Heart’s Choice


Lois Kay


Chapter 5

"On the warpath?" Emma echoed, her dark blue eyes radiating a mixture of amusement, worry and frustration.

Kyra reached across the table and put her hand on Emma’s, giving it a gentle squeeze.

"She will not be happy to find you here and she’ll most likely be nasty about it. She’s very good at that," Kyra warned, letting out a small sigh. "I’m sorry, Emma."

Emma put down her fork and knife and her blue eyes held a hint of sadness when they looked at her friend.

"Shall I…?" her eyes traveled towards the French doors that lead to the back yard and Kyra let out a nervous chuckle.

"Don’t be silly! Just stay where you are. It’s about time my mother grows up, don’t you think? Or maybe it’s time for me to stand up more for myself. Whatever she might throw at me, you are here because I want you to be here. Okay?"

"Thanks," Emma smiled. "You think she would like a banana pancake?" she added with a wink, almost causing Kyra to snort out her coffee.

The door opened and Simon came running back in, a sour looking Vivian LeJeune following close behind him. Even before she had entered the room, Kyra had already heard her making a remark about Simon still walking around in his pajamas at ten o’clock in the morning and she pulled a face at Emma.

"I cannot understand how you can allow your son to walk around the house, dressed like a vagabond," Vivian LeJeune’s voice sounded. "I would think that…"

The older woman had entered the room and stopped dead in her tracks when she noticed Emma, who was sitting at the table, enjoying a cup of coffee.

"Good morning," Emma greeted her with a pleasant smile, seeing Kyra’s eyes dart from her mother to her and back again.

"Morning, Mother," Kyra said calmly. "As you can see I’m not dressed either, so I guess that makes me a vagabond as well. Is there a special reason for you to drop in so early? Oh, you want some coffee?" she added as an afterthought, hoping her mother would say ‘no’ and leave.

"No, thank you," Vivian LeJeune answered, regarding Emma with cool, gray eyes.

"What is she doing here?" she asked Kyra, gesturing towards the silent school teacher.

Kyra shot Emma an apologetic look, before she turned back to her mother, mentally girding her loins for the unavoidable battle ahead.

"’She’ has a name, which happens to be Emma. You could call her by her name, or call her ‘Miss Altena’, whichever you prefer. And please don’t insult my guest by ignoring her presence and talking about her in the third person. It’s very impolite, Mother. Not to mention rude."

"I didn’t know you two were so…close, already," Vivian LeJeune almost spat. "Especially after what I was trying to tell you last night, over the phone." She turned towards Emma and shot her an ice cold glance. "If you would excuse us, Miss Altena, I would like to talk to my daughter in private."

"Oh, boy, this is not good," Emma thought, already pushing back her chair, but a hand on her arm stopped her. She looked up in a pair of stormy, but determined green eyes and managed to send Kyra a small, encouraging smile.

"Please, stay, Emma,’ Kyra calmly asked, turning back to face her mother and gesturing towards an empty chair.

"You can either remain standing, or sit down, but Emma is not going anywhere," she announced with barely veiled anger. "And if you came over here to argue, I would rather you leave. I’m not in the mood."

"All right, have it your way," Vivian LeJeune answered, ignoring the chair. "Yesterday I told you that this…Miss Altena… has a history. I have not heard all the details yet, but I came here to tell you she is a lesbian," she said with disgust.

Kyra, who knew her mother very well and already had expected that remark, calmly sipped her coffee and quirked one eyebrow.

"Really?" she replied indifferently. "And your point would be, what exactly?"

"I don’t want a person like that to educate my grandson," Vivian LeJeune answered with venom.

"First of all that’s not your decision to make and secondly: your grandson’s grandfather is homosexual, Mother. So I repeat: what is your point?"

"It is utterly disgusting! People like…like…her should be banned from schools. They should not be allowed to influence innocent children and corrupt them with their perverted ideas."

Emma winced and cast down her eyes to hide the pain and anger those words had evoked. She really wanted to jump up and tell Kyra’s mother exactly what she felt about prejudiced, hypocritical people, but again Kyra’s hand grabbed hers in a strong grip and gave it an encouraging squeeze, immediately calming her down.

"Mother, please leave," Kyra’s voice said with a slight tremble. "Emma is my friend and a guest in my house and you have just crossed a line. Actually, you have crossed a few. I want you to leave and take your archaic, bigoted views with you and discuss them with people who care."

"I see, she has already influenced you. But then you have always been a lost cause, Kyra. I will tell you this though, young lady, I will make sure to rid the school of the likes of her. I will not sit back and watch them corrupt the system."

Vivian LeJeune turned around and walked back to the door where she turned around and shot her daughter a cold and disapproving look.

"The day I find out you are following in your fathers footsteps, your life will become a living hell. I will make sure of that."

After those venomous words, Kyra’s mother marched out of the room. They could hear her high heels click on the tile floor in the hall and a few seconds later they heard the slamming of the front door.

Emma’s eyes stared at the hand that was still covering hers and she took a sip of coffee to wash away the bitter taste Vivian LeJeune’s words had left behind. The room was silent and both women were desperately trying to organize their thoughts.

The hateful words had thrown Emma back in time and for a frightening moment she had relived a part of her past she had worked so hard to overcome and only wanted to forget. Kyra was trying to control her anger and shame and seriously considering if there was anything positive in the relationship she had with her mother. She honestly doubted that.

Casting a look across the table, Kyra felt a painful pull on her heart when she saw the sadness and pain in her friend’s blue eyes.

"I’m so sorry, Emma," she whispered, ashamed by the actions of the woman who happened to be her mother and who displayed such hate and prejudice, instead of supporting her daughter and being happy for her now she had found a friend.

"It’s not your fault, Kyra," Emma answered with a weak smile. "You’re not responsible for your mother’s actions."

"Thank goodness," Kyra breathed, while rolling her eyes, making Emma chuckle. "If she keeps this…hate campaign going, I’ll just have to tell her that I never want to see…"

"Kyra, she is your mother," Emma felt compelled to remind her friend, although she understood the dark haired woman’s sentiments. "And you only have one."

A pair of sad green eyes locked with Emma’s and she had to control herself not to stand up, walk around the table and envelope Kyra in a big hug. She did look like she really needed one.

If I do that, I can never let go.

Instead, the teacher covered Kyra’s fidgeting fingers with her hand and her heart did a double take when her friend immediately entwined their fingers, obviously very comfortable with holding her hand.

"I would understand if you…if you…well, if you decided that being around me is not worth the trouble," Kyra whispered, not able to look into those captivating blue eyes that were calling to her with such force, she needed all her strength not to look up and lose herself completely.

"Is that what you want?" Emma gently asked, feeling Kyra’s fingers convulsively tighten around her own.

"No," the dark haired woman looked up, unconsciously stressing her point by the stubborn and determined look in her eyes. "That’s not what I want. But I don’t want you hurt by all of this either."

I already care so much…

"I’ll be fine," Emma smiled. "Don’t worry about me."

For a brief moment, when their eyes were holding each other, Emma allowed her gaze to express the growing affection and tenderness she felt for her friend. When Kyra’s eyes softened and the dark green pools radiated a mixture of gentle confusion and shy happiness, they exchanged a warm smile, before breaking the spell and turning their attention back to their coffee. But their hands refused to let go.


During his grandmother’s outburst, Simon had been standing behind his mother’s chair, but now he stepped closer to the table with a puzzled expression on his face. He tentatively put his hand on top of the one Kyra was using to hold Emma’s and his eyes traveled from his mother, to Emma and back again,

"Mom, what is a les…lebs…lebsian?"

"Lesbian, honey," Kyra automatically corrected her son.

"And is grandpa sick?"

Kyra furrowed her brows and looked into a pair of worried gray eyes,

"No, your grandfather is not sick, why would you think that?"

"Because you said he…is…he is…" Simon frowned and tried to remember the difficult word his mother had been using. "He is hommerestial, or something. Is that bad?"

Startled green met amused blue and after a few moments of silence both Kyra and Emma laughed out loud, while Simon was pulled into his mother’s lap and enveloped in a big hug.

"I guess it’s time for some alternative birds and bees," she smirked. "Want to provide some moral support?"

"Sure, why not?" Emma smiled, glad that the nervous knot had disappeared from her stomach now the tension had dissipated.

"We will talk later…about what just happened, okay?"

Emma just nodded and contentedly rested her head on her hand, completely absorbed in the scene that was unfolding in front of her eyes.

Kyra pushed back her hair and tucked a curly strand behind her ear, but to Emma’s amused eyes it immediately escaped again and playfully dangled down her cheek. The green eyes were focused on Simon’s face and the little boy looked up at his mother with big, trusting eyes.

"Simon, do you remember when we talked about Grandpa Norbert and Grandpa Al and how much they love each other?" The little boy nodded his head and Kyra continued. "They are a couple, because they have chosen to be together, like for example Paul and Susan next door, they are a couple as well."

"We went to the wedding," Simon remembered.

"We sure did," Kyra smiled. "See, when people have found the person they love so much they always want to be together, they usually will live together. Like your grandfathers. Now, lots of times you see boys liking girls and girls liking boys, right?"

Simon wrinkled his nose and pulled a face, making his mother smile.

"Max’s brother has a girlfriend and Max said they kissed. Yuck."

Kyra laughed and winked at the grinning Emma, who was listening intently, her dark blue eyes sparkling. She was thoroughly enjoying every single second of the mother-son talk

"But sometimes there are boys who like boys better than girls and girls who like other girls better than boys."

"Like Grandpa Norbert and Grandpa Al," Simon stated. "They kiss."

Kyra suppressed a chuckle and tried to keep a straight face when she looked down at her son and solemnly nodded.

"Yes, they do. They love each other, remember?" she smiled. "Anyway, people always try to understand things better by giving them names. That is where the big, difficult words sometimes come from. When two boys or two girls love each other, they are called ‘homosexuals’. And a ‘lesbian’ is a girl who likes other girls."

Simon had to think about that for a while and Kyra gave him the time he needed to process the information, hoping her explanation would have been clear enough. With a soft smile she looked at his face and she could almost see the wheels churning inside his head. Finally he leaned his head against her chest and cast a glance at Emma.

"Grandma said Miss Emma is a lebs..leb…lesbian," he managed the strange word with some difficulty.

"Yes, she is," Kyra softly answered, wondering what was going on in her son’s little mind.

"She didn’t like that," Simon pensively stated. "Why not, Mom?"

"I think because she doesn’t really understand, honey," Kyra answered. "Sometimes people are afraid of what they don’t understand and they become upset and angry. Grandma just doesn’t understand why some girls like other girls better than boys."

Simon nibbled his lower lip and glanced up at his mother with inquisitive eyes.

"Is that why grandma is angry at you a lot?" he inquired.

Kyra’s eyes widened and for a moment she was stunned into silence. She did not have to look up to know that Emma’s eyes were glued to her face and her friend was breathlessly waiting for her answer.

Out of the mouths of babes…she wryly thought, while her heart was pounding fast.

"I don’t know, sweetie," she slowly answered, wondering what Simon’s next question would be and already bracing herself for that.

"Mom, do you like boys or girls?" Simon innocently asked, wiggling on his mother’s lap to get more comfortable.

Unexpectedly a wave of sadness crashed over Kyra’s senses, the intensity of it almost taking her breath away. Memories, banished for years, suddenly re-appeared and for a moment she felt desperately alone again.

"I…I can’t answer that question, honey," she finally answered in a voice that was hoarse with emotion. "Not because I don’t want to, but I honestly don’t know. I’ve never met anyone I wanted to be with forever."

Have I…?

"I want to be with you forever," Simon stated, snuggling closer, playing with the fluffy belt of Kyra’s bathrobe.

"That’s sweet of you, honey," Kyra smiled, kissing his unruly curls.

Her eyes slowly traveled up and she sucked in a breath when she saw the intensity in Emma’s blue gaze and she realized that her friend knew there was a lot more she had not told her. She wanted to cast down her eyes and escape the indigo look that seemed to see straight through her, but she couldn’t. Emma’s eyes effortlessly held her green ones and she felt the color rise in her cheeks. A soft whimper escaped her throat and she knew she could not jump up and escape, because of her son, who was still comfortably snuggled into her arms. Her heart was pounding so fast she wondered if Emma could hear it from across the table. The heat in her face had spread through her whole body and Kyra knew that if she would reach out and grab her coffee, her trembling fingers would give her away.

Oh, my God, oh my God, she knows. She knows, her mind screamed at her.

Outwardly Emma seemed relaxed, but inwardly her heart was trying to thump its way out of her chest and her blood was rushing through her veins with such a speed her ears were buzzing.

I am in so much trouble, if this is the effect she has on me from across the table, what would happen if she did actually touch me?

Emma’s eyes were staring into dark green pools that seemed to get darker and darker by the minute and with amazement she noticed Kyra’s breathing had become faster and more labored. Emma clenched the coffee mug between her hands, willing them not to shake. She knew with absolute certainty that Kyra had a secret she had not yet shared with her and she was also convinced that her friend knew that she had picked up on that. But they had only been friends for a short time and Emma did not expect her friend to immediately bare her soul. Besides, even though she had told Kyra a lot about herself already, there were things she had not wanted to share yet, because the memories were still too painful to let them surface. Maybe later…some day…

Emma noticed Kyra’s flushed skin and in spite of the darkening of the curly haired woman’s eyes, she could still see the dilated pupils and inwardly she smiled. She did not want to embarrass her friend, but knowing she had such an effect on Kyra was absolutely wonderful for her ego. And to be honest, Emma had to admit that her friend often made her feel the same.

I wonder what the real answer to Simon’s question would be, Emma mused. It is interesting, very interesting that Kyra doesn’t know whether she prefers boys or girls. It makes me wonder how she got pregnant with Simon…And it would explain the way she sometimes looks at me, like she is confused by her attraction.

Oh, Kyra, I am not blind, my friend. I feel it too…

"I guess…I…need to explain a few things," Kyra finally managed to say, her eyes still hostages of Emma’s.

"Only when you’re ready, Kyra," Emma’s low voice replied, using her friend’s name like it was a caress. "I can wait."

After the way I just drowned in your eyes, I think I can wait forever.

The look of genuine affection that was sent her way made Kyra swallow away the sudden lump in her throat and she managed a weak smile, which was immediately answered by Emma.

It’s a good thing I have Simon sitting on my lap and a sturdy table in between us, Kyra self consciously mused. I guess I could have made a huge fool out of myself if I would have been able to reach out and touch her. Although…somehow I don’t think Emma would have minded. But I would have. I don’t want to lead her on and give her false hope. The idea of hurting her is too painful. I couldn’t, I would rather chop off my right arm.

And what does that tell you, Kyra?

I don’t know, Kyra inwardly sighed, feeling tears sting in the back of her eyes. I need to think really hard and long. I need to…

You need to look into the mirror and acknowledge what is in your heart, a little voice insisted.

"Kyra," Emma’s voice suddenly sounded. "You are looking so…lost. I…don’t want you to force things. Take your time, all right?"

"I think I need to," Kyra whispered with a quivering voice.

"I know," Emma smiled warmly. "You have a son to think about as well. I do understand and I meant what I said: whenever you are ready."

"But what if I need a lot of time?" Kyra asked in a subdued voice, looking like a frightened little girl, which melted Emma’s heart. "Will you..?"

Kyra swallowed hard and did not finish the sentence. It was too difficult. What if Emma would turn her back on her? She did not want to risk their friendship, but she needed to face the turmoil of emotions that were storming through her heart and mind like a devastating hurricane. But she did not want to risk losing something as beautiful as a chance of love either.

"I will wait," Emma repeated, making it sound like the promise it was.

A lone tear escaped Kyra’s eye, rolled down her cheek and landed in Simon’s curly hair that was tucked underneath her chin. Watery green eyes looked up at Emma and slowly a radiant smile made its way to the surface, practically taking away Emma’s breath.

"Thank you," Kyra whispered.




It was hard to concentrate. Outside the sun was shining in abundance, its warm rays falling through the huge office windows, painting the little dancing specs of dust in the air with gold and yellow.

Kyra was staring intently at her computer monitor, absent mindedly using her pen to tap a steady rhythm on a stack of folders that were scattered across her desk. She had read the same email three times already and still did not know what it was telling her.

With a frustrated groan she threw down the pen and used both hands to rub her tired eyes. It had been a long day and it would be longer still. There was so much she had to do, before she could leave the office and go home.

Leaning back into her chair she stared at the wall where a framed photo of her family was providing a welcome diversion. She smiled at the happy faces and could vividly remember the day the picture was taken. At the time Simon had been almost three years old and looked like the adorable, chubby toddler he had been. He was sitting on his uncle’s shoulders, his little hands clutched in Jasper’s thick hair and they were both laughing. Kyra and her father were standing on either side of them, their arms wrapped around Jazz’ waist and smiling into the camera. Their faces were tanned and their hair windblown and they all looked relaxed and happy.

"I need a vacation," Kyra groaned out loud.

"I thought that was the reason why you’ve been working like a maniac those last few days, boss," Sandra’s voice suddenly sounded and Kyra jumped. "You said you wanted to clear your inbox before you scoot off to the Northern Lands."

With a grin Kyra’s secretary walked into the office and put a little box on a low table in the corner of the room.

"You nearly gave me a heart attack," Kyra sighed, but she chuckled. "What’s in the box?"

"Samples from Spain and Portugal," Sandra announced. "Didn’t you get Leila’s email?"

"Oh, duh, yes, I did," Kyra answered, pushing back her chair and walking towards the box. "Is it as good as she said it was?"

"That’s your call, boss," Sandra grinned, her blue eyes sparkling. "But I had a peek inside and I like!!"

Kyra laughed and looked inside the box, softly whistling. Three small wooden statues were resting in a bed of bubble wrap and she carefully took out one to examine it closer. It was a beautifully carved wild tulip. Its delicate pointy leaves seemed to turn towards the sun, giving the small carving a sense of warmth and serenity.

Kyra slowly turned the item in her hands and studied it from different angles. It was gorgeous. It was obvious that its creator had taken the time to lovingly add all the minute details that made the wooden flower almost come to live.

"Is this from that craft shop in Alte?"

"Yup it is," Sandra answered, carefully tracing the tip of her finger across one of the tulip’s petals. "Leila has done a good job, Kyra. She’s waiting for your decision as we speak. The owner of the shop and his two sons do all the carving and they are interested in a contract with us. So, what do you think?"

"I think it will be an asset to our inventory," Kyra smiled. "Give Leila a call and tell her I’m impressed with their work. She can contract them."

"Way to go, boss," Sandra grinned, turning around and walking back to the door. "My mother will love one of those for her birthday. Oh, Kyra," Sandra stuck her head back in the room and shot her boss a stern look. "It’s almost three o’clock. You’d better get your stuff done if you want to leave in time. Simon will never forgive you if you’re late," she added with a smile. "I talked to him on the phone yesterday and he can’t wait to see this farm with all its animals."

"Have you two been conspiring against me again?" Kyra laughed, knowing her son adored her secretary, which was a mutual feeling.

"Not really. I just promised him I would kick you out in time."

Sandra disappeared and Kyra carefully put the carving back in the box. She stifled a yawn and walked back to her desk. Her eyes fell on the monitor and with a small smile she sank back in her chair. The screen displayed a picture she had taken with her digital camera when she had taken Simon and Emma out to the lake.

The water had reflected the sunlight and looked like a huge, silver mirror. The sky had been a perfect blue with a few, scattered white clouds. Simon and Emma had been chasing each other across the sandy beach and when they had fallen in the sand, engaged in a serious tickle fight, Kyra had secretly snapped a few shots.

With a wistful smile she looked at the picture she had chosen as a screen saver. Emma was sitting in the sand, her legs stretched out in front her, facing the camera, while Simon was standing behind her, his arms wrapped around her neck, hugging her from behind. Their cheeks were pressed together and they were both looking up, with rosy cheeks and sparkling eyes. Kyra’s finger had pressed the button on the camera at the right moment and captured the image.

With a sigh Kyra leaned back into the chair, her eyes still focused on the screen, wishing she was home already. It was Friday afternoon. In two days time it would be Easter and they would spend the Holiday with Emma’s family. It was a scary thought to finally meet the Altena family. There were so many of them. In the past two weeks Emma had tried to explain to Kyra who was married to whom and how many children each couple had and what their names were.

Kyra chuckled and had to admit that all those names were utterly confusing. She sincerely hoped she would remember them all. She was a little nervous about the upcoming meeting. Emma’s family sounded like a rowdy but happy bunch, but having been raised with just one sibling, she was not used to being around so many family members at the same time.

"What if they think I am Emma’s girlfriend?" she suddenly thought.

You could be a little voice sounded in the back of her mind.

Kyra closed her eyes and exhaled. Emma and she had spent a lot of time together and had grown even closer. Kyra could safely say they had become really good friends. They had spent hours just talking, getting to know each other well, but she realized there were still some things that had not been mentioned. She knew Emma was attracted to her, something that warmed her heart, but scared her out of her wits at the same time. Not because she didn’t trust Emma, but more because she was very aware of the strong pull she felt towards her friend. Still, her friend had never acted upon her attraction, always keeping up that little wall that provided some distance.

Kyra had pondered over that for hours and hours. Usually at night, when Simon was asleep and she was sitting in her favorite chair, with a cup of tea or a glass of wine, staring into the distance, thinking about the unexpected turn her life had taken. She felt like she had reached a crossroad in her life and sooner or later she knew she had to make a decision as to in which direction to proceed. She knew Emma would always be her friend, no matter what she would decide. Her friend had promised her she would wait until Kyra was ready to talk and had never broached the subject again, even though Kyra had secretly hoped she would. But she had learned that Emma was a person who always stuck to a promise and that meant that if Kyra wanted to share her deepest thoughts and wants, she would have to initiate that herself. Emma would never take the initiative. Simply because she had promised she would wait.

I have searched my heart over and over again and I always come to the same conclusion. I guess we need to talk, soon. Maybe this weekend there will be time…

The buzzing of the phone startled Kyra and her eyes snapped open.

"Kyra? I have Emma on line two," Sandra’s voice sounded through the intercom. "And I’ve just talked to Leila. She is thrilled with your decision and wishes you a Happy Easter."

"Thanks, Sandy," Kyra smiled, picking up the phone and punching in the ‘two’ button.

"Hey, how is the packing going?" she gently teased her friend.

"I’m all done," Emma’s low voice answered. "How are you doing?"

"Wrapping up stuff," Kyra sighed. "I should be able to leave in about an hour or so. Are you and Simon being good?"

Because of the Holidays the school had closed early that day and Kyra and Emma had decided that it would be best if Emma would take Simon home with her, pack her suitcase and then head over to Kyra’s house to wait until she came home from work. Kyra had packed Simon’s and her stuff the evening before and as soon as she finished work, they would hit the road and drive up North, to Friesland. It would be a three hour drive and they had decided to stop somewhere along the road to eat something. That would get them to the Altena’s farm at a reasonable time.

"We’re always good," Emma dryly remarked.

"Oh, I don’t know about that," Kyra grinned, playfully twirling her chair around. "I remember a day, not that long ago, when the two of you were completely covered in mud after playing an innocent game of soccer."

"Soccer is never innocent," Emma’s amused voice sounded. "It has to be taken extremely serious. Besides, it wasn’t our fault it had been raining and the field had turned into a mudslide."

Kyra let out a happy laugh and was aware of the warmth that Emma’s voice spread throughout her body. She gratefully soaked it up and let it chase away the tiredness.

"Good thing I packed Simon’s old clothes. I have a feeling he’ll love the farm life and will look accordingly."

"Are you saying we farm people are dirty?" Emma asked in mock hurt.

"Not really," Kyra answered. "You usually look very clean to me. In fact, I have to admit you always look very good as well," she added with a blush, grateful that Emma could not see her.

"I do, huh?" Emma’s low voice purred, sending shivers down Kyra’s spine. "At tonight’s party you’ll be surprised to see exactly how nice we clean up."

"Really?" Kyra breathlessly asked, having been told by Emma that even though her sister’s anniversary party would be quite informal, the dress code was a formal one. "Care to share?"

"Mmm…no," Emma grinned. "You’ll have to see for yourself."

"Oooh…a surprise," Kyra sighed, having visions of Emma in all sorts of different outfits. All of them extremely interesting.

It was silent for a moment and Kyra cleared her throat.

"So, Miss Emma, are you at home or are you at my place already?"

"We are at your place. Simon is currently going through the difficult task to pick out the five CD’s you allowed him to bring along, but he has already brought back the choice to fifteen, so I guess he will soon reach a decision."

"Five should be enough," Kyra chuckled. "There’s only so much Sesame street and Bert and Ernie a mother can handle."

Emma’s rich laugh caressed her ear and Kyra smiled in response. She loved Emma’s laugh that always sounded like music to her ears. Kyra did not need to see her to know that the blue eyes would have taken on a deeper shade of indigo and were sparkling with little lights.

"When will you be home?" Emma’s warm voice asked.

Kyra sucked in her bottom lip and cast a look at the glass clock on the wall. She silently debated with herself, while drumming the fingers of her free hand on the smooth surface of her desk. Tapping her mouse the computer screen displayed her inbox. Her eyes scanned the messages and deftly she clicked a few of the little envelopes, revealing its contents.

"I will have to answer…two…three emails and then I’m out of here," she decided.

"Are you a fast typist?" Emma teased.

"My fingers will be flying," Kyra promised with a chuckle. "I’ll see you soon, Emma."

"I am counting on that," Emma answered. "Bye, Kyra."




"Simon, honey, if you keep bouncing up and down like that we will need to stop halfway to check the car’s shock absorbers," Kyra dryly remarked, casting a look in the rearview mirror to see her son looking back at her with wide eyes.

"Emma? Does your dad have ducks?" Simon asked, completely ignoring his mother’s remark.

Emma had talked to her friend about the way Simon addressed her and they both decided that it would be a good idea for Simon to leave out the ‘miss’ and just call her Emma. All her nieces and nephews called her that and it would probably confuse the boy to be the only one to call her ‘Miss’. Simon had adapted to the new situation without a problem.

"Ducks?" Emma repeated with a smile. "Well, there might be some ducks around but I doubt they are part of my dad’s life stock," she grinned. "There are a lot of cows, Simon and my dad has a little corner where he keeps some rabbits, sheep and little goats. It’s like a small petting farm."

"Are there really lambs, Emma? Can I see them? Can I pet them?"

Emma laughed and cast a look at Kyra, whose attention was on the road in front of them. The atmosphere was light and happy and all three of them were looking forward to spending the Holidays on the Altena farm.

"Yes, there should be some lambs around. I talked to my dad a few days ago and he said there were three already."

"When will we get there?" Simon impatiently asked. "Mom?"

Kyra sighed and with raised eyebrows she glanced at Emma, who smiled at her and half turned to look at Simon.

"Soon, Simon," she answered, finding the boy’s enthusiasm endearing. "We should be there in about twenty minutes, okay?"

"Okay," he happily answered, grabbing a book from the backseat and flicking through it.

"Are you all right?" Emma softly asked her friend, noticing the slightly nervous blinking of her eyes.

"I think so," Kyra answered. "I’m a little…apprehensive though. I mean…"

"They don’t bite, Kyra," Emma gently teased. "They are a lot like me."

"Oh, so you don’t bite either huh?" she teased back with a smile.

"Only if you ask me to," Emma mumbled softly, but Kyra had heard the words anyway and she colored a charming shade of red.

It wasn’t often that Emma playfully flirted with her, but when she did, she always rendered Kyra speechless. Deep down inside she loved the gentle bantering. It usually made her heart skip a few beats, while her palms became sweaty. On those rare occasions, when Emma let down her guard a little, Kyra was allowed a quick look at the woman behind the calm, controlled demeanor and she wondered what Emma would be like if she would let go of her self imposed restraints and show herself completely.

Playful, loving and passionate, Kyra’s little voice answered with confidence. And it will be up to you to lure that part of Emma out and keep it safe, Kyra Hartman. Maybe this evening. Maybe that party will be a good excuse to tempt the real Emma to come out and play…

To be continued in part 6

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