories I’d ever read talked about people falling in love and living happily ever after. Right?"

Fiona paused and cast a look at Robin, who was staring back at her with an intense gaze.

"Right," she answered softly.

"Wrong," Fiona replied, equally soft. "Jody was basically kicked out of the house and I was told that Sam had caused an accident in which my brother, Matthew, had broken his leg and she ended up in the hospital. When I asked my dad if we could visit Sam so I could give her the picture I drew for her, he slapped me across the face and told me never, ever to mention that name again." Fiona swallowed hard and unconsciously rubbed her cheek, a gesture that brought tears to Robin’s eyes. "My first reaction was to run to Jody’s room, but she was gone. So I just sat on her bed and cried. Until Lucy came in. She picked me up, put me onto her lap and held me until I stopped crying. I can’t remember crying after that day, not for a long time anyway. For years I was angry at my father, not just for hitting me, but for taking Jody and Sam away from me. And I guess I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of seeing me hurt, so I made sure to toughen up and I pretended I didn’t care. After...after Jody left, my father changed, a lot. He became bitter and a religious fanatic. He forbade us to talk about Jody, but he never passed any opportunity to talk down on her. And I discovered that if I built my walls a little higher, nothing could hurt me anymore," Fiona sighed and grabbed Robin’s hand, giving it a loving squeeze. "So I did," she ended simply. "Being cynical was a good way to keep people at a distance and I guess it became a habit."

"Except for the people you love," Robin remarked. "I’ve noticed you’ re different around them. You’re...warmer, less guarded. They make you seem more relaxed."

"More human," Fiona winked, making Robin smile.

"You’ve always seemed very human to me," Robin answered.

"Thank you," Fiona smiled. "I do know I’ve never been able to fool Jody. She’s always been able to see straight through me. But the great thing about my sister is that she never abused that talent."

"Because it would have caused the opposite to happen. You would have clammed up even more," Robin stated, which earned her a surprised look from Fiona.

"You see a lot," she said softly.

Robin smiled and reached out a hand to cup the photographer’s cheek, gently stroking the soft skin with her thumb.

"That’s because, when I look at you, I don’t just look with my eyes," she whispered.

Fiona’s gaze was captured by a pair of warm, hazel eyes and she swallowed hard when the true meaning of Robin’s words sank in, touching her deeply.

"I think that’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me," she whispered back after a long silence. "And now I really have to kiss you."

Robin chuckled and let her hand slide to the back of Fiona’s neck when their lips met in a slow, unhurried kiss. For a few precious moments the world around them faded away, until Robin broke the kiss and leaned her forehead against Fiona’s.

"I don’t want to get into trouble," she whispered with evident regret, still aware of the intercom that was tirelessly transmitting.

"No, not this kind of trouble," Fiona agreed with a soft laugh. "We’d never live it down."

"Probably. But I also want to keep my ears and eyes open. I don’t want to be caught

off guard when this..."

"Bad Hulk," Fiona helpfully provided.

"When this bad Hulk shows up again," Robin finished with a smile. She kissed Fiona’s nose and chuckled when the photographer looked at her cross-eyed.

"But when he’s captured and all has ended, well, you’ re fair game," she whispered.

"Of course," Fiona breathed, feeling goose bumps erupt all over her body. Robin’s low voice, so close to her ear, made her body respond in a way she had never experienced before. It was something totally new, but so exhilarating, Fiona could hardly wait to explore all those interesting feelings.

"I won’t run," she promised.

"Good, because that would be a mindless waste of energy," Robin answered dryly and they both laughed.

Robin wrapped her arms around Fiona and rested her head against the photographer’s shoulder. Within the warm circle of each other’s arms, they silently waited on the things to come. In spite of their fatigue, neither woman wanted to go to sleep.

It was going to be a long night.

Trishia cast a look at Sam, who stared at the intercom with suspiciously moist eyes, while Peter was busy adjusting one of the monitors. They were all silent and caught up in their own thoughts.

Trishia knew her partner, who had witnessed the conversation between Fiona and Robin, like she and Sam had, was feeling guilty about having overheard such a personal revelation from the youngest McDonnell. But it also showed Fiona’s trust in them, something for which the police woman was grateful.

"I had no idea," Sam whispered after a very long silence. "She never talked to us about that."

"I don’t think anyone knew, Sam," Trishia answered softly.

"I remember the first time I saw Fiona again, after those eight, long years. I was trying to get rid of Steven Hayes, who’d been following me to a shop, I ran into Fi." Sam smiled at the memory. "I tried to hide, but she’d seen me. She was just staring at me with those dark-green eyes. She didn’t know what I was up to, but I could tell she’d already decided not to let me get away."

Sam cast a look at Trishia who was listening intently and sent her friend a small smile.

"Do you know one of the first things she said to me that day?" Sam paused a moment while Trishia shook her head and Peter stopped his fidgeting with the monitor to give the tall blonde all of his attention.

"Are you with Jody now?" Sam repeated Fiona’s question, not able to hide the quivering of her voice. "I had no idea things had been so hard on her for all those years. And the fact that her...father...slapped her across the face, just because she mentioned my name, just makes me sick," Sam added in a bitter voice. "I’d like to throttle him sometimes."

"Get in line," Trishia remarked dryly. "There’s a good chance I’d beat you to it. The man’s insane and I can’t tell you how happy I am that Michael managed to get away from him."

"Did you know he has a column in one of those church magazines?" Peter asked and he almost grinned when he saw the astonishment on their faces.

"He does," Peter nodded. "My mother gets those things and I picked one up one day. He has a weekly column called;’ The truth of the matter....’."

"What does he write about?" Trishia asked with trepidation.

"Oh, mate, you’ll love this," Peter grinned. "His usual subjects are the value of family life and all that. On occasion he also raves and rants about homosexuals."

"Figures," Sam mumbled. "I’d wish he’d ask me to write a little piece, but I guess that will happen when hell freezes over."

"Yeah, don’t hold your breath," Trishia grinned, nudging Sam with her shoulder.

"How can a man like David McDonnell have such great children?" Peter mused. "And grandchildren," he added with a wink.

"They take after their Mom," Trishia decided. "Thank goodness."

"They’re all pretty special, aren’t they?" Sam smiled.

"Amen to that," Trishia smiled, raking her fingers through her hair. "I..."

All of a sudden she shot forward in the chair, her eyes fixed on one of the monitors. Immediately, Peter and Sam turned their attention to the black and white screen and they both sucked in a breath. A tall, dark shadow carefully made its way through the forest, crawling from tree to tree, using the tall, broad giants of the forest to hide behind, to try and stay out of reach of the cameras.

"It must be him," Trishia said, her voice hoarse with the sudden tension. Unconsciously, she reached for the gun that was strapped to her body, while Peter Jones did the same thing.

"Where is he?"

Peter’s eyes traveled from the monitor to a map in front of him and back again.

"About halfway up the hill."

"Halfway?" Trishia echoed, raising her voice in disbelief. "How come we haven’t seen him earlier? Damn! We’ re supposed to keep the girls safe! I..."

"Calm down, Trish," Sam interrupted in a gentle but firm voice. "Apparently he knows what he’s doing, but we’ve got our eyes on him now. We have time. Don’t beat yourself up over it, alright?"

"How much time do you think we have?" Peter asked, never taking his eyes from the monitor.

"Hard to say," Sam sighed, aware of her stomach being tied in knots. "Twenty minutes, maybe a little more."

"Time for us to go down," Trishia decided, standing up and grabbing her cell phone from the table. "Sam, you know what to do."

"I’ll stay here and keep an eye on the monitor. You and Peter go down and I’ll keep in touch with you through our cell phones. Do you have the headset?"

"Right here," Trishia mumbled, plugging the device into her phone and adjusting the earpiece, while Sam dialed her number. As soon as the phone rang, Trishia switched it on and nodded.

"We’ll keep this line open. I need you to be our eyes, Sam. I want to know every move he makes. As soon as I walk out of this room, I want you to notify the units down the hill. They have their orders to seal off the roads...just in case," she added softly.

" you want me to warn Fiona and Robin?"

Trishia slowly shook her head, while she adjusted the cell phone on her waist band.

"Only when you get the impression they are aware of something. If they hear Peter or me, I don’t want them to be afraid. When I need them to do something, I’ll let you know and you can tell them, alright?"

"Alright," Sam nodded. "Be careful."

"We will be," Trishia promised, squeezing Sam’s shoulder. "Keep your ears and eyes open, Sam. Don’t forget we have an advantage."

"Just get this idiot so we can live our lives again," Sam replied.

"Don’t worry, we’ll get him," Trishia answered with determination. "It will be over soon, Sam, hang in there."

Peter and Trishia left the room and the door closed with a soft click, leaving Sam alone with her cell phone and monitors. She quickly made the call to the police units that were stationed on the bottom of the hill, urging them to stay alert.

Without taking her eyes off the slowly moving figure, she sat back in her chair, her body coiled in tension. Part of her was glad her partner was asleep, so she didn’t have to go through all the anxiety and stress, but the other part of her desperately longed for the warm, comforting presence of Jody.

Sam was hardly surprised when, after a few minutes, the door opened again and the subject of her thoughts stepped inside. Years ago she had given up wondering about the special bond they shared. She had come to accept it for what it was; something special.

"Every time I need you, you are there," she smiled when she felt a pair of warm arms hug her from behind.

"And vice versa," Jody answered, kissing Sam’s cheek. "I met Trish and Pete in the hall way. I’m glad it will be over soon. How are Fi and Robin doing?"

"They’re doing great. You can be proud of your sister."

"I’ve always been proud of her," Jody smiled. She slid in a chair next to Sam and eyed the monitors. "Is that him?"

"Yes, that’s him," Sam answered softly.

"I remember William Jenkins mentioning him every now and then. I know Bill messed up his life, because of his gambling, but he wasn’t really a bad person. I can’t help thinking he must have seen something good in this man. What happened to him to make him so...violent and angry?"

"I don’t know, honey," Sam sighed. "I’m sure in his own warped reality he must have a reason, but I just want my family to be safe. I want Trishia and Peter to arrest him and take him away. I’m so tired of people trying to hurt my family."

"Just the thought of somebody trying to hurt you, or the twins, makes my blood boil," Jody confessed. "I’d do anything to protect you, Tim and Taryn."

"I know, love," Sam smiled. "You can be quite the tigress. It’s one of the many reasons I love you so much."

Sam was aware of the fact that Trishia could hear every word of their conversation, but she didn’t care. It wasn’t like Trishia didn’t know how much they loved each other. Within the circle of their friends and family they had always been very open, never hiding their feelings. Unknowingly, they had provided an environment for others, like Lucy and Trishia and Alice and Yarra, to do the same thing: show their love for each other with pride and joy.

"Is that phone on?" Jody suddenly asked, as if she had been able to read Sam’s mind.

"Yes, I’m Trishia’s and Peter’s eyes."

"Oh," was Jody response and then she chuckled. "Ah, well, it’s not like she didn’t know I love you. Tell her to be careful."

"You heard her, Trish," Sam smiled when she listened to the police woman’s response and she cast a quick glance at Jody, her clear blue eyes twinkling.

"Trish is wondering if, by any chance, there would be a possibility for you and your Mom to make that delicious apple pie she likes so well."

"I thought Lucy was the pregnant one," Jody grinned. "I guess Trish has the cravings, huh? But yes, we can do that. Just make sure you be careful, Trish. We need you in this family."

Sam nodded to something that was being said into her earpiece and reached out to grab Jody’s hand.

"She loves you too," she said softly.

His breathing was labored when he made his way up the steep hill. Every now and then he lost his footing and had to grab a bush or a tree to steady himself. His shoulder, where the dog had bit him, was aching and deep down inside he knew the small puncture wounds were probably infected. That knowledge made him angry and he wished he could get his hands on that tall, blond woman. The one who had caused all his recent pain and suffering. She was the one the man was after. She had been making his business suffer and he had lost money. A lot of money. Hurting her would not bring the money back, but it would be justified revenge.

Barry Miles gritted his teeth and felt the anger bubble up inside his chest. He thumped his fist against the trunk of a tree, needing some outlet for his built- up aggression. She had killed his best friend, the only person he had trusted. Her actions had condemned him to live a life of solitude and loneliness. She had taken away the little warmth and joy he had in his life.

But tonight she would pay.

Alice Wilson softly moaned in her sleep, restlessly turning on her side. The soft moonlight that fell into the room, painted her blond hair silver and with a gentle smile Yarra brushed an unruly strand away from her forehead.

Ever since she had fallen asleep, Alice had been restless and Yarra knew her lover was dreaming. The events of the previous day had been pretty unsettling and had made a deep impact on the kind hearted woman. It had taken her hours to fall asleep and Yarra was hesitant to wake her up. Alice had been so tired.

"I’ll give it a little more time," she whispered, looking down at the face she loved so much. "If you keep thrashing like this, I’ll wake you up, my love, I promise."

Alice moaned again and this time it sounded different, more desperate. With a worried glance, Yarra looked at Alice, who, even in her sleep, looked frightened.

"That’s it, time to wake up. I don’t think that..."

Before Yarra could finish her sentence, Alice’s eyes flew open and with a groan she shot upright, looking at Yarra with wide eyes. Her hands were blindly reaching for her and the dark-skinned woman quickly wrapped her lover in a tight embrace.

"I’m here," she whispered, brushing Alice’s forehead with her lips. "I’m here, honey. It’s alright. You were dreaming."

Alice let out a shuddering breath and tucked her head underneath Yarra’s chin, trying to get as close to her lover as possible.

"It’s alright, honey," Yarra repeated. "You’ re here, with me, in your old room."

"He’s here," Alice whispered in a hoarse voice and Yarra could feel a shiver run down her spine. She swallowed hard and rested her cheek on Alice’s hair, feeling her lover snuggle even closer.

"The man who kidnapped Fi and Robin?"

"Yes, he’s here," Alice repeated. "He’s coming."

"Trishia expected that and I’m sure she and Peter are ready for him," Yarra tried to comfort the woman in her arms, who still seemed to be upset.

"I know," Alice whispered. "They’ re ready, but...he’s not alone."


Yarra pushed Alice back so she could look into her lover’s eyes. She needed to determine whether Alice was awake, or still dreaming.

"I’m awake, Yar, I really am," she spoke softly. "I was dreaming that Barry Miles was climbing the hill, to get to the apartment. But there was somebody else as well."

"With him?" Yarra asked, not aware of the tension in her voice.

"No," Alice shook her head. She cast a glance at the window and swallowed hard, moistening her dry lips. "He came from the other side. He’s headed for the house."

Yarra froze, just for a few seconds, but then she disentangled herself from Alice’s warm body and stepped out of bed, followed by her lover who knew what they had to do. They dressed quickly, in total silence and, when they were done, they left the room hand-in-hand.

Fiona cast a look at the clock on the wall and suppressed a yawn. She was stretched out on the couch, her feet dangling off the end, while Robin was curled up on her side, one arm and leg possessively draped across Fiona’s taller body, while her head was resting on her shoulder.

"I’d almost call this comfy," Fiona mumbled, hearing Robin chuckle.

The biologist raised her head and kissed Fiona’s chin, before resuming her previous position again.

"I do call it comfy," she said in a muffled voice.

"But that’s only because your feet are not hanging in the air somewhere," Fiona sighed. "I think I need to buy a bigger couch."

"Yes, I think you do," Robin nodded. "So do I, because when we’ re at my place, I’d like us to be comfy like this as well."

"Of course there’s always the bed," Fiona mused, grinning when Robin gently pinched her side.

"Don’t tempt me."

"If we moved to the bedroom, we’d have to take the intercom with us," Fiona mused. "That would be like inviting my family to have a front row seat to watch my love life. Or, at least, hear my love life," she corrected herself with a grin.

"That would be embarrassing," Robin mumbled.

"Extremely," Fiona agreed with a nod. "So, I guess we’d better stay where we are now. That way, we’ll stay out of...trouble?"

Robin laughed softly and pressed her face in the crook of Fiona’s neck, breathing in the smell of freshly scrubbed skin.

"You smell nice."

"Thank you," Fiona smiled, amused by the way Robin seemed to be affected by scents. "You smell nice too, but then, you used my shower gel," she added with a chuckle. "And your hair is finally drying."

"I know, it takes forever," Robin answered lazily. "It’s too thick."

"It’s beautiful," Fiona replied softly, stroking the curly hair underneath her hand. An uninvited image suddenly popped into her mind and she softly laughed.

"What’s so funny?" Robin wanted to know.

"I’s weird and it must be all this new being in love stuff, but...I just had an image of a bunch of little freckled kids with dark curly hair." Fiona took a deep breath and shook her head in disbelief. "I wonder where that came from," she softly added.

"Little Fiona’s," Robin said dreamily. "Mmmm, there’s nothing wrong with that image."

"That’s what you think," Fiona replied. "I’m sure that one of me is more than enough."

Robin raised her head and her eyes caught Fiona’s. For a brief moment she thought Fiona would turn away her gaze, but she didn’t and Robin was secretly pleased. She smiled and let her fingers slide through the photographer’s dark hair.

"We’ll have to work on your self-image," she smiled.

"That could be a long project," Fiona warned with a twinkle in her eyes.

"That’s alright, I’ve got time," Robin answered.

"How much time?"

Robin knew that last question was a reflection of Fiona’s insecurity and in her previous relationship with Abigail Patterson she would have hesitated when answering. But this was Fiona and things were so different. Her feelings were so much deeper and stronger. Robin had no doubt about what was in her heart.

"A lifetime," she answered, immediately seeing the dark-green eyes mist over. Fiona tried to blink away the tears, but it was a battle she could not win and she let out a long, shuddering breath.

"Your words have so much power over me," she whispered in a hoarse voice. "I feel them all the way here," she said, tapping on her chest. "It’s like a pain, but it’s a sweet one."

Fiona wiped her eyes with the back of her hand and let out a soft snort.

"At least Lucy has an excuse to be sniffing and bawling, she’s pregnant."

"And you’re in love," Robin smiled, catching a tear with the tip of her finger.

"Imagine being pregnant and in love," Fiona sighed, rolling her eyes. "That would require a higher intake of fluids and salt."

"I’ll try to remember that," Robin replied dryly. "Now, stop analyzing and kiss me."

"Sounds good to me," Fiona smiled, wrapping her arms around Robin and pulling her on top of her. The hazel eyes widened and for a brief moment Robin’s body stiffened, but then she relaxed, molding her body against the photographer’s taller one, letting out a sigh of contentment.

"This is a very dangerous position, Miss McDonnell," she whispered.

"I need to be close to you," Fiona explained, brushing away a strand of curly hair that was dangling across Robin’s cheek. "’s probably very...early and...all that, but...I think I love you."

Robin’s eyes were captured by Fiona’s dark-green ones and she melted into the beauty of their depths, not aware of the single tear that was rolling down her cheek. The only thing she was aware of was the warm body she pressed into, the eyes that held her captive and the tidal wave of emotions that flooded her senses, turning the woman in her arms into the center of her universe.

"I think I love you, too."


To be continued in part 16

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