Summary: Cassie hopes Alex wants the same as she does.
"It's a beautiful apartment, Cass," Alex said to Cassie, once they were finally alone. "Your Mom and Sam obviously love you very much."
Cassie looked up at her, and took her hand, kissing it softly. "Yeah," she agreed. "I'm real lucky. And so's this one," she put her hand on her belly. "This baby's gonna have three parents that love it so much."
"I'm so pleased Mike was happy about the baby," Alex said. "And I'm real proud of you for calling him. I know it was difficult, Cass."
"It actually wasn't," Cassie admitted, "it was just the thought of it. He's a lovely guy. He always was. He was never mean to me or anything. Not once. It just didn't work out for us. Thank God. Because if it had, I would never have gotten together with you. And you are so much more to me than he ever was. I thought I loved him. But I was wrong. It was good of you to make me call him. Because now we're all going to be sharing this baby, not just you and me any more. And I know you're smart enough to have realized that."
Alex smiled, and leant in and kissed her. "It only means there's gonna be more love, all round," she said gently. "It's because I love you I wanted you to call. And for the baby. He or she should know who their daddy is. And Mike won't cause any trouble with custody, or anything like that, will he? It's not like he's gonna disapprove. He never had a problem with Sam being with Janet, did he?"
Cassie laughed. "Mike couldn't give a rat's ass who's with who, just so long as they are happy. One of his closest friends at college was gay; he still sees him as often as he can. He went to his wedding in Canada. No, he won't cause us any trouble, I'm sure of that. And he'll do his best to be involved, but he lives two hours' away now, so it's not like he'll drop in every night. It'll all work out great, I'm sure of it."
Alex smiled. "You're gonna be such a great mom," she said.
"So are you, Lex," Cassie said. "Will you stay tonight?"
"I'd love to, if that's okay," Alex replied. "Are you sure you don't want to have some time to yourself in your new apartment?"
Cassie shook her head. "I've been meaning to talk to you about that," she said, hesitantly.
"Cassie," Alex cupped her cheek lovingly. "I don't want you to think you have to invite me over every night, or stay with me. If you want some space, I'll understand. And I wouldn't be offended."
"No!" Cassie almost shouted. "I didn't mean that. That's the opposite of what I meant, truly it is. What I wanted to ask," she swallowed nervously. "I mean, you said that you'd think about getting a new apartment once you'd stopped paying Jess back. So I guess that you don't want to stay where you are for ever. So I was wondering. We were wondering. And I don't want to put any pressure on you. Say no if you don't want to. Or don't want to yet. It's all fine. Am I making any sense?"
"Cassandra," Alex said firmly. "Breathe. Relax. Are you okay?"
"Are you sure?" Alex asked.
Cassie nodded again.
"So start again. Slowly. Clearly. Just say what you want to say. And don't worry about my reaction. It'll all be fine, sweetheart, truly it will. Now what did you want to ask me?"
Cassie grinned sheepishly. "Sorry," she said. "I got a bit tied up there. What I want," she took a deep breath. "What I would like, more than anything, is for you to move in here with me. But only if you want to. There," she smiled. "I said it." She looked over at her lover, and was moved to see tears in her eyes.
"Oh Cass," Alex said eventually. "That's probably the nicest thing anybody has ever asked me. Yes. I can't think of anything better than living with you. And being so close to your wonderful family. But what about them? We should ask them if they mind. After all, it's still their house."
Cassie pulled Alex to her, and kissed her softly. "Of course they don't mind. Anyway, it was Sam who suggested I ask you. Actually, she didn't suggest I should ask you. She told me to ask you. They're not my family Lex. They're our family. Like it or not, you're part of the clan now. Hey," she smiled at a sudden thought.
"What?" Alex asked.
"I can't wait to see Bea's face when we tell her you're moving in. You are moving in, aren't you? I mean, you did say yes, didn't you?" Cassie asked. "I did hear right?"
Alex put her arms round her lover, and kissed her soundly. "Yes," she said, when they eventually broke apart. "Yes, I'm moving in. I can't wait."
"Then you don't have to wait," Cassie smiled. "Move in now. And we'll get your stuff from your old apartment on the weekend. So when Mike comes over the following weekend, you'll be here full time. Thank you, Lex," she said, in a quiet voice. "Thank you for making me so happy."
"Thank you," Alex said. "For giving me love. For giving me a family. For being you."
"Make love to me?" Cassie asked, in a quiet voice.
So Alex took her by the hand, and led her to their new bedroom.
= = =
"So you think she's asked her yet?" Janet asked Sam, for the third time.
Sam rolled over in the bed and fixed her with a hard stare. "I. Don't. Know," she said, firmly and slowly. "You keep asking me about our daughter's domestic arrangements, and you haven't even noticed the parcel I left for you in the bathroom," she was pretending to be serious, but Janet could see her lips quirking, and knew that Sam was struggling to keep a straight face.
"Seriously," Sam continued. "What's a girl to do? I plan a romantic night with my wife. I even showered specially. Jasmine shampoo. And I'm wearing your favorite pajamas. So I'm sitting here, waiting for you to go wash up, because then I know you'll see a bag from Victoria's Secret sitting by the washbasin. So I'm getting all excited about how you're gonna look in that... special outfit," she grinned. "And what do you do? You ask me questions about room occupancy in the apartment next door!" She reached out, and pulled a laughing Janet onto the bed. She kissed her thoroughly. "God," she said, slightly breathlessly. "It defies logic, but somehow I love you more with every passing second. I suppose it also helps," she grinned again, "that you are the hottest thing on two legs."
"Not true," Janet replied, her breathing also erratic. "That is a position that is already taken. By a certain Colonel Samantha Carter. Maybe you've heard of her? She's pretty damned perfect."
Sam smiled. "I hear she doesn't cook so well, though" she said, trying not to laugh.
"Her only failing," Janet replied, with a twinkle in her eye. "And she has a real good track record when it comes to gifts. So," she kissed Sam again, and batted away Sam's hand that reached out to grasp a breast, and pulled away. "I'm gonna go shower. And then I'm gonna check out the parcel that she's left for me. And if you behave yourself," she slid off the bed, fully aware that Sam was checking her out, "I'll come back out and show you. I'll just take this," she reached to the back of the door and took her slinkiest robe. "And I'll see you soon."
"Don't be long," Sam's voice was husky. "I don't think I can wait long."
"Patience is a virtue," Janet replied in a sultry tone.
It was less than ten minutes later that Sam heard the door from the en-suite bathroom open. Janet emerged, freshly showered. Even from as far away as the bed, Sam could see that she had put on a light make-up, and was wearing a delicate necklace that Sam had bought her for their first anniversary. She could also smell fresh scent that Janet had just applied. Janet didn't speak as she emerged, clad in the silken robe. Sam didn't think she had ever been so aroused in her life.
"You're so beautiful," she whispered. "Oh God, Janet, what did I ever do to deserve you? You're a goddess."
"Shh," Janet whispered as she made her way over to the bed; Sam was now sitting on the edge, staring openly at Janet. Janet stood between Sam's knees, and leant down and kissed her, softly at first, but then becoming more passionate.
Sam whimpered, and reached up to run her hand through Janet's soft hair. After a few minutes, they broke apart. Janet took a tiny step back, and smiled at the look of disappointment on Sam's face. "I'm not going anywhere, baby," she said. "I just thought maybe you'd like to see your gift."
Sam's mouth went dry, as Janet's hands moved to loosen the tie on her gown. Slowly, deliberately, she untied the knot. She slowly pulled the gown to the sides, and let it fall. She could see Sam's eyes darken with passion.
"Oh my," Sam said. "I really do have good taste in gifts sometimes, don't I?" And she stood up and faced Janet. She reached and grasped the edges of her flannel pajama top. It was a long-running joke between Sam and Janet that Janet couldn't resist Sam in flannel pajamas, the baggier and uglier the better. Sam pulled her top over her head in one swift motion. Janet reached out and loosened the tie of Sam's pajama pants, which then fell to the floor at her ankles. Sam stepped to one side. She reached out and ran her hand down the flawless skin between Janet's breasts, then cupped a full breast through the new lace bra. "It fits," she said.
"It's perfect," Janet said, gasping at the touch. "Just like you."
Sam kissed her, trying not to moan at the sensations that Janet's tongue awakened in her. She lifted her up and tenderly placed her on the bed. "You look sensational in your gift," she told her. "Now I'm gonna enjoy unwrapping you."
= = =
Three hours later, Janet turned in the bed to face her lover. Sam was lying on her back, her whole demeanour suffused with smug contentment. "How long have we been together now, baby?" Janet asked her, taking her hand and interlacing their fingers.
"Fourteen years, three months and eight days," Sam said, then grinned bashfully at the precision of her answer. "What?" she demanded at Janet's smirk. "I'm good with numbers."
"That's not all you're good with," Janet replied, turning her hand in her own, and kissing each finger individually.
"Why did you ask?" Sam wanted to know.
"No reason really," Janet replied. "I suppose I was wondering. Most people say that the passion tails off after a while together. I was just wondering when that's gonna happen?" she grinned.
"When hell freezes over," Sam said. "And not even then. Then we'll heat it up again. God knows you're hot enough to do that."
"Right back at ya, Sam," Janet smiled. "You wanna go again?" she looked up at Sam, her eyes pleading.
"God yes," Sam reached over and pulled her to her. "Always."
= = =
"Is everything okay, Mommy?" Beatrice wanted to know why her mother had called her in to the living room when she was quite happy playing with Leo in the hallway.
"Everything's good, Bea," Janet smiled. "Real good. Come sit by me," she patted the couch next to her. "Just for a few minutes. I've got some news for you."
Beatrice climbed up on to the couch, and looked up at her mother. Janet noticed, not for the first time, just how much Beatrice looked like Sam, despite her darkening hair and brown eyes. She reached out and stroked her cheek. "I love you so much, Bea," she told her.
"I love you too, Mommy," Beatrice said. "Are you sure nothing's wrong?"
"Nothing at all," Janet said. "I think you're gonna be very pleased with what I'm going to tell you. You know Alex is Cassie's girlfriend, huh?"
Beatrice beamed. "Yeah," she said. "I love Alex. She's real kind. And she makes Cassie happy."
Janet smiled. "She does, doesn't she? Well, the news is that Cassie wants to spend as much time as she can with Alex. And she wants Alex to be around when the baby is here, so that Alex can be the baby's mom too."
"Like you and Mama?" Beatrice asked.
"Just like that," Janet agreed. "And Mike is going to be here sometimes too, just like your Daddy is. Probably not quite as often as Daddy, because he lives quite a long way away. But he'll be here regularly. But Cassie and Alex are going to bring the baby up together. So, yesterday, Cassie asked Alex to come live with her in the new apartment. And Alex said yes! Isn't that great?"
Beatrice let out a squeal of joy. "That's great," she agreed, excitedly. "So we'll see them both all the time?"
"We will," Janet said. "And the baby. And Cassie and Alex want you to know that they want you to be a big part of the baby's life. They've already asked me and Mama if you can help with the baby. Alex has particularly asked if you can do one of your wonderful drawings, so that they can frame it and put it in the baby's room."
"Of course I will!" Beatrice replied, bouncing up and down with excitement. In the last few months, everybody had been remarking on her artistic talent. Some people had even suggested that Janet and Sam should get her private art tuition, but Sam had put her foot down.
"She's only four," Sam had told Janet. "She just likes to draw right now. If she asks us later, then of course we'll pay for lessons. But she should just enjoy being creative. If she wants to take it further when she's older, that's great. But I'm not having her... groomed. Like some sort of prodigy. She's a little girl, and she should enjoy being a little girl. She should be playing in the mud, climbing trees."
"Looking through telescopes?" Janet had joked.
"Exactly," Sam had agreed.
"I'll do a picture of Leo," Beatrice said to Janet. "Babies like dogs, don't they?"
"I'm sure this baby will love them, Leo especially," Janet said. "I think that would be wonderful, Bea."
Beatrice grinned with delight.
"There's just one more thing, Bea," Janet said.
"What's that, Mommy?" Beatrice asked.
"We should remember that Cassie and Alex, as well as being part of this family, are now starting their own family. So there will probably be times when they just want to be alone together. That doesn't mean they don't want to see us all," she reassured her daughter. "But I think maybe when they're in the apartment, we should make sure that they get their privacy. We should knock at the front door if we want to see them."
"Are they in love with each other, Mommy?" Beatrice asked.
"Yes, baby, they are," Janet agreed.
"Like you and Mama?" Beatrice asked.
"Exactly like that," Janet said. "And I remember when I first fell in love with your Mama, I wanted to spend every moment I could with her. I wanted to hold her, and kiss her, and just be with her, every minute."
Beatrice laughed. "You still do, Mommy," she said. "You and Mama are always making out."
Janet grinned. "Yes, I suppose that's true," she said. "Well that's your Mama's fault, for being so beautiful," she smiled.
"So we shouldn't just go into their apartment, in case they are making out?" Beatrice asked.
Janet was startled at the perspicacity of the child, but knew it was best to tell her the truth. "That's partly right," she said. "But even if they aren't making out, they might just want to be together, quietly. Do you understand that Bea? It doesn't mean they don't love us. And we'll still see them all the time. And we'll do lots of stuff together."
Beatrice nodded. "I understand," she said. "Everybody needs their own space," she said, in a very knowing, adult tone, sounding so grown-up that Janet had to suppress a grin.
= = =
"Are you sure you don't want to bring any of this?" Cassie gestured at the furniture left in Alex's small apartment.
"I don't need any of that," Alex said with a smile. "I have everything I need back at your apartment. Ooh, except this," she reached down onto the bed and grabbed an old stuffed kangaroo that lay on her pillow. "I can't leave Kevin The Kangaroo here, now, can I?"
Cassie grinned. "Oh don't tell me we've got to find room for that on our bed?" she joked.
"No," Alex said firmly. "There's not going to be room. Not with you, me and this one," she laid her hand on Cassie's belly. "I was just wondering if there was anybody who might want to take care of him for me? I don't suppose you know anybody who would?" she looked down at Beatrice. "Oh I've had an idea," she said. "I wonder, if I asked you very nicely Bea, if you could care for Kevin for me? He's very well behaved, and never makes any mess. He just wants somebody to love him. Do you think you could do that for me?"
Beatrice nodded enthusiastically. "Of course I can," she said. "I'll be real good to him, I swear."
"I know you will, Bea," Alex said, kneeling at her level and giving her a warm hug. "And it's very important to me that he's going to be with you. He was given to me by my Mom when I was about your age. So he's very special. And I know you'll make sure he's happy."
"I will, I swear," Beatrice promised. Cassie was moved almost to tears by the sight of her lover and her little sister in each other's arms.
"I'm a very lucky girl, to be 'inheriting' such great sisters," Alex told Beatrice, motioning over to Kathy, who had levered herself up from the floor and, with Sam watching closely, was pulling herself along the side of the bookshelf. "I hope I'm going to be seeing a lot of you," she said.
Beatrice beamed with delight.