Series: Light, Water and Muses. An alternate universe for a variety of television series. See disclaimers below.
Category: Yet another mirror universe for the SGC.
Pairings: Janet, Art and Sam.
Disclaimer: Stargate SG1 and all their characters belong to MGM, Showtime and Gekko Productions. But I think we all knew that, hmm? Art and Lucky are mine.
Spoilers: References aplenty to the majority of the third season here, consider yourselves warned…
Summary: The twins freak out their parents, Jacob learns more about his beloved daughter and the holidays are fun all around.
++ Janet ++
“This seems so ridiculous,” I complained at Siler and he just grinned at me. Even my sorry, pregnant butt had been drafted in to ensure that the base was 2000 compliant. Between the Y2K scare and the entire population of Earth gearing up for the millennium celebration, we wanted to make sure nothing was going to go wrong. Every team was Earth-side and helping with the upgrade. So far I was merely babysitting Siler's radio as he coordinated with those sharing his techheadedness. Art had wisely volunteered to help Karen and leave Sam in Daniel's capable and non-distracting hands.
“Can I have the welding torch?”
Bored, I grabbed the tool and started to hand it over.
Only to freeze in mid-motion.
There was a roar of blood in my ears and everything seemed to slow down eerily. Siler's eyes met mine even as the ripple of pressure washed over me again. His eyes widened in counterpoint to my own as I groaned softly. Not pain exactly, but a weird squeeze deep inside like a drawn out muscle spasm that gripped my entire torso.
“Fuck,” Siler squeaked in alarm and dove for the phone even as he grabbed one of my hands. “Get a gurney and Warner up here.” A gasp escaped me in the pause and his eyes grew even wilder. “Because Fraiser looks like she's going into labor, that's why!”
Once more the bizarre sensation washed over me as Siler knelt by my knees and patted my wrist awkwardly. “They'll be here in a sec. Just relax.”
Breathless laughter escaped me even as members of my staff rushed in to do their jobs.
++ Art ++
Oh, some rational corner of my mind knew I was over reacting. “Betty!” I wailed childishly. “You scared the shit out of me!”
“I know, I know,” she soothed with hands raised. “I'm really sorry Sergeant, I didn't think about how I was phrasing the call to you. She's fine; the labor was a false alarm. The twins are healthy and unstressed. Come see them.”
The blonde nurse grabbed my shirtfront to haul me into one of the exam rooms and shove me over to the bed where my wife lay napping.
“I'll let you two have some privacy,” Betty murmured softly and withdrew.
“Hey baby,” I crooned as I sat on the stool and brushed back an errant strand of auburn hair. “You sleeping on the job?”
Yawning hugely, Janet stirred and flashed me a sleepy smile and warm brown eyes. “Hi ya sexy. You look freaked, c'mere.” That was all the incentive I needed to lean over the bed and wrap her up in a hug as best I could. “They gave me some drugs to stop the contractions, it's too soon for them, as much as I might want to be skinny again.” We laughed quietly together before relaxing into the embrace.
“I love you aghapee mou,” I soothed. “But you're not done cooking yet.”
“Guess not, huh? Is there any way they'll let you take me home?”
“No, dammit, probably not, I'm sorry love, there's just too much too do. Can you sleep, or do I need to send Sam in? As far as I know, she's uninformed so far. I didn't want to mess up her concentration.”
“You should tell her, ahn-dhras, before she finds out from someone else.”
“You're right,” I agreed and kissed her slow and deep. As always she groaned deep in her throat and clung to me. How I adored her and loved showing her exactly how much. “Sleep now. I'll be back soon enough.”
Janet hummed wordlessly and by degrees her grip on my hand loosened until she was again asleep. I kissed her softly on the forehead and slipped away.
++ Jacob ++
By the looks on everybody's faces as I stepped through the Stargate, no one had been informed of my arrival. Bet Sam was eyebrow deep in some project again. “Jacob,” George bellowed cheerfully through the PA system and the guards lowered their weapons. “This is a pleasant surprise.”
I waited at the bottom of the ramp until George strode in with a smile. “I'll take it that Sam forgot to mention my coming by to visit her and her brother?”
“Why yes. That must be why she requested a few days off. We've been working around the clock to ensure that the base is Y2K compliant, but since you're here, I'm sure something can be worked out.”
“Y2K? Guess I've been away too long,” I chuckled and followed my old friend deep into the bowels of the SGC. We chattered about work and family until eventually coming to the main computer bay where a crowd of uniformed personnel looked expectantly to us. The ripple of movement and the deadening of all conversations finally got my daughter's blonde head to pop up from behind a bank of hardware.
“Dad,” she called out and smiled in delight, the expression echoed by Daniel.
“You forgot I was coming, didn't you?” I admonished fondly and she scrambled over for a hug.
“I'm sorry, just got caught up in… things. Y'know how it is.”
“I know Sam. George is pretty certain he can he still get you a few days to see Mark.” Something in her familiar features made me pause and study her more closely. “Are you okay?”
“Sure dad,” Sam hedged and ducked her gaze. I knew perfectly well when she was avoiding an issue, the same way she'd always done it, but this was neither the time nor place. “Let me see if I can wrap this up, it shouldn't be too long, and I'll be right with you.”
“Sure. I need to change clothes anyway.”
A last squeeze and Sam dove back behind the machinery to finish whatever unfathomable task she was set on. George and I exchanged amused glances as we walked out. “She's extraordinary,” my old friend mused softly and I had to grin.
“That she is.”
++ Sam ++
It wasn't easy to return to my task, but I forced myself to concentrate. In time, I was lost amid the push and pull of my knowledge versus the workings of the extremely sophisticated computer system. Then suddenly, the playing field was clear and I sighed in quiet pride. “Just a diagnostic,” I chortled half to myself and half to Daniel. “And that's it.”
“Great job sexy,” purred a different voice than I had been expecting and in made me jump in pleasant surprise. Art's blue eyes glittered above her familiar smile as she leaned in behind the rack of computer hardware. Before I could do more than squeak in surprise and pleasure, she had pressed into my personal space and thumped my skull into the machinery with a forceful kiss. It was as quick as it was enjoyable, leaving me blinking in a hormone daze. “No cameras back here and no one's paying attention. Janet went into false labor and she's fine.” All of that was said in a calm, low tone and took a few long moments to sink in. Despite the reassurances, panic welled up as the words registered and Art grabbed my upper arms in a strong grip. “She's fine Sam, so are the twins. Right now she's sleeping and I ran into your dad in the hall. You need a shower and then we'll go talk to him. It's our four hours, but time's almost up and that's why I came by to retrieve you.”
“Oh… okay,” I stammered and felt the fear subside. If Art was this calm, then everything must be okay.
One hurried shower and a change of clothes later; we were skulking into Janet's room. When she looked up to see us, she smiled beatifically, and only then did the constriction around my heart finally ease. “You're supposed to be resting,” Art admonished fondly as Janet shooed Betty out.
“I only just woke up. Sam, love, come here.”
With a tired sigh that was as much a sob, I flopped onto the bed and draped myself half over her small body. “I was worried.”
“I know baby, I know.”
After a bare minimum of reassurances, the three of us regrouped to head home. Only to run into my dad in the hall. Crap, I'd forgotten he was here! Art cut in smoothly, leaving Janet in my hands. “So, you're coming over for dinner right?”
“Of course. It's already close to that time and I'd like to see Cassie.”
“Great,” Art enthused and then there was a short, heavy pause. Someone that didn't know her as intimately as I could have missed it completely. “Do you have a place to stay?”
It was then that I knew I would be sleeping alone tonight and the thought horrified me.
++ Janet ++
Damn. With Jacob Carter in the house, we were going to have to play the 'just friends' game with Sam. The thought horrified me, and subtle tension played around Art's jaw. Poor Sam looked like she might cry, even as she swallowed it and helped me sit up. In the car, Art continued to chat with Jacob where he sat in the backseat with Sam. “Cooper will be jazzed to see you Jacob.”
“Likewise. I can't wait to see the new house.”
“Good, because here we are.”
Even under the blanket of snow, it was obvious we'd done a ton of work on the yards. Thank God for evergreens to keep some shape and color to the property. Jacob made some approving comments as we piled out of the car. Art helped me, stealing a quick kiss once I was steady. The drugs had left me feeling a little loopy and weary, so I sagged against my ahn-dhras for support.
“Food and sleep, ahgahpee mou. I'll take care of it. Sam, can you give Janet a hand upstairs?”
“Sure. C'mon mom.”
I couldn't help but smile at Sam's teasing and willingly went to her embrace. As we climbed the stairs, Art and Jacob's conversation slowly fell away. “Guess Cass must be out walking Cooper. Would you like something to drink Jacob?”
“Do you have any coke? I miss it.”
“You're in luck, Cass always keeps a couple six-packs around.”
In the privacy of the bedroom, I silently tugged Sam down to be cuddled on the big bed. “I don't want to be away from you,” Sam finally murmured in my ear. Tears were painting both of our faces now.
“Neither do I sweetie, but your dad is so rarely here.”
“I know, but this is so new and I don't want to be away.”
“We'll be here when you come home, ready to spoil you for New Years.” Sobbing and giggling, Sam shifted to kiss me, slow and deep. She'd been a good kisser from first touch, but practice had made her great at the skill. Mouths locked, tongues intertwined, we were lost for long minutes, only my groan breaking us up. “Mmmm… you've gotten so good at that.”
“Good teachers. Can you sleep?”
A mocking glare made Sam grin and dried up her lingering tears. “No thanks to you.”
“I'll make it up to you.”
“I'll hold you to that, love.”
Sam lay with me and stroked my belly and face until warm darkness closed in around me.
++ Art ++
Jacob and I had been up far to late talking. About Sam and the Tok'ra and whatever else came to mind. He was an interesting man with a thousand stories to tell. I could see by his sometimes abrupt manner what had kept he and Sam separated for so long. When Sam had never reappeared, I had joked that she'd probably fallen asleep watching over Janet. Jacob had chuckled along and my nerves had eased. Eased enough that when I had sent him off to the guest room and went to my women, I hadn't bothered to wake Sam and send her away. I couldn't bear it. So my morning was much more pleasant than I had expected, even when Jacob had scared the three of us half to death knocking on the door.
“Rise and shine troops. Breakfast is waiting.”
I tightened my grip on Sam's tense body when she would have panicked. “We'll be out in a minute. Looks like Sam's got a crick in her neck.”
“Okay. I'll go retrieve Cassie.”
That obligation taken care of, I tucked Sam under my body to be kissed good and proper. Soon she was writhing and moaning with abandonment and I pulled back only far enough to meet her dilated eyes. “I'm gonna go see your dad now. You are gonna shower quick and go visit him and your brother.” Another long kiss nearly derailed my train of thought. “When you come home on New Year's Eve, I am going to ravage you senseless and make this little vacation worth every minute of being away from us. You got that?” Eyes wide, Sam nodded and exchanged gentle kisses with me. Those tender gestures calmed us both until I could finally climb from the bed and get ready to say goodbye.
“G'morning!” Cassie crowed at me as I wandered into the kitchen in search of whatever smelled so good. Lucky shoved past my knees to playfully thump into Cooper. They mockingly showed teeth and nipped at each other. It was like watching teenagers flirt.
“Good morning. Something smells good.”
++ Jacob ++
Like any good soldier, Sam materialized at the breakfast table, showered, dressed and ready to go. “Less than six minutes, good time,” I teased and she forced a smile. My poor baby looked nervous and queasy. I could only guess that it was nerves about the trip and perhaps the company. Ah well, I could only try to be a good companion.
“'Mornin' Sam,” Cassie yawned in between bites of French toast. “Me and Art are gonna take you guys to the airport, 'kay?”
“'Kay,” Sam murmured and smiled warmly this time when I set a plate in front of her. I was struck by the picture the three of them made. Sam, eating her food neatly and precisely, fired a grin at Art. The dark woman was attacking her plate with the enthusiasm of the starving while Cassie just shoveled hers in mechanically. The girl was barely awake at this hour.
“Jeez Art, it's not gonna run away,” Cassie commented dryly and Art growled like an annoyed dog to make her companions laugh. The warm family scene made me think of the good times from a life long past. How much Sam reminded me of my beloved Elizabeth. How much I still missed her.
My musings were cut off by the girls finishing up and I was forced to rush through the last of my own meal. Art vanished for a moment while Sam got Cassie into warm clothes, and then came scampering down the stairs. “Janet's still out like a light. Do you have your school stuff Cass?”
“Great, Let's do this.”
“You make it sound like a military maneuver,” Cassie mocked and Art looped an arm around her neck as we all chuckled.
“Oh, hardy har. See ya Cooper. Lucky, come.”
Art opened the door to let the frigid, early morning cold whip across us.
“Yikes,” I groused good-naturedly. Sam hesitated and Art looped the other arm around her neck to drag her into the dry, blown snow.
“C'mon Samage, you get to enjoy warmer California temperatures for a few days. Cooper, Lucky, car.”
We piled into the big Dodge SUV that Janet had been giggling about yesterday. It had been a family Christmas present, spacious, sturdy, four-wheel drive and a great investment for a growing family that had to deal with some serious weather. There was room for everybody, Sam and dogs included. They might even be able to squeeze in an extra passenger or two.
Art clipped Lucky's harness into a hook beside the front bench seat and slid behind the wheel. Only to sit there until the quiet in the car became uncomfortable.
“This is some car,” I spoke gently and Art smiled weakly. She carefully loosened her deathgrip on the wheel and turned the key in the ignition.
“Yeah, I just hate driving. It'll be okay.” Art might sound brave, but something was seriously bothering her. Sam leaned forward to touch Art's shoulder, the pale fingers caressing over the jacket collar and into inky curls. Immediately, Art relaxed and leaned her head forward for a long moment. Then, just like that, we were on our way. The heavy quiet in the SUV left me to my thoughts.
Was I seeing what I thought I was seeing? They were so gentle, yet playful together, with an intimacy that was almost… almost too much. That caress into Art's hair, the way her head had lulled so trustingly…
A long buried memory surfaced. Sam, a gawky teenager not quite grown into herself and still desperately missing her mother. Painfully shy and intimidatingly smart, she was so lonely it hurt to watch. The name came to me unbidden and unwanted.
The pretty, vivacious cheerleader had befriended my Sam and I was grateful. Far too full of my own pain over losing Elizabeth, I was a failure to my children. Mark retreated into sports and academics, shutting his sister and I out of his heart and eventually out of his life. Sam was lost and helpless until the cheerleading squad took her in. Even in those dark days, listening to Ainsley fondly tease Sam about being such a klutz made me smile.
My Sam was a lousy liar. Even now, at thirty-three years old with fifteen years of military service under her belt, I could still read her like a book. I had seen the change in her relationship with Ainsley all those years ago, but had never put a name to it, never acknowledged what I knew had happened between them. When the opportunity arose to transfer, I couldn't jump on it fast enough. Maybe by taking Sam away from that girl, I could stop the inevitable. Maybe by leaving that house, we could heal.
It was the last straw for Sam and I. She became a stranger to me and I couldn't find a way to bridge the gap.
My baby was gone the night before her eighteenth birthday. No note, no forwarding address, her things left behind. There was some bittersweet pleasure when I found out that she joined the Air Force, but I knew that decision had nothing to do with me. The strength of her intellectual skills and her strong ethics were a perfect match. I had never understood my daughter, utterly confounded by her raw intellect and sharp mind.
But Elizabeth had.
She had always understood Sam, challenged her, and supported her. I was just along for the ride. When Elizabeth died, Sam had never really recovered, far too bewildered at the loss of her strength and bedrock. When she looked to me to take that role, I was inadequate. So she retreated into herself.
My gaze drifted over to Art's face, lit softly by the dashboard and the rising dawn. I thought about Janet, her warmth to everyone she encountered and her strong bond with Sam. Art had modified that bond, taking on the role of champion and protector of Sam's wounded heart.
As her mother had.
As Ainsley had.
It was a thunderbolt. As much as part of me knew this was coming, I was still shocked stupid.
'Why worry so?' Selmack questioned me softly.
'You know what kind of regulations this breaks! You know how dangerous this is!' I railed internally at my symbiote and forced my eyes to return to the road.
'Yes. But better this woman who adores her so, than a relationship that would cause her further pain.'
I was torn between Selmack's calm truth and my own raging fears.
'You like Art.'
It was true, I had liked the young woman from the moment I met her. Warm, loyal and funny, she made my wounded Sam whole in a way no one else ever had. Not even her mother. With Art's adoration, Janet's great strength of character and Cassie's unfettered love, how could Sam resist?
'Isn't that enough?'
++ Sam ++
Mark and his family looked great and I had fun horsing around with my niece and nephew… but I was so ready to get home. Something was gnawing at my dad, and I was dreading the conversation I suspected was headed my way. So here I was, dying to get home and fearing the trip that would accomplish just that.
Eventually, I was at the airport, wrapped in a bear hug from my brother, sorry to be leaving him yet again. “Take care of yourself, Sam,” Mark whispered and I nodded around the lump in my throat.
It wasn't until we were comfortably settled into a back booth in a bar in Phoenix that any kind of real conversation was instigated. Ironically, by me. Jacob Carter was never one to fidget, but was he was as nervous as a new father. “Dad,” I asked wearily. “Is there something you'd like to ask me? The longer we dance around this, the more time we lose.”
It wasn't often I caught him so completely off guard, but his expression was priceless. “Well… ah,” he hedged uncomfortably and I forced myself to wait patiently and ensure that we were on the same page. “You seemed pretty… cozy with Art and Janet back there. Just… you know what it looks like, right?”
Here it was. Here was my big choice. Honesty… or safety. It galled me in a deep, deep way that I was forced into this kind of quandary. Condemned by my military family for the loving family I had chosen. Like a pair of great, gleaming scales, my choice loomed for an endless moment.
Hell, my silence was probably more damning than words.
In the end, I really had no other route. When it all boiled down, he was my father first. Scrubbing at my face, I spoke quietly, “yeah, home is the only place where I can be open with them. It's weird sometimes, being with both of them, but it makes for a really solid support structure for all three of us, and Cassie too.”
The look on his face was priceless. Absolute shock mixed with something that might have actually been… relief?
The silence stretched out and I flagged down a waitress. “Could I get a pair of MGDs?”
“Sure thing,” the woman grinned and we were left alone again.
“I'm speechless,” dad finally whispered and I couldn't help but grin and flash him a grin from under my bangs.
“Yeah, I got that.”
++ Jacob ++
I eventually managed to force myself to ask questions of my daughter, to listen to her responses, to fight off a lifetime of dogma. What struck me wasn't that she was happy, or content, or satisfied, though all of that was wonderful. What stuck me was that she was… peaceful. Even in the good times, when Mark and Sam were children and Elizabeth was the loving bond that kept all of us safe and loved, Sam was rarely peaceful. It was as though she was forever to be quietly restless and driven. That drive had been perfect counterpart to her brilliant and complex intelligence, even if I had despaired as a father for her emotional health.
Art and Janet and Cassie and the imminent twins had brought her this peace. A calmness in the crystal blue eyes, the eyes that had remained that brilliant color since the day I'd first held her squirming little body in my arms.
Samantha hadn't cried once the shock of birth had passed, but fed quietly while Elizabeth spilled all the tears. When the nurse set her small weight in my arms, I knew I would never be the same, but this tiny girl child would mold me.
Serious, driven, nearly single-minded, Sam had been a bit of an outsider from the first. The landscape of her brilliance was a chasm few would cross. Not that I didn't have a mental scrapbook of some wonderful, normal fatherhood memories of my kids.
Those achingly familiar blue eyes were studying me intently. She looked so much like her mother…
“I'm sorry I took you away from Ainsley,” I heard myself say and she jumped in shock. “It wasn't fair to either of you kids. I was so… so afraid of my own prejudices and afraid for you. I over-reacted to so much once your mother was gone.” Imagine my grateful surprise when Sam placed her hands on my clenched fists. For once in my life, I didn't fight the tears that burned my eyes and made my throat ache. “I'm really glad they make you happy. If I'm ever an ass, know it's just old habits. I promise to change.”
Sam's brilliant, loving smile told me that I had made the right choice.
++ Art ++
Bored and anxious, I danced from one foot to the other while I waited for flight 234 from Phoenix. Finally, the passengers were disembarking, and I was treated to the sight of father and daughter happily laughing and carrying on. Well, this was pleasant surprise. So was the look on Sam's face when she caught sight of me, my name squealed in happy delight. The feel of her slim body and her strong hug grounded me against my loneliness without her.
“Missed you,” I whispered, grinning when she turned her head to discreetly kiss my neck.
“Missed you too. I told my dad.”
Okay, that was a peculiar sensation. Sort of terror mixed in with relief and a choking flood of adrenaline. Man, was I sick of living in fear…
“Yeah. Believe it or not, I think we're okay. Selmack and time have been good for him.”
Leaning away a bit from the hug, is looked into guileless blue eyes and was reassured. A glance at Jacob as the hug reluctantly fell away earned me a small smile. Guy still looked a little shell-shocked.
I knew how he felt.
The ride home was occupied with nonsensical conversations that stayed away from the pink elephant of Sam's relationship with Janet and I. Lucky was confused at my tension and Sam's relaxation, but kept quiet. At home, I sent the Carters in and immediately decided that the front walk needed shoveling. The physical exercise would clear my head and the lingering high of adrenaline.
I had almost reached the sidewalk when a cough startled me into whirling around so fast, I dropped the snow shovel and very nearly put my ass in the snow bank I'd just created. Jacob smiled as he grabbed my elbows to steady me on the icy ground.
“Jeez man, you scared me.”
“Sorry about that,” he chuckled and then sobered abruptly. “Look. Sam told me what you and Janet have done for her. I have to say that I've never seen her like this, so calm and peaceful. So… so, thank you.” Good thing I had a strong heart, or all the shocks today might have dropped me. Before I could stammer out something semi-intelligent, Jacob grew stern. “Don't you hurt her, Art. She adores you both, and she needs you.”
“I'd rather kill myself then hurt her,” I assured automatically. Jacob nodded decisively and took my right hand in his.
“Welcome to the family, Artemis.”
It was Christmas all over again.
++ Janet ++
A gentle caress on my temple roused me from sleep and Art's delighted smile greeted me when I opened my eyes. It was good to see the relaxed expression after the stressful yet freeing weekend with Jacob. It was such a relief that we had survived this first major obstacle to our little threesome intact. Then there had been the exuberance of the New Year and the cleanup. There had been little time for bonding for the three of us.
Until last night.
Last night would live in my memories for a long, long time.
Instead of the expected kisses and flattery, Art gestured down our intertwined bodies with her chin. “Shh, look.”
We were curled along either side of Sam's lanky body. She was still such a delightful novelty to us that the poor woman rarely fell asleep without being under the influence of a post-orgasmic buzz, and we'd been so damn glad to have her home again. So I trailed my gaze over the planes and hollows of her lean frame, half-covered by mine and Art's bodies. A soft moan bubbled up from Sam's chest, diverting my eyes up to her face. She was lost in some erotic dream, her features soft and wanting, a faint flush coloring her skin. Again Art made that strangled sound of amusement, obviously trying not to wake Sam. Then I suddenly figured out what was going on and my eyes flew down our intertwined bodies. My swollen belly was resting comfortably on Sam's hip, Art's leg thrown over her pale thighs. A small vibration rumbled against the twins, a warm, soft sound. Irreverent hysteria welled up when I confirmed the situation. Little Jaffa had found the small space between our bodies and was curled up in a tight ball in that blissfully warm place.
Right over Sam's naked crotch.
Purring like a small engine in lazy idle.
No wonder the tall woman was moaning. It had been a pleasant shock for all of us when shaving Sam completely naked from the neck down had made her so exquisitely sensitive. The stories of her first few days at work with the distraction had made me laugh and laugh. Of course, once I had gotten the humor out of my system, Sam had been thoroughly ravished. Now Jaffa's purring seemed to have gotten my sensitive blonde puppy all worked up in her sleep. Grinning wickedly, I reached down to lovingly stroke and caress the little ball of fur. Almost instantly, the cat's motor went up a few gears and Sam moaned again. Jaffa stirred as though she was waking and I gently soothed her back down. Only her delicate head came up to peer sleepily at me. So I obligingly scratched her chin and ears and the purr hit that rumbling pitch that could be heard clear across a large room. It still amazed me that such a tiny creature could make so much noise. Art wandered a lazy hand over Sam's smooth skin and I hungrily watched the movement. The contrast between their coloring never failed to get me hot and bothered. Ever so gently, that hand slipped beneath Jaffa, careful not to disturb the little cat. A deep kiss swallowed Sam's sharp moan, her body twisting sinuously beneath our combined weights. Torn between watching them kiss and the teasing stroking of the sensitive treasure between Sam's legs, I carefully lifted Jaffa's unresisting body away and shifted to the side to watch. Sam's body was mostly awake now, and responding beautifully to Art's lovemaking. Primed by Jaffa's innocent purring, she was writhing and clinging to Art's strong body. Dusky fingers dipped and stroked, Sam's hand wrapped around her wrist for support. Art propped herself up onto her other elbow to free her hand enough to tousle the soft gold hair. Lost in one another, my sweet puppies rode the unexpected pleasure until Sam cried out, the sound muffled by Art's mouth.
“Well, good morning sunshine,” Art teased lightly as bleary blue eyes peered up at her. A prod from the fingers still buried in Sam's warmth earned a hiss and a grimace of pleasure.
“'Mornin',” Sam groaned. “I hate to say it, but I'm really glad the holidays are over.”
“If you mean the privacy,” Art chuckled. “Then I agree completely.”
++ Karen ++
This had been the most fun any of us had had in ages. A big, family outing to the final days of a big 'Winter Wonderland' that the city of Denver had put up on the outskirts of town. Most of the grounds were quiet since the gift-giving was over, Santa's workshop and the craft fairs standing empty. Poor Emily had been traumatized that Santa was gone, until I patiently explained that he had returned to the North Pole to get ready for next Christmas.
There was an ice-skating rink, a sledding hill and other winter fun scattered over a few acres. But, it was the throng of kids that had Emily and Cassie so happy. Having Art as their personal handler and playmate for the day helped. There were even horse drawn carriages on spindly rails that glided smoothly over the heavy snow. We'd pooled our resources and rented one for the entire day, much to the delight of the girl driving the thing. This was Janet's throne, and she was happily bundled in a mountain of fur and wool and fleece to keep her and the twins warm. Each of us grownups took turns keeping her company. Cooper pretty much hadn't left the carriage either, but Lucky gamely chased after handler and child alike, barking wildly as they played.
“Go figure that snow would break through that one's superior attitude,” I mused and Janet laughed.
“She certainly loves the stuff. Nearly as much as Emily.”
As though conjured up by our conversation, Emily floundered over, flushed with exertion and fun. “Hi baby.”
She was panting, but happy, and flopped boneless atop Janet's pile of warmth to babble in that half-coherent speech that she used when 'talking' to the babies. It was only recently that she had begun doing it, and really seemed to believe that they could hear her. It was very cute to hear her tell her exciting day to Janet's swollen belly.
Such a funny kid!