Dylan Morgan Show Season One by Jenny Frame

Episode 6

Lynn hung up the phone to Emily and was more than a little shell-shocked. The crew had told her of the morning news but she couldn’t believe it until Emily had called.

After being left in the haunted house at midnight, Dylan and Steve had been placed in the coffins at two am. Dylan had been underground without any communication from the outside for three hours. So had no idea what awaited her outside.

Steve Jones had bailed after half an hour, screaming that he couldn’t take the claustrophobia and the rats any longer. So Dylan had won her dare again, and made some good money for charity.

“Pauley, who was standing with Lynn outside Dylan’s trailer said, “How do you think she’ll take it?”

When Dylan had been helped from the coffin she badly needed a shower, so Lynn ordered no one to tell Dylan of the breaking news. Lynn also still held onto her employer’s phone, hoping Dylan wouldn’t have the chance to hear the news until she herself could break it to her.

Lynn sighed. “I wouldn’t want to be Jimmy Daniels, that’s for sure.”

Just then, Dylan strode out of the trailer. She was beaming and obviously delighted to have won another dare.

“Woo hoo! What a night! You should see some of the footage I got. Some great noises, I’m sure I got footsteps and . . .”

She stopped when she saw the looks on Lynn and Pauley’s faces. Fear gripped her.

“What’s wrong? Did something happen at home?”

“No. Emily and Molly are safe. Don’t worry. There was a . . .news story, that broke this morning . . . it’s difficult . . .”

“Tell me now!” she demanded.

As Lynn related the details to Dylan, she watched the TV star’s face turn to stone.

At the end, she said nothing but took off towards one of the crew vehicles. “Dylan stop!

Call Emily, please! Don’t do something you’ll regret!”

She was in the car and sped off before Lynn could finish the sentence.

****

Dylan had sped away from the location, with every intention of breaking every bone in Jimmy’s body. She knew he kept an office in the city, but she found herself to driving towards Brooklyn rather than his office. She felt pulled towards Holy Cross graveyard, where Joey was buried. It took over an hour but she felt she had to see him. On the way her rage turned to confusion. She had idea what came next.

Dylan had raced away from the location with every intention of breaking every bone in Jimmy’s body. She knew he had an office in the city, but she found herself driving towards Brooklyn rather than his office. She felt pulled towards Holy Cross cemetery, where Joey was buried. It took over an hour, but she felt she had to see him. On the way, her rage turned to confusion. Dylan had no idea what came next.

What will Emily think? Will this just be too freaky for her and she’ll leave? And Molly? Fuck!

She pulled into the parking lot and sat staring at the entrance to the chapel. Her mind drifted back to one of the saddest days of her life. Joey’s funeral. Her father had been so distraught at his son’s death that4 he took his grief out on Dylan, blaming her celebrity lifestyle for pulling him into the world of drinking and drugs.

Their last argument had been the night before the funeral.

You will not stop me from going to my own brother’s funeral, Dad!”

The priest shifted uncomfortably in his seat. He had come over to the house to lead prayers before the next day’s funeral, and had interrupted Tommy Morgan and his daughter arguing.

Since her father wouldn’t return her calls, Dylan had arrived at the house to find out the arrangements only to be informed that her presence was not wanted. Her mother sat weeping, watching her only surviving child argue with her husband.

“You will not keep me from my own brother’s funeral, dad!” Father and daughter stood nose-to-nose.

“You brought him to this. He was just a boy and he fell into your lifestyle!”

“And what lifestyle is that, dad?”

“Parties, alcohol, drugs! Whatever else you and those other faggots get up to!”

Dylan’s anger was about ready to snap. The familiar feeling of anger twisted through her veins, making her feel a little sick, and her fists balled up ready to strike.

Father Dunne, the silver haired priest whom she had known since she was a child, jumped between them. The look of fire in the woman’s eyes making him fear for Tommy.

“Dylan! Calm down. This will get you nowhere. If you strike your father you will regret it for the rest of your life.”

It took all of Dylan’s strength to move away and head for the door. She turned at the door and said, “I was never part of that lifestyle. Show business wasn’t for him, he wanted the fame without the work; and because it didn’t come, he filled the gap with drugs and alcohol. Where were you, Dad, when he was left unconscious by drug dealers? Where were you when he had to be rushed to the hospital to get his stomach pumped? You weren’t there. I was. I picked him off the floor, cleaned him, paid his medical bills and got him into rehab; but it never worked. He couldn’t do it and I couldn’t stop him from using. Even when he had no money, and I wouldn’t give him any, he found a way. You left me to fight that battle alone, Dad. Think about that when you’re throwing blame around. I will be at the funeral tomorrow and I will take my place as his sister.”

Tommy turned and walked away from his daughter. After Dylan left, Father Dunne caught up with her and she rolled down her window, “Dylan, he’s hurting. I know you are, as well, but I think deep down he blames himself. Give him time.”

Tears ran down Dylan’s face. “It hurts so much Father. Everything I have, the success, the money, doesn’t mean much with this pain.”

“It’ll never go away but it will get easier with time, and you will know happiness again.”

“Why are you so sure?”

“Because I believe God does not give you pain like this without having happiness planned for you. Things will work out as they should.”

He was right. It never did go away but it did get easier with each day, and meeting Emily had brought the happiness back. As Dylan walked down to the gravesite, she thought, to donate to a sperm bank, he must have been so desperate.

The guilt was beginning to gnaw at her guts, twisting and churning her up.

Dylan found herself standing in front of Joey’s headstone. It was planted all around with flowers in different sized pots. “Hey, little bro. I guess dad still takes care of you, huh? I’m . . .I’m sorry I haven’t been here for a while, Joey. It’s difficult. I’ve missed you, buddy. Ever since you . . .left. It’s just been me. Dad still doesn’t talk, but you know what he’s like, he could hold a grudge until the end of time. I met someone but I guess you know that, right? Emily’s perfect; she just gets me. I can be myself with her and I don’t trip over my words in front of her. Well mostly.

You know how rare that is for me. Remember that time you persuaded me to go out to a club with you? I saw that pretty girl at the bar and you introduced me? And do you remember what the first words out my mouth were? I stumbled around my brain, searching for something to say and my opening line was. ‘Uh . . . you have . . .uh, nice breasts.’ She slapped me and stormed off. You laughed for a month over that. Well guess what? I can have whole conversations with Emily without mentioning her breasts if I want. She’s the love of my life. Did you send her to me, little bro? Did you send me into the diner that night?”

Dylan leaned her head back and took a deep breath, listening to the wind swirl around the graveyard as if it might carry Joey’s voice.

“You helped her get the most beautiful little girl.”

I know you never saw yourself as a family man type; it was always me that dreamed of having the wife, the kids, the white picket fence . . . Oh . . . you? . . .”

A thought flashed through her brain. She knelt down on the grass and touched the stone, hoping to feel closely connected Joey.

Her mind drifted back to one Christmas seven or eight years ago. She had come home to spend the holiday with her family. After a long day of church and opening presents, they were now enjoying dinner.

“This has been a great day. We’re glad you came home, Dylan. We miss you.”

“I’m sorry, mom, it’s just the show is really taking off at the club and I can’t take my eye off the ball.”

Tommy stood and clapped his daughter on the back.

“Well. We’re together as a family and that’s what it’s all about. The only thing that will make it better is when you two bring me home some grandkids.”

Father and mother left the two siblings alone, while they cleaned up in the kitchen.

“Well big sister, you do know it’s your responsibility to provide the grandkids? I know you want to find a little lady and settle down one day. I think having kids would give me hives!”

Dylan laughed. Her brother could be such a queen sometimes.

“I would love that, Joey, but there are a couple of problems with that plan.”

“And what would those be, dear sister?”

“One, whenever I talk to a woman I fall to pieces; and two, I lack the necessary equipment.”

“Oh come on, Dylan. We both know you’ve always had more balls than I’ve ever had. Let’s face it, sis, you’re the son dad wanted.”

“Joey, don’t . . .”

“No. It’s okay, Dylan. I’m not sad about it. It just isn’t who I was meant to be. You were, and if you ever get that big motorcycle boot out of your mouth and catch a nice girl, I’ll help you out. They’ll be all yours.”

Dylan’s heart raced as she realized what this meant. “She’s mine!”

She stood and kissed the stone. “Thank you for this gift, little bro. I love you.”

She raced back to the car as quick as she could.

****

A lone individual sat in a room reading the article in People magazine. Their hands began to shake as they read on. All of a sudden, the figure’s anger boiled over. “Argh!” They ripped the magazine apart, grabbed the chair and smashed it off the wall.

“Lies! Why are they lying! They’re not yours, Morgan! They will never be yours!”

****

Emily paced up and down the office. “Somebody must know where she’s gone, Lynn. How can she just disappear? It’s been hours.”

“There’s nothing. We checked at Jimmy’s office and People Magazine’s local office. Nothing. I want to find her, believe me; I need to know how she wants to handle this. There are only so many times I can say, no comment,” said Lynn sounding exasperated.

Emily sighed. “I’m sorry, I’m just worried. You know what her temper’s like. I worry about what she’ll do and Molly keeps asking questions. She’s scared the ghosts got her last night.”

“I’m sorry. Are you two okay? Do you want me to send Pauley over?” Lynn offered.

“It’s fine, Jackson’s with us. Just let me know if hear anything, okay?”

“Will do. Let me know if you hear anything, too.”

“Thanks Lynn.”

“Anything?” Jackson popped her head around the door and saw Emily looking worried and hugging her arms round her chest.

“Nothing. I don’t understand why she wouldn’t come home. I know it’s a confusing and unreal situation, but it makes us family. I thought that’s what she wanted, maybe I was wrong.” Emily wiped away the tears that started to fall.

Jackson debated saying anything. She didn’t like to reveal herself so much, but Emily was in pain and she couldn’t help but like the beautiful woman.

I hope I don’t regret this!

Jackson took Emily’s hand and pulled her over to sit down. “I haven’t known either of you that long but Dylan seems to me like someone who lives for her family, and this must have shook her to the core. I had a sister.” Jackson’s voice cracked with emotion.

“She joined the army as soon as she was old enough. She wanted to be just like me, but she was no soldier. She got into the medical corps and was stationed in Iraq with me. They were helping the injured in a local village when they came under attack from insurgents. My unit got the call to go in. When we got there, I found her dead; her body lying across a little Iraqi girl she tried to protect. The fact that my unit was too late tortures me. I should have made it on time. I imagine that’s how Dylan felt finding her brother dead in his apartment. If I found out my sister had a child I didn’t know about, all of those feelings of pain and hurt would come rushing back. I’m sure she’s just gone someplace to get her head around it and deal with the hurt and pain that this has brought up.”

Emily took Jackson’s hand and said, “I’m so sorry about your sister.”

Jackson looked down at her hand clasped in Emily’s. She didn’t normally let anyone this close, but Emily was a kind caring person and she trusted her with the truth.

You are one damn lucky woman, Morgan. If she weren’t taken I would love to be the one to make her smile.

Feeling a little exposed, Jackson decided a tactical retreat was in order.

“I’ll just go and make sure Molly’s okay.”

“I’m going to run her bath and put her to bed. She wanted to stay up to see Dylan, but who knows what sort of mood she’ll come back in.

“Okay, can I make us coffee or something?”

Emily could sense Jackson was itching for something to do.

“That would be great. Thank you.”

Please be safe, honey.

****

Sometime later, Jackson jumped from the couch when she heard them door being opened; her hand hovered over her weapon.

She relaxed when the door opened to reveal Dylan creeping in.

“Dylan. You’re back at last.”

Dylan detected annoyance in Jackson’s voice. “Yes, I’m back. Any problems?”

“No. Just Emily and Molly being worried where you were.”

Well what happened to Miss Emily and Miss Molly?

There was something in Jackson’s tone that irked Dylan. “Well, I’m back, so you can get home now. Tomorrow we’ll discuss the package from last night. Where’s Emily?”

“I think she’s in her room now. She was putting Molly to bed.”

Jackson gathered her case but couldn’t help having another shot at the TV star.

“You know Emily’s been in tears. She’s been so worried and Molly thought the ghosts had gotten you.”

Jackson saw a steely look come over Dylan’s usually warm eyes.

“I’m back now, so you can go home and leave me to see to my family.”

After Jackson left, Dylan went over to the liquor cabinet, poured herself a whiskey and downed it in one.

This it, Morgan. You have to face her and if she kicks your butt then you take it. You deserve it.

She made her way down the hall and, taking a breath, walked into the bedroom. Emily was sitting at the dressing table in her nightgown, brushing her hair.

She turned and, when she saw who it was, launched herself at Dylan, kissing all over her face. Dylan gathered Emily up and squeezed her tight.

When she was sure her girlfriend was alright, the temper came. “Why didn’t you tell me you were safe? I have been worried sick all day! And Molly has been asking for you every five minutes! Did you call L ynn?”

“Yes. On the way back. I’m sorry. I had to think. I was so confused.”

“You were confused? I heard it this morning on the news, don’t you think I was confused and needed you?”

“I went to the graveyard to talk to Joey,” Dylan said sadly.

Emily immediately calmed down. “Oh? And did you come to any conclusions?”

Dylan stroked the side of Emily’s face tenderly. “Yes. Molly is mine. Yours and mine.”

“Of course she is, honey. You know I want us to be a family, even if the donor hadn’t been your brother . . .”

“No, you don’t understand. She really is ours. She was meant to be mine.”

Dylan explained the memory that had popped into her head when she spoke to her brother at the grave.

“Oh my God. You’re right. If he had lived, he would have helped us with this donation. He would have helped us conceive our babies.”

Dylan looked down at Emily with a new, deeper connection. She didn’t think she could love Emily or Molly anymore than she did, but something had changed. They were forever linked. A family not just of the heart, but of flesh, blood and DNA.

“She is ours,” Dylan said huskily.

Emily saw the look of hunger and want on her partner’s face. She felt a pull in her stomach and a steady thud begin deep inside.

Their mouths came crashing together in a fiery passionate kiss.

They both felt the need to connect at some deep level, to confirm the bonds between their souls were now unbreakable.

Dylan needed to take, to prove what was hers and hers alone. She untied the dressing gown, delighted to find Emily naked underneath. She picked Emily up, her girlfriend’s legs wrapping around her waist while the bruising kisses continued. She carried Emily over to the wall, balancing her against it. Dylan’s big hands found Emily’s breasts, alternating between squeezing them hard and pinching the hard nubs with her fingers, while Dylan’s teeth bit and marked their way down her neck.

“Oh God yes, Dyl! I like it hard. Take me. Take me fast and hard. Please?”

Dylan growled and felt a rush of power. She thrust two fingers straight into Emily, who still had her legs wrapped around her.

“Ah! Oh God! Yes! That feels so good, Dyl. Fuck me! Fuck me harder!”

Dylan felt she could come any second without any stimulation. It always made her so hard and ready to come hearing the normally very polite Emily talk in vulgar terms.

Dylan used her hips to thrust her hand into Emily harder. She could feel Emily tighten around her fingers and knew it wouldn’t be much longer.

“Oh! I’m going to come, Dyl.”

Dylan thrust even faster then said into her ear, “you’re mine. Mine forever. Come for me now!”

Emily’s legs tightened around her waist and her nails dug into Dylan’s shoulders as she fell over the edge into a white hot heat that seared though her body, soothed by the words of love Dylan was whispering over and over in her ear.

Panting, Emily came back to earth and opened her eyes, holding onto Dylan’s neck like a life preserver.

“I love you, Dyl.” She reached down between them, starting to undo Dylan’s belt.

“No. I want to feel closer. Inside you. Please?”

Emily knew what she was asking. It had arrived in the mail yesterday. They hadn’t used it yet but Dylan had worn it around the bedroom. She said she had to bond with it.

As soon as she put it on, Dylan felt at home; it felt like a natural extension of herself. She knew that as soon as she touched it and felt the pull in her clit at the same time. Emily had loved seeing Dylan wear it. The coloring was a near-perfect match for Dylan and it felt so real.

Emily ran her fingers through Dylan’s thick dark hair. “Yes. I want that. I’ll wait for you in bed.

Dylan lowered her to the ground, letting her get into the big bed. Emily watched as Dylan got ready. She began to throb again when she saw her girlfriend stalk towards her with the look of a predator about to devour her prey.

Dylan slipped between the sheets and on top of Emily, resting her elbows either side of Emily’s head and looking deeply into her eyes.

“I want you so badly it hurts; I want to be so deeply inside that I’m a part of you.” Emily saw the look of longing in Dylan’s eyes, and could feel the new feeling of hardness between them. “Then take what’s yours.”

Dylan reached down and felt the copious amount of wetness Emily had produced.

“Oh God! You’re so ready for my cock.” Dylan felt her own hard nub stiffen to an almost painful point underneath the base of her strap on.

“Yes I ‘am. Let me feel you, stretch me, fill me up Dyl!”

Dylan eased in slowly until she completely filled her partner.

“Feels so good inside baby.”

Emily ran her hands up and down Dylan’s muscled arms and shoulders. They were among Emily’s favorite parts of her partner’s body, and to know that she was the only one who could enjoy them like this thrilled Emily.

Dylan moaned as she started a gentle thrust. Emily looked up at Dylan, mesmerized by the look on her partners face. She saw only pleasure, love and devotion.

“Baby? Can you feel me? I’m deep inside you. I feel like I can’t get close enough.”

“I feel you, honey. You’re part of me.”

“Need . . .need to be closer. It’s not enough.” Dylan quickly came up on her knees, all the while staying inside, and placed Emily’s legs on either of her shoulders. She pulled Emily’s hips closer. Dylan then leaned forward a little and began a long slow thrust.

“Oh god, Dyl. It’s so deep!” This new position touched a place inside her that made her feel exquisite pleasure but made her want to cry at the same time.

“You feel so good around my cock. Shit!”

“Yes, give it to me harder. Make us come together!”

“Fuck yes!” Dylan grabbed on to her hips and pulled Emily towards her thrusts, which were getting faster and faster. The erotic sound of slapping flesh spurred her on towards the end.

Dylan felt all the tension and pleasure begin to build up to a point where she knew she couldn’t stop.

“I’m coming baby. Can’t stop!”

“Yes, come now. With me, please?”

“Fuck!” Dylan leaned back and roared, holding onto Emily’s legs and thrusting fiercely as her orgasm seemed to flow from her groin into her girlfriend.

Dylan collapsed on Emily, whose arms came around her reassuringly and held her tight as she shook from the power of her orgasm.

“It’s okay, honey.” Emily cooed.

“I . . .I . . .love you.” Dylan’s voice sounded raw.

“I know, honey. I love you.”

Dylan lifted her head and tears were running down Emily’s face.

Oh God! What have I done!

“I’m so sorry, baby. I was too rough wasn’t I? Shit! I . . .”

Emily placed a finger across Dylan’s lips.

“Stop. You didn’t hurt me and you weren’t rough. You were passionate and in control, just the way I like it. You had me so turned on.” Emily smiled saucily. “And that way you made love to me? You touched places so deep it made me want to cry, scream, scratch your back and smile at the same time.”

Emily watched a cheeky smirk develop on Dylan’s face. She waggled her hips, her strap on still inside. “It was that good?”

“Ugh. It’s tender in there, goofy!” Emily play slapped her partner’s backside. “Yes, it was that good. I loved it.”

Dylan pulled out gently and, lying on her back, gathered Emily in her arms.

“I got to tell you, baby girl, that was fucking amazing. I thought I was gonna pass out!”

Emily leaned up on her elbow full of smiles. “Yeah?” She stroked Dylan’s hard abs. “And how did you like using our new friend?”

“It was amazing! It was like it was a part of me. It felt like nothing mattered but being deep inside. I think it’s gonna be my new favorite friend.”

Emily grabbed Dylan’s cock and gently stroked it from base to head.

“Ugh! Baby. I can’t concentrate when you do that and we have to talk before tomorrow.”

“You can it feel it when I do this?”

Dylan nodded. “Dylan nodded. “Yeah. I told you it’s like it’s connected to my clit. It feels like a part of me and watching it in your hand just blows my mind.”

“Could you come this way?”

Dylan put her hand over Emily’s and brought it up to her waist.

“Yes. Easily. So that’s why you have to a good girl so we can talk.”

Emily smirked. “Okay I’ll be good, but you do realize my mind is now whirling with things I want to do to you and have you to do to me?”

Dylan whimpered. “Yeah. I think you might kill me, but I’m looking forward to it. Come here, baby girl.” Dylan quickly took off the strap on, so they could talk without temptation.

“So how do you feel about today?” Asked Dylan.

“Well, apart from the way we found out via that horrid man, Jimmy Daniels, I’d say it’s the most wonderful thing that I could ever have dreamed of. I was meant for you, Dylan Morgan. Even before I knew you, I had your baby.”

Dylan’s smiled a goofy smile. “It makes me so happy to hear those words.”

“When I went to the clinic and looked through the available donors, you would think that I would pick a blonde donor because Toni and I are blonde, but when I came to your brother I just pictured a beautiful dark haired, blue eyed baby. I knew it was right. It was meant to be, Dylan. From the moment we met, it’s just been right. Look at the way Molly took to you right away? She’s always shy with strangers, it’s as if she knew you were her other Mom.”

“Mom? I’m a mom? Woah. I never thought of that. Wow.” Dylan looked stunned.

Emily ticked Dylan’s stomach, smiling. “Well you’re not exactly the mama type like me, are you?”

Dylan laughed. “I guess not. Too butch huh?”

Emily raised herself above her partner and kissed her obviously wanting more. “Yeah. But that’s just the way I like you.”

Dylan pulled away moaning. “Baby girl, you’re killing me here. I’m trying to be all grown up and talk about this, and you’re making me want to have you again!”

Emily giggled like a naughty schoolgirl. “I’ll behave. Sorry. Eh . . .I was looking at your brother’s picture today, the one in the frame on the bookcase?”

“Yeah, that was taken when I made him go hiking with me. He hated it. He could be such a queen. You would have had fun with him. Shopping and that boring stuff.”

“All that boring stuff?”

“You know. Girl stuff.”

“Oh. I see.” Emily nodded indulgently. “Well even though he’s Molly’s biological parent, she’s so much more like you. He’s dark and blue eyed but he’s smaller in height and build. I think Molly’s going to have a bigger build like you. And going by her love of all things like cars, gadgets and games, I think she’ll have your personality too.”

“Well what do you expect, she is my kid?” It feels so good to say that!

Dylan said proudly, “But there’s one thing she doesn’t have.”

“What?” Dylan rolled Emily over onto her back and placed a big hand in the centre of her chest.

“She doesn’t have my heart. That little girl’s loving and caring nature is all yours, Emmie.”

Emily ran her fingers through Dylan’s hair. “You are my everything, Dylan. Molly and I couldn’t live without you.”

I hope this isn’t pushing to soon! thought Dylan.

“That’s good because I’ve something more to say. I want no more talk of going back to your apartment when things are safer. I want you both with me forever. I’ll be dammed if my family is going to live in two different places.” Emily went to speak and was silenced again. “I’m not finished. I also want no more talk of giving me time and space before committing to me. I want that commitment, especially now.”

Dylan caressed Emily’s face, her heart thudding at what she was about to do. She had decided at the cemetery what she needed to do, but deciding and actually doing it were two different things. She got up, got the box from her jeans pocket, and walked around to Emily’s side of the bed. Dylan got down on one knee.

“This should probably be done in a much more romantic way but . . .well today pushed things along a bit.”

Oh my God! She’s not going to . . .is she?

Dylan took her hand, held out the open box and said, “Emily Grace Taylor, you are the mother of my child and the love of my life. Will you do me the honor of becoming my wife and making us a family?”

Emily sat up, holding the sheet around her. A million thoughts rushed around her head as she looked down at the most beautiful ring she had ever seen.

“When . . .” gasped Emily.

“I stopped off at DeBeers on the way back. They weren’t too impressed with how I was dressed but when they realized what I was buying, they changed their mind. Is it okay? I . . .I wasn’t sure what to get but I told the assistant that you liked simple, but that I wanted something really special. She suggested this.”

Emily looked open mouthed at the large square cut diamond atop a platinum band.

“Yes.” She whispered.

Dylan looked confused. “Is that a yes you like it or yes you’ll marry me?”

Emily smiled warmly. “Yes to both. I’d love to become your wife.”

Dylan launched herself towards Emily and squeezed her tight.

“Really?” Emily laughed and nodded vigorously.

“Wow! You’ve made me the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. Oh, the ring.”

Dylan very carefully took the ring from the box and placed it on Emily’s finger. Emily lifted her hand to admire the ring.

“It’s beautiful, honey. It’s like a ring from a fairytale. I’m sure you spent too much money on it.” Dylan peppered little kisses across her knuckles.

“You deserve everything. I’m only sorry that you had to go through hard times when you were having Molly. You should have been at home enjoying every minute of your pregnancy, but I can promise you and Molly that from now on neither of you will want for anything for the rest of your lives.

Tears ran down Emily’s face. She had always resisted Dylan spending too much money on them, having to be independent through necessity for so many years.

“But the declaration Dylan had just made was not about control, it was about showing how much she cared. About how she loved Emily and Molly in a way that Toni never had. Dylan was a provider and protector by nature and it filled Emily with joy to know that she and her daughter were the sole focus of that protection.

“What’s wrong? Why are you crying, baby girl?”

“I’m just so happy. I know we have more to talk about but please, will you make love to me now?”

“With pleasure.”

And Dylan did just that. She poured all the love in her heart and soul into their passion, trying to show Emily just how much the blonde meant to her.

****

After making love long into the night, the two newly engaged women slept wrapped around each other.

Dylan woke up early, around 4:30, and went to make them coffee.

She came back with the tray and tried to wake Emily gently.

“Emmie? Wake up, baby girl.”

“Hmm. Too early, Dyl . . .go back to sleep.”

“I know its early, baby, but I’ve got to go to work in a while and we need to talk before Molly gets up, and decide what to tell Lynn to tell the press. I brought coffee. It’s not as good as yours, but it’s drinkable.”

“Alright! I’m up! I’m up! Give me a nightgown, will you?”

“Dylan grabbed one from the dresser and gave it to Emily. Dylan sat down and Emily took the cup of coffee and sat down beside her.

“Hmm. tastes good.” She looked down at her sparkling ring smiling and said, “We’re engaged.”

“Yes, I know. You’ve made me a happy TV star. Just don’t lose that or a small insurance firm may go out of business.

“It wasn’t too expensive was it?” Emily asked worriedly.

“You don’t need to worry about that, all you need to worry about is how beautiful you look wearing it.”

“You know, I feel a little smug.” Emily said.

“Oh? And why, apart from having a devilishly handsome fiancé, would you feel smug?”

Emily smacked Dylan on the arm. I feel smug because Jimmy Daniels thought he had something on you that was really going to make you angry and upset out lives but, in fact, finding out about Molly was the happiest news that we could have been given.”

“You’re right. This is all I’ve ever dreamed of. That little girl through there is part me, part of my blood, my DNA, my family, and my heritage. Nothing could make me happier. What will we tell her?”

“I think we should tell her today in case she hears anything on TV. I think if we tell her the truth, that your brother helped me make a baby so you and I could be her Moms, I think that would be best. She’s going to be one happy girl having you as a Mom.”

Dylan smiled shyly.

“I hope so.”

“There’s one more thing you need to know about the donation.”

Dylan’s heart sank. Shit I knew it couldn’t all be good news!

“What is it?”

Emily put her coffee down on the bedside table.

“You know that my dream had always been to have a large family?”

Dylan nodded. “Well, when I chose your brother’s donation, I bought the whole lot so that Molly could have full brothers or sisters in the future, if I could afford to have them. I didn’t want anyone else to have it. I checked with the clinic when I called yesterday and the donation is still healthy and viable.”

Dylan looked a little stunned. “You mean . . .if we want to have some more kids, they’ll be ours? The same as Molly?”

“Yes honey. If you want to, you can get me pregnant whenever we want.”

Dylan leaped on Emily, pinning her to the bed and raining kisses on her face and neck. “I want! I want! When can we start?” She wiggled her hips suggestively into Emily’s groin.

Emily chuckled. Hay calm down, goofy! How about we wait till we’re married? You really want to have more children with me?”

“Are you kidding? I want as many as you’re willing to have. Remember I told you about how I wanted to buy a house on Long Island on the beach? Fill it up with a family? Have a workshop so I can play with my tools, a boat maybe to take the kids out in? I’ll have a big gym, I can teach Molly Taekwondo, and whoever else comes along.” Dylan said excitedly.

“The night you walked into my diner you made my dreams come true, you know that?” Emily replied.

“I think both our dreams came true, and I think Joey guided me to that diner. I can’t imagine my life without you.”

Their lips met, not in fiery passion this time, but in a tender way the spoke of all the love these two people held for each other.

“I guess we’ve decided how we’ll handle the press, huh?” Dylan asked.

“Yes. Tell them we were delighted with the news and announce that we’re getting married. No angst or pain here.”

“You do realize, with this story and the wedding, you’re going to be in the papers even more. They’ll be speculating on what dress you’ll be wearing, where we’re having it, guest lists, the whole lot.” Dylan warned.

“I don’t care. I have you and that’s all that matters. I think I’m ready to become the wife of a TV star.”

“Great I’ll go and phone Lynn before Molls gets up.”

Suddenly a thought flashed through Emily’s mind.

“Honey! Did you put away your . . .your . . .you know, before Molly comes in?”

Dylan laughed at Emily’s embarrassment over it. “You weren’t so shy about it when my little buddy was inside you! You were screaming his name.”

Emily threw a pillow at Dylan’s head. “That’s enough, TV star! That is if you ever want to have sex again?”

Dylan dropped to her knees on Emily’s side of the bed. “I’m sorry, baby girl.” Dylan leaned in to kiss Emily’s neck. “You know I can’t live without your touch, your sweet kisses.”

“Get going you goof!” Emily smacked Dylan on the arm.

****

After getting dressed and making her calls, Dylan made her way back to the kitchen. Lynn gave her an earful for leaving yesterday but she soon cheered up when she realized she had a wedding to help organise. Lynn advised that the couple should do one big interview with a major TV station, so the public could see them, and then ask for privacy for the wedding. Dylan had promised she would ask Emily.

When she entered the bedroom, she found Molly cuddled into her mother.

“Dien! Ou back! I miffed ou. Did da ghosts get ou?”

Dylan lifted the girl and, lying down beside Emily, brought Molly into her lap.

“Nah! They were scared of me, Smurflet! I missed you an awful lot yesterday too, and I’m sorry I didn’t come home till after bedtime but something came up I had to sort out.”

Molly cuddled into her chest, seeking reassurance. “It’s otay Dien. I ove ou.”

“I love you too, Molls. More than you know.”

Emily cleared her throat. “Molly, Dylan and I have something important to tell you. Come sit between us.”

The little girl looked at her mother with Dylan’s big blue eyes. How did I not see it before? She’s like a little clone!

“Remember when you asked me before if you had a daddy?” Molly nodded.

“I told you mama went to the hospital and a man helped me make you? Well we found out that the man that helped me make you was Dylan’s little brother, and he wanted Dylan to have a baby with mama. So that means you belong to both Dylan and me.”

Emily watched her little brain trying to work out the puzzle, she probably wouldn’t understand fully until she was a little older.

“Dien are you my daddy?” Dylan gave Emily a panicked look.

“That’s sort of true honey, but Dylan is a girl so it’s probably better to call her your other mom. We are family sweetie; we all have the same blood, just like you and mama.”

Molly crawled up to Dylan and touched Dylan’s cheek with her little hand. “Dien? Ou my mom?”

“Yeah Smurf. Is that okay with you?”

Molly threw her arms round Dylan’s neck. “Ou my Mom! I have a mom and a mama!”

Dylan thought her heart would burst from the joy she was feeling.

“That’s right, Smurf. You’re my kid and I love you. You know what else?”

Molly shook her head. “I asked your mama if she would marry me so we could become a real family and she said yes. Look at your mama’s pretty ring.”

Molly’s mouth formed an “o”. “That’s so pwetty, mama. We going to be a family? Mom won’t ever go away?”

“Never. I don’t think we could get her to leave even if we hit her with a big stick!”

“Ha! Ha!” Molly laughed and jumped up and down on the bed. “I have a mom! I have a mom and a mama!”

Emily kissed Dylan on the cheek. “You’ve made her the happiest little girl in the world.”

“Come play wiv me, mom.” Molly tugged at Dylan’s hand.

Feeling she should let them bond more, Emily said, “You two play and I’ll make us breakfast, but after that mom has to talk with Jackson and get ready for work. She’s on the TV tonight.”

“Otay mama. Come on, mom!”

“I think she may never let you go now,” said Emily.

Dylan had a happy, goofy look on her face. “Good. My daughter is someone you never let go of.”

Molly pulled Dylan off to the playroom.

Emily sighed. Well, you’ve done it, Emily. You’ve got the family you always wanted!

****

Jackson walked up to the door of the Morgan home at 7 am, unsure what she would find. When she left the night before, Dylan had been AWOL all day and Emily was getting madder by the second. When Dylan eventually came creeping in, she was glad she wasn’t the one to face the young woman.

When she knocked and Emily opened the door, whatever scene she thought she would find, it was not this. Dylan was on the floor wrestling and tickling Molly, who was laughing and having the time of her life, and Emily was beaming watching them.

“Good morning Jackson. Come in, I kept some breakfast for you. Dylan Morgan! If you make your daughter sick, you can clean it up!” Emily chastised.

Her daughter? That’s new, thought Jackson.

“Alright Smurf! We better calm down before your mama kicks my butt!”

“Otay mom, but mama wouldn’t tick your butt, she oves ou.”

“That’s good to know, Molls.” Dylan patted Molly’s head.

“Dyl, I’ll go and get her dressed so you can talk to Jackson. Before I do . . .Jackson? We have something to tell you.”

Emily had lifted Molly up and Dylan stood proudly with her arm round Emily’s shoulders.

Emily nudged Dylan in the ribs. “Oh yeah. Uh . . .last night, I asked Emily if she would do me the honor of becoming my wife, and she said yes. Lynn is releasing it to the press today.”

Emily held out her engagement ring for Jackson to see.

Well played, Morgan. In one fell swoop you save yourself getting your balls busted when you get home by bringing a huge diamond ring, and you make sure this little family is yours legally, thought Jackson cynically. To Jackson, people and especially people in relationships always had agendas. She didn’t believe in the love from romance novels, soul mates who would do anything just to make their partner happy, because even family went away eventually.

Jackson leaned in and kissed Emily’s cheek. “Congratulations Emily. I hope you’ll be happy. You too, Molly.”

She then shook Dylan’s hand. “You’re very lucky, Dylan.”

“I know,” replied Dylan. “I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to make her happy. Come, have some breakfast while we talk.”

Jackson watched Emily walk off to get Molly ready for her day, the little girl chattering away to her mother.

They seem so happy. Maybe real love is possible for some; but not for me, thought Jackson sadly.

Dylan noticing her security guard looking off after her fiancé shouted, “Hey Jackson! Let’s get started, shall we?”

“Sure, sorry. I was just thinking.” She sat down and Dylan took breakfast out of the oven for her.

“Thanks. I’m going to put on weight doing this job!” Jackson joked.

“Tell me about it! Ever since I met Emmie, I’ve had to work a lot harder in the gym. I called Patrick this morning. He’s got nothing on the letter or the package I got on location. They looked into the guy that Emily’s ex flagged up but he has no criminal record, pays his taxes, and goes to work. Nothing unusual. Patrick tells me that without any evidence there’s nothing they can do. They have to wait till he does something.”

“My contact in the FBI traced the email you got to an internet cafe on west 49th Street, no traceable details.”

“I need you to be extra vigilant. Whoever this is doesn’t like Emily being in a relationship with me, so it might get worse once our engagement’s announced.”

Jackson finished eating and lifted her cup of coffee. “Emily have any plans today?”

“Yeah. I don’t want her to, but how can ask her to keep Molly cooped up for another day without answering some awkward questions? She wants to go shopping. Oh, and she has an appointment with a decorator this afternoon.

Emily going to the park worried Jackson. A big open space would be hard to keep safe.

“I wouldn’t recommend it. The press are camped out on the street downstairs. I don’t think I could keep them safe without more people. I think you should tell her the truth.”

Dylan looked down at the floor. “I can’t. Not yet, at least. She’ll be so angry that I’ve kept this a secret; they’ve both been through so much over the last few days. I need to let them settle a bit first. I will tell her, just not yet. I’ll just tell her it would be too unsafe with the press and stuff.”

Jackson sighed. “It’s your call. Listen, the decorator Emily set up the appointment with, Rosie Henderson?”

Dylan nodded. Emily had finally found a decorator she liked. After going through all the usual big companies, Emily had found the website of Rosie Henderson. A recently graduated artist, who had just started her own business. That’s so like my Emmie, Dylan thought. She’d rather give a chance an enthusiastic beginner than a slick conventional business.

“I had my associates run her details.”

Dylan had no idea who Jackson’s associates were, but she was delighted that she had employed such an excellent professional.

“I don’t have to worry about anything, do I?” she asked Jackson.

“Not as such. She seems to be your classic arty hippy type. A couple of warnings and an arrest at an anti- war rally.”

Dylan tried not to smile as she observed the disgusted look on the very conservative soldier’s face.

“Well, she’s young. I’m sure she’s not much of a threat. Do you?”

“Maybe not, but I’ll be keeping my eye on her. I don’t trust that un-American, anti-government sort as far as I can throw them.”

“Okay. Whatever you think’s best. Remember, Emily and Molls are coming into the studio tonight. I’ll leave the Jeep with you, the studio is sending a car for me. I need to get another car organized from the dealership.”

“Understood.”

“In the meantime I’m going to try and convince my fiancé that she can’t go out today.”

Jackson smirked. “Rather you than me.”

“Gee thanks!”

****

“Look, I’m sorry Emmie. It’s just till things settle down a bit. The press would make it impossible to look in the stores anyway.”

Dylan had broken the news to Emily that she must stay in today. She had not taken it well and was now, rather forcibly, folding the laundry in their bedroom.

When Dylan received no answer, she tried again. “Emmie please. I’m doing my best here to try and make things okay for you both.”

Emily ceased her frantic folding and sighed. “I know you are. I don’t have to like it though. We’re like virtual prisoners in here, and all because of a one-off burglary and some empty threats.”

Dylan stood and walked over to Emily. Slipping her arms round her fiancé’s waist.

“Even if the intruder thing hadn’t happened, the press following would be the same anyway. Why don’t you get on the net and do the shopping you wanted to? I’m sure you’ll still find it fun. There’s more choice and less hassle, and it’s exciting to get deliveries.” Dylan was trying hard to sell the idea.

Emily let her head fall back onto Dylan’s chest in resignation. They had decided last night that Emily would shop for new clothes for Molly and herself. Since they were now engaged, Emily had accepted that their finances would now be shared and let go of her fierce independence and Dylan, as Molly’s mom, said she had a lot of birthdays and Christmases to catch up on.

Emily turned in Dylan’s arms. “You know what’s so infuriating about you, goofy?”

Dylan smiled, knowing she was going to be let off the hook.

“I’m sure there’s a ton of things annoying about me, baby girl.”

“Well yes, but the main thing is that no matter how angry I am at you, I can’t stay mad with you. You look at me with those blue goofy eyes and I want to hug you tight and kiss you.” Emily proceeded to do just that, her hands going straight to Dylan’s butt. It was one of the many places on her fiancé’s body that she adored. She loved the way it felt rock solid but also how it looked in the type of slouchy jeans Dylan wore, with the low hanging back pockets and buckles, her Calvin Klein jockey shorts visible above the waistband.

Dylan broke the kiss while she still could. “Hmm. I love your kisses, Emmie, but you shouldn’t kiss me like that unless you want me to rip your clothes off! And, unfortunately, I have to go to work.”

“Alright, spoil sport!”

Still holding Emily in her arms, Dylan asked. “So? You gonna buy up the internet? Remember, get everything you both need and even if you don’t need it, buy it.” Dylan gave Emily’s nose a quick kiss.

Emily placed her head on Dylan’s chest. “It’s going to be hard getting used to not worrying about what things cost. I had to struggle to get what Molly needed. So be patient with me.”

I’m so sorry you had to go through that alone. Never again, Dylan vowed as she kissed Emily’s head.

“I understand, but you don’t have to worry again. I’ll always take care of you. Your bank and credit cards will take a few days to be posted but you have my card in the meantime, so just enjoy it. What time’s the designer coming?”

“One o’clock. Going by her website, she seems quite the colorful character. Should be interesting.”

“Well, have fun. I better get to work. Jackson will bring you to the studio later. Make sure you do what she tells you and follow her advice when you go out.”

“Yes dear!” Emily said sarcastically.

Episode 7

Rosie Henderson checked her appearance in a store window for what seemed like the fiftieth time today. At twenty-five and fresh out of art college, this was her big chance. When a Miss Taylor called for an appointment, it had been a godsend. Only six months out from college and with a little help from her dad, she set up her small interior design business. Rosie had no idea Miss Taylor was someone special until she had received a call from a rather stiff-sounding bodyguard. Jackson Hunter had told Rosie that under no circumstances was she to give out any details relating to Miss Taylor or Dylan Morgan. She had been astonished that such a famous couple would choose a small company, that barely had any commissions, to style their home.

The phone call had annoyed Rosie; she would never give out any client information. A request would have been fine but the security consultant, as she described herself, had ordered her as if she were some sort of naughty school girl.

I hope I don’t bump into her!

With one last check she walked the few yards further along the road and made her way into the apartment building.

Jackson answered the intercom, “Yes, thank you. Send her up.”

She walked to the living room where Emily was sitting on the sofa with the laptop on her knee and Molly was playing with some toys on the floor.

“Emily, the decorator’s here.” Jackson told her.

She shut the laptop and stood. “Thank you. Could you sit with Molly while I show her the room?”

“I’m sorry, Emily, but I cannot leave you alone with a stranger. I have to be with you.”

“Jackson, what exactly do you think is going to happen?” Emily said exasperated.

“I don’t have any idea what’s going to happen and that’s why I must be physically with you. Please let me do my job”

This is ridiculous! But it’s not worth fighting over, thought Emily.

“Fine! Molly, bring a toy okay? We’re going to meet the lady that’s going to decorate your room.

Picking up her toy fire truck, Molly tottered after her mother and Jackson.

Jackson opened the door and was a little confused. This young woman looked about eighteen, not the owner of an interior design business. The young woman was petite and very pretty, with long dark hair and big brown eyes.

Woah! I’ll take a guess you were the one giving orders on the phone, thought Rosie.

“I have an appointment with Miss Taylor. I’m Rosie Henderson.”

“Come in. Miss Taylor is in the family room. Follow me.” Jackson barked.

Yes Sir! Jeez! Have you got a stick up your ass? Rosie followed and entered the room to a much warmer welcome .

She had seen pictures of Emily in magazines, but the pictures did not do her justice. She was beautiful in a very natural way and was dressed simply, in figure hugging jeans and blouse.

With a huge smile, Emily welcomed Rosie. “Hi! Please come in. I’m Emily.”

Rosie shook Emily’s hand. “I’m delighted to meet you Miss Taylor.”

“Emily, please. This is my daughter, Molly. It’s her room you’ll be decorating. Say hello to Rosie, Molly.”

Molly looked up from her toy and smiled brightly.

“Hi Wosie.”

“Hi there, Molly. Nice to meet you.”

“Let me take your coat, Rosie, and then we can have a chat.” “I’ll get it, Emily,” Jackson said.

The security guard watched as she took off her jacket to reveal an indie-girl style outfit. A long print T-shirt dress belted at the waist, showing John and Yoko with the phrase ‘War is over’. Underneath, her black leggings ended at pink and white checkerboard sneakers. The outfit was finished off with a grey knitted beret and bright pink bangles.

“Going by the FBI report her contact had run for her, the woman before her was exactly as Jackson thought she would be.

An arty, anti-war, anti-globalization, un-American hippy! Jackson thought with disgust. Everything that Jackson despised.

Rosie handed over her jacket and saw the way Jackson looked at her. As she left the room, Rosie asked Emily, “What’s her problem?”

Emily smiled. She had seen Jackson visibly bristle as Rosie entered the room.

“Jackson can be a little . . .uh serious, but she’s very nice when you get to know her.”

“Mmm. Soldier? Ex-police? By any chance?”

Emily laughed. “She was in the army. How can you tell?”

“I’ve been to enough protests and demonstrations to know military or cop types. They talk and stand like they have a stick up their ass.”

Typical old school butch! Thinks it’s the 50’s. I wonder if she ever smiles, thought Rosie.

Just as Rosie said that, Jackson returned to the room. She obviously heard every word but, just as her training taught her, she did not react and instead kept guard at the door, staring straight ahead.

“Please sit. I love your sneakers, by the way. So cute!”

“Thanks!” Rosie wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the woman who was now part of one of the most famous lesbian couples in the world, but she was warm and welcoming, and Rosie took an immediate liking to her.

“I’ll need to follow your lead, Rosie, I’ve never used a decorator before. I’m kind of new to all this.”

“Of course. I usually like to spend some time in the space, make some sketches and discuss it with the client. Maybe since it’s Molly’s room she could sit and draw with me. And we could come up with some ideas? What do you think, Molly?”

Molly jumped up and clapped her hands. “Me elp Mama! Pease?”

“Of course you can, sweetheart. Go get your crayons and some paper.”

When she ran off, Emily said. “Thank you. That’s a lovely idea. She’ll really feel like it’s her room now.”

“No problem. It’ll be fun. I’m kinda of a big kid myself; it’ll be much more fun than designing an adult room.”

“On that note, we better catch up with her before she starts drawing on the walls.

****

Jackson stood watching on as Emily, Molly and Rosie giggled and laughed on the floor. They’d got on very well and come up with some plans.

Emily was delighted to have picked Rosie. She was just a few years younger than herself and she didn’t seem phased by who she was or who she was engaged to, or the fact that they were gay. She was fun, and Emily and Molly enjoyed their time with her.

“So Molly. We’ve decided on a jungle theme, yeah?”

“Yes thank ou, Wosie. Mama?”

“I think that would be great, sweetie. So what’s next, Rosie?”

“I’ll sketch out some more definite plans and come back to you with a price. If you’re happy to go ahead, I’ll order supplies and we can get to work. I like my clients to get involved with the project if they’re happy to. So, we can choose furnishings and things together if you like?”

Emily loved that idea. “That would be fun! Absolutely, I’d love to,” Emily enthused.

Rosie stood and got her stuff together. “Okay, well I better get going. I’ll get back to you in a couple of days with the plans.”

“Excellent. So are you doing anything nice for Halloween?”

“Sort of. I work part time at a bar in the Village. It’s always fun on Halloween! I’m gonna try and spend a few hours down at the Occupy Wall Street protest before work, though.” Rosie heard Jackson tut and mumble something under her breath.

Occupy Wall Street! Why I am not surprised? thought Jackson.

Very interested, Emily asked, “Oh? How’s it going down there?”

“Great. A couple of my friends and I belong to a lesbian protest group, we all go together. The atmosphere is excellent and we’re getting good media coverage. The police are their usual pleasant selves though.”

She’s gay? Great. There will be no awkwardness then, thought Emily.

“Let me give you a bag of homemade cookies and travel mug of coffee to take with you.”

Rosie was smiling widely. “That would be really nice, thanks. I probably won’t get a chance to eat before I start work.”

“Well, you get your stuff and I’ll get the cookies and coffee for you.” After Emily left the room, Rosie looked up to see Jackson scowling at her.

Rosie had only met Jackson and, already, she infuriated her.

“Do you have a problem, soldier boy?”

“Yeah. I have a problem with people who make it their mission in life to bring grief and disruption to hard working people just trying to do their jobs.”

Rosie said nothing and simply grabbed her stuff and went to march past Jackson.

“A word of advice, Miss Henderson. Emily is a very kind and friendly woman. Don’t abuse that kindness.”

“I would advise you to mind your own business, soldier boy!” Rosie said angrily and made her way to the kitchen.

Argh! Soldier boy? Jackson normally didn’t let people get under her skin, but something about this girl made her feel off balance and extremely irritated.

I’ll be keeping my eye on you, hippy girl!

****

Dylan sat in her office looking over the script. It had taken a lot of hard work during the day to catch up with the week, but in the end the production team had pulled together and got through it. She was pleased, as well, with the crew making a special effort with Molly. They had all taken to her the first time they met her, delighted that Dylan had Emily and the little girl in her life, and now that they knew the truth about her parentage, it was even better . Dylan had been on top of the world all day as crew members would come up, slap her on the back and congratulate her on finding out she had a daughter.

She was looking forward to seeing Molly’s costume. Dylan remembered with a smile how they both kept tight-lipped this morning over it.

I have a daughter. Wow! Every so often she would remember and be blown away by the turn of events.

Her thoughts were interrupted by Lynn popping in. She did not look happy and held an envelope in her hands.

“Um, Dylan. This arrived by courier just now.” Dylan stood and grabbed the envelope from her.

“I’m sorry but security at the front gate has already inspected it. We should probably set in place some new procedures in case the police need to test anything.”

Dylan opened the letter gingerly, her heart thudding. It read simply, Trick or treat?

She handed it to Lynn to read and went to pour herself a drink.

“Trick or treat? What’s that supposed to mean?” Lynn asked.

Dylan downed the whiskey in one. “I have no idea. Damm!” She shouted. “Who the fuck is doing this!”

“Should I call the police for you?”

“Yes, and I want security tightened up around here. All crew members must show their passes. I can’t take any chances with Emily and Molly coming tonight. Oh, and Lynn? No one talks about this in front of my family.”

“Understood. Excuse me.”

Dylan poured another drink, the anger bubbling around inside, and dialed Jackson’s cell phone.

“Jackson? There’s been another one.”

****

Rosie left and later in the afternoon, Jackson got a call from Dylan.

“Yes. I Got it. There will be no problems .” Jackson hung up her phone just as Emily entered the kitchen.

“Was that Dylan?”

Dylan had called and warned Jackson of the latest letter. Things were starting to get a little worrying.

“Uh yes. She wanted to know what time we were leaving.”

“Oh. Funny, I haven’t heard from her since she texted me at lunchtime.”

“She’s been very busy today, catching up with missed work I expect,” Jackson tried to sound convincing.

“Oh okay, well Molly’s ready. Wait till you see her. Molls! Come and show Jackson.”

The little girl came running through from her room and stopped outside the kitchen door.

“Eady Mama?”

“Okay honey. Just like we practiced. Strike your pose!”

Molly stood side on, leaning against the doorframe, her arms folded, her head turned towards them, and then she winked.

Jackson burst out laughing. It was Dylan’s signature entrance. On top of that she was dressed just like her mom. She had on little designer jeans, black boots, a light grey v-neck pullover with white t-shirt underneath and a mini pinstripe suit jacket. With her dark locks slicked back behind her ears, she was her mom’s mini me.

“Oh god! That’s brilliant. She so cute! You look just like your mom, Molly!”

The little girl beamed. She idolized Dylan and to be compared to her new mom made her very happy.

“Isn’t she fantastic? I called Lynn and asked her to find out what Dylan would be wearing this week, so they are exactly the same.”

Jackson felt a little sad that no one thought like that about her. Sarah had idolized her and Jackson felt that she had followed her blindly into the military, where Sarah met her death.

No one will ever feel like that about me again. I don’t deserve it.

Emily noted the sadness on Jackson face. She touched her shoulder lightly and said, “Are you okay?”

Jackson pulled herself together quickly. “Sure. You ready to get going then?”

Emily wasn’t quite persuaded but decided to let it go.

“Alright if you could grab Molly’s pumpkin and stuff, I’ll just get my coat.”

****

Dylan sat in her office nursing another drink. She never drank on the day of a show but since she started receiving the letters, she found that the warm liquid was the only way of dulling the anger that rolled in her stomach.

Dylan did not cope well with personal stress. Work stress she thrived on, but when it came to dealing with emotions, especially the deep-seated anger that rode so close to the surface, she didn’t know how to handle it.

When Joey died she had thrown herself into her work. She worked so hard that she didn’t give her brain time to think.

Now, she didn’t just have herself to think about, she had a family. A family depending on her to be strong, to protect them. The constant threat was bearing down on her shoulders and without being able to share it with them, the alcohol dulled the stress recently.

Maybe I should tell her. Jackson thinks so. No! You told Emily they’d be safe. It’s up to you to bear that responsibility. She’ll just worry. She’s had so much to handle on her own for so long, it’s time she enjoyed being with Molly and planning the wedding. I need to stop this drinking. It’s a slippery slope.

“Come.”

Emily came bouncing in smiling. “Hi honey!” She popped herself down on Dylan’s lap, temporarily putting aside her fiancé’s worries. Dylan’s hands automatically went to Emily’s buttocks, and pulled her into a deep passionate kiss.

When they broke apart Emily said, “Woah! Did you miss me or something?”

“You have no idea.” Dylan had that look in her eye that she knew only too well. It was the look that said, I want you, fast and hard, right here and now!

The thought made the familiar feeling of heat start to flutter in her stomach but, being responsible, she had to bring Dylan under control.

“Uh uh, TV star. I don’t want to mess up your show clothes.”

“You’re no fun!”

She pecked Dylan on the nose and stood.

Emily was sure she could taste alcohol on Dylan. Looking around, she saw a half empty glass of whiskey on the desk and felt uneasy.

“I thought you never drank before shows because you needed to be clear headed for the stunts?

Shit! thought Dylan. How do I explain this?

“Well, it’s just this once because the dare is pre-recorded. I just wanted to relax, okay? So where’s my Smurf?” Dylan tried to change the subject. It seemed to work as Emily smiled and said. “Outside. She’s waiting to show you her costume. Wait there.”

Emily went out and closed the office door to prepare Molly. Dylan looked at the whiskey glass and poured it down the sink.

Emily came back in and left the door open. “Are you ready?”

Dylan sat on the edge of the desk, wondering what was coming. “Yeah. Let me see my Smurf.”

Ok Molls! After 1, 2, 3! Welcome to the Dylan Morgan Show! And here is your host, Dylan Morgan!” Molly popped around the door and struck her mom’s pose with a wink.

Dylan was gobsmacked as she watched her daughter dressed exactly like a mini me, with her hair and clothes exactly matching her own. Her heart soared with happiness and pride. She stood and scooped her daughter up in her arms. “Smurf! You look fantastic! Was this your surprise?”

“Yeah Mom! I wanted to be just like ou!”

Dylan pulled Molly in a tight hug. She looked over at Emily with tears forming in her eyes.

Emily turned to Jackson who was hovering at the door.

“Could you give us a minute, Jackson?”

Jackson nodded and closed the office door, leaving the family to themselves.

Molly pulled back from the cuddle and was worried by her mom’s tears, wiping them with her thumb.

” Ou sad, Mom?”

“No Molls. I’m happy. Sometimes people get so happy it makes them cry happy tears.”

“appy tears?” Molly was a little confused.

Emily walked over and joined in their hug. “Yes sweetie. You’ve made Dylan really happy.”

“I love you, Molls.” God! I’m so lucky! This is why you take the pressure Morgan. I’m never gonna give this up. I would die for them!

Pulling her two girls in tighter ,Dylan said, “I love you two more than anything in the world.”

“Ou like my costume, Mom?”

Dylan lifted Molly above her, flying the girl around her head. “It’s amazing, Smurf! This is what you were keeping a secret?”

“Ha! Ha! Yeah. No ickle monster, Mom!”

Lynn knocked as she walked through the door. “Hey Lynn. Come in and see my daughter!

“Oh wow Molly! You look just like your mom.” Molly and Dylan both beamed with pride.”

“Did you clone her?” Lynn said to Emily.

Emily laughed. “There just adorable aren’t they?”

Putting Molly up on her shoulders, Dylan said, “Let’s go trick or treat!”

Molly had fun visiting the production staff around the studio. Everyone made a fuss over the little girl and agreed she was too cute for words.

Dylan was as high as a kite, showing off her daughter and they all had fun with the monsters from the Halloween sketches. Her earlier anger and fear forgotten.

The show was a great success and after the credits rolled, Dylan gave the studio audience a treat by taking her daughter out to meet them. They loved it and Dylan thought she would put it on the show’s website. It seemed a safe way of the audience seeing into her private life and Dylan, who knew TV, understood that you have to give a little of yourself to keep the audience interested in you.

Jackson drove the tired family home after the show. When they got home, remembering the earlier threat, Dylan asked Jackson to look round the apartment while she waited at the door with her girls.

“Is this necessary, Dylan?” Emily, who was visibly tired, was becoming increasingly frustrated with this security.

Dylan had a sleeping Molly in her arms. “Please just humor me.” They’d had a wonderful evening and Dylan wanted to keep it that way.

Emily sighed but said nothing. Stubborn TV star!

Jackson came back and opened the door. “Well was there anything sinister?” Emily asked with annoyance. Jackson looked directly at Dylan. “It’s all clear now.”

The message was received and Dylan’s heart sank. What now!

“Great! Now maybe I can get our daughter to bed.” Emily’s annoyance was growing to a temper.

“Do you think you could carry her through to bed for me? If you’re sure there isn’t an assailant waiting in Molly’s toy box!” Dylan watched her fiancé march off towards the bedroom.

“I think you’re in the dog house.” Jackson joked.

“You think?” Dylan answered sarcastically. “Wait for me in my office. I’ll be five minutes.”

****

Dylan walked into her office, where Jackson was waiting.

“So? What we got?”

Jackson stood and handed over an envelope she had already bagged up for evidence.

“It was under the door. I thought it best to keep it under wraps until you saw it.”

Dylan looked through the bag to see a black and white photo. It showed them leaving for the studio earlier that evening. In the picture Emily’s head had been circled and the words ‘Emily IS MY TREAT!’

Dylan said nothing and sat down at her desk, head in hands.

“Dylan, you can’t keep this under wraps much longer. We’re going to need to tighten security and for that we need Emily’s cooperation. If she doesn’t understand why then we won’t get that cooperation.”

Dylan looked up, her chin rested on clasped fists.

“I don’t want her to worry. I need more time. Can your contact in the FBI get me an address?” “Sure, but for whom?”

“Toni. Emily’s ex.” She said calmly.

“The police said there was absolutely no evidence against the ex.”

“I know but there’s been no one else in Emmie’s life. She can at least give me the details of this other guy she named.”

Jackson thought this was a bad idea but would she do any different in Dylan’s place? She knew if her family was threatened she would want to sort it out herself.

“I’ll do it, but you have to promise me you’ll wait and give the police a little longer, especially with this new evidence. It’s a picture, it can be analyzed.”

Dylan sighed. “Okay. I’ll let the police do their work but if nothing comes from it, I’m paying her a visit.”

****

Dylan made her way to their bedroom. The lights were already off and Emily was in bed turned away from her.

Is it frosty in here or what? thought Dylan.

She began changing into her boxers and sleeveless t-shirt, and then got into bed lying on her back, not knowing whether her usual cuddles would be welcome.

This is ridiculous! Dylan was used to the constant touch and connection between them. She felt like a little puppy that needed reassurance.

Dylan moved over to Emily’s back, and leaned over her.

“Emmie? Are you okay? Are you talking to me?”

She heard Emily sigh and turned over. “Of course I’m talking to you, Dyl. I’m just annoyed. There is absolutely no reason for this level of security. Nothing has happened.”

What can I say? I don’t want to lie to her but . . .She stroked Emily’s hair.

“You’re so beautiful. Do you know that?”

“And you’re not answering the question.”

“I know it must feel like that, but listen, you’re new to this. Being known, followed wherever you go. Even if there had been no threat, no intruder, I would have been getting you a guard to drive you around, keep the press away from you and our little girl. But there has been a threat, an intruder, so that makes me want to be doubly careful .

So you see, when you put it like that, it doesn’t sound so bad. Does it?”

Emily thought about it. Maybe I’m being a bit hard on her. It’s true, I don’t know this world.

Emily looked into Dylan’s eyes, seeing the insecurity and fear there. She reached up and caressed her face.

“I understand that you know more about this. It’s just hard to be cooped up all the time.”

Dylan took hold of the hand at her face and kissed it tenderly.

“I know it’s hard, but you get on with Jackson don’t you?”

“Oh yes. Jackson’s really nice. I feel safe with her. She’s a bit uptight but she’s a sweetie.”

“Not too sweet I hope?” Dylan took one of Emily’s fingers in her mouth and swirled her tongue round it.

“Not as sweet as you, goofy.” Relieved that this wasn’t a serious argument, Dylan smiled and lay back down, opening her arms to her fiancé.

“Come snuggle, baby girl.” Since being with Emily, Dylan had discovered there was nothing she liked more than simply snuggling in bed or on the couch with her fiancé, with no expectations of anything more.

Emily went willingly to her arms, her head resting on Dylan’s chest and her hand that always went straight under Dylan’s t-shirt, rubbing soothing circles on her stomach.

“Hmm. This is so good.” It always made Dylan purr with pleasure, to have such attention and comfort lavished upon her.

“Did you like the show, baby?”

“Sure did. You were so funny, goofy, with those monsters, and my heart melted when you brought Molls out with you.”

“I’ve never felt prouder. My little girl with me, showing her off to the world, and my baby girl watching us. Do you think our next one will be like you? I hope so.”

The thought of having more kids with Dylan thrilled her. “I would be happy just to have a little goofy gang that all looked like you.”

Dylan smiled thinking of chasing after that goofy gang and causing mischief with them.

“I can’t wait to see you pregnant. I’m going to treat you like a princess, just like I should have been able to with Molly.”

“I think I’ll lap up any attention you give me, honey. Oh, I got on great with the shopping online today; I’m really starting to pick up the internet. I got some lovely stuff for Molls, for when she starts preschool. I hope this place we’re going to see on Monday is as good as it looks. I think she needs to mix with more kids.”

“I’m sure it will be, and if not we’ll keep looking till we find the right one. I sent for some kid games, you know, for the consoles? Watch for them when you get deliveries in the mail.”

“You’re going to spoil her. It’s not long till Christmas you know.”

Dylan kissed Emily’s head. “Indulge me. I have a lot to make up for. I can’t wait to spend my first Christmas with the little Smurf.”

“She’s going to be so happy, not because of the things you can buy her but because she has you, her mom, to spend it with.”

“Yeah. It’ll be great. How did you get on with the decorator?”

“Oh she was really nice. I thought a designer would be uppity, snobby you know? But she was just a normal girl, not long out of art school. She got on great with Molls. Jackson didn’t take to her though.” Emily smiled as she remembered the irritation on Jackson’s face.

“Oh, why?”

“I guess she’s everything that Jackson hates. An anti-globalization protestor, anti-war demonstrator. Jackson positively bristled when she was around and Rosie didn’t like Jackson’s soldierly ‘do this, do that’ attitude. I’m sure though that Jackson is a loyal, caring person, but she hides it deep down.

“Some people just don’t like showing emotions, baby. You’re the only one I’ve ever been able to talk to.”

Emily raised herself up over Dylan, smiling. “I guess it’s that butch thing you’ve both got going on in abundance, eh?”

Dylan smiled back cheekily and asked in a low husky voice.

“I guess so. Don’t you like my butch thing?”

Emily lowered her lips to Dylan’s. “Oh I love your butch thing, TV star, but I’m afraid I’m too tired to handle it tonight.”

Dylan laughed. “Me too. Let’s go to sleep. Since there’s no show tomorrow, let’s make plans for the wedding.”

“I’d love that and I love you. Goodnight goofy.”

“Night night, baby girl.”

****

Dylan had a rare Saturday off after her special Halloween show last night and was up early.

She knew that Emily and Molly had been inside too long and decided she wanted to take her family out for the day. Her plans set in her mind, and with a couple of hours before her girls would get up, she called Jackson and invited her over early to spar. Jackson jumped at the chance to spar with an Olympic champion and made her way over with her gear.

Dylan was downing a protein shake when Jackson arrived.

“Hey buddy. Thanks for coming over early,” said Dylan.

“No problem. I’m always up early, and it’s great to get a chance to spar.”

“Let’s get started then. I want to see how easy it is to kick a special ops soldier’s butt!”

Jackson smirked and rose to the challenge. “Well, TV star, show me what you got.”

An hour later, both were sitting on the matted gym floor gulping down water, sweat streaming off them, and trying to catch their breath.

“Woah! You aren’t half bad for a civilian. I wouldn’t have minded having you by my side on operations.”

“Thanks. Your style is different to what I’ve come up against before.”

“Our training involves non-lethal moves in order to subdue targets, so it’s probably a little different than what you’re used to. I don’t get a chance to spar much anymore. Mostly it’s individual training I do now.”

“It was great. Any morning you want to spar or train with me just come over early. I usually work out with Mark and Patrick on a Monday but I’ll probably be scaling that back with this threat hanging over us.”

“Sure, I’d like that,” Jackson said with a smile, after taking a long gulp of her water.

“Did you get out of the dog house last night?”

Dylan laughed. “Yeah after a while. I understand how frustrated she is, but what other choices do I have?” She sighed and rubbed her face.

“I wish there was some sort of handbook for this relationship business for us newcomers. Most of the time I’m stumbling around in the dark,” complained Dylan.

“Well I’m no help to you. I’ve never been in a relationship that lasted longer than a night, and never will,” Jackson stated.

Dylan stood and offered her hand to Jackson and they both walked over to get their towels.

“That’s what I thought, buddy. Then I walked into a diner to get a coffee, looked into Emmie’s eyes and I was gone. Bagged and tagged. Now I have a family and I’m getting married. I never imagined I’d have this, and I can tell you my friend, it feels fantastic.”

Jackson saw the love sick look on Dylan’s face and felt a pang of regret that she would never know that feeling.

“I’m glad you’re so happy, you should be. Emily is a wonderful woman and I could see how she would bring down the walls around anyone’s heart, but there aren’t many Emily’s about. Most women, in my experience, are not like her. I’m not going to put my heart out there unless it’s for something as special, and I don’t believe that is possible, for me anyway.”

Dylan clapped her on the back. “Never say never, buddy. That’s what I’ve learned. You can use the shower in the third bedroom, okay? Then come out and get some breakfast. We’ll be going out today but I want to speak to Emmie first.”

“Understood.”

****

Emily was slowly wakened by the noise of someone else in the room. She saw Dylan exit the bathroom, completely naked, towel drying her hair as she went.

Emily smiled. One of the things she loved, and found so attractive, about her fiancé was her complete unabashed and unashamed confidence in her body. Right from the beginning of their relationship, Dylan had been so open and affectionate with Molly and herself.

“Honey? Come snuggle with me.” Emily said seductively.

Dylan looked over her shoulder to see Emily patting the bed with a coquettish look upon her face.

Dylan gave her a wry smile and quickly pulled on her jockey shorts.

“Oh no! If I get into that bed, we won’t be snuggling.”

“Spoilsport!”

Dylan finished putting on her jeans and t-shirt and sat on the bed.

“Come on, baby. I have a Saturday off and I’ve got plans for us.”

Emily reached out and took Dylan’s hand.

“But honey, I never get a chance to sleep in with you. You’re always up at the crack of dawn to train or run or work!”

Dylan lifted Emily’s hand and kissed it tenderly. “Emmie, I want to spend a quiet Saturday with my family and we have got a lot to pack in. I tell you what, why don’t you go and take a nice relaxing bath and I’ll get Molly up and dressed.”

“You’ve convinced me. What about breakfast?”

“I think I can be trusted to handle a cereal box, what do you think?”

Emily sat up and smacked Dylan on the arm.

“Yeah, even you should manage that, goofy. It’s the dressing your daughter part I’m worried about, remember the socks have to match.” Emily stood and put on her dressing gown.

“Hey! I can dress my daughter fine.” Dylan said pouting.

Emily sensed a little sadness in her partner’s voice; she took Dylan’s face in her hands and gently kissed her lips.

“I know you’ve missed out on Molly, but I know you are going to make the rest of our little girl’s life happy and fun. I couldn’t have asked for a better parent for Molly.”

Dylan grinned and pulled Emily into her lap. “Yeah. I am pretty great, aren’t I?”

Emily kissed her. “Yes you are. So what are these plans you have for us today?”

“Well, we were going to set a date for the wedding and decide what kind of ceremony we wanted. I thought we could do that over a quiet dinner tonight. First, though, I would like to take you both out to Long Island. Have a nice lunch, do some fun stuff, look at a couple of houses . . .”

“Houses? Why?”

“Well, we’re getting married, we need a family home.”

“This place is huge; I’d hardly say we’re struggling for space.”

Dylan gently stroked Emily’s face. “Yeah, but it’s not a home. I want us both to have our dream family home. Remember we talked about dreams? You wanted that big old warm kitchen? And I wanted somewhere by the sea with a big training space, and a place to play with my tools?”

Emily smiled and nodded.

“That’s what we’re shopping for today. Somewhere Molly can run and play outside in the fresh air. Somewhere we can build a family. We can’t do that here.”

Emily sighed happily and kissed her partner on the nose. “You, Dylan Morgan, are a girl’s dream come true.”

“I aim to please.” Dylan swatted her lightly on the butt. “Come on, baby girl. Get going! We’ve got so much to see and do. We’re meeting the realtor at one so we can look around first.”

“Okay. Make sure Molly wears a sweater, its cold out.”

“Emmie . . .”

“Okay! Okay! I’m going! I’m going!”

****

“Lift up your foot, Smurf.”

Dylan knelt on Molly’s bedroom floor helping her get dressed; the little girl wasn’t helping by jumping about.

“Ou not going to work today, Mom?”

“No Molls, I have a whole day to spend with you and Mama.”

Molly bounced on the bed, full of excitement. “Yeah! Where we goin, Mom?”

“Hey. Quit bouncing, Smurf, and I’ll tell you.”

“Sorry, Mom. I just cited.”

It made Dylan’s heart soar to think that just spending time with Molly, made the little girl so happy.

“It’s okay, Molls. Well, we’re going for a drive to a place called Long Island. It’s by the sea, so we’ll go on the beach. Your Mama thinks it’s too cold but it’s never too cold for the beach, is it?”

“Nuh uh, Mom!”

“That’s my girl! Then in the afternoon, were going to look at a new home for us, ’cause remember Mom and Mama are getting married?”

Molly nodded enthusiastically. “Well, we need a family home.”

“A foever home?” Molly asked.

“Yeah, a forever home. Somewhere you can play, and Mama will be happy.”

“Mama always happy wiv ou here, Mom.”

Dylan stood to help Molly on with her sweater. “Yeah? That’s nice to know, kid.”

“She sad before, but now she smiles.”

Dylan’s heart was overwhelmed with happiness and she lifted Molly into her arms and cuddled her tight.

“I love you and your Mama with all my heart, Molls.”

Molly kissed her on the cheek. “We love ou too, Mom.”

“Let’s get some cereal in you so we can start our day.”

****

After a few false starts, the family plus Jackson set off on their journey to their meeting with the realtor in Southampton village, Long Island.

Dylan drove with Jackson in the front seat, while Emily tried to keep Molly occupied with the Nintendo 3DS Dylan had bought her.

They arrived at twelve, later than Dylan had hoped, so they grabbed some lunch quickly and went to meet the realtor at the first property, Dylan promising Molly they would get a chance to play later.

Emily wasn’t sure what she was expecting when they pulled up at the first house, but it wasn’t this. It was extremely large and ultra-modern, on a large expanse of beachfront.

Dylan saw the shock on Emily’s face and said, “Hey, I know it’s not what you’re used to but give it a chance, alright?”

“Of course I will, honey.”

Dylan kissed her forehead. “That’s my girl.”

She lifted Molly up in her arm and took Emily’s hand as they met realtor.

“Ms. Morgan, pleased to meet you. I’m Pam Scott and I’ll be showing you around today.”

“Pleased to meet you, Pam. This is my fiancé, Emily Taylor, and our daughter, Molly. Oh, and our security consultant, Jackson Hunter.”

“Pleased to meet you all.” Molly, typically, buried her head in Dylan’s shoulder.

Emily did keep her word and give the place a chance as they walked around but she knew this could never be the warm home she was looking for. Everything was minimalist, chrome and white. It did have everything they were looking for in terms of outside space, but it just wasn’t a home.

Jackson took Molly for a walk down to the beach so they could talk.

They stood in the stark white kitchen. “So? What do you think?”

“I don’t mean to seem ungrateful, honey, but it’s so huge. It’s just a bit too much.”

Dylan took both her hands. “You know anyplace we look at is going to look big. We need somewhere we can grow into with space outside for play stuff for Molls, a pool . . .”

“Yes, I know, but it has eight bedrooms, Dyl. There’s space, and then there’s too much, and I’ve got to look after the place.”

“We’ll get help in.”

“Honey, I’m not going to be a pampered rich wife, spending my days getting my nails done. I may need someone to help with the cleaning but I’m going to look after our home, and you and Molly.”

Dylan smiled warmly, liking that idea immensely. “Alright. More homey, less bedrooms, but still lots of outdoor space.”

Emily hugged her partner. “Exactly. How much are these houses anyway?”

Dylan pulled away and cleared her throat. “Um, we better find Pam and tell her what we’ve decided.” Dylan pulled Emily on quickly.

“Dylan!”

****

They made short work of the next house. It was a little smaller, but again a little too modern for Emily’s tastes. They arrived at the third house of the day, which Emily had insisted be the last due to Molly restlessness.

They pulled into the driveway of a classic shingle style house, which had large grounds to the front and sides, the beachfront to the back.

Emily stepped out of the car and came to Dylan’s side. “This is beautiful, Dyl.”

Dylan was a little surprised. “Really? You like this, Emmie?”

Emily lifted Molly up. “Yes. It’s traditional, like a home.”

“Great. Tell us about the place, Pam.” Then turning to her partner. “Here, let me take the Smurflet.”

Jackson came up beside Dylan and said, “Do you want me to take Molly around the grounds?”

“Not just now thanks. Molly, I want you to tell us if you can imagine living here when we go in and which would be your room, okay?”

“Otay Mom.”

“Please Pam, carry on.”

They walked towards the front door as Pam described the estate.

“This property is set on over two acres of land with two hundred and fifty feet of ocean frontage. The house itself offers six bedrooms with seven and a half baths. It has a large living room, formal dining room, large kitchen and breakfast room.”

Dylan smiled at the look on Emily’s face as they went from room to room. She was sure this was the kind of house her fiancé would like, a traditional home on a modern beachfront.

They stepped into the living room and were blown away. The dark wood floored room was open and light as it had big windows and French doors on three sides of the room, looking on to the ocean.

“Wow! This is nice. Look Molls, can you see the beach and the waves?” Dylan asked her daughter.

“Mom! We play on the beach all the time!” Molly said excitedly.

“We sure could, kiddo. Here, go and take a look out the windows, Smurf,” Dylan said putting her down.

Jackson immediately followed Molly across the room, giving the couple some space.

“It’s a great room, Emmie.” I hope you like this one, Emmie, because I think I’ve fallen in love with it, thought Dylan.

Emily looked a little in awe of the surroundings. “I can’t imagine a room having a more beautiful outlook. Could I see the kitchen?” Emily asked Pam.

Dylan smiled at the obvious excitement in her voice.

“Of course. Come this way.”

“Molly? Come with us, we’ll look outside soon.” Jackson took the little girl’s hand and headed her towards the kitchen.

“The house also includes staff quarters, media room and panelled library. The guest rooms on the north side have great views of the Old Town pond.”

Emily’s heart soared when they entered the kitchen. Oh my God! This is my dream kitchen.

It was a large traditional kitchen. Wooden cupboards, stone floors, and in the centre was an island area. The cupboards, built-in appliances and stove ran around three walls. The fourth was given over to floor to ceiling sliding doors, which led out to a grassed sitting area and views right onto the beach.

“Dyl! Look at this, I can be cooking or baking and looking out to the ocean.”

Dylan walked over to her fiancé and put her arm around her.

“Can you imagine baking in here, baby?”

“Oh yes! It’s warm and cozy and Molly could play out on the grass there, so I could keep an eye on her. Even like now, in the winter, it would be wonderful to be all cozy in here and watch the stormy sea.”

Dylan brought her lips to Emily’s ear and said quietly, “It makes me feel so good to see you so excited and happy.”

Then speaking to Pam, she asked, “What do we have outside?”

There is a pool and a pool house, which has two bedrooms and kitchen. There is a tennis court and, also, you have a private wooden walkway that leads straight onto the beach.”

“Sounds fantastic. There’s a lot I could do with all that space.”

Emily smiled, she could see Dylan’s mind whirling over ideas.

“Honey, maybe we should let Pam show us upstairs now?”

“Oh sure, carry on. Hey Molls, let’s see if you could find a nice room here.”

“Yeah, come on Mom, Mama!”

They walked around the impressive top floor and were very impressed. Molly was walking around the bedrooms with Jackson, as Dylan and Emily looked at the master bedroom. It was a large, long room in which the bed sat against the back wall to look out of the entirely glassed opposite wall. The couple had been completely stunned with this room. Pam had discretely left them to talk. As soon as she left, Emily came into Dylan’s arms.

“Have you ever seen a bedroom like this, honey? We could lie in bed looking out on the ocean. The whole house is simply amazing.”

“I’m so glad you think so, baby, ’cause I love it. I can really picture us here. I think we would be really happy here.”

Emily pulled Dylan over to the windows. “What about the studio? That’s a really long journey for you every day?”

“Most of the people who live here commute every day, and they have to do it in rush hour first thing in the morning. Most days, I don’t really have to be in till 10 or 10:30. I’ll get a driver from the studio and we’ll keep our apartment in the village, so we can have somewhere we spend over nights and stuff.”

“How much is it? Can I see the information sheet?”

Dylan became a little nervous. Oh boy! This is gonna be the hard part! “Em . . .it’s reasonable compared to others around here.”

“Dylan Morgan! Give me that flyer.”

The TV host handed it over and watched nervously as Emily read it through. “Now, bear in mind that this is a home. A home for our family for the rest of our lives, and we can easily afford it.”

Oh my God! 26 million? I knew she had a lot but this . . .

“You can easily afford this?”

Dylan took Emily’s face in her hands. “We can easily afford it. We’re going to be married, you’re my family, Molly is my daughter, it’s our money. I told you I’ve made a lot of money since I own the production company and the format. I’ve sold it all over the world, it’s made me a load of money. That plus investing, advertising, I guess we’re worth close to 100 million. So, in fact, we could afford a much bigger place but you said you weren’t comfortable with that.”

Emily’s eyes were wide. “I can’t believe . . .”

“Listen, we’re going to have a great life. This is a home and Molly will love growing up here. I’ll put playground equipment up for her, build a tree house, and maybe before long we can add another couple of kids to our little family?”

Dylan smirked at her fiancé and pulled her in closer.

“Come on, baby girl. We love this house, don’t we? Let’s buy it, let’s make this our family home.”

Emily sighed drastically then burst into smiles and laughter.

“Yes. Let’s buy it, honey. This is the one. This is our home.”

“Yes!” Dylan lifted Emily and swung her round in a circle, raining kisses on her fiancé.

“Oh baby girl, we are going to be so happy! Let’s go tell Molly and Jackson, and then put in our offer to Pam. Come on!”

Dylan took Emily’s hand and they went in search of their daughter.

****

The young family had been as high as kites when they returned home. Pam had contacted the seller and their offer had been accepted. Molly had been difficult to settle down, after not having as much time to play as they had planned, but after Dylan promised her a day at the park tomorrow, she soon settled down. Jackson had left early since the couple were in for the night.

Dylan ordered in some dinner from a nice little local Italian restaurant and Emily set the table in the dining room. They both wanted this evening to be special.

Molly had been fed earlier, so Dylan told her to rest while she bathed their little girl.

Molly had loved Dylan before she found out they were family but since she knew she had another mom, she was constantly glued to Dylan as if trying to make sure she wouldn’t disappear. The feeling was entirely mutual, Dylan felt she had a lot of time to make up for and loved the time she could spend with her little girl.

After getting her washed, the two were now engaged in ocean warfare with Molly’s toy boats.

“Ombs away! I get ou, Mom!”

“Boom! Ah! We’re going down, captain! Help! Ugh!”

Molly laughed and splashed the water as Dylan theatrically had the boat sink in the bath. Dylan was soaked.

“Woah Smurflet! I really did get sunk.” Dylan was soaked but smiling. “Come on kid, let’s get dried up.”

Dylan got Molly settled in bed and read her a story. She was nearly asleep by the time Emily came in to kiss her goodnight.

“Night night, sweetie.” Emily leant over and kissed her head. “Night Mama, night Mom. Love ou.”

Dylan stroked Molly’s head. “We love you too, Molls.”

Emily took her partner’s hand and pulled her through to the bedroom, where she began undoing Dylan’s shirt buttons.

“Let’s get you out of this wet shirt before dinner comes.”

Emily took off Dylan’s shirt and went to get a t-shirt for her out of the dresser. Dylan pulled her back in a panic. The TV star knew she had a box with all the threatening letters from the stalker hidden under a pile of her t-shirts.

“Uh . . .why don’t you go and pick out a bottle of wine for dinner?”

Emily looked at her quizzically. “I don’t know about wine, honey? I wouldn’t know which to choose.”

Dylan stroked Emily’s cheek. ” It’s easy, Emmie. Pick a red one for Italian and then just choose the nicest looking label. That’s what I do.” She gave her fiancé a quick kiss.

“Besides, I want to freshen up before dinner.”

“Okay, but don’t be long, honey.” After Emily left the room, Dylan sank onto the bed and held her head in her hands.

You are going to be in so much trouble, Morgan, when she finds out.

****

The couple enjoyed a delicious romantic meal and were now finishing the bottle of wine on the couch.

Emily was cuddled into Dylan, who had her arm tightly around her.

The blonde sighed in contentment. “Hmm. That was amazing, honey.”

“Yeah, it was. It’s a great restaurant. Well, what a day. We bought a house.”

Emily giggled and cuddled in closer. “We sure did. Oh I can’t wait to live there. I’m going to bake every day. It’ll be heaven!”

“Aw, baby, I’m so glad you’re happy. I’m going to order some playground equipment for Molly, maybe I could change the tennis court into a playground area and basketball court. I’ll bet Molls would love to play ball with me when she gets bigger.”

“I think that’s for certain, our little girl is a little tomboy in the making.”

Emily turned to Dylan and said, “Molly adores you, you know. She just loves spending time with you, and just loves the rough and tumble fun you have with her. You’ve made her so happy.”

“The feeling is entirely mutual, Emmie. I’ve never been happier in my life. Having a daughter is just . . . wow! I don’t have the words to describe it.”

“You’re just a big old softy, aren’t you, goofy?”

“Huh? Never! Now, about this wedding. Lynn is looking for a wedding planner for us but we need to decide on a date and what kind of size we want.”

“Well, the realtor told us we can’t move in to the house until January, but you wanted to get married as soon as possible.”

“We can still get married before that. We’re comfortable here in the meantime, and once you see how Rosie works out, maybe you can use her for the new house?”

“Yes, that’s a good idea. She’s a lovely girl, I’m sure she’s going to work out. So what kind of date do you think?”

“Well. I have this romantic vision of us spending Christmas together as a family, you know, legally. I want to have the perfect family Christmas.”

Emily’s mind envisioned Dylan decorating a big tree with Molly, hanging lights and stockings. Giving the little girl the warm family Christmas she’d never had.

“I think that sounds perfect, but what about the show? Do you get any time off?”

“Yeah, we stop two weeks before Christmas then back the middle of January. We run right through till April, then we’re off till the new season in August.”

Emily jumped onto Dylan’s lap. “You mean you’ll have all summer to spend with us!”

“Yeah. I mean, I will have commercial things to do but just a day here and there. We could go on vacation then; make it our belated honeymoon.”

Emily kissed Dylan on the lips. “That would be fantastic! Oh, but we wouldn’t leave Molly, would we? If we went somewhere in the summer?”

“Of course not. It would be a family vacation. Maybe we could get Lynn to look after Molly, just for a few nights after the wedding. So we could have some time alone?”

“Absolutely. So, date?”

Dylan opened up the calendar on her phone. “What about December 16th? Will you marry me then?”

Emily looked deeply into Dylan’s blue eyes. “I can’t wait to be your wife, Dylan Morgan.”

Dylan gently kissed her lips.

“You’ll make me the happiest TV star in the world.”

“Make love to me, Dyl,” Emily said huskily.

Dylan growled deep in her chest. She stood and lifted Emily off the couch in one movement and carried her to their bedroom.

Dylan undressed Emily slowly and asked her to lie on her front.

“What are you doing, honey?”

“Patience, baby girl. You’ll get what you want. I’ll be back in a sec.”

Dylan went to the wardrobe and got out a bag of things she had bought when she ordered her strap-on.

What is she up to?’ thought Emily.

Out of the bag Dylan brought out candles, an incense burner and massage oil. Having placed and lit the candles and incense, she divested herself of her clothes. Next she opened her iPhone to set her love playlist to start playing through the speakers.

“Honey, the room is beautiful.”

Dylan straddled Emily’s buttocks, and leaned over to whisper in her Fiancé’s ear. “I’m going to rub every part of you, baby girl.”

Emily shivered. “Yes, please!”

Dylan poured a generous amount of oil onto her hands and rubbed them together to warm the oil.

She began by massaging Emily’s upper back, pushing her strong fingers into Emily’s tired muscles.

A series of moans and groans came from Emily as Dylan worked her way down. When she started working on Emily’s buttocks, the moans became louder.

“Oh god, Dyl. That’s so Good! You’re making me so wet.” “Good. I want you to be really ready for me.”

Dylan smiled when she felt Emily lift her hips to try and direct Dylan’s hands to her centre.

When Dylan moved down to her thighs and legs, Emily whined in frustration.

“Please honey. I’m ready for you now. Take me.”

Dylan leaned over and whispered in her ear.

“Be a good girl now, Emmie. Just relax and enjoy. I’m in charge tonight, okay?”

Dylan resumed working on Emily’s legs, down to her feet. Then instructed the blonde to turn over.

Emily’s eyes widened as she watched Dylan hold the oil bottle over her chest and drizzle it over her breasts. She could only moan and gasp as Dylan’s big hands massaged and squeezed rhythmically.

“You like that baby?”

“God yes! Squeeze harder.”

Dylan did just that and also brought her lips into play, sucking and licking the hard nipples in front of her.

“I can’t take much more!”

Dylan, deciding it was time to put her girl out of her misery, began kissing her way down to Emily’s wet center.

She lifted the blondes legs over her shoulders and licked her way along the length of Emily’s sex.

“Oh yes, just like that Dyl!” Emily felt her orgasm build steadily until she was pushed over the edge by Dylan’s fingers thrusting inside her, while her tongue laved Emily’s nub.

“Oh God. Oh God, Dylan!!!!!” she screamed.

While Emily tried to catch her breath, Dylan climbed up her body and began to devour her lips.

“Was it good, baby?” asked Dylan.

“Are you kidding? It was amazing! I love your mouth!”

When Emily went to reciprocate, Dylan stopped her.

“I’m in charge, remember?” Emily smiled and nodded.

“Turn over on your front again.” When Emily complied, Dylan grabbed her buttocks and said, “I love your ass; it sways in front of my eyes and makes me drool. I want it!”

Emily moaned. “Oh yes, Dyl. Take it!”

Dylan opened herself up and placed her center on Emily’s ass cheek. She then gathered up her fiancé’s hands and pinned her wrists above her head with one hand.

Emily was so turned on; she loved to be pinned down by her partner. Dylan began thrusting against Emily’s buttock.

“Oh yeah! I love your ass baby! I’ve dreamed about doing this.”

“Yes, Dyl! You feel good on me.” Emily pushed herself up hard into Dylan’s sex.

She felt Dylan thrust faster and felt her partner’s wetness paint itself over her behind.

“Ugh yeah! I’m gonna come all over you baby! Shit!” Dylan fell over the edge into her release . . .

****

An hour or so later, the couple lay sated and exhausted, cuddling close. Emily’s mind had been whirling with an idea for a while now, but hadn’t known how to bring it up. Now in the dark quietness, she felt it was as good a time as any.

“Dyl? Dyl, are you awake.”

“Hmm? Yeah. Just about.” After making love to Emily, Dylan’s whole body felt languid and pleasantly tired, and she was gently drifting off to sleep.

“Can I talk to you about something?”

Dylan’s eyes snapped open, tension returning to her body.

What could be wrong? I thought everything was going perfectly.

“Of course. You know you can talk to me about anything.” Dylan rolled onto her side and leaned on her elbow above Emily.

“I’ve been thinking about us. Us, you and me, and us as a family.”

Please don’t tell me you’ve changed your mind. I can’t live without you!

“Okay . . . .” Dylan replied nervously.

“We are already a family but when we’re married, I want us to be one in every sense of the word. I want to start proceedings for you to adopt Molly. I want there to be no doubt who her other parent is.”

Dylan’s face lit up in smiles. “Really? There’s nothing I would love more.”

“I haven’t finished yet, goofy.”

“I’m so sorry, do carry on.” Dylan gave Emily a kiss on the nose.

“How would you feel if Molly and I took your name after the wedding? I want everyone to know we belong to you. I would understand if . . .”

Emily was silenced by Dylan’s passionate kiss. “Tell me. Are you a dream? This can’t be real, because I don’t deserve this much happiness. I would be honored, baby. The Morgan family. Has a nice ring to it, huh? I know Molly’s part Morgan already but won’t you be sad to lose Taylor completely?”

Emily stroked Dylan’s cheek.

“My family didn’t care about me or who I was. Apart from my grandmother, and Molly’s middle name is after her, the first person to care was you. So no, Taylor doesn’t mean anything to me. We want to be part of you.”

“You both are part of me, part of my soul. I love you both with everything that I am and I can’t wait to introduce you as my wife, Mrs. Morgan.”

Emily smiled warmly.

“Kiss me, Dyl.”

Episode 8

It was Sunday morning and Dylan was trying to get Molly ready to go out.

“Dyl, make sure Molly wears her warmer jacket, its cold,” called Emily from the kitchen.

Dylan, who was in Molly’s bedroom getting her ready for their day out, rolled her eyes at her daughter.

“Mama thinks we can’t cope without her, Smurflet.” Molly giggled.

Dylan pulled on Molly’s gloves and whispered, “I’ll tell you a secret. I couldn’t live without your Mama or you. Let’s get to the park.”

When Molly was ready, Dylan grabbed her jacket and they made their way to the kitchen.

Emily turned and smiled when she saw them. Molly looked like a little marshmallow, ready to brave the cold with scarf, gloves, hat and a thick jacket. Dylan had her usual jeans, black padded jacket and beanie hat with sunglasses sitting on her head, ready to try and protect her identity.

“You two all ready?”

“Yeah. Were gonna head over to the park, play with the ball, get something extremely unhealthy for lunch and play some more.”

Emily shook her head. “I know you want to have fun but try not to stuff her so much that she’s sick.” Dylan picked Molly up in her arms and pouted. “Hey, I’m not that irresponsible.”

Emily gave her partner a kiss on the cheek. “Aw. I know that, goofy. Molly you make sure your Mom behaves at the park, okay?”

“I will, Mama.” Molly shook her little finger at Dylan, “Ou promise to ehave, Mom?”

Emily burst out laughing and Dylan growled, pretending to bite the little finger offered to her, making Molly join her mother in laughter.

“I promise, Smurf. And as for you, Mama Smurf?” Dylan quirked her eyebrow. “You will be punished for laughing.”

“Oh sure! I’m quaking in my shoes!”

Dylan leaned over and whispered in her fiancé ear, “Oh, you will be.”

Emily felt a shiver run down her spine. Oh honey, I’ll look forward to that.

The blonde cleared her throat and smiled. “Changing the subject completely. Jackson says there are only about five paparazzi downstairs. So our plan should work.”

They had come up with a plan to offer the paparazzi that followed them one picture in return for leaving them alone for the rest of the day, or Dylan would publish a picture of them out and about on twitter and facebook, making the paparazzi pictures less valuable.

“I hope so. It’s a bit late to keep Molly’s face out of the public domain but if we can control it, then that’s half the battle.”

They had both found that since the initial media frenzy, the large throng of paparazzi had thinned down to a core group of about four or five, and they were much easier to negotiate with.

“What time is Rosie coming?”

“She should be here any minute.”

“Okay, well remember what we discussed. If you’re happy, just go with her and get what you want but if you do go out shopping with her for stuff, Jackson goes everywhere with you.”

Emily sighed. “Yes, dear! I’m going to put some of Molly’s things into the guest room. She can sleep there until we’ve finished her own room.”

“Okay, but if you need anything heavy moved, please ask Jackson. I filled her in this morning when we were sparring. Where is Jackson, anyway?”

“Just checking her cameras, I think. And don’t worry, I have Rosie to help as well.”

“Okay. Well have a nice day to yourself. I love you.”

Emily kissed them both goodbye. “I love you both, too. Stay safe.”

“Love ou, Mama. Bye!”

She walked to the door to see them out. “Have fun!”

“I don’t think she realizes how difficult going to the park with a 3 year old is!” Emily chuckled to herself.

****

Jackson watched from the living room as Emily and Rosie laughed together. Emily had insisted on sharing a cup of coffee and some chat before they got down to business.

Emily had told Jackson just to relax and to use the TVs or computers while Rosie was there but Jackson wanted to keep an eye on Emily’s new friend. So she tried to look busy with some paperwork in the living room, all the while keeping an eye on the kitchen table she could see through the door.

“So the cop was like,” Rosie lowered her voice in an imitation of the cop. ‘Hey, little lady. If you don’t move from this vicinity I will be forced to remove you forcibly.’ I say, ‘well I’d like to see you try!’ I knock the guy’s hat off and his face goes purple with rage, and I think, ‘oh well, I guess I’m not going to make my shift at the bar tonight.” But just then the crowd surges from behind me, some guy fighting with another cop, I get pushed off to the side and the cop can’t find me. So I take that as a sign that it’s time to call it a day ahead to work.”

The two women laughed. “Rosie. You really are committed to the cause!”

“Well someone has to stand up to the government and big business.”

While they were talking, Jackson had entered the kitchen. Rosie saw Jackson tut and shake her head in disgust.

“Sorry to interrupt, Emily, but do you mind if I get a cup of coffee?”

“Of course not, I’ll get it for you.” Emily jumped up to get the coffee.

Rosie could feel angry eyes boring into the back of her head. She turned quickly and found herself staring into Jackson’s stormy eyes.

“Something bothering you, soldier boy?”

“Yes, you.”

“Oh? Do tell me why?” Rosie replied sarcastically.

Here they go again! This is going to be fun with Rosie working here most days , thought Emily.

“It bothers me that while hard working people are trying to get to their jobs, they get held up by the likes of you. It bothers me that brave public servants have to deal with you and your hipster friends, while they should be out helping and protecting law abiding citizens.”

Rosie’s face was turning slightly red with anger. Of all the . . .low down . . .

She stood, facing Jackson head on. “It’s the likes of me that will save this country from people like you who will give us a future of war and global warming, with the rich getting richer on the backs of the poor!”

Jackson smirked. “What? Did your yogi teach you that?”

“Argh!” Rosie squealed in frustration.

Emily thought this was the right time to intervene. “Okay, why don’t we agree to disagree? Rosie? Shall we go to Molly’s room and discuss the plans?”As she steered Rosie out of the kitchen, she patted Jackson on the shoulder and said with a smile, “Why don’t you have some cookies with your coffee, Jackson, and relax.”

When they left the kitchen, Jackson slapped her hand down on the counter.

That was so unprofessional, Hunter! What are you doing? Why are you letting that hippy get to you?

For the moment, she had no answers.

****

“I’m so sorry about that, Emily. What must you think of me? Listen, I’ll just go. You don’t want someone who shouts her mouth off like that to work for you.”

Emily looked at her with a smirk. “Don’t be ridiculous. I found it quite amusing,” said Emily.

“I don’t know why she annoys me so much. I hardly know her and she just makes me angry.”

“I know she appears kind of buttoned up and moody, but she’s really very nice.”

“I’ll take your word for it, Emily. Thanks for giving me this chance. Can I show you my plans and test out the paint samples?”

“Sure, I’ve been looking forward to it.”

****

“Mom! Mom! Higher!” Molly shouted. Dylan was pushing her on the swings.

“Any higher, Smurf, and you’ll be flying.” She let the swing come gently back down to earth.

They had been playing for about an hour and Dylan didn’t think she’d ever had as much fun.

Dylan swung her little girl up in her arms. How about we get some lunch, Molls? Then we can play with your ball.”

“Yeah! Me hungry. We get pizza and fries, Mom?”

“Sure, kid, and ice cream for dessert. You can get whatever you want today, but don’t be surprised if Mama makes us eat healthy stuff tomorrow to make up for it!”

Molly screwed up her face. “Ew! No like ealthy.” Dylan smiled. “Me neither. Let’s go get pizza, Smurf.”

Across the park, someone watched the mother and daughter walk away.

“That girl is your double, Morgan. She has nothing of my precious Emily running through her veins. You can keep your brat. My Emily and I will make our own family. Soon. You may have imprisoned her with your so-called security, Morgan, but I’m too clever for you. I will rescue my woman. No one takes what is mine!” the figure thought feverishly, and slipped away.

****

The sound of the new friends’ laughter brought Emily and Rosie into the apartment. Jackson followed with a scowl on her face, laden down with all their purchases.

“Hey, it was an accident!” Rosie said defensively. “Yeah. Of course it was!”

Emily and Rosie had spent the afternoon shopping for furniture and paint samples. In Home Depot there had been an incident with a sample can of paint, that Rosie was holding, and Jackson’s shirt.

“Listen, soldier boy. If I had wanted to get paint on you, you’d be covered from head to foot!”

Emily thought she should intervene before this escalated any further.

“Jackson, I’ll get you one of Dylan’s t shirts to put on. Why don’t you two stop arguing and dump the stuff in Molly’s room, okay?”

Jackson sighed and padded off with the bags. As soon as Jackson’s back was turned, Rosie stuck her tongue out at the tall woman, smirked at Emily and followed her nemesis to Molly’s room.

Emily shook her head and went to get the t-shirt for Jackson. “What am I going to do with those two?”

****

Dylan and Molly came crashing through the door. The TV star had her daughter slung over her shoulder. They’d had a wonderful day together, bonding and making up for the time they had missed together.

“Now where did I put that Smurf of mine? I must have left her at the park? Oh well, I’m sure Mama will understand.”

Molly giggled and kicked her legs trying to get Dylan’s attention.

“Ou no forget me, Mom! I up ere!”

Dylan made a big show of twirling round, looking for where the voice had come from.

“That sounded like Molls? Where’d that come from?”

“Ere, Mom! Up ere!” The excited girl shouted.

Dylan looked up and faked a shocked expression. “Molls? There you are! I knew I put you somewhere.”

“Ha! Ha! Put me down, Mom.”

“Okay, kid. Let’s go and see what your Mama and Rosie have done to your room.”

They found a tense looking Jackson and Rosie, trying very hard to ignore each other. Molly ran over to get one of her toys still left in the room.

“Hi guys. Hey Jackson, did you have an argument with a can of paint?” Dylan joked.

“Very funny. It was an accident, apparently.” Jackson looked pointedly at Rosie, who gave her a disgusted look in return.

“O . . .kay. Can you tell me where my fiancé is?”

“She went to your room to get me a t-shirt to change into, but that was about twenty minutes ago. Must have got caught up in something.

T-shirt? My t-shirt drawer? The letters! Shit! Fear gripped Dylan’s heart. The fear that she kept hidden deep inside, that life with Emily and Molly was too perfect and she would somehow mess it up. Either that or the stalker would steal her away.

“Um . . .could you guys watch Molly for me?”

“Sure,” replied Rosie. Jackson was immediately on alert. “Is everything okay, Dylan?”

“Yeah . . .just . . .um, I’ll be back in a bit, okay?”

Dylan rushed to their bedroom. The door was shut. She took a deep breath. Come on, Morgan. You can do this! She opened the door to find an empty room. Dylan’s drawer was turned upside down, the t-shirts strewn all over the floor. Dylan’s heart began to beat faster as her eyes lifted towards the bed where the letters were set out. The originals of the more recent letters that Dylan had not turned in to the police yet and photocopies of the rest. They were all there, but Emily was not.

Dylan checked their bathroom and, when she found nothing, she frantically checked through the rest of the apartment.

“Emmie? Emily? Are you here?” Jackson and Rosie appeared, reacting to Dylan’s shouts.

“What’s wrong?”

“She’s not here! She found the letters and she’s not here. She’s left me, Jackson!”

“What’s wrong? Is Emily okay?” asked Rosie, totally confused at what was happening.

Dylan grabbed her jacket and keys. “Will you please watch Molly for me?”

Jackson stood in front of her employer, blocking her path. She knew Dylan was so distressed and panicked that she shouldn’t be out there alone.

“I’ll come with you. Rosie can watch Molly; you can trust her. Just let me do my job.”

“No. I’m going alone. Emily’s out there upset and angry and without protection. I need to find her, quickly. I trust Rosie but the stalker could take this opportunity to take Molly, to hurt us, to use her as leverage to get to Emily. I need you to protect her. Rosie? Jackson? Please take care of our daughter.”

“Of course we will.” Rosie lifted Molly, who had wandered into the hallway after hearing her mom’s shouts.

She looked worried. “Mom? Where Mama?”

Dylan stroked her little cheek.”I’m just going to pick Mama up. We’ll be back soon.”

As she turned to leave, Jackson grabbed her arm. “Dylan, she’ll be close by. There’s no way she would leave cute stuff here for long. Call me, okay? Let me know she’s safe. If he has gotten close to her, come back and let me do my job, alright?”

Dylan nodded and left the apartment. Out in the hall, she braced herself against the door, taking a few deep breaths to help with the wave of nausea that came over her.

Fuck! Get yourself under control, Morgan! Emily needs you.

The wave passed and she headed to the elevator.

****

Dylan found her herself standing on the sidewalk, with no idea where to go.

Her heart thudded and her hands shook in panic. She nervously ran a big hand through her dark hair.

Think! Where would she go? She doesn’t know anyone! What If he’s got her? No. Stop it! You can’t think like that .

“Where are the paparazzi when you need them? They follow her around for months and then I choose today to manage to get them off her tail.”

As Dylan looked up, she noticed a man with a camera leaning against a building across the street.

She rushed across the road, narrowly missing a taxi cab on the way to the lone paparazzo.

The photographer looked a little shocked at the sight of the big, angry, muscled, TV star bearing down on him.

“You! Did you see my fiancé leaving my building?”

“Uh . . .I . . .” The young man thought she was angry about him harassing them.

“I don’t have time for this!” Dylan grabbed his camera and flicked through the shots he had taken and spotted a few showing Emily walking down the road.

Dylan grabbed the photographer by the shirt. “Where did she go after this?”

He couldn’t believe his luck when he saw Emily Taylor come out of the apartment building alone. She was usually surrounded by a pack of photographers, each vying for a shot, but today he was the only one. Morgan had offered a shot to the assembled pack earlier in exchange for leaving them alone for a day out. The rest had, but his editor wanted him to hang around and try to get a shot of a new arty looking woman who had been seen coming and going. So when he had seen Emily leave, he took a few shots before turning his attention back to the apartment.

“Tell me now!”

“Shh . . .she walked down to the end of the street and I think went into that bar.”

With a sigh of relief, he watched the TV star run off down the street.

Dylan stood outside the bar door catching her breath. It was one of the many gay bars in the village. She had passed a few times but never went in for a drink.

Plucking up her courage, Dylan walked through the door.

The place was quiet. A few people sat at the bar and tables up front, or in the booths in the back.

“Hey Dylan! Nice to see you. Get you a drink?” The barkeep had spotted her already; she had forgotten to put on her usual dark glasses and hat.

Dylan walked up to the bar.

“No, that’s okay. I was looking for my fiancé.” She took out her wallet to show her Emily’s picture.

“Has she been in here?”

“Hey, I don’t need the picture, everyone knows what your honey looks like. She’s been in the magazines for I don’t know how long. By the way, you lucked out getting that girl; she’s one fine looking woman!”

Dylan was getting exasperated. “Yeah. I know. Listen buddy, this is kind of urgent, could you tell me if she’s been in here?”

“Sure! Could you sign this for my girlfriend?” She held out a napkin and pen.

Dylan grabbed it and scrawled out her autograph. “There, now Emily?”

“Thanks. Oh, she’s in the last booth down there. Some dyke’s been hitting on her for the last twenty minutes.”

Dylan’s head snapped around towards the back booth. She couldn’t see Emily, but saw a short looking butch woman in a business suit hanging over the side of the booth. Dylan growled and shot off towards them.

****

Emily had no success in getting rid of this woman who couldn’t seem to take a hint. She had just wanted to have a quiet drink somewhere she could think and process what she had discovered.

“Listen baby, why don’t we go get some dinner somewhere. I just got a big promotion today at my law firm. I’m a partner now.”

The woman looked rather smug, as if being a lawyer usually impressed women she decided she liked.

Emily sighed. “Listen, I told you, I just want to be on my own. Besides that, I’m engaged, see?” She lifted her hand.

That’s some sparkler! thought the lawyer. Still, she’s fair game .

“She’s not here, though, is she? A woman as pretty as you shouldn’t be without company.” Emily was feeling suffocated as the lawyer blocked off her exit and stroked her shoulder.

The lawyer felt herself yanked backwards by the collar. “Get your hands off what doesn’t belong to you and beat it!”

“Hey! Who do you think you . . .oh.” The overconfident lawyer turned around and had to look up to see the face of a huge, obviously angry, girlfriend who happened to be a famous TV star with a gold medal in taekwondo.

“Shh . . .she’s your . . .”

“Yeah, she’s mine. So I’d advise you to get out of here before I throw you onto the sidewalk on your ass!”

The lawyer moved away from the booth as quick as she could, tripping over tables and chairs on the way.

“Uh . . .sure thing. Listen, if I knew she was with you . . .I’ll just . . .just go. Sorry.”

With that she was gone.

Dylan sat across from Emily, who was staring into her glass.

“Um . . .hey, baby.”

Emily looked up from her drink with a scowl. “Don’t “baby” me. I’m not interested.” Shit!

You knew you would fuck this up!

“Listen. I know you’re upset . . .”

“Upset?” Emily barked. “You think I’m just upset? Do you know what it felt like to find those letters? To know that I’ve been happily going around day-to-day thinking you and Jackson were just being over the top, only to find out the threat is real and very dangerous. What gave you the right to keep that from me like I was some little child who needs to be taken care of? When I read those letters, it took me right back to finding those messages on Toni’s phone. ”

Dylan slammed her hands down on the table.

“You’re comparing me to your lying cheating ex? I don’t believe this! I was trying to protect you. It’s my job! You should never have left the apartment; it’s not safe for you out here.”

Emily was shocked at Dylan’s outburst of anger. It was supposed to be her that was angry.

“Don’t you shout at me like that. Just leave me alone to think!” Tears were beginning to roll down her cheeks.

Dylan’s heart was breaking watching Emily cry, knowing that she was crying because of her actions.

Great, Morgan. You come here to beg for forgiveness and you end up yelling at the woman you love!

“I’m so sorry for shouting. I’m just panicking. When I got home and you weren’t there . . .I’ve never been more frightened in my life. Please just give me fifteen minutes to explain. Come home with me and let me talk. If you still want to go, I’ll have Jackson take you wherever you want. I promise.”

Emily silently stared into her drink. “Please! Just fifteen minutes. Look, Molly was really worried when you weren’t home; I told her I was just going to pick you up. If I don’t come back with you . . .”

Emily stood up. “You have fifteen minutes but if I’m not satisfied, Jackson can take Molly and me somewhere, a hotel or something.”

I could lose them over this. Lose everything , thought Dylan dejectedly.

“Thank you, Emmie.” Dylan stood to follow her partner when Emily stopped and looked her right in the eye.

“Don’t ever use our daughter to get what you want again.”

She walked on with a chastised Dylan close behind.

****

The couple’s walk home had been in silence. When they entered the apartment they found Jackson, Rosie and Molly playing in the living room. Rosie and Jackson felt the tension immediately take over the room. Molly ran straight up to Emily, who lifted her up and cuddled her tight.

“Mama, ou back! I din’t know where ou were,” Molly pouted.

Emily kissed her daughter. “I just popped out for a bit, sweetie.”

While Emily talked to Molly, Dylan spoke to Jackson.

“Jackson would you mind taking Molly to McDonalds for some dinner?”

Jackson patted her on the back. “Sure.”

“Uh Emily? How about Jackson takes Molly to McDonald’s?” Dylan asked gently.

Emily sighed, “Yes. That’s probably a good idea. Molly you want to go out with Jackson?”

“Yeah! Wosie come, too?” Jackson looked nervously at her nemesis, wondering what the young woman’s reaction would be.

“I’d love to, sweetie!” Then turning to Jackson said, “Come on, soldier boy!” Rosie grabbed Molly’s jacket and they walked hand in hand towards the door. Jackson followed behind, hands in pockets, muttering, “God help me!”

****

Emily and Dylan found themselves alone in the living room. Emily sat down and said,

“Well, I’m waiting.”

Dylan paced and ran her fingers through her hair.

“After the break in and the message scrawled on the mirror, you and Molly were so scared, so upset. When I went to work the next day there was a letter waiting for me. I told Patrick and Mark right away. I asked them not to tell you. You and Molly were happy and settled and beginning to relax. If I told you about the letter, you would have been upset again and you would have been watching your every step and looking over your shoulder all the time, waiting for the next letter or for the stalker to pounce; instead of doing what you did do, which was relaxing into family life here, with me. When I didn’t tell about you the first letter and more kept coming, I was committed to that path, I got in deeper and deeper. Jackson said I should tell you, but I knew you’d be angry and I didn’t want to spoil everything we’ve built.”

Emily shook her head. “That was not your decision to make, Dylan. I swore after Toni that I would never be kept in the dark or have a partner make decisions for me again.”

Dylan was shaking. I’m going to lose everything. The big woman fell on her knees in front of Emily, tears welling up in her eyes.

“Please. I’m sorry. I made the wrong decision. I thought I was doing the right thing to protect you both. I love the two of you more than anything in the world. I’ll never keep anything from you again.”

Emily’s resolve was crumbling as she saw Dylan cry, terrified of losing them both.

When I see her upset like this, all I want to do is put my arms around her and make it all better. This is her first serious relationship. She finds out she has a daughter and gets engaged; her life is changed beyond recognition in a few months and all the time a stalker has been hanging over her head, threatening to take her family away. Think about the pressure she’s had to bear, alone , thought Emily.

She took Dylan’s tear stained face in her hands. “I don’t agree with what you did but I can understand why you did it. I love you with all my heart. Molly and I are so lucky to have you to keep us safe, but don’t ever keep things from me again!”

Dylan’s emotions overflowed in sheer relief. She threw her arms round the blonde’s waist, head in her lap. “Oh god, thank you! I love you so much, baby girl, I promise you there will never be any secrets between us again. Shit! I thought you’d take Molly and leave me.”

Emily stroked her partner dark head. “Oh, goofy. I was mad and hurt but please know I would never leave you, I might be angry for a while, maybe a few days but we’ll always work it out, I promise. I will never leave you. You’re the love of my life.”

****

Jackson smirked. She looked over at Rosie as she unloaded their meals from the tray.

The tall woman had annoyed Rosie when they reached McDonald’s by insisting on paying for dinner. She was sure she heard the words chauvinist pig being uttered.

Jackson got her way and now Rosie was sorting Molly’s food for her, while trying her best to ignore Jackson.

“There you go, Molly. You want ketchup?”

“Yes, pease.”

Rosie started on her fries and apple pie. She could almost feel Jackson’s smirking face without looking up.

“You got a problem, soldier boy?”

Jackson picked up her huge double cheeseburger with bacon and took a big bite. “Let’s just say it wasn’t a huge surprise that all you got was fries and an apple pie.”

“Meaning?” asked Rosie, her annoyance growing.

“Let’s just say if there was a checklist for being a lesbian, you would have every box checked off.”

“Excuse me?”

“Come on? You’re in the art business, anti-war, anti-government, anti-authority, anti-big business, professional protestor, vegetarian and I’m quite sure you have some rainbow flag stickers or jewelry somewhere around you or your apartment.”

Rosie was enraged. “Excuse me, soldier boy! But if you were to ask everyone in the restaurant who was the lesbian here, every single one would point to you, sitting in your men’s suit with your extremely short men’s hairstyle, and your ‘Oh I’ll pay the bill, little lady,’ attitude. Ms. Butch of the Year, 1955!”

Jackson smiled. She mentions my being butch all the time. Hmm. Interesting .

“Well, perhaps Molly doesn’t need to hear us bicker? Truce?”

Rosie took a deep breath and nodded. Oh! That woman infuriates me!

“How are you doing, kiddo?”

“Otay Dackson, ou build my toy from my appy meal?”

“Of course. Give it here.” Jackson began to build the toy car from a Disney movie.

Rosie decided to change the subject. “So what was that all about? Dylan said Emily found some letters?”

“I don’t think we should talk about it with little ears listening.” Jackson indicated her head towards Molly.

“Oh . . .yeah. Sorry,” Rosie replied quietly.

“It’s not something I could talk about to outsiders anyway. For security.”

“Oh yeah, because I’m really a threat to security, aren’t I?!”

Jackson leaned across the table and said in a quiet but firm voice. “You’re an unknown quantity, to an extent. I don’t know as much about you as I would like to, and I don’t take chances with my work.”

“What do you mean? Have you been checking up on me?”

Jackson leaned back in her seat, looking smug. “I ran a few background checks, its normal practice.”

Rosie’s face was a picture of rage. “Normal practice? How dare you! I have a right to privacy! That’s a breach of my human rights!”

“Grow up, hippy girl! That’s the way the real world works.”

Molly who had been watching her friends get angry said, “Wosie otay, Dackson?”

Jackson smirked. “She’s fine, munchkin. Just a bit excited, that’s all.”

Rosie directed a fiery look towards her dinner companion.

You are the most infuriating person I have ever met!

****

Dylan and Emily were cuddled up on the couch when Jackson and Rosie returned with Molly.

Dylan refused to let go of her fiancé. She had come so close to messing things up and vowed to do anything to keep her family together.

Emily stood to take Molly in her arms.

“Thanks for taking her, guys. I appreciate it,” Emily told Jackson and Rosie.

“Anytime. Why don’t I leave you guys to it? I’ll come back tomorrow,” said the young decorator.

Emily nodded. She felt Dylan join her and snake an arm round her side.

“Yeah, thanks you two. Jackson, you can pull out if you like. We’re in for the night now. If you want to come over early tomorrow and spar, I’d like that. It will give us a chance to talk about our plans, as well,” Dylan told Jackson.

“Will do.” Then turning to Rosie said, “Can I give you a ride anywhere?”

Rosie just scowled back at her. “I don’t think so. Emily I’ll just go and collect my things from Molly’s room.”

Ungrateful hippy freak! “Fine. That’s the last time I try to be nice!” Jackson said as Rosie walked away.

Emily saw the look of hurt on Jackson’s face. “She’s young, Jackson. You two just seem to clash. Don’t worry about it.”

“I’m not worried. I couldn’t care less what she thinks of me. I’ll see you two tomorrow.”

Emily could tell that the tough looking woman was bothered but said nothing.

“Bye Jackson. Thanks for today.”

“Yeah thanks, buddy,” added Dylan.

Later when they had put Molly to bed, they shared a glass of wine on the couch, Dylan still holding onto Emily at every opportunity.

“So what will we do next, honey? About the stalker situation.”

“I thought maybe I could invite Mark and Patrick over to talk about it. Now that everything’s out in the open, when can see where they are with it and you can ask them any questions you may have.”

“Sounds like a plan. Let’s go to bed. We’ve a lot to do tomorrow. We have to visit the preschools, remember? And Lynn wants us to meet with the wedding planner. I thought we could just leave Rosie to her work here. Is that okay?”

“Yeah, sure. I called Mark earlier and told him I wouldn’t make training, I’ll just spar with Jackson in the morning. I can’t wait to marry you, baby girl.”

Emily kissed Dylan on the cheek. “Me neither, goofy. Let’s go to bed and snuggle.”

Dylan lifted her fiancé from the couch. “After today, that sounds like heaven, Emmie.”

****

It was Monday morning and the new family had a lot to pack in. Dylan was in the office talking with Jackson, while Emily got Molly ready for their day.

“So is everything sorted now?” Asked Jackson.

Dylan let out a long breath. “Yes, thank god. She was so angry. Her ex kept things from her before so this hit a raw nerve. I made a bad choice but she’s forgiven me, and I won’t make that mistake again.”

“It’s better in the long run if she knows. We can now secure the apartment and any outings properly, with her full cooperation.”

“Yeah. I called Mark and asked him to come over with Patrick and have a talk with her about it.” Dylan explained.

“Great idea. So what’s on the agenda today?” Jackson asked.

“Were heading over to visit a couple of preschools, then meeting with the wedding planner Lynn recommended,” Dylan scowled.

“I thought you couldn’t wait to be tied down? I mean the very thought of marriage makes my stomach queasy, but you’re Dylan Morgan, responsible family woman.”

“You’re right, I can’t wait. I wish it were tomorrow, but I wish Emily would just tell me where to show up and when. It’ll be all ‘What do you think of this fabric?’ and ‘Green or blue?'”

Jackson laughed. “I hear you, my friend!”

Dylan heard someone clear their throat at the office door. Her head darted around to find Emily glaring at her.

Shit!

“I heard that, goofy!” Dylan jumped up.

“You know I don’t mean anything, baby. I just . . .” Dylan was silenced by a kiss.

“Shh! I know, honey. Relax, okay?” Emily said with a smile. She knew Dylan was a little sensitive after last night.

“Okay, um . . .you two ready to go?”

“Sure, and as a special treat, you and Jackson can pick the table decorations!” She turned on her heel, and left the two women rolling their eyes.

****

“And so here at Greenfield School, we pride ourselves on diversity and a dedication to teaching young people the responsibility that they have in their communities.”

Dylan and Emily were meeting the principal of the second school of the day. Lynn had said that this school was favored by a lot of gay couples, due to their progressive policies.

The first school had been a little traditional and Emily felt the staff were uncomfortable with Molly having two mommies.

As soon as they arrived at Greenfield, they felt a completely different atmosphere. The principal was warm and friendly, and quite eager for the famous couple to choose the school. They had been escorted to a large playroom where Molly could play, so Dylan and Emily could talk with Mrs. Whitmore, the school principal. Jackson stood guard at the door.

“That sounds great. What do you think, Emily,” asked Dylan.

While driving over, Emily had looked through the school brochure and balked at the cost, $20,000 a year, but Dylan managed to bring Emily around by talking up the security benefits.

“Are there any entrance requirements?”

“Yes. We have an entrance exam, but I’m sure Molly will have no problem. We usually require children to be four years old on, or before, September 1st, but in your circumstances, with Molly just moving into the area, I think I can bend that rule for you.”

“You understand our need for security? Jackson Hunter, our security consultant, would need to escort Molly, with either Emily or myself, to and from school. Jackson would need full access to the school, and we need your assurance of Molly’s security during the day,” added Dylan.

“We will have no problem accommodating your needs, and I can assure you that we have a number of families, here at Greenfield, who have similar needs. As you saw when you entered the school, no one gets in or out without going through our security. For any field trips we will, of course, be flexible on any extra security you think is necessary.”

“Well that answers all my questions. Could we have a few minutes to discuss our options, Mrs. Whitmore?”

“Of course, just call me when you’re ready.”

When she left the room, Dylan called her daughter over and lifted her onto her lap.

“Hey Molls. Remember we said this could be your preschool?” Molly nodded.

“Well, what do you think? Do you like it here?” When Mrs. Whitmore had shown them around, Molly seemed excited by the brightly colored and friendly environment.

“Yeah, Mom. They ave tool toys! And loads of puters!”

“Well that’s good. What do you think, Emmie?”

Emily let out a breath. “Well it certainly is an impressive set up, but then it should be at those prices!”

“Emmie, come on, we talked about this,” Dylan chastised.

“I know. It will give Molly an incredible start in life. I like the principal and her staff, and it seems like a warm and friendly environment, compared to the place this morning.”

Dylan turned and took Emily’s hand; Molly had darted off to play with the toys again.

“That’s what I want for our daughter, the best start in life. We both had normal working class families and educations, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but if we give Molly the best education we can, then her life has so many more options. I want Molly to be able to do everything she wants to with her life. That’s not so bad is it?”

Emily smiled and kissed Dylan lightly.

“No, it’s not. You know you are just the sweetest TV star in the world!”

Dylan flashed a smug smile and said, “Well, I do try.”

“You know what this means, don’t you?”

“What?”

“Shopping! Molly’s going to need lots of new clothes for preschool. You wanted me to be more comfortable with spending our money; well you’re going to end up being sorry you ever encouraged me!”

“Never! I love to see you two getting nice things. I’m sure Jackson will be delighted about more shopping trips.”

Dylan looked over to the door and caught Jackson giving her a disgusted look. Dylan simply smiled back.

“Well, let’s go tell Mrs. Whitmore the good news.”

Dylan stood and went in search of her.

****

After setting an appointment for the entrance test, Dylan, Emily and Molly stopped for lunch before heading off to meet the wedding planner. They tried to make the first meeting as quick as possible as Molly was getting tired and restless.

They decided the wedding would take place at the Metropolitan Community Church, followed by a reception at the Four Seasons Hotel, where they would stay overnight. Emily promised Justin, their wedding planner, that she would return soon for a more in-depth appointment, without Molly, to discuss dresses, food and all the other details.

They arrived home with a tired and grumpy Molly. Dylan and Jackson promised they would play video games with her until dinner, which cheered her up immensely.

Emily went to check on Rosie’s progress.

“How’s it coming?” Emily asked.

The room was now completely empty. Dylan and Jackson had cleared out the furniture for her.

“Oh hi, really good. I’ve given the walls a base coat of paint. Tomorrow, I’ll start sketching out the jungle designs in pencil, before they’re painted.”

“Great, I should be able to help tomorrow. I’ve got no plans. I do want to go clothes shopping for Molly, but I think it would be unfair to trail her around the stores after today. Especially since Dylan’s working, so I can’t leave her here.”

Rosie nodded. “How did everything go today?”

“Great. We got Molly signed up for preschool, then made some very brief arrangements with the wedding planner. Molly had had enough by that point so we couldn’t plan too much. I’m going back to have an appointment on my own.”

Rosie observed that Emily looked a little sad.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah, it’s nothing. It’s just that, at times like these, I miss having a mother to share this with, to help make decisions. My family and I are estranged and I don’t really have any girlfriends, it’s just been Molly and me for so long, and Dylan will be no use at choosing things.”

Rosie felt sorry for Emily. She knew how it felt to miss a mother. “Listen, if you ever want a second opinion or someone to go with you, feel free to ask me. There’s nothing I like better than choosing dresses and fabrics.”

Emily beamed in relief. “Really? Oh that would be wonderful! This whole celebrity wedding thing is really overwhelming.”

“No problem. It’ll be fun, and I get to annoy Jackson, even more fun!”

The women laughed. Poor Jackson! thought Emily.

****

In the evening, once Molly was safely put to bed and Rosie had left for the day, Mark and Patrick came over to talk with Emily, Jackson and Dylan.

After serving coffee and cookies, Emily sat close to Dylan, gripping her hand for reassurance.

“Anything new?” asked Dylan.

“Not really. We checked out the waiter Toni had mentioned was overly interested in Emily. His name is Drew Simpson. He seems like a quiet guy. Lives with his elderly mother. He did have a few magazines lying around that had you both on them, but he struck me more as a fan than anything.” Mark said.

Dylan turned to her fiancé. “Do you remember him, Emmie?”

“Yeah. He was harmless, it was just a crush. If I met Toni at the restaurant, he would make me feel uncomfortable by looking and ‘accidentally’ brushing past me. Just your typical guy who’s not very successful with women.”

“Well they’re the type to watch out for, so we’ll keep an eye on him but until we get anymore leads, there’s not really a whole lot we can do,” Patrick added.

Dylan sat forward in her seat, obviously agitated.

“What about Toni? Are you sure about her? She has a history of violence.”

“Dylan! I don’t like to talk about that. Toni wouldn’t do something like this. She was a cheater yes, but she liked women, lots of women. She wouldn’t get fixated on me like this.” Dylan was annoyed by being chastised in front of everyone and Emily defending Toni. She got up and poured herself some scotch, a scowl on her face.

Jackson, feeling a need to change the subject and break the tension, said, “What about the wedding, guys? We’re going to need extra protection for the day.”

Mark agreed. “You’re right. The wedding may be a catalyst for whoever this is to act, so we have to take extra care. We’ll coordinate with you on security.”

Dylan still stood with her back to the group. Emily could feel the anger coming from her.

She needed to talk to her alone.

“Thanks for coming over and talking with me,” Emily said, standing and brining the meeting to an end.

“No problem, Emily. We’ll be in touch. Goodnight. Night, Dylan.”

Dylan turned briefly and said goodbye.

After she and Emily saw them out, Jackson said. “I’ll head off, too. Go talk to her. She’s just stressed.”

Emily nodded. “Thanks, Jackson. Goodnight.”

When they were alone, she walked over to her partner, who had her back to Emily.

“Well, that was rude!” Dylan just snorted in reply.

“And drinking isn’t going to help! Why are you so angry?”

Emily reached and touched her partners shoulder, only to have it pulled away.

Dylan turned. “Why am I angry? Are you serious? You defend your lying, cheating, and abusive ex right in front of my friends! You talk to me like I’m some child! And you ask why I’m angry?” Dylan stomped over to the couch and sat down with her drink.

What is wrong with her? This isn’t like my Dylan? thought Emily.

“Oh and I’ll drink where and when I like!”

Emily was hurt but tried to remain calm. “I don’t know what’s really bothering you, but I only said that Toni wouldn’t want to harm and frighten me like this. I know she was violent but this is a whole different ball game. I think you’re frightened and a little jealous of my past with Toni, and that’s why you’re acting like this. So I’m going to let you sort it out in your head yourself. I’m going to bed.” Emily knew Dylan could be emotionally fragile and was struggling to cope with a threat coming from a faceless person. She knew, given some time to calm down, she would come seeking love and reassurance.

Dylan was left in the living room by herself. She drank the rest of her whiskey and got up for another.

She felt foolish. How could she say that in front of Mark and Patrick! Made me look like some jealous idiot. How can no one else see it’s probably Toni?! Someone who’s violent like that! Of course it could be her!

Hmm. Maybe Emily felt embarrassed having her past talked about like that. Shit! That’s why she busted your balls, you idiot! Fuck! Dylan sat wondering how to get back into Emily’s good graces.

****

Dylan crept into their bedroom. Emily was asleep but had laid out Dylan’s sleepwear of white sleeveless t- shirt and boxers. Always thinking of me, baby girl. You don’t deserve her, Morgan!

Dylan got ready for bed in the bathroom, so as not to wake Emily. She got into bed and lay on her back. She desperately wanted to reach out to Emily but thought she would be rebuffed.

A few minutes later, unable to wait any longer, she caved.

“Emmie? Emmie?”

Emily, who was only half asleep, opened her eyes.

“What is it, honey?”

“Em . . .I’m . . .I’m sorry, okay. I was out of line. I just get really scared and Toni is an easy target because she hurt you before. I hate to think of you with her.”

“It’s okay, goofy. I know you’re scared. Come here.” Emily opened her arms to her partner and Dylan latched onto her fiancé like a limpet.

“I’m sorry, I’m an idiot.” Dylan mumbled into Emily’s breasts.

“You’re not an idiot. You’ve been through a lot, honey. From bachelor to just about to be married with a child in the space of 3 months. It’s a lot of responsibility. You’re just scared.”

“I just want to protect you. I want you and Molly to have a happy calm life.”

“We will. We’ll get this sorted out somehow.”

“You always make things better, Emmie. How do you do that?”

“Because I know you, Dylan Morgan. You’re in my soul and I love you.”

Dylan climbed up and kissed Emily tenderly.

“I love you with all that I am.”

“Can I talk to you about something?”

“You know you can.” Dylan lay down and pulled Emily into her arms. “You know how we said if I got along well with Rosie that we’d ask her to do the decorating on the new house?”

Dylan nodded.

“Well how would you feel about her doing our bedroom here? I mean it’s going to be well into January before we move to the beach, and we’re still going to be staying here every so often.”

“Of course, I told you before this place is yours to do with what you want. I know it’s bland, I want you to make both places homey, do the whole place if you’d like.”

“Great. Gives me something to do. I’m used to being out at work every day. Oh, and Rosie offered to come with me to see the wedding planner, and to take a look at some dresses. I really appreciated it. I don’t have friends and a girl usually has her mother,” she said sadly.

“I’m sorry, baby girl. I’m sorry you don’t have her to share it with.”

“I can only guess what she’s making of us from the newspapers and magazines. Disgusted, no doubt. She’s probably asking Father Peters to pray for me.”

“We don’t have the best luck with families do we?” Dylan said sadly.

“We have the family we’re creating together and that’s what counts.”

Dylan kissed Emily. “Your right again, baby. I’m glad you’re making a friend in Rosie. She seems like a nice girl.”

“She is. Let’s get some sleep, goofy. Night.”

“Sweet dreams, baby girl. I love you.”

Dylan closed her eyes and silently prayed that no harm would come to her beloved little family.

****

“What are you doing on the show this week?” Emily asked Dylan the next morning.

“It’s really cool! You’ll like this, Molls. It’s a basketball challenge, the contestant to get the most baskets wins. Boring you might say, but not when you put a trampoline in front of the basket. We run up, jump on the trampoline, which sends us high in the air, well above the basket, then you get a really cool slam dunk before you come crashing down to the mats.” Dylan enthused.

“Dats so tool, Mom!”

“Isn’t it dangerous, Dyl?”

“Well, of course, a little bit. That’s what my show is all about. But I’ll be fine.”

Emily looked unconvinced.

“Mom, me come see you do it?”

Dylan smiled eagerly. “Yeah! What do you think, Emmie? Will you two come on Friday?”

“Yes, that’s fine. But don’t blame me, TV star, when we’re at the emergency room because Molls has been copying your stunts!”

“Nah! You’ll love it won’t you, Smurf! So what’s on the agenda for my girls today?”

Emily walked around to clean Molly’s face of breakfast.

“We goin to paint manimals, Mom!”

“We’re going to help Rosie with the room.” Emily explained to Dylan.

“Ah, okay. Well have fun! I better get going. Where’s Jackson?”

“Oh, playing with her security cameras, I think.”

Standing, Dylan said, “Okay Molls, where’s my kisses before I go?” Molly stood up on her chair to be lifted by her Mom for a hug and a kiss.

“Now you be a good girl for your Mama, all right?” Molly nodded.

“Love you, Molls.”

“Love ou, Mom.”

“Go on to your room, Molls, and I’ll come and get you dressed in a minute.”

Molly ran off happily and Dylan pulled Emily into her arms.

“You be good as well, baby girl.”

Emily smiled, her hand teasing down Dylan’s chest. “I’m always good, TV star. Now go and do some work, and stop distracting me with your good looks!”

Dylan laughed and kissed her fiancé thoroughly. “I’ll take my good looks to work then. I love you.”

“I love you too, honey. Be careful doing that trampoline stuff.”

“I will. I’ll call at lunchtime.”

As Emily saw Dylan off to work, she welcomed Rosie in, and promised to join her as soon as she had Molly dressed.

****

Dylan walked into the studio building and was met by Lynn. They talked as they walked to Dylan’s office.

“Morning Lynn. What do we have planned today?”

“Meetings with the writers at one, Christian Donald the actor will be in at 11 to meet you. Oh, and we need to make a decision about the interview with you and Emily before the wedding.”

Dylan laughed and joked. “So not a lot, then?”

“Funny!” Lynn said sarcastically.

“Okay, okay. I’ve been thinking about the interview thing. Emily’s willing to do it and get all the attention out of the way, but I don’t want her going on a show with an audience. That’s too much pressure for someone who’s not used to it. I think the interviewer should come to the show when Emily and Molly are there watching. They can get an interview with us before I do the show, and get some good footage of Emily and Molly watching. The main thing being, it’s on my territory and I can control what footage is taken.”

“That’s a great idea Dylan, I agree. Should I contact the short list of interviewers and feel them out?” asked L ynn.

“Yeah. If they are free to do it Friday, Emily and Molly are coming in anyway. But make it clear that I want final say on what goes out. My first choice would be Mattie Edwards of the Today Show. She’s done this sort of thing before and wouldn’t be very aggressive. I’ll okay it with Emily when I call her at lunch.”

“No problem. I’ll get right on it. I’ll be back with your protein shake in a minute, okay?”

“Sure. Thanks, Lynn.”

****

Jackson had heard laughter coming from Molly’s bedroom all morning. She had to reluctantly admit that Rosie seemed to cheer Emily up.

Jackson was doing some research into both Drew Simpson and Toni Bianchi.

Her contacts in the FBI had forwarded all the information on file with police and government databases. They had assured her that there was nothing in them but Jackson wanted to go over them with a fine-tooth comb, as they had nothing else to go on. She didn’t really think there was any evidence that it would be Toni but since Dylan was so wary, Jackson felt she had to look into her background.

She started with Drew. He had no police record whatsoever; his employment record looked okay, although he did seem to move from job to job a lot.

‘Hmm. Looks like he’s in a job for six months or so then let go. I think I need to talk to some of his past employers.’

Her thoughts were interrupted by Molly running into the office.

“Dackson! Dackson! Come see dhe manimals I drawed. Molly said jumping up and down.

Jackson smiled. “Sure, munchkin. Lead the way.”

Molly ran ahead of her into the bedroom. Jackson found Emily and Rosie sitting on the floor, laughing at Emily’s attempt to draw the outline of a giraffe.

“I think I should leave the outlining to you Rosie, and I’ll help color them in. Hey Jackson! You come to see our handy work?”

“Yeah, Molly wanted me to look at the drawings.” Molly pulled her over to the little corner she was responsible for.

“Ook, Dackson! Dis a ion and dis a hippo.” Molly said proudly.

“Hey that’s great, kid. It’s going to look cool.”

“Yeah you’re a great help, Molly.” Rosie added.

Emily stood and said, “Can you two keep an eye on Molls while I make us some sandwiches for lunch?

“Sure,” replied Rosie. “Okay Molly, let’s see if we can get Jackson to draw a monkey for us.” Molly ran to get her pencils. “Can you actually do something artistic with those hands or can they just shoot guns?”

Jackson shot Rosie an angry look then walked up and whispered in her ear, “You have no idea what I can do with my hands, and you’ll never have the pleasure of finding out.”

Rosie gulped hard and shivered at Jackson’s deep voice. She quickly shook off the feeling and watched Jackson sit and draw with Molly.

Why do you do that to me, Hunter!

****

Emily was nearly finished making lunch when the phone rang.

“Morgan residence.”

“Hey, I like the sound of that.”

“Hi honey! How’s your day?”

“Oh busy, you know. I bet you and Molls are having more fun.”

“Yes. I’ve laughed so much this morning. Rosie is really funny and Molly is taking decorating so seriously.”

“I’m glad you’re both having fun. Listen, I wanted to talk to you about something. You know we discussed doing one big interview before the wedding?”

“Yes. Do you have something in mind?”

“Yeah, I would like it done at my studios, so I can control it. I thought of asking them to do a piece when you’re at the show Friday. You know, a kind off behind-the-scenes type of thing, with an interview first. What do you think?”

“Hmm. I suppose that sounds less scary than going to some other show with people I don’t know. I’ll still be really nervous though, I won’t know what to say.”

“Don’t worry, you’ll be fine. I’ll look after you. I’ll set it up, then?”

“Sure, if you think that’s best.” Inwardly Emily was terrified at the thought of talking to a camera.

“Okay, baby, I’ll set it up. I better go, I won’t be late tonight. I love you and tell Molls I love her.”

“I will. We love you, too. Take care, honey. Bye.”

“See you later.”

Oh Dylan. I hope I don’t disappoint you!

****

The day of the interview arrived and Emily had been a nervous wreck all day and was currently pacing up and down Dylan’s dressing room.

“Baby, you look sick with nerves. I’m sorry we have to do this because of me.” They had come into the studio earlier than usual to do the interview and were waiting for the TV crew to get there. Molly was totally absorbed in playing her Nintendo 3DS in front of the TV, and Jackson was off doing a security sweep with Pauley around the studio.

Emily stopped pacing and turned to look at Dylan. “I’m sorry, honey. I don’t want you to ever feel bad. We agreed that this was the best way to handle the public interest in us.”

“Come sit here, Emmie.” Dylan patted her lap.

Emily sat and cuddled into Dylan’s strong neck. “I just don’t want to let you down.”

“You never could. Just remember, follow my lead and if you’re unsure about anything or don’t want to answer a certain question, just tell me and we’ll stop. It’ll be edited afterwards, anyway.”

“Okay I will, and you’re sure they won’t ask Molly anything? I don’t think that would be appropriate.”

“That was my first stipulation, don’t worry. They can only take shots of her playing while we talk and when they follow you while I’m doing the show, but that’s all.”

“Mom? Ou elp me? Me can’t get by dis bad monster.” Molly padded over with her Nintendo in hand.

“Sure Smurflet, up you come.” Emily moved onto the couch and Molly took her place.

“What have we got here? Woah, that’s a big monster!”

“Get him, Mom! Kill him dead!” Molly bounced up and down on her lap.

“What kind of games are you buying your daughter, TV star?” Emily asked wryly.

“Hey, they’re just kid games. Nothing wrong with killing monsters.”

Emily watched Dylan’s fingers whizz over the buttons, while Molly looked on engrossed. Emily’s heart melted. They are so alike. I’m so glad I found you, Dylan.

“You killed him dead! Yeah! Tanks, Mom.” Molly jumped off her lap and toddled back to her space in front of the TV.

“She seems happy.”

“She’s happy since she met her Mom.” Emily told her partner.

Dylan smiled. “So did you have a good time shopping today for Molly’s new clothes?”

Emily had taken Molly to Greenfield School for her entrance test on Wednesday and she had passed with flying colors, so she had asked Rosie if she would like to go shopping with her to buy Molly new clothes and school supplies.

“It was fun. It was really good going with someone who enjoys shopping as much as I do. I think she’s going to be a good friend.” Dylan saw a strange look cross Emily’s face. She gently stroked her fiancé’s face.

“What is it?”

“Well I was just thinking how nice it was to get Molly exactly what she needed, and really nice things at that, without worrying or sacrificing something else. Molly missed out on a lot before we found you and I just want you to know that we appreciate what you provide for us.”

Dylan’s chest puffed out a little at the compliment. “Thank you, baby, but that’s my job. Don’t feel sad about the past, you did a great job bringing up Molly on your own. She’s a happy, bright kid and she loves you. I’m just glad I can take care of you both now.”

Dylan kissed Emily lightly then, as her kiss was getting deeper, Lynn knocked and came in.

“Sorry to interrupt you both but Mattie Edwards and her crew are set up in the conference room.”

Dylan turned to Emily and said, “You ready for your first trial by television?”

Emily gulped. “As I’ll ever be!”

“Let’s go then. The camera is going to love you. Just like me!”

Episode 9

Jackson led the way to the conference room where Dylan and Emily were meeting Mattie Edwards of The Today Show. Dylan held Molly protectively in her arms as they walked into the meeting room. The conference room had been reorganized to accommodate the outside TV crew and to give an appropriate background for the interview. A couch had been placed at one end of the room, and the camera equipment was set up directly in front of it. Mattie Edwards walked forward to introduce herself.

“Hi, I’m Mattie, pleased to meet you Dylan.” Mattie Edwards was a petite and beautiful African American woman who was gaining a good reputation in TV news.

Dylan immediately went into professional mode. “Good to meet you, Mattie, this is my fiancé, Emily Taylor.”

“Pleased to meet you, Emily.”

“You too,” Emily said nervously.

“And this is our daughter, Molly.” Molly had her head buried in Dylan’s neck.

“Hi Molly! Aren’t you just a cutie pie?”

“Say hello to Mattie, Molls. She’s shy with new people,” Dylan explained.

“Ello,” Molly whispered.

“Why don’t I go and get her set up with her toys on the floor and then we can get started,” Dylan said and moved off with Molly.

“So Emily. Are you okay with this? You look a little nervous.”

“Yes I’m okay with it, but I’m nervous. This is all very new to me, and to be honest I think it’s strange that anyone would find watching me interesting. Dylan I can understand, but . . .”

“Oh but there’s a great deal of interest in you, Emily. You are living the fairytale. Every woman has a fantasy of being whisked off their feet by their knight in shining armor. Like Richard Gere in An Officer and a Gentleman . Throw in a rich and famous TV star and your daughter being a Morgan then believe me, you’re very interesting to the viewing public.

Listen, just relax. I’m not here to trick you into saying something or to get gossip. I just want to film a nice light-hearted look into your family life.”

Emily felt she could trust this woman and began to relax. “Thanks for saying that, Mattie. I feel better.”

“Shall we get started then?”

Emily nodded and led Mattie over to the interview area.

****

Two weeks later, a lone figure sat glued to a special report on The Today Show.

‘I’m Mattie Edwards and one week ago I met with TV personality Dylan Morgan on the set of the Dylan Morgan Show. I was granted backstage access to the taping of an episode, with Dylan’s fiancé Emily Taylor and their daughter Molly watching on. I also got a chance to talk to Dylan and Emily about their whirlwind romance, their upcoming wedding and being parents in this exclusive interview . . .’

The camera followed Mattie as she walked down a corridor into the makeup room to find Dylan getting her pre-show makeup done. Molly was in the next chair getting a spider drawn on her face. The pair were giggling and laughing with the makeup girls while Emily sat on the sofa behind them, beaming at her family.

The shot then cut to the formal interview. Dylan and Emily sat close, holding hands; Molly sat at their feet playing with her toys.

‘Dylan, Emily, thank you for agreeing to this interview. The public has been fascinated by your story over the last few months and they ‘ re eager to hear the true story of how you found each other. Dylan I know you’re a big twitter fan, and after we’ve had a chat I’d like to ask you both some questions your fans have tweeted in to the show.’

‘We’d be happy to Mattie’ replied Dylan.

Emily gripped Dylan’s hand tight.

‘Dylan if I can turn to you first. You’re known for your dangerous death defying stunts. Is becoming a parent and getting married the scariest thing you’ve done yet?’

Dylan laughed, looked lovingly at Emily and said. ‘No. Not scary. Daunting maybe, but scary? No way. I think getting married will be the best thing I’ve ever done.’

Dylan lifted their clasped hands and kissed the back of Emily’s knuckles.

The camera caught Mattie smiling warmly at the gesture.

‘So, there’s a lot of myth and rumor about how you two met. Can you tell us how it really happened?’

‘Well I had just finished a show and decided to walk home instead of taking a cab. I needed to clear my head a bit. I passed Emily’s diner and, since it was starting to rain, I thought I’d go in and get a cup of coffee. I sat down at the counter and then Emily turned around to serve me, I looked into her eyes and I was a goner.’

Dylan looked at Emily with a big goofy look on her face.

‘And Emily, what did you think when you saw this huge TV star in your diner?’

Emily cleared her throat nervously. ‘We’ll that’s the funny thing. I seemed to be the only person in the western world who didn’t know who Dylan Morgan was. So I saw this tall extremely good looking woman sitting there with sunglasses on.’

‘I usually wear sunglasses and a hat just so I don’t draw attention to myself.’ Dylan interjected.

Emily laughed softly. ‘I just thought she was either extremely arrogant or some criminal! But then she took them off and well . . .I was a goner too.’

‘That’s very romantic. You say you didn’t know who Dylan was Emily?’

‘That ‘ s right. I worked all the time and the only TV I ever got to see was kids ‘ shows.’

‘What did you think when she told you about herself?’

‘I couldn’t believe it. I mean, I’ll tell you a secret, Dylan away from all this is shy and quite reserved. I couldn’t imagine this person I had met could be on television.’

The figure watching the TV shook with anger, their knuckles growing white as they gripped the arms of the chair.

“Look at her! She’s been seduced. My beautiful Emily. You’ve been tainted but I’ll rescue you, don’t worry. You’ll soon forget that dirty abomination ever touched your perfect body!”

On the TV, the interview continued. After talking and taking viewers questions, the cameras then followed Molly and Emily as they watched Dylan perform.

“I love you Emily,” the figure said to the screen.

****

Dylan and Emily were cuddled up in bed watching the interview as it aired. It was Dylan’s day off and they were spending the morning in bed.

“Well, it seemed to go well. Let’s see what people thought of it.” Dylan reached over Emily and grabbed her phone from the bedside table.

“How are you going to do that with a phone, goofy?” Emily asked.

“My twitter buddies will tell me.”

Emily cuddled into Dylan’s side while her partner opened up the twitter app.

“Wow! Look at that! We ‘ re trending.”

“Trending? What does that mean?”

“Really? I need to get Molly to teach you about this sort of thing.”

Emily play slapped her partner. “Okay goofy. Behave! What does it mean?”

Dylan put the phone down, rolled on top of her fiancé and kissed her nose.

“It means people all over the world are talking about us, about the show. It’s good.” Dylan’s hand started to wander, stroking down Emily’s thigh and squeezing her bottom.

“Your daughter will be running in here any minute, TV star.”

Dylan began kissing Emily’s neck and then whispered in her ear, “I bet she won’t be up for a while, she was up late watching a movie last night. Besides, I locked the door.”

Emily gasped as she felt her nipple harden under Dylan’s big hand.

“Ugh! Honey, we have so much to do today. Mark and Patrick are coming over to work out with you, and Jackson and I are going with Rosie to meet the wedding planner later. Oh god that feels good!”

“You feel good, baby girl. I woke up wanting you and I have to have you. I can give it to you fast and hard.”

“Oh . . .you know I can’t resist when you say things like that.” Dylan lifted Emily ‘ s cream satin chemise and pulled it off.

“You shouldn’t wear these silky things to bed. They make me so hot!” Emily helped Dylan pull off her own clothes until they were both naked.

“Well you’re the one that buys them for me . . .” Emily was silenced by Dylan’s hard kiss, her tongue probing, tasting the sweetness that was Emily.

“I love you so much!” Dylan reached down and parted her fiancé’s slick wet folds.

“Honey, take me! Fast and hard like you promised.”

Without another word, Dylan opened herself up and mounted Emily’s thigh, then without warning thrust two fingers deep inside Emily.

“Oh god you’re so deep, I want more Dyl. I want to feel you in every part of me.”

“Jesus! You feel so fucking good,” said Dylan as she added a third finger into Emily and thrust faster against her thigh.

“I can never get enough of you, baby girl. I need you all the time.”

“Yes Dyl!” True to her word Dylan gave Emily fast and hard, she could feel Emily frantically claw at her back as a deep orgasm threatened to overwhelm her.

“Ah! Dyl! Dyl! It’s going to be too much!”

“Let go baby. I’m here.” And she did. Dylan swallowed Emily ‘ s screams in a kiss, trying to keep the noise down.

Emily lay gasping for breath at the power of her orgasm. She opened her eyes in time to see Dylan throw her head back and grunt out her release as she thrust herself onto Emily’s thigh.

As she always did, Emily threw her arms around Dylan’s neck and held her while she cooed and whispered words of love into her partner’s ear. After making love, Dylan was at her most vulnerable and Emily knew she needed the reassurance of Emily’s love until she came back to earth.

“I love you so much it hurts,” whispered Dylan.

“That was amazing, honey. I wanted you everywhere, so deep.”

“You are amazing, Emmie.”

“What brought that on?”

Dylan tenderly removed her fingers from Emily and lay down, pulling her fiancé into her arms.

“It was watching you talk about us. I could see the love pouring from you as you talked. I’m so, so lucky to have you two. I can’t wait till we’re married.”

“Were lucky to have you, honey. I can’t wait till I’m your wife. ‘Mrs. Emily Morgan’ has a great ring to it.”

“Yes it does.

Emily quickly sat up. “I can hear Molly moving around in her room.” She pulled on her chemise and robe.

“I’ll distract her while you get washed up. Mark, Patrick and Jackson will be here in the next hour.

“Okay, thank you baby. Tell the Smurflet I’ll see her in a minute.”

With one final kiss Emily headed off to get Molly. She smiled walking down the hall as she heard Dylan whistling her way into the bathroom.

She’s happy. I hope it can always be like this, Emily silently prayed.

****

Later that morning after Mark and Patrick had left, Jackson decided to follow up on the information she had on Drew Simpson. She called a couple of his previous employers to find out why he’d been let go. She was just hanging up the phone when Dylan walked in.

“Hey, you look serious. What’s up?”

Jackson let out a long breath. “Remember I got my contacts at the FBI to dig up all they could on Drew Simpson and Toni?”

Dylan nodded. “Well I’ve been going over it. I was sure there must be some small detail we had missed.”

Dylan came and sat on the edge of the desk. “And was there?”

“Yes and no. Nothing big. I just noticed a pattern in his employment history. Within four to six months of starting a new job, he’s getting fired.”

“So he’s a terrible employee. How does that help us?”

“It’s the reason why he’s being fired that tells us something. Each manager told me there started to be incidents with female members of staff. He would fixate on one woman, at first just being annoying and displaying all the signs of a crush, then the women would start to report he was harassing them. Inappropriate touching, taking an over-interest in the female employee’s personal life, and reports of him following them home. He sounds like he has problem with women and appropriate boundaries.”

“That sounds like exactly the type of guy we ‘ re looking for. What do we do next?”

“There’s nothing we can do unless he does anything and we can prove it.”

Dylan stood and slammed her fist down on the desk angrily.

“Why do people keep saying that to me? Let’s go over and see him. Just you and me, we’ll have a quiet word.”

“Dylan, it won’t be a quiet word if we go over there. You’ll do something you’ll regret and the press will be all over you.”

Jackson stood and walked over to Dylan, placing a hand on her shoulder. “Even if it is him, he can’t get to her. Our security is too tight. Mark and Patrick said this morning they ‘ re going to get patrol cars to do drive-bys during the day. You or I are always with her and now that Emily knows everything, she’s not going to take any chances.”

“I guess you’re right.” Dylan sighed. “I’ll just go and see Emmie before you guys go out.”

“Sure. Don’t worry, okay?”

Jackson followed Dylan out of the office into the hall and saw Rosie struggle to move a heavy toy chest into Molly’s newly decorated room. The room had been finished the previous night and now all that had to be done was to dress the room.

Jackson moved to Rosie quickly and pushed her gently out of the way. “Let me get that for you.” Jackson having a much bigger and stronger frame, picked up the toy box easily and carried it into Molly’s bedroom without a problem.

Rosie came stomping behind her and said furiously, “If I wanted your help I’d ask for it. What gives you the right to take over something I’m doing? I’m not a weakling; I’m a woman just like you, or have you forgotten that you are one?”

Jackson saw red and came face to face with her. “Oh excuse me! I know we’re both women but I think even a child Molly’s age could recognize that I’m bigger and stronger than you!”

As Jackson said those words, both women felt a heat pass between them. They were both breathless and angry, their faces getting closer and closer until . . .Molly came running in looking for her toy box.

The sudden rush of sexual arousal was unmistakable. Jackson had to get out of there.

“Don’t worry. I’ll never help you again.” Jackson headed out of the room and when she found herself in the kitchen, she grabbed onto counter.

Fuck. I almost kissed her! What is wrong with me? She is everything I can’t stand about being a lesbian. God! Why is my body reacting like this?

In the other room Rosie was having similar problems.

Oh my God! I almost kissed her! Rosie knew there was no mistaking the clenching low in her stomach.

She’s exactly the sort of lesbian I hate. I like a woman to look like a woman!’ Rosie tried to convince herself but Jackson ‘ s words said kept replaying over and over in her head, making her heart pound. ‘I’m bigger and stronger than you.’

“I’m just overtired. That’s what it is,” Rosie told herself. She took a deep breath and pushed the attraction that her body was feeling down. Out of sight, out of mind. Or so Rosie thought.

****

Emily was in the bedroom, standing at the windowsill, where she had set up a mirror and her makeup. She was getting ready to go out when Dylan came in.

“When Rosie decorates this room, I need to get a vanity. It’s hopeless trying to put on makeup in here.

Emily felt Dylan come over and put her strong arms around her waist. Dylan rested her chin on Emily’s shoulder and met her fiancé’s gaze in the mirror.

“Is there something wrong, honey?”

“Just frustrated. Jackson did some research into Drew Simpson.”

Emily turned in Dylan’s arms. “What did she find?”

“He has a history of getting fired because of complaints from female co-workers. He would fixate on a woman and bother her, harass her, even following her home. It seems to fit.”

Emily shivered. “It does sound like it, I guess.”

“You don’t think so?”

“Well he was sleazy but I don’t think he had the intelligence to plan this sort of thing. I could be wrong.”

Dylan thought, Maybe this could be the perfect excuse to suss Toni out.

“Um, maybe we should talk to Toni about it. Get her opinion?”

Emily froze and her heart started to beat fast. Even though it appeared from what Mark and Patrick said that Toni had gotten help with her problems and had settled down, the thought of seeing her face to face scared Emily.

“No! No! I couldn’t do that. I don’t want to see her, Dyl!”

Dylan pulled Emily quickly into a tight hug and stroked the back of her head.

“Shh, baby. It’s okay. I meant Jackson and me. I would never want you ever to see Toni. Ever!”

“I know it was a long time ago and she’s sorted herself out, but just the thought of seeing her makes me panicky.”

Dylan lifted Emily’s face in her hands. “Forget I said anything. I shouldn’t have brought it up when you’re going for a nice day out. I was just frustrated because Jackson said we would have to wait to see if Simpson made a move.

Trying to lighten the mood Dylan said, “Tell me what you’re going to do today? You look beautiful, by the way. I love you in skirts!”

Emily wore a black Armani pencil skirt with a cream silk blouse. Over time Emily was building up an excellent wardrobe, which suited Dylan’s way of life.

“I know. That’s why I buy so many!”

Sitting on the bed, Dylan patted her lap as she usually did to get Emily to sit.

“So what are you two doing?”

“Well we’re meeting Justin, the wedding planner, and going to look at dresses.” Dylan was delighted at the huge smile of Emily’s face.

“Cool! Do I get to see?”

“Not a chance, TV star. I want you to be surprised when I walk down the aisle.”

“Hmm. I can’t wait.” Dylan pulled Emily forward for a kiss, lightly grasping her chin.

“So what are you and Molly going to be up to today?”

As Dylan was about to answer Molly came in with the toy toolbox Dylan had gotten her.

“Ou comin, Mom?”

“In a minute, Smurf. Molls and I are going to build a bookcase and a desk for her room. She’s got her tools and I’ve got mine.” Dylan gave her fiancé a cocky smile.

Emily’s breath hitched at the image in her head. ” . . .Do you have a tool belt?”

Dylan looked at Emily like she crazy. “Of course. I love tools, remember?”

Emily gulped. “Molls can you go and ask Rosie if she’s ready to go for me?” “Yeah Mama.”

When she was out of the room, Emily kissed Dylan deeply and passionately.

“Hmm. You’re so incredibly, gorgeously, deliciously butch!”

The kiss left Dylan breathless.

“Tool belt? That does it for you?” she asked in a husky voice.

“Oh yeah. I want to book an appointment with you when we have some alone time. Hmm, your worn- looking low-hanging jeans, tight t-shirt, tool belt,” Emily squeezed Dylan’s crotch. ” . . . and your new little buddy.”

Dylan growled. “Oh God yes!”

Emily quickly stood up and said, “I better get going or I’ll be late for my appointment.”

“Tease!”

“Me? Never,” Emily said, feigning innocence.

Dylan stood and took her fiancé in her arms. “Me and my tools plan on collecting on your promises.”

“I’m counting on it, goofy!”

Molly ran into the room and said. “Mama? Wosie weady.”

Dylan scooped her daughter up in her arms.

“Give me a kiss, sweetie. You and your Mom behave, okay?”

“Yeah Mama.”

Emily put on her jacket, grabbed her purse and went out to meet Rosie and Jackson at the front door. Rosie and Jackson were trying their best to ignore each other. “I left your lunch in the fridge, okay?”

“Yes mama Smurf, now get going and have a lovely time.”

“I will.”

After giving each of them kisses, Emily, Rosie and Jackson made their way out the door.

“Stick close to Jackson, baby.” Dylan shouted after her.

Dylan shut the door and said, “You ready to have fun, Smurf?”

“Yeah! C’mon Mom, me want to ammer!”

****

After meeting with Justin and the dress designers, Emily and Rosie were enjoying a quiet lunch in a small restaurant that Jackson had selected. After much negotiation, Jackson sat at a separate table near the back of the room. Emily had wanted them all to sit together but Jackson insisted that she must have a clear view of the room.

“You definitely made the right choice Emily, that dress is gorgeous,” said Rosie.

“I completely agree; it ‘ s perfect. I’m so glad you came with me, I would have been lost without someone to bounce ideas off of.”

Rosie smiled. “No problem. I’m always happy to shop, and I don’t often get to do it in designer stores.”

“I’m still getting used to it. It’s amazing really. I never would have imagined that my life could change so dramatically and so quickly. The magazines have called our story a fairytale, and that’s what it is to me. Things like this don’t usually happen to people like me. Getting the love of my life and creating a family for Molly. I mean, me, the wife of Dylan Morgan? It’s incredible.”

“Not to anyone who sees you two together. Dylan looks at you like she’d walk to the moon just to see you smile.”

Emily blushed. “Dylan is wonderful and unique. I’ve never felt so loved or experienced the unshakable security that she gives me.” Emily watched Rosie stare off into the distance, a look of sadness on her face.

“What about you, Rosie. Are seeing anyone special?”

Rosie laughed with no hint of humor in her tone. “No. I date, but no one special. I guess I’m waiting for the passionate, can’t keep your hands off each other kind of love that you have.” She looked down and swirled the drink in her glass, thinking of the way Jackson made her head swirl and her heart pound. “Maybe not everyone deserves it.”

Emily took her hand and smiled. “You deserve it, and I’m quite sure the woman for you is out there. Just be open to it when it comes along.”

It had not gone unnoticed by Emily that, as well as being constantly on the lookout for danger, Jackson’s eyes had flitted back and forth over Rosie.

Interesting, thought Emily.

Rosie checked her cell phone and started laughing.

“What? What’s funny?” asked Emily.

Rosie handed over her phone. “Look at twitter. Dylan posted a picture of herself in her tool belt, holding her drill like a gun! Lesbians all over the world will be swooning.”

Emily laughed. “She is such a goof, isn’t she? So, are you working tonight?”

“Not officially, but I am going into the bar. I do volunteer work with a breast cancer charity and I’m organizing a charity night at the bar to raise money.”

Emily sat forward in her seat, very interested. “Really? How did you get involved with that?”

Rosie hesitated and then said, “Um . . . .my mom died of breast cancer when I was 14. It’s just been dad and me since then. We’ve both had a lot of help from them over the years, and I like to give something back.”

“That’s a wonderful thing to do Rosie. Is there anyway Dylan and I could do something to help?”

“Any help would be wonderful. If you and Dylan came to the charity night, it would sell more tickets, bring in more money.”

“Let me talk to Dylan. I think we can come up with something better than that.”

Rosie smiled warmly, “Thank you. That would be great.”

“Shall we head back?” Rosie nodded and Emily signaled to Jackson, who came over quickly and took the shopping bags for them.

“I just need to finalize my plan to start your bedroom tomorrow and then I’ll head down to the bar.”

“Okay, I’ll talk to Dylan about your charity night later, what’s the bar called again?”

“O’Reilly’s.” Jackson looked suspiciously. What has she got Emily to agree to?

“Let’s get home and see if Dylan still has all her fingers, Jackson!”

Rosie and Emily laughed as Jackson led the way to the car.

****

“Mama! Ook what we built!” Molly and Dylan stood proudly beside a cute little drawing desk and wardrobe.

“Wow! Great job, sweetie! Were you a big help to your Mom?”

Dylan walked over and kissed her fiancé . “She was brilliant. Couldn’t have done it without her.” Molly’s face beamed with pride.

Emily picked up her daughter and gave her a kiss. “Did you follow all the instructions?”

“Instructions? Nah! Instructions are for wimps! Aren’t they, Smurf?”

“Yeah, imps.”

Emily shook her head and laughed.

Jackson saw that Emily was safely with Dylan and decided to join Rosie in the master bedroom, where she was preparing her plans to start decorating the next day.

Rosie looked over her shoulder when she heard someone enter the room.

“Something I can’t help you with?”

“When you first started working here, I warned you not to take Emily’s kindness for granted.”

Rosie turned and sighed. “And what, in your estimation, have I done to take that kindness for granted?”

“Whispering in Emily’s ear, trying to get her to influence Dylan into helping your little charity night. What is it? Save the whale or the save the beaver? Some shit like that? That’s usually what your kind is into.”

Rosie felt the fury boil up inside her. “My kind? And what kind is that?”

“The animal loving, protesting, vegetarian, crystal loving, lesbian, let’s get in touch with mother earth and our womanhood kind!”

Rosie was struggling to hold her tears back.

“And your sort of lesbian is better? Aping everything masculine and upholding the male dominated society we live in! Your way of being gay should be consigned to history. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going home, and you can keep your opinions to yourself in the future.”

Rosie hurried out of the room, holding back her tears. She quickly popped her head around the door to Molly’s room and said. “I’m just going to head out now, okay guys?”

Emily sensed something was wrong. “Oh? Do you have to rush? I was going to make dinner for us all?”

“That’s really kind but I’ve got a lot to get ready for tonight.”

“Okay. I’ll see you out.”

“Please don’t bother. I’ll see you all tomorrow, alright?”

Strange. They must be bickering again, thought Emily.

“Bye Rosie. Thanks for going with my girl today.” Shouted Dylan.

“No problem. Bye then.”

“Bye Wosie. Tank ou for my woom.”

“You’re welcome, Molly.”

“Honey, check and see if Jackson’s okay.”

Dylan looked puzzled, “Why would anything be wrong with Jackson?”

“Because Rosie looked upset.”

“Why . . . .I don’t . . . .sorry baby, I don’t understand.”

Emily sighed indulgently and kissed Dylan tenderly. “No, you wouldn’t my goofy TV star. Just trust me and go.”

“I’m going, I’m going!”

****

A short time later Emily came into the office where Dylan and Jackson had been talking.

“Honey, dinner’s ready.” Emily turned to Jackson who was packing up her case.

“Jackson would you like to stay? There’s plenty?”

“Uh . . .no, I’ll just head home thanks. I’ve got a couple of things to take care of.”

“Oh, okay. Oh Dyl? Before I forget, I was talking to Rosie today about some volunteer work she does for a breast cancer charity. Her mother died when she was a teenager and they really helped Rosie and her Dad out a lot. She’s having a fundraising night at the bar she works in. I said I would talk to you about doing something to help out? I’m sure you could attract people to buy tickets by doing something?”

Dylan nodded. “Sure, I’d love to help. Let me think on it and I’ll come up with something, okay?”

“Thanks honey.” Emily looked over at Jackson, who was just staring ahead looking as white as a sheet.

“Are you okay, Jackson?”

Oh my God! The things I said to her. Fuck! Her Mother died! I’ve got to apologize.

“Jackson!” Dylan asked a little louder.

“Wh . . . .what . . . .sorry?”

“You alright?”

“Yeah listen, I’m going to go. See you tomorrow.” Jackson rushed out of the apartment quickly.

Emily and Dylan just looked at each other. “What was all that about?”

“I don’t know,” replied Dylan. “She was fine earlier.”

“Did you talk like I asked you?”

“Yeah.”

Emily sighed in frustration.

“Well what did she say then?”

“I said, ‘Is everything okay?’ she said ‘Yeah.’ I said ‘Cool.’ Then we started talking about the Knicks. I said I could get courtside tickets if she wants to go with me.”

Emily threw her arms up in the air. “Unbelievable!” Emily turned on her heel and marched back to the kitchen, shaking her head as she went.

Dylan was a bit dismayed and shouted, “What?”

****

Later that night, Emily and Dylan lay together in bed, Emily with her head on Dylan’s shoulder, her leg thrown across her fiancé’s thighs.

“Hmm. I love this time of day.”

“Bedtime?”

“Yes. Lying here all snuggled up, in the dark, relaxed until we fall asleep, safe and warm.”

Dylan smiled in the darkness and kissed Emily’s head.

“Yeah, you ‘ re right. Before you and Molls moved in, I hated the night, the silence. I used to just sit up in bed and mess around with my iPad until I fell asleep.”

“Poor goofy. I wasn’t much better. I felt nervous all the time, especially at night. Noises, bumps in the night. I was always afraid I wouldn’t be able to protect Molly.”

Dylan pulled her in a little tighter. “Well now you don’t have to worry about that.”

Emily smiled and nuzzled into her partners neck. “No I don’t. I’ve got my very own six foot one, muscle bound, scary fiancé to protect us!”

“Grrr! Yes you do. So . . .you’re not going to tell me anything about your dress?”

“Nuh uh. You are going to be surprised.”

Dylan let out a frustrated breath. “Will you at least let my suit designer see it? So we don’t clash or anything?”

“Already done. Justin took care of that.”

“Hmm. He would.” Dylan grumbled.

“Hey don’t grumble honey. I love you.”

“Well, I don’t get to know anything. And me and my tool belt never got to play with you, like you promised.”

“Aww! Poor goofy! You were too busy playing with your daughter. I promise you can get your tool belt out soon. Just think, when we move into the new house you’ll be walking around with it on all the time, fixing things, buildings things, catching me unawares in the pool house.”

Dylan’s fingers drifted under Emily’s nightgown. “Mmm. That’s what I’m talking about.”

Before Dylan’s gentle seduction got anywhere, Emily said, “I hope Rosie and Jackson are okay.”

Dylan sighed. “Why wouldn’t they be?”

“They both looked upset earlier. I think Jackson likes Rosie.”

Dylan turned to look at Emily, “What? I thought they hated each other?”

“I think there’s more to it. As much as Jackson protests about Rosie, her eyes follow her wherever she goes and she seems genuinely hurt when Rosie rebuffs any olive branch Jackson offers. I think Jackson’s a sensitive soul really, quite sweet underneath it all.”

“Sweet? You’re kidding me right? This is the same Jackson Hunter special forces officer, who’s trained to kill on command?”

“That’s just on the surface, though. There’s more underneath all that.”

“You wouldn’t say that if you saw her trying to throw me onto the mat when we spar.”

“But you’re getting quite friendly with her, you two must talk as well as train?”

“Yup. We do.”

“Well?”

Dylan looked at her strangely. “Well what?”

“Argh! What do you talk about?”

“Oh! Uh? Your security, obviously, training, sports . . . um . . . ” Dylan appeared to be thinking hard.

“She said she’d take me down to the gun club and teach me how to shoot!”

“I give up! I’m going to sleep.”

“What’d I say? Baby? What did I do?”

“Nothing honey, just being your goofy self. Go to sleep,” Emily mumbled.

None the wiser, Dylan shut her eyes. What are we supposed to talk about?

****

Jackson walked home that evening, hoping the night air would make her feel better. The guilt over what she had said to Rosie was weighing heavy. She found herself walking towards O’Reilly’s Bar.

Maybe if I could see her and say sorry. Jackson walked through the doors and found a quiet corner where she could look out for Rosie. As she scanned the room she noticed some appreciative glances towards her. Jackson was a woman very confident in her ability to find a companion for the night but that sort of entertainment held no attraction for her now. Then Jackson saw her. Out on the dance floor with an androgynous looking woman.

I knew that would be the kind she would go for. The sort that would love to be butch, dress and live like me but doesn’t have the balls.

Jackson’s stomach twisted as she watched the androgynous character pull Rosie close and whisper in her ear.

A waitress approached Jackson’s table.

“Hey honey? Can I get you something?”

Jackson stood. “No thanks. There’s nothing for me here.”

The waitress looked confused as Jackson left without looking back.

****

As soon as Rosie arrived at work the next day, Jackson sought her out. She had been feeling guilty about what she had said all night.

Jackson found her in Emily and Dylan’s bedroom, drawing out some plans. When Rosie saw who had entered the room, she turned back to her sketch pad.

Jackson walked up to her sheepishly, and cleared her throat. “Um . . .Rosie, could I have a word?”

“If you must,” she said coldly.

“Um . . .listen, I wanted to apologize for what I said yesterday. I had no idea what kind of charity it was or why you were involved with it. I jumped to conclusions, and I was wrong. I’m really sorry if I hurt you.”

Rosie sighed and stood facing Jackson. “You jumped to conclusions because you’re determined to dislike me, but that’s fine. You don’t like me; I don’t like you. We have no need to be friends, we simply work in the same place at the moment, so let’s just try to avoid each other as much as possible and if we are forced to speak, then we can at least be civil.”

Rosie heard Emily call her name from the other room. As she left Jackson standing there, she said, “Oh and as for hurting me? You don’t have to worry. In order to feel hurt you have to care about the person, and believe me Jackson Hunter, I will never care about you.”

Jackson felt like she had been kicked in the gut. She had no idea why, but this girl seemed to be able to bulldoze her way through the armor she had built up around her heart.

Rosie was just about out the door when Jackson said, “Rosie? I know what it’s like to lose someone in your family. If you ever need to talk . . .”

“I don’t think so. You are the last person I would ever want to talk to.”

Jackson was left alone in the room.

****

Rosie had followed Emily to Dylan’s study after the blonde called her. When they entered, Dylan was packing her case, ready for work.

“Honey, you wanted to see Rosie?”

Dylan looked up and smiled. “Yes. Sit down. You too baby. Now my girl was telling me that you do a lot of work for a breast cancer charity and you were holding a fundraising evening?”

“Yes, ‘In the Pink.’ It’s a small charity that helps families cope with the diagnosis, with finding the right medical treatments, money advice and in the end, if need be, they help young children and families with grief counseling. It helped my dad and me a lot.”

“Sounds like a wonderful organization, doesn’t it honey?” Emily added.

“Sure does. I’d love to help. I’ve been thinking about what I can do to raise money and raise the profile of the charity. As for raising money, I could compete in a pool tournament during the fundraising evening at the bar. You could charge an entrance fee and I’ll put up some really good prizes.”

Rosie looked delighted. “That would be wonderful, Dylan. Thank you. I think every lesbian pool player in New York will want to take part!”

“I hope that will raise some money but it’ll just be a drop in the bucket. I want to raise some serious money for you. Every season The Dylan Morgan show takes on a charity, we build up publicity from January until we go off the air in April. I encourage the viewers and advertisers to sponsor me on a segment of the show called ‘Dylan Cares’, it’s a charity dare . In previous years, I’ve done mountain climbs, triathlons, marathons; things like that. We show it in the final episode, it’s very popular and we raise a hell of a lot of money. Normally, charities send in their information and I get together with the producers to decide which one to choose. This year, I’d be prepared to take on ‘In the Pink’.”

Rosie jumped up, rushed around the desk and flung her arms around Dylan.

“Oh, thank you so much! You have no idea how much this will help.”

Dylan’s face turned red. Her awkward shyness kicking in. She wasn’t used to anyone but Emily being this close.

Rosie suddenly realized what she was doing and disentangled herself. “Oh sorry.” Rosie turned to Emily. “Isn’t it fantastic?”

“It sure is! Thank you, honey.”

“Is it all right if I phone one of the organizers and tell them the good news?”

“Sure. Go ahead.”

Once Rosie had left the room, Emily came and sat on Dylan’s lap and gave her a tender kiss. “You are the sweetest, kindest goofy I’ve ever met.”

“I’m just glad I can help. Hey the pool tournament will be fun, it’ll be like a night out, and we’ve never been to a gay bar together. Lynn could watch Molls for the night.”

“Hmm. That would be great. I love you so much. You’ve made that young woman very happy, and you said you’re not good with women.”

“I’m not. Just you. Now I’m gonna be late for work, I better get going.”

“You ‘ re right. I better get Molly ready for school.”

“Okay remember, make sure Jackson drives. If anyone tries anything I want her at the wheel.”

In the intervening weeks Dylan had gotten a second car for Emily to use, so she could still use her jeep for work.

“Honey things have been quiet. Maybe whoever it is has gotten fed up.”

“No. It’s been too quiet and I don’t like it.”

I have the feeling something is coming. I don’t know what, but I’m going to be ready!’ thought Dylan.

****

The next few weeks remained quiet on the stalker front, but everything else moved on at a swift pace. Everyone seemed to be busy. With Molly happily settled in at preschool, Emily’s days were freed up for wedding planning and decorating. Emily was gradually putting her stamp on the apartment. Their bedroom had been finished and now she and Rosie had turned their attention onto the family room. Rosie was delighted, it was the most stable work she ‘ d ever had, she ‘ d made a friend and she was enjoying helping with the wedding plans. Emily had also asked her about working on the new house.

Rosie’s relationship with Jackson remained the same. There had been no more arguments though, and they were both being very civil.

Emily walked into the family room with lunch bagged up for Rosie.

“Rosie, I made you some lunch to take with you.”

“You didn’t have to do that! Thanks.” Rosie was finishing up early to go down to hear a guest speaker at Occupy Wall Street.

“Well you have to eat. Take care, okay?”

“I will. Thanks for letting me leave early,” Rosie said as she packed up her gear.

“No problem. You’ve given up so much of your free time to help with the wedding arrangements.”

“Hey, I’m enjoying it. See you tomorrow.”

Emily saw Rosie off and went to the kitchen to prepare this evenings dinner. About an hour later, Jackson wandered into the kitchen, looking as though she was at a loose end.

“Sit down and I’ll make coffee. We’ve got plenty of time before we pick Molly up at preschool.”

They sat and enjoyed coffee and some muffins Emily had made.

“You must get bored Jackson. I mean, you’re used to protecting movie stars and politicians. The high and mighty. I don’t exactly lead an exciting life. Trips to the store and school can hardly compare.”

“I like you both and I have come to think of you and Dylan as friends, it matters to me that you ‘ re safe and we catch this person. It’s made a good change of pace to work with a family. It’s made me think. I haven’t really been round a happy family before.”

“But your sister . . .”

“She and I loved each other and would have done anything for each other but our home life wasn’t that good. We moved around a lot with my father being in the army. My mother was more interested in going to the country club or tennis lessons than taking care of us. We were closer to the housekeeper than to our mother.”

Emily saw Jackson lost in her memories, pain etched on her face. The normally stoic soldier seemed unusually open.

Emily covered Jackson’s big hand with her own. “I’m sorry.”

Broken from her memories, Jackson said, “Hey, don’t be sorry. You, Dylan and Molly have shown me what a real family is like. What happiness can be like . . .where’s Rosie?”

Hmm. I wonder why she thought of Rosie when we were talking about happiness and family.

“Um, there’s a speaker she wanted to hear down at the Wall Street protests.”

Emily was expecting to hear some sigh or sarcastic comment, but none came. Jackson simply nodded.

That’s new.

Their quiet companionship was interrupted by the sound of Jackson ‘ s cell phone.

“Excuse me Emily. Hunter. Yeah? Yes, we are going to pick up my client ‘ s daughter, but we don’t go near Wall Street.”

Wall Street? What’s that about? Jackson looks worried.

The former soldier hung up the phone cursing. “Shit!”

“What is it?”

“That was my contact in the FBI. He was giving me a heads-up that there is going to be trouble at the Wall Street protests, in case I was taking my client anywhere near there. He says they’ve been monitoring an underground anti-capitalist group. The internet chatter says they ‘ re going to infiltrate the protest and cause unrest. The police have been informed and they’ve been ordered to go in hard. Anyone caught up in it is going to be in trouble.”

“Oh no! Rosie!”

“Yes, I know. I can’t let that happen to her, but I can’t leave you unprotected.” I can’t let someone else I care about get hurt! Do I care about Rosie? You know you do.

“You have to go Jackson.” Emily could see that Jackson was warring with herself and thought of a solution.

“How about I call Dylan and see if Pauley can come over? You could go then, right?”

“Okay. Thanks. I really don’t want to leave her out there. She’s not as tough as she thinks.”

“I know. Give me five minutes, okay?” Emily lifted her iPhone and began calling Dylan.

****

Dylan sent Pauley over right away and Jackson was now making her way down to Times Square in the car. She had heard on the car radio that things were already bad. Rioters were charging police and EMT’s had been called for the injured. Jackson made her way as far as she could before she was stopped by roadblocks.

She found a place to park the Jeep and started running towards the crowds.

Hang on, hippy girl. I’m coming to get you!

****

Rosie was scared. All around her was a mass of bodies pushing and pulling her all over the place. It was chaos. It had all started peacefully enough. There were a lot more people here than usual but she had put that down to the speaker the organizers had scheduled. As the speech was coming to an end, the tension in the crowd rose considerably as vans full of riot police arrived. First a few bottles and rocks were thrown by the crowd, and then the whole event descended into a nightmare. Groups of the crowd were charging the cops and breaking windows with homemade weapons.

Even those not wanting to be involved in the violence had no choice but to be swept along by the crowd. Cops were using batons and shields to try and quell the rioters. People were being trampled underfoot, and it was taking all of Rosie ‘ s strength to stay on her feet. She let out a scream when the man next to her was hit in the face by a police baton and blood spurted from his injuries onto Rosie. She frantically tried to push herself to safety but was trapped by the bodies around her. She was becoming frantic as the claustrophobia that she had always suffered with threatened her control.

Oh God! I’m going to die!

Suddenly her feet were knocked from under her and she fell to the ground. Rosie instinctively threw her arms over her head in an effort to protect herself from being trampled.

Just as she was giving up hope, she felt a big hand grab her collar and bodily lift her out from the crowd.

Her savior lifted Rosie up in her arms; Rosie threw her arms around a strong neck and opened her eyes to see Jackson looking down at her.

They gazed into each other’s eyes, saying nothing, until a push from the side knocked them from their moment. Jackson used her body to buffet Rosie from the crowd and force her way to safety.

Rosie nuzzled her face into the crook of Jackson’s neck, finding a sense of safety and protection in Jackson’s quiet strength.

They made it to safety further down the street. Once on the sidewalk, Jackson put Rosie down but the young women didn’t let go of Jackson.

Rosie clung to her like a life preserver and so the former soldier pulled Rosie in close.

Thank God I found you!

“Jackson! Thank you! Thank you so much for saving me!” Rosie was in shock and shaking all over.

“Shh. Just try and breathe normally, darlin’.” The endearment slipped out in the emotion of the moment.

When Jackson noticed the blood splattered all over her, she grabbed Rosie’s face in her hands. “Where are you hurt?”

“It . . .It’s not mine. I just got kicked in the face. How did you . . .?”

“I’ll tell you everything once I get you somewhere safe. Follow me; I have the car parked further down the road. ”

Rosie was numb and meekly followed Jackson, who pulled her along. Once Jackson had her safely in the car she said, “My apartment isn’t far from here. I’ll take you there and get you cleaned and patched up.”

Jackson was in command mode but the usually feisty Rosie was so much in shock she never questioned it.

****

Ten minutes later they were at the door of Jackson’s apartment.

“Come in and sit down. I’ll just get some things to get you cleaned up.”

Jackson’s apartment was spartan to say the least. She had just the basics of furnishings and no art or pictures on the walls.

Rosie took a seat on the couch and looked around. Empty. This apartment feels empty.

She saw a picture frame on a side table and got up to take a closer look. Unbeknownst to her, Jackson had come back into the room and was watching her.

“That’s my baby sister.” Rosie turned to meet Jackson’s eyes.

“She is very beautiful.” And she was. A lighter-haired, more petite version of Jackson.

“She was.”

“Was? What happened?”

“Um . . .she was killed in Iraq.” Why am I telling her this?

“She was an army medic. Sarah’s unit went in to provide healthcare to the people of a small village. The village was targeted by insurgents because they had accepted help from the coalition forces. They came under fire and Sarah was killed trying to protect a little girl. I couldn’t get there in time to save her.”

Rosie was shocked. She had protested the war and thought she knew everything about what was wrong there, but she had never come face to face with the human cost of the war. She felt the need to reach out and soothe the soldier who seemed weighed down by guilt. She grasped Jackson’s hand.

“I’m so sorry Jackson. I know how painful it is to lose someone so close. You have to know it wasn’t your fault?”

Jackson felt the tenderness of Rosie touch and words. Inwardly she wanted to let Rosie’s touch take away the pain of the memories. Outwardly, she simply nodded and said, “Sit down so I can get you cleaned up.”

Jackson came to sit beside her, carrying a first aid kit and a glass of what looked like scotch.

“Here drink this. It’ll calm you down. I called Emily when I was in the kitchen to let her know you were okay. She was worried when we heard.”

Rosie covered Jackson’s hand with her own as the former soldier was getting things from the first aid kit.

“Wait! Who’s watching Emily and Molly? You didn’t leave them alone?”

“No, of course not. Emily called Dylan and asked her to send over one of the studio security guards. Here, keep your head up.”

Jackson dabbed Rosie eye with an alcohol wipe. “How did you know there was trouble?”

“My contact at the FBI called to warn me in case I was anywhere near with a client.” Jackson continued to dab at Rosie’s injury.

“Why did you come for me?” It was a simple question, but Jackson didn’t have a simple answer.

“I would have done it for anyone.”

“You would have dropped everything, left your client and ploughed through a riot for anybody? You don’t even like me.”

Jackson hadn’t realized that she was stroking Rosie’s cheek with her thumb instead of the medicated wipe. Both their faces were inching closer together.

“I never said I don’t like you, hippy girl.”

Hearing the nickname that Jackson had called her from the start knocked Rosie out of their passionate stare.

“Didn’t you? Ever since I started working for Emily and Dylan, you’ve made it clear you couldn’t stand me.”

Feeling the rebuff keenly, Jackson resorted to her usual defensive posture.

“Just because the things you stand for are wrong and un-American doesn’t mean I dislike you.”

Rosie pushed away from Jackson. “Un-American? Listen soldier boy, I’m grateful that you came and rescued me today but don’t pretend we are ever going to like each other. I don’t know why you came today but let’s just quit while we’re ahead, before we start arguing again. Can you give me a change of clothes? Then I can get out of your hair.”

Jackson sighed in resignation. “I’ll get you a t-shirt and some jeans; they’ll be really big on you though.”

“It’s fine. It’ll get me home anyway. Can I use your bathroom to wash this blood off?”

“Sure. It’s the first door on the left, down the hall. I’ll go get you some clothes.”

****

Rosie looked at herself in the mirror in Jackson’s bathroom. She had been shaken at how close she had come to kissing her nemesis again. Why does this keep happening? I hate her. Don’t I? She came and rescued me. Why would she do that? Maybe I’m being a bit ungrateful.

Rosie heard a knock at the bathroom door. “I’ve got some clothes for you. I’ll pass them in to you.”

In a few minutes Rosie was dressed and walking back to the living room. Jackson laughed at the sight of Rosie swimming in her clothes.

“Hey, it’s not my fault you’re so freaking big, soldier boy! So quit laughing.”

“Oh come on! You look sweet. Like a little girl.”

Rosie shoved Jackson to the side on her way to the couch and began putting on her shoes as she retorted, “Do you have anything in your wardrobe that isn’t men’s clothing?”

“No. I like men’s clothes. It’s who I am.”

“Yeah, I know what you are.”

“Oh we’re back to the butch crap.”

“Yeah we are. Butches like you make straight people think we secretly wish to be men. Well I’ll tell you, that sort of thing belongs in the past. The lesbians I know aren’t afraid of our femininity and we don’t need a strap-on cock to make love to a woman.”

Jackson stood leaning against the wall and laughed. “You think I’m frightened? And you and your little friends and girlfriends at the bar aren’t frightened?”

“What would you know about my friends?”

Jackson pushed off the wall and walked over until she was face to face with Rosie.

“I came to your bar one night. I saw you dancing with your little girlfriend.”

Girlfriend? Wait she came to O’Reilly’s? She must mean Jess.

Jess was one of her friends and a regular. They had gone on a couple of dates, but that was all. Rosie didn’t have any interest in pursuing the relationship any further but she had a feeling that Jess did.

“She’s not my girlfriend.” Rosie barked back.

“Well you looked cozy enough to me.”

“What does it matter how cozy I am with anyone. It has nothing to do with you.”

Jackson realized that Rosie was right. She wasn’t about to reveal how it twisted her guts to see Rosie in someone else’s arms.

“Well I can still tell her type! The type that dreams about living their life the way I do, but doesn’t have the balls to carry it off. You talk about not being scared of your femininity? I’m not afraid of my masculinity. Do you have any idea what it’s like to live like me? You stick out whether you want to or not. The straight community signals me out as a lesbian, I can never be in the closet, and certain elements of the gay community like you and your little friends, ridicule people like me because it doesn’t sit well with the modern fashion of what it means to be gay, and believe me, that’s all it is. Fashion. It used to be fashionable to be butch and femme, now everyone has to look like girls or like an Androgynous 12 year old boy!”

“You don’t know anything about my friends! And I like a woman to look like a woman; I don’t find women who feel the need to dress like men attractive.” Rosie moved towards the door to leave. Jackson caught her arm and pulled Rosie back into her chest, keeping a firm grip on the young woman, not allowing her to move.

“I know one thing about you, Rosie.”

The young woman gave up struggling, knowing Jackson wouldn’t really hurt her.

“What is that?” she spat.

Jackson spoke into Rosie’s ear, smiling when she felt the girl shiver. “You talk a lot about me being butch. All the time, in fact.” Jackson stroked her fingers down Rosie’s arm.

“It makes me think that far from hating them, you’d secretly love a big butch like me to take control of your body.”

Jackson kissed Rosie’s neck lightly, bringing a moan from the young woman and goose bumps down her arms.

“Pin you to the bed and fuck you till you scream my name.”

Rosie seemed to be lost in the haze Jackson was creating. She moaned and wrapped her arm around the back of Jackson’s neck, pulling her tighter into her own body.

What had started out as a game to prove a point to Rosie had turned into something different.

Jackson’s heart was hammering in her chest, she couldn’t believe she had her hands and lips on this beautiful young woman. Rosie’s neck tasted delicious and Jackson wanted more. She grazed the young woman’s neck with her teeth.

Rosie was faring no better, the feeling of Jackson’s mouth on her was indescribable and it was overwhelming her senses. Rosie had never felt a response from her body like this. Jackson was like no one she had been with before. She was raw, passionate, animalistic, and totally in control of Rosie’s body.

Jackson’s hands slid from Rosie’s hips up to her breasts and squeezed with two strong hands.

Rosie’s hands covered Jackson’s, encouraging her to squeeze harder.

“Oh god yes! Harder Jack . . .”

“Yes darlin’.” And the older woman gave her harder, alternating between squeezing Rosie’s breasts, pinching her nipples, kissing, and biting down on her neck. Jackson’s hips naturally started to thrust into Rosie’s buttocks.

“You want this?”

“Uh . . .yes . . .Oh God, Jack!”

‘Wait! Jack? What the hell am I doing?’ Suddenly coming to her senses, Rosie pushed away from the soldier’s grasp. She turned and shouted, “What the hell are you doing? Don’t you ever touch me!” Rosie was shaking from the lust coursing through her veins and the shock of what she was about to do.

Jackson was struggling to come out of her own lustful daze, she stumbled forward towards Rosie. “Wh . . . what?”

Rosie backed away from her. “Stay away from me! Why did you do that? We despise each other!”

What the hell is wrong with her? I know I was just trying to make a point at the start, but then she encouraged me. She wanted it. She told me!

“What the hell are talking about? I didn’t exactly force you did I? Who was the one pulling my head down onto your neck, and whose hands were encouraging me to squeeze your breasts? And I suppose your nipples hardened under my fingers because you were cold?”

Rosie had no answers for these questions. At least none that she wanted to share with Jackson.

“You took advantage of me. I was in a weakened state. Injured and in shock. You come riding to my rescue then get me back here and immediately start seducing me.”

“Seducing you? I can’t believe this. I leave my job to come and save your ass, and this is the thanks I get? I opened myself up to you, I told you about Sarah. I never talk about her to anyone. I can see now that I made a huge mistake. You know there is something between us. You’re just too frightened to admit you want someone like me.”

Rosie grabbed her jacket. “Let’s just pretend this never ever happened and go back to ignoring each other.”

She slammed the front door leaving a bewildered Jackson wondering how her good deed had gotten her to this point.

On the other side of the door, Rosie leaned against the wall taking deep breaths.

What is happening to me? I’ve waited all my life to meet someone who makes me feel like this. I feel like I want her to devour me, but I know it’ll never be enough. Oh God! The feel of her lips on my neck, I know someone like Jackson would be difficult to let go. I need to fight this!

Episode 10

“I’ll call you at lunch time, baby. Bye!” Dylan yelled as she left the apartment. Normally Dylan left it to the last minute before heading to work, as she hated to leave her family. This morning though, the tension in the Morgan household was palpable. Something seemed badly wrong between Rosie and Jackson. They always had some sort of tension between them but this morning if they got within three feet of each other, the bad feeling was virtually sparking off of them. Emily had promised to have a ‘sensitive chat’ later, and Dylan gratefully exited the apartment to get an early start at the studio.

The TV star was walking towards her jeep in the parking lot when she noticed an envelope on the windshield.

Her heart sank as she lifted the envelope and started to open it.

Are you ready for the end game Morgan? It’s time to take back what is mine!

Dylan scrunched up the paper in her hand. “Fuck! I’m going to get you, you bastard!”

She grabbed her phone and called Lynn. “Lynn, send Pauley over to my apartment and push back my script meetings till late this afternoon.”

“Is everyone alright, Dylan?”

“Yeah. Don’t worry. I just need to borrow Jackson for a bit, so I need Pauley here.”

“Okay I’ll send him right over. Just be careful, whatever you’re up to.”

Dylan dialed again and got Jackson. “I got another message. Pauley’s coming over to sit with the girls. We’re going to pay our chief suspects a visit.”

****

It had taken some convincing to persuade Emily that this was a good idea, but Dylan had been determined. She was sick of constantly playing catch up. Now was the time to take control.

“Are you sure we should visit Toni first?” Jackson asked from the passenger seat.

“Yeah. Everyone is so convinced it can’t be her, if that’s true she can give us an insight into this Drew guy.”

“Okay. Let’s just keep it calm though, okay?”

Dylan just nodded, but it didn’t convince Jackson.

****

Back at the apartment things were tense. Molly had been kept from going to preschool because of this new threat. Pauley had come over with a few of his studio security team. He posted one with the doorman at the front, one at the door leading from the parking lot, one outside the apartment door, and finally he was standing guard in the apartment. Rosie was sitting in the kitchen with Emily and Molly.

Emily, who had long since given up sitting and doing nothing, had emptied the cupboards and was now standing on a stool scrubbing them out.

Molly knew something was wrong and could feel the nerves pouring off her mother.

“Mama, ou otay? When Mom comin’ back?”

Emily sighed and said a little sharply, “I don’t know, Molly. I don’t seem to have any say in what your Mom does.”

Molly looked up at Rosie worriedly. “Hey Molls, why don’t I put on a DVD for you in the living room, okay?”

When Rosie returned, she found Emily fanatically scrubbing. The kitchen was upside down, with food and dishes from the cupboards strewn around the kitchen.

“Emily? I got Molly settled. Are you okay?”

The blonde climbed down from the stool and collapsed onto the kitchen chair, sobbing.

“Oh Emily, come here!” Rosie pulled her chair up next to Emily and pulled the blonde into a hug.

“It’ll be alright, Em. Dylan and Jackson will sort this out and be back before you know it.”

“I don’t know what’s happening to me. I’m even being horrible to my daughter.”

“You’re not being horrible. She just doesn’t understand what’s happening.”

“I don’t think I do either,” Emily said sadly.

Rosie grabbed the box of tissues and handed one to her friend.

“Why the cleaning though?”

Emily sniffed and tried to wipe away her tears. “Oh, it’s what I do when I’m stressed or worried. Clean everything, whether it needs it or not.”

“I can understand, well not the cleaning. I lock myself in my apartment and draw and paint. I can lose myself in it.”

Emily was starting to calm a little. “Every time I start to relax and enjoy just being a family, this whoever they are does something and the fear and the worry comes right back. It’s always hanging over our heads.”

“It must have been difficult, and in a new relationship and all.”

“It has been. I can sense Dylan worrying about it, even when she says she’s not. It weighs heavy on her. I mean imagine meeting your future wife and discovering you have a daughter all in a matter of months, and on top of that there’s someone constantly trying to take that away from you.”

“Must be hard on her.”

Emily sighed, “It is, and she seems to fixate all her anger and worry and jealousy onto Toni.”

“Well from what you’ve told me about how Toni treated you, I’m not surprised.”

“Yes I know, but it’s the past. Toni’s the past and is no threat to Dylan, but she just can’t see that and she’s mixing up the stalker threat with Toni.”

“Well . . .” Rosie hesitated. “No, it’s none of my business really.”

“What we’re going to say? You’re my friend; please tell me what you think.”

“I can understand why she’s super sensitive about Toni. Apart from the normal anger you would feel hearing about a partner’s bad treatment by an ex, you were having her kid when you were with Toni. That’s got to cause some jealously, but worse than that you told me Toni roughed you up a bit and was violent while you were pregnant. Then when you left her, you had to bring Molly up yourself in really difficult conditions. Knowing how protective she is and how she likes to look after her family, I guess Dylan feels a lot of guilt for not being there for you even though there’s nothing she can do about it now. I think that’s why she fixates on Toni.”

Emily dabbed her tear-stained eyes and smiled. “You’re right. I don’t know why I didn’t connect it. You’re wise beyond your years, Rosie Henderson.”

“My dad always said I was an old soul. When mom died, he fell apart. Even though I was just a teenager, it was up to me to support him and talk him through it.”

“I can see how you were such a comfort to him. So wise one, tell me something or talk to me to keep me distracted.”

Suddenly Rosie’s face looked strained and she said out of the blue. “I think I’m falling in love with Jackson and I can’t stand her.”

“Oh boy! I better make some coffee.”

****

Dylan parked the jeep across the street from a nondescript downtown apartment building.

“We should have let Mark and Patrick know we were doing this,” said Jackson.

Dylan turned off the engine and turned to her friend. “They would have stopped me, and you know I have to do this.”

“Alright, but remember to keep calm. We’re only looking for information on this Drew character, we don’t have a shred of evidence that Toni is involved. Okay?”

Dylan said nothing but nodded. Jackson wasn’t convinced. “My FBI buddy tells me she doesn’t start work until five, so she should be in right now.”

“Let’s go.” Dylan led the way over to the apartment buzzer. Just as Dylan was about to buzz up, someone exited the apartment building, allowing the pair to get past the security door.

“Apartment 15 should be on the second floor,” Jackson said after checking the mail boxes for Toni’s name.

“Let’s go.”

They climbed the stairs and stood at the door of apartment 15. Dylan looked at Jackson, who said, “Were just making inquires, okay?”

Dylan knocked and heard a shout from inside. “Just a minute!”

The door was open and Dylan came face to face with Toni Bianchi . Their eyes met and Dylan knew instantly that Toni knew exactly who she was. Looking Toni up and down, she felt that familiar anger and jealousy twisting in her stomach. The woman stood around 5 foot 6 and had been handsome but it looked as though the drinking and drugs had taken their toll. Her short blonde hair was wet; she had obviously just come out the shower.

“You’re . . .Dylan . . .” Toni stammered.

The TV star stood to her full height, looking down on Toni and said, “Yes, Dylan Morgan, and this is my security consultant, Jackson Hunter.”

“You’re engaged to Em.” Dylan hated hearing Toni use a pet name for her fiancé.

“I’m engaged to Emily, yes.” Dylan said correcting the name.

“I don’t know if you’re aware but Emily is being stalked by someone.”

“Yeah I read that. I hope she and the baby are okay?”

At the mention of Molly, Jackson saw Dylan’s face become like stone, her knuckles turned white, she was squeezing them so hard.

“My family is perfectly fine,” Dylan said staking her claim.

Jackson decided it was time for her to step in. “The police have some suspicions about a man who Emily knew when you were both together, we wondered if we could come in and ask a few questions to see if you can help us?”

“Sure, anything to help Emily. Uh . . .come in. Excuse the mess, I’m just getting ready for work.” Toni went around the small basic apartment, lifting up clothes and magazines.

“Why don’t you take a seat and I’ll throw on some jeans and a t-shirt, I just got out of the shower.” Dylan remained standing but Jackson sat and said, “Thanks, you go ahead, we’ll wait.”

Five minutes later, Toni appeared fully dressed. She took a seat across from Jackson; Dylan remained standing keeping her intimidating position.

Jackson thought she would start and set the tone for the questioning.

“We’ve been looking into Emily’s past, trying to find anyone that has shown an interest in her. I believe the police came to see you and you told them about a guy named Drew. Could you tell us about him? I know you already told the police, but maybe there’s something they could have missed.”

“Sure. I’ll do anything I can to help Emily.” Toni looked up to meet Dylan’s eyes then quickly looked back to Jackson. The huge TV star looked angry and ready to rip her apart at any moment.

Dylan watched on while Jackson questioned her.

Anything to help Emily! What a fucking liar! Yeah you really wanted to help her when you cheated on her, hit her and tried to force yourself on her when she was pregnant with my baby! Dylan watched Toni meet her murderous stare then quickly look away.

Yeah. That’s right, look away coward. You haven’t got the guts to stand up to someone like me, only smaller pregnant women! Dylan thought angrily.

“So he started to be more than a nuisance then?” Jackson asked.

“Yeah, Emily came to the restaurant a lot to visit me between shifts, stuff like that. When it started off, he was just over familiar, then he would touch her whenever he could. Emily told me she’d seen him a few times around her college campus, just watching her. I was angry as you can imagine, some lowlife bothering my girlfriend, I didn’t want anything or anyone to hurt Em.”

Dylan snorted, unable to hold her tongue any longer. “That’s fucking rich coming from you!”

Jackson said, “This isn’t helping Dylan, we’re here to get information, not pass judgment on the past.”

Toni stood gathering her courage. “No. It’s okay. Ms. Morgan’s been desperate to let me have it since I opened the door, so let’s have it.”

“Big talk for a coward who beats her girlfriend.”

Oh brother! Here we go! thought Jackson.

“I admit I didn’t treat Emily very well, I had anger problems from my childhood that led me into drinking and drug problems.”

“Oh boo hoo. Mommy and Daddy weren’t very nice to you so you thought, ‘I know, sleeping around and beating up my girlfriend will make me feel better!”

“It wasn’t like that, I . . .”

Toni stepped back as Dylan went aggressively nose to nose with her.

“You’re scum, Bianchi . Do you remember trying to force yourself on her while she was pregnant with Molly? You don’t how many times I’ve wanted to come over here and kick your ass, but I’ve been talked out of it.”

“Yes! I remember!” Toni shouted, sinking back into her chair, head in hands. “I remember cause that’s when I knew I had to get help and I left. I know what I did and I have to live with the guilt. I’ve been working through it with my shrink ever since, and I’ve found solace in my faith. I know that Emily was too good for me and the best thing I’ve ever had, but I’m clean now and I’ve worked on my anger issues and rebuilt my life. I have a new girlfriend and I’m trying my best to be a decent partner. That’s all I can do. I’m sorry for what I did, and I’ll help you in any way I can.”

Jackson saw Dylan take another step towards Toni and jumped up between them.

“This is not helping, Dylan. We need to find out all we can to protect Emily.”

Dylan took a deep breath, gulping down her rage. “Fine. Question her, but I swear to you Bianchi , if I find out you have anything to do with this, I will hunt you down and make you wish you’d never been born!” Dylan turned and moodily went to stand by the window, her back to Jackson and Toni.

“Ms. Hunter, you don’t believe I have anything to do with this? I’m just trying to live a quiet life with my girlfriend and keep clean, ask my counselor if you don’t believe me!”

“Calm down, Toni. We have no evidence that you have anything to do with it and we’re not investigating you. So what happened next? Did you warn him off?”

“Yeah I did, and got him fired from the restaurant. As far as I know he moved to a different part of town after that, and we didn’t hear from him again.”

“Could he hold a grudge against Emily, do you think?”

“I don’t know. Maybe. I guess he wouldn’t have known where to find her before she started appearing in the magazines and stuff, when she got with Dylan.”

“Hmm. Do you think he could be violent?”

“He always struck me as just a creepy guy around women; I really don’t know if he would hurt anyone, I mean he was scared of me when I confronted him about it. So I don’t know.”

“Well I have nothing further. Take my card and if you think of anything else, just call me on this number.”

Toni took the card from her.

Jackson turned to Dylan who was still looking out of the window. “Do you have anything else Dylan? Or should we go?”

Dylan turned and threw an icy glare at Toni. “Nothing. I’ve said all I needed to say.”

“Thank you for your help, Toni,” Jackson said as she and Dylan made their way to the door.

Toni who remained seated said, “Dylan? Will you tell Emily that I hope her new life will be a happier one?”

The TV star stopped but said nothing, then continued on her way out the door followed by Jackson.

****

The pair returned home a few hours later, after staking out Drew Simpson’s house. There had been no sign of him, so they had eventually given up. Dylan had been silent most of that time, lost in her own thoughts. When they got back to the apartment, Dylan hadn’t wanted to talk about it and went straight to work out in her gym. Jackson filled Rosie and Emily in on what they had learned. Emily was concerned about how angry and stressed Dylan obviously was, but thought it best to let her partner work her frustrations out on the punching bag.

Rosie had reluctantly accepted a ride home from Jackson, wanting to leave the couple to their privacy after a trying day.

Emily had a difficult time putting Molly to bed, as Dylan hadn’t come to read her a story like she did every night. Emily knew Dylan hadn’t done this on purpose, but had just been so wrapped up in her workout that she lost track of time. When she eventually did get Molly to sleep, Emily decided on an early night. She sat up in bed reading, hoping that Dylan might want to talk when she eventually came to bed.

Two and a half hours later an exhausted, sweaty Dylan came into the bedroom. Chest heaving and body buzzing with energy, she sought release in the love and reassurance that only her fiancé could provide. Dylan saw that Emily had dozed off reading, so she went to the wardrobe and got what she needed then stalked towards the bed.

Emily awoke, hearing the sounds in their bedroom. She looked up to see Dylan standing, looking at her from the side of the bed, saying nothing but communicating everything with her eyes. Her eyes said I need you, I want you, I need to connect, to know you’re mine and only mine, and I’m scared. Emily’s body instantly reacted to the hungry looking Dylan, who had just pulled off her t-shirt and was standing only in her shorts. Dylan’s muscles looked pumped, taut and utterly erotic as the sweat from her workout ran down her hard shoulders, chest and the hard washboard stomach that Emily so adored. Emily could almost swear she could feel the testosterone pouring off Dylan’s body as she waited for her fiancé to beckon her to the bed.

Emily pulled off her silk nightgown and watched as Dylan’s eyes raked over her body, she felt her nipples harden under the needy gaze of her partner.

“Come to me, honey,” Emily beckoned her, letting her legs open up, showing her partner what was hers.

Dylan pulled off her shorts leaving her naked with her strap-on standing hard and ready. They didn’t always use this in their lovemaking, but Dylan wanted to be deep inside her fiancé both physically and emotionally. As she looked at her partner lying ready and open, her hand unconsciously began stroking her hard appendage. Dylan met her partner’s eyes and moved towards her.

She moved herself onto Emily, their eyes never once leaving each other as they continued their silent communication. There would be no words, no extensive foreplay, Dylan needed reassurance and release, and Emily would give it to her. She could so easily read the emotional needs in Dylan’s eyes and knew they were truly in each other’s soul.

Dylan held her cock at fiancé’s entrance waiting for Emily’s signal. Emily’s head gave a slight nod, as her hand stroked Dylan’s cheek lightly.

Dylan’s eyes never left Emily’s as she thrust inside her.

Emily could tell from the first moment she looked at her partner, that she was wound up and close to the brink. It wouldn’t take long for Dylan to reach her release but this wasn’t about long passionate lovemaking, it was about giving Dylan what she needed, and Emily would willingly give it to her.

Dylan moaned as her thrusts became faster. Emily tenderly stroked the TV stars back and shoulders, all the time trying to show all the love she had for her.

Dylan’s breathing changed and the thrusts became harder and even faster; Emily knew the older woman’s orgasm was seconds away, she took Dylan’s head in her hands and said, “Don’t close your eyes, give me everything.”

This seemed to spiral Dylan closer to the edge as her moans became louder and her hips thrust wildly, until she went over the precipice.

Emily saw it in Dylan’s eyes before she heard her passion. Her blue eyes seemed to soften and the whites grow milky as all the love, anxiety, and fear poured out of them.

“Ah, ah, argh!” Dylan roared out her release as if she had been wounded.

After she collapsed, Emily hugged her tightly as she heard Dylan’s breathy sobs.

“It’s okay, honey. Let it all out. I love you. I love you.”

Dylan very rarely cried but it was as if the cork had been popped from all of her bottled up emotions. All the fear, anxiety, stress, everything that she had been carrying on her shoulders since this situation began, flooded out.

Dylan’s sobs started to lesson as Emily tenderly stroked her back.. The tears gradually ebbed away and Dylan, who was still inside her partner, raised up on her elbows to look down at her love. Emily stroked away the residual tears that were covering her partner’s cheeks.

“How do you know? Know what I need?” Dylan croaked.

“Because you’re in my soul and I am in yours. I will always know.”

“I didn’t know what it was to live until I met you. I can’t ever lose you, or Molly.”

Emily traced a finger along Dylan’s lip.

“You never will. We are yours. Forever. Now sit up and we’ll talk, okay?”

“Yeah, I think I need to.”

****

Emily lay on Dylan’s chest, listening to the heart that beat only for her.

“Tell me about today, honey.”

Dylan took a big breath and exhaled. “When I found that message this morning, I lost it. I was so scared. Whoever this is wasn’t just warning me they were coming, they were showing me they could get in anywhere. That parking lot is security monitored 24/7, cameras everywhere, and still they got in unseen. Patrick called Jackson this afternoon to say there was nothing on the film, they got in, cut the cameras and went about their business. It’s frightening.”

Emily said nothing but gave Dylan’s chest a kiss of reassurance.

“I had to do something, even if it was, as it turned out to be, a waste of time. We’ve got nothing on this person, it’s like they don’t exist, so I had to turn my frustration on the only two targets I had. Toni and Drew.

I know I promised you before I went that I would be calm, I promised Jackson before we went in too. When she opened the door and I saw her I . . .Well I had built up this image in my head of who she was, but then I saw her. She was ordinary looking. A bit pathetic really. I take it the alcohol and drugs have messed her up a bit; the energetic ladies’ woman you had described, she was not. When I looked at her, all I could see were the pictures in my head of her hurting you, lying and cheating, making you cry, and I wanted to kill her. What made it worse was that she was trying to be so reasonable, saying she would do anything to help you, and she was so sorry she lost you.”

Emily raised herself up and looked down at Dylan. “She said that?”

“Yeah and that she only treated you so bad because of the alcohol and drugs, oh and some crap about a terrible childhood. You know, it was all ‘Poor me, I couldn’t help being such a women beating lowlife, Mommy and Daddy were nasty to me.’ Pathetic.”

“Yes. She did always think her problems were worse than everyone else’s.”

“I came so close to punching her, but Jackson stopped me. It took everything in me to turn around and let Jackson continue questioning her. I was so near my breaking point, and then we couldn’t get that Drew Simpson at home so we left and came back here. I’m sorry I couldn’t talk right away and I’m sorry I missed the Smurf’s bedtime story. I’ll make it up to her, I just . . .I don’t know, everything that I’ve been feeling came crashing down on me today after seeing her. I’m just so fucking scared of losing you, it’s tearing me up inside. It’s like I’ve been given this taste of happiness, family life, contentment, and it could be taken away from me at any moment. When I was working out on the bag, I just kept seeing Toni’s face. I punched and kicked until I was wrung out, and I knew that the only thing that would soothe me was you. You always know what I need, and you always give it to me. I wasn’t too rough, was I?”

Emily stroked her partner’s face. “Never. You could never be too rough. Your body and your mind just needed to connect, to know that I was yours, and you did that. Honey, we can’t continue like this forever. What if we never find out who this person is? You can’t be so close to the edge all the time. Your family needs you, your daughter needs you, and in case you forgot, we’re getting married next week. You’ve done everything you can to protect your family, Dyl. Jackson is the best, trust her to do her job. We need you to just be with us and not always thinking of our problems.”

Dylan pulled Emily back down for a kiss. “I’ll try, baby girl, but don’t expect me ever to compromise on my family’s safety. I could never do that, but I will try. I love you both with all my heart.”

“We know that, honey. We love you too.”

Dylan was emotionally and physically exhausted, and drifted off to sleep with Emily stroking her stomach as she always did.

I ‘m sorry I brought this fear into your life, thought Emily sadly.

****

The next morning Dylan headed into work early to try and make up for missing so much yesterday. After Jackson and Emily took Molly to preschool, Rosie came over to finish up a few things and gather her equipment for moving onto the next job.

An initial commission to decorate Molly’s room had blossomed into a redecoration of most of the apartment, and a strong friendship between the young decorator and Emily.

Emily had been delighted with the friendship; she’d had no friends, apart from co-workers, since she broke up with Toni. But today the job was over and Emily was going to miss the day-to-day company of the young woman. And, it wasn’t as if she wouldn’t be seeing Rosie much. After discussing it with Dylan, she had asked her to be a bridesmaid and she was, of course, helping Emily with planning the wedding.

Rosie was packing up her stuff when Emily came into the family room.

“You all set?”

“Yeah just about. I can’t thank you enough for giving me a chance. It’s done wonders for my business to have a celebrity job in my portfolio.”

“No problem. You’ve done a fantastic job and you fit right in with my family life, which is what is most important to me.”

“I know. You’re a great couple and Molly’s just adorable, so it’s been a pleasure.”

“Have you got a new job fixed up?”

“I have jobs backed up now after my last celebrity client.” Rosie smiled.

“Well just remember to keep January onwards free for the Long Island house.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll be all yours. Well, that’s me all done. I guess I’ll see you at the next dress fitting?”

“Yes. Come here.” Emily opened her arms to give the young woman a hug.

When they pulled away, Emily said, “What are you going to do about Jackson?”

The two women had had a heart to heart about Rosie’s feelings for the bodyguard.

“Nothing. My body and my heart are obvious reacting to some sort of latent primal need to mate with a Neanderthal Alpha female! But luckily I have a mind and a brain to overcome these . . .these . . .urges.”

Emily laughed. “Well good luck with that, in my experience your body and your heart know what you need better than your brain, but I’ll leave that up to you. Oh! Molly made you a picture to take with you. Hang on, I’ll just go and get it. I think . . .it’s in her room.”

After Emily left, Rosie grabbed her bags and was about to leave when Jackson came in, hands in pockets, looking rather uncomfortable.

Rosie sighed. She was hoping to get away with talking to the former soldier who made her act and feel things that she couldn’t control.

“Can I help you with something?”

Jackson looked a little lost and unsure of herself.

“Uh . . .um . . .Emily said you were leaving today?”

“Yes that’s right.” Rosie felt flustered, she needed to get out, this little boy lost look of Jackson’s was making her heart ache.

“Well . . .I . . .”

“Could you get to the point?”

Jackson walked closer. “I didn’t want you to leave without saying goodbye, and talking about that day at my apartment. I didn’t mean . . .”

“I really don’t want to talk about that day, and as for saying goodbye, well . . .we’ve never been friends, in fact you hated me on sight and have hated everything about me, so . . .”

Jackson stood head down, saying nothing but nodded.

“I’m going then,” Rosie said but she couldn’t move and felt her hand lifting to stroke Jackson’s face. Oh god! Get out of here Rosie before you kiss her! I can’t be trusted around her.

When Rosie finally got her legs to obey and went to walk past, Jackson’s arm shot out and grabbed her elbow.

“I’ve never hated you, hippy girl. You have principles; you stand up for what you believe in. You’re kind, caring and give up your own time to the service of others. There is no one that is more perfect than you. You are everything.”

Jackson then lifted Rosie’s hand, kissed it tenderly and left the room.

Rosie was left gobsmacked. I’m everything. Did she actually say that? Oh Jack!

“Here it is! She worked on it all day yesterday,” Emily said coming into the room with Molly’s picture.

“Are you okay, Rosie?” Emily knew something had happened with Jackson. When she saw her go into the family room, she held back hoping the stubborn pair would work something out. Emily was a romantic and hoped she could see her two friends as happy as she was, but by the looks of things, it hadn’t gone well.

“I’m fine Em. I’ll see you at the final fitting on Friday?”

“Yes. Let’s have lunch first and catch up on the week,” Emily said as she walked Rosie to the door.

“That would be great.” The two women hugged and Rosie left.

Great! Now I have a moody bodyguard to cheer up!

****

The lone figure sat staring at a close-up photo of Emily, taken by the paparazzi, happy and smiling. They picked up the phone and dialed.

“We move today. I’ve had enough of watching what’s mine play the blushing bride. Pick me up in 20 minutes.”

Click.

****

Emily and Jackson were on their way over to pick up Molly from preschool. Emily had tried to talk to Jackson about Rosie but her bodyguard hadn’t being forthcoming.

A familiar picture popped up on her iPhone as it began to ring.

“Hello, goofy.”

“Hey, baby girl. How goes your day?”

Dylan sounded so much brighter toady. Last night’s talk and emotional release had helped the TV star.

“Good. We’re on our way over to pick up Molly. How’s your day been, honey?”

“Manic. I missed a lot yesterday. That’s part of the reason why I’m phoning, baby. I have to work late tonight to catch up, probably most of the week actually. I’m sorry I’m neglecting you and Molls, but I promise we’ll do something nice on Sunday. We’ll make it a family day.”

“It’s okay, honey. We understand. So what’s the dare this week?”

“Eh . . .I don’t really think you want to know. You know how you worry. Let’s just say it’s called car dominos.”

Emily sighed. She was getting used to the constant worry that was the lot of being the partner and wife of daredevil, Dylan Morgan.

“Yes, you’re probably right. Just promise me you’ll be careful, and make sure you eat something.”

“Yes, mama Smurf! Don’t worry I’m always careful. I’ve got a family to look after now.”

“You just remember that, TV star!”

“It’s always on the forefront of my mind. I’ll call you before I leave the studio, okay?”

“Alright, honey. I love you.”

“Love you, baby girl.”

Almost as soon as Emily hung up, her phone rang again. It was Molly’s school.

“Ms. Taylor? This is Mrs. Whitmore from Greenfield School. We’ve been trying to get hold of you on your home and cell numbers.”

“I’m sorry Mrs. Greenfield, we’re driving over to pick Molly up and I was on another call. Is there a problem?”

Jackson mouthed, ‘What’s wrong?’

Emily’s heart started to pound. “There has been an incident. An unknown man has gained entry into the school under the guise of being a contractor. He got into Molly’s class, ordered the teacher to remove the other children at gunpoint, and now has Molly held hostage. The police are here . . .”

Emily dropped the phone. “Oh my God! My baby! Jackson! We have to get her back!”

Jackson pulled over at the side of the road, picked up the discarded phone and got the full story from Mrs. Whitmore.

“We’re five minutes away. Tell the police we’ll be there.”

Emily was in shock, shaking with tears streaming down her face. Jackson pulled her into her arms.

“We’re going to get her back. I promise. This is what I do. I won’t let you down.”

“Please Jackson. Please get my baby back!”

Jackson pulled the jeep back onto the road and began to break all speed limits to get to the school as fast as possible.

****

Jackson’s jeep screeched to a halt as near as she could get to the school. It was surrounded by crowds, police and TV crews. Emily was numb and Jackson had to physically drag her over to the hub of police officers at the school gates.

Emily watched as a team of armed police got suited and geared up, readying to storm the building.

She pulled at Jackson’s arm frantically. “Jackson, don’t let them go in with guns blazing please! You know what can happen! Molly will get hurt, please!”

Jackson steadied Emily, her hands grasping Emily’s shoulders. “Listen, were going to talk to the cops in charge. Whatever happens, I’ll get her out.”

“I need Dylan, Jackson.”

“Here, call her while I talk to Patrick. I can see him over there.”

Emily merely nodded and began to dial. In the meantime Patrick had come over to speak to them.

“Hunter. Glad your here.”

“What’s the situation?”

“It’s Drew Simpson. He’s got the classroom barricaded. Our negotiator has been in contact with him. He’s demanded to see Emily and have safe passage away with her. We’re at the end of the line with it. We’re just about to send the armed task force in.”

“Patrick you know what a risk that is. A little girl’s life is at stake.”

“What other options do we have?”

“Let me go in. I’m trained for this. It’s less of a risk sending one person in.”

“You know I can’t authorize that Hunter. Whatever you have been, you’re a civilian now. I can’t send in a civilian.”

Emily had finished her phone call to Dylan and had joined Patrick and Jackson.

“Look, all his attention will be out front on you guys, I can go in the back of the building. Give me 30 minutes. Come on, this is Molly we’re talking about.”

“Patrick please . . .Let Jackson try. Please . . .” Emily broke down in tears.

The cop looked torn between his duty and friendship. “I could lose my badge over this!”

“Thanks,” said Jackson, taking off her silver suit jacket.

“I’ll need a radio and a vest.”

“Of course. Anything else I can do for you?”

“Watch Emily for me. She’s going to be unprotected until Dylan gets here.”

“Of course I will. Dylan is going to be like a raging bull when she gets here.”

“Hopefully I’ll have Molly out by then.” Jackson then turned to Emily.

“Stay beside this police van, okay? Do not move from here.”

Emily’s tear stained face grew angry. “What does it matter? It’s been Drew all along. My daughter is in danger because he wants me! But he’s in there, so I think I’ll be safe.”

Suddenly she became like stone.

“Patrick, if Jackson can’t get her out, you are not going in with your guns. He wants me? He can have me. I’ll exchange myself for her.”

Jackson hugged the small blonde. “It won’t come to that. I’m going to get her. Stay here and wait for Dylan, okay?”

Emily nodded, but she knew she would die for her daughter if that’s what it took.

****

Dylan ran every red light and nearly had several collisions on her way to Molly’s school. When Emily called, she had never felt such fear. It was even worse than the night Emily had the intruder, because this time someone had a gun pointed at her daughter’s head.

Her stomach had roiled as she grabbed onto her desk to steady herself.

Lynn had said that Pauley should drive her but Dylan simply ignored her, grabbing her keys and running out to her car.

“Get out of my fucking way!” Dylan screamed at the other drivers.

She was frustrated. Even breaking the speed limit, it would take her 20 minutes to get there.

I knew I shouldn’t have listened to everyone and let my guard down. I need to protect my family.

****

Jackson shimmied her way through a window at the back of the school. Gun drawn she stalked her way through the eerily empty halls.

She had spoken to the principal and caretaker, and had a rough idea of where she should head. As she got closer to the classroom, she heard the tears of Molly calling out for her moms and it broke her heart.

****

Across town, Rosie watched the siege live on the bar TV. Tears ran down her cheeks as the cameras panned onto Emily being held back by the police.

Her occasional date, Jess, sat at the bar watching Rosie’s reaction. She could be found propping up the bar most of the time Rosie was working. She loved the beautiful bartender but couldn’t so far get Rosie to take their friendship to the next level.

“Isn’t that who you’ve been working for Rosie?”

She simply nodded. The TV news continued.

This reporter understands that the family’s body guard, ex special forces soldier Jackson Hunter, has persuaded the authorities to let her go into the preschool and rescue the TV stars daughter from the armed gunman.

A picture of Jackson while she was still in the army, dressed in full camo and holding a gun, appeared on the TV.

“Oh God Jack!” she whispered.

Jess heard the name and knew she’d heard it mentioned before. Who was this ‘Jack’ that had her love so worried?

“Isn’t that the soldier that you hated? The one that works for Morgan?”

‘You are everything,’ Rosie remembered the words that had haunted her since this morning. “I don’t hate her! We just don’t see eye to eye,” Rosie replied angrily.

“Okay! Okay! I’m sorry I said anything.” Jess took her drink and stalked off moodily to talk to some of her friends.

I need to get over there! She ripped off her apron, grabbed her coat and walked out of the bar without a backward glance.

“Hey! Where are you going?” the manager hollered after her.

Rosie couldn’t hear him. She sent up a silent prayer for them all then added, Sarah, I know you’re looking down on your big sister. Please keep her safe!

****

“Shut the hell up, kid! You’ll see your Mom when she decides to come in here!”

Drew Simpson had tied the little girl to a chair in the corner away from the door. He nervously kept looking out of the window.

“Mama! Mom! I scared! Come get me!” the hysterical girl screamed.

“Shut the fuck up!!” Drew was panicking; this hadn’t gone as his partner had promised. Not used to using a gun, his hand shook as he pointed it at the little girl.

Drew jumped when his cell phone started ringing.

“What’s happening? I’m trapped in here with a screaming brat, surrounded by armed police, and there’s no sign of me getting Emily! You promised!”

“Just hold it together. I’m getting things ready for our getaway. You will get out, I promise,” his partner said, and then thought, I just won’t promise what state you’ll be in when you do.

“I know I wanted Emily but I don’t know if she’s worth this,” Drew said. The sweat was pouring down his face from the nerves and fear.

“She is worth it. Believe me. I just need a little more time. Emily is persuading the police to let her come in as we speak. Keep their attention on you and we’ll both get what we want.”

“Okay. Just get me out of here!”

While Drew had been distracted talking on the phone, Jackson had taken position outside the door. Luckily there was a window on the door, so she got a good layout of the room.

She made a quick assessment of Drew. She could see he was in way over his head, he was shaking, nervous, constantly looking out of the window; he wasn’t even holding his gun properly.

Probably never even used one before. If I can just get the door open and get him in one clean shot, then Molly will be safe. I just have to choose my moment, Jackson thought.

The Gods seemed to be smiling on Jackson. As Molly’s crying become too much for Drew, he raised both hands to cover his ears, taking his gun away from pointing at Molly.

Jackson kicked open the door in one smooth movement. Drew only had time to meet Jackson’s eyes with a look of surprise before the soldier shot him in the forehead.

****

Outside, Emily waited with Patrick. She had never felt such anguish and longed to be in Dylan’s arms.

“What’s happening? Tell me.”

“We can’t tell until Hunter radios in.”

“Can’t you contact her?” Emily asked desperately.

“No. We have to maintain radio silence. No matter what happens, even if I have to leave this vicinity, stay next to these police officers.”

Emily nodded then they all heard shots ring out from the school.

“No! Molly!”

Patrick pulled out his gun and shouted. “Go! Go!” Signaling the armed police to enter the school.

“I’m going in. Don’t move, Emily!”

“Oh God! Dylan I need you!”

****

Dylan’s car screeched to a halt. She jumped out and ran at full speed towards the main entrance, taking the police barrier like a hurdle. A wall of police held her back as she got closer. She struggled, pushing and shoving.

“Let me pass! That’s my daughter in there! Molly! Molly!” she screamed.

Mark, who had been manning the radio link between Jackson and the police came rushing over.

“Dylan! Calm down, buddy!”

The cops who were restraining her said, “Should we cuff her, detective?”

“No! Leave her with me.” Mark grabbed her head.

“Dylan! Look at me! Look at me!”

Dylan stopped struggling as much. “Molly’s in there! She needs me!”

“Molly’s safe, Dylan. Look!”

Dylan looked across the playground to see Jackson walking towards them with Molly in her arms.

Dylan ran over to meet them. Molly who had been silent since she had witnessed the shooting, started to cry uncontrollably when she saw Dylan and reached out frantically for her.

“Mom! Mom! Bad man! I scared!” Jackson handed Molly over to a relieved Dylan who pulled her daughter tightly to her.

“Thank God! Molls, you’re okay now. Mom’s here.”

Dylan looked at Jackson and said, “Thank you so much, Jackson. I owe you anything you ask for.”

Jackson stroked Molly’s dark head. “Don’t mention it. I wasn’t only doing my job you know, I care a lot about you all.”

Dylan nodded and reached out to shake Jackson’s hand. “You’re a true friend. Who was it?”

“Drew Simpson. He wanted Emily in exchange for Molly.”

Dylan growled. “The thought of her family so close to danger enraged the TV star, but the sound of her daughter’s sobs made her put her anger aside, to be dealt with later.

“I want my Mama!”

“Come on, Molls. You’re okay now.” Molly hung onto her Mom like a life preserver.

Mark and Patrick joined them; Patrick clapped Jackson on the back.

“You had me worried when I heard those shots.”

“He was an amateur. It was no problem.”

Dylan knew Emily would be going out of her mind with worry and said, “Where’s Emmie? She’ll be so worried.”

“I told her not to move from the police van. I’ll go get her,” Patrick said.

A police officer came over and said, “Detective. There’s a Rosie Henderson wanting to be let through. Says she’s a friend.”

“Let her through,” Jackson said. Patrick nodded in agreement.

Rosie ran through the crowd of press and onlookers. “Is everyone okay?”

“Yes, we’re okay.” Rosie hugged Dylan and Molly.

“Thank God! How did you get her out?”

“Jackson went in and got her.”

Rosie threw her arms around the bodyguard and whispered in her ear. “I’m so happy you’re safe, Jack.”

Jackson was surprised at the hug but knew it wouldn’t last long, so she drank up the warmth and smell of the young woman while she could.

Rosie realized she was hanging on a bit too long and pulled back.

Patrick came running over. “She’s not there. I can’t find her.”

“What do you mean you can’t find her?” Dylan snapped.

“I told her to stay at the van and she’s just not there. I’ve ordered a search.”

“Where’s my Mama? Want Mama!” Molly sniffled.

Dylan tried not to show her panic in front of Molly. “Rosie? Would you watch her?”

“No problem.”

“I’m going to find her, Molls. You stay here with Rosie, okay?”

Dylan handed her over to the young woman and said. “Jackson lets go.”

They ran off towards the main throng of vans and police at the front gates. Dylan pushed past people, shouting frantically for her mate.

“Emily! Emily!”

The police checked everywhere, and Dylan and Jackson went around the school building twice and found nothing. She tried calling Emily’s cell phone but it went straight to voicemail.

“Jackson, where is she?” Dylan shouted.

“I don’t understand it,” said Patrick. “She was right there, right up until the shots were fired. I told her not to move and we went into the school to back up Jackson.”

Dylan ran her hands through her dark hair frantically. “She can’t have just disappeared?!”

She pulled her iPhone back out and dialed. “Come on, baby. Pick up! Voicemail again! She never turns her phone off.”

“I’ve got men questioning everyone to find out if they saw anything.”

Dylan’s phone beeped in her hand. She opened up her mail and saw a message from sanctityofgod.com . Her stomach dropped to her toes, and her hand shook as she opened the mail.

Jackson, Patrick, Mark, and the world’s media looked on as Dylan fell to her knees and howled.

Jackson grabbed the phone and looked at the mail. She brought her hands to her mouth when she saw a picture of Emily, tied, gagged and unconscious, in the back of a van.

The message below read:

‘I’ve taken back what’s mine. My wife will be wiped clean from the stain of your touch.’

Toni

 

To be continued in Season 2

 

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed the characters as much as I enjoyed writing them! Please let me know if you would like this story to continue in Season 2!

I would be delighted to hear your comments about this story at jennyframe91@yahoo.com

Also please take a look at my website where you can listen to the soundtrack to ‘The Dylan Morgan Show’, and find information on my future stories. http://www.jennys-storybook.com

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