Dylan Morgan Show Season One by Jenny Frame

d morgan 1

The Dylan Morgan Show Season 1
by Jenny Frame
Summary: Dylan Morgan is a successful TV star, and is famous all over the world. Unlike her TV persona, she is in fact an awkward loner, who struggles to relate and communicate with women. Estranged from her family, Dylan leads a lonely life. One night, while making her way home, she walks into a diner and her life is changed forever.

Episode 1

How the hell did I get here? Dylan Morgan pondered as she took her place for her latest stunt.

In the large aircraft hanger sized studio, three cars sat lined up, side by side. Ahead of each car were a series of four hurdles which sat taller than each car roof. Dylan Morgan, the star and host of the show, a popular Hollywood actor named Danny Boyd, and a contestant from the show’s audience, stood on their respective car roofs. The object of the game being that as the cars raced along, each contestant would jump each hurdle and the first to jump the final hurdle and burst through the paper finish line would be proclaimed the winner.

These were the circumstances one Dylan Morgan found herself in while appearing on her own prime time television show.

As she listened to the audience count down to the starter’s klaxon, she thought back to the events that had brought her here.

****

Dylan and her brother Joey were born to Tommy and Patricia Morgan, living an unremarkable life in Brooklyn, New York. Dylan was always a loner, preferring her own company to a crowd, which was remarkable considering her current occupation. Dylan was blessed with a tall, muscular athletic body and excelled in sports. Her father Tommy was a taekwondo teacher and ran his own club so, naturally, Dylan became a student. Tommy adored his daughter and she motored through the ranks, showing exceptional fortitude for the sport. Her brother Joey showed no interest in his Father’s livelihood, and so was not as close to Tommy, preferring the company of their Mother Patricia.

What Dylan’s Father didn’t know was that his daughter had secret loves; entertainment and comedy. Young Dylan, though normally quiet and moody, came alive on stage in school productions. Something happened to the quiet girl when put on stage in front of a crowd. It was as if she flipped a switch and became an entertainer. On stage Dylan found her voice and came into her own. Dylan knew this was what she wanted to do with her life, but she was unsure how to do it. She found her joy in comedy, but was no stand-up comedian. She loved comedic acting but didn’t feel that a career as an actor was for her. Dylan knew deep down there was something she could do but it continued to elude her.

The young Dylan went to her community theatre group and spent as much time with them that her taekwondo training would allow.

Her father made clear, in no uncertain terms, which came first. He wanted her to achieve what he never could, the top honor, an Olympic medal. In contrast, her mother encouraged the teenager’s artistic side, sympathizing with her love of entertaining. The tension between Dylan’s two loves was constant.

When she was 16 and the Olympic Games were four years off, the dam broke. Father and daughter had a falling out over the amount of time she was spending with her theatre group. Tommy loved his daughter fiercely and wanted her to be happy but also wanted her not to waste her skills and athletic talent, so he cut her a deal. If she gave him the next four years in training and dedication up to and during the games, then she would be free to do what she liked with the rest of her life.

And this she did, throwing everything into her Dad’s dream. The games came and she gave him everything he wanted; a gold medal. Dylan came home a hero with the other U.S. medalists, which brought her fame and notoriety.

Dylan, now released from any obligation to her father, went to acting school and took any comedy courses she could find.

All through acting school she had cultivated a small following at performances in Greenwich Village hosting a few shows, doing whatever she needed to make a few extra dollars.

After school she did get a few low-key TV parts, but her reputation was growing in the village bars and comedy clubs. Over the years she cobbled together an act that consisted of a little comedic interaction with the audience, a few sketches and a special part of the show called Dylan’s Dares. Her tall solid build and natural athleticism made her generally good at most physical pursuits, so early on she started to take dares from the crowd or went up against a member of the audience in some physical feat. The stunts started out really simple like, beat Dylan at one-handed pushups or beat Dylan in a race around the block. The club or bar would put up prizes for the audience member to win, but Dylan Morgan did not lose.

The dares grew as Dylan’s confidence grew. She knew this was the type of entertaining she could do, mixing her comedy with her physique. The dares grew bigger, like dare Dylan to walk a tightrope, or some bike or skateboarding stunt. For the bigger dares, she would record the segment and show it on screen at the club that night. The comedy clubs were packed for Dylan’s shows. It wasn’t only the dares, but Dylan’s rapport with the audience. She would talk about the week’s events, ad-libbing for a while on various subjects.

As her popularity grew, local TV reporters would come and talk to her about her stunts, her show. Her clips were appearing on YouTube and she had followers from around the world on her Facebook page and Twitter. Dylan’s love of all things technological gave her the wherewithal to cultivate her following using social media. She recognized its power at a time when people were just waking up to it.

Dylan fascinated people. She was a woman doing the things guys would normally do. She was very good looking, 6-foot-1 with collar length dark hair and sparkling blue eyes. Dylan wasn’t shy about the fact she was a lesbian and so had a huge gay following.

After one particular show, a TV producer asked to see her and offered her a segment on a popular late night talk show. Dylan felt she was finally getting somewhere. The segment was a hit and the network was soon offering Dylan her own show. Dylan remembered one particular conversation she had with the network.

‘You’re not going to put me back in the closet, because I’ve never been in one.

‘Don’t worry Dylan; I don’t think we could even attempt it! You kind of scream butch dyke!’ he laughed.

‘Well I don’t take that as an insult, you know. I’m out and proud.’

‘We know Dylan. Listen. The network wants your show, you are so popular right now and we think we can make you huge. In addition, gay is cool right now, with Ellen and Portia never out of the headlines. Out and proud as you say.’

They reworked the show format and the rest was history. The network presented her show in prime time every Friday and Saturday night during the season. The format was always the same. First, a celebrity guest would be introduced, they would chat a bit, perform some sketches and end with the final dare where Dylan took on the celebrity and a member of the public. If the celebrity or Dylan won, the money would go to charity. If the audience member won, they would take home the cash. It became a huge hit, and five years and four Emmys later, The Dylan Morgan Show was at its height.

Along with fame came money. Ads and sponsorship money made her a worldwide star. She had everything and was the most eligible single gay woman in the world. Although Dylan came to life on screen, she was the same awkward loner who preferred her own company when the cameras were turned off. Women threw themselves at her but she didn’t indulge, looking for that illusive woman who would get her, understand her.

Dylan dated and was always seen at premieres with someone; usually an up and coming actress whom her agent would force upon her. But any person who dated her expected the Dylan Morgan from the show. In reality, she was quiet, read, worked out intensely and craved a family life, not a glitzy glamorous relationship.

Her agent had once remarked, when telling her which actress or celebrity she was taking to the latest awards show or premiere.

‘Dylan, you could have anyone you want. Women throw themselves at you. Why not just indulge yourself and enjoy it?’

To which Dylan replied. ‘If I ever meet anyone who is interesting or at least isn’t interested in my bank balance, I’ll do just that. In the meantime, you can sort out my dates for events.’

Two years ago, Dylan’s younger brother died. After coming out to his mom and dad, who hadn’t taken it too well, Joey came to live in the village to be near his sister and enjoy the gay scene. Hanging on to her celebrity status, he was invited to celebrity parties and events. He got into drinking and drugs very badly. Dylan and her Father tried to help him but he finally fell victim to an overdose. Her parents had not spoken to Dylan since, blaming the death of her brother on her lifestyle and fame. Being estranged from her dad hurt her deeply, and her mom who had always stuck up for her, couldn’t bring herself to go against her husband this time. The man she had given up her childhood to please now wanted nothing to do with her.

****

All this brought Dylan to the roof of the speeding car, trying her utmost to win her latest crazy challenge.

Dylan led the field leaping over the first three barriers, with Danny Boyd coming up just behind her; the third contestant had fallen at the first hurdle. Struggling to keep her balance, she leapt over the final hurdle and burst through the paper finish line. Unbeknownst to Dylan, Danny had clipped the last hurdle and fallen, not making it to the end of the course.

The crowd whooped and applauded. There’s gonna come a day I get too old for this! she thought as she pulled herself up from the foam mats. As she took the applause, she received the message from the floor that they had gone to break.

The studio was alive with people and paramedics checking over all three participants. Dylan ran her hands through her sweat-drenched hair.

“Dylan we have one minute.” someone from the floor shouted.

“Thanks for doing that, Danny.” She shook the actor’s hand.

“No problem Dylan, I had a blast! I need to fit that stunt into one of my movies!”

She turned to the audience member, who was struggling to get his breath, and clapped him on the back.

“Good try Bob. If you stand on this mark here, we’ll wind up the show and then you can get cleaned up.

“10 seconds, Dylan!” came the cry.

Dylan put her game face back on, ready for action. Danny Boyd looked Dylan up and down taking in the long muscled legs, emphasized by tight shorts, with a black crop top and thought, No wonder the guys and girls love you, Dylan. I don’t think you even realize the effect you have on people! He knew from people in the industry that she was no player, even though she had every opportunity. You’re one of a kind Dylan Morgan.

Dylan got the word from the floor and launched into her wrap up.

“Welcome back. I think that may be one of the most fun and exhausting Dylan’s Dares we’ve done so far!”

The crowd responded with laughter and cheers as they watched a replay on the big arena screen. At the break, she was given a microphone that she held out to the audience member.

“Well Bob, you didn’t win the cash prize but we’ve got this for you from our friends at Apple.” The screen in the studio cut to footage of Dylan making calls on her iPhone and playing games on her iPod.

“I hope that’ll make up for the grey hair! Big hand for Bob, everyone!” The crowd rose to their feet, clapping. She then turned to the actor.

“Danny, was that harder than fighting the Aliens in Monster Blast?”

“I tell you Dylan, it came pretty darn close. I’m exhausted!” The girls in the audience screamed for him.

“Well, thanks so much for being on the show the past two nights and remember everyone, you can see Danny Boyd in Monster Blast at all good movie theatres starting next Friday. I will see you next Friday when I’ll be trying to hit the target with the star of the new hit comedy, Head of the House, and one more lucky audience member will get a chance to win our top cash prize. Goodnight and take care till we meet again next week!”

The three waved to the cameras and audience as the titles rolled. After Dylan was finally given the signal that they were off air, she turned to Bob and said, “Thanks again Bob, it’s you guys that make the show”.

“Thanks a lot, Dylan! Do you think I could get an autograph? For my girlfriend, you know,” he asked excitedly.

“Sure thing, I’ll have some stuff sent to your dressing room, okay?”

Turning back to the movie star, she said, “Thanks Danny. I hope you’ll be back for a rematch?”

“You try and stop me, Dylan. I don’t like being beaten by a girl!” he joked, as his PA came over with a robe. “Do you want to get a drink after the show, Dylan?” he asked, walking away.

A member of the floor staff was helping her into a robe. “No thanks. I need to have my wrap up with the studio audience. But thanks.” Dylan knew as she said it that it was an excuse.

Her Personal Assistant, Lynn Roberts, said she was positively antisocial and needed to get out more. Dylan had always lacked the skills to make social situations comfortable, unless she was on stage; that was where she excelled.

After thanking the audience for their support and part in the show, she made her way off stage and was met by her PA. Lynn organized Dylan’s life; she told her where to be and when to be there. She had no idea how she would cope without her. Lynn was in her late fifties, exceptional at her job and could handle Dylan’s changeable moods. She was more like a mother than an employee.

The short, well dressed woman watched Dylan coming towards her. The ‘game face’ as Dylan called it, was already starting to fall. Lynn worried about her. At twenty-eight, she had no one in her life and ever since the problems with her parents, Dylan had become even more isolated. Her career was all she had.

“Hey Lynn! Did I do okay?”

“You were funny and charming as always, as you well know, Dylan. Go on! Get yourself into the shower.”

After her shower, she dressed in her usual blue jeans and, today, a black t-shirt.

“So, when you come in on Tuesday and meet with your guests, you’ll get your training schedule for archery. I think they lined up an Olympic medalist.”

“Sounds fine, I’ve got some good sketch ideas, what’s this actress’ name?”

“Katie Phillips. She doesn’t have a rep for being difficult, so she should be up for whatever you have in mind. We had an interview request from a reporter for Monday morning; the network is pushing for it.” Lynn knew before she asked what the reaction would be.

“No. Tell them no. It’s my day off, for God’s sake! I need time to train. What do they think, that I’m some sort of performing monkey? I need to put the work in to do what I do, you know that!”

“I do. I’ll tell them Dylan, don’t worry.”

Dylan’s week was strictly organized and she liked it that way. Sunday and Monday were her days off. Sunday she would laze around her apartment, catching up with the news, TV, playing computer games or shopping for gadgets. Dylan was a total technology geek and nothing relaxed her or made her happier than puttering around a computer store or the Apple store, seeing what new toy she could buy. She didn’t really have a lot else to spend her money on. Since her ad campaign with Apple, she received free products before the public release date.

She ran every day, but Mondays were her gym days when she worked on her martial arts. Mondays were sacred to her. Dylan believed it was her discipline that kept her sane in this mad business of celebrity and television.

Since returning from the Olympics, she had taken up some other techniques, namely kickboxing and Mixed Martial Arts. At one time, she had considered getting into Ultimate Fighting Championship competition, but then the show came along.

Tuesdays, she would go to the studio, meet with the celebrity she would be working with that week, discuss her ideas for the sketches and her monologue with the writing team, and start rehearsal.

Wednesdays, she and the celebrity would be trained on whatever the task was for the week and have a full day of practice.

Thursdays she split between event training and sketch rehearsals. The week for the crew was not easy. It was known to be the most physically demanding show to work on. They had to be fit to keep up with Dylan.

“Oh before I forget, can you get some show merchandise to Bob’s dressing room? I said I would sort out some autographed stuff for Bobs girlfriend.”

“Sure thing. Anything else?”

“No that’s it. I think I’ll head off.”

“I’ll call for the car.” Lynn started to dial her cell.

“Don’t bother, I think I’ll walk tonight for a bit and maybe grab a cab.”

“You know I hate it when you do that, Dylan. I don’t think you realize how recognizable you are. Your show and your face are up in Times Square for God’s sake.”

“I’ll put sunglasses on. Nobody cares in New York, Lynn, calm down. I just feel like a walk.”

The truth was she wanted to put off going back to her empty condo in Greenwich Village. She felt her solitary nature the most at night. Dylan grabbed her leather jacket and set off. “I’ll see you Tuesday, Lynn. Have a good weekend.”

Lynn sighed, knowing the woman would probably spend it alone. As Dylan made her way out the stage door, she sent a tweet to her followers. Twitter was the sort of social interaction she could manage, short messages at a distance. It was an excellent way to keep in touch with her fans and to bring some publicity to the causes she believed in.

Out on the street, the usual journalist and his photographer were waiting for her. Jimmy Daniels both hated and admired Dylan Morgan. She’d had the world at her feet for five years, the public loved her, and even the incident with her brother had made her more popular. The public saw in the papers the faithful sister trying to save her brother from himself, and since his death she had done great things working with substance abuse charities. She was too good to be true. When his editor had first charged him with the task of finding some scandal, he thought it would be easy. Famous rich lesbian? There must be tons of scandal on her, but no. Three years later he still had nothing.

Yes, she turned up at the right places with a date on her arm, but there was never anything more. He had offered money to all sorts of people in the industry and found nothing. Either she was very ordinary or people were keeping quiet. The magazines had even tried to Photoshop her into various salacious pictures, but she’d slapped a lawsuit on them and won.

Jimmy made it his mission to get something on her.

“Got any words for your fans, Dylan?”

“Now, now, Jimmy, we both know you don’t want any words for my fans but I’ll be sure to tweet them to let them know you care.” Asshole, she mumbled under her breath.

Jimmy’s tactic recently had been to be there every time she left the studio or her house; be there at every event, firing out questions, hoping she would lose her temper with him or his camera guy. At least that would be something on Miss Perfect.

He started to follow her then heard her shout back. “You can follow me all you want, Jimmy, I’m just walking home; nothing more and you know it.”

“What do you want to do, Jimmy?” his cameraman asked.

“Just leave it. This is a waste of our time. I’ll get something on you, Dylan Morgan. You’ve got to have an Achilles’ heel.” He watched as she walked down towards Times Square.

****

Dylan wandered through Times Square, not in any hurry to get home. She looked at all the people milling around the Square. Some were tourists enjoying themselves in the bright lights. There were couples having fun, families having fun, other people making their way home to loved ones. At times like these, she felt her isolation. She always could get company if she wanted it, and she succumbed to the occasional one- night stand. It never worked. She didn’t seem to have the skills to relate to women in a relationship. They expected the Dylan Morgan from TV and she just wasn’t that person off screen.

She wandered on, hefting her backpack back up on her shoulder. It started to rain and was getting heavier. Her leather jacket wasn’t giving her much protection. She thought of hailing a cab but then a little diner on the corner caught her eye. I might as well grab a coffee where it’s dry, rather than head home to no one, she thought.

She entered the diner and took a stool at the counter. It was very quiet, being 11 o’clock at night and much less glitzy than its competitors in Times Square around the corner.

There was a server behind the counter, who currently had her back to Dylan.

The TV host put her bag up on the counter and brought out her iPhone to check her email and twitter then she heard. “Hi, how can I help you?”

Dylan brought her head up to be met by the most beautiful pair of green eyes she had ever seen. Wow! She is stunning! Dylan’s eyes wandered down the petite women’s figure.

She was about 5-foot-3, and had the most luscious blonde hair that, when the light was right, had reddish strands running through it. The silken locks were currently tied back but looked long enough to go down to the middle of her back.

Dylan sat with her mouth open, struggling to form words. What did she ask? What did I want? Yes, that was it! Uh you? No can’t say that. Um . . .go for coffee. That’s easy to say. Now say it! Come on Dylan! Speak!

Emily Taylor looked over her dark brooding customer. She was tall, huge in fact, and looked well built. A whole big hunk of good looking woman. Yes, you make my heart pound faster! thought the waitress. Then she realized the woman was still wearing sunglasses. I bet you know you’re good looking as well. Oh well, my hunt for Princess Charming goes on! When Emily asked for her order, the big woman seemed lost for words. Awkward, goofy even, and it made the young woman smile. I’ll try again.

“Can I get you something to eat? To drink?”

Dylan’s eyes fixed on the server’s nametag and said, “Emily. Your name is Emily.”

Oh my God! Why did I say that!

The girl giggled. “Yes, my name is Emily, now what can I get you?”

“Um . . .coffee please. Black.” Oh well done, Dylan! No one would believe you spoke for a living!

“Sure be right back.”

Dylan watched the young woman’s hips sway as she walked away. This isn’t normal. Women don’t normally affect me like this. She’s just . . .just perfect and she doesn’t seem to recognize me.

The coffee was put in front of her and Emily asked, “Are you sure you don’t want anything to eat?”

“Um . . .yeah I guess, I haven’t really eaten since lunch time and it’s quite late. I usually just zap a meal in the microwave when I get home; I can’t cook you see, but it started to rain and I thought I’d duck in here.” I’m an idiot! Just tell her your life story why don’t you?

“Wow. You are funny. One minute you can barely string two words together and the next you’re talking like a machine gun!” she laughed.

She thinks you’re an idiot.

“I’m sorry; I guess I’m just not very good at talking to people.”

“Well, let me see if I can help you. Since it’s late, how about the breakfast plate? Omelet, bacon, hash browns?”

“Sounds delicious. Yeah, I’d love that. I don’t know the last time I had that.”

Emily found the woman sweet in a childlike way. “Coming up, won’t be long.”

Dylan dreamily watched Emily cook up her food quickly at the grill, her head propped up on her hand. Emily returned with an overfilled plate and placed it down in front of the dark woman.

“This looks amazing!”

“It’s just plain home cooking.”

“I don’t get that, so it’s amazing to me.”

Emily looked down at the big woman devouring the huge plate of food with gusto.

She’s so goofy but so intriguing. Seems like she needs looking after . “Can I ask you something, uh . . .?”

“Oh, sorry. Dylan. Dylan Morgan.” She waited for the inevitable recognition and change in the petite server. People always changed when they knew who she was. But it never came.

“Okay Dylan. Why do you wear sunglasses indoors? Usually it means you’re a gangster or extremely full of yourself.”

“I’m neither, I hope. It’s just in case I’m recognized, I’m a very private person.”

“So, you’re famous or something?” Emily joked.

“Yeah, I guess so.” Dylan put her head down shyly.

So bashful and sweet , Emily thought.

“Sorry.” Dylan lifted her glasses to the top of her head.

Oh my goodness! She’s gorgeous! Handsome. Hmmm and those blue eyes!

“I’m sorry I don’t recognize you. You on TV or something?”

Dylan was delighted she didn’t know her. It was so refreshing. No expectations.

“Yeah, I have a TV show. An entertainment, comedy sort of thing. I’ve come from the studio just now.”

Emily was astonished. She couldn’t imagine this tall awkward woman fronting a TV show. Well, what do I know?!

“Unless you’re on a children’s show, I wouldn’t know you. That’s all I get to watch these days.”

Dylan’s stomach dropped. She has a kid, must be straight. Well of course she is, idiot! She wasn’t gonna be interested in you anyway. “You have a kid?”

Emily had no idea why she was being so open with this woman, but there was just something about her. “Yeah, a little girl. She’s three. If I’m not working here, I’m taking care of her at home.”

Dylan looked around the deserted dinner. There was only one guy propped up at the other end of the counter.

“You always work this late?”

“No, just my turn, that’s all.”

Dylan eyed the young woman carefully. She was sure there was a story there. She was well-spoken and looked very bright. I wonder why she’s working in a diner. “Your husband look after her when you’re here?”

Emily smiled shyly. “No. No husband. Never has been, never will be a man in my life. I have a very good sitter.”

Dylan brightened at the statement. Never will be a man in my life. I wonder. “Well this was great. I’m stuffed.”

“You sure can eat!”

“Well I use a lot of energy.”

“I can see that.” Emily looked over Dylan’s bulky figure.

Dylan flashed a smile. She was amazed at how easy it was to talk to Emily and before they knew it, it was 12:30 a.m.

“Well, look at the time. I better get the place cleaned up.”

“Oh I’m sorry, I’m keeping you back.” The other customer had long departed.

“Don’t worry, it was really nice talking to you. The end of my shift flew by.”

Dylan hated to think she wouldn’t see her again. She felt an ease with Emily, one she’d never felt with anyone else.

“Uh . . .do you lock up by yourself? Is that safe?”

“Don’t worry about me, Ms. Morgan. I’ve been doing this for four years.”

“Dylan, please. You said your little girl was three? Did you work here when you were pregnant?”

Dylan saw a look of pain cross Emily’s face. “Yes, you’ve got to pay the bills. I’ll be cleaned up in no time and catch my bus.”

“Of course, well I’ll get out of your hair. Could I get you a cab?”

Dylan hated the thought of the young woman on buses and on the streets at one in the morning.

“I don’t mean to be rude, but I do this all the time.”

“I’m sorry if I offended you. Will you be working tomorrow?” asked the tall woman, already planning a visit.

“No, Sunday’s my day off,” she smiled.

“Mine too.” Dylan thought quickly and said. “I don’t suppose . . .no, nothing. Sorry.”

“Tell me, what were you going to say?”

“I . . .wondered if I could take you out tomorrow . . .maybe lunch or dinner or both or . . .”

Emily’s heart soared at the thought of seeing Dylan again, but then reality set in.

“I would have loved to, but I have my little girl and it’s my only day to spend time with her. I’m sorry.”

Dylan was stumped. Then before her brain engaged, her mouth spat out, “Bring your little girl. I’ll take you both out. I’d love that.”

Emily looked at her skeptically.

“Dylan, as much as I’ve loved meeting you, I don’t know anything about you, and to bring my little girl, well you have to be really careful.”

“But . . .but look, go out into Times Square, you’ll see my face and name up on a billboard. Um . . .here’s my studio pass. Look, if I were going to murder you or something, I hardly think I could keep it a secret. I know, look.”

Emily smiled as the big woman fumbled with her phone. Why is she trying so hard to take me out? She’s famous, probably rich, unbelievably good looking. She could have anybody she wanted.

Dylan had looked up a clip of her show on YouTube and showed it to Emily. It was a clip of Dylan doing a sketch with Julia Roberts.

“Wow! That’s you?”

“Yeah. See. You know exactly who I am now. It’s safe, I promise.”

“Why do you want to take me out, you could have anyone? Do you feel sorry for me?”

“God, no. I’m not what people see on TV. I don’t speak too well, I find talking and socializing torture but I came in here and just felt so at ease and relaxed talking to you. Come out with me. I’ll take you both to the zoo, three year olds like the zoo don’t they? And then I’ll buy you lunch.”

I know I shouldn’t but I think I can trust her and I’d love to get to know you, Dylan Morgan.

“Yes, she’d love that. Alright then, I’ll write down my address and phone number for you. I live in Maspeth, Queens, here’s my address. What time should we be ready?”

Yes! Yes! I’m going on a date with Emily . . .? Shit I don’t even know her last name . . .

“Is 10 o’clock alright?”

“That’s fine. I look forward to it.”

Dylan lifted her backpack onto her shoulder. “By the way, what’s your last name?”

“Taylor. Emily Taylor.”

Dylan flashed a smile that made Emily’s heart skip a beat.

“Goodnight Emily Taylor.” Then she headed out, leaving Emily a bit stunned.

“Well. That was some evening shift!”

****

Dylan jumped in a cab and made her way home to her condo on Fifth Avenue, in the heart of Greenwich Village. The building was pre-war with a 24-hour doorman, state of the art security and a full fitness center. When Dylan had been looking for something a bit nicer than her old place, she didn’t want to leave the Village. She had lived there ever since acting school and she loved to live in an area that was so gay friendly, with the bars, clubs and restaurants.

She was sitting on the sofa in her large living room. It was a very light room, cream walls and hardwood floors and some wonderful pieces of artwork. Dylan had no idea how to furnish a place like this and had gotten Lynn to hire a decorator.

Dylan picked up her phone and dialed the first number on her speed dial.

“Lynn, sorry to wake you, and please apologize to Tom but I need some help.” Lynn and her husband Tom were used to odd phone call requests. That was part of a PA’s job.

“It’s 1:30 in the morning, Dylan. What do you need?”

“I’m going to take someone out tomorrow and I need to take flowers; I have no idea what to choose at a florist. Could you order some first thing in the morning and have them delivered to me?”

“You’re taking someone out? You never go out.”

“Well, I am tomorrow. Could you get some kind of toy delivered as well, one for a three year old girl?”

“Dylan what happened to you between leaving the studio and getting home?”

“I met someone. Someone I really like, and I’m taking her and her daughter to the zoo tomorrow.”

“You need to be careful, Dylan; she could want anything from you.”

“Lynn, she is the first person I’ve ever connected with and it happened in a few hours so I don’t want to hear anymore.”

“Alright Dylan. Calm down. Now what sort of toy? What does she like?”

“I don’t know. What do little girls usually like? You know I know nothing about kids.” In truth, Dylan was nervous about meeting the little girl, as she had never been around kids before. “Something that’ll make her think I’m great.”

“Oh! I’ll come up with something, Dylan, I always do. Now the flowers, is it a roses situation? Or?”

“Roses are a bit too much for a first date, aren’t they? I don’t want to scare her off. Just a big, really nice, normal sort of bunch.”

“That’s a great help, Dylan. What time do you need them?”

“I’m picking her up at ten.”

“Okay, I’ll take care of it first thing.”

“You’re the best, Lynn. I’ll send you and Tom somewhere nice next summer, I promise.”

“You better. Goodnight Dylan.”

“Good night.” Dylan clapped her hands together and whistled as she made her way to bed.

****

Dylan was up and out early for her run this morning, she wanted to make sure she wouldn’t be late for her date. She came to a halt outside her plush apartment building, bracing her arms on her legs as she tried to catch her breath.

“Morning, Ms. Morgan. Nice day,” the friendly man said.

Dylan looked up and smiled. “Yeah Morris, I think today’s gonna be a great day. Better get going.” She ran off into the elevator with a spring in her step.

Morris looked at the tall woman quizzically. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that woman so cheerful.

Dylan entered the large apartment and went straight for the kitchen to grab a bottle of water. She leaned against the counter and checked her phone, and with a smirk sent out a twitter message. ‘Nothing better than an early run on a bright September New York morning! Happy Sunday my twitter buddies!’ “My God, they’ll think I’ve been hit on the head with a happy stick! Okay then; get showered, get dressed and get ready to go!”

****

“Come on Molly. We need to get up early this morning.” Emily tried to rouse her little daughter for the third time. She got no response but a whine, so she lifted the dark haired girl out from her warm covers onto her lap. Molly immediately cuddled in tight to her mother. “Sweetie, come on. We’re going out. Don’t you want to go out?”

“We go the park, Mama?” the girl said tiredly. The park was their usual Sunday outing. Molly and her mom treasured the time they spent together, as Emily worked so hard and couldn’t spend as much time with her daughter as she wanted. Plus the park was free and money was tight.

“We’re not going to the park today, sweetie. Mama met a new friend named Dylan, and she would like to take us to the zoo to see the animals. Would that be okay?”

Molly thought hard for a minute, she wasn’t used to sharing her Mama. “She’s really nice, Molls.”

“See penguns?”

“Penguins? Yes, we’ll see them and lots of other animals. What do you think?”

“Otay Mama.”

“Great! Let’s get you dressed.” I hope you two hit it off Molls or this could be over before it’s begun!

****

Dylan agonized over what to wear but finally settled on jeans with a designer hooded, sleeveless black ski vest, hooded sweater and black boots. As she looked in the mirror, she worried as she always did. What if her daughter doesn’t like me? That would be a disaster. I mean how do you act around kids? What do you say to them? Shit.

Dylan’s little brother had only been a year younger so she had zero experience with kids. She heard her iPhone ring and grabbed it quickly seeing it was Lynn.

“Hey Lynn, what did you get me?”

“Good morning to you too, Dylan. You sound anxious. You okay?” “Sure. I’m fine.” She lied.

“Well if you say so. A rather large bouquet of flowers is winging its way to you as we speak; I hope she likes them. I did some intensive research with my granddaughter. Apparently, the girl toy of the moment is a Fijit Friend, and I got the DVD of Mr. Popper’s Penguins. I think that should please a three year old, although as I know from experience, you’ll be praying for the Fijit’s batteries to run down!”

“What would I do without you, Lynn?”

“Um . . .wander around aimlessly looking for where you need to be?”

“Probably. Oh, I hear the doorbell, better go. Have a good day off, Lynn.”

“You too. Be careful Dylan.”

Lynn knew her employer and friend was an innocent in the love department. I hope this woman doesn’t hurt you, Dylan. I’ve never heard her so enthusiastic.

“I will. See you Tuesday, Lynn. Bye.”

Dylan ran to get the door and signed for the packages. The flowers looked great and the toy and DVD were gift wrapped in cellophane with a balloon attached.

“Lynn, you’ve outdone yourself! She’s gotta love me!” She grabbed her keys and wallet and went to get her car.

****

“Let’s get your shoes on, sweetie.” Emily had just managed to get her little girl dressed.

“Okay, go and play until Dylan gets here.”

“Otay, Mama.” Emily watched as the little girl trotted off to play with her toys on the floor. Sometimes she thought her heart would burst when she looked at her little girl. She was all she had in the world, and even though they didn’t have much, they had each other. She looked around their small two bedroom apartment. The main room was open plan with the small kitchen and dining area at one end of the room, at the other the couch and TV area. She wished she could provide Molly with more but she worked all the hours she could as it was.

Life wasn’t supposed to be this hard, Molls, Emily thought sadly.

A knock at the door interrupted her sad thoughts. Emily jumped up and opened the door to Dylan, who was obscured by gifts. “Dylan is that you?”

“Yeah, these packages are bigger than I thought. Could you take the flowers? They’re for you. Uh . . .I hope you like them.”

Emily took the large bouquet from the big woman. “They’re beautiful, Dylan. You shouldn’t have.”

Emily spied the other big package. “Uh . . .I got this for Molly. Is it okay?” Dylan said a little shyly.

“Yes of course, but it’s too much. Honestly.”

“Well, I haven’t had the chance to buy toys before.”

Emily smiled. “Come in then. I’ll pop these in the kitchen and introduce you to my little girl.”

Dylan stood nervously looking over at Molly who hadn’t spotted her yet. She was quite surprised. She had expected a little blonde girl, but Molly had dark brown hair that hung just below her shoulders.

Must take after her dad. Wonder who that was? She’s really pretty and cute, too. Hope she likes me.

Emily came back from the kitchen area and went over to get her daughter.

“Molly, I’d like you to come and meet my new friend Dylan.”

“Otay.” Molly lifted her head and when she saw Dylan’s face, her eyes went wide. She jumped up and came running over shouting. “Dien! Dien! Big bird! Where big bird?” the little was jumping up and down on her toes reaching up for Dylan.

Emily and Dylan looked at each other strangely. “That’s odd, she seems to think she knows you and what’s this big bird thing?”

“I have no idea what that’s about.”

“Up! Dien! Up!”

The big woman put down the gift and lifted Molly. “Hey Molly, nice to meet you.” Molly hugged Dylan and said. “Ou no bing big bird wiv ou?”

“Uh . . . no, but I do have a friend for you.”

“Dylan, why don’t you two sit down and open up her gift and I’ll get these flowers in water.”

“Sure.” Dylan carried Molly over to the couch. At least she seems to like me. Whoever she thinks I am. ” Uh . . .Molly I brought this little friend for you. Here let me help you open it up.”

“What’s its name, Dien?”

“Well this one’s called Logan, I think. Um . . .it talks to you and dances. Here, I’ll get it out of the package for you. And look, there’s a movie too. Maybe we can watch it sometime?”

Dylan jumped up when Emily came over.

“You didn’t have to do that Dylan, but that’s really kind. Thank you.”

“Mama! Popper’s peguns!” the little girl squealed.

“That’s great Molly, did you say thank you to Dylan for your presents?”

“Thank ou, Dien,” taking hold of her new toy from the big woman.

“No problem, little Smurf.”

Molly giggled. “Me no Smurf, Dien!”

“Sure you are! A cute little Smurflet.” Dylan’s heart fluttered as she looked up and took in Emily. She was dressed simply in blue jeans and a white low cut top, which showed off her ample cleavage nicely. “You look really nice, Emily.” Dylan said shyly.

“You too.” Emily said with a cheeky smile that made Dylan blush. You look good enough to eat, Dylan Morgan, and just my type as well! Big, tall, hmm, yum!

“So . . .you want to head out? I’ve got my car out front.”

“Sure let me get Molly’s jacket on and we’ll be ready. Come on, Molls!”

****

The three new friends came out of the building with Dylan still carrying Molly, and the little girl had her new Fijit friend under her arm. Emily was pleased at how quickly her daughter took to Dylan. They actually looked more related than she did, the same dark brown hair and sparkling blue eyes.

“This is me here.” Dylan pointed to a top of the line, black Jeep Grand Cherokee.

“Wow, that’s some car!”

“Is it okay if I strap her in?”

Emily smiled. “Sure, go ahead.”

“Come on, little Smurf, let’s get you strapped in.” Once Molly was settled, Dylan went around and held the door open for her date.

A gentleman, too. Dylan, can you get any more perfect?

Dylan joined her in the front seat and watched as Emily looked around the luxury car, obviously impressed. It was big inside and had a full tan leather interior and every gadget under the sun on the dash.

“Wow! This is really nice. I’ve never been in anything like this.”

“Thanks. I don’t splurge on many things but I do like my toys.” As Dylan pulled into the street, she said, “I was reading on the net that Central Park Zoo’s got four new emperor penguins, polar bears and a rain forest zone. Sounds cool. I hope you both enjoy it,” she said nervously.

“I’m sure we’ll love it. We don’t get many days out like this.”

Emily found it hard to believe that the woman next to her was a famous TV personality. She was so unsure of herself, in such a sweet way.

“So Dylan, when’s your show on. Now that Molly and I know you, we’ll need to watch.”

“It’s on Fridays and Saturdays at 9. It’s just a kind of entertainment show. You know, chat, comedy and then I compete against a celebrity in some challenges.”

“You know something Dylan; you don’t seem that sort of person. You know, the famous, outgoing type.”

“I guess I’m not. When I’m at work I put on my game face and I suppose a different, well, more confident me comes out. But this is who I am, I’m not into all that showbiz stuff, I just want to do my work and have a quiet life.”

“That’s unusual in a celebrity, isn’t it?”

“I guess. I think I disappoint people when they meet me in real life.” Emily saw the look of sadness cross Dylan’s face.

“I can’t imagine why. I’ve only known you a day but you seem really sweet to me.”

Dylan blushed again.

“Dien! We go see penguns?”

“We sure are, Smurf! And then we’ll get lunch somewhere nice, okay?”

“Logan and me like dat.”

“Cool. Won’t be long now.”

Little did Dylan know that she was being followed closely.

Well Dylan, this is new. I wonder who your new friends are? This could be the break I’ve been waiting for! Jimmy thought.

****

The trio soon found a place to park, and were making their way over to the zoo.

“Dien! Up! Lif me?”

“Sure thing Smurf, up you come.” The little girl was whisked into Dylan’s arms.

Emily frowned at her daughter. “Molly, Dylan can’t carry you around everywhere. It’s not fair.” Molly pouted at her mother.

“Don’t worry about it, Emily. Its fine, I like to carry my new little friend; besides isn’t it safer up here?” Dylan had been worried about Emily’s reaction if anybody came up to her, as they always did. I hope my craziness doesn’t scare you off, Emmie.

Emily smiled and grasped Dylan’s free hand lightly. “You’re right. I’m always afraid she’ll run off. She’s so inquisitive, she sees something and she’s off.” She looks so right up in your arms. I hope you are genuine, Dylan, because my little girl could get hurt.

Dylan’s heart pounded and her hand seemed to burn from Emily’s touch. “Don’t worry, Emmie, you’ve got an extra pair of eyes and arms to help you.”

The blonde woman smirked at the sweet nickname and Dylan looked worried all of a sudden.

“Uh . . .is it okay to call you that? It just came out?”

“Sure. No one’s ever given me a nickname before. I like it.”

“Great. You ready to see the penguins, Smurf?”

“Yeah! Penguns!”

Dylan marched up to the ticket booth. “Emmie, can you hold onto Molly for a minute?”

“Sure, listen let me . . .”

“No. I asked you two out. This day is my treat, okay?”

Emily was a little uncomfortable. She’d been independent for so long it was hard to accept Dylan’s generosity.

“Okay. Thank you. Come here, Molls.”

Dylan turned and said, “Two adults and one child, please.”

The zoo employee looked up and her eyes went wide. Wow! That’s Dylan Morgan! Oh wow! Oh wow! Right, stay calm, act cool.

“Do . . .do you want the ordinary tickets or the total experience? Which includes the Dora the Explorer show at the 4D theatre?”

Dylan turned to Molly. “Hey Smurf, you like Dora?”

“Yeah! Dora! Swiper! No swiping!”

Dylan looked at Emily with a confused look.

Emily laughed. “That’s a yes, Dylan.”

“Ok. Cool. We’ll take everything, thanks.” Dylan pulled out her wallet and paid.

“No problem, Ms. Morgan, hold on to these tickets and they’ll get you in to the 4D theatre as well.”

As Dylan was gathering up the stuff, the young woman looked at her nervously. “Ms. Morgan? Um . . .do you think I could have an autograph?”

“Sure, you got some paper and a pen?”

Emily looked on, finding it amazing that the big goofy woman that she was getting to know was this famous celebrity that everyone was in awe of. She also felt the scrutiny of the ticket seller’s gaze, she clearly wondered who this young woman with the famous Dylan Morgan was.

“Have a good day, Ms. Morgan.”

“Thanks. Right, Smurf, let’s get going. Up you go.” Dylan scooped the young girl up and then held out her hand to Emily. “You ready to see some penguins, Emmie?”

Emily smiled and took the big woman’s hand. “You bet.”

They made their way around the exhibits, both women sharing an easy, friendly companionship. Emily smiled as she watched her daughter up on Dylan’s shoulders, allowing her to see into the polar bear exhibit better. It’s remarkable how well they get along, and me too. I feel like I’ve known her before. It’s so easy being with her.

The couple laughed and chatted their way around the zoo, each finding out a bit more about the other. Dylan was very attentive, always keeping hold of Molly and making sure Emily was alright at the same time by keeping her hand on the small of Emily’s back, especially when members of the public approached Dylan for autographs. When they asked for pictures she made sure that they were not included in any pictures.

You’re just too perfect, Dylan! Emily thought.

“Mama, look at the baby bear!”

“I see him, sweetie. He’s very cute.”

“Do you two want to grab lunch now? We could head over to see the Dora movie after?”

“Yeah me hungry, Mama,” The little girl whined.

“Sure, I’m quite hungry myself.” They found a place just outside the park that would suit Molly. Burgers, over stuffed sandwiches and ice cream. Molly dived into her burger and fries, giving the adults a chance to talk.

Dylan watched as Emily looked around nervously. They had been the center of attention in the restaurant since they arrived. “I’m sorry about all the attention we’ve had today. To me it’s just my life, but I promise to keep Molly and you away from it as much as I can.”

“You don’t need to be sorry Dylan; it just takes some getting used to.”

“I know, it was weird for me at first, too. As you’ve probably noticed, I’m quiet in my private life but I’ve had to get used to the intrusion and the press. I do love the public, it’s why I love my show so much, they’re often better guests than the stars we have on, so I try to be accessible.”

Emily nodded in understanding. “Do you have any family, Dylan?” Emily saw a look of pain on the big woman’s face. “It’s okay if you don’t want to talk about it,” she said quickly.

“No. It’s fine, honestly. Yeah, Mom and Dad live in Brooklyn but we don’t see each other. Uh . . .I had a brother. He got into some difficulties with drinking and drugs, and . . .well . . .he died.”

Emily immediately reached across the table, taking Dylan’s hand. “I’m so sorry! I really shouldn’t have asked.”

“No, I’d like to tell you. When I made it big, he followed me here and tried to get into acting. He got a few small parts, but he didn’t have any acting training. I didn’t think it was the right choice for him. He hadn’t shown any interest before. He wanted the fame without the hard work. People gave him a chance because he was my brother, I think, but he got fired from most jobs after a few days when they realized he wasn’t up to it. It didn’t stop him from getting invites to all the wrong sorts of parties because of who his sister was. He wanted to live the showbiz lifestyle, and he did. When he got into debt I bailed him out until I knew he using drugs. The drugs changed him so much. He was my baby brother, and we were so close growing up. He was gay too, so we always covered for each other with dad, before we came out to Mom and Dad. He became so angry when I refused to give him more money. I tried to get him into rehab but he just didn’t want the help. One morning, I went over to check on him. I . . .I found him dead; an overdose. I’ll never forget that as long as I live. Mom and Dad blame me, said I brought this lifestyle into the family.”

Emily felt sadness at what her new friend had gone through but also anger at the treatment by her parents. “It wasn’t your fault, Dylan! I hope you don’t believe them.”

“Well, it’s hard you know. I couldn’t stop him but he was my baby brother.”

“You told me you tried to get him help; if he wasn’t willing to take it, what more could you do?”

“Nothing, I suppose. It hurts though. My father and I were always close. He was a taekwondo teacher, had his own Dojang . . .uh training class,” she said when Emily looked puzzled. “He trained me since I was little,” Dylan explained.

“Wow, did you get belts and things, like karate?”

“Yeah. I’m a black belt 6th dan. I made a deal with my dad that I would concentrate on my training and try and make it to the Olympics, if I did I could get involved with comedy and acting like I’d always wanted to.”

“And what happened?”

“I got there. Won a gold medal,” Dylan said shyly.

“That’s amazing! I’ve never met an Olympian before.” Dylan Morgan, you are some woman!

“I am proud of it and I love the sport. I’ve kept it up faithfully through acting school and now. I even went into some other disciplines. Kickboxing and mixed martial arts. I train every Monday. It is a big part of my life and it allows me to do most of the stuff I do on the show, but I love entertaining. I hoped he would be proud of me for the career I’ve built, but he never was. He thinks I wasted my talent.”

Emily didn’t know what to say to help the hurt she knew Dylan was feeling, so she simply squeezed her hand tight in support.

I can’t believe I’m telling her this. You trust her, that’s why. I never trust anyone. You are special, Emily Taylor, thought Dylan. “I’ve never told anyone all this. You’re a good listener. Still, that’s enough about me. You okay, Smurf? You want an ice cream sundae with extra sprinkles?”

“Yeah! Spwinkles!”

“What about you, Emmie?”

“Oh yes, I love extra sprinkles!” Emily said enthusiastically.

“Great!” Dylan signaled the waiter.

****

Molly was asleep in the back seat of the Jeep, cuddling a stuffed penguin that Dylan had bought her, as well as her fijit friend.

Dylan pulled up in front of Emily’s building. They had seen every animal and every exhibit in the zoo, it seemed. Emily laughed at Dylan’s antics of entertaining her little girl.

“That was a wonderful day, Dylan, thank you. I can’t remember when we’ve had as much fun or laughed as much. You spoiled Molly too much though, buying her the penguin as well.”

“I had so much fun, Emmie, I never get to have days out like that. To be honest, I don’t really know too many people that I could do things like that with.

It’s nice to have a friend.” Dylan looked into Emily’s eyes, the electricity between them crackling. They were becoming lost in each other. “Yes, it’s nice to have a friend.”

Dylan took her hand and said. “Emmie, I’d like to see you again. Uh . . .I think you can guess I like you, I mean really like you.”

Emily thought for a second. “Dylan. I really like you too, and I would like to explore our friendship more but I have to be careful. I have Molly to think about.”

“You don’t think I would hurt . . .”

“No I don’t think that, but Dylan I’m a single mother who works as a waitress. Why would someone like me be interesting to you? Do you feel sorry for us? Are we some sort of project to you?”

Dylan looked very serious all of a sudden. “Have I given you that impression?”

Emily felt bad she had even suggested it. “No . . .It’s just, I have to be careful. You must understand. I’ve been let down badly before,” Emily admitted sadly.

Dylan gripped Emily’s hand a little tighter. “Emmie, when I first laid eyes on you yesterday, I was lost in you. I have never met anyone more beautiful, both inside and out. When I talked to you, I felt a connection. A connection I’ve never felt with any other woman. I was able to talk to you, just talk without wondering what I would say next. Do you know how rare that is for me? You didn’t judge me for who I am or what I do for a living, why would I do that to you? Today, walking around the park with you and Molly, it just felt so natural. I can’t describe it any other way. Do you understand?”

Emily nodded in agreement, smiling and feeling reassured at Dylan’s explanation.

“Yes, I understand, thank you for explaining. I’m sorry. I had to ask.”

“I know. I will never be anything but honest with you. You have my word. So when can I see you two again?” Please say soon! thought the TV star.

“I’m working days this week, so it would need to be in the evening and I’d need to bring Molly. I couldn’t leave her with the sitter all day and night.”

“Don’t worry, I love spending time with her, too. What about tomorrow or Tuesday? Is that too soon? Things get kinda crazy during the week, getting ready for the show. I could take you both out to dinner; um . . .what else do kids like doing?”

“Listen, you took us out today and I can’t manage anything like that, so why don’t you come over for dinner tomorrow night. If there’s one thing I can do, it’s cook. We could watch the movie you brought Molls then, when she goes to bed we can have some time to talk.”

Dylan’s face was beaming. Her heart soared at the thought of spending time with her two new favorite girls. “Great! What time?”

“6 o’clock?”

“I’ll be there. I’ll carry little Smurf upstairs for you.”

“Thanks, she’s getting too heavy for me these days!”

****

Dylan sat at her kitchen table drinking her protein shake and watching the morning news before she left for the gym. She trained every Monday with a couple of guys she met when learning mixed martial arts. Her phone came alive and the sounds of Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ rang out.

“Hey Lynn. What’s up?”

“I’m sorry to bother you Dylan, I know you’re heading for the gym.”

“It’s okay. I’m not going for another half hour.”

“Good. How did your date go?”

“It was fantastic! Emily’s a great girl and her daughter is just a little cutie pie. She’s asked me to dinner tonight, as well.”

“Wow Dylan. A second date? That’s virtually unheard of.” I don’t think I’ve ever heard you so enthusiastic, thought Lynn. She had set the big woman up with countless dates for different events and they were never heard of again.

“She’s a special person. I hope I have lots more dates. In fact, I was going to ask, can you find some things I could take them to that are kid friendly? Molly is with a babysitter all day; Emily can’t really leave her at night too.”

Lynn was a little nervous about bringing this up when her friend was so happy but it was her job. “Sure. I’ll do that. Um. Are you being careful? I mean you don’t really know this woman too well and um . . .people in your position have to keep their guard up. There could be ulterior motives.”

Dylan understood Lynn’s worry, but knew Emily was genuine. “Lynn, she is an honest woman, she doesn’t care about all the fame and stuff. I had to convince her of my intentions; she has a daughter to consider.”

“I’m sorry. It’s my job to worry about you.”

“I know Lynn, and I thank you for it, but I’m fine.”

“Alright. I’m calling because first thing this morning I got a message from a journalist asking for a comment about the rumors that you are in a relationship with a single mother.”

“How did they find out? I’ve only had one date?”

“Well, you were in a whole park full of people yesterday, I’m sure your old buddy Jimmy got a tip off or was keeping tabs on you himself. I think you need to talk to Emily about what to expect. They will find out who she is eventually and she will need to deal with the press approaching her, whether you pursue this relationship or not.”

Dylan sighed. “Yes. You’re right. I’ll talk to her tonight. I hope this isn’t all too much for her.”

On the contrary, my friend, I’ll gauge this young woman’s intentions by her reaction. We’ll see if she is simply interested in your money and fame, or just you. If you aren’t genuine, Miss Taylor, you won’t know what’s hit you.

“So it’s a ‘No Comment’ to any enquiries?”

“Yeah. Head them off as much as you can. Look, I better get to the gym. The guys will be waiting. See you tomorrow at the studio, Lynn.”

“Okay Dylan, have a good day.”

“Thanks. You too.”

Dylan grabbed her bag and headed to the gym.

****

Emily dropped Molly with her sitter, Mrs. Hill, and made her way to work. She walked in the diner to see her supervisor Maggie and the part time girl Jane working behind the counter.

“Morning girls. How’s the breakfast rush been?”

“Quiet. Any more mornings like this and Mr. Jarvis will start asking questions.”

“I’ll just be a minute, Maggie.” Emily went to the back room and changed into her apron. I pray to God this place picks up. I can’t lose this job! Tom Jarvis was the owner of the diner and profits had being going down steadily over the last few months. The economy was in a nosedive all around the world, and money was tight for everyone.

Emily came out front and had no idea she was being watched from a booth in the corner.

“Jimmy? Yeah, I found out where she works. A little diner just off Times Square. First name’s Emily,” the man said into his cell phone.

“Great work. There’s a story here, I just know it. If nothing else, the magazines will lap up a fairytale story. ‘Famous star sweeps waitress off her feet.’ We need to find out more. Give me the name of the place.”

“It’s called Jimmy’s Diner and it’s really quiet. It doesn’t look like it’s doing too well.”

“Excellent, maybe the owner will cooperate with a little incentive. I’ll get on it.”

“You sending a camera over?”

“No, I want her story before I let anyone know about this. Thanks Sam.”

I’m gonna make some bucks off you at last, Dylan Morgan.

Episode 2

Dylan walked into the downtown gym. Her buddies Mark and Patrick rented the space out every Monday to train. Dylan met them when she started taking mixed martial arts during acting school. They hit it off and have trained together ever since. Mark Lawson and Patrick Kenny worked for the New York police department.

“Here she comes! Late as usual.” They already had all the equipment set up.

“Give me a break, guys! Have I ever been late before? I had stuff to do, but I’m ready so let’s get going. I have a date tonight and I can’t be late finishing.” Dylan slung her bag on a seat to the side of the room, having come dressed and prepared.

“A date? Shit! That’s unheard of Morgan! She has met you, right?” Her two friends laughed.

“Ha! Ha! Laugh it up! I’ll just kick your asses some more in the ring!” Both men knew this was not an idle threat.

Patrick walked up and clapped Dylan on the back. “Hey! We’re just yanking your chain, buddy. I’m glad you’ve met someone. I hope we’ll get to meet her.”

“Thanks guys. You’d love her. I hope after tonight she won’t be too scared off and wants to see me again.”

“Have more confidence in yourself, Dylan. You’re a good person, and any woman would be lucky to have you,” Mark said.

“Thanks guys, that means a lot. Let’s get going so I can kick your butts!”

The large hall had a ring over in the corner and various pieces of exercise equipment, which they used.

Dylan, Mark and Patrick were ready to start. They had donned weighted vests in order to challenge their muscles even further.

The training was hard and grueling. The friends hit the machines in a circuit, each round lasting five minutes. The circuit was attacked at a relentless pace, not allowing the participants a moment to rest. It started with a run on the treadmill before moving on to the weight machines. The weight machines were not taken at a normal pace, each was performed with power and pace, and each movement was explosive.

By the time the circuits were finished, the friends were drenched in sweat and exhausted, but had to then go to the ring and spar.

This training gave Dylan the powerful, muscular body she needed for her work and also gave her a way to relieve the stress and tension her life brought her.

“Thanks for the workout, guys. I better run.” Dylan grabbed her bag, opting to grab a shower at home.

“Sure buddy. See you next week!” Mark waved as she headed out the door.

“Bye Dylan. Have a great date,” Patrick added with a smile.

“I’ll try. Bye!”

***

Emily was in the kitchen finishing off her dinner preparations. She had rushed home from work, picking up Molly and some groceries on the way.

Remembering that Dylan said she loved home cooking. Emily decided on meatloaf, mashed potatoes and veggies.

“I hope this is okay for her,” Emily said to herself.

To save time, she brought home an apple pie she made at the diner for dessert.

Emily looked over to the couch where her little girl was sitting watching a DVD cuddled into the Fijit and penguin toys Dylan had bought her. She was filled with a wave of love every time she looked at the special little girl.

“Molly? You okay, sweetie?”

“Yeah Mama.”

Emily put the potatoes on the stove to boil and checked on the meat loaf.

Mm! Looks good!

“Mama! Mama! Dien! On TV! Look!” Molly jumped up and down on the couch excitedly.

“Molls, Dylan isn’t here yet,” Emily said as she stirred the pot.

“No Mama! Look! Here pease!”

Emily walked over towards the TV and couldn’t believe her eyes. There was Dylan, in living color, goofing around with Big Bird on Molly’s Sesame Street DVD.

“Wow! This must have been why you knew Dylan and got along so well!” “Dien bring Big Bird, Mama?” Molly asked sweetly.

“I don’t think she can bring him tonight sweetie, but we’ll ask her all about him when she gets here okay?”

Molly nodded and Emily sat with her, transfixed by Dylan on the screen. It was strange; she was the same goofy Dylan but a lot more confident and slick in front of the camera. At the moment she was showing Big Bird how to juggle. Mother and daughter sat laughing at their new friend’s antics.

“Dien funny!”

“She sure is!” She is also one tall gorgeous woman!

Emily’s lusty thoughts were interrupted by a knock at the door.

Molly rushed to the door before her mom could get there. “Slow down, sweetie! Let Mama check who it is first.”

This wasn’t the best part of town or the best building so she always put the chain on and checked before opening the door. She peeped through the small gap and saw the dark hair and piercing blue eyes that made her stomach flip.

Emily opened the door with a smile. “Hi. Come on in.”

“Dien! Dien!” Molly jumped up and down pulling on the tall woman’s legs.

“Hey, little Smurf!”

“Sweetie let Dylan get in okay?”

Dylan walked over to the kitchen table and put down her bags, delighted at her warm welcome.

Morgan you need to do everything possible to keep these two girls in your life. Imagine coming home to that welcome everyday!

“Alright Smurf, up you come!” She said scooping the girl up in the air.

Molly giggled as she was tickled mercilessly then, as Molly gave her a hug, she turned to Emily and asked, “How was your day?”

“Okay. Work was quiet but I was glad I had tonight to look forward to.” The two adults shared a warm smile.

“Yeah, me too,” she said, putting Molly down and reaching into her bags.

“How was your training?”

“Oh you know, tough. My training buddies put me through it. I didn’t know what I should bring so I bought two different kinds of ice cream and toppings, and movie popcorn. You can’t watch a movie without popcorn. I thought my little Smurf friend would like that, and I brought some white wine. Is that okay?”

“Yeah that’s great, were having meatloaf. I hope you like it. You said that you never get home cooked meals.”

“Oh, that would be amazing; I can’t tell you when I had that last.” The big woman was beaming. Emily found her to be so open and genuine, not how she imagined a TV star.

“Sweetie, why don’t you go and finish watching your DVD and Dylan will come and sit with you in a minute, okay?”

“Otay Mama.” The little girl trotted off.

The two women looked at each other for a moment then Dylan bent over and kissed Emily on the cheek. “Hi. I didn’t get a chance to say that.”

“Yeah, I know. Molly kind of takes over when you’re around.” “Don’t worry. I think she’s adorable.”

“Oh, I worked out the Big Bird thing and why Molly thought she knew you. She was watching her Sesame Street DVD and up you pop, teaching Big Bird how to juggle.”

Dylan laughed, suddenly remembering her day spent on Sesame Street. “Of course! How could I forget? I did that last year sometime.”

“Well I’ll warn you, she thinks you’re best buddies with Big Bird and thought you’d be able to bring him,” Emily said smiling.

Dylan laughed and said, “Well I’ll try my best to get out of that one.”

“It was strange seeing you on TV.”

“Strange good? Or strange bad?” Dylan asked, unsure what answer she would get.

“Strange good. You’re still you but you’re somehow more confident on TV.”

“Yeah I know. I’m two different people. I wait in the wings to go on and I literally feel sick, then as soon as I’m announced, it’s as if another part of me kicks in and takes over, but I’m always terrified that person won’t come. This person, the person you know, is me. The real me. Is that okay with you?” she said suddenly unsure of herself.

“Of course it’s okay, you goof! It’s this Dylan I really like, went out with yesterday and invited to dinner. Now why don’t you go and sit with Molly while I finish dinner.”

“Sure. Give me a shout if you need anything.”

Emily watched Dylan walk over to her excited little girl and thought, I could fall for you so easily, Dylan. Who am I I kidding? I’m already falling, and that is so dangerous.

****

Dinner was a great success. The two adults and Molly sat at the kitchen table talking about their day and a million other subjects. Dylan was constantly surprised at how easy conversation with the small blonde was.

Emily had spent her time laughing at Dylan’s attempts to entertain Molly. She was so good with her, telling jokes and making funny faces. At the moment the pair were piling toppings on their bowls of ice cream.

“Molly, not too much candy on there.”

“Oh come on, Emmie! You can’t have ice cream without sauce, sprinkles and M&M’s. It’s the law.”

“Yeah Mama. Da law!” Molly said seriously.

Dylan gave Emily a toothy grin. “See. I told you.”

Emily shook her head. “I see I’m outvoted. Well, I’ll tell you what. You can put her to bed then, because she’ll be as high as a kite with all that sugar.”

“Sure. No problem. You’ll go to sleep, won’t you little Smurf?” Dylan ruffled Molly’s hair.

“After story?”

“Of course, everyone needs a story before bed.”

Emily’s heart warmed at the growing bond between the big woman and her daughter. “You’re really good with her you know. Have you been around kids before?”

“Never. I guess it just comes naturally with you guys,” Dylan said shyly then lifted her eyes to meet Emily’s.

The two women seemed happy to simply gaze into each other’s eyes.

Emily broke her gaze and shook her head. “We better get you cleaned up Molls, and then we’ll watch your DVD.”

“I’ll get the dishes, Emmie, while you get Molly sorted.” The tall woman stood, starting to gather the dishes.

“Thanks.”

The two women worked easily together, getting all the chores finished, and took their seats on the couch for the movie. Molly insisted on sitting on Dylan’s lap so that left the two adults sitting close, side by side.

The three laughed their way through the film, Molly munching away on the popcorn.

“Molls, I think that’s enough sweetie. It’ll be bedtime right after the video.”

“Otay Mama.” Molly yawned and lay back sleepily against the big woman’s chest. “It’s been an exciting night for her. Thank you for spending time with us.”

Dylan had been itching to touch Emily since the film started and took this opportunity. She reached and held the blondes hand and said, “It’s been my pleasure. I don’t know when I’ve had so much fun.”

“Come on! You must go to showbiz parties, premieres and things like that. I don’t think dinner and a kid movie is fun compared to that.”

“I go to as little as possible. I hate all that false fawning and showbiz crap. Celebrities pretending you’re friends when they don’t even know you. I have to go to some things for PR and stuff, Lynn only signs me up for as little as she can get away with. I hate being in the spotlight when I’m not on my show, I’ve told you what I’m like. I trip over my words and don’t know what to say. I’d rather be doing something fun with Molly and you any day of the week.”

Emily smiled. “You’re really sweet, you know that?” Emily noticed her new friend blush.

“Sweet? Me? Never.”

Dylan squeezed Emily’s hand, enjoying the warm connection between them.

Sometime later Emily looked down to see her daughter sleeping in Dylan’s arms.

“I better get this little Smurf to bed.”

“I’ll carry her in for you, if you want?”

“That would be great. She’s so heavy now.”

Dylan stood up with the girl in her arms and made her way to her room. She laid her down on the bed for Emily.

“I guess I’ll need to read that story another night?” she said hopefully, suggesting further nights together.

Emily smiled happily, knowing exactly what Dylan was asking. “Yes, we’d like that very much.”

Dylan beamed. “Great. Um . . .I’ll wait in there for you then.”

“Thanks, I won’t be long.”

****

Dylan refilled their glasses with wine and sat back checking her email and twitter.

She smiled to herself then typed out, Loving Mr. Popper’s Penguins. Movie night and popcorn with new friends. Nothing better!

“Hi. She’s all tucked in,” said Emily, taking up her place on the couch.

“Sorry, I was just checking my email and twitter.” Dylan tried to put her phone away quickly.

“Is that an iPhone?”

“Yeah, want to look at it?”

“Yes, I’ve never seen one up close.” Dylan handed it over and began to show her a few different apps.

“I’m kind of a geek when it comes to stuff like this. It’s the one thing I splurge on,” said Dylan.

“Show me Twitter. I always think it sounds strange wanting to let people know what you’re having for dinner or where you’re going.”

“Well, I find it a good way to stay in touch with my fans and to highlight some causes that mean a lot to me but also, my career wouldn’t be anywhere without electronic media like this.

When I was doing my shows in the Village, people started putting videos of my stunts up on YouTube and I got a good following going. I started to do my own videos and used Facebook and Twitter to let people know about my stunts. An executive from the network saw the videos and came to my show one night to offer me work, so I couldn’t have done it without all my followers. Look, I tweeted this while you were putting Molls to bed.”

Emily read it and gazed lovingly at Dylan. “That is so sweet. I’m glad you enjoyed it. So how many followers do you have?”

Dylan looked a little embarrassed and mumbled, “Um . . .about two and half million.”

Emily choked on her wine and struggled for breath.

“Hey, it’s not that bad is it?”

“No. Sorry. I just had no idea you were that famous.”

“Oh that’s nothing, Ellen has over 7 million! I’m a long way behind that.”

“Well, Ellen is the queen of chat,” Emily said with a smirk.

“She is that. So do you have a cell phone?”

“No, they’re too expensive to keep up.”

“They’re good for safety though, like for when you’re leaving the diner at night.”

“I have a million things I need to get for Molls, that’s just not a priority for me.” Emily hoped the subject would be closed.

Dylan sensed that money was a touchy subject with the young woman, so she decided to drop it.

“Thanks for help with Molly. It was so much easier with two.”

Dylan turned in her seat, putting her arm along the back of the couch to get closer to Emily, and took her hand again.

“Have you always been on your own with her?”

Emily looked unsure. How much should I tell? But as she examined Dylan’s open face, she knew she could trust her.

“I’ve always been on my own but it wasn’t supposed to be that way.”

“You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.” Dylan stroked Emily’s hand with her thumb.

“I do. If we’re going to go forward, you need to know because what happened makes it really hard for me to trust. That is if you want to keep seeing each other.”

Dylan lifted her free hand and stroked the side of Emily’s face. “Of course I do. Haven’t I shown you that? I’ve never met anyone like you before, I felt connected the second I lifted my head in that diner and saw your beautiful green eyes.”

Emily felt her cheeks go red, not used to receiving compliments.

“Thank you. I’ll try my best to explain. Um . . .I was in my last year of college studying English Literature. I’d been with Toni for just over a year and we’d been living together for about six months. She was a little older than me and worked as a restaurant manager. I thought I was so in love but I realize now that I was afraid of being alone; I didn’t have anyone else. My mom and dad kicked me out when I told them I was gay.”

Dylan took Emily’s hand. “I’m sorry.”

Emily took a breath as the pain of the past came flooding back.

“Mom is a devout Catholic, she just couldn’t accept it. So when I met Toni I thought I had someone to care for and rely on. She worked long hours and late nights, but they got later and later. Sometimes she wouldn’t come home until the next day. She would say there was some problem at the restaurant and that she’d slept in her office. I believed this at first, but it happened more and more and she became so distant. Her dad had a cabin up in the Catskills; She’d go hunting with him a few times a year but all of a sudden she was spending nearly every weekend up there, saying she was helping him with renovations. I knew deep down this wasn’t true; I knew she was cheating. One day I was doing the laundry and found her cell phone in her jeans. I know I shouldn’t have, but I was going crazy not knowing.”

Dylan’s heart was breaking as she watched the tears fall down Emily’s face as she recounted her story. She also felt something else, something new, an anger that was boiling up in her stomach making her want to hunt down this Toni and kick her ass.

“Take your time, Emmie.” Dylan stroked Emily’s cheek.

“I . . .I found messages and pictures from all sorts of women on it. My chest felt like it was going to explode and I felt panicked. The one person I had in the world had broken my heart. I confronted her when she came in, she broke down and admitted to cheating with more than one woman. Who knows how many there were. She blamed her long hours and my studying, said by the time she got home I would be fast asleep and that I had no time for her. I told her to leave and she did, but came back two days later begging me to take her back. Toni was a manipulative person and knew that my biggest wish was to settle down and have kids.

She told me if I would take her back she would support me while I left college and had a baby with her. She said I could go back and finish my degree when the baby was older. I was a fool I know, but my heart had been broken in pieces and I felt like nothing would be better than to have something to call my own, and a baby wouldn’t hurt or leave me, so I agreed.

I should have known what was coming when she had no interest in picking the donor or going for doctor’s appointments. Toni had blonde hair like me, and I don’t know why but I wanted a dark haired donor. I think deep down I knew Toni wouldn’t be with me long term and I didn’t want my baby to remind me of her.

I chose the donor and got inseminated all by myself. I got pregnant the first time, I was lucky. When I told Toni, she said she was happy but I didn’t think so. Even though she was on her best behavior, coming home on time every night and not going out, I could tell she was getting frustrated, angry and resentful.”

“Did she hurt you?” Dylan growled.

Emily looked down feeling ashamed. “She had a bad temper. I walked on eggshells around her, never knowing when she would blow up. The first time she ever hit me, she promised she would get help, talk to someone about her anger problems but she never did.

We argued more and more, especially when I started to show. I think she felt trapped. One night she came home from work late and drunk, we had a huge argument. She grabbed me by the arms and threw me on our bed. I was terrified. Toni had hit me before and she’d been really rough and forceful with sex but not since I got pregnant. I was so scared she was going to hurt my baby, I tried to get away but she was too strong.” Emily took a deep breath. She was determined to make Dylan understand.

“Before she managed to . . .you know, she passed out on top of me. She was all apologies the next morning, but when she saw the bruises on my arms and breasts she got scared. I don’t think she ever thought things could get that bad. She just ran out of the apartment. I don’t know if she came back, I packed a bag and got out of there as quick as I could. I managed to get this place, and we’ve been here ever since.”

Dylan jumped up, needing to move around as her anger was becoming too much to bear.

“Emmie, if I ever meet that no good bitch, I’ll kick her from one end of New York to the other.” She clenched and unclenched her fists.

“Dylan. Come and sit back down. I was as much to blame.”

The TV star sat and took Emily’s hand between her two larger ones.

“Don’t say that Emmie. Nothing can excuse hurting you, your body or your heart. I can’t imagine ever doing that to you or leaving you with little Smurf in there.”

“Dylan, I was angry and heartbroken. Angry with the financial situation she left me in, things were meant to be more comfortable for Molly and they haven’t been because I’m on my own, but looking back I can see we weren’t meant to be.

She felt trapped, her guilt because of the cheating and the violence made her give me promises she just couldn’t keep. She wasn’t ready for the commitment, and I was deluded and naive to think that a baby could fix things. I was selfish to grab at the opportunity to have the one thing I always wanted. A family. It ended up that it was just Molly and me in the family, but even though it’s been hard bringing her up alone, it’s been worth every second. She’s my life.”

“She’s a great girl. I think you’re way too understanding though. She was bigger and stronger than you, and to use that against you is unforgivable.”

“I didn’t say I forgave her, I said I understand why it happened. She had a lot of problems, and I count myself lucky that I can never really understand how someone can leave their pregnant partner or raise their hands in violence against the woman they claim to love. And of course it was a different time, there was no same sex marriage in New York then, so I had no protection financially.

We did have a commitment ceremony; a friend who was a minister officiated for us. Toni was drunk the whole day, treated it like a party.

Since then, people have asked me out but I never said yes until I met you. Like you said, I felt connected somehow. But I need you to understand after what I’ve told you, that it’s taken a lot to accept your friendship and allow you into my life and Molly’s. If I’m going to continue to get to know you, I think you have to understand why I’m so big on trust, loyalty and fidelity. I’ve never told anyone this before. I never had many friends, they were mostly Toni’s friends and they melted away after we split up.”

Dylan lifted Emily’s hand to her lips and kissed it tenderly.

“Emmie, I’m so sorry you had to go through that. Thank you for giving me your trust and telling me everything. I really want to see where this could take us, if you’ll let me.”

I know you’re not ready but I will treasure you forever, thought Dylan.

“I’d like that.” Emily smiled and her stomach flipped as she watched Dylan edge closer, her lips parting slightly. As she looked into Emily’s eyes, she sensed no rejection and closed the distance between them, their lips finally coming together softly. Feeling no resistance Dylan deepened the kiss, bringing her hands up to tenderly cup Emily’s face and slipping her tongue into Emily’s welcoming mouth. When their tongues met, Emily moaned into Dylan’s mouth. Not wanting to push the blonde too far, Dylan pulled back and rested her head against Emily’s.

“Wow! That was . . .”

“Amazing!” replied Emily, breathlessly.

“Yeah. Amazing. I’ve never had a kiss like that before. I want to do that a lot with you.”

“Me too.”

Reluctantly, Dylan pulled back knowing that she had to let Emily know what she was in for.

“Emmie, there’s one thing I need to talk to you about before we get any deeper into this. I know it’s pretty early in our relationship but because of who I am, I need to talk about it.”

Emily looked puzzled. “Okay, you can say anything to me, you know that. Why don’t I make us some coffee and we can talk some more.”

****

Emily returned to the couch with two cups of coffee.

“Okay. Go ahead.”

“Well, the press kind of follow what I do. I seem to be a fascination because I’ve never had a long-term relationship and I’m not famous for being a player or anything, so they’re always trying to get some dirt on me. The only dates I go on now are just companions Lynn sets me up with for events. The network totally accept me being out and everything, but I don’t give the magazines and newspapers anything to talk about going to events by myself, so I went with actresses or models who wanted a bit of publicity on my arm. You might hear stories about me, sometimes my date would feed a journalist some story about how there was more going on between us than there actually was to boost their profile but there never was. I just felt so awkward around women, until you.”

Emily blushed. “So I guess you don’t trust very easy either.”

“I guess not, but I’m worried about you. People will find out about us eventually and I just wanted to warn you. Newspaper people will try and get stories from you, they’ll offer you money. I just want you to know what you’re getting into. I’ll protect you and Molly as much as I can, even if you don’t want to take the relationship any further. I give you my promise that I will never leave you high and dry, no matter what happens between us, but I hope we’ll always remain friends.”

Dylan readied herself for rejection.

Emily felt a little stunned. “I had no idea. You have to live like this with no one to share it with?”

“You’re willing to keep seeing me?” The big woman sounded surprised.

“It sounds like you’ve been lonely, Dylan. Just like me. I hope Molly and I can have fun with you and get to know you much better.”

Dylan wrapped the petite woman in a big hug. “Thank you for giving me a chance. I like you so much, Emmie. What we have so far is unheard of for me and I can’t wait for more time with you, too.”

Emily relaxed in Dylan’s muscular arms. She feels so good; it feels safe in her arms, thought Emily.

“Are you working Saturday night?” Dylan asked hopefully.

“No, just during the day.”

“Great, would you and Molls like to come and watch the show on Saturday night? I know it’s a little late for Molly but if it gets too much, you could take her back to my dressing room to sleep on the couch.”

Emily beamed. “Yes, we’d love to. I’ll need to watch you on TV Friday night; I’ll feel like I’m still seeing you then.”

“Well how about this, after the Saturday show why don’t you two come back to my place to stay? In the spare room of course, I have plenty of room for you both. That way we can go out on our Sunday off together.”

“Molly would love that, she’s never had a sleepover before. I would love it, too.”

“Great! No one’s stayed with me, either. I’ll send a studio car for you on Saturday so pack a bag for yourself and the Smurf.” Emily nodded and smiled while Dylan noticed the time.

“Woah! It’s one in the morning. I better head home, I’ve got rehearsals tomorrow.”

Emily got up and got her jacket, and remembering the wine asked, “You didn’t drive, did you?”

“Oh no, I’m going to grab a cab. I’ll give you a call tomorrow, when are you working?”

“Another late shift. Five till one.”

“Okay, I’ll call in the afternoon alright?”

“Can’t wait.”

They shared a few more heated kisses before Dylan headed down to grab a cab with a spring in her step.

Emily stood behind the door, her skin hot and her lips tingling from Dylan’s kisses.

“Wow! What a difference a few days can make. I think my life is about to get a little more interesting!”

****

The next morning Dylan pulled her Jeep into the studio parking lot at 8 am. She was dressed casually in her favorite combat cargo shorts and grey hooded sweatshirt. Dylan was naturally warm blooded and even in cool September hated to wear too many clothes, especially in the hot studio.

She met Lynn as they entered the building and they made their way to Dylan’s office.

“Morning Lynn, how was your weekend?”

“Just fine, how was last night?”

“Amazing! And yes I did talk to her about the press and she didn’t run a mile, thankfully.”

Dylan put her laptop bag down on the desk and took a seat.

“And you really trust this girl, Dylan?”

Dylan sighed. “Yes, I really do. She’s the only woman I’ve been able to be myself with. She’s beautiful, kind and the most loving woman with her daughter.”

Lynn waved her hands in surrender. “Okay! Okay! I won’t say another word, but you know it’s not only my job to worry, I care about you.”

“I know and I appreciate it. So what’s the time table?”

“You meet with your writers at nine to finalize the scripts. Katie Phillips comes in at 11, then after an hours instruction with the archery instructor, you break for lunch. The rest of the afternoon you have for rehearsals.”

“That’s fine. Could you get my protein shake and a cream cheese bagel?”

“Sure thing. You want coffee?”

“Yeah. Um . . .before I forget I need you to organize a few things for me. Emily and her daughter are coming to watch the show go out on Saturday. I want a car to pick them up and I need full backstage passes. I would appreciate it if you would look after them and make sure they have everything they need. They can come and go as they please and have full access to my dressing room. Emily might need to put Molly down to sleep on the couch.”

“Sure, I’ll take care of them personally. Anything else?”

“Oh, can you get me a stuffed Big Bird? Molly thinks I know him because I was in that Sesame Street DVD.”

Lynn laughed. “Okay, what about some pillows and blankets in case she needs to sleep?”

“Yeah good idea, and can you make sure there’s food and drinks in my dressing room. Some kid food and candy. You know.”

“Sure. If you think of anything else, let me know. I’ll just go get your breakfast.”

“Thanks Lynn. You’re a treasure.”

“Oh I know, Dylan Morgan!”

****

“Mr. Jarvis, I will get the information I want. It just depends on who from. A thousand dollars is a lot of money and I know times are hard, the diner’s not pulling in much is it?”

Jimmy sat in his office on the phone. He had managed to get a number for Tom Jarvis, the owner of the diner where Emily worked.

“Mr. Daniels, it’s not that easy. She’s been a good worker. I just have a small staff and they’ve been loyal to me.”

“Jarvis, do you think she’ll really care? She’s bagged herself a rich TV star. How long do you think she would stay anyway? And when the story breaks think of all the extra business. People will be lining up to get a glimpse of Dylan Morgan’s lover. Be smart. Full name and social security number.”

Jimmy heard Tom Jarvis let out a breath at the other end of the line. “Okay.”

“That wasn’t so hard was it?” Jimmy smiled. Gotcha!

****

Dylan and Lynn were walking back from the writer’s room, en route to her office to meet the actress Katie Phillips.

They walked in and Dylan went straight over to introduce herself.

“Hey, pleased to meet you. It’s great to have you with us.”

Katie Phillips stood up to her full height of 5-foot-8 and took Dylan’s hand softly.

Dylan had long since dispensed with her hooded sweater and was now dressed only in her sleeveless black t-shirt. She felt devoured as the blonde actress ran her eyes hungrily up and down her tall solid body.

“I’m delighted to meet you at last. I’ve admired your work for a long time,” she smoldered.

Dylan nervously pulled her hand away from Katie.

“That’s very kind. Would you like to take a seat so we can go over the ideas we’ve come up with? Lynn, could you send in the lunch trays for us?”

“Sure. Would you like coffee, Miss Phillips?”

“Yes. Nonfat latte,” she said dismissively.

God! A thank you might be nice. She looks like she wants to eat you whole, Dylan! thought Lynn, as she watched Katie sidle up closer to Dylan at the table.

“Um . . .Lynn, could you take this note to the director?” When she said that, Lynn knew what she wanted.

She took a look at the small hastily written note, which read:

Can you organize something urgent for an hour’s time? I want out so I can call Emily. This woman is scary!

Lynn smiled and looked at Dylan. “No problem. I’ll let him know.”

****

“So we thought we’d go for a Robin Hood sketch since our task is archery this week. We’ll run through it this afternoon but it’s basically you in the role of Maid Marion and I’ll be Robin Hood’s sister, who actually does all the fighting and stuff but her brother robin gets all the credit. I’ll play it in a big dress, because me in a dress always gets big laughs. I’m like a guy in drag.

Robin’s played by Sammy, one of our actors. He’ll play him all effeminate and stuff. It’ll be fun.”

“Sounds great.” Katie moved closer and stroked Dylan’s arm.

“So tell me, does Robin’s sister get the girl?”

Dylan jumped up, pretending she needed to refill her coffee cup.

“Um . . .no. There’ll be a little suggestive banter but it’ll only go so far. The network is pretty good about me being out and stuff but I don’t think they’re ready for a full blown kiss with me and TV’s new up and coming actress, and I’m sure your agent wouldn’t like it.”

“Oh, I don’t know. I think it would enhance my reputation; you are TV’s most eligible star.”

I’m sure your rep is all you’re thinking about here, thought Dylan.

“Who knows? Now can I take you through the chat we’ll have about your new show?” said Dylan, taking a seat on the opposite side of the table.

“Do I make you nervous, Dylan?”

“Uh . . .no. I’m just anxious to get through this work. This show takes a lot of prep.” Dylan kept her eyes on the script in her hand.

“I’m sure, and don’t worry I’m very willing,” Katie said in a sultry voice.

“I’m sure you are,” Dylan said under her breath.

“I haven’t seen you out in any of the bars and clubs in the Village.”

“They aren’t really my scene. Honestly Katie, I’m not as exciting as I appear.”

Katie stood and slinked over to where Dylan was sitting. She reached up and squeezed a big muscled shoulder.

“You could be as dull as dishwater Dylan, but this body of yours could keep me entertained for hours.”

The big woman was sweating now. How can I get out of this without being insulting? she thought frantically.

There was a knock at the door and in walked Lynn to see that Katie had backed Dylan up against a chair and was stroking Dylan’s arm.

Thank you God!

“Yes! What can I do for you, Lynn?” Dylan shot over to Lynn putting some distance between herself and her amorous guest.

“The director asked if he could have a word and if you’re finished with Miss Phillips, wardrobe would like to see her.”

“Sure! Lynn will take you to wardrobe, Katie. I’ll meet you at one in the rehearsal room. Okay?”

“Alright. Look forward to it.” Damn! I will get you on your own, gorgeous!

Once her office door was closed, she fell into her leather chair breathing a sigh of relief.

Lynn, you are my savior

****

Emily was cleaning up the kitchen while Molly ate her lunch at the table.

“Eat up, sweetie. We need to drop you at Mrs. Hill’s in an hour.”

The phone rang and Emily answered, “Hello?”

“Hey Emmie, how are you and the little Smurf?”

Emily’s faced beamed when she realized who it was.

“Hi Dylan! We’re good. Molly’s just having her lunch. How’s your day going?”

“Oh okay. Uh . . .” The big woman left a silence before finishing.

“I wish I was having lunch with you two. I . . .miss you guys.”

“We miss you too, Dylan. I was telling Molly about coming to the show on Saturday and she’s really excited.”

“That’s great, I can’t wait. Listen I was thinking, would you mind if I picked you up from work tonight and dropped you home? I really worry about you getting home at one in the morning.”

“I can’t ask you to do that, Dylan. You work a long day and you’re really busy. You don’t need to be picking me up after midnight, and I have been doing this for a long time.”

“I understand that, but you didn’t have a friend to care then, now you do. If I don’t pick you up, I’ll just be pacing the floor, phoning until you get in. Let me care, Emmie.”

Emily thought for a second. What am I going to do when you lose interest Dylan? I’m getting in so deep here.

“Alright. If it’ll make you feel better.”

“Thanks. Now I can get through the day knowing I can see you tonight, even if it’s just for a bit.” Emily could almost feel Dylan’s smile through the phone.

“I’m looking forward to it too. So what are you doing this afternoon?”

“Um . . .rehearsals with Katie Phillips. We need to go over a couple of sketches and get an archery lesson.”

“Katie Phillips?” Emily left the name hanging in the air.

“Katie Phillips, the blonde bombshell from that comedy show?”

Dylan could feel the tension in Emily’s voice. “. . .yeah.”

Dylan spends every day with glamorous and beautiful people. How can I compete?

“She’s very pretty isn’t she?”

Dylan sensed Emily’s insecurity across the phone.

Uh oh! Is there a right answer to this?

“I suppose but I prefer my blondes short in stature and natural. I doubt Miss Phillips has much that is natural about her body.”

“Ha! Ha! Very smooth, Morgan! And I thought you told me you get tongue tied around women?”

“Around other women, yeah. Around you, never. I’ve never met anyone I’m more comfortable with.”

“I’m glad. Well you better get back and make some good television. I’ll see you tonight.”

“See you later, Emmie. Stay safe okay?”

“I will. Bye.” Emily hung up the phone and said, “Molly, I think I’m falling for your big buddy.” Emily sighed.

The little girl looked puzzled. “Mama?”

“Come on Molls, let’s get you ready for your day,” she said tickling her daughter.

****

Luckily for Dylan, once they got down to business, Katie behaved herself and focused on the work, so the afternoon went by quite uneventfully. They both got an understanding of the archery challenge and a feel for the sketch.

Dylan was now at home, killing time before picking up Emily. She was restless and spent her time jumping from one thing to another in her game room.

Dylan’s game room was her pride and joy. The room was large and decorated very neutrally like the rest of the condo. One wall featured her large 65-inch TV and home theater system. Below that sat her PlayStation 3, Xbox and Wii game systems. The rest of the wall had cases and cases full of games and accessories. Facing the TV along the back wall was a big brown leather couch, and down at the far end of the room was a full pool table.

Music in the room and throughout the house was provided through Bluetooth speakers situated on the walls, allowing Dylan to play music straight from her iPhone or iPad.

I should get some kid games. I bet Smurf would love the Wii and the Xbox.

Dylan tossed her controller on the couch and slid her iPhone to life for what seemed like the hundredth time that night.

God Dylan! Chill out. It’s freaking amazing how my life has changed in a week. What was I doing this time last week? This except I wasn’t looking at the time every two seconds, waiting to pick up my . . .what is Emmie? Is it too early to say girlfriend? Wow! I’ve never had a girlfriend before. I would love that to be Emmie.

She looked at the clock one last time. “Midnight. Hmm . . .fuck it! I’m going. I’ll just sit and wait for her.”

Dylan grabbed her jacket and locked up, taking the elevator down to the parking lot.

****

“Jimmy? She’s on the move. You want me to follow?”

“Yeah, she’s got to be up to something at this time of night. I’ve nearly got the info I need on her new bit of fluff. If we could get some pictures, we can go to press but I’m gonna keep digging, there’s gotta be some story behind the woman and the daughter. An estranged husband or someone we can pay off. Follow her,” Jimmy told his photographer.

****

Dylan parked the jeep and made her way through the door of the diner. She saw two men were left in the diner, each nursing cups of coffee. Emily hadn’t seen the big woman yet. She had her back to Dylan, scrubbing the hot plate behind the counter.

Dylan sat on a stool and in her huskiest, sexiest voice said.

“Hey Baby, you looking for a ride?”

Emily turned quickly. “Dyl! You’re such a goof!”

Dyl? Hmm. That’s new. I think I like it, Dylan thought.

Dylan decided to keep up her cool act. Hoping the play would bring them closer.

“So baby, you don’t want a ride?”

Emily smiled enjoying the game. Oh! Honey! Don’t try and compete with me at flirting. I’ll win.

In a coquettish voice she said. “Hmm, maybe. How far are you willing to go?” Dylan’s mouth hung open and her heart began to thud.

“Argh! I give in. I’d do anything when you bat those green eyes at me.”

“Well, Dyl honey, don’t mess with the master of flirting.”

“You didn’t tell me you were so proficient?”

Emily smirked. “Well, I haven’t had much use for it for a long time; you should have seen me in college.”

“A little heartbreaker I’m sure.” Dylan smiled.

“I don’t know about that. Thanks for coming, it’s really brightened up my shift.”

“It’s my pleasure. Any excuse to spend time with you. Where’s little Smurf? Does your sitter keep her?”

“She brings her home at 7, puts her to bed and waits till I get in. I don’t know what I’d do without her. It’s hard to find people to trust. Give me a minute. I’ll just try and hustle these guys out the door and we can lock up and get going.”

“Great.”

Dylan watched Emily as she went to the back of the diner to try and hurry up the stragglers.

I’m so glad I decided to do this. Who would have thought hanging out in a diner at one in the morning could make me so happy?

Dylan’s thoughts were interrupted by raised voices. She turned around to see Emily trying to pull her hand back from one of the guys in the back. The other guy had gone and Emily was left with this slightly drunk guy pawing her.

“Just let me go and get out. We’re closed!” Emily was struggling to get her hand back.

“You’ll get me more coffee and close when I say it, girl!”

Just then the man let out a squeal as Dylan’s big hand circled his wrist and squeezed.

“Let go of me you bitch! That hurts!”

“You let go of the lady and I’ll let go of you, okay shit head?” Dylan said coldly.

The man released his hold and as Emily rubbed her wrist, Dylan pulled the man to his feet and pushed him against the wall. She held him there face first, his arm pushed up behind his back.

“Apologize to the lady!”

“Urgh! Urgh! You promised to let me go!”

Dylan pushed his arm a little further.

“I can break your arm with one more push. Now apologize to the lady and tell her you’ll never come back to this diner again!”

“Urgh! I’m sorry lady and I’ll never come here again!”

“Good boy! Now get the fuck out of here!”

Dylan hustled him to the door and threw him out. She panted heavily, the anger rolling off of her.

No one touches Emmie! No one!

Dylan felt a tentative touch at her shoulder. “Dylan . . .umph.”

She was suddenly engulfed in Dylan’s big strong arms.

“Are you okay baby?”

Baby. Toni never called me anything like that.

“I’m fine, Dyl. He just scared me a little. It doesn’t hurt now.”

The big woman pulled away from the hug, cupping the blondes face in her hands and kissed her softly and gently on the lips. Pulling back, Dylan said, “You sure?”

“Yes I’m fine, I’m so glad you were here.”

“I’m sorry if I seemed really aggressive, something just snapped when I saw him touch you.” Knowing Emily’s history of domestic violence from Toni, she didn’t want the young woman to be scared of her.

“Don’t worry. You were wonderful. I’ve never felt protected like that before.”

“I will protect you, for as long as you let me.” Dylan stroked her cheek.

“Why don’t we get this place cleaned up and get you home to the Smurf?”

“That would be great. I’ll just be a minute.”

They locked up quickly, jumped in Dylan’s Jeep and quickly made their way home.

She parked right outside Emily’s building.

“I’ll walk you up, okay? No arguments,” said Dylan.

“Thank you. I love this car.”

“You do? I didn’t think you’d be interested in cars.”

“I’m not. It just makes me feel safe. Big, comfortable and it has you in it.”

Dylan flashed a smile but inside her heart melted. She knew that this little woman had the power to bring her to her knees. Dylan leaned forward and kissed Emily thoroughly, leaving her breathless.

“Let’s get you inside.”

Dylan jumped out and came around to open Emily’s door and help her down from the big car.

When they got into the apartment and let Mrs. Hill go, Emily asked, “Would you like some coffee?”

“Yeah, maybe one cup. I have to get up early but I could stay for one.”

“Great, I’ll be back in a sec.”

Dylan took a seat on the couch and Emily was back in no time with the cups.

“Emmie?”

“I was thinking. Does that happen a lot? You know, your late nights? Do guys get aggressive like that often?”

“They say things but mostly they’re all talk. That was the first time anyone’s ever grabbed me. A couple have touched my butt, slapped it sometimes but never grabbed.”

Dylan took hold of her hand. “I don’t like it. Are you late the rest of the week?”

“Just till Thursday, then I’m back to days.”

“I’ll come and get you every night and please don’t argue because I’ll just come anyway.”

“I’m not going to argue. It’s nice to have someone who cares.”

“I do care, Emmie. I hope you know that, and I’m caring more with each passing second.”

“Me too, Dyl. You are amazing. Gorgeous, funny, strong, brave, protective. Everything I’ve ever wanted in a . . .a . . .” Emily didn’t know what to say.

It’s too soon. Isn’t it?

“Everything you’ve ever wanted in a girlfriend or partner?” Dylan finished for her.

“Yes.”

“I’m glad I fit the bill, ma’am!” Dylan pretended to tip her hat to Emily.

“You make me laugh, you goof.”

Dylan sighed, knowing she had to leave but not wanting to. “Well I better get going. I’ll see you tomorrow night? I’ll phone you in the afternoon again, okay?”

“Okay. Thanks for tonight.”

“No problem.”

They shared a few more heated kisses at the door and Dylan left, bouncing all the way down to her car.

“Yeah. Jimmy? I got the picture you wanted. They were all over each other in the car. Dylan Morgan definitely has a story now.”

****

The next two nights went quietly, with Dylan picking Emily up from the diner. They spent the time getting to know each other and they were becoming more and more attached as the days went by. The big woman spent her days differently now. Last week, all Dylan Morgan had to take up her life was work. This week, she worked equally hard, but spent her days looking forward to the evenings. Today was Friday and show day, so she wouldn’t see the young woman who she was beginning to care for deeply.

Katie Phillips had continued to flirt shamelessly with Dylan. For her part, Dylan politely kept her distance and tried not to be left alone with her.

Yesterday, they spent the day practicing archery at a sports center. Katie had played the helpless female to a tee, Dylan remembered.

“I just can’t get this! I’m not strong enough to pull it back,” Katie moaned.

The archery instructor stepped in saying, “Let me help you.”

“Don’t touch me!” she hissed quietly so as not to be overheard.

The man stood back unsure how to handle the difficult actress.

“Dylan! Can you help me?” she asked pathetically.

As with most sports, Dylan picked it up pretty quickly and had just finished a shot that landed in the bullseye for the fifth time in a row.

Dylan turned, looked at Katie, then looked back at Lynn who simply shrugged. The big woman just rolled her eyes, knowing exactly what was going on.

Dylan had no option but to stand behind Katie, pushing her body into her back, to help the blonde actress with her stance.

“Now just pull back, and let go . . .ow! Um . . .try it yourself this time.” As Dylan prepared to let go of the string, Katie pushed her hips into Dylan and ground her backside into her most sensitive area.

Dylan hurried back to stand with Lynn.

“I think Miss Phillips wants to play Portia to your Ellen,” Lynn laughed.

“Yeah, well she’ll be waiting a while. I’m no Ellen and I’m spoken for, I hope.”

“Is it getting that serious, Dylan?”

“Don’t worry Lynn, I know what you’re thinking. It’s too soon, but I’ve been waiting to feel like this my whole life and now that I’ve found it I’m going to grab on as hard as I can.”

“As long as you’re sure.”

“I am. Will you watch out for her and Molly tomorrow? I don’t want Miss Thing over there saying anything inappropriate.”

“I will. Now get over there and practice some more!”

That had been yesterday. Today the studio was so busy and apart from some rehearsals, Dylan had managed to keep out of her way.

Dylan was about to eat in her office before getting dressed and going in to makeup.

Lynn had just delivered Dylan’s favorite overstuffed sandwich and she was about to call Emily.

It rang twice before she heard Emily’s voice.

“Hello?”

“Hey Emmie.”

“Hi Dyl. How’s the show going? You all ready?”

“Yeah, were good to go. I just thought I would while I got some dinner.”

“What are you having or should I ask?”

“Um . . .roast beef and pastrami sandwich with a salad, coleslaw and fries.”

“You really should eat better, Dylan. You use up so much energy, you need some veggies and healthy stuff too.”

“I know. I miss you, Emmie. I miss you both.”

“We miss you too. Oh wait a minute. Your biggest fan wants a word.”

Dylan smiled at the thought of the cute little girl.

“Dien? Dat you?”

“Hey little Smurf. How you doing?”

“Otay. We coming ta see you?”

“Not tonight Molls. You’re coming tomorrow to visit with me and we’re going to have so much fun. Tonight you can watch me be silly on the TV, so that’s the next best thing.”

“Mif you Dien.”

“I know Smurf. I miss you too, but I want you watch the TV very carefully tonight. I’m going to blow a kiss to you and your Mom.”

“You will?”

“Yeah. You watch really close, okay?”

“Otay Dien. I wuv you.”

“I love you too, Molls. Woah! I really meant that. I love that little Smurf.” You look after your Mama. Good night.”

“Nigh nigh!” Dylan heard the phone been being passed over.

“I’m back. She can’t wait to see you. She didn’t like the fact that I was seeing you at night.”

“Well, we’re going to have a great weekend together. You watch out for me too, Emmie. I’ll blow you a kiss okay?”

“I will. I do miss you but at least I can still see you.”

“Yeah. I’ll be thinking of you all night. I . . .I better go. Listen. I . . .I lo . . .I’ll see you later.”

It’s too soon to say anymore. You don’t want to fuck this up, Dylan!

“Night Dyl.”

****

“Mama! Dien time yet?” Emily looked over at her daughter from the kitchen and smiled. The little girl had been asking if it was time for Dylan’s show every five minutes for the past hour.

“Just a few more minutes, Molls. Let’s put the TV on now.”

Molly jumped up and pressed the button on the old fashioned TV. Emily joined her daughter on the couch, bringing her some milk and a cookie.

“Here you go Molls. I thought you could have your milk and cookies while we watch.”

“Yeah! Tanks Mama.”

The two were cuddled when the titles of the show started to run, showing video of Dylan taking part in various stunts. The announcer said:

“Tonight on The Dylan Morgan show, actress Katie Phillips joins us for a chat and to take part in Dylan’s Dare, and a lucky viewer will win $100,000 in Dylan’s special challenge! Please welcome your host Dylan Morgan!

The audience cheered and whooped as the camera panned around the huge arena sized studio. The lights pointed towards the back of the stage and a huge black backdrop lifted to reveal Dylan standing side on, arms crossed, looking right down the camera; she flashed a toothy grin and winked, as she did every show. She was the personification of cool. The crowd went wild again as she took a short run and threw herself into a forward flip and ended up perfectly back on her feet.

“Dien! Dien, Mama!”

“Oh my God, that’s our Dylan?” Emily was shocked at the outgoing confident woman on the screen who was nothing like the shy sensitive goof she knew.

“Hi Dien! You see me?”

Emily laughed. “I don’t think she can see through the TV, sweetie.”

Emily watched Dylan telling the audience who and what would be on the show this week.

Wow! Dyl, you are gorgeous! Emily’s stomach clenched at the sight of her new friend dressed in dark designer blue jeans, a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up, a loosely tied black neck tie, and black vest.

Oh Dylan, I’d love to know if you’ve got a six pack under there!

Dylan launched into her intro.

“Thank you! Wow, what a welcome!” Dylan bowed then blew a kiss to the audience and camera. “So did you guys have a good week?” The audience cheered.

“Excellent! I had an amazing time. I went to the zoo. I’d never been to Central Park Zoo before, it’s fantastic.” She then went on to tell a joke about mistaking a chimp for a Republican congressman, which got a huge laugh.

“Mama! Dien bow us a kiss!” The little jumped up and down on her mother’s lap.

“Yes she did, sweetie. She’s saying hello to us and telling the nice people about our day out.”

Emily’s heart melted a little bit more each time she saw Dylan, especially seeing her be so open about their day out.

“So I think it’s time for a guest, don’t you?”

The audience cheered.

“Please welcome Katie Phillips! The spotlight followed the actress out as the center stage turned to reveal two sofas.

Dylan walked down to meet her guest. As they hugged and kissed, Katie held onto the dark haired woman’s hips, a little too tight and a little too long.

“Who that lady, Mama?”

“Just someone from another show, Molls.” Someone who can’t keep her hands to herself!

Dylan and Katie started to chat, Dylan giving her the chance to plug her show. She then turned to the challenge.

“So Katie, you agreed to do Dylan’s Dare and this week it’s archery. How have you enjoyed learning a new skill?”

“It’s been wonderful Dylan, and you’ve been such a great help to me.”

Katie batted her eyelashes and leaned over to touch Dylan’s knee.

Emily felt the anger boil up in her stomach. She’s all over Dylan! I bet you’re not even a natural blonde! Emily, you have no right to be jealous, she isn’t even your girlfriend. Oh, I want you so much, Dyl.

The young woman watched as Dylan shifted uncomfortably in her seat and said, “Well let’s meet the contestant who’s going to take on Dylan’s Dare with Katie.

The show cut to video of the contestant telling a little bit about herself, when they returned Dylan said, “Let’s welcome our contestant, Mandy Jacobs!”

A short, slightly plump woman in her 40s came out to rapturous applause. She was greeted by Dylan and Katie and sat down.

“Welcome Mandy. It’s great to have you here. Have you enjoyed the week?”

“Yeah, I loved it! It was a lot of fun,” Mandy replied nervously.

“Well let’s take a look at some of our training.” The show cut to footage of the three training during the week and, unbeknownst to Dylan, the editor had used the piece with Dylan standing tucked right in behind Katie showing her what to do.

That tramp! thought Emily. Maybe she likes her. If she could be that different on TV, maybe she’s a different person away from us, worried the young woman.

“Dien back on. Hi Dien!” Molly said to the TV.

“So we’ve done all the training and it’s all down to tomorrow night. Just to go over the rules, we compete in a best of five rounds. The two who come out on top will go head to head in the final round. If one of those two is you, Mandy, you win $250,000. If it’s Katie, she wins that for the charity of her choice. In the final round, it will be one shot to win; the closest to the target wins double their original prize, $500,000!” The crowd whooped and cheered.

“The only catch is you’ll be blindfolded!” Katie and Mandy laughed along with the audience.

“Come back after the break when there will be a performance by Rihanna, Katie and I will take a trip back to Sherwood Forest and one audience member will challenge me to do something very stupid! Be right back!”

Emily and Molly giggled their way through the rest of the show. Laughing at the big woman wearing a big dress, fighting the villains in Sherwood forest, and playing pranks on a couple of audience members. Finally, they sat opened-mouthed as they watched Dylan take part in the last part of the show, Dylan’s Special Challenge. A call-in viewer was randomly picked and, if Dylan could complete a live challenge, they would get $10,000 and all the latest home appliances.

Dylan always got her staff to keep her totally in the dark about the challenge so that the audience could share her surprise.

Tonight’s challenge was a bungee jump from a crane set up in the TV studio parking lot.

When the height was announced as 165 feet, Emily gasped. They watched dumfounded when, after the break, the show returned to find Dylan at the top of the crane waiting to go.

“Dien okay, Mama?” Molly looked a little worried at what she was witnessing.

“She’ll be fine, sweetie, she has all those safety things holding her.” She tried to give her daughter the confidence she did not feel.

After holding onto the railing nervously for a few minutes, Dylan closed her eyes, took a few deep breaths and jumped. The camera on her helmet tracked her descent, and in a few seconds she was suspended from the bungee, rebounding up and down.

Emily let out the breath she was holding and the two clapped and cheered their new friend.

“What a job you do, honey!”

****

Emily had put her daughter to bed. It had taken her a good while, as the girl was so excited.

She was sitting up in bed reading when the phone rang.

“Hello?”

“Hi Emmie, it’s me. I hope it’s not too late but I wanted to know what you and Molls thought of the show.”

“It was fantastic, Dyl! But we were so worried when you had to do that jump. I felt sick seeing you in that sort of danger.”

“It wasn’t my favorite thing to do, I’m not so good with heights, but it’s my job.”

“It’s such a great show, so many different kinds of stuff going on.”

“Well thanks, I appreciate that. The guys that work on the show are great, they’re a well oiled machine. I like to keep my staff pretty much unchanged. It’s my production company that makes the show, so I have that freedom. I’ve worked with them since the beginning, so everyone knows exactly what to do.”

“You own it?”

“Yeah, when the network offered me a contract, I wanted to make sure I kept control of the show and my ideas. It’s worked really well. I’ve sold the format all over the world, so I get to benefit from the profits of that instead of the network. The show’s been good to me.”

“You’re not just a handsome face are you?” Emily flirted.

Dylan cleared her throat, clearly blushing at the other end.

“Uh . . .I don’t know about that. Did the Smurf like it?”

“She loved it. She thought she could talk to you through the TV. She kept waving at you and saying hi.”

“She is such a cutie pie. I miss you, Emmie, I can’t wait to see you and Molls.”

“I can’t wait to see you, I’ve got used to seeing you every night and getting a kiss.”

“Yeah, I know what you mean. Your kisses are amazing. If I close my eyes I can still feel the softness of your lips, the taste.”

Oh god, Dylan, take me now!

“Ugh . . .Dyl, you’re making this really hard. I’ve got to go to sleep after this phone call.”

Dylan laughed and said, “I’m sorry baby, it’s hard for me too. Well, get to sleep and I’ll see you tomorrow. Did Lynn call you with the details?”

“She did, thanks. Sleep well, Dyl. Night.”

“Night Emmie, see you tomorrow.”

Once Dylan put the phone down, she took her drink from the coffee table and looked around the large empty condo.

Sleep well? That’s a joke. If only she knew I stayed awake until I couldn’t stop myself from falling asleep, my TV and my computers my only companions.

****

Dylan was nervous. It was Saturday and she had been at the studio all day preparing for tonight’s show. She wanted all the rehearsals and technical issues out of the way so she could dedicate all of her time to Emily and Molly when they arrived.

Dylan was sitting in her dressing room and looked at her watch for the hundredth time. She checked the table that was set up with sweets and snacks, and the drinks in the fridge.

I hope all this is okay. God I feel like a nervous teenager. Get a grip, Dylan!

Lynn popped her head around the door. “Thought you might like to know that the car has left for your guests.”

“Thanks Lynn, you’re the best.”

“Oh and Miss Phillips is on the hunt for a tall dark TV star.”

“I don’t want her saying anything in front of Emily.”

“I’ll do my best to keep her away until showtime. She’s on a wild goose chase at the moment, I told her I was sure you were in hair and makeup.”

“Thanks, I’ll just grab my shower and get dressed. Bring them here as soon as they arrive.”

“Sure thing.”

****

“Molly! Stop jumping up and down so much, I’m trying to get your shoes on.”

“Sowy Mama. I’m cited! Going to see Dien on the TV!”

“Sweetie if we don’t get you ready, we’ll be late. The car will be here any minute.”

Molly had been as high as a kite all day. Her new buddy Dylan was her favorite person and she’d never had as much fun since they’d met her.

“Okay you sit there for a minute while Mama finishes getting ready. I’ll just be in the bathroom.”

“Kay.” Molly switched on her fijit toy. Great to see ya! What do you wanna do today? the toy chirped.

Dylan had insisted that they dress casually, but Emily was nervous. What would she look like up against glamorous women like Katie Phillips? Emily looked at herself in the mirror.

You can only be yourself, Emily. Dylan likes you for you. Don’t even try to compete, thought the young blonde as she added some light makeup. She had chosen to wear some tight blue jeans, a white blouse with a fitted tan leather jacket and brown boots. She added simple gold earrings and necklace, and her favorite perfume.

“Well Dyl, I hope I don’t disappoint you.”

She heard a knock at the door.

“That must be the car. Get your jacket on Molls!” she shouted as she went to answer the door.

“Miss Taylor?”

“Yes, that’s me,” Emily Answered the smart looking man.

“I’m from Morgan Productions. I have a car for you and your daughter.”

“Thank you, I’ll just be second getting my daughter.”

“Sure. Uh . . .Ms. Morgan said you would have bags. Can I get them for you?”

“Yes, thanks. They’re just by the couch.” Emily pointed to the two overnight bags she had packed for them.

This is different. I never thought I’d be doing this a few weeks ago!

“Come on, sweetie, let’s go see Dylan!”

“Yeah! Let’s get Dien, Mama!” Molly grabbed her toy and ran to the door.

****

Dylan had showered and changed into her first outfit of blue jeans, light grey sweater with white tee shirt underneath, and suit jacket. She would change into her challenge gear in the later part of the show.

She had just popped outside of her dressing room to see if there was any sign of Emily and Molly when Katie spotted her.

“Hi Dylan, have you been avoiding me?” Katie stepped up a little too close for Dylan’s liking.

“Listen, would you like to get a drink after the show? Maybe come back to my place?”

“Uh . . .I have plans already, Katie.”

“They can’t be that great, Dylan, you’re not seeing anyone, I asked around.” Katie ran her hand teasingly up and down Dylan’s arm.

“I know I’m not out, but I can assure you I’m really attracted to you, Dylan. I would do anything you asked.”

Dylan was just about to pull away from Katie’s clutches when she heard someone clear their throat. She turned around to see Lynn standing with Emily, who had Molly up in her arms.

Dylan’s stomach dropped. ‘Uh oh!’

Episode 3

Emily felt a hot surge of jealousy course through her veins.

I knew that tramp was all over Dylan! Oh my God. She isn’t interested in her is she? Did we interrupt something? Oh Dylan please, I’ve put so much faith in you!

Dylan saw a look of anger on Emily’s face as she stared at Katie’s hand running up and down her arm.

Oh shit!

Emmie! Molls! Your here at last! I’ve been waiting for you.”

Dylan walked quickly over and took Molly from the blonde’s arms.

“Hey Smurf! How are you?”

“Miffed you Dien,” Molly said as she cuddled into Dylan’s chest.

“Aww! I missed you too, Molls.” Dylan then took Emily’s hand and pulled her towards the dressing room door.

Katie looked on with disgust.

Who is this nobody?!

“Aren’t you going to introduce me, Dylan? Is this your cleaning lady?” Katie laughed cruelly.

You bitch! thought the big woman.

Dylan put her free arm around Emily’s shoulder.

“As I was trying to tell you, Katie, I have plans tonight. This is my girlfriend Emily and her daughter Molly. If you’ll excuse us, Katie, I’ll see you on set.”

Dylan then steered Emily into her dressing room, keeping Molly up in her arms. When the door was finally closed she said worriedly, “I’m so sorry about her, Emmie. I was just standing in the hallway waiting for you guys and she came up and was all over me just as you arrived. I hope you don’t think anything of it, I was just so excited waiting for you and she just . . .”

“It’s okay Dyl, I believe you. I trust you. She had no idea why but she instinctively trusted her.

Dylan let out a sigh of relief. “Great! I’ve been so looking forward to this! I hope you didn’t mind me saying you were my girlfriend, I know it’s probably too soon for you but I wanted to get a message across to Katie, and well . . .it’s what I want.”

Emily smiled shyly. “I liked it.”

Dylan leaned over and gave Emily a soft kiss on the lips.

“Me kiss Dien!” the little girl said.

Dylan lifted the girl up in the air and blew a raspberry on the girl’s tummy making her howl with laughter.

“No Dien! Ha ha! Pease!”

The big woman brought her back down and kissed her on the nose.

“Was that kiss good enough?” she smiled.

Molly was gasping for breath from laughing. “Dien you funny!”

Emily, who had been laughing along with them said, “I think you two are going to be a bad influence on each other.”

“Oh! Listen Molls, Big Bird was at the studio today and I told him how much you liked watching him. He couldn’t stay but he asked me to give you this.”

Dylan walked over to the table with the snacks and drinks, and picked up a toy Big Bird with Sesame Street balloons tied around his wrist.

“Wow! Dien! Big Bird was ere?” Dylan untied the balloons so Molly could pick up the toy.

“Dylan you’re going to spoil her,” Emily said seriously.

“Hey, I’ve never had anyone to spoil before. Okay?” Dylan cupped and stroked Emily’s face with her hand.

The young blonde smiled. You melt my heart when you look at me like that.

“Okay. Thank you.”

“And these are for you.” Dylan gestured to the large bouquet of flowers sitting on the table.

Emily walked over and inhaled their beautiful scent.

“Dyl, they’re wonderful. Thank you. You know, no one ever gave me flowers before you.”

“You deserve the best Emmie. I . . .I just wanted tonight to be perfect. Come and sit.”

Dylan took her hand and guided her over to the couch where Molly was playing with Big Bird.

The big woman looked shyly at Emily and said, “You look beautiful, Emmie.”

“Hardly! I can’t compete with the women you see every day.”

Dylan lifted the blonde’s hand and kissed it tenderly.

“There’s no competition, Emmie. You’re the only one who has ever made me feel like this. To me, you’re perfect. You have curves in all the right places and eyes that make me want to get lost in them.”

“When you look at me like that I want to believe you, to trust you.”

“I promise you can.” Dylan moved towards Emily and gave her the sweetest of kisses.

“Hmmm,” Emily moaned. “Maybe we can discuss this more later.”

“Count on it. Listen, I know I won’t be with you all the time tonight but Lynn will stay with you and make sure you have everything you need. Ask for anything you want and think of my dressing room as your own. I know it’ll be a long night for the Smurf, so I’ve got some blankets here if you want to let her sleep on the couch. There’s food and snacks on the table there, and all kinds of drinks in the fridge. Just make sure you keep your pass around your neck, security is tight around here.”

“Thank you, I can’t wait to see what goes on. The show was amazing on TV last night.”

Dylan’s chest puffed out a little.

“You liked it?”

“Yeah, it was so fun and you’re so good with the audience. The stunt at the end, woah! I had my heart in my mouth. You’re so strong and athletic. I . . .um . . .oh . . .nothing.”

Emily looked away blushing.

“Come on Emmie, tell me. You can tell me anything. I would never laugh at you.”

“Well . . .I love how big and strong you are, I just wondered if you had a six pack under there. Oh god, I’m so embarrassed!”

Dylan smirked and gave her a smoky look. “I hope you’ll want to find out, baby.”

Caught up in the depths of each other’s eyes, their lips got closer and closer until a little face came between them.

“Me have some juice pease, Dien?”

They two women laughed. “I guess we’ll have to get back to this later. Come on Smurf! Let’s go choose some juice!”

Dylan lifted the little girl up and took her to get a drink.

“So, you ready for a look around? I’ve got about an hour before I have to go and do my stuff.”

“Great, I can’t wait to see,” Emily said excitedly.

****

They had toured around wardrobe, hair and makeup. The makeup girls made a fuss over Molly, styling her hair, drawing a little butterfly on her cheek and putting on some sparkly stickers.

“There you go, honey. You’re all set for TV!” one of the young makeup girls said.

“Look at me, Mama!”

“You look pretty, sweetie. Say thank you to Sandy.”

“Tank ou, Sandy.”

“No problem honey, you come back anytime you want. Dylan never lets us put much makeup on her so we love to get the chance!”

Emily and the makeup girls laughed.

“Hey! I hate the stuff. I’m just not a makeup kinda girl,” the big woman pouted.

“No, I don’t think you are, Dyl, and I like you that way,” Emily said.

Dylan smiled smugly. “See, somebody appreciates me, Sandy.”

“Haven’t you got something high and dangerous to be jumping off?” she said sarcastically.

Emily and Molly laughed, enjoying the easy banter the TV star enjoyed with her staff. Dylan certainly didn’t act like a star.

“See what I have to put up with? See you later, girls.”

They then made their way to the studio floor and walked out onto the vast black stage.

“This place is huge!” Emily said. Molly seeing a big open space, set off at a run.

“Don’t trip over any of the wires, Molls!” her mother shouted.

“She’ll be fine. Mike!” Dylan shouted over to a guy fiddling with one of the cameras.

“Yeah?”

“Can you watch out for Molly here while I show her Mom the rest of the set?”

“Sure, no problem.”

“Molly! Come here a second.” The little girl ran over to Dylan.

“This is Mike, he’s going to watch you while I show Mama around the rest of the set. You can run around if you like.”

“Yeah!”

“Be good Molly,” said her mother.

They walked further onto the stage area. “I never imagined a studio would be this big,” Emily said gazing round the large space.

“Yeah we had to purpose-build this, we started off in a normal studio but there just wasn’t enough room for the stunts we were doing. When the show turned out to be a hit, the network agreed to fund this complex. We’re standing in a large aircraft hanger, basically. It’s sectioned off into offices, rehearsal rooms and facilities for the staff.”

“It’s really something, Dyl.”

Dylan looked down, uncomfortable when receiving praise.

“I’m proud of all that we’ve achieved. I have a great team working with me. Listen, I need to get ready for the show now. Lets grab the Smurf and head back.”

They made their way back to Dylan’s dressing room.

Hey Smurf, I’ll put the TV on for you okay?” Dylan switched on the Disney Channel and Molly settled on the floor to watch.

“Tanks Dien.”

“No problem, Molls” Turning to Emily she said, “Come sit with me a minute.”

Once they were seated on the couch, Dylan said, “I have to go but I just wanted some time with you first. Lynn will bring you to watch from backstage when we go live. I . . .uh, I can’t tell you what it means to me to have you here, have you both here. I’ve never been happier than since I met you two. I know you think I’m successful and have achieved a lot but I’ve been alone for so long and especially since Joey died, it’s been hard. I know I’ve been maybe, moving too quickly for you but I’ve never felt what I’m feeling ever in my life and I want to grab onto it and never let go. You mean the world to me. I guess I just want you know if you let me keep seeing you, it’s not some passing fling for me. It’s serious.”

Emily cupped the side of Dylan’s face and looked into her uncertain big blue yes.

You’ve been lonely for far too long, honey. You may be big and tough but inside you’re so vulnerable.

“It’s serious for me too. I think you need someone to look after you, honey. I’d like to be that person.”

“I’d like that, too,” Dylan whispered as their lips came together in a deep kiss; a kiss that spoke of the future and a deep love that they couldn’t find the words for yet.

“Mama! Mwah! Mwah!” The little girl laughed at them.

Dylan turned and smiled. “Hey kid, we’ll need to work on your timing.”

“You better go. Don’t want to keep the American public waiting.”

“I guess. I’ll miss you, I can’t wait to spend time with you later.”

“Me too. Now scoot.”

“Okay, I’m going,” Dylan said giving her one final kiss.

“Oh and Dylan?”

“Yeah?”

“Make sure you kick that Katie Phillips butt in the dare!”

“I will. Just for you, Emmie.”

****

Jimmy put down his cell with a huge grin on his face.

Well Morgan. I’m getting closer and closer. You’re going to make me a very rich man.

He picked up the phone again and called his partner.

“Sam? Yeah it’s me. I just got a tip from Dylan Morgan’s studio that the girl and her daughter are there tonight watching the filming.

She’s introducing her as her girlfriend. I want you outside the studio; see if you can get a shot of the three of them together.

Yeah, I’m still following up the kid’s father. There must be a story in that but even without that, this story and the pictures are going to make us a fortune. The press have been looking for this for years, America’s most eligible woman tamed at last by a poor single mother who works as a waitress. It’s dynamite. A rags to riches story, the public will lap it up.

Get the picture and email it to me. I’ll put it some calls to the usual suspects and sell to the highest bidder; it should run on Monday.

Excellent. Talk to you later.”

****

Emily struggled to keep hold of a wriggling Molly who was worked up to a frenzy watching the show from the side. The show had been so exciting for them both and it had built to the final challenge. Katie Phillips had been knocked out in the first round, much to Emily’s amusement, so it was now just Dylan against the contestant in the final challenge. One shot, blindfolded, closest to the target wins. The challenger went first and just barely hit the target. The audience was now chanting, “Dylan! Dylan!”

Molly was swept up in the fervor watching her playmate and Emily had to struggle to keep her from running onto the stage.

“Dien! Dien! Me go stand wiv Dien, Mama?”

“No honey. Dylan is busy. Remember we talked about this, Dylan has to concentrate and win so the hospital gets some money?”

This week’s charity money was going towards a children’s unit at the local hospital.

Dylan took her shot and the crowd went wild as she hit the bulls eye.

Emily and Molly cheered and clapped as the big woman took off her blindfold and commiserated with the contestant.

“Bad luck, but remember you still take home the money you won in the first round and you did beat our celebrity contestant. Did you enjoy yourself?”

“Very much, Dylan, I’ve had a great day.”

“Great. Well tune in next week to see me tackle some free running and singer Matt Evans takes on Dylan’s Dare when we compete against each other in a five car stunt jump. Remember to catch Katie Phillips every Monday night in her hit show, Head of the House. See you next week and remember . . .” Dylan stared down the camera and winked, “Don’t try this at home! Goodnight.”

Katie Phillips had joined everyone on stage and they all waved at the camera.

“We’re off air, Dylan,” called one of the crew.

Lynn stepped forward with a towel and bottle of water for her.

“Thanks, can you tell Emily I’ll just be a few minutes talking to the audience and then I’ll be with her?”

“Sure.” Lynn walked over to Emily and said, “she’ll just be a couple of minutes, Emily. She just says a few words of thanks to the audience before leaving the stage.”

“Okay.”

Emily watched as Dylan talked to the contestant and had a final word with Katie.

Boy! She doesn’t look happy.

She saw Katie walking toward her with a sinister look on her face.

“You and your little brat better enjoy the high life while you can. Do you think someone as rich and famous as Dylan Morgan will settle down with a waitress, and a single mother at that?”

How does she know all this? One of Dylan’s staff must have talked.

Katie’s words hit her in the gut and Molly looked up nervously at her mother.

“I’ll thank you to keep your nose out of my life and your opinions to yourself. You can call me anything you want but don’t you dare say anything like that about my daughter again!”

Katie laughed cruelly. “You’re just a phase, sweetheart. Dylan goes through women like candy. As soon as she gets fed up with playing your knight in shining armor, she’ll be on to the next one.” Katie walked away smiling.

Even though she thought she knew Dylan, there was a part of her deep inside that worried that what Katie said was true.

She watched the big woman make the audience laugh. She was so different onstage.

If she can act that differently there, could she be acting with me?

“Dien!” Emily was shaken from her thoughts when her daughter spotted her playmate bounding over to them.

“Hey! How are my two favorite girls?” She gave them both a kiss.

Dylan’s warm, genuine smile seemed to banish the young blonde’s fears all at once. “We’re great. The show was excellent.”

“You hear me shout for you, Dien?”

The big woman smiled.

I’m falling more and more in love with you two.

“I heard you, Smurf. That’s what made me win. Let’s get back to my dressing room, so I can get changed and take you two home . . .uh to my place.”

Shit! I hope she didn’t notice that slip. Stop pushing, Dylan!

She held out her arms and said. “Here let me take Molls for you.”

Dylan held the little girl in one arm and took Emily’s hand with the other.

As they walked Emily said, “Did I hear you say you were doing a stunt jump next week?”

“Yeah! It’ll be so cool. Molls will love to watch that, I bet.”

“Isn’t it a bit dangerous?” Emily worried. They walked into the dressing room and Dylan sat Molly on the couch.

“I’ll be fine.” The big woman took Emily in her arms, looked her straight in the eye and said, “I’m good with cars and remember, I’m Dylan Morgan! No dare too big!”

Emily laughed. “Ah! So you do have an ego?”

“Well, I am good at a lot of things,” Dylan teased the blonde.

“Oh?” Emily stood on her tiptoes and whispered in her ear, “I can’t wait to find out.” Dylan shivered from head to foot.

“Uh, I think on that note, I’ll grab my shower.”

Damm Emmie, you are something else!

“Hurry!”

Dylan turned at the door of the shower room and winked. “Oh, I will!”

****

Dylan pulled her Jeep into the underground parking garage. “Here we are.”

“How do we get to your apartment?”

“There’s an elevator over in the corner.”

Emily turned around to look at Molly in the car seat.

“Aw, she’s sound asleep. It’s been a long night for her.”

“Thanks for letting her stay up this once, I really enjoyed having you both there. Let’s get her to bed and we can have a drink.”

Dylan unlocked the door with one hand while carrying a sleeping Molly in her other arm.

“Here we go. Home sweet home.”

Emily walked into the large living room and looked at the rich furnishings and the art on the walls.

Wow! How are Molly and I ever going to fit into her life? This is too much.

Dylan saw the look that crossed the blonde’s face and she felt panic in the pit of her stomach.

“It’s just a house, I’m still me okay?” Dylan pleaded.

Emily saw the anxiety on the big woman’s face. You really do want this to work don’t you?

“It’s fine. Lead the way, goofy,” Emily smiled.

“Okay, follow me and we can put the Smurf to bed.”

Dylan laid the little girl down on the guest bed. “Well, I’ll let you get her into her PJ’s and settled, and I’ll get us some drinks. Would you like some wine?”

“Sure, that would be nice.”

“Any preference?”

“Um . . .white, please.”

“Sure. Just come through to living room when you’re ready,” Dylan said nervously.

****

Dylan grabbed some wine from the fridge and the snack platter Lynn had ordered for her.

“What else do I need? Wine, snacks, I know there’s something.”

Dylan’s heart thudded in her chest. “Stay calm, Dylan. Glasses! That’s it.”

She grabbed two glasses, put them on the tray and took it through to the living room.

Cool. Stay cool, Dylan.

She dimmed the lights and set a love playlist she had made up on her iPhone to begin playing.

Perfect.

Dylan was uncorking the wine when Emily appeared, looking a bit unsure of herself.

“Come and sit down, Emmie,” Dylan said, handing her a large glass of wine.

“We’ve got cheese, olives and crackers as well. So dig in.”

They sat close, Dylan’s arm running along the back of the couch.

“Thanks, these are great,” said Emily, grabbing a stuffed olive.

“I got Lynn to order me some food, I’m not used to having guests.”

“What do you eat then?”

“Um . . .cereal, protein shakes, and mostly take out.”

“You really do need some home cooked meals, goofy.”

Dylan smiled brightly.

“This is a lovely place, Dyl.”

“It’s okay. I’ll give you the tour before we turn in. It’s got everything I need I guess, but it’s not really a home. It’s kinda lonely coming back here after the show. I’m so glad you two are here.”

Emily’s heart ached for the big woman. You’ve been alone too long.

“It’s our pleasure. So where would be home to you?”

“Um . . .it’s kind of silly.” Dylan put her head down shyly. Emily took her hand. “Tell me. Please?”

“Well, I’ve always had this dream that if ever I settled down, I would buy a place near the beach; a big piece of land where I could have my privacy. An ocean view, somewhere I could just walk out onto the beach, and have a small boat, maybe. I could have a workshop out back where I could work on stuff, woodwork and home improvement projects. It would be kind of silly to buy something like that just for me to rattle around in, but a great place for a family.”

Their eyes met in understanding but neither one wanted to say what they felt.

“You handy with tools, then?” Emily said with a smirk.

“Well I think so.” Dylan winked. “No seriously. My grandpa ran a building contractor business and my dad worked as a contractor with him until he opened up the dojo. I loved helping during school holidays and I learned a lot.”

“It sounds like a wonderful dream.” Emily smiled lovingly at her new girlfriend.

Dylan cleared her throat and said, “So I wanted to ask, has Molls seen Night at the Museum?”

“Yes, she loves that movie. Why?”

“I thought we could take her to the Natural History Museum tomorrow and hunt out all the characters. Thought that would be fun for her and us.”

Emily sighed in contentment. “Dylan Morgan you are something else.” The dark haired woman quirked an eyebrow, “Why?”

“Not many people would want to date a woman and have the kid come along everywhere with them, you are so good with her.”

Emily thought for a moment and said, “She’s quickly falling in love with you.”

Dylan’s heart thudded, instinctively knowing what Emily was trying to say.

“Why would I mind, she’s a great kid and I knew from the start she was a special part of the package. You two come as a pair. Mama Smurf and Baby Smurf! I love her, too.”

Emily playfully smacked Dylan’s bicep, pretending to be annoyed. “Hey! I’m not that small!”

“You are kinda short, but I like you that way.”

“Your just too tall, goofy!” They both laughed.

“But if we’re going to continue this we do need some time to go out by ourselves. It’s difficult though, finding a sitter to trust,” Emily said sadly.

“Maybe Lynn could help us out? She has grown-up children and I’d trust her with my life. I want to continue with this, I feel so much for you in such a short time and I’m trying not to be too full-on and rush you but I need you to know that I’m serious and I was showing you that by calling you my girlfriend tonight.”

“I feel it too. We haven’t known each other long and I’m really trying to be careful for Molly’s sake, but it’s so hard because I’m falling for you. I’d love to be your girlfriend, Dylan.”

Dylan lifted Emily’s hand and kissed it tenderly.

“I’m going to work so hard for your love, Emmie. You’re never going to want to leave me.”

“You’re so sweet, you big goof!”

Dylan lifted her arm and invited Emily to cuddle, which she gleefully accepted.

“Mmm. This is the best way I’ve ever spent an evening after the show.”

“You’re good at cuddling.”

I’ve never felt so content. thought Emily as she was cuddled in Dylan’s strong arms.

They snuggled like that while listening to the music for a while, then Emily said, “I love this song.”

“Yeah, Adele’s songs are beautiful. Would you dance with me?”

“What here? In the living room?”

“Sure! Come on.” Dylan pulled the blonde up on her feet and started the song again.

Emily went willingly into her arms, resting her head on Dylan’s chest.

When the rain

Is blowing in your face And the whole world

Is on your case

I could offer you

A warm embrace

To make you feel my love

Dylan stroked her hand up and down Emily’s back as they swayed together, becoming intoxicated by her unique smell.

When the evening shadows And the stars appear

And there is no one there To dry your tears

I could hold you

For a million years

To make you feel my love

Emily began giving gentle kisses to the big woman’s collarbone. She felt Dylan respond by pulling away, taking her face in her big hands, and placing the gentlest of kisses on the young woman’s lips. The blonde quickly deepened the kiss, teasing Dylan with her tongue. Dylan moaned making her own explorations with her tongue.

I know you

Haven’t made

Your mind up yet But I would never Do you wrong

I’ve known it

From the moment That we met

No doubt in my mind Where you belong

I’d go hungry

I’d go black and blue I’d go crawling Down the avenue No, there’s nothing

That I wouldn’t do

To make you feel my love

As the kiss turned more passionate, Dylan’s hands grasped the blonde’s butt and squeezed, causing Emily to moan in the older woman’s mouth.

Emily’s hands rested on Dylan’s hips, but all she could think about was touching the washboard stomach she had dreamed of. Her hands lifted up the sides of Dylan’s sleeveless t-shirt, but she was scared to go any further. Then she felt Dylan’s big hand grasp her own and place it under her shirt, encouraging Emily. Dylan moaned and her muscles contracted as Emily’s fingers stroked across her hard stomach.

The storms are raging

On the rolling sea

And on the highway of regret Though winds of change

Are throwing wild and free You ain’t seen nothing

Like me yet

I could make you happy Make your dreams come true Nothing that I wouldn’t do Go to the ends

Of the Earth for you

To make you feel my love

Dylan pulled back from the kiss, needing to breathe.

“God, I want you so much, baby girl. If you don’t want to go any further we need to calm down a bit.”

“I want you too, Dyl. I want to make love so much, but I think we should wait a little longer.”

Emily stroked her hand down Dylan’s cheek. “I want it to be right. You understand?”

Dylan kissed her on the nose. “You’re right, baby. I want this to last for a long time and I want it to be the right time for both of us.”

“Thank you.”

Taking Emily’s hand Dylan said, “Come on Emmie, I’ll show you around before bed.”

****

Emily awoke to an empty bed. Last night she decided to share the large king size bed with her daughter in case she woke up and didn’t know where she was.

She heard squeals and laughter coming from somewhere. Dylan must have her. Hmm! Dyl. Emily felt her stomach clench as she remember touching her new girlfriend last night.

Dylan you came so close to getting lucky. Mmm. I love her body. I think when we do go to bed, I might faint! She’s so strong and well built. That stomach! Argh! Enough. Get up; you’re going to drive yourself crazy!

Emily got up and followed the noise. She found herself at the door of the game room where she saw her daughter, still in her pyjamas, sword fighting on the Wii against Dylan, who was still in her boxers and t- shirt.

Emily laughed as her daughter shouted, “I get ou, Dien! I knock ou off!” As Dylan’s character fell dramatically into the water, so did the big woman, falling just as dramatically onto the floor.

“Ugh! The Smurf got me! I’m dead!”

Molly heard her Mother laughing. “Mama! Me knock Dien off! I love pwaying Wii!”

Emily kissed her daughter on the head. “I bet you do, I think Dylan likes it too.”

Dylan got up and looking slightly embarrassed said, “Uh, I always wake up early and I saw Molls was awake so I thought we could play.”

Emily walked over and gave her a kiss. “You are such a goof! Thanks for taking care of her. She’s never played video games before.”

“Yeah she really loves it; she discovered the games on my iPhone as well.”

“Oh be careful! I’d hate for her to break it, it’s so expensive.”

“It’s fine, don’t worry, I get them for free.”

“You do?”

“Yeah I do a lot advertising with Apple.” Dylan said, as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

“Okay . . .Listen, how about I make us all breakfast. You said Lynn bought you some food?”

“Yeah she did but you don’t have to, I mean I could take us out for breakfast.”

“I like to cook, you always pay for everything and this is one thing I can do. I like looking after you both and in any case your kitchen is to die for!”

“Well, please, knock yourself out.”

“Sweetie, you make sure Dylan behaves while Mommy makes breakfast.”

“I will, Mama. You be good, Dien!” Molly said seriously.

Dylan grabbed the little girl and tickled her mercilessly. “I can be good, Smurf! Here comes the tickle monster!”

Emily smiled and left both giggling and laughing.

****

About 20 minutes later, Dylan decided she was missing the blonde too much.

“Hey Smurf, I’ll be back in a few minutes. You can play some games on my phone, but remember only the games in the kid folder I made for you.”

“Okay Dien. I will.”

“Good girl.”

Dylan headed off to the kitchen. She found Emily at the stove making pancakes. She walked up behind the blonde and wrapped her arms around her waist.

Emily turned in her arms. “I thought you were playing games?”

“I missed you too much and I didn’t get a proper good morning kiss.” The big woman pouted.

“We’ll have to rectify that then.” Emily pulled Dylan down, her hands wrapped around her neck, kissing Dylan thoroughly.

“Mmm. That’s what I call a kiss, baby. Do you know how good it feels to have you both here? You’ve made this lonely big place feel warm and happy.”

“I’m glad, we’re happy to be here. Now go and get your little playmate and I’ll serve breakfast.”

“Okay.” Dylan’s faced seemed to beam with happiness. She leaned over and kissed Emily’s nose, then went to get Molly.

When they returned, Emily had piled the kitchen table with delicious smelling food.

“Wow, this is great.” Dylan looked and saw a huge pile of pancakes, plates of bacon, eggs and lots of toast.

“Dig in, Dyl. Would you like some of everything, Molls?”

“Yes pease, Mama.”

Dylan looked on at the quiet domesticity around her kitchen table and it made her heart swell with happiness.

This is what I’ve been looking for. Family . I want this. Don’t fuck it up, Morgan!

Emily looked up from her own plate and saw Dylan just looking at them strangely. Not unhappily but something she couldn’t put her finger on. “Are you okay? What are you thinking, Dyl?”

Dylan was broken from her contemplation. “I’m fine. Just thinking how happy I am, Emmie.” She smiled warmly at the blonde.

“I’m glad. Eat up or it’ll get cold.”

Dylan wolfed down the food on her plate and Emily was sure she didn’t stop for breath for a full five minutes.

“Oh! Emmie, this is just delicious. Your pancakes are something else.”

“Mama is good at cooking,” Molly said proudly.

“She sure is, Smurf. Emmie, can I tell her about today?”

Emily smiled and nodded.

“Guess where we’re going today, Smurf?”

“Where?! Where Dien?”

“Well. You know the movie you like? Night at the Museum?”

“Yeah? Dum dum! Rexie!”

“Well were gonna take you there today, to visit Dum dum and Rexie and Dextor. Would you like that?”

Molly jumped as quick as a flash from her seat and into Dylan’s arms.

“Yeah Dien! Thank ou! Love ou.”

“Love you too, Smurf.”

As Dylan cuddled the little girl she looked up to Emily who mouthed, “Thank you.”

“Come and finish your breakfast, sweetie, or we’ll never get there.”

“Yes Mama.”

“I was looking on the net this morning and they’ve got a cool restaurant suited for kids called the Starlight Cafe, we could get some lunch there. What do you think?”

“Sounds great. Let’s eat up and get ready.”

****

“You girls ready?” Dylan shouted into the bedroom.

“Just about. Give us five minutes, Dyl.”

“Come on sweetie, we need to hurry.” Emily had struggled to get the excited little girl ready.

“Which bottoms, Molls? Jeans with sparkles or purple pants?”

“Sparkly jeans.” As Emily got her ready Molly said, “Mama?”

“What sweetie?”

“Love Dien. She’s funny.”

“She is. I’m glad you like her. I hope we’ll spend lots of time with her.”

“Ou love her, Mama?”

What do I tell her? She’s so innocent. I don’t want her to get her hopes up and then it doesn’t work out between us. I can’t lie to her.

“Well that’s complicated grown-up stuff sweetie, but can you keep a secret?” The little girl nodded.

“I think I do love her, Molls, but I’m just not ready to tell her yet. If things work out I’ll tell her soon, okay?”

“Otay.” Molly smiled.

“Right, shoes on and let’s go.”

Mother and daughter came into the living room to find Dylan, as usual, playing with her phone.

“Do you ever put that thing down, Dyl?” Emily smirked.

“Emmie, this thing organizes my entire life. I love it!” she said giving her phone a big kiss.

“You’re such a goof!”

“That’s what they tell me. So are Mama Smurf and Baby Smurf ready?”

“We are. I like the hat.” Emily smiled. Dylan had her collar length dark hair hidden underneath a black oversized G-Star beanie hat.

“Thanks, this is my incognito look. I don’t want to be recognized and bother you two. I can’t really get away with the sunglasses in winter though.”

Emily walked over and looked Dylan up and down. She was dressed in designer slouchy jeans and hooded sweatshirt.

“That’s one of the things I really like about you, honey. You dress really nice and take care of your appearance.”

Dylan moved her lips to within inches of Emily’s. “I’ve gotta look good for my girl, haven’t I?” Then their lips met in a gentle kiss.

“Mama! Dien! No kwisses! Dum dum and saurs!”

Emily smiled at Dylan’s look of frustration. “Come on then, TV star. Let’s move it.”

“Alright Smurf, just for that here comes the tickle monster!” The big woman chased the happy girl around the room for a few minutes before saying, “Okay, Smurf, I give in. Jump up and let’s go. We got suars to see!”

The three made their way down to Dylan’s car and set off for the day.

****

They had a great day at the museum. Dylan carried Molly everywhere on her shoulders and Emily wished her little girl could have had a second parent like the TV star from the time she was born. Even with the hat on, Dylan was still recognized wherever they went but everyone was respectful of Emily and Molly’s privacy when asking for pictures.

They had said a reluctant farewell that evening, promising to phone each other the next day. Emily was working the day shift and Dylan had training with the guys.

Dylan sat down at the kitchen table about to drink her protein shake and check the papers before heading out to the gym.

She switched the TV on the wall to the morning news show.

She noticed right away that her Twitter messages had gone mad overnight for some reason. Just as she opened the app to check, she heard from the TV . . .

“And joining us is our showbiz correspondent Sarah Jones. Well Sarah, there’s only one story on everyone lips this morning.”

“You’re right, Brad. It seems that one of America’s most eligible women is off the market. The story broke this morning in the newspapers and on the internet that famous lesbian TV star Dylan Morgan has been snapped up.”

Dylan dropped her protein shake on the floor. “Shit!”

“Dylan has always been very open about being gay and has attended many events with actresses and singers, but none have captured Ms. Morgan’s eye. But this morning we’ve read reports and seen pictures of Dylan spending family days out at the zoo and the Natural History Museum with her new girlfriend, Emily Taylor, and her young daughter. They were also been spotted on the set of The Dylan Morgan Show, where we understand from insiders that Emily was introduced to the staff as Dylan’s partner.”

The TV screen showed Dylan carrying a sleeping Molly from the studio and holding Emily’s hand.

“But more than that Brad, it’s a bit of a Cinderella story. Miss Taylor works as a waitress for a local restaurant called ‘Jimmy’s Diner.’ According to the newspapers, they met after Dylan stopped by the diner for a late night snack and fell in love. Miss Taylor is a single mother who has struggled for years on a low income to bring up her daughter on her own. Sources close to Miss Morgan tell me they are worried Emily Taylor is fortune hunter and have warned the TV star about the young waitress. Brad, I prefer to think that true love has struck the couple, and who knows? Maybe we’ll have the next big gay wedding right here in New York.”

“Who knows, Sarah. We wish them well. Now let’s go over to the weather.”

“Shit! Fuck! What’s Emmie gonna say!” Dylan grabbed her phone to call her when an incoming call came from Lynn.

“Did you just see that, Lynn?” Dylan shouted.

“See it? It’s all over the papers; the phones at the studio are going crazy. I got a call telling me that the press are laying in wait outside the diner, waiting for her to appear. It seems to have caught everyone’s imagination. The rags to riches story. The ordinary woman who snagged a worldwide TV star.”

“Shit. I’ll call her right now. Who the fuck are these sources close to me warning about me about her intentions?” Dylan ranted.

“Calm down, Dylan. It may take time but we’ll sort it out. I have no idea who the sources could be but I can’t imagine it being any of your studio staff. I had a call from the network; they want a sit down with you in the next few days. They’ve set up focus groups to find out the public reaction to you being in gay relationship.”

“What the hell for? I never hid the fact that I’m gay, they’ve always been fine with it.”

“You were always a single gay woman before, and it suited them for publicity’s sake that your were seen out and about at premieres and parties with actresses and models. This is a relationship, a serious relationship, with a poor single mother.”

“What?”

“That’s not what I think Dylan, you know me. That’s what they’ll be thinking. Don’t worry about that just now. Your popularity is sky high and worldwide at the moment, and your contract is watertight. Just meet with them calmly and see what they have to say.”

Dylan took a deep calming breath.

“Okay. You’re right, as usual. I’ll call Emmie now and get back to you. Speak to you soon.”

Dylan ended the call and dialed Emily’s apartment.

“No answer, shit!”

She quickly redialed her PA. “Lynn? I can’t get an answer. I’m going to drive over there. Can you phone Mark and Patrick for me and tell them I won’t be training today?”

“No problem. Anything else?”

“Yeah I want you to organize a delivery for me . . .”

****

Meanwhile, Emily had just dropped Molly off with Mrs. Hill who lived one floor up in her apartment block. Emily was running late this morning, after their full day yesterday she found it hard to get Molly up and ready. Emily hadn’t had much time to chat but she was sure Mrs. Hill was acting a little funny this morning. Smiling a lot and telling her they would need to have a gossip when she picked up the little girl.

The blonde rushed down to the front of the building, hoping she wouldn’t be late for work. When she opened the door, she was greeted by a barrage of cameras, flashes and voices shouting questions.

What the hell is going on?

She tried to cover her eyes from the flashes and push her way through.

“Miss Taylor, is it true your broke up Dylan Morgan and Katie Phillips’ relationship?” one shouted. Another said, “Emily, when will you be moving in with Dylan?”

“What does Molly’s father think about his daughter being brought up in a lesbian relationship?”

The questions were like machine gun fire as Emily tried to push her way through the crowd. When she made it out to the sidewalk, she felt her hand being grabbed.

“Let go!” she shouted and struggled as the press pack followed.

“Emmie, it’s me, jump in the car now!”

“Dylan? Thank God you’re here.”

The TV star had parked on the side of the street and they both raced to get into the large jeep.

Once they were safely in, Dylan said, “Buckle up. I’ll get us out of here.”

As Dylan drove, Emily was silent with shock.

She looks terrified. Shit! I need to sort this out.

Dylan drove right across town and pulled into the parking lot under her condo.

“What are you doing, Dylan? I need to get to work.”

Dylan turned around in her seat and took her hand. “Listen Emmie, the diner is packed with press waiting for you. There’s no way you could go in today.”

Emily looked angry and panicky as she replied, “If I don’t go to work, I don’t get paid and Molly and I don’t eat!” Emily put her head in her hands.

“Please calm down. I got Lynn to call your boss, he’s quite happy for you to take a week’s paid vacation to get things sorted out. As I said, the diner’s packed with press guys and customers hoping to get a glimpse of you. So he’s happily making money.”

“What are we going to do, Dylan? This is my life here?”

“Let me go back and pick up Molly, and you can stay here until things die down a bit. It won’t last forever, we’re just a novelty. To put it in perspective, it’s only ten reporters at your house and work. I’ve had to put up with a lot worse.”

“Maybe you have, but this is all new to me and this feels like a huge deal. Molly and I have gone from having no one but each other, to having you and a city full of reporters. I can’t just uproot my daughter’s life because the press won’t leave me alone. I don’t know how I can live my life like this, go to work like this.” Emily’s tears fell down her cheeks.

How am I going to live without you?

Dylan stared straight ahead, suddenly feeling sick as she said, “If it’s what you want, I’ll ask Lynn to issue a statement saying we are no longer together. The press should lose interest in a few weeks.”

Emily looked at her in shock. “Is that what you want, Dylan? I thought . . .”

“No! It’s not what I want,” Dylan said a bit too forcefully. “I want you. You and Molly. I thought you said you couldn’t live with this?”

“I was just scared, Dylan, I don’t want to lose you. I’ve never felt like this before about anyone, but we haven’t known each other that long and I guess I’m afraid I could end up facing this alone. It’s a lot to gamble.”

Dylan stroked her cheek. “I want you, both of you, for as long as you want me. You should see from my track record that I don’t go into things lightly. It’s true that we haven’t known each other long but my heart knows you. My heart knows I love you, it has from the moment I met you but I was afraid of scaring you. I love you Emily Taylor, and I love your little girl. Please let us make this work?”

She loves me? Do I make that leap? It’s now or never, Emily.

“I love you, Dylan Morgan. I want to make this work.”

Dylan pressed her lips against Emily’s, sheer relief coursing through her body.

“Thank you, baby girl. I won’t ever make you regret it. I promise.”

“I think you’re a safe bet, Goofy,” Emily said pulling the big woman into a hug.

“Will you come and stay with me then?”

“No.”

“No? But I thought . . .”

“I need to be able to handle this to be in your life, Dyl. I just got scared this morning. I mean, what’s the worst that can happen? They ask me questions and take my picture? I think I’m made of sterner stuff than that.”

Dylan smiled. “You are amazing. Just remember to keep the Smurf’s face covered okay? Will you consider living with me when you’re ready?”

“Of course I will, honey. We just need a little more time. I’m very independent and people might think I’m after your money.”

“I don’t care what people think.”

“I know. We’ll get there. Just a little more time.”

Dylan kissed her on the lips.

“Okay. That’s all I ask. I love you guys.”

“So I’ll take today off and go back in tomorrow.”

Dylan took Emily’s hand. “I’ll agree on one condition.” “What’s that?”

Dylan turned and grabbed a package from the backseat. “This is the condition. Open it.”

Emily pulled a box from the bag and found an iPhone.” “Dylan no . . .”

“No, I won’t hear any argument. It’s on my account so you don’t have to worry about bills, and you can get any games the Smurf wants to play. It’s for your safety. This morning I couldn’t get hold of you, and I need to know you can call me if you’re being hassled or don’t feel safe. Okay?”

Emily guessed she was going to have to give in on this.

“Alright!” she sighed.

“Good, now that you have the day off, why don’t we go upstairs, order in lunch, I’ll show how to use that thing and we can snuggle?”

“Excellent. I told you, you’re not just a handsome face.”

Dylan flashed her best grin. “I’ll take you to pick up Molls later.”

****

“How did they even know, Dyl?” asked Emily as they ate their lunch.

Dylan had ordered lunch from the kitchen in the apartment building.

“Most of the other reporters and paparazzi don’t bother unless I’m out at an event because, basically, nothing was going on in my life, but when my brother Joey was having his problems, he was all over the press. Parties, guys, alcohol and, in the end, drugs. When he died, a reporter named Jimmy Daniels wrote a really cruel piece about him. He bribed one of the crime scene guys to get pictures of . . .”

Dylan gulped and ran a hand through her dark hair.

“Take your time, honey. I’m listening.”

“”Uh . . .pictures of how he was found. Dead. He published them.”

“That low down bastard!” Emily fumed.

“Yeah, I know. When I saw it, I went straight to the newspaper office to kill him. If I had found him, I think I really would have. He wasn’t there, but a very heated conversation with the editor later, he was fired. I threatened to throw every lawyer under the sun at them unless Jimmy took the fall. He’s freelance now, sells his gutter stories and pictures to the highest bidder. Every since I got him fired he’s followed me around, waiting for me to make one wrong move. It has to have been him.”

“I’m so sorry you had to go through that, Dyl. We won’t let him win, what’s he got on us anyway? We’re just a new happy, loving couple. I’ll get used to the attention and I won’t let it stop my life.” Emily said defiantly.

“Thank you baby. You’re amazing.”

****

“Sam, I need you to keep digging on the kid’s father.”

“But we got the story, Jimmy? We broke it and made a ton of cash, why not just leave it?”

“It’s not enough. I need Dylan Morgan hurt, embarrassed, all of the above. I know there’s a story there, so keep digging. My contact came up with nothing.”

“Okay! Okay, I will. I’ll get back to you.”

Click

****

The next morning arrived and Emily was preparing to face the press and the public at work.

Dylan insisted on taking her to work and Emily reluctantly agreed, as she realized there would be nowhere to hide from the cameras on public transportation, and Dylan assured her the press interest would calm down.

Her new partner arrived early and played with Molly while Emily got ready.

“Okay, it’s now or never. Let’s drop Molly off and get going,” said Emily nervously. Dylan stood and gently caressed the side of her girlfriend’s face.

“Okay. Now remember what I said, just keep walking straight ahead and don’t reply to any questions no matter how much they annoy you. I’ll keep them back. Remember, if this is too much for you, going to work with this entire circus, we’ll work something out okay?”

“I’ll be fine honey, this is my life, and they’re not going to stop me. Let’s go.”

They dropped Molly off and made their way to the front door. Dylan looked at Emily and said, “You ready?”

The young woman took a deep breath. Come on Emily. She’s worth it. You can do this.

“As I’ll ever be!”

Dylan opened the door and they were immediately bombarded with a barrage of flashes and questions.

Emily felt herself be bodily maneuvered by Dylan and virtually thrown into the car.

“We made it! You okay, Emmie?” asked Dylan.

Emily tried to catch her breath. “Well you certainly got me through that crowd!”

“Sorry if I was a bit rough, baby. I just wanted to get you through quickly.”

“Its fine, it’s fine. Let’s get going before I’m late.”

As they drove over Emily asked, “What time is your meeting with the network?”

“10 o’clock.”

“Will you be okay? Could they fire you or anything?” Emily worried.

“Well, they could simply not offer me a new contract when it comes up, but I own the production company and the rights to the show, so they couldn’t actually fire me.”

Dylan rested her hand on Emily’s leg. “Don’t worry, everything will be fine. If worst comes to worst, I’ll survive. I’ve made enough money through my salary, rights to the show in other countries and advertisements that I don’t need to ever work again.”

Whoa! thought Emily. “Really?”

“Yeah but don’t worry. It won’t come to that.”

“Will you call me when you get out of the meeting so I won’t worry?”

“Of course. Look, were nearly there. Are you sure you want to go in by yourself?”

“Yes, I’ll be fine. You’ll just cause more attention.”

“Maybe.” Dylan pulled over at the sidewalk.

“Quick! Give me a kiss before the photographers notice?” asked Dylan.

Emily leaned over and kissed the big woman’s lips.

“Mmm. I’ll never get enough of that.”

“I hope not, TV star! I better go. I’ll miss you.”

“You too, Mama Smurf. Be careful, any problems, you just call me. I’ll be here in a flash. I love you.”

Emily smiled. “I love you too, honey. Well, here I go. Wish me luck!”

Dylan watched as Emily jumped out of the Jeep and made her way through the cameras.

“To put up with that, you’re definitely a keeper, baby.”

****

Emily made her way into the diner in one piece and Maggie helped her through to the back room.

“Well Miss Taylor, you’ve been busy! This place has never seen so many customers.”

Emily cringed. “I’m sorry about all this, Maggie. It wasn’t planned you know. We just met and connected and . . .”

“Don’t you worry, young lady. This place could do with a little livening up, and you’ve certainly done that. Tom is over the moon.”

“Oh . . .okay.”

“Listen, it’ll be fine but you should probably stay in the kitchen for a bit, just until things die down or you’ll just get bothered all the time. We’ll manage and look at it this way, you’ve probably saved our jobs. The diner couldn’t have gone on much longer without an upturn in business. So you just enjoy yourself, okay? Are you happy?”

Emily beamed. “I’ve never been happier, Maggie, she’s wonderful, kind and Molly loves her.”

“Good. You deserve it. Now let me go and see to that rabble out there. I’ll say one thing for reporters, they’re great tippers!”

The two women laughed.

****

Lynn met Dylan at the door to the studios. “Morning. How was everything today?”

“Still crazy. So, do you think I still have a TV show?” Dylan asked, only half serious.

“Of course you do. You’re the biggest draw this network has, if they didn’t have the advertising your show generates they’d be up shit creek!”

Dylan laughed; it was so unusual to hear the older woman swear.

“I guess so.”

“Oh, Mike said there’s no need to head over to the network office, a video conference will be fine.”

“Hmm. Okay.” Strange. I thought they wanted to bust my balls?

They made their way to Dylan’s office. “How’s Emily coping with it?” Lynn asked.

Dylan sat at her desk and said, “She was kinda freaked out at the start. It’s a big spotlight to throw yourself and your child into, you know. I tried to get her to take time away from work and stay with me so I could protect her a bit, but she’s so independent, she insists it’s too soon.”

“Well that’s a good thing, Dylan; at least you know she’s not with you for the fame and money.”

“I already knew that!” the big woman said a little too sharply.

Dylan, you’re like a daughter to me, and because of that it’s my job to point these things out, no matter how much you don’t want to hear it.”

Dylan looked up at her and smirked. “You’re right. Do I have your approval then?”

“You do. She seems like a good young girl and that daughter of hers is a poppet.”

“She is. I can’t believe how much I love them both so much, so quickly. It was meant to be, I guess.”

“Your heart was just waiting on the right one. She’ll be good for you, Dylan. You’ve been alone too long. You need looking after, maybe now I won’t have to chase you to eat meals and get some sleep!”

“Okay! Okay! I know I’ve got a good thing going and I’ll make sure I don’t mess it up. Let’s head out and see the big bosses.”

****

Dylan answered the conference on her MacBook. “Morgan! How you doing, buddy?”

Mike Taylor, the network’s head of entertainment, appeared on the screen.

Well. This is different!

“I’m fine, Mike. How are you?”

“Just fine, just fine. Listen, I just wanted a quick word after this week’s events.”

“Let me just stop you before you go any further, Mike. Emily is my partner and is not negotiable. I will not stand for any pressure on my relationship from the network.”

“Whoa! Calm down there, Morgan! It’s nothing like that. Your private life is your business. The network would just like me to talk it over with you. We ran some polls with the viewers and your numbers are even higher than they were before. The audience loves the rags to riches story of the poor single mother swept off her feet by the knight in shining armor TV star. They’re lapping it up!”

“Okay? So what are you asking me to do?” Dylan knew there was something coming.

“Nothing! Why would you think that?” the TV exec blustered.

“Because you always have an angle, Mike.”

“There’s no angle. We just wanted you to know we’re fine with this relationship and you should feel free to mention your girlfriend during the show if you want.”

There it is.

“You want me to use my relationship for publicity?”

“No! How could you think that? We’re just saying feel free to talk about her if you’re so inclined. The public loves it!! We just didn’t want you worried that you had to hide it.”

“I wasn’t worried, Mike. It’s my life and I know how important this show is to the network.”

Mike cleared his throat nervously. “Yeah we know that, Morgan, but it reflects well on the network, in this day and age . . .well you know.”

“Know what?” Dylan knew exactly what Mike meant. The network now had their very own lesbian poster couple.

“Oh hell Morgan! You know what I mean. Your kind of couple makes us look modern, in touch with things.”

“I do know what you mean. You’ve got your own lesbian couple just like all the other shows. I don’t know, but I think I should be insulted.”

“Morgan, give me a break okay?”

“Okay. If it seems natural and right I will, but Emily is a very private person so I have to respect her wishes.”

“Alright. We can live with that. I’ll let you get back to business then. Bye Morgan.”

“See ya, Mike.”

Well that was different!

****

As it turned out, Dylan only made a mild reference to Emily in the Friday show. Starting her show with the line, “Well. I don’t know about you guys but I’ve had a quite week! I’ve recently developed a craving for diner food.”

The audience whooped and laughed at being let in on the joke.

The next few weeks went by quickly. The publicity didn’t die down completely, as Dylan had tried to reassure her girlfriend it would, but the number of photographers did lessen and Emily was becoming much better at handling them, getting on a first name basis with some and learning the lesson that if you gave them a shot they’d be more inclined to respect your privacy.

Dylan and Emily’s relationship went from strength to strength, each spending as much time as possible with the other. They had yet to become intimate, Emily wanting to wait for the right time, but shared some very heated kisses and touches that were becoming increasingly difficult not to take any further. To Dylan’s delight Emily and Molly spent every weekend with her. She had never been happier than when coming home from the studio to her two favorite girls. It felt like family.

Emily’s work was becoming increasingly difficult. Tom had agreed to give her only day shifts, as Dylan insisted it wouldn’t be safe to be alone at the diner at night now that she was so well known. Tom had eagerly agreed to any changes, as the customers Dylan and Emily’s notoriety was bringing in was saving the business.

Dylan felt it couldn’t go on forever though. Emily had been relegated to working the kitchen after a few unsavory incidents with Dylan’s more enthusiastic fans. A couple in particular had been quite unpleasant. They felt jealous at the young woman stealing Dylan away, as one put it.

They still hadn’t had a date night on their own, both being reluctant to leave Molly for the night, but they decided to take the opportunity of going to a film premiere that Dylan had been invited to on the coming Tuesday. Lynn was having her grandchildren to stay and suggested that Molly could stay over with them. Emily felt comfortable leaving her with Lynn, after getting to know the woman over the past month and a half.

The Saturday morning before the premiere, Dylan and Molly were sitting on the couch playing with Dylan’s iPad, while waiting for Emily as she got ready to go shopping.

After initial reluctance, Emily agreed to allow Dylan to buy her an outfit for the premiere. The young blonde realized she would never be able to afford something suitable and she didn’t want to risk embarrassing Dylan.

“Dien?” Molly looked up at her favorite playmate.

“What is it Smurf?”

“Me go to premer?”

The big woman laughed gently at how the little girl struggled with the word.

“I’m sorry Molls, this is a big person film. But I tell you what, the very next kid film that comes out, I’ll get us tickets and take you out for a new outfit just like your Mama. How’s that?”

Molly jumped on Dylan’s lap and threw her little arms around the big woman’s neck.

“Thank ou Dien! I love ou.”

Just then Emily came out from the bedroom smiling. “Hey, what are all the loving cuddles about?”

“Me and the Smurf just fixing up a date for the next kid film premiere.”

“Yeah, a date Mama.”

“Great, will you let me come too?”

“Sure Mama. You come, too.” Molly said seriously.

Dylan stood and grabbed Emily around the waist and growled into her neck. “I love you in these jeans, baby!”

“I aim to please, honey. We ready to go?”

“Yeah. I figured we take cabs so we didn’t have to worry about parking. If you get the Smurfs coat on, I’ll call down and ask Morris to grab us a one.”

Emily pulled Dylan back by the arm. “Honey, are you sure you’re going to be warm enough in this? I know were only just into October but it’s starting to get cold.”

Dylan had on a blue ski vest worn over a sweatshirt, with her usual beanie hat and designer jeans.

The TV star felt a warm glow inside at the concern her girlfriend was showing.

“Yes Mother! Hey, I’m naturally warm bloodied. Come on, baby girl.”

****

The three had an amusing cab ride. The Indian driver instantly recognized the tall woman and proceeded to list dares he thought she should do.

Emily smiled as she watched her girlfriend banter easily back and forth with the man, making him feel he was listened to and appreciated.

“I’ll be sure to mention that to the producers, buddy. Thanks for the ride,” Dylan said, shutting the taxi door.

“Boy! He could talk.” She held onto Molly tightly as they walked away from the curb.

“You weren’t doing too badly yourself, honey. I don’t understand how you can be so shy and then as soon as it has to do with work, you’re like super confident.”

Dylan shrugged. “I don’t know. Just happens I guess. So where do we start?”

“I’ve never shopped on Fifth Avenue, Dyl,” Emily said.

“We’ll I’ve never bought a dress here before, but there always seems to be nice ones in Gucci and Prada, oh and there’s Saks.”

“Dyl . . .”

The big woman saw the uncomfortable look on her girlfriend’s face and wanted to put a stop to it right away.

“Look, we’ve discussed this. You’re going to a premiere, as my girlfriend, and for that you need the right outfit. I have no one else in this world to spend my money on, just let me treat you and Molls the way I want. Okay?”

Emily looked at the woman holding on to her little girl. She knew instinctively that her kindness was not about showing off or trying to control her, but simply to care for both Molly and herself, and enjoy making them happy.

“Okay. Lead on then.”

Dylan beamed and gave her a quick kiss on the lips. Just as she did a flash went off across the street.

“They’re never far away are they?” said Emily, pulling away from the kiss.

“I’m afraid not but they won’t get into the stores. Come on, Smurf!” Dylan lifted the little girl up onto her shoulders.

“Yeah Dien! I like it up here.”

“I know, now you be a good girl while we find Mama a dress and I’ll take you into F.A.O Schwartz for a toy.”

Molly hugged her arms round Dylan’s neck a little too tightly. “Thank ou Dien.”

Turning to Emily, Dylan said. “I’ll keep her up here so I know where she is, it gets very busy around here. Now let’s start at Saks.”

They were casually looking through dresses when one of the sales assistants noticed Dylan. They were then whisked off to a personal shopper’s area. Dylan and Molly got to munch on cookies, coffee and juice while dress after dress was brought to Emily. The young woman put on a beautiful black dress and walked out to the couch area.

“What do you think?”

Dylan’s heart seemed to pound faster each time Emily walked out in a new dress.

You were just born to wear these things.

“I think it’s beautiful but I think all the dresses you’ve tried are beautiful. What do you think, Smurf?”

“Rweally Pretty!”

You are great for a girl’s ego, Dylan Morgan, thought Emily.

“Your daughter has good taste, Ms. Morgan,” Lisa, the personal shopper added.

Dylan looked at Emily, a little embarrassed. “Uh . . .no, Molly is Miss Taylor’s daughter.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry. She just looks so much like you.”

Emily beamed at Dylan. She was delighted others could see what she had seen from the very start.

“Can I ask what you will be wearing, Ms. Morgan?” asked Lisa.

“Ah. Black three piece suit, white shirt.”

“Well may I suggest something other than black? It would be nice to have a contrast. I could put a few more selections together?”

“I tell you what, we wanted to have a look around some other places but why don’t we take some of the dresses you liked, ‘cause your gonna need them for other things we’ll go to.”

Emily was hesitant but it did make sense. She wanted to look good on Dylan’s arm.

Does she realize these things are a couple of thousand dollars each? thought Emily.

“Okay. Thank you. Um . . .I think I’ll take the black and the green ones.”

“May I suggest some lingerie selections for your choices?” Lisa asked.

Now that’s what I’m talking about! thought Dylan. They had yet to become fully intimate and the big woman hoped it was coming soon because just kissing and being close to Emily was driving her crazy. At the same time she knew she had to show patience, Emily was by nature very careful, especially after being burned by her ex, Toni.

What an idiot! Having Emmie, a pregnant Emmie at that, and letting her go. I will never give her any reason to leave me. I’m not that stupid. Nu uh! No way!

Dylan’s thoughts were interrupted by Emily saying, “Dyl, is that okay?”

“Oh sure, why don’t the Smurf and I go look around the children’s department while you get sorted. Just call me when you’re ready and I’ll meet you at the check out.”

“Okay. Molly, you be good for Dylan.”

“Yeah Mama.”

Emily’s heart melted as she watched the two happily trot off together.

****

“Are you sure this is okay? I thought it would be the best place for Molls.”

They were sitting in TGI Fridays, just about to order. Dylan had met Emily back at the checkout carrying a couple of bags of things for Molly. A few pairs of designer jeans, tops and some cute little Gucci snow boots. She didn’t mention how much they cost. They then made their way to the Gucci store where Emily found the perfect dress, an off-white strapless gown that gathered at the side. Emily had such fun choosing and she had been treated so well, but she had no doubt that probably wouldn’t have been the case if she had gone in herself. So now they found themselves in TGI’s for lunch.

“Of course it’s okay for us honey, but is it for you? I mean you’re always taking us to places to suit Molls, maybe you would have liked something better.”

“Nah, I’m a burger and fries type of girl like Molly here. Besides there’ll be plenty of time for us to go to fancy restaurants.”

“Yes, I think we need that. I hope Molls gets on well with Lynn and her grandchildren, if she does maybe we could do that again and have some alone time.”

“Yeah, Lynn’s great with kids. I’m sure she’ll have a great time.”

After they placed their order, Emily asked, “What are you doing? You know, I think it’s attached to your hand.”

Dylan looked up from her phone with a cheesy grin.”I’m on Twitter telling everyone what a wonderful day I’m having.”

“Oh, what did you say?”

“I said, Having a wonderful day, shopping with my two girls. ”

Emily reached over and took Dylan’s big hand. “You are just the sweetest person I have ever met. I don’t know why you weren’t snapped up years ago.”

“No one was you.” Dylan lifted her hand and kissed it tenderly.

“Is it that simple?”

“Yes, it is to me. No one ever made me feel like you do. As soon as I started talking to you, I knew you were right for me. You don’t mind me talking about you on this do you?”

“No, I think it’s nice that you want to be open about us.”

“Good. Cause I want to shout it from the rooftops!”

They enjoyed a good meal with lots of laughs. Emily was so glad Molly had her; the little girl had never had as much fun in her young life until she met Dylan. The big woman acted like a big kid and Molly loved it.

All through the meal, people kept coming up asking for autographs and pictures. Sometimes Emily forgot just how famous Dylan was, but she was always polite and respectful as long as they didn’t take pictures that included Molly and herself. Molly at first thought it was fun but then started to get a little jealous of seeing strangers taking her playmate’s attention.

“Dien?” Molly looked up from her ice cream sundae.

“Yeah Smurf?”

“Why those people always want to get a picture?”

Dylan looked a little forlornly at Emily. How do you explain fame to a little girl? “Well, uh . . .”

Emily jumped in. “You know that Dylan works on the TV, sweetie?”

Molly nodded. “Well everybody watches Dylan’s show and they really like it. So when they see her they’re really excited, but you’re lucky, you get to spend lots of time on your own with Dylan so it’s not too bad to let some people talk to her for a few minutes is it?”

Molly thought hard and when she realized she must be special to have so much of Dylan’s time, she smiled smugly.

“It’s otay, Mama.”

“Good girl.” Emily patted her daughter’s cheek.

“Hey Molls, guess what I’m doing on the show this week?”

“What?! What?!”

“It’s an eating challenge. I have to eat yucky stuff like insects and rat’s tails and eyeballs.”

“Cool!!” she said excitedly.

Emily looked rather pale. “You’re kidding me. You’d really do that?”

“Yeah, it’s my job.”

“Well forget kissing me with those lips after.”

“Aww Emmie! No kisses for your honey?” Dylan said in a baby voice.

“No! Not one.”

Dylan lifted her hand and gently stroked down Emily’s arm, making her shiver, and then looked at her straight in the eyes.

“Baby girl, you won’t be able to resist me.”

Emily lost herself in Dylan’s gaze. Only to be interrupted by the server coming to clear their plates.

“Can I get you anything else?”

“No, thank you, just the bill,” Dylan replied.

They made their way back home, Dylan looking a lot like a packhorse under all their bags.

Molly ran off to the bedroom to play with a toy Dylan had got her and Emily took the opportunity of getting the dark haired woman alone.

She pulled Dylan towards her and kissed her passionately. When they parted she said, “I need to thank you for a wonderful day. I’ve never had the chance to try on beautiful clothes like that, much less buy them. It was magical. And the clothes you bought Molly were so cute. You spoil us too much.”

“Emmie. I’ve worked hard, really hard, to achieve the career that I have but for as much as I enjoy it, I would come back here to loneliness and silence. With you two in my life, everything is now joyful, a trip to the museum, a trip to the shops. I love to spend my money on you both, I now realize why being successful matters because I want to build a life with you two. A family. All that I’ve achieved was for a reason, so I could have the means to look after what I hope will be my family. I know you want to take things slow, but I know I want us to be together properly, with you both living here with me. And I promise you will never want for anything again.”

Emily closed her eyes, taking in this emotional statement. “I want that too, we’ll get there. It’s just hard for me, I’ve been so independent for so long. Just give me some time.”

Leaning in for a kiss, Dylan said, “I’d wait forever, baby girl. I love you.”

****

Tuesday arrived. Emily had gotten two days vacation from the diner so she could enjoy getting ready and not worry about work the next day. Her boss was only too happy to help these days because of the increased business due to her newfound celebrity.

Dylan had picked them up Monday evening to stay over .

While Emily was relaxing in Dylan’s big whirlpool tub, her partner was entertaining Molly in the game room. She could hear the squeals and laughter from there, even though Dylan had set some relaxing music to play through the bathroom speakers.

Lynn was coming over in the next hour to pick up Molly. The little girl didn’t seem phased by going to stay with Lynn and her grandkids, which surprised Emily as the girl hadn’t mixed much with other children, but the prospect of getting to play with other kids had Molly very overexcited.

In the other room, a game on the Xbox had descended into a tickle fight on the floor. “Dien! Ha! Ha! I beat you again!” Molly giggled uncontrollably.

“You beat me, you little monkey! No one beats Dylan at a dare!”

Emily cleared her throat.

Dylan looked up to see Emily standing in the doorway, arms crossed, only in a robe with her hair tied up in a towel.

Oh my god she looks adorable. What I wouldn’t give to slowly open that . . .Agh! Don’t go there! You’ll drive yourself crazy.

“Well, what are you two up to?”

Molly jumped up and pulled her mother by the hand over to the TV.

“Mama! I beat Dien’s Dare!”

“Oh? What was the dare?”

“We were playing this soccer game on the Xbox and I told her it was Dylan’s Dare and the little Smurf whipped my butt!”

Dylan turned to Emily and winked. “Show your mama how to do it, Molls.”

The little girl stood in front of the large screen TV and kicked an invisible ball. On the screen, the soccer ball flew past the goalkeeper into the net.

“Yeah! I score Mama!” Molly squealed.

“Well done, sweetie! Can Mama try?”

Molly nodded. “Just kick it hard, Mama.”

Emily looked down at the floor in front of her. “Where’s the ball though?”

“On the screen, baby. Look.” Dylan lined her up with the ball on the screen.

“Now kick.” She did and the ball went sailing well over the bar.

“Don’t be sad, Mama. You’ll do better.” Molly patted her Mom, trying to make her better.

“Yeah Mama Smurf. You just need practice,” said Dylan smiling.

Emily playfully slapped her on the arm. “Hey goofy! You behave. Technology is amazing these days isn’t it? Molly has never played a game consoles like you have and she has just picked it up in no time.”

“Kids are like that, it comes natural.”

The intercom buzzed. “That’ll be Lynn. I’ll buzz her up.”

“Okay. I’ll grab Molly’s overnight bag.”

Dylan opened the door. “Hey Lynn! Come in. Emily’s just getting Molly together.”

“No problem. Charlie’s got the kids at home. We thought we’d go to a movie, then dinner and tomorrow maybe the aquarium.”

“That sounds great. Listen, use the company credit card for everything. Don’t want you out of pocket for all that.”

Dylan had accounts set up for a few trusted members of the production company for expenses and such. Lynn managed the account for Dylan and used it for sending gifts to guests, getting things for Dylan and any other expenses.

“Dylan, there’s no need, we were taking Jamie and Suzy out anyway.”

“Please, just use it and enjoy, you work so hard, you deserve it.”

“Well if you say so. Everything is set up for tonight. Your car will pick you up around 5:30. I’m glad I don’t have to find you a date anymore!” the older woman joked. Dylan smiled warmly and said, “Me too. I’ll just go and check on the girls.”

Dylan found Emily zipping up Molly’s winter coat.

“Now remember sweetie, Mama put some money in your purse in your backpack if you want to buy anything.”

“It’s okay Emmie; Lynn is going to use the company credit card for everything. She thought they’d do a movie tonight then the aquarium tomorrow.”

“Yeah! See the fishes, Mama!” said Molly excitedly. “Oh. Are you sure?” Emily sounded a little worried.

“Yeah don’t worry about anything. I’m sure it’s tax deductible somewhere along the way.”

“How could a visit to the aquarium be tax deductible for the Dylan Morgan Show?” Emily smirked.

The dark haired woman folded her arms across her chest and raised an eyebrow.

“Research for a dare. “Dylan hand feeds raw meat to sharks?”

“Yes. Whatever you say, honey. Okay. You got everything, Molls?”

Suddenly Emily’s heart began to pound. It had always just been Molly and herself. Their lives were changing so fast and it was hard to let her daughter go off on her own.

“Yeah Mama.”

“Okay, give me a hug. You do what Lynn tells you, okay?”

Dylan could see Emily had tears welling up in her eyes.

“Uh, why don’t I take Molly out, Emmie?”

“Yes. Thanks, I . . .think that would be best.”

“Have fun at the premere, Mama.”

“I will, sweetie.”

Molly walked off hand in hand with Dylan, and when they were out of sight, the tears began to fall. Within minutes, Dylan was back. “Well Molly went off as happy as a little piglet in mud . . .oh sweetheart. What’s wrong?” She went straight over and took the young woman in her arms.

Emily cuddled into her chest. “I’ve never spent a night apart from her, its hard letting go. I know it’s silly.”

“It’s not silly. Since she was born it’s been you and Molly against the world. It’s gonna take time before you realize there are people to help you now, and me to love you.”

You’re right. I’m so lucky to have found you.”

“Before you get dressed, I know something that will cheer you up.” Dylan took her hand and guided Emily to her own bedroom and got a black velvet rectangular box from a drawer.

“Something to go with your outfit.” Dylan looked down at her shoes shyly.

“Dylan, what have you done?”

“Just open it.”

Emily opened the box to find a platinum necklace with a solitaire diamond. In the center was a pair of matching earnings. The young woman looked at the gift in silence.

Dylan took the silence as displeasure. Shit! I knew it was too much. “Look. I’m sorry . . .”

“No.” Emily looked up at Dylan with tears in her eyes.

“I’m just overwhelmed. No one has ever cared for me the way you do. In such a short space of time, you have made me feel so loved. Thank you.” Emily moved over to her girlfriend and kissed her tenderly. “I’ll treasure these forever.”

Dylan breathed a sigh of relief and pulled Emily close. “I was afraid you’d think it was too much.”

“It’s wonderful and I love you.” Emily put her hand underneath Dylan’s t-shirt and stroked her hard abs. “I think tonight is going to be magical.” She pulled back and walked away with a sway to her hips. At the door she stopped and turned to see Dylan say, “Argh! Your gonna kill me baby, I just know you are!”

Emily winked and said, “I’m going to get ready. I suggest you do too, TV star.”

I’m doomed! I know I am!

****

Dylan sat in the living room waiting for her girlfriend while nursing a scotch. This had always been her tradition for events she attended in the past. The prospect of spending the evening in the company of some actress or TV personality that Lynn chose never filled her with joy, making small talk was torturous. Tonight though, would be different. Dylan was excited about showing her girlfriend the bright lights and glamour of a showbiz event.

From the hallway, Emily watched Dylan lost in her thoughts. She looks so good. I hope I’m not a disappointment, Emily thought. Her tall partner was wearing a three piece black suit with a crisp white shirt. Her thick dark hair hung simply just below her collar.

Emily took a deep breath and walked into the room. “Dylan?”

The big woman jumped up and turned. Her mouth hung open and she struggled to find the words to express how her girlfriend looked.

Emily took Dylan’s silence as a negative. “If you don’t like . . .”

Dylan quickly walked over to her and said, “No. You look absolutely stunning. You take my breath away.” Dylan peppered Emily’s neck with tiny kisses, her libido kicking into overdrive. “Oh you smell so good!”

“Do you really like it?”

Dylan took a step back and looked her up and down. The off-white dress clung to her curves in all the right places.

“Baby girl, I will have the most beautiful woman on my arm tonight and be the envy of everyone one there.”

Emily trailed her hand teasingly down the front of Dylan’s chest, ending as she gave the big woman’s belt a tug. “You look so handsome, honey; I could just eat you all up!”

“Ugh!” Dylan moaned. “Don’t say things like that when we have to leave in ten minutes!”

Emily giggled at the clearly exasperated woman. “Poor baby! Maybe I can do something about that later.”

Dylan growled as she kissed her way down her girlfriends arm. Emily loved the effect she could have on this big powerful woman.

“Honey could you get me a drink? I could use some Dutch courage before facing that red carpet!”

“Sure. What would you like? Whiskey, vodka, wine, champagne?” Dylan asked, walking to the kitchen.

“You have all that?” Emily followed her to the kitchen.

“Yeah. I like making cocktails and stuff. I’m not good at cooking but I am good with drinks.”

“Um . . .how about vodka, soda and lime?”

“Okay, give me a sec.” Dylan got the drink together with a flourish.

Emily took a sip. “Hmm. Nice. I’d love to try some of your cocktails another time.”

“Sure thing.”

The door buzzer rang. “That’ll be the car.” Emily looked nervous as she gulped down the last of her drink.

Dylan took Emily’s hands in hers. “Listen, you’ll be fine. I’ll look after you, just stick close and remember to enjoy yourself. I know I go on about not liking the showbiz lifestyle but going with you will be fun. Think of it as our coming out party.”

“Okay. I’ll try. I just feel like I have a school of fish swimming around in my stomach. Let’s go, TV star!”

****

The long black limousine pulled up outside the Ziegfeld Theatre. Emily gripped Dylan’s hand tightly as she heard the muted noise of the crowd and cries of the photographers.

While they were still in the quiet bubble of the car, Dylan took the opportunity to prepare her girlfriend for what was to come.

“When the door opens, noise and sound are gonna hit you. Just hold onto me and I’ll guide you in. We have to stop for the photographers. Just smile and remember that I love you more than anything.” Dylan leaned over and kissed her softly on the lips.

“I won’t let you down, honey.”

“You never could. Ready to face the masses?”

Emily took a deep breath. “As I’ll ever be!”

Dylan knocked on the partition in front of them and within seconds the door was opened.

A wall of noise and flashes hit Emily. Oh my god! The young blonde’s heart pounded in her chest. She felt herself pulled from the car and suddenly they were there, in the thick of it. Shouts and calls seemed to come from everywhere.

“Dylan! Over here! Emily!” Dylan stood with her arm protectively around Emily’s waist.

What was it Dylan said to remember? Oh yeah smile. I can do that. Oh God! Julia Roberts is like ten feet away from me, Emily thought in a panic.

Sensing her girlfriend’s tension, Dylan whispered. “Breath baby, breath. You’re doing great.”

“Dylan! Dylan! Kiss her! Come on!” The photographers shouted.

“Why do they want you to kiss me?”

“Money, baby. We’re in the news everyday of the week, practically. A picture of us at our first event together will be worth big bucks. They’re not getting it, though. Come on I need to go over and sign a few autographs.”

They walked over to where the fans were waiting behind barricades.

The yells and screaming were unbelievable. Arms with pens were thrust under Dylan’s nose, while security guards kept them from grabbing the star too much.

“Dylan I love you!” Lots of voices screamed. “Marry me, Dylan!” Came others.

Men had pictures taken with her in an arm wrestling pose.

One girl grabbed Dylan around the neck and managed to kiss her on the cheek before the security guard pulled her off. In between all this, TV stations stuck microphones out to her, firing off question after question, some aimed at Emily but Dylan took charge and fielded them for her.

Until this moment, Emily had never fully grasped how famous Dylan was. Women seemed to love her and guys thought she was cool. She suddenly felt so inadequate.

Dylan looked around and saw that Emily looked a little unsure.

“Sorry guys, I’ll need to go in now. Thanks for coming down.”

She is so good with the public. She smiles and chats, no matter what people ask. It was hard for Emily to reconcile this person to the goofy big oaf who was lost for words most of the time.

Dylan steered them into the foyer. “You okay, baby? You did really well.”

Emily looked shell-shocked. “I’m fine, I think. It was a bit off a blur. Oh, and come here.” She wiped the lipstick off the big woman’s cheek.

“Oh yeah. I’m sorry about that.” Dylan said sheepishly.

“You’re lucky I was in a state of shock or I might have clawed her eyes out.”

“Grr! Easy, Mama Smurf.” Secretly Dylan’s heart swelled at the thought of her girlfriend being a little jealous.

They were shown to their seats and finally Emily could relax a little.

After the film they went to the after party. In the past, Dylan usually skipped these events, but tonight she was delighted to show off her new girlfriend.

The champagne was flowing and, as she had eaten very little, the alcohol was making Emily much more relaxed. Lots of people approached Dylan. Producers, directors, other actors, and even the star of the evening, Julia Roberts, came up to say hello. Emily had been very starstruck but was so happy that the film star was everything she hoped, friendly and open. Through it all, Dylan never let go of her and even if she was deep in conversation, she would gently stroke her thumb over Emily’s knuckle as they held hands, just to show affection.

While Dylan spoke with a producer about an up and coming project, Emily spoke to his wife. At first she had been a bit intimidated by the glamorous brunette but was delighted to find her a charming and friendly woman.

“How are you coping with your first trial by cameras?”

“It was a little overwhelming but what shocked me the most was just how famous Dylan is. Girls were screaming for her more than some of the hunky actors. Men wanted to shake her hand. It was strange, I mean all those girls couldn’t have been gay.”

“Well done, you’ve worked out why every TV company and producer, like my husband, wants to work with her. The TV audience loves her. She holds a unique talent of appealing to both sexes equally. Guys love her stunts and would like to have a beer with her and women, straight or gay, love her. She’s every straight woman’s girl crush. Dylan’s got that butch handsome thing going on, and just seems to exude a kind of raw sexuality women just love. Maybe it’s the scary stunts, or the fact that she’s quiet and isn’t in the papers with a string of girls, I don’t know. She’s a star and I’d have been fighting you for her if I were ten years younger and not happily married. You’re a lucky woman.”

At that moment, Dylan turned round and flashed Emily a toothy grin.

“Oh I know. She’s perfect to me.

Episode 4

On the way back in the limo, the couple couldn’t keep their hands, or their lips, off each other.

“Oh god baby, I want you so much,” Dylan told Emily between kisses, her voice deep and husky with lust.

Emily pulled back and looked seriously into her girlfriend’s eyes.

“I want you, too.” Emily’s hand had managed to make it under Dylan’s shirt where her fingers were caressing the big woman’s hard stomach, making Dylan’s lust rise to dangerous levels.

“Dyl, I know I’ve made you wait but I just wanted everything to be right.”

“It’s okay baby, I understand. I told you, I can wait for as long as you need.”

“No, I don’t want to wait any longer. I love you with all my heart and I want to make love with you.”

Dylan turned and knocked on the privacy screen. “Step on it, buddy!”

Emily dissolved in laughter. “You are such a goof!”

“Yeah, but I’m your goof. Come here!”

****

They finally made it through the door, as Dylan had to try and unlock the door while an amorous Emily kissed her.

Now that they were home, reality set in and they both felt a little shy.

To break the tension, Dylan suggested that Emily change into something more comfortable while she got some champagne.

Dylan put her jacket over the back of a chair, opened the fridge and pulled out a bottle of Louis Roederer Cristal Rose champagne. As she opened it she thought, This is it, Morgan. This is what you’ve been waiting for. The love of your life, the woman of your dreams is sitting on your bed waiting for you to make love to her. Shit! No pressure, huh? What if I do something she doesn’t like?”

The few times Dylan had made love during her life had been awkward and uneventful. Always being shy around women and never feeling a connection with them made it hard to fully enjoy the experience.

But this is Emmie! It will be different. Just relax and go with it.

She lifted the tray with glasses and champagne, then had an idea and grabbed a bowl of strawberries from the fridge.

****

In the bedroom, Emily was just as nervous. She had slipped out of her dress and put on a black negligee. She was trying to figure out where to place herself on the bed before Dylan walked in. I bet those actresses I saw salivating over Dylan earlier wouldn’t be this nervous! Emily, that’s enough. Buck up! If she wanted them in her bed she would have them. She wants you. She loves you. Just do what comes naturally.

Dylan walked through the bedroom door and stopped dead when she saw Emily sitting there in black silk.

“Wow! You look . . .Just wow!”

“Thank you. Is that champagne I see?” she asked shyly.

When Dylan didn’t reply and stood like a statue holding on to the tray with a viselike grip, Emily said, “Dylan?”

Uh? What did she say? Um . . .pull it together, Morgan! Champagne! That’s it.

“Yeah, it’s rosé, I hope you like it, and I brought strawberries,” she said putting the tray on the side table. She poured out the champagne and popped a strawberry in each glass.

“I feel quite decadent,” said Emily.

“It’s special. I’ve never shared champagne with anyone like this, or my room.”

Dylan was struggling to keep her eyes away from Emily’s breasts; they were ample, round and perfectly matched Emily’s curvaceous body. Dylan was a breast woman and when they were making out she had always paid particular attention to them. Now only a piece of lace separated her from touching them and her mouth watered at the thought.

Emily smiled noting where her girlfriend’s eyes were glued. “Your bedroom is nice.”

“Uh thanks. I just had a decorator do the whole place. As long as it has a big bed and a TV on the wall, I’m happy.”

“Maybe a little sparse,” Emily added, trying not to sound nervous.

“Well maybe you could give me some pointers.” Dylan lifted the strawberry from her glass and put it to Emily’s lips. When the blonde went to bite it, Dylan pulled it out of her reach and popped it in her own mouth. She then picked up another, dipped it in champagne and held it out, teasing Emily with it.

The blonde’s heart began to thud in her chest as she realized the game had started. She locked eyes with Dylan’s steely blue ones.

“You’re not going to give me what I want?”

“You need to ask yourself what it’s going to take to get what you want.”

Ah! That’s how it’s going to be, is it? Well two can play at that game! thought Emily.

Dylan watched as her girlfriend seductively began to raise the negligee up her body, finally releasing the breasts that had been taunting Dylan. She then lay on the big bed and patted the side to beckon Dylan over. The pounding that had been in her chest was now migrating south.

Oh shit! She called my bluff! Well, you did ask what it would take. Dylan, still dressed, kicked off her shoes and lay down beside Emily, leaning above the blonde. She took the champagne covered strawberry and painted Emily’s lips with the liquid. The young woman moaned and her tongue snaked out, licking the cool drink from her lips.

Dylan trailed the fruit from Emily’s neck down to her chest and began circling Emily’s hard nipples with the dripping fruit.

Dylan’s mouth watered at the sight of the liquid dripping down her girlfriend’s breasts. It took everything in her not to pounce on them herself. Instead, Dylan dipped the fruit in more champagne and continued her journey down Emily’s stomach until the liquid pooled in her belly button. As the blonde’s moans increased, Dylan couldn’t hold back any longer and traced her tongue around Emily’s navel, finally indulging in the liquid. “Ugh! Dylan, please come up here. I need you.”

The big woman did as she was asked and held the strawberry over Emily’s lips. “Bite,” Dylan ordered.

Emily did, savoring the taste of the plump fruit. She was then offered the champagne. “Drink.” Dylan let a little spill over, then put the glass down and attacked the glistening lips.

Dylan’s hands were everywhere, stroking, touching and squeezing. The moans were increasing from both women.

“Honey, take these off. I need to feel you.”

The big woman jumped up and started to strip off her clothes, never once taking her eyes off the blonde.

Emily watched every movement as Dylan slowly unbuttoned her crisp white shirt and pulled it off. To Emily, Dylan’s body was perfect. Where Dylan loved the soft curves and ample breasts of a feminine woman, Emily adored Dylan’s hard and muscular body with broad shoulders, small breasts and long powerful legs.

The look in her dark haired partner’s eyes was hungry and feral, and made Emily’s sex clench in anticipation. The thought of being taken by this big woman was almost too much to bear.

Opening her belt buckle slowly, Dylan said, “I want you so much, but I want you to know how much this means to me. I love you more than anything in the world, Emily Taylor.”

Emily lifted her hand and beckoned the now naked Dylan towards her.

“I know. I have never loved anyone like I love you, Dylan. Make love to me.”

The big woman obliged by taking her place on top of Emily. When their skin came together, they both moaned and quickly found each other’s mouths. Dylan had waited so long to be granted the privilege of touching Emily, so she was determined to show the young woman how much she was desired and adored. Emily moaned as Dylan kissed and bit and nipped down her throat. From the noises Emily was making and the grip pulling her head down harder, Dylan realized her girlfriend liked her lovemaking a little rougher. So she bit down harder, leaving the marks that would claim the blonde as her own.

The kisses drifted lower until Dylan’s lips were finally where they wanted to be, locked around Emily’s nipple.

“Oh Dyl! Ugh! Harder.”

Dylan bit down harder. “Yes! Like that. Oh God!”

Moving to the neglected breast, Dylan swirled her tongue and sucked as much of her girlfriend’s breast as she could, moaning and feeling the constant throb deep in her own sex.

“Honey please, come up here. I need to look at you.”

Dylan made her way up. “Anything, but let me love you.” Emily nodded and as their mouths and tongues came together again, the young woman felt Dylan’s long fingers part her folds and stroke along the length of her.

“Oh baby! You’re so wet.” Dylan looked deep into her girlfriend’s eyes. “I need to be inside of you. Please let me,” she begged.

“I need you deep inside me. Take me, I’m yours.”

Dylan whimpered as Emily opened her legs wider in invitation. As Dylan slid two fingers inside her girlfriend, they both moaned. “Oh God, baby. You feel so good.”

Emily felt Dylan begin a gentle thrust. It felt good, not only to have Dylan inside her, but to feel the reassuring weight of being pinned down by her girlfriend.

“Dyl, at the same time. I want us to come together.” Dylan nodded and Emily felt her partner’s slick heat as she repositioned herself.

Dylan began to thrust against her girlfriend and Emily marveled at the look of utter lust in Dylan’s eyes. “Oh shit! I won’t be able to hold on that long, baby.”

“Me . . .neither, just love me. I need you . . .oh god Dyl, fuck me Dyl!!”

The big woman growled and began to thrust faster, letting her thumb graze Emily’s hard nub. The young woman gripped Dylan’s back tightly, sinking deeper into Dylan’s skin.

Feeling the beginnings of Emily’s orgasm around her fingers only served to bring Dylan closer to the brink.

“Shit. I’m gonna come, baby,” Dylan cried.

“Yes! Come with me now, honey!” Emily felt the scream rise in her throat and her body shook with the force of her orgasm.

Dylan thrust wildly against her and came with a shout, “Agh! Fuck!” She collapsed against Emily trembling. The emotion they both felt left them drained. Dylan lay there, still trembling and softy repeating, “Shit! I love you. I love you. I need you so much.”

Emily wrapped her arms around the big woman’s neck and pulled her as tight as she could. “Sh! It’s okay, honey. I’m here, and I love you. I’ve got you.”

It didn’t surprise Emily that Dylan responded with such feeling. To the public, she was a big tough TV star, but where emotions were concerned she was vulnerable and needed reassurance; the reassurance that only Emily could give her.

Dylan looked into her eyes, still trembling. “I’m sorry baby. I’ve never felt anything like that in my life. It was like I wasn’t just inside your body, but your soul. I’ve never had this sort of connection before.”

Emily cupped Dylan’s face in her hands. “Don’t ever be sorry for showing me what’s in here.” She rested her hand over Dylan’s heart.

“I feel privileged that you can be yourself with me.”

Dylan kissed her deeply, pouring as much love into it as she could before pulling away and saying, “I love you, Emmie. You and Molly are my life. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure you never leave me.”

“I won’t, honey. Ever.” She pulled Dylan to her chest and gently stroked her back until her partner’s breathing evened out and they both fell into a peaceful slumber.

****

Dylan had been awake for a while, content with gazing at Emily as she slept cuddled up to her side, and gently stroking her blonde hair.

She’d never woken up happier in her life. This young woman had turned her life upside down in such a short space of time. Emily had given her love, a taste of family life. And she wanted more. She needed to find a way to make her girlfriend realize that this going slow business was no good.

I want my two girls with me all the time. I need to find a way to make it happen, Dylan thought.

Emily’s eyes fluttered open. “Hmm! Morning, TV star.”

“Morning, baby girl,” said Dylan, kissing her gently on the forehead.

Emily stretched and rolled on top of her partner. “How long have you been awake?”

“Half hour or so.”

“You should have woken me,” Emily yawned.

“Nah. I just wanted to lie here and look at you.” Dylan stroked her girlfriend’s face.

“You’re not going for a run?”

“You think after last night I would leave you in this warm bed? I might be goofy, Mama Smurf, but I’m not stupid!”

Emily laughed and kissed her partner’s lips teasingly.

“Emmie, last night was . . .was the best night of my life and I’ve never been happier.”

“Mine too. I didn’t ever think I could be this close to someone again. Be loved the way you love me, and the way you are with Molly . . .well she just adores you.”

Dylan grinned and rolled Emily onto her back. “I want this all the time, I want us to be a family. I know you keep saying that we need to take things slowly but I know what I want. I want you and Molly here with me. Live with me, I can look after you both. Surely you know I won’t let you down. I know you’ve been hurt and even though we haven’t known each other a long time, you know me. We share the same hopes and dreams, the same values. Trust in me, I’m not going to walk away from you,” Dylan implored.

“I know and I do trust you. I want to be with you always and I want us to be a family and make a home together, but this is your first relationship and it’s a lot to ask of you to go from being single with no responsibilities to, in a few short months, having a family depend on you. Give me a little more time, okay? I love you. We will have everything you want, I promise.”

Dylan sighed, “I can be patient. You and Molls are worth it.”

Emily, stroking Dylan’s face said, “You are the sweetest, cutest TV star in the world!”

“Thank you. Now kiss me!”

“Don’t you want me to make breakfast?” Emily asked as her partner attacked her neck.

“Later. First I want to taste every single part of your body until you scream! Grrr!” Dylan began to kiss her way down her girlfriend’s body until her tongue reached its goal.

“Oh god, Dyl! Ugh! You are never leaving this bedroom!” Emily felt Dylan chuckle against her sex.

****

The couple did manage to tear themselves away from the bedroom long enough for Emily to make them breakfast, and they now sat at the kitchen table having eaten the French toast Emily made them. Dylan sat grinning, head resting on her hand, watching Emily drink her coffee.

“What?”

“Nothing. I’m just happy and I love looking at you.”

“Dylan Morgan, you’re a charmer. I don’t know how you didn’t have a string of women before me.” Dylan reached across the table and took the young woman’s hand.

“None of them were you. You’re the difference. You’re what I’ve been waiting for my whole life.”

“I have to tell you, last night was amazing. It’s never been like that for me before,” Emily said sadly.

“Toni was my first. At the beginning it was nice, but just nice. Then, as time went on she became a little selfish, taking what she wanted from me. It became a chore. She said I bored her, that’s why she cheated on me.” Emily felt Dylan’s anger rise as her grip tightened on Emily’s hand.

“But she never touched me like you do, you make me feel treasured and worshipped.”

“That’s because you are, baby girl.” Dylan lifted Emily’s hand to her lips. “It is an honor kiss to touch kiss to taste you.” Kiss .

Emily smiled. “I think we were made for each other and I’m never going to stop wanting to touch you, but I want this to never change. I want us to be open and talk. If there is anything you’d ever like to try? Fantasies? Just tell me.”

“Oh, I have lots of fantasies, but there is one thing I would like to try with you. I’ve always wanted to, but I’ve never been with anyone I’ve felt comfortable with. If you don’t like it, it’s okay. I know some women don’t and I won’t . . .”

Exasperated Emily said, “Dyl! Just tell me.”

Dylan moved her chair closer and began to whisper in Emily’s ear. Slowly a smile began to form on Emily’s face. “I really like that and I can’t wait to try it with you, in as many ways as possible.”

Dylan beamed, suddenly very excited. “Really? You do? You would?”

“Yes! In fact,” Emily started kissing down the big woman’s neck “the very thought is making me want you all over again. Tell you what, why don’t we discuss it in the shower?”

She stood and walked towards the bathroom slowly, swaying her hips teasingly. “Come on, TV star! Do you want me to start without you?”

“Shit! You’ve got some internet shopping to do, Morgan. But later. Much later,” she said to herself as she jumped up and chased after her girlfriend.

****

Dylan was sitting at the kitchen table on her MacBook while Emily was cooking dinner, waiting for Molly to return home.

“Hey baby! Come look at this.” Emily put down the chopping knife and walked behind Dylan’s chair, draping her arms over the big woman’s shoulders and kissing her cheek before looking at the screen. The first pictures of us last night are on the net, look.”

Emily smiled. “What a good looking couple we make. Will you keep that up to show Molls?”

“Sure, look.” She opened a second window and afterellen.com popped up. The main headline read, ‘Millions of lesbian’s hearts broken as Dylan Morgan steps out with new girl.’ Below was a picture of them on the red carpet.

Emily nuzzled into Dylan’s neck. “Hmm. They can stay broken as well. You’re taken and I’ve got the marks on my neck to prove it.”

Dylan growled and pulled Emily onto her lap. “I’m all yours baby girl and you’re mine, don’t you worry about that.” The big woman kissed her thoroughly, her tongue probing deeply into her mouth.

Needing air, they pulled away. “Mmm, I can’t get enough of you. If we weren’t expecting the Smurf back, I’d be dragging you back to bed. There are so many things I want to do to you, and with you. You inspire me.”

Emily laughed. “I’m willing to give you my body for research proposes.”

“Thank you. I . . .uh, did a little shopping on the web while you were busy in the kitchen,” Dylan said with a sly look on her face.

“Oh? Would this shopping have anything to do with what we discussed earlier?” Emily began a teasing caress on her girlfriend’s stomach.

Dylan shivered as love bumps appeared on her arms. “Maybe. The packages should be delivered in a few days.”

“I can’t wait, honey. I better go and finish dinner before you get me any more excited. Molly should be back soon.” As she stood, Dylan smacked Emily on the butt.

Emily’s head whipped around and she said, “Down boy!”

“I can’t help it! Your ass just sways and tempts me all the time. What do you expect?”

Emily put an extra sway in her step as she walked away.

“So what are we having?” Dylan shouted towards the kitchen.

“Mac and cheese, fresh garlic bread and caesar salad.”

“Yum. All from scratch? Doesn’t garlic bread come in packets?”

“Honey! You really need looking after. Fresh crusty bread, butter and garlic. I don’t know how you manage the training you do when you eat so much junk!”

“Vitamins and protein shakes. Have you always enjoyed cooking?”

“Yeah. When I spent my summers and holidays with my grandma, we’d spend every day cooking, baking and making cookies. There was always a smell of baking and warmth and love in that kitchen. Something my mother didn’t understand.” Emily stared off into the distance.

“It’s all I’ve ever wanted, a big loving family. My dream is a big kitchen full of family coming and going.”

I’m going to give you your dreams, baby. Everything and more, determined Dylan.

The buzzer rang. “That’ll be Lynn and Molly.” Dylan got up to buzz them in.

Molly bounced through the door. “Dien! Mama! I miffed ou!” She jumped into Dylan’s arms for a hug, as Emily made her way over.

“We missed you too, Smurf!”

“Did you have a good time?” Her mother asked as she gave her a kiss.

“Yeah! Ouzy and Damie take me to see the sharks! They scary, Mama. I got a cuddly one, look!” Molly showed her stuffed toy to them.

Turning to Lynn, Emily asked, “How was she?”

“She was great, such a polite little girl. She fell in love with Suzy and Jamie,” said the older woman.

“I’m glad, she hasn’t been around other kids much.”

“Well, we’ll need to take them with us the next time we do something,” said Dylan.

“They were a joy to look after. Did you two have fun?”

Dylan beamed and Emily smiled warmly. “We had a lovely time. It was bit scary at first but I relaxed eventually.”

Lynn noted the new closeness between Dylan and Emily.

“Good, I’m so glad you finally had fun at one of these things,” Lynn said to Dylan.

“It smells great in here, what are you cooking?”

“Oh mac and cheese, Caesar salad and garlic bread. I thought I should feed her before we leave.”

“I’m glad she has someone else to make sure she eats now!”

“Hey, don’t gang up on me you two!” Dylan pouted.

They all laughed. You look the happiest I’ve ever seen you, Dylan. You deserve it, thought Lynn.

“Well, I better scoot. I’ll see you at work tomorrow, Dylan.”

“Sure. Thanks so much for looking after Molly for us.”

“She’s no bother.”

“Molls come and say thank you to Lynn.”

Molly ran over and cuddled Lynn’s legs. “Thank ou, Lynn! I had fun!”

“You’re very welcome, sweetie. Bye then.”

Dylan saw Lynn out and Emily scooped up her little girl. “So you had fun, Molls?”

“Yeah, but I miffed ou and Dien.”

“I know, but we’re going to have dinner with Dylan before we go home later, okay?”

“Why can’t we stay ere, Mama? I want to be wiv Dien.”

Emily turned and looked at Dylan. Her big partner stood, arms folded, waiting for Emily’s answer. She obviously agreed with Molly.

“Mama has to work tomorrow, so we can’t.”

“But . . .”

“No Molly! We have to go home,” Emily said with a sharp edge to her voice.

Trying to keep the little girl happy, Dylan said. “Hey Molls. Want to see a picture of your Mama at the big film premiere last night?”

“Y eah!”

“Come on then.” Dylan grabbed the little girl and turned her upside down. Molly giggled as Dylan carried her over to the kitchen table by the ankles.

“Dien! Let me up!”

“Okay. Sit on my knee.” She opened the web page on the laptop. “Look how beautiful your Mama is?”

“Mama! Ou look really pwetty!”

“Thank you, sweetie. Why don’t you and Dylan set the table for me?”

“Sure thing, Mama Smurf.” Dylan winked at her.

Oh Dylan. I’m so in love with you, it scares me, thought Emily.

****

In another part of the city, someone else sat looking at the same pictures.

The headline read, ‘Dylan Morgan and Emily Taylor. Can they have a happily ever after?’

The figure laughed and clicked to print out the picture.

****

Dylan, Emily and Molly sat enjoying their meal a little later. “Mmm, this is so good, Emmie.”

“Good, Mama,” Molly agreed.

“I’m glad you both like it.” It warmed Emily’s heart to sit around the table sharing a meal with the two people she loved most in the world.

“So, is it all days for you again this week?”

“Yes. I promised I’d stick to days, didn’t I?” Emily said defensively.

They’d had many discussions about Emily’s job; it was becoming more and more difficult with her new notoriety.

“I know. I’m just thinking of your safety, you can’t even work out front anymore without being hassled. I’m sorry my life makes things difficult for you,” Dylan said sadly.

What I’m I doing! I shouldn’t be making her feel bad, thought Emily.

“I’m sorry. I know things are getting more and more difficult and you’re only thinking of my safety , but I need to work until it becomes impossible.”

Dylan decided to shut up and not ruin the rest of their time together, so she simply nodded.

“What are you doing tomorrow?”

“It’s a lighter week so I don’t really have to practice anything; just write some sketches and my monologue. Because it’s Halloween, we’re having a special dare. It’s spooky! You sure you want to know, Molls?”

“Tell me! Tell me!” Molly clapped her hands.

“Well, Thursday night I have to do an overnight in one of the most haunted places in New York. It’s a large estate on Long Island. I’m doing the challenge with Steve Jones, you know, the country singer?”

Emily nodded.

“Well the house and grounds are reputedly haunted, so we’re going to have a walk around the house, talking about some of the ghost stories, then . . .”

Dylan stopped and looked worriedly at Molly’s little face.

“I don’t know if I should say . . .you know, in front of the kid.”

“It can’t be that bad. Go on.”

“Well . . .it’s called Dark Terror. The crew is going to place two coffins underground and we’ll both get placed in the coffins with the lids shut. It’ll be pitch black inside and the side panels will be opened for rats to swarm in. We have to try and stay as long as possible. Our charities get money for every hour we spend underground.”

“Oh my God! Is that safe? How will you breathe?”

“It’ll be okay, baby. Air is piped into the coffin from outside.”

“I’m glad I won’t have to watch you do that. It sounds terrifying! I’ll be so worried for you.”

“Don’t let the ghosties get ou, Dien!” Molly cuddled into her side.

“Hey guys. I’ll be fine! I am Dylan Morgan, you know. It’s what I do,” she said with a smile.

“There’s the TV star I know and love!” They giggled.

“Honestly, it’ll be fine. It gives me an easy working week and Saturday night I’ll just have one challenge since the dare will be pre-taped.”

“Ou be like Scooby Doo!”

“Yeah. Just like Scooby Doo, Smurf.” Turning to Emily she said, “That was delicious, baby.”

“Thank you, honey. I better get cleaned up and get Molly home.”

“I’ll help. Molly, I’ll put on the TV for you while Mama and I clear up, okay?”

Molly nodded and trotted off to sit on the couch.

****

Dylan had dropped Emily and Molly off earlier; it was getting harder and harder for the couple to leave each other, especially when Emily knew how lonely Dylan was without them.

Molly had gone down easily after an exciting few days, and Emily was reading in bed when she heard her phone beep. Although it had been difficult accepting the expensive gift, she loved being in such close contact with her partner. Dylan would send her texts and picture messages during the day and it really made her feel loved. She picked up the phone and read, Hey baby girl. I’m just lying here thinking about you and really missing you. The two days we just spent together were magical. I love you more than anything in the world. I want to make your dreams come true, if you’ll let me. Sleep well. Your goofy TV star.xx

Emily typed out her reply.

You make me want to cry when you say things like that. I miss you too, honey. Sleep well. I love you. Goodnight. Your baby girl.xx

After sending, she turned out the light and settled down to sleep.

An hour later, a noise woke her. Sounds like the front door rattling.

Emily’s heart pounded as she grabbed her phone from the bedside table and opened her bedroom door. She could see the doorknob moving and rattling as if someone were trying to force their way in.

Without thinking, she ran into Molly’s room. She locked the door behind her and lifted Molly into her arms.

“Wh . . .what’s wrong, Mama,” Molly asked sleepily.

In a hushed voice she said, “Shh! I need you to be as quite as a mouse, okay.”

The rattling got louder. “What’s dat noise, Mama!” panic entered the little girl’s tone.

“I think someone might be trying to get in the house. Don’t worry, sweetie. Be brave for Mama.” Emily was terrified. She heard the front door burst open and someone going through her things. Her hand shaking, she pressed Dylan’s number in her contacts.

****

Dylan had drifted off looking at her iPad. She jumped when her phone rang and everything fell off the bed. “Fuck!”

When she saw Emily and Molly’s picture come up on the screen, she scrambled to answer.

“Hello! Emmie?”

All was quiet on the line, then she heard Emily whisper, “Dyl, there’s someone in the apartment! I’ve locked myself in Molly’s room. They’re smashing up the living room! I don’t know what to do!” Dylan could hear how terrified her girlfriend was.

“Oh shit! I’m coming over, Emmie. Just hold onto Molly. Fuck!”

Dylan tripped over her jeans trying to put them on.

“Sit tight. I’m on my way. I’m going to hang up and call the police. I love you, baby.”

“I love you, Dyl, please hurry!”

“Just hold Molly tight!”

Dylan grabbed her leather jacket and ran out the door, dialing 911 as she went.

Fuck! If anybody touches them I’ll rip their head off! Dylan felt physically sick as she rushed down to the parking garage while phoning the police.

The police were on their way as she jumped into the jeep and sped off.

****

“Mama! I’m scared!” Emily held Molly tight and stroked her hair as tears ran down the little girl’s face.

“Shh, be nice and quiet for Mama, okay? Dylan’s on her way with the police.”

The bangs and smashes from the living area got louder and louder. It sounded as if someone was taking a hammer to everything.

“Me want Dien, Mama!”

“I know, Molls. Be a brave girl.” She rocked her daughter trying to calm her.

Emily had propped a chair up against the door knob to make it even harder for the intruder. There wasn’t much she could use as a weapon in Molly’s room but she had grabbed a stool and she knew if it came to it, she would die trying to protect her little girl.

The bangs stopped and she heard footsteps going towards her bedroom, and then the noise started up again as the intruder smashed up her room.

Please, Dylan! Please get here in time.

The noise stopped again and the footsteps got closer and closer. Emily’s heart sank as the doorknob to Molly’s room began to twist and she could hear the lock being broken into.

She put Molly on the bed behind her, picked up the stool and said, “Molly, whatever happens, stay behind Mama, okay?”

“I scared, Mama!”

“I love you, Molly. I love you, Dylan, with all my heart.”

****

Dylan’s jeep came screeching to a halt outside of Emily’s building. She could see from the other cars that the police had arrived.

She ran up the stairs two at a time, sheer panic seizing her gut. She was stopped on the landing by cops guarding the door.

“You can’t come in here, Miss, it’s a crime scene.” “Emily called me. I’m her girlfriend! Let me through!”

“Are you Dylan Morgan?” he asked excitedly.

“Yeah, now let me in!” She tried to push her way through the two policemen.

“Sorry, can’t do that Ma’am.”

Dylan ran her hand through her dark hair. “Look, contact Sergeant Patrick Kenny and Detective Mark Lawson, they’ll vouch for me. Emmie! Molly!” she shouted over their shoulders.

Patrick Kenny came to the door. “What’s going on, officers?”

“This woman insists on getting in. Says she’s the victim’s girlfriend.”

“Victim? Shit! Patrick let me in. Please.”

“Let her through officers.” Dylan entered the living area and was shocked at how smashed up the place was. Everything was either broken or ripped.

“Oh my God. Emmie?”

“Don’t worry, Dylan. Everything’s fine. They’re just in the bedroom talking to one of the officers.”

Emily burst out of the bedroom with Molly and ran into the big woman’s arms.

“Oh Dylan. Thank God.”

“I’m here. It’s okay now.” She pulled back to check them over, their faces were stained with tears.

Molly stretched her arms out, wanting Dylan to cuddle her. “Dien, I scared. Bad man scare Mama and me. Stay wiv us, Dien.” Dylan squeezed her tight in one arm while keeping Emily pulled in tight to her chest with the other.

“What happened, baby?”

“I heard the door being rattled so I locked us both in Molly’s room. We heard them smash up the place and then just when they were picking Molly’s bedroom lock, we heard the police sirens and whoever it was ran. I was so scared, Dyl. I thought . . .” Emily dissolved into tears.

“Shh, it’s okay. I’m here now and I’ll look after you.”

“Patrick, what are you thinking? Press?”

“I don’t know. If it was the press trying to find pictures and information on Emily, the place would be ransacked, but smashed up like it is? I’m not so sure. We’ll know more tomorrow when we’ve dusted for prints and made a thorough search. Miss Taylor, do you have somewhere you could stay . . .”

“They’ll stay with me. You can contact Emily there, you have my numbers, Patrick.”

Emily never even lifted her head to disagree; she was just enjoying the calm reassurance of her partner’s strong arms.

“Okay. I’ll work personally on this Dylan. Don’t worry, we’ll sort it out.”

“Thanks buddy. Emily, let’s pack an overnight bag for you both. I’ll come back tomorrow to get more things for you because you’ll be staying with me for a while. Okay?”

“Okay.” She said meekly.

Through her sniffles, Molly said, “Ou won’t let the bad man get us?”

“No Molls. You’re safe now. Your gonna come and stay with me. No one can get you there.”

Dylan walked them into Emily’s bedroom to pack her stuff. The room was as smashed up as the living area.

Emily walked over to her bedside table and lifted two broken photo frames. One had a picture of Dylan, Molly and herself taken on their first date at the zoo. The other one was of Emily as a young girl of about 5 years old, standing up on a stool beside her grandmother baking in her kitchen.

Emily clasped her hand to her mouth and the tears flowed again. Dylan walked over and put her arm around her.

“We’ll get them reframed, baby. They’ll be as good as new.”

“Who would do something like this, Dylan?”

The big woman’s face became like stone.

“I don’t know, Emmie, but you can be sure I’ll find out.”

****

They arrived back at Dylan’s and were all enjoying a hot chocolate on the sofa. Molly was stuck to her mother and Dylan like glue, refusing to let them out of her sight. Tiredness had overcome her though, and she fell asleep cuddling into Dylan while holding her mother’s hand. Emily had calmed down a bit and was ready to talk.

“It’s funny isn’t it?” she said looking at Molly.

“What’s funny?”

“Molly automatically knows you’ll protect her. As soon as we knew we were in trouble, she wanted you. She just knows you’ll protect us.”

“She’s right. When you called me tonight, I’d never felt fear the way I did at that moment. If anything happened to the two of you, I don’t know how I could carry on.” Dylan pulled the two in tighter.

“You truly love us. You’ll make a great parent, if that’s what you want.” Emily wasn’t sure if she was going too far.

Dylan lifted her hand and threaded her fingers through Emily’s. I love you both more than life. I would die for this girl, and as soon as I can convince you to take the next step we’ll be a family.”

“I know. So what do we do now? About the intruder?”

“You’ll be safe as long as you’re here. No one gets past the front desk without buzzing up. I’ll go back to your apartment tomorrow and pack more of your things, Molly’s toys and stuff.”

“What about work?”

“You know you can’t work. You can’t fight me on that until we know what we’re dealing with. I’m sure your boss will keep the job open for you; if not, well things were getting difficult with work anyway. We can figure something else out. In the meantime, just look at this as an opportunity to stay home and take care of Molly the way you never got a chance to when she was born. Molly will love it.”

Emily sighed in resignation.

“I suppose. I know you’re right, it’s just hard to let go. I’ve worked so hard to keep our heads above water and Molly’s suffered for it, getting left with sitters all day.”

“Don’t fight me then, stay home, paint and draw with her, do fun stuff.”

“Okay. But we’ll review it when we sort all this out?” Emily said seriously.

“Scout’s honor!” Hopefully by then I’ll have convinced you to never leave! thought Dylan.

“Deal, but we’ll look after you too. I know you’ve been lonely living here alone. We’re going to make it a warm loving place for you to come home to.”

Dylan kissed her hand. “Sounds heavenly.” Dylan’s iPhone rang.

“Hello? Lynn, calm down. We’re safe. Hang on a minute.” She lifted Molly and placed her in her mother’s lap.

“Okay, I’m back. I was going to phone you, I’m sorry you had to hear it from the press. Yes they’re fine. Emily and Molly are going to be staying with me for the time being. Only thing is, I can’t come in tomorrow. I know, but I’m not leaving them until I get security sorted. I want you to get the writers to go ahead and do the sketches themselves, push back my rehearsals with Steve Jones to Friday. Yes, I know that’s right after the all-night shoot but I have no choice. If Steve isn’t happy, we won’t put him in the sketches. Okay, next can you send over a security guard from the studio tomorrow? I want someone here until I can arrange something more permanent or until the cops tell me it was simple robbery. Just tell the press it’s being treated as a burglary until we know more. Okay, thanks Lynn. Bye.”

“Honey, we don’t need a permanent minder. We’re safe here.”

“When I go to work on Thursday you’ll be alone and I’ll be away all night at the ghost shoot. Do you really want that? For the foreseeable future or until the cops tell us otherwise, I want someone with you when you go to the park, the supermarket, anywhere. I was so scared tonight, please just go with it.”

Emily sighed. “Okay! I give in.”

“I’ll call Patrick tomorrow and ask if he can suggest anyone. They’ll be with you just when you go out, otherwise they’ll stay at the door. You’ll have your privacy with Molls.”

“I guess so. We’ve still got time to sleep before morning, why don’t we go to bed.”

Dylan looked unsure all of a sudden. “Um, you can take the guest bed with Molly if you like.”

“Oh. I thought . . .it doesn’t matter. Can you lift Molls for me?”

Dylan lifted the sleeping girl and held her in her arms. “What were you going to say?”

“It’s just, I thought if we were living here for the time being, you’d want me to sleep with you.”

The big woman let out a sigh of relief. “I do, I just didn’t want to presume. Just think of my room as our room.”

“I think to save any misunderstandings in the future, you should just presume.” Emily smiled.

“Okay. I don’t want to sleep apart if we can help it.”

“Me neither. I don’t want Molls to wake up scared though; can she come in beside us, just for tonight?”

“Of course. Let’s go.”

Once they were all settled, Emily snuggled into bed with Dylan on one side and Molly pressed up against the other. Dylan turned her head and kissed her girlfriend. “Sweet dreams, baby girl.”

I’ve got my two girls now. I’m going to make them so happy they’ll never want to leave. With that happy thought, Dylan closed her eyes.

****

Dylan woke at 7 the next morning, a lot later than usual. Emily was lying across her chest and Molly was spread across her mother’s back.

This is a new way to wake up! She edged her way from under her two girls, desperate to relieve the call of nature. When she returned, Emily and Molly were still happily sleeping so she grabbed her shorts and sleeveless hooded sweatshirt, and went into the gym to do some running.

The gym was a large room full of professional equipment. In one corner she had a punching bag and other boxing and martial arts equipment. There was no way she was going to go out and leave the girls alone, so she flipped on the television on the wall facing the treadmill and started a run. The morning news was covering the intruder at Emily’s last night. The reporter stood outside the apartment building giving a rundown of the facts as they had them.

Emily Taylor, partner of TV’s Dylan Morgan, was the victim of a break in last night. According to our sources, Ms. Morgan made a frantic 911 call to report that someone had forced their way into Miss Taylor’s apartment. Details are unclear at this time, but we do know that Miss Taylor and her daughter were unharmed. Police officials tell us that they can’t rule out the possibility that this is the work of a disgruntled fan, upset at the popular Ms. Morgan’s new relationship.

The anger from last night returned, burning in Dylan’s gut. She jumped off the treadmill and grabbed her kickboxing gear. Picturing the faceless intruder making her two girls cower in fear, she attacked the punching bag with ferocity. She poured everything into that bag, trying to rid herself of the feelings clawing at her.

****

Emily eyes fluttered open and she reached for the empty space where her partner had been. Seeing that Dylan was already awake, she decided to get up and make breakfast. Dressed only in her nightshirt, she settled the still sleeping Molly into the large bed with a kiss, and made her way down the hall of the luxurious penthouse. Emily thought she heard a series of thuds coming from the home gym, so she looked into the room as she passed by; what she saw made her stomach flip. Dylan was aiming blow after blow, with hands and feet, at the punching bag. She’d never seen her girlfriend practice her martial art before and she was captivated.

Dylan’s powerful muscles flexed and glistened as the sweat rolled down her arms. She was both powerful and graceful at the same time, and she exuded sex. Emily’s body responded as she listened to the grunts and growls coming from her partner as she fought an imaginary opponent.

God! She looks so dangerous; she could seriously hurt someone. Hmm, sexy and dangerous. I would love her to lay me down and . . .

“Emmie! Emmie?”

Through her fog of lust, Emily realized Dylan was trying to get her attention.

“W . . .what? Sorry honey. Were you speaking to me?”

Dylan walked towards her, breathing heavily. “You okay, baby?”

“Yeah. I’m fine. Why?”

“You seemed to go somewhere else there. Where did you go?”

Emily smirked. “Uh, you don’t want to know. What would you like for breakfast?”

Dylan grabbed her around the waist and pulled her close. “Uh uh! Tell me.” She said seriously.

“I just thought you looked so hot! All powerful and sweaty, punching and kicking.”

A cocky grin grew across Dylan’s face; Emily put her hand onto Dylan’s hard bicep.

“I imagined you being all hot, sweaty and aggressive like this and pushing me up against the wall and using that special surprise you ordered from the internet for us.” Suddenly shy, Emily buried her head in her partner’s chest.

“What, like this?” Dylan lifted her easily off the ground and Emily’s legs automatically wrapped around her partner’s waist. Dylan walked them over to the wall while attacking Emily’s lips and squeezing her ass.

The kisses became more and more passionate as they threatened to lose control. Dylan bit Emily’s neck and thrust her pelvis into her girlfriend’s sex. “Hm. Oh God Dylan! I want you so much.”

“Ugh! I need to fuck you, Emmie!” Dylan growled.

“Oh yes!” But then the cold logical part of her brain poured cold water on her excitement.

“Honey, what if Molly gets up looking for us? She’ll be confused after last night.”

Dylan stopped dead and let out a long breath. “You’re right. I’m sorry I went too far. Those things you said . . .”

Emily smiled, her arms still draped over Dylan’s shoulders. “I shouldn’t have said anything, but you looked so good. Let’s promise we’ll resume this position when we have some alone time.”

Dylan kissed her sweetly and rubbed noses. “You can count on it. I love you.”

“I love you, goofy. I did come in to ask what you wanted for breakfast.”

Dylan let Emily slide down from her waist. “I usually have a protein shake and microwave oatmeal.”

“Oatmeal is really good for you but it should be fresh. I’ll get some oats when we go shopping, in the meantime do you want eggs with your shake?”

“Um, could I be really bad, since I didn’t get a taste of you, and have those pancakes you make with the bacon mixed in?”

Emily smiled happily. “Scrambled eggs on the side?”

“Oh yeah. You really are a temptress, baby girl. I’ll go grab a shower,” said Dylan, giving Emily’s ass a smack on the way out. “Be good!”

****

“Molly, sit up straight. Would you like scrambled eggs? Toast?” Emily was trying to get Molly to sit still and eat breakfast, but waking up at Dylan’s after the excitement had left her hyper.

“Yes! Yes! Eggs and toast, pease!” She smacked the table with her hands.

“Molly! Settle down.”

“Morning, cute stuff. How are you today?” Dylan, freshly showered and changed, sat at the breakfast table.

“Dien!!” Molly jumped up to sit on her lap.

Emily brought the food to the table.

“Cute stuff? She’s a holy terror this morning. I was thinking I might have to tie her to a chair.”

Dylan, with a mock look of shock on her face, said. “The Smurf? Never! She’s good! Aren’t you?” The big woman tickled her.

Molly giggled and squirmed. “No Dien! No ickle monster! Ha! Ha!”

“You’re no help at all, TV star! Molly, back in your own seat,” Emily said sternly.

Molly went back to her seat, after exchanging smirks with Dylan.

“Well eat up, you two,” said Emily, taking her own seat.

“Thanks baby, this looks amazing!”

“You’re welcome. I’ll make you a healthier breakfast as soon as I can get some groceries, then I can make you fresh oatmeal. I don’t want to ruin your training regime.”

“Hey don’t worry about it. I need all the calories I can get. So why is Molls as high as a kite?” “I think she’s just happy to have woken up here. She loves spending time with you. So do I.”

They shared a smile. “But, she’s generally pretty energetic. You’ve only had to deal with her in small bits, you’ll see what she’s really like now that we’re here. She’s so hyper; she gets into everything. I honestly don’t know how I’ve coped on my own these three years,” she said wryly.

“Sounds like me when I was a kid. I bet you were an angel.”

“Well, I don’t like to boast.” Emily remarked. “She is a lot like you though, isn’t she? Weird.”

“I like it.” Dylan beamed as she ate her bacon pancakes.

“Your breakfast okay?”

“It’s unbelievable. How do you get the eggs so fluffy?”

“Trade secret!”

Dylan’s mobile began to ring. “Morgan.”

“Hi Dylan, it’s Patrick.”

“Hey Patrick. How are things going? Any clues?”

“Yeah, I’m afraid to say I don’t think we’re dealing with press intrusion.”

Emily mouthed, “What is it?”

Dylan raised her hand to signal Emily to wait, then stood up and walked towards her office so she could talk freely without Molly hearing anything. “Tell me.”

“We found a message written on the bathroom mirror.” “What? Just say it!”

“Well . . .it says, ‘She’s mine.’ It was written in blood.” “Fuck!”

“Calm down, Dylan. We’ll sort this out.”

“Calm down? Someone was seconds away from getting the two most important people in my life and doing God knows what. I’m not feeling calm!”

“I know, buddy, but we’re gonna make sure she’s safe. Listen, there were no fingerprints or fibers, so they knew what they were doing. We’re doing tests on the blood but it’s likely to be animal, I don’t think they would be that stupid. But it’s at the lab.”

Dylan let out a sigh. “So this message, ‘She’s mine.’ Are they talking about Emily or me?”

“Not sure. Our tech guys are going to monitor your social media, Twitter, Facebook. We’ll see if anyone sticks out for the disgruntled fan angle, but you’ve got a lot of fans, that’s a lot of people to monitor.”

“If something happens to them because of me . . .I . . .it would kill me,” she said sadly.

“I know. Listen, we’re gonna fix this. Can you ask Emily to write a list of people who she dated, or people who wanted to date her?”

“She hasn’t dated for over three years, but I’ll ask if anyone was interested in her.”

“What about Molly’s father?”

“She used an anonymous donor.”

“Oh, okay. Email me the list from Emily and I’ll get back to you when I know more.”

“Thanks Patrick, call anytime.”

Emily had been waiting at the door and when Dylan hung up the phone she came in and melded herself to Dylan’s back.

“What did he say, honey?”

The big woman rubbed her face. “Where’s Molls?”

“I put the TV on for her, she’s fine.”

“Sit down.” Dylan directed her to sit in the leather office chair while she sat on the corner of her desk and held Emily’s hand.

“Patrick found a message written on the bathroom mirror.”

“What did it say?”

“It said, ‘She’s mine.'”

“‘She’s Mine?’ Who are they talking about? You or me?”

“Patrick doesn’t know. It could be a stalker fan or someone who was interested in you. We’ve had a lot of publicity and everyone knows who you are now. There’s something else. The message. It . . .it was written in blood.”

Emily gasped and clasped her hand over her mouth.

“Molly! That freak could have gotten Molly.” Dylan stood and pulled Emily into her chest.

“Shh, it’ll be okay, no one is going to hurt Molly or you. I promise.”

Come on, Emily! Pull yourself together. You can’t put all the pressure on Dylan.

“I know. What does Patrick want us to do?”

“Well, they’re analyzing the blood, but there weren’t any fingerprints or fibers at the scene. He wants you to make a list of anyone who has asked you out or shown any interest. We can email it to him.”

“So they think it could be someone warning you away from me?”

“It’s a possibility, but they’re monitoring my Twitter and Facebook accounts for any unusual activity. Fuck.” Dylan turned away and threw her iPhone across the desk. “Argh!”

“What did you do that for?”

“Because it’s that stupid thing that could have put you and Molly in danger! I thought I was being nice, approachable, and all the time I was putting you at risk!”

Emily wrapped her arms around the big woman’s hips. You can’t let one crazy person dictate your life. You’ve got millions of fans, and you make them feel closer to you and appreciated. Things like this happened even before Twitter and Facebook.”

Dylan rested her forehead onto her girlfriends. “I guess. Listen, I know we said we’d go to the supermarket but . . .”

“No. We’re not letting this change our lives anymore. We’ve already had to move in with you but we can’t stop going out, Molly needs to get outside.”

“Yes, but it would be safer . . .”

“No. We’ll have you, and you said the security guard from the studio is coming over.”

“I suppose. I don’t think I can ever say no to you.”

Emily smiled and winked, “I’ll keep that in mind.”

“I haven’t got a chance, baby girl.”

“You know, it could be a one off thing, an opportunist.”

“Maybe.” I’m not convinced, and it’s my job to keep you safe.

“Okay, I’ll go and get Molls ready, then take a shower. Will you watch her while I’m getting ready?”

“You bet.”

****

Jimmy Daniels sauntered confidently into the offices of People Magazine. He’d finally gotten the last piece of the puzzle on Emily Taylor and it was dynamite. For other stories he may have negotiated over the phone but this was too big, and he wanted a price to match it.

The editor of People Magazine, David Fox, had willingly agreed to a meeting when he knew it concerned America’s most famous couple of the moment. ‘The silver fox’, as he was known, jumped up to greet Jimmy as his secretary ushered him into the office.

“Jimmy! Great to see you. Anything I can get you? Coffee, soda?”

He is being way too nice. This info must be worth a lot to him, thought Jimmy.

“I’ll have a coke, with ice.”

“Of course! Get that Amanda, would you?” he addressed his secretary.

“Right away, Mr. Fox,” replied the elegant woman.

“So Jimmy. What have you got for me?”

“How much would you pay for the identity of the father of Emily Taylor’s daughter?”

David smiled broadly and laughed. “Jimmy I don’t know how you do it. I’ve had investigators looking into that since the news about them broke. Considering that Miss Taylor doesn’t even know herself, then I’d say you’ve done very well.” David Fox found it hard to disguise his interest.

“Let’s just say there is a healthcare worker at a certain clinic waiting on a percentage of what you’re going to give me. So how much are you willing to pay?”

David let out a long breath. “Well, let’s see, they’ve been on the cover of our magazine, among many others, for two months now and circulation goes through the roof when they are. I don’t know what it is, you would think straight women wouldn’t be that interested but Morgan fascinates people. Throw in a poor little waitress and they can’t get enough. So I think I can persuade finance to cut you a sizeable check.”

“I want more than sizeable, Fox. I want mega or I’ll go to someone who will pay me what I want, especially when I tell you who the daddy is,” Jimmy said smugly.

“Who?”

“Uh uh. Not until I get my money. $1.5 million.”

“What? I can’t authorize that! Especially without the name first. The most we’ve ever paid for a story is half a million. Tell me who it is and we’ll talk.”

Jimmy reached into his pocket and pulled out a memory stick.

“This has the documents that prove who made the donation and who bought it. Emily Taylor picked this donor without knowing his identity, going only on physical description, medical history and education. When she picked him, she bought the whole donation. It’s still on ice at the clinic for her use only. This story will sell you a lot of magazines, but without the donor’s identity you’ve got nothing. Wire the money to my account and I hand it over or . . .” He stood up and made his way to the door. “I could take it to someone who’s willing to meet my price.”

David jumped up. “No! Wait! Let me make a few calls. Just don’t leave yet.”

“I’ll wait out there. You’ve got 20 minutes, Fox, or you lose your exclusive.”

David grabbed the phone and shouted, “Get me Finance!”

****

Dylan and Molly were watching TV, waiting as Emily got ready, when the buzzer rang.

“Be right back, Smurf.” She answered the intercom. “Oh yeah. Sure, come on up.”

Dylan opened the door to a large muscular guy with square shoulders, thick neck and a skinhead.

“Good morning, Dylan. The studio sent me over.”

“Great. Thanks for coming, Pauley. Come in and take a seat.” She indicated to the kitchen table so she could keep her eye on Molly.

“You’ve heard what happened?”

He nodded.

“We don’t know yet if this thing is serious or a one off, but I’m taking no chances. I’ll be back at work tomorrow and I’ll be away overnight. I want them watched at all times.

I’ve asked my buddies at the police department to recommend someone more permanent. I know you have duties at the studio, but I don’t know when they’ll be in place.”

“It’s no problem. As long as you need me, I’ll be here.

“Thanks Pauley. We’re just going out to the grocery store, so you can drive the Jeep, okay?”

“Sure.”

“I’ll take you to meet them.”

****

A lone figure sat in at a desk in a dimly lit basement. Newspaper cuttings of Dylan and Emily were spread out on the surface.

“We made the news, baby boo. We’ll be together soon. When you see this, maybe it’ll remind you of where you should be.”

The figure sealed an envelope addressed to Morgan Productions.

“Soon.”

Episode 5

Pauley parked the car up near the grocery store.

“Dylan, I’ll keep a discrete distance behind you. You’ll keep a hold of Molly?” the big security guard asked.

“Yeah. I’ll keep her up in my arms, and an eye on Emily.”

Emily sighed as she took off her seat belt. “Honey I don’t think someone’s going to jump us in the grocery store.”

Dylan turned to face her girlfriend. “I hope not, but I’m gonna make sure okay?”

“Okay. Molly stay with Dylan at all times.”

“I will Mama. We get candy?”

“Yeah. Sure will.” Dylan said.

“No. You already had candy that Dylan gave you this morning. Right after breakfast, might I add.”

Dylan looked sheepishly at Emily. “On that note, let’s go.”

As they walked over to the store Dylan whispered to Molly. “I’ll slip some candy in the cart, Smurf.” Molly giggled and gave her a kiss.

“What are you two conspiring?”

“Nothing. Baby? Remember, get whatever you want in here. I don’t know what kind of stuff a family needs, so get lots and don’t worry about the price. I’m gonna get you a credit card for my account for everything you need for you, Molls and the house but in the meantime, we’ll use mine.” Emily didn’t want to argue in front of Paulie, so she said. “We can talk about it later, but that’s fine just now.”

“Cool. Let’s get some tasty treats, Smurflet!”

“Yeah! Asty yum yum! Dien!”

They’ve got some mutual adoration society going on there! It’s going to be a losing battle trying to stop Dyl from spoiling her, Emily thought as she watched Molly point at things and her big playmate simply put them in the basket without question.

Later that evening, Emily peeped through the door as Dylan read Molly a bedtime story.

She sighed contentedly, watching the big woman hold Molly’s little hand in hers while holding the book with the other.

For someone who was awkward around people and had no experience with kids, Dylan was just a natural with Molly. Emily was finally allowing herself to trust and see a long – term future with her partner, and one of the things that made Dylan perfect was what a good parent she would make to her little girl. Dylan provided a different kind of parenting than Molly had ever had. Where Emily provided love, care and nurturing, Dylan provided protection and the rough and tumble fun that she never could have. Molly was not like her mother, she liked everything that was dangerous. Jumping off things, climbing things. In fact Emily had found it difficult to keep up with her. Dylan not only could keep up with her, she positively encouraged her. Right from the start, they seemed to be on each other’s wave length.

She watched the big woman close the book and kiss Molly lightly on the head; the little girl lost her fight to stay awake.

Dylan stood and saw Emily waiting, hand outstretched, beckoning her partner towards her.

No words were exchanged as Dylan allowed herself to be pulled into their bedroom.

“Sit, honey.”

Dylan sat, as instructed on the end of the bed. “Emmie . . .”

Emily stood between her partner’s legs and silenced her, putting a finger to her lips.

“I want to show you how much I love you. How much I appreciate you being in our lives and looking after us. Molly and I both love you so much and we can’t imagine a life without you.”

“Well . . .I love you both with all my heart. You two are my life and . . .Oh God . . .”

Emily had pulled her top off and begun to unclasp her bra. Dylan’s mouth hung open as she watched her girlfriend’s ample breasts tumble, unrestrained from the bra.

Emily quickly took off jeans and panties, and moved back between her partner’s legs.

Dylan’s hands automatically came up and grasped her girlfriend’s breasts, squeezing them, making Emily moan. Emily covered Dylan’s big hands with her own, making her partner squeeze harder.

“You’re so beautiful, baby.”

The young woman pulled Dylan’s T-shirt over her head, along with her sports bra. Emily kneeled in front of her and slowly undid the silver belt buckle on her jeans, then pulled her boots off.

Shit! She’s gonna kill me! Dylan throbbed and felt the wetness pool in her sex as she watched Emily undress her with deliberate slowness.

“Stand please. “When Dylan stood, Emily pulled down her jeans and jockey shorts. She could see her partner’s wetness on her thighs and allowed herself a quick kiss to Dylan’s hard stomach. She heard Dylan moan.

“Oh, I love this. It’s so hard,” Emily moaned.

“Fuck baby, it’s not the only part of me that’s hard!” Dylan felt like she was going to explode.

“I know honey and I’m going to take care of you. Lie back.”

Dylan did as requested and lay down on the bed; Emily straddled her stomach and brought her lips down to kiss Dylan tenderly. Their tongues gently explored, both swallowing each other’s moans. Emily moved her kisses down Dylan’s neck, nibbling at her collarbone. When she reached Dylan’s small breasts, Emily bit the erect nipples she found there, licking and swirling her tongue, making the big woman purr with pleasure.

“Baby, please! I need you.”

“Patience. I want you to feel every ounce of love in my heart for you, with every kiss.” Emily spent some time on her partner’s stomach, licking the hard six pack that so fascinated her.

Dylan squirmed. “Emmie, I can’t take anymore!”

Emily snickered against her stomach and then, deciding to give her partner what she wanted, moved down to open up her partner’s sex. The clit she found there stood erect and hard. Emily took one long lick along Dylan’s sex.”

“Ah fuck! Suck me baby!”

Emily, doing as asked, sucked in the hard nub. From the noises her partner was making, she knew Dylan wouldn’t last long. She felt hands hold down her head, trying to make the contact harder.

“Ah! That’s it baby, Ah fuck! Gonna come! Gonna come!” Dylan growled as her whole body tensed, pleasure coursing throughout her body right from her head to the tips of her toes. Just as quickly, her body relaxed, becoming languid. Emily looked up to see the big woman breathing hard, her arm flung across her face.

I think you’ve got one more in you honey! Emily thought, as her tongue coaxed Dylan’s clit back to life. “Argh! God no! Shit!” within seconds she had tensed and come again.

As Emily crawled up the long body she was grabbed and kissed senseless by her partner.

“Oh baby girl. You are amazing. I love you. I love you.”

“Touch me Dyl, I want you inside me,” She pleaded.

Dylan lifted her girlfriend to sit on her stomach. Emily raised her hips to allow Dylan’s fingers to slip inside. Emily was so wet, they slipped in easily. The young woman moaned at the feeling of fullness. She lifted and lowered, repeatedly impaling herself on Dylan’s long fingers.

“That’s it, baby feel me inside you; feel me fucking you.”

“Oh yes Dyl, Harder honey! Please don’t stop fucking me!”

Dylan put her hand on Emily’s hip, helping pull her girlfriend down harder on her fingers.

Emily’s movements came faster and faster until she flung her head back and cried out her partner’s name, then collapsed down onto her Dylan’s chest.

“I love you baby girl.” Dylan said soothingly as she stroked Emily’s blonde hair.

“That was so good, honey.”

“Yeah. I don’t know what I did to deserve that.”

Emily looked into her deep blue eyes. “You deserve it for being you. You deserve it for loving us. You take care and love Molly like she was your own.”

“I do love her and I want her to be mine. I never thought I would be able to have a family, but you and Molly can give me that. Listen I know after we’ve sorted out this intruder business, you said you still might want to move back home.”

Emily went to speak but was stopped by Dylan saying. “It’s okay, I’m not pressuring you. You know what I want but whatever you decide, you’ll still be staying here weekends and stuff, so why don’t you go ahead and get Molly’s room decorated. It’s so bland right now. She needs bright colors, toy boxes, stuffed animals, I don’t know, but it needs to be nice for her. It’ll give you something to do while you’re not working. Work with a decorator. Have fun. What do you think?”

Emily snuggled into Dylan’s neck. “I think that would be lovely. Thank you honey, I’ll enjoy that. I’ve never had the chance to decorate before.”

Dylan held Emily tight in her arms.

“That’s settled then.”

They gently drifted off to sleep.

****

Dylan woke with an ache low down in her belly. She supposed her body, having been denied for so long, just couldn’t get enough of Emily’s luscious body. She looked at the clock.

Six am? Plenty of time. I think I could forgo my run, just this once. She smiled.

Having Emily naked in her bed was just too much of a temptation. She leaned up on one arm, looking down at her girlfriend sleeping.

How did I get so lucky? Now that I’ve got you, I’m never gonna let you go.

Dylan slowly lowered the comforter, exposing Emily’s breasts to the air. She watched with fascination as Emily’s nipples hardened before her eyes.

Dylan leaned over and took a nipple in her mouth. She bit, teased and rolled it around her mouth. As she did, her own ache became worse. Dylan moved over to the other side, not wanting to leave the other nipple out. She heard Emily make little mewing noises and her hips unconsciously began to rock.

Encouraged, Dylan moved on top of the young woman and moved her kisses to Emily’s neck.

“Uh, Dylan. Feels good,” Emily said, almost in a whisper but kept her eyes closed.

Dylan could feel her Emily’s wetness against her thigh. Overcome with the need to thrust into her girlfriend, she reached down and opened herself up. Moving Emily’s legs wider brought their centres together.

“Oh yeah!” Dylan started with a slow thrust, enjoying the sensation of her clit moving against Emily’s.

The young blonde, obviously wanting to just enjoy the sensations, kept her eyes closed but put her hands on Dylan’s hard muscled ass, pulling their centers closer together as the thrusts got faster and faster.

“Dylan! Yes take me!”

They were both getting closer to the edge. “Ah! Emmie. I can’t hold on, baby.” Dylan groaned.

“Me neither. Don’t stop! Come. Come with me!”

Dylan’s hips drove faster and faster into Emily. “Fuck!” She crushed her lips to Emily’s, letting the kiss swallow their moans before Dylan collapsed on top of her girlfriend.

Feeling Dylan shake, Emily threw her arms around her, cooing and soothing her while stroking the big woman’s back.

“Shh. It’s okay, honey. I’ve got you. I love you.”

After a minute or so, Dylan lifted her head and looked in Emily’s eyes.

“I’m sorry baby. When I am with you like this, just you and me making love . . .it . . .it overwhelms me. This, with you . . .I never imagined it could ever be like this.”

“I know. I feel it. You are everything I ever dreamed of. And I love to feel you on top of me, your weight pinning me down. What a lovely way to wake up!”

Dylan gave her a crooked smile. “I’ll pin you down anytime, baby girl.”

“You sweet talker, you. What time do you have to leave for work?”

“About 9:30. We’ve got plenty of time for breakfast together. ”

“Well you better get ready; Molly will come bounding in soon.”

“Join me in the shower?”

“Only if you promise to behave, TV star!”

“Cross my heart, Mama Smurf.”

“Why does that not sound sincere?”

Dylan kissed her nose and got up, pulling Emily with her. “Oh ye of little faith!”

****

As it turned out, Emily was the one who begged for release in the shower, after finding Dylan’s washing and touching far too hot to handle.

Dylan sat at the breakfast table with Molly, reading the newspaper on her iPad with a rather smug look on her face. Emily looked over from the stove where she was cooking breakfast. “Feeling rather smug about something, TV star?”

“Who me? I’m just happily enjoying breakfast time with my girls,” she said feigning innocence.

“Yes, I can see that you’re a morning person. Molly do you want some oatmeal before your eggs, the same as Dylan?”

“Yes pease. Ou play wiv us today Dien?”

“Sorry, Smurf. I have to go to work but you and your Mama are gonna have fun. Mama’s gonna decorate your room here, so it feels like your own. So you need to buy stuff and come up with ideas of what you would like to paint on your walls.”

Molly beamed. “That be my room? We stay here foever Mama? Wiv Dien?” Dylan looked at Emily waiting for her answer.

The young woman put the bowls of oatmeal in front of them. “Well, just until we know that our apartment is safe, sweetie.” She looked up and saw a look of sadness go across Dylan’s face.

“But that might take some time, so we’ll see what happens.”

Dylan looked a little brighter. “So? What theme do you want for your room Smurflet? Disney princess?”

“Yuck! No way!” Molly said screwing up her face.

The two women laughed and Emily said. “See, She’s just like you. Another little tomboy in the making.”

Emily watched as Dylan’s face beamed at that comment.

“So you guys ready for eggs and toast?”

“Listen, I was thinking since Molls can’t go out trick or treating this year, why don’t the two of you come into the show Saturday night? You can dress up Molls, there will be lots of Halloween stuff going on, and I have it on good authority that there will be a few monsters and vampires dropping in.”

Dylan turned to Emily. “What do you think?”

Emily sighed in happiness.

Dylan was constantly thinking of ways to make both her and Molly’s lives as normal as possible.

“I think that would be a fantastic idea, honey. We’ll need to get some stuff to make your costume sweetie.”

“Why not just buy one at the costume shop?” Asked Dylan.

Emily gave her girlfriend a look, clearly miffed.

“Where’s the fun in that? Plus, why waste the money?”

“Oh God forbid!” Dylan said theatrically. “So Smurf, what you gonna dress up as?”

Molly thought hard, then with a little smirk on her face, beckoned her mother down to her level, and whispered in her ear.

Emily laughed and kissed her daughter on the nose. “That’s perfect, Molls!”

“Hay you two gonna let me in on the secret?”

“Nuh uh! It’s urprise Dien!”

“It’s like that, is it?”

“Yes it is, goofy! So, just be patient.” Emily said.

Molly joined in. “Yeah, doofy! Ou wait!”

Emily and Dylan burst out laughing at the little girl.

The buzzer rang and Dylan got up to answer. “I’ll get it.”

“Hey, Pauley. Come up.” A few minutes later, Dylan let the big bodyguard in, “Come in buddy.”

“Would you like coffee, Pauley?” Emily shouted from the kitchen.

“No thanks, Miss Taylor. I’ve had a couple of cameras fitted in the lobby to observe traffic coming and going. Could I let the guys in to set up wiring, so that I can monitor them on the laptop?”

“Sure. Why don’t you run them though to my office? You can use that as a base.” Dylan offered,

“That’s great. I’ll just get the guys. Carry on with your breakfast, boss.”

Dylan made her way back to the kitchen to finish her breakfast.

“So, you gonna make some appointments with designers today? Maybe do some shopping?”

“Yeah, I’ll look some up on the net. Don’t you take your laptop to work though?”

“Please. This is Morgan the tech head you’re talking to! I have one for every occasion and every circumstance. I’ll set one up here before I go.”

“Thanks. We might go to the park. I don’t want Molly cooped up all day. I thought I might find out if there is a preschool program I can enroll Molly into. I couldn’t get anything in Brooklyn; there were lots of families worse off, maybe here though.

“Let me get Lynn to get us a list and we can talk about it tonight. Breakfast was delicious, baby.” She got up and started to pack up her laptop case.

Emily sighed. “Honey, if I let you do that you’ll pick the most expensive preschool in New York.”

Dylan moved closer so they could have some privacy from the workmen and Molly.

“I’m not trying to steamroll you, Emmie. It’s not about money. You have to accept you’re well known now, we have to take precautions, especially with our current problem and some of the best private preschools will be tightly secured. Money can buy security. I will keep you both safe, and of course, I want Molls to have the best chances in life. I love her, and as much as you protest it is going to happen, we will be a family. Whether it’s today, tomorrow or six months from now.”

Emily placed her head on Dylan’s big chest. “Even if we’re not a family officially, we’re a family in here.” Emily placed her hand over the big woman’s heart.

“I’m not trying to be awkward by going slow; you know I love you so much. I just don’t want to scare you off by tying you down to a family and all the responsibilities that go with that.”

“What if I want to be tied down?” Dylan said with a smirk.

Emily playfully smacked her on the arm.

“Seriously baby, I love you both with all my heart and we are going to be an official family.” She took Emily in her arms and whispered in her ear. I’m going to wear you down with love, Mama Smurf!”

“I bet you will,” Emily said cuddling in tight.

“You know Emmie, I’ve never gone to work happier in my life. I wake up with my beautiful girlfriend in bed, make love, have a shower together, make love, then get served a home cooked breakfast with my favorite three year old. Perfect bliss.”

“I want to make you happy and take care of you always.”

Their lips came together in a tender kiss.

“Mwah! Mwah!” giggled Molly.

“Hey Smurf! I’ll remember that when you bring home your first boyfriend or girlfriend. When you’re thirty of course.”

“Hmm. thirty five would be better.” Emily added.

“You’re right. Now I better get the laptop set up for you and get to work. I do run a television company you know?”

Emily hugged Dylan tighter. “And I thought you were just here to entertain Molly and me?”

“That’s my full time job. Running a TV company and entertaining the nation is my part time job,” She said with a smirk.

“Okay. Off you go, TV star! Molly and I have things to do without you getting under our feet. So go and play with your cameras.” Emily shooed Dylan away.

“Just remember, whatever you do today, stick close to Pauley, okay?”

“We will. Is there anything you want me to pick up?”

“I don’t think so. Do you remember the email address we set up when I gave you your iPhone?”

“Yes. I’ve never used it though.”

“I’ll get Lynn to email you the preschool stuff. I’ll just go set up the Macbook.”

Walking back to the breakfast table, Emily said, “Let’s get you out your PJ’s’ and dressed Molls.”

****

“Morning Lynn,” Dylan said as she walked into her office.

“Morning. How are Emily and little Molly after the break in?”

“Fine. They’re settled and happy at my place. At least I know their safe. I got Pauley over to watch them while I am at work, just until I can hire a long term security guard.”

“Do you think that will be necessary?”

“I don’t know, but until the police get an idea of the motive for this I want someone with them. And anyway, with Emily’s new found celebrity she needs someone with her to keep the press at bay. I’m not taking any chances. Those two are my life,” Dylan said quietly.

Lynn could see the fear etched on the big woman’s face. “I know. We’ll make sure that nothing ever happens.”

Dylan cleared her throat. “I guess we’re really busy since I was off??”

“Yes. You’ve got a lot to catch up on. The crew went out on Monday to set up the production at the Long Island location, so you don’t have to worry about that. You need to read up on the research for your pieces to camera and your interview with Steve Jones.”

“It’ll be fine. I’ll wing it. You know me Lynn, it always turns out fine.”

Lynn smiled and shook her head. “Yes it does. Now your personal mails is on your desk, Dylan, I’ll just get you some coffee.”

“Thanks Lynn. Oh, could you get me some contact details for interior decorators and private preschools for Molly? Just email them to Emily.”

“Will do.” Lynn left Dylan to her work.

After Dylan sat at her desk, she called Patrick at the station. “Hey buddy, It’s Dylan. Anything new?”

As Dylan listened, she picked up her mail and started to go through it.

“Sorry Dylan, Emily’s apartment is clean. Whoever it was knew what they were doing.”

Dylan lifted one envelope that, unusually had the production office’s address, made up of typeface cut from newspapers and pasted on. She carefully began to open the envelope.

“Turns out the message in the mirror was written in pig’s blood. So we’ve got nothing unless something new comes up.”

“Patrick, I think I’ve got something for you.”

Dylan held in her hand a letter its message also made up of typeface from magazines and newspapers.

“A letter sent to me at the office. Shit.”

“What does it say?”

Dylan sighed.

‘For this reason a man will leave his Father and Mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one. Therefore what God hath joined together, let no man put asunder .’

Emily is mine!

“Fuck! This is about Emily, Patrick! Not me!”

“Listen to me Dylan, put it down and don’t let anyone touch it. I’ll be there as soon as possible and send it straight to the lab.”

Dylan put her head in her hands. Shit! This is serious. How can I protect them from someone like this? I won’t let anyone take them away from me! s he said slamming down her fist on the table.

****

“Detectives Kenny and Lawson to see you, Dylan.” Lynn said from the office door.

“Thank you, Lynn. Could we have coffee?”

“Of course.”

Dylan stood and shook her friends’ hands.

“Thanks for coming so quickly. Here it is. I haven’t touched it again.”

Mark Lawson carefully placed the evidence in a clear bag before they looked at it.

“We’ll take this and have it dusted. It looks like we need to take this seriously. I’ve got a list of body guards you might like to consider.”

Dylan took the list and scanned it quickly. “Who’s the best on this list?”

“Undoubtedly, Jackson Hunter.” Patrick replied.

“Tell me about him.”

“Her actually. Ex special forces. When she left the military she opened her own private security company. She’s worked with a lot of business people and politicians. She’s expensive and choosy about which jobs she takes, but I think she’s the right fit for Emily and Molly.”

“Okay, I’ll contact her. What about the list Emily gave you?” Dylan asked.

“We contacted everyone, didn’t find any leads. The ex, Toni Bianchi? She was an obvious suspect. History of drinking and drug problems; Emily mentioned some violence. We didn’t get anything. She seems to be living quietly in Jersey. We searched her place, found nothing relating to Emily. She has a girlfriend, works in a local restaurant.” Mark explained.

“She could be hiding something! Someone with a history of drugs . . .”

“She gave us permission to speak to her drug counselor and psychotherapist. They are both very satisfied with her mental state and say she’s been clean for two years. Apparently, after the break up with Emily, she spiraled out of control and sought help.”

Dylan stood in frustration and walked over to the window, the anger boiling up in her stomach.

“So now what? I just wait for this to escalate? Wait for someone to try something? Wait for Emily or Molly to be attacked?” She shouted.

“No, of course not. We’re going keep an eye on this Toni, if she does anything suspicious, we’ll be on it. She did give us another lead. Apparently some guy, a waiter who worked at the restaurant she managed, had a pretty big crush on Emily. Toni says she had to warn him off a few times. We’re making inquires. We’ll track him down.”

Patrick lifted the evidence bag. “We’ll get this to the lab. I’ll let you know if anything comes up. I’ll leave Hunter’s details with Lynn on the way out.”

“Thanks guys. I do appreciate your help.” As they left she buzzed Lynn.

“Lynn can you make me an appointment with a Jackson Hunter? . Find a space in my schedule and get her here today.”

“Dylan, you have no time, you’re already behind and that’s before you leave for the shoot tonight.”

“Lynn. Make it happen.” Dylan said with a steely edge to her voice. Very rarely did Dylan make demands on her personal assistant, the way other stars did. So when the big woman did, Lynn knew to get it done.

“I’ll take care of it. Give me twenty minutes.”

If anyone comes near Emily or Molly, I will kill them.

****

Emily had been looking at preschool websites and decorators for the past hour and a half. She heard the whoops and laughter coming from the game room and thought, I better get lunch started.

She stood and went to speak to her daughter and Pauley, who Molly had charmed into playing the Wii.

Emily entered the room to find Pauley bent over gasping. “Thank goodness your here Miss Taylor. I think your little girl is trying to kill me!”

Emily and Molly laughed.

“Molly why don’t you watch TV while I make us lunch, and give Pauley a chance to cool down.”

“Otay Mama. I watch Dien and big bird?”

Emily picked Molly up. “Okay sweetie. Come on. Pauley, would you like some lunch with us? I’m making stuffed corned beef sandwiches. Molly’s favorite.”

“Sounds great Miss Taylor, Thank you. I’ll just go and check the security cameras.”

“Okay. I’ll give you a shout.”

Emily settled Molly in front of the TV and went to make lunch.

****

“Thanks, Keep the change.” Jackson Hunter paid the cab driver as she arrived at Morgan Productions.

Jackson was not used to being summoned at such short notice. Since leaving the military and running a very successful security firm, she found herself in the fortunate position of being able to pick and choose her assignments. She didn’t find the task of babysitting a TV stars girlfriend and child very appealing, being much more used to safeguarding political and international figures, but the PA who contacted her, said Jackson could name any terms if she would agree to an immediate meeting.

She made her way to the reception desk. The young receptionist looked Jackson up and down eagerly, she had a huge crush on Dylan but this smart, tough looking woman would do as well. She took in Jackson’s tall figure. At 5foot 8 inches body, she had a slightly smaller frame than Dylan but looked as solidly built. Her dark hair was closely cropped at the back and sides. The top was slightly longer and styled precisely into a Mohawk. The impression that most excited the young woman was the way the good looking woman held herself. If she wasn’t mistaken, the woman had a military bearing. She looked extremely smart in her silver suit with crisp white shirt and thin black tie. Her heart fluttered as the devilishly handsome woman took off her sunglasses and popped them in her top pocket.

Oh wow! the young woman thought.

“Jackson Hunter for Dylan Morgan.”

“Uh . . .yes of course . . .I’ll just let them know you’re here. Take a seat and someone will come and get you.”

“Thank you.”

“Can I get you something while you wait?” the young receptionist said seductively.

Completely unaware of the receptionist devouring her with her eyes, Jackson declined.

Jackson sat and opened the file she had made up on Morgan and her partner. Of course she had heard of her, she was one of the most famous lesbians in the world but she rarely had time to watch Saturday night entertainment shows. She gazed at a newspaper article that had a picture of Emily and Molly. Beautiful woman. I don’t blame you for moving mountains to protect them Morgan. A sadness, which was normally locked tightly away inside, washed over her. Never again, Hunter, she thought, locking the sadness back up inside her.

“Jackson Hunter?”

The former soldier jumped up to attention as soon as she heard her name. “Yes?”

“I’m Lynn Roberts, Dylan Morgan’s PA. We spoke on the phone.”

“Of course, Ms Roberts. Pleased to meet you.”

“If you’ll follow me.”

****

“Dylan? This is Jackson Hunter.”

Dylan stood, shook hands and indicated the other seat at her desk. She quickly assessed the woman. Hmm. Strong, smart. Looks like a soldier, th ought Dylan as she observed Jackson sitting very straight and rigid in the chair.

“Thank you for coming so quickly, Ms. Hunter.”

“Please call me Jackson. No problem, I had no other appointments today.”

“I don’t know what you’ve picked up from the newspapers but my partner Emily’s apartment was broken into. Nothing was stolen but this message was left.” Dylan handed her a picture of the first warning.

“At that point, we thought it might have been an overenthusiastic fan, annoyed at my new relationship, but today I received this.” She handed over a copy of the letter to Jackson.

The original is being checked over in the lab. I understand you know Patrick Kenny and Mark Lawson?”

“Yes. We’ve had dealings before. Does Miss Taylor have anyone in her past who would consider her theirs?”

Jackson saw Dylan visibly stiffen, her jaw clench tight. Possessive Morgan? she thought.

“Yes. An ex, but the police seem satisfied there’s no connection.”

“But you’re not sure.”

“It’s just a feeling.” Dylan said.

“Based on?”

Dylan leaned back and looked Jackson right in the eyes. The bodyguard was clearly testing her.

“She had everything. Emily is the most wonderful, caring, nurturing woman I have ever met. She had her and she fucked up. She lost a pregnant Emily and I tell you, Emily’s the type of woman you would never give up on. I would die before giving up on her and that little girl. That makes me think the ex wouldn’t give up either.”

“I understand. Some women, you just can’t let go.” Jackson said.

“But the police are going to keep monitoring her. She gave them a tip about a guy who was overly interested in Emily, they are following up on that now. What do you think? Will you help me?”

“Dylan. I don’t come cheap and I do have some stipulations.”

“Money doesn’t matter.” Dylan lifted the picture she kept of Emily and Molly on her desk and handed it to Jackson.

“Those two are my life; she is the woman who’s going to be my wife. I would do anything to keep them safe and whole.” Dylan said in a determined voice.

Jackson understood the fierceness that drove you to protect but also knew you could fail. I won’t fail in my duty again.

“I’ll need full control of security and cooperation from Ms. Taylor about her day- to – day activities. Protection will be useless unless I have control.”

“You’ll have anything you need. Do we have a deal?” Dylan offered her hand

Jackson thought for a second and accepted.

“We have a deal.”

“When can you start? I’ll be away all night. I’ve got one of the studio security guys with them just now but . . .”

“I’ll start right away. Just let me head down to my office and pick up my equipment. Will you be going back home before you head out tonight?”

“I can spare an hour or so before heading to the location. How about we meet at my apartment at 4pm?”

“Good enough. Don’t worry. Your family will be safe.” Jackson tried to reassure Dylan.

“Thank you. Oh and please don’t tell Emily I got this letter today. I don’t want to worry her.”

Jackson nodded and left.

****

“Chocolate chip or snickerdoodle?” Emily asked her daughter.

Molly was standing on a stool at the kitchen table, in her little apron, while her mother got out the baking ingredients.

They had just got back from a trip to the store to buy the things they needed for Molly’s Halloween costume.

Emily had also spent a nervous ten minutes waiting in the car in front of her apartment building while Pauley collected her sewing machine.

Emily had wondered if Dylan was right about staying with her.

How could I ever feel safe there again? Emily’s thoughts were interrupted by Molly.

“Both Mama! Dien like chip and oodle ones.”

“Oh you think so? I know a certain little girl who likes both as well!” Emily tickled Molly’s tummy, making the girl giggle and laugh.

The young woman’s phone lit up and began to ring.

“Hang on till I get the phone sweetie, hello?”

“Hi baby. It’s me.”

Emily smiled. “You shouldn’t phone here. I have a really big girlfriend who wouldn’t like it.”

“Hey! A big girlfriend who would kick anyone else’s ass for calling you baby!” Dylan said in a mock angry voice.

“I’m only kidding, honey. How are you? We miss you.” “I miss you too. What are you up too?”

“We’ll, we just finished lunch. We went to get things for Halloween and now Molls and I are going to make cookies for you to take with you tonight. We thought you’d be hungry on location.”

“Aww that so nice Emmie, I don’t think my kitchen’s ever known baking before.”

It warmed Dylan’s heart to think of her two favorite girls happy and safe at home and she couldn’t keep the smile off her face.

She’s making my apartment a warm home. This is what’s been missing in my life.

“Well! It’s going to know a lot more. I love baking, it helps relieve stress and tension. I just didn’t have much time to do it before.”

“Baby girl, I can help with your stress and tension,” Dylan said in a husky voice.

“Enough of that kind of talk, TV star. You’re not going to be here tonight to help me with that,” Emily chastised.

“Okay, Mama Smurf. Where’s Pauley?”

“He’s just taking a walk around the building; do you want to speak to him?”

“It’s okay. I’ll call his cell. Were you planning on going out this afternoon?”

“I wanted to take Molls to the park. I don’t like her being cooped up all day.”

“Could you do me a favor and stay in? Just for today. I’ve got you a more permanent bodyguard and I want to bring her over this afternoon and introduce her to you both.”

“Honey, do you really think that’s necessary. Things have been quiet since the break in. I feel safe living here with you. Isn’t that enough?”

Dylan had decided not to tell her about the letter today, so it was going to be difficult to convince Emily of how bad the situation was.

“Please. Just humor me. At least until the police are satisfied?”

Emily sighed. “Okay, bring her over but I’m not going to be a prisoner. Will you have time for dinner before you go back out?”

“If it’s quick. I’ll have about an hour and a half, but I’d love to eat with you both before I go. I better go, baby, I have a pile of work to get through before I can go home.

“Okay. I love you, TV star.”

“Love you, baby girl.”

“Okay Molls! Let’s get baking!”

****

Dylan had managed to get home a bit early so she could have some time with her girls before Jackson arrived. She passed Pauley in the hall, as he was making his rounds.

“Hey Pauley. Everything quiet?”

“Yeah boss. No problems.”

“Great. You can head off back to the studio now that I’m back. Jackson will be here soon.”

“You picked a good one there, boss. I’ve heard good things about her. War hero, so I’m told.”

“Excellent. Well thanks for your help, buddy. See you at work.”

Dylan unlocked the door and immediately her senses we’re filled with wondrous smells, happy voices from the kitchen, warmth and a feeling she had never felt before when coming back from work. Home. In the space of a day, Emily and Molly had turned her lonely apartment into a family home.

She threw her laptop case on the couch and couldn’t resist shouting through to the kitchen. “Honey, I’m home!”

Immediately she heard the pounding of little feet and saw Molly running out of the kitchen.

“Dien! Dien! Ou home!” Dylan scooped the little girl up in the air, gave her a kiss and then dangled her upside down by the ankles. Molly laughed and squealed.

“Dien! Ou put me down!” She laughed squiggling around. Emily came to meet her at the door.

“You’ll make her sick, honey.” Emily warned.

“Should I just drop this little Smurf then?” Dylan winked at her girlfriend.

“Ha! Ha! Let me down. I make ou ookies!”

“Oh well, why didn’t you say!” She turned Molly around and kissed her head. Molly cuddled into her neck.

“I mif ou Dien.”

“I missed you too Smurf, and you, Mama Smurf.” She kissed Emily lightly on the lips.

“You two girls have a good day?”

“Yes we made choc chip cookies and snicker doodle. Didn’t we Molls?”

“Yeah. When ou scared of the ghosties tonight ou member we ove ou.”

Dylan’s heart melted. “Could this kid get anymore adorable?”

“I’m sure she could try. Come on in to the kitchen and I’ll get you a drink.”

Turning to her daughter Emily said. “Why don’t you go and find that picture you made for Dylan. I think it’s was in the game room.”

“Otay, Mama.” Once she ran off, Emily wrapped her arms around Dylan’s strong neck and kissed her thoroughly, causing Dylan to moan.

When Emily pulled back and rested her head on the big woman’s chest, she said, “I missed you so much today.”

“God! Could this welcome home get any better?”

“Yes,” Emily whispered into her ear. “If we were alone, I’d beg you to take me right here on the kitchen table.”

Dylan felt herself throb immediately. “Oh god! Don’t say these things to me. I want you so much.” Just when she was about to kiss Emily again she heard . . .

“Look what I drew for ou!”

“You are a tease, Miss Taylor, and I will pay you back,” Dylan breathed in her ear.

“I’ll look forward to it, TV star.” Emily whispered.

Dylan growled and then turned her attention to Molly.

“That’s so good Smurf, thank you. What smells so good?”

“Oh lasagna. I thought that would be good to make, in case this new bodyguard person needs dinner. What’s her name?” Emily asked while checking the oven.

“Jackson Hunter. She’s ex-military, Special Forces. Looks tough, doesn’t say much.” Emily smiled. “Like you then? The butch strong silent type?”

Dylan smirked. “Maybe. So did you get a decorator and find out about the pre schools?”

“I looked at a lot but they were all too fancy, then I found a small independent decorating business that I liked the look of, so I’ve made an appointment.”

“What about the preschools?”

“There’s a couple that looked good, but they are very expensive. I’d like to look at them but I’d rather have you with me.”

“Sure. Why don’t you try and set something up for Monday afternoon? I have training with the guys in the morning but we could go later?”

“Okay. I’ll give them a call tomorrow.” Emily turned back dinner preparations.

****

Jackson had gathered up the surveillance equipment she would need in her small office. She worked alone and liked it that way. This new job filled her with trepidation. She was used to working with officials. Politicians, public figures. This job put her right in the center of a family, exactly where she was running from. She gazed down at the picture on her desk. Two women dressed in camouflage uniforms smiled back at her. One was herself, the other her baby sister Sarah.

Jackson Hunter came from a military family. Her father, being a Colonel in the Army, expected his children to follow him, and having only two daughters did not deter him. Colonel John Hunter expected his family to do their duty, no matter their gender. That suited Jackson. She was a natural soldier, excelling at everything she did, racing through the ranks and eventually finding herself in Special Forces. Jackson was part of an elite group of women who were the first to be allowed to join a Special Forces regiment, designed for missions in the Muslim world. They were recruited and sent in to Iraq and Afghanistan, in order to accomplish missions their male counterparts could not.

They were recruited to subdue and contain villages and homes that had a higher proportion of female civilians and children. Due to cultural constraints, it was better for the soldiers searching the residents and homes to be female.

Jackson loved this opportunity, she had always wanted to fight and be part of a unit at the very highest level.

Her baby sister, Sarah, was not like Jackson, she had never been the tough tomboy type. She had wanted to study nursing but felt pressured to join the army like her hero big sister, so she joined the medical corps.

Then Jackson’s life had turned upside down.

I should have fought harder for you. You should never have been near there, Jackson thought sadly.

“Wish me luck with this assignment. I’m sure you’d know how to talk and fit in with a family, munchkin, I never did,” She spoke out loud.

She closed her bag and left for the Morgan residence.

****

Dylan got up from the dinner table to answer the door.

“Jackson. Come on in. We were just finishing up dinner.”

She dropped her bags and followed Dylan to the kitchen.

Jackson was greeted by a scene that rattled the icy chains around her heart.

A beautiful blonde stood at the stove dishing out dessert, while a dark headed little girl sat happily at the table.

“Emmie, Molls, come and meet Jackson.”

Emily took off her apron and walked over to Dylan. Molly jumped up in Dylan’s arms, shy at this new stranger.

Jackson looked appreciatively over Emily’s feminine form. Emily’s ample breasts and curvaceous figure attracted Jackson. Although this cozy domestic scene was foreign to her, Jackson Hunter knew and adored a beautiful female form.

Dylan saw a flash of attraction in the eyes of the normally buttoned-up soldier and felt tightness in her chest, something she had never felt before.

She pulled Emily closer and looked Jackson right in the eyes.

“Jackson let me introduce you to my girls.” Dylan said seriously.

As they stared at each other they knew a line had been drawn. A message sent and received.

Emily, oblivious to this subtle interaction, shook the soldier’s hand.

“Lovely to meet you. This is Molly.” Molly was cuddled into Dylan tightly, needing reassurance, and just waved her hand.

“Nice to meet you, Miss Taylor. Miss. Molly.”

“Molly, Jackson is going to make sure you’re safe when I’m not here.”

“From the bad man?”

“Yeah. That’s right,” Dylan said.

Emily smiled at Molly’s shyness. “She’s shy, but she’ll be a chatterbox in no time.”

Jackson smiled. Kind of cute. Just like her Mother.

“Emmie, I need to speak to Jackson for a minute.” She put Molly down.

“Okay. Don’t be long. The apple pie will be ready soon.”

Dylan kissed her. “Thanks, baby.”

Once in her office, she closed the door and sat on the edge of her desk. Jackson could see Dylan was tense.

“I’m leaving in half an hour or so. I hate that I have to go but I can’t get around it. I’ll give you Lynn’s number. Any problems at all, contact her and she’ll get a message to me.”

“Please trust me. I’m the best. I will keep them safe.” Jackson replied. “I know.” Dylan nervously ran a hand through her dark hair.

“It’s hard. I’m new to this relationship stuff and it’s hard not to overprotect them. Most of the time I’m stumbling around in the dark but one thing I know, Emily and Molly are my world. I’ve just found them, and I will not let a stalker or anyone else threaten them.”

Jackson knew you couldn’t always protect the ones you loved, but she determined to do everything in her power to help keep this family safe.

“I don’t know a thing about relationships either, but those two through there are beautiful. If they were mine, I’d be just as defensive as you.”

Dylan stood. “I appreciate it.”

Both women now relaxed, understanding each other completely.

“I’ll get my stuff set up. Can I do it in here?”

“Yeah go ahead. There’s a spare room set up for you. Make yourself at home.”

“Thank you . . .uh . . .I saw you win gold at the Olympics. You were amazing.”

Dylan smiled warmly. It wasn’t often people looked past her TV persona and acknowledged her former achievements.

“Thanks. I’m more into mixed martial arts now, but it was a proud moment.”

“Maybe you’d like to spar one day?”

“Sure! We could do it here, I have a great gym. I’d love to test my skills against a Special Forces op.”

Jackson grinned. She loved competition. “Anytime, boss.”

“On that note. I’ll leave you to it.”

****

When Dylan returned to the kitchen, Emily had served homemade apple pie.

“Everything okay, honey?”

“Just fine. Mmm. This tastes amazing. You are such a good cook. I can tell living with you is going to expand my waistline.”

“I doubt it with all the exercise you do. I made you some sandwiches to go with the cookies we made.”

“That’s sweet, baby. We do have a catering truck you know.”

“I never thought of that. Well, it will probably be hot dogs, fries and everything that’s bad for you.” Emily remarked.

“Dien. Don’t let the ghosties or the rats get you!” The little girl seemed worried.

“Are you kidding? They’ll be frightened of me, Smurf. You know why?”

Molly shook her head.

Dylan put on her best cocky smile. “Cause I’m the Dylan Morgan and even a ghost or a rat can’t beat me.”

Emily and Molly laughed. “You’re so full of yourself, TV star!”

“I know. That’s why you love me. Remember to do what Jackson asks okay? I want you both safe,” Dylan warned.

“She seems kind of stiff and uptight.”

Dylan shrugged, “I guess military types are like that. As long as she does the job.”

Emily nodded in agreement.

****

David Fox was gleeful as he dialed the phone.

“Daniels.”

Jimmy! Legal has okayed the story.”

Yes! Jimmy mentally punched the air. “Excellent. When do you run it?”

“Tomorrow. You’re going to be a busy man, Daniels. Every news station from the East coast to the west coast will want an interview.”

“I’m ready. Morgan has been due some bad publicity. Let’s see how her little waitress bed warmer handles this.”

David laughed. “You get anymore Daniels, be sure we’re your first port of call.”

“I will always get more.” Jimmy ended the call with a self- satisfied look on his face.

He picked up his whiskey glass. “To you Morgan. I just knew there was a story in you.”

****

Jackson had set up her equipment; checked it more times than necessary; walked around the building twice; informed Morris, the doorman of new security procedures; and was now faced with the prospect of joining Emily and her daughter in the living room.

Emily in an effort to try and get to know the uptight woman, had asked Jackson to join her for coffee, when she was set up.

Checking the security screen for the last time, she made her way to the living room with a sigh. Living a singular existence made conversation and companionship difficult for Jackson.

In the military, conversation was for a purpose. The relaying of information. Everyone knew where they stood and what was expected of them.

The thought of being in a social situation, expected to chat, filled Jackson with horror but she had been employed to look after this woman and could hardly avoid spending time with her.

“Jackson? Come and join me. I just made a pot of coffee.”

She joined Emily on the couch. Molly, rather sweetly, was watching a sesame street DVD Dylan was in.

Emily poured a cup for her and offered a plate of cookies. “I’m sorry about the kids’ program. She insisted on watching it before bed since Dylan isn’t here to read her a story.

Jackson found herself smiling at the little girl and wondering what it would be like to have a family, to be needed and loved, like the way Emily and Molly needed Dylan.

“Thanks. Um . . .these cookies are great. Did you make them?”

“Yes, with Molly’s help. I love to bake.”

“Dackson. Ou like my cookies?” When cookies were mentioned, the girl had turned her attention to them.

“They’re great, Molly. Thank you.” Satisfied, her concentration was back on the large screen TV.

Jackson looked around the stylish living room. “You have a great place here.”

“I’m just getting used to it. This sort of life is very different to what I’m used to.”

“You don’t live together now?” Jackson questioned.

Jackson knew from her research that the intruder had been at Emily’s apartment in Brooklyn, but she had just assumed this was now a permanent situation. She had read numerous newspaper and magazine articles saying how the lucky waitress had hooked the rich TV star and moved in with her. Some reports even suggest Emily was a gold digger, who wormed her way into Dylan’s life and luxurious home.

The humble woman before her didn’t seem to match those reports.

“Dylan insisted we come to stay here after the break in. I agreed for the time being, but Dylan wants us to live together full time. She’s making it harder and harder to leave her.”

“Don’t you want to live with her? I’m sorry that’s none of my business.”

Emily looked amused. “Don’t be. It’s refreshingly straightforward. I do want to build a life with her. I just wanted to give her time to make sure this is what she really wants. A readymade family is a lot of responsibility to take on. A burden, some would call it.”

Jackson regarded her carefully. Emily was not only beautiful on the outside, she had a beauty that shone from within and she obviously had no comprehension of it, which made her even more attractive. Yes. You are one lucky woman, Dylan.

“Maybe she wants to be responsible. Some burdens are well worth the bearing,” Jackson said.

Emily was surprised .”You sound as if you know what you’re talking about. Do you have someone you like being responsible for?” Emily could see the guard Jackson had let down pulled straight back up and locked tightly.

With sadness in her voice she said, “Not anymore.” She stood quickly. “I need to check the security cameras. Thank you for the coffee and cookies. Excuse me.”

What story do you have to tell Jackson? She asked herself as Jackson walked back to the office.

****

It was 9 pm and Dylan was sitting in her trailer, which had been set up on the haunted house location on Long Island. She was shortly going to do a walk round, with Steve Jones, the famous country singer and a psychic, to give the audience a history of the house and grounds before she and Steve would be put into the coffins, below ground at midnight.

Her eyes wandered over to the lunch box Emily had packed. Her heart swelled with happiness, she had never felt so cared for before.

She opened the box and on top of the overstuffed sandwich and bag of cookies, was a picture of a ghost, drawn by Molly, and a note from Emily.

Stay safe from the ghosts and don’t let the rats bite! We love you, TV star! Hurry home.

Your two girls.xx

“Joey, I don’t know what I did to deserve this, little brother, but I’m holding on with everything I have.”

Dylan’s iPhone chimed. “They’re never ending.” She grumbled as she opened her mailbox.

“What the fuck?” The email read:

From: sanctitiyofgod.com

Look in the cupboard above the sink.

She rushed over and yanked the cupboard door open. Inside was a white box. As soon as she lifted it, she could smell the putrid stench of death.

Dylan slowly opened the box.

“Fuck!” She dropped the box, its foul contents spilling onto the floor. Her stomach rolled as she watched maggots feasting on a decaying rat.

She tried to get her revolting stomach under control. Dylan then noticed a piece of paper had also tumbled out with the contents. She reached down, hands shaking, and picked it up.

It read:

I have given her time to repent but she is unwilling to leave her prostitution. So I am going to throw her onto a bed and inflict severe trails on her partners in adultery, unless they repent of their evil.
(Revelation 2:21-22).

“What the hell does fucker want?” The anger boiled up inside until she screamed and threw a punch that broke the cupboard door.

Pauley, who was heading location security, came rushing in.

“You okay, boss?”

“Some fucker has been in my trailer and left a gift.” Dylan indicated the mess on the floor.

“Shit! I’ll start a full search of the area. They must have got hold of a pass to be able to move around freely.”

“I want this person found. Call the police and get them over to check this out.”

“Will do.” When he left, Dylan dialed Jackson’s cell phone.

“Jackson Hunter.”

“Jackson, it’s Dylan. How are things at home?”

“Very quiet. No problems at all.”

“Good. I need you to be extra careful tonight. I was left a rather nice present in my trailer.”

“What?”

“A maggot- infested rat with a rather unpleasant quote from the bible; A warning of sorts to Emily and me. It was an email that tipped me off. It’s as if they know my movements and if they know that, they might be able to work out when Emily is least protected.”

In the background Dylan heard the laughter and squeals of Molly getting ready for bed. Her heart thudded at the thought of anyone threatening them.

“Make sure the police see it and send me the email address it was sent from. I have a contact who works with the FBI, who could try and trace it; probably faster than the police.”

“Thanks. I’ll forward the whole email to you now. Let me know if you get anything.”

“I will, and don’t worry. I’ll take watch all night in front of the cameras. No one will get near.”

“Thanks. Oh and Jackson? Remember, don’t tell Emily. I don’t want her worried.”

“If you think that’s best. I’ll call you if I get anything.”

Dylan ended the call and Lynn came all flustered. “Dylan are you okay?”

“I’m fine. I’m just angry. When I catch whoever is doing this, I’m gonna tear them limb from limb.”

Pauley came back in grasping a crew pass.

“We found this discarded on the road outside the site. The guy who it belongs to was knocked out and hidden in the trees around the perimeter.”

“I want security tightened, Pauley. I want the guards checking these passes on everyone as they do their rounds; even if they know them.”

“Yes, boss, and the police are on their way.”

“I’m sorry, Dylan, but the director wants to start the walk around now,” said Lynn.

“It’s okay. I’ll do it, but if any calls come from Jackson Hunter I want to know right away.”

“No problem.”

“Right let’s get to what I do best.” Dylan grabbed her jacket and followed Lynn out to the house.

A pair of binoculars was trained on Dylan as she walked across the location.

You’ll never figure it out Morgan. I’m just too smart for you.

****

Lynn watched Dylan deliver her piece to camera with pride. She showed none of the stress and tension she was feeling about the stalker situation. Ever the consummate professional, Dylan was able to go to a different space in her mind, a calm dispassionate place that allowed her to work under the most trying circumstances. Lynn supposed it was the discipline of her martial arts training that enabled her to do it.

It was now close to midnight.

They would then be taken to the house and left to record any strange noises or happenings with their own video cameras. Then at around 2 am, they would be taken from the house and placed in the coffins. The lids then would be shut and they would recorded their experiences on video camera situated within the coffin.

The house is said to be haunted by four different ghosts. One appears to be the present owner’s father. He has allegedly been seen holding his great granddaughter in an upstairs window.

The other is a greyish smoke- like figure that can reportedly pass through people in the home’s kitchen. As the basement was being renovated, an unexplained swastika was found built into the linoleum floor.

The ghosts of a woman and a dog have been seen walking the grounds at night. The woman is said to be waiting for her lover, who never comes, and can be heard wailing through the night.

Will we be able to brave the ghoulish goings on? Will Steve Jones have the courage see through Dylan’s Dare or will he be left running scared? We’ll find out over the course of the night, when we take part in ‘Dark Terror!’

“Cut! That’s great, Dylan. Let’s move to the coffin site.” The director shouted to the crew.

The set became a hive of activity as the crew moved cameras and cables to the new location. Dylan and Steve had their cell phones taken off them, given their cameras, and taken inside to begin recording.

****

Jackson woke up in front of the security monitors. She had stayed on watch all night after the incident in Dylan’s trailer.

Jackson stretched her long body and yawned, looking over at the clock on the laptop.

“5 am? Man I need coffee!” She said rubbing the sleep from her face.

Just then, Emily popped her head round the door. “Would you like some coffee Jackson?”

“You read my mind! You’re up awful early.”

“I’m used to being up for work and Molly will be up shortly expecting breakfast. Is there anything you don’t like?”

“You don’t have to make me anything. I can . . .”

“Don’t be silly. What about cheese omelets, bacon and toast?”

“That would be wonderful, thanks.” Jackson could see how Dylan loved this woman so deeply. It would be so easy to fall into the haze of her the beauty, warmth and caring, that seemed to radiate.

Get a grip, Hunter, She mentally slapped herself and turned her attention to her laptop.

She had emailed the details of the stalker, who had left the present for Dylan, to her friend in the FBI last night. He had promised to email back the results as soon as possible.

She opened up her email client and gasped when she saw the banner headline on the rolling news.

“Shit!” Not wanting Emily to put the TV on and let Molly see, she jumped from the desk and swiftly moved through to the kitchen.

Emily looked up. “Hi, Here’s your coffee. I was just going to bring it through.” When she saw the strange look on Jackson’s face, she knew something was wrong and panic seized her chest. “What? Has something happened? Is it Dylan?”

“No! no. Please calm down. It’s not that. I just didn’t want you to turn on the morning news with Molly around. I think it’s best if you watch.” She lifted the TV remote and switched on the TV in the kitchen.

‘If you’re just joining us, we’re talking about the big celebrity news. People Magazine claims to have evidence that exposes the paternity of Emily Taylor’s child. Emily Taylor is the young waitress who has captured the public’s imagination as the everyday girl who stole the TV star Dylan Morgan’s heart. We are now joined by Jimmy Daniels, who has followed Dylan Morgan’s career with interest, and was the man to break this morning’s story.’

Jackson watched as Emily gasped, clasping her hand to her mouth. Upset females were not her specialty but Jackson felt she had to do something.

Shit. What do I do? Jackson thought and awkwardly started rubbing her back in soothing strokes.

The news anchor continued.

“Jimmy, Thank you for joining us.”

“Thank you for having me on, Matt.”

“Jimmy, can you tells us the back ground to this story? It sounds a little like a soap opera.”

“Yes it does. But it’s just another in the long line of events that makes Dylan Morgan’s life a soap opera. The country’s hero, bringing back gold from the Olympics. The Internet sensation who got a TV show that went stellar all over the world. Then she meets the love of her life at a rundown diner and whisks the woman off to live in her luxurious condo. Throw in a stalker, and I think you’ll agree her brother being the biological father of her girlfriend’s daughter isn’t really a step too far.”

“Your right there, Jimmy. Tell us about Joseph Morgan and how you got hold of this information?”

“Well Matt, A couple of seasons into Dylan’s hit TV show, Joey Morgan followed his sister into showbiz looking for the big time. He didn’t have the same luck or talent, apparently, and soon got involved in the party scene. Before long he was addicted to coke and alcohol. From my research, Dylan tried getting him into rehab several times but it never stuck, and she refused to give him anymore money that he could use for drugs. My contact at the fertility clinic tells me that Joey came in desperate for money; That was all he was concerned with. He got paid and, a short time later, died of an overdose. Emily Taylor came along, chose her donor and the rest is history.”

“It’s an amazing story, no response from either Dylan or Miss Taylor but I’m sure we’ll hear more over the coming days. Jimmy Daniels, thank you. We’ll be right back after these messages.”

“Oh God . . .I . . .I don’t . . .” Tears streamed down Emily’s face as she tried make sense of her thoughts which were racing around her brain.

“Emily, do you want me to get a hold of Dylan for you?” She pulled out her cell, phone ready to dial.

Joey’s the donor? How is this possible? If this is true, then Dylan is . . .

Suddenly calm Emily knew what she needed to do.

“No. I need to phone the clinic. I need to know if this is true. Dylan must still be working in that house or she would have phoned.”

“I’ll get you the number.” Jackson did a search on her phone and wrote it down.

“Thanks, I’ll make the call in the office. Can you listen for Molly and please, don’t let her put on the TV.”

“Of course, you go ahead. I’ll watch her.”

Once inside the office, Emily let her head fall back against the door and let out a long breath.

When she had chosen her anonymous donor, Emily had based her choice on three things – He was tall with dark hair and worked in the theatre. Although most women chose someone educated like a professor, doctor or lawyer; Emily had wanted her child to have that artistic flair that she so admired. She imagined some young hard working actor, plying his trade off Broadway, looking for his break. Joseph was no actor though. He had followed his sister looking for the fame but, if this was right, Molly would have all the best elements of Dylan. Molly would be hers because, from what Dylan had told her, Joey loved and idolized his sister. If he’d lived he was sure to have given Dylan a helping hand at starting a family.

She rallied all her courage and dialed the number. “Hello, This is Emily Taylor.”

“Yes, I have seen the news. Before we discuss how the press got this information, I want you to confirm that the donor was Joseph Morgan.”

“Yes, my security number is 91101980.”

Tears started to roll down her face as she listened to the answer.

“And the rest of the batch? Is it still secure and available only to me?”

“Thank you. I’ll be in touch.”

She replaced the phone and looked at the picture of Molly and herself on Dylan’s desk.

You wanted us to be a family, honey. Are you ready for this?

She made her way back to the kitchen. Molly, thankfully, still wasn’t up.

“Is everything alright? Morris phoned up to say the front of the building is swarming with press.”

“It’s true. All of it. I need to get hold of Dylan. I don’t want her to panic. Jimmy Daniels messed with her before and she went crazy. I know she looks big and tough but she’s so sensitive and unsure of herself inside, her first reaction is anger when threatened. I need to speak to her and tell her everything will be ok.”

“I’ll get hold of Lynn for you.”

 

Continued in Episode 6

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