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Chapter 58

The bright yellow taxi stood out in the dark gloom of the cloudy morning. Marsha pursed her lips in annoyance and threw a five dollar bill at the taxi driver. Without so much as a thank you she opened the car door and hoisted herself from the back seat. Her body cramped in protest to the quick movements, but she ignored it as she scanned the area. Disgusted pale green eyes peered at the St. Jean house. Think they can forget about me do they? I won't let anyone forget about me! Marsha sucked in a deep breath but ended up coughing instead as her lungs defied her. She stood stock still, waiting for the moment to pass. Finally able to breathe without pain, she shuffled forward, fighting down the dizziness that seized her malnourished body.

Slowly but surely, she made her way up the empty driveway. The lack of a vehicle did not bother her. At least she'll be home, but she won't be much help. Don't know a damn thing. As she got closer to the house, Marsha decided to try the front door. She dubiously eyed the narrow sidewalk leading to the side of the house. At the moment, the customary entrance through the kitchen seemed like miles away. They must have some kind of news by now. They can't keep me from it. Have a mind to tell them to keep that sniveling little boy and take Michelle back to where she belongs. . .with me. The curtain of misery that covered her lifted a bit at that thought. Someone would be there to wallow in the pain with her just like old times.

Marsha swept a hand down the front of her body, tugging at the pale blue dress. It refused to fit right, hanging off bony shoulders and billowing at the waist. She sighed in frustration and reached for the doorbell. Deciding to add that Beatrice's irritation, Marsha pulled the heavy screen door open banged on thick wood with as much strength as she could muster. It creaked open without any effort at all. Marsha glared at the wide open door in confusion. Shaking the bafflement away, she made her way into the dimly lit living room. A sickly smell assaulted her nose, making her cover it with a hand. What on earth?! Smells like something died in here. As she moved in further, she felt something against her foot. With a groan, Marsha kneeled down to pick it up. A gasp escaped her throat as she got a closer look.

A knife.

A knife smeared with dried blood.

She dropped it almost immediately and brought a hand to her chest to calm her suddenly racing heart. "He's killed her. My God, he's killed her," Marsha whispered. Compelled by some strange moment of voyeuristic delight, she moved deeper into the living area. A small cry left her lips, and she covered it with her hand to keep it from forming into a scream. There between the long length of the couch and the easy chair lay Max Sr.'s body. Stunned to immobility, Marsha just simply stared wide eyed at the gruesome display. My God. What happened here? A few seconds later something in her brain clicked. If Beatrice did this , she'll go to jail, and every little thing about the St. Jean's will come out. Michelle will turn up. I just know it, and she won't have anywhere else to go but home. Her mind wrapped around the slightly skewed logic. As fast as she could, Marsha raced toward the phone. With slightly shaky hands, she picked it up and punch three numbers in quick succession. It wrung once, twice before--

"9-1-1. . .what is your emergency?" The crisp voice asked.

Barely able to contain herself, Marsha stuttered. "Y-yes, um, I'd like to report a murder."

***

Max Jr. banged a fist against the steering wheel in disgust. Cars zoomed past him on the highway oblivious to the trouble brewing. He glanced drunkenly to the side to see the empty vodka bottle on the passenger seat. "Shit!" As quickly as he could, he shoved the bottle under the seat and righted himself, hoping the cop thought him presentable. He silently cursed himself for the late start.  It took him almost a whole day to find himself again. There had been so much blood. Still, he drove like a banshee, whenever possible taking back roads he outlined on a road map. Besides that and even with his new found conviction to complete what his father did not, Max Jr. gulped down liquid courage as the miles disappeared behind him. It bolstered his confidence level and left him feeling like he could accomplish anything. Confidence, it was something he had in abundance once more before he entered that house; before he saw what he saw.

He looked down at his hands and willed them to stop shaking. Stupid! How do I get out of this? Max glanced at the glove compartment, knowing his father's gun was hidden there. I could--

"Last time I checked, son, the speed limit was 65. You wanna guess at what you were doin'?

Max jumped to attention and turned his bleary eyes toward the policeman. He blinked trying to bring the man's blurry face into focus, but all he saw where dark sunglasses that seemed to cover the man's entire face. He took a deep breath. Gotta keep it cool here. It's gotta be somethin' good. "Sorry offic-sser. . .I mean offissifer--" Max insides cramped painfully as he heard the cop chuckle.

"Been drinkin' too huh, son?"  The cop adjusted adjusted his hat.

"No, I--"

"Mm hm, then you won't mind gettin' out the car and doin' a few things for me."

Max began to sweat both inside and out. He glanced at the glove compartment again then over at the busy highway. I'd never get away with it. Max pushed his hands through his shaggy hair, tugging hard at the strands in hope that it would sober him. "I-it's not what it looks like. Was on my way to get my wife and so--"

"Don't you go handin' me some song and dance, son. Get out the car, right now. Make this easy on yourself. Cuz I won't mind ruffin you up. Not at'll."

Sighing in resignation, Max reached for the door handle. How did I fuck this up? The policeman took a step back and waited. Max stumbled out of the truck and tried to stabilize himself on wobbly legs. "Can you at least tell me what county this is?"

"Welcome to Yellow Medicine County, boy. You might be here for a while. Now, why don't you walk a straight line for me."

There's gotta be someway out of this. I can't fuck this up. I can't. A muscle ticked in his jaw as he began to grind his teeth together. "How far is Ivanhoe?"

"Next county over." The policeman gave Max a hard shove. "Now, get movin'."

Max gulped and slowly turned toward the officer. I have to take a chance.  "Um, can we work out somethin' here?"

The policeman stopped dead in his tracks.  "Son, didja just say what I think yah did?"

"There's got to be somethin'.  I can't be arrested.  I just can't.  Anything, anything I have."

"Anythin' huh?"  The burly man stroked his chin and peered darkly at his prisoner.

"Whatever I have on me."  Looks like daddy was right.  Anyone can be bought even a cop.

The policeman chuckled and swatted Max on the back.  "Congratulations boy.  You just bought your freedom."

"Wha--you didn't say. . . "

"That's a real nice truck you got there, boy.  You're gonna sign the title over to me fair and square."

Literally, Max's mouth fell open.  "How the hell am I supposed to get anywhere without my truck!?"  Fuckin' pig!

"Ever heard of Greyhound?  They work wonders.  Pretty boy like you gotta have money somewhere."  The officer sniffed and smiled cruelly.

Indignant and beyond drunk, Max nearly screamed, "Then why don't you take the fuckin' money?"

The policeman tugged up his pants.  "Well, I decided to go for somethin' different this time.  Variety bein' the spice and all."

Max thought about the gun again, but his shoulders sagged in defeat.  "Fine. Fine."  He glanced at his truck.  "Can I at least get my stuff out?"

"Sure, sure.  I don't give a good goddamn about what's in it.  You can get your shit after we get into town."

Max swallowed down bile and the extra tang of alcohol.  "Great, just great."

***

After asking numerous accommodating strangers for directions and stopping at rest stop after rest stop to calm her frayed nerves, Beatrice felt a calm swoop over her as she passed by the sign signifying her arrival into Ivanhoe.  She took a deep breath and pulled to the side of the road once more.  Already high in the Monday morning sky, the sun beat down through the truck windows. Beatrice basked in the light as the artificial air kept her from the heat.  What do I say to her?  How do I begin to apologize for what my son did to her?  Why would she listen to me when I've hardly ever said two words to her?  Warning her does make up for the years of hell she went through.  I don't think anything I can say would.  When it comes down to it, I admire her for having the strength to do what she did.  It's been too many years and it's much too late for me.  Look what I had to do. Beatrice brought a trembling hand to the bridge of her nose, pinching it in hopes of relieving some pressure and finding clarity.  None of it came.   I can't let any of this matter.  I have to do what I have to do.  Determined, Beatrice pulled away from the shoulder of the road and drove into Ivanhoe.

She rode slowly through the streets, taking in the sleepy look of the town.  The people who peppered the streets waved and spoke to each other amiably.  Some laughed and others even embraced each other.  Beatrice watched in awe.  After living with a monster all these years, I'd forgotten that there were caring people in the world.  She rolled deeper into town, trying vehemently to blend in with the bustle of activity. A relieved sigh escaped Beatrice's lips as she spotted a gas station after only a few minutes of driving.  Best place to get directions so I've learned.  She took a deep breath as she pulled in and readied herself to deal with yet another human being. Out of necessity, I suppose I've gotten rather good at talking to people.  I hope it doesn't fail me now.  She pulled closer to the gas pump and was promptly startled when a man in overalls appeared out of nowhere.  Tentatively, Beatrice let down the window.

"Fill'er up ma'am?"  He smiled and pushed a hand through greasy hair and leaned against the hood.

"Um, ye-yes. Unleaded please, and I need some information too.  I'm looking for a Dr. Bobbi Was--"

"Oh! Good ole' Doc B?  She delivered my son a couple years ago.  Damn shame 'bout what happened to her family though.  I can tell you how to get to her office lickity spit. Know this town like the back of my hand."  He grabbed the nozzle and began rattling off directions.  "Now see you take a right up here on Demy. . ."

***

Michelle glanced around the librarian's office nervously.  "Seems like forever since I've done this. Glad she had to step out for a minute," she whispered to herself.  I can't believe I almost forgot about this.  I guess it goes to show you how wrapped up I can get with those two.   The petite blonde shook her head and smiled.  Leave it to Bobbi to remember.  Michelle chuckled as she recalled this morning's activities.

A soft pull of the blankets made Michelle stir slightly, but it was not enough to rouse her from a deep sleep. Bobbi's eyes sparkled in mirth as she stared down at her lover.  The doctor's head canted to the side as if she were contemplating a complicated battle plan.  A slow smile spread over her features, and she pulled the covers again.  This time, exposing the blonde's feet.  As quietly as possible, Bobbi kneeled until she was eye level with delectable toes.  She leaned positioning her arms as far away as possible from the slumbering blonde.  Using just the tip of her tongue, she slowly licked up the arch of Michelle's left foot.

Michelle jerked slightly and snorted, "G'way Taz. . .sleepy."

Bobbi had to swallow down the laugh that threatened to burst forth.  Emboldened, the doctor took things a step further.  She licked her lips and moved in as close as she could. Bobbi grinned wickedly as she sucked in her lover's big toe. 

Michelle immediately gasped, squealed and kicked out toward the offending presence. 

Gracelessly, Bobbi fell to the floor holding her nose.  "Oww, shit!"

Sucking in a calming breath, Michelle sit up and pushed the covers away. "Taz?  You. . ."  Then she remembered the sound of a voice.  The blonde crawled toward the far edge of the bed.  Laying on her stomach, Michelle propped her chin up on her hand and looked down at her sprawled lover.  She blinked and let the amusement wash over her slowly, replacing the last remnants of sleep.  Michelle shook her head in disbelief as musical laughter bubbled from her throat.

In attempt to save the last shreds of her pride, Bobbi sat up.  "Oww!"  And promptly covered her nose again.  She glared at the blonde.  "Ish not punny."

Michelle howled. 

"She ifs I twy to wake you up agwain." Bobbi rolled her eyes as Michelle continued to chuckle.

The blonde hiccupped as the laughter died down.  "Why can't you be like everyone else and wake me up with a kiss?  Nooo, it has to be baby drool or something . . ."  Michelle blushed. "Sexy. Not that I'm complaining about it mind you."

Bobbi moved her hand away from her throbbing nose.  She could feel the tightness of swelling. "Does it look bad?"

"Awww,"  Michelle cooed at the damage as she lowered herself to the floor.  "It's just swollen a little.  Let me get some ice for you."  The blonde attempted to get up, but she was immediately jerked back down. "Bobbi?!  Whoa!"

"I know something that will make it feel better,"  the doctor mumbled as she pulled the blonde into her lap. Bobbi grinned wolfishly.  "But, it involves this. . ."  Bobbi pressed her face as softly as she could into her lover's cleavage.  The soft cotton of the t-shirt greeted her, but the smell and feel of warm flesh took precedent. 

Michelle rolled her eyes  and chuckled as she peered down at the doctor. "Doesn't that hurt?"

"Mmm, not so much anymore," Bobbi mumbled.  "Does this hurt?"  Hands that had been snaked around the blonde's waist covered full breasts.

"Oh my God, you are bad."

"Uh huh."

Michelle kissed the top of her lover's head and scanned the room. She glanced up at the window. "Um, Bobbi? It's still dark outside."

"Uh huh, wanted to wake you up early so we could work out and stuff before your interview."

Green eyes widened in recognition.  "Ohh, that is today isn't it?"

"Mmm hmm, I wanted to wish you good luck . . .and stuff."  Bobbi squeezed slightly and let one hand fall away, replacing it with her mouth.

Michelle hissed at the unexpected touch, but her body responded with a vengeance as her nipples hardened almost instantaneously. She arched into the wet warmth, feeling the rasp of her lover's tongue even through the t-shirt. "Work out?"  Michelle gasped.

Bobbi groaned and momentarily backed away from yielding flesh. "Work out later. . ."  

Michelle jumped in surprise at the sound of the office door opening.  Embarrassed, she turned toward the older woman and gave her a tremulous smile as a nervous hand wiped down the white blouse and dark blue skirt.

The woman smiled back. "Sorry didn't mean to scare you.  I didn't even get to introduce myself. I'm Mrs. Penworth, and I believe we have a mutual friend."

"Annie?"  Come on, Chelle get a hold of yourself. Don't get distracted or start wondering what those two are doing together.  "Yes, she was the one who told me about the job opening too bad she's off today."   I'll have to call her and tell her all about this later.

"Good, good.  I've got a few questions for you. Let's get started?"

Michelle took a deep breath and smiled.  "Yes, lets."

***

Bobbi caught Janine's gaze and rolled her eyes as yet another patient turned into a babbling idiot in front of Toby.

"Boo coochie coo!"  Mrs. Potter exclaimed as she looked down into the baby carrier.

Toby squealed and reached up toward the unfamiliar woman in efforts to capture the dangling chain around her neck.

"Um, Mrs. Potter?"  Bobby uttered.

"Coo coo!"

"Mrs. Potter! About your arthritis, I can write a script. . ."

"Whatever you say dear."

"I have patients waiting."

The older woman sighed, then groaned as she straightened. "That my cue then?"

"Um, Janine will set you up with a follow up appointment.. . ."

"Hmmph, I'll come only if you promise to have him here."

Janine covered her mouth to keep from laughing out loud.  She ignored the doctor's glare. This is too good.  "Come with me Mrs. Potter. I'll take care of you."  Janine smiled at Bobbi as she escorted the patient out of the office.

Now alone, Bobbi glanced down at the infant.  "Are you going to flirt with my patients all day?  I might need to get some work squeezed in somehow.  They do come to see me you know."

Toby reached out his arms once more and began to wiggle earnestly. 

"Ah, so I'm still your favorite, huh?"  She scooped the infant into her arms.  "Don't tell anybody, but you're mine too," she whispered and kissed him on the nose.

"I heard and saw that.  Don't have many people to tell, but if I did I'd be tellin'.  I'm still dyin' to know what's with your nose."  Janine muttered.

"You just might find yourself in the unemployment line then, and I ain't telling."  Bobbi smirked and sat in one of the nearby chairs.

"Ooo, can't you see me tremblin'?"

"Smart ass."   She gave the nurse a mock glare. "One more for today, right?"  So far so good. I thought I'd be angry again when I saw her this morning, but Chelle was right it's in the past.  I have to say she does seem like a different person, but after what I found out, I know I'm gonna be watching her.

"Yeah, you sure that you should have him in here?  Germs and all. . ."

"Nothing contagious in the patients I'm seeing today.  Otherwise, Michelle would have my hide."

"Hmm, I have to say he does dress up the office.  He looks so cute in his little sailor outfit."

"Yeah, he does."  Bobbi glanced from the infant in her arms to the nurse standing a few feet away. "Lunch was interesting.  How was the rest of your weekend?"

Janine smiled, but it was without humor.  "Let's just say I got closure with somethin' that's been botherin' me for as long as I can remember.  I think I've already started to move on.  I just needed this to push me further, you know?"

Bobbi nodded.  "I know.  I hope Tammy is helping you just as much as Chelle helped me."

"She is, definitely."

The jingling sound of the front door opening caught both of  their attention.

Bobbi stood up. "I think that's Ms. Fielman.  Hope it won't take long. I wanna beat Chelle home."

"It shouldn't. She was the follow up on the broken finger.  I oof. . ."  Janine looked down at the baby who was just shoved in her arms.

"Can you take him? It might help speed things up if he's not distracting everyone with his good looks."  I guess this will be as good a test as any.  "You can camp out in my office."

Toby yelped happily and smiled, revealing a peek of tiny teeth.

Janine looked down at her quarry as the doctor vacated the room.  Inquisitive blue met wary brown eyes.  "Well, I guess it's just me and you.  If you can do it, I can."

Toby grinned at her.

"Awww, no wonder you have everybody wrapped 'round your finger."  Almost makes me want one.  "Okay, kiddo let's go break something in your mommy's office."

Toby cooed excitedly as they sauntered across the hall.

***

Taz licked his chops in contentment.  The food was good. His people were good. Life was good. He sneezed and shook his head, getting rid of the last remnants of water around his mouth. Satisfied he left the kitchen and headed into his mistresses old room.  The bed had been stripped, revealing the bare mattress underneath. Cautious eyes scanned the room for other occupants just in case, and with a dramatic oof, the Husky ran and leaped onto the bed.  He whined excitedly and rolled over the expanse of the bed.  Righting himself, he let his tongue loll out of his mouth as he made himself comfortable.

Still.

There was something missing.  He canted his head to the side as understanding dawned.

"Wuff!"  The Husky exclaimed as he jumped from the bed and sped into the living room. Snatching up his toy from the floor, Taz took off again.  It was times like these when he had the run of the house that the Husky relished. There was no fur pulling or small humans to climb on him.  He loved the attention, but there were times. . .

With playful vigor, Taz chewed and growled around the rubber bone in his mouth.  The Husky's ears perked up as he detected a sound. He knew it well--keys jingling as they were inserted into the door. Taz sighed silently and moved slowly from the bed as he heard the front door opening. His alone time was over.  With the toy still in his mouth, the Husky padded into the living room.

Michelle greeted the Husky with a smile and affectionate words, "Hey, boy."

Taz spit out the toy to greet his mistress. "Wuff!"

"Behaving yourself?"

Taz whined and let out a low growl.

The blonde chuckled. "I know. I know. You're always a good boy."

In reply, the Husky pranced toward his mistress, bumping her leg affectionately with his head.

Michelle scratched behind his ears as they moved toward the couch.  She let out a relieved breath.  "Phew, glad that's over with.  I think I did pretty good, boy, but I guess I'll find out in a few days."  Agile fingers went straight to her blouse, she released  a couple of the pearl like buttons from their catches.

"Wuff! Grr!"

"Yeah, I'm hoping too, but in the mean time let's call Bobbi. Then, let's go see what's online."

"Wuff!"

"Sounds like a plan to me too."  She walked the few steps to the end table and picked up the phone. Michelle punched in familiar numbers and waited to hear a familiar voice to answer.  

"Dr. Waszinski's office. How may I help you?"  Janine answered jovially.  Her eyes were drawn to the infant who seemed to stare back at her just as enamored.

The blond blanched slightly at the sound of the nurses voice, but the feeling disappeared immediately. "Well, you certainly sound in a good mood,"  Michelle responded.  

"Yeah, well. He seems to have that effect on everybody in the office."

Michelle chuckled as she heard the cooing in the background.  "I'm guessing you're talking about my son.  Yeah, he does do that. Bobbi left you with babysitting duties?"

"She did.  I hope you don't mind. He was kinda distractin' her from the patients."

"Now, that I can definitely see, and no I don't mind.  It means she trusts you, and if she trusts you, I do too. Toby is very important to her."

Janine bit her lip to try to contain the growing smile.  "Thank you for the vote of confidence. It means a lot. . .from both of you. Bobbi's in with her last patient if you're wonderin'.  Seems like she's in a rush to get back to you, but I got the feelin' that's always the case."

Michelle could feel the heat flood her face.  "She really is an incredible woman,"  she spoke the words softly, reverently.  The blond cleared her throat. "Um, could you tell her I'll be in the den on the computer when she gets in?"

"I sure can. No problem."

"Bi Bi!"  Toby exclaimed excitedly.

Michelle laughed outright.  "Bobbi better hurry up. She's being summoned.  I'll talk to you later."

"Will do."

Michelle placed the phone back on the receiver, and she was unable to wipe the smile from her face.  This day was certainly shaping up to be interesting.  With that thought in her head, she made her way to the den.  "Time for some good reading," she muttered.  

The leather chair squeaked as she sat down and got comfortable. She kicked off her shoes and used socked feet to scratch the Husky, who had taken his normal place at her feet. The computer beeped at her as it booted up.  Michelle glanced around the room as her thoughts strayed. She grinned. I learned a lot of stuff about myself in this very room.  Michelle laughed to herself remembering her initial reaction to reading lesbian fanfic. "It pales in comparison, " she mumbled and clicked on her favorites folder.

***

Bobbi waved to the nurse as she finally left the office.  It had seemed like an eternity, but in reality it was fifteen minutes.  She waddled down the hall with the weight of a diaper bag, the infant, and his car seat.  "We're going home little man."

"Bi Bi!"

Bobbi smiled and rolled her eyes.  "That's what I said. Bi Bi is taking you home. Let's see if we can sneak up on your mother. I bet she's all into her reading by now."

"Bi Bi!" Toby pumped a fist in the air.

"Good boy. Let's go."

Once in the house and into the living room, Bobbi released Toby from his confines and deposited the remainder of  her quarry on the floor.  She walked softly toward the den, hoping that Toby would cooperate.  Bobbi stopped outside the door and watched.  Still taken aback by what she saw after all this time, she found herself leaning against the door frame to continue her observation. Mom, I wonder if this is what Daddy did to you. It must have been very hard to leave and live without. Bobbi shook her head ruefully.  I know I don't talk to you guys the way I used to, but you're still in my heart.  A full smile stole over the doctor's features. I have the closure I need.

Tired of the lack of attention, Toby wrapped his fingers around thick, dark tresses and tugged.  "Bi Bi!"

Bobbi gave the infant a mock sneer and glanced up to see playful green eyes staring at her. Those same eyes narrowed.  "You were up to something weren't you?  And he was in on it."

Bobbi brought a hand to her chest and had the courage to look affronted. "Me?!  Us?!"

"Uh huh, partners in crime."

"Hey!  We resemble that remark,"  Bobbi countered.

"Yeah, I know."

"Gaa!"  Toby lodged his own protest.

"Sooo, who is Scully doing this week?  And how did your interview go?"

Michelle gave her lover a pointed look.  "She's not doing anyone yet.  I like the longer stories. There's a lot of build up."

"Ohh, like ours?"  Bobbi asked smartly.  She moved further into the den and sat in the chair in front of the desk.

Michelle smirked. "Something like that, and the interview went well. I think I did a bang up job. I was nervous at first, but I got over it.  The interviewer told me she had four other people to see. So, let's keep our fingers crossed."

"I will, but I'd be lying if I said I'm not gonna miss you.  You won't be around as much, but I know much this means to you. Still, there's this little selfish part of me that doesn't want to share you."  Bobbi met her lover's gaze and looked down quickly to the squirming child in her arms. Whoa, how long has that been in there without me knowing about it?

Michelle frowned slightly and stood up.  Taz took the cue and inched his way from under the desk.  Taking a few steps, Michelle stopped on the side of the chair. With soft hands, she sifted through thick, inky tresses and leaned down to grace them with a kiss.  "Do you know how hard it is for me to see you leave in the morning, even though you're not that far away?  I don't want you out of my sight for a second."  Michelle chuckled.  "God, you're right we do sound like something out of a story."

The doctor's eyes softened perceptively at her lover's response. She really does know how I feel. "Too mushy?"  Bobbi inquired with a raised brow.

Michelle shook her head. "Nah. It seems pretty normal to me.  What is it called?  The honeymoon period."  Toby reached up for his mother, and Michelle was more than happy to oblige. 

The doctor snorted. "Something tells me we're gonna be in it for a long, long time."

"You think?"

Bobbi snaked an arm around the blonde's waist, slightly pulling Michelle into her body.  Heat and contentment surrounded her like a blanket. "I know."

***

Janine threw her bag over her shoulder and prepared to exit the office.  The sudden knock on the door gave her a start.  She peered through the glass, seeing a mousy, rail thin woman staring back at her.  Tentatively, Janine opened the door.  "I'm sorry ma'am the office is closed for the day.  Is there something I can do for you?"

Beatrice gazed at the woman before her. She rung her hands nervously, mindful of the still throbbing wound.  Can I trust her? Do I have a choice right now?  "Um, i-its very important that I speak with Dr. Waszinski and her friend Michelle."

Janine's eyes widened. Hoo boy.   "I don't think that would be a good idea."

"Yes, yes it would.  Please, it could save her and my grandchild."  Beatrice pleaded with her words and eyes.

Whoa. Sirens went off in the nurse's head.  "How do I know you're alone?  How do I know you're not one more person sent to find her?"

"Because, there is only one person left, and I came here to warn them that he's on his way."

God, they don't need any of this right now.   Janine sucked in a shaky breath and reached out to the woman.  "Come with me."

Beatrice jerked back but nodded at the request. The nurse closed the door behind them, and Beatrice followed the brunette down a long hallway.  I know you won't be happy to see me Michelle, but you have to believe me.

***

Michelle leaned back into the doctor and felt arms and legs tighten around her.  The credits to The Flintstones rolled by quickly, but the blond didn't mind at all. She was where she wanted to be, in Bobbi's arms.  The expanse of the blanket flared out around them, and Michelle watched as Toby traveled from end to end with his canine protector not far behind.  This was one of her favorite times--on the floor with the television blaring.  They were in another world, their world.

Bobbi breathed in the scent of Michelle's hair and sighed in contentment.  This was how it was supposed to be.  Nothing or no one can change that.  My family. . .my everything.

Neither of them heard the kitchen door swinging open.  Furry ears did perk, but they were immediately grabbed by chubby, curious hands.

Janine stopped in the middle of the living room.  She observed the scene before her and closed her eyes. I can't imagine what this is gonna do to them.  Janine took a deep breath to steady her hammering heart and uttered, "Michelle, I--

Upon hearing her name, Michelle turned and Bobbi did as well.  The other shoe that she had been dreading dropped before her very eyes. Her stomach bunched in knots and a crushing feeling weighed on her chest.  "Beatrice,"  she whispered. There standing before her was a woman she should hate, but for the moment that supposed hate was blighted by sheer terror.

Bobbi tried to pull her lover into her body, refusing to let things crumble around her.  Michelle's sudden trembling triggered her own. "No,"  she husked.  "No."

Beatrice stepped forward, looking from one woman to the other. "He's coming," she said flatly.  "He's coming."


Sorry for the long, long wait.  I guess I would be naive to think that this chapter makes up for it.  Thanks for sticking with me anyway.  If you want to give me a yell, I'm at Minerva

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