otalia fan fiction
An Otalia Wedding
It's 2029 and there's an Otalia wedding brewing that features siblings Emma, Rafe, Ava, Francesca and Elena. 
Violating the Rules
Blis (Blake/Doris) tale that mirrors the Otalia story set during the '1 year later' timeframe of Guiding Light with Olivia and Natalia trying to play matchmaker to the couple. 
Best Man Speech
Olivia tries to get to the heart of why Rafe dislikes her so much. 
Carino
Nothing but some NC-17 sexy smut. 
First Kiss... Revised
Story from Natalia's POV as she confesses sleeping with Frank.  
 Frienemies
Upset that Natalia left her without a word, Olivia heads to ladies night to pick someone up only to find Doris who saves her from a mistake...or does she?  
Funny Shapes or Rounds
Two lovers enjoy the 'morning after' until a daughter demands breakfast. 
Girls Night Out
Natalia returns from the retreat but Olivia wants nothing to do with her. So Doris offers to take Olivia on a buddy adventure.
I Get By With a Little Help From My... Enemies
Doris offers a little bit of friendly advice and prodding to help Olivia and Natalia jump start their relationship.
I'll Be Home For Christmas
Olivia's closing a major deal in the Northeast but bad weather keeps her from getting to Springfield.
Like I Always Am
This was an altered reality/ what if story I wrote for my friend Dragonwriter who proposed, "What if Olivia didn't 'wake up' after her heart test & Natalia kissed her?"
Loving You Both
Olivia finds a way to help Natalia balance their love and her lovers' faith in God. 
Lunch Counter Confessions
Olivia gossips with Doris and Blake about Natalia and the wonders of lesbian sex.
Matt? Really?
This story was written on a daily/weekly basis and used spoilers following Natalia's return from the retreat. 
It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Natalia reflects on a Christmas past and their first Christmas with newborn Francesca. 
Merry Christmas Baby
A sexy NC-17 sequel to my Christmas 2009 story, ďItís the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.Ē 
One Kiss
Otaliaís first kiss told from one of the characterís perspective. ĎNuff said.
Pass The Potato Salad
In this tale, pregnant Natalia goes to the BBQ, not the retreat. 
Promises Promises
Set a year after the infamous Bauer Barbecue, Natalia tells Olivia she'll 'meet her there' when she ends up running late and it stirs up old feelings. 
Road Trip 
Story based on spoilers that Doris and Olivia were going on a road trip to find Natalia. 
Score One for Natalia Rivera
Olivia's ex's gossip about her prowess as a lover and a drunken Natalia joins the conversation.
This isn't Supposed to Happen
Our gals late night musings as they lie in bed. 
Tonight It Feels Like Home
Olivia is back in the farmhouse again and trying to find a comfort level she once had before Natalia's bolt to the retreat. 
Two Mommies (Take Two)
Rafe examines the relationship of his mother and Olivia. 
Supply & Demand
Olivia and Natalia take Francesca trick or treating and the youngster learns a lesson in marketing. 
Dimples
A collection of short stories about Francesca Spencer told from various family members point of view with each chapter representing a year from her life. 
Until Death
Dark tale of what might have happened if Natalia went through with the wedding.
 
Chapter 75

As Doris began to suck on Blake's neck, the authorís eyes went wide before rolling back into her head. She let out a noise between strangled scream and a moan as Doris increased pressure of her lips, effectively bruising the skin.

Realizing she wouldn't be able to escape, Blake closed her eyes and for the briefest of moments savored the feeling of Doris possessing her so completely. Dorisí lips released her for a second to catch her breath, but immediately returned to Blake's pulse point, increasing the suction. Blake realized she had to put some kind of fight, if only for show.

She began to try to move her head, but Doris pulled the authors captured arm toward her head. Doris released Blake's wrist, only to take possession of her head with her free hand. The Mayor then used her forearm to keep Blake's arm effectively capture.

The slight pain of Doris's piercing lips on her neck and now Doris's fingers pulling her hair made Blake whimper in desire that only Doris could hear. When the mayor heard the whimper, she omitted a tiny groan of her own, particularly when Blake's pelvis rose slightly and made contact with her already hypersensitive center.

Although only a few seconds have passed, it felt like an eternity to both women. And although Doris would have loved to stay pressed against Blake longer, she also realized everyone was still there. She pulled back and made a loud popping noise for comical effect as she dislodged her lips from Blake's neck.

Doris moved to her feet as fast as her legs and aroused state would allow her. She saw the group approaching. In a teasing gesture, she pointed to Blake, who still lay on the ground looking flush, and said, "I warned ya, didnít I? What did I say Shane?" Doris asked him.

"If she tackling you again and youíd bruise her," he chuckled.

"See?" Doris pointed. "I kept my word. I wasn't speaking metaphorically either."

The group laughed... except for Frank.

"So?" Natalia asked the group. "Did Doris score or not?"

Clarissa giggled, "Judging by that hickey on momís neck? Iíd say she scored big time."

Again, most the members in the group laughed.

"I meant the game," Natalia replied annoyed yet smiled.

Doris looked to Frankís team. "Will someone please say that I scored so we can go inside again where it's warm?"

"Fine," Frank conceded. "You guys win."

A cheer went up for Natalia team as some of the Coopers grumbled.

"We'll get Ďem next year," Buzz said as he put his arm around Marina and the other around Lillian.

Frank was inspecting the love bite on Blake's neck, while Doris watched them. Blake looked just beyond Frank to see the Mayor. Again, unseen to anyone else, Doris grinned and licked her lips before she turned to catch up to Ashlee and Natalia.

"I have to hand it to you, Mom," Ashlee complemented keeping her voice low.

"What?"

"It seems you can make out with a woman right in front of her fiancť without him noticing."

Doris didn't reply -- she smiled as they just headed back towards the house.

Further back, Frank and Blake walked hand-in-hand.

"Are you sure you're okay?" he asked her.

"I'm fine." Blake grinned.

"You know, Doris had no right to do that to you," he said aggravated.

"I told you, I'm fine. And honestly, I did have a coming..."

"She assaulted you."

"Are you going to arrest her?" Blake laughed.

"If I catch her sucking on your neck again, I might." After Frank's comment, Blake stopped walking and after couple of strides, Frank noticed and turned to face her. "What?"

"Why do I get the feeling this isn't about protecting me, but rather protecting your ego?"

"What you talking about?"

"You seem... jealous."

"Jealous? Of a lesbian pinning down my fiancťe and sucking on her neck? Why would I be jealous of something like THAT? Itís not as if a woman Iím in love with has ever decided-!"

"Frank," Blake sighed. Frank didn't say anything. He simply waited for her to continue. When she didn't, he motioned his hands for her to go on. "What?" she asked.

"You acted like you had something more to say. I was just waiting."

"For what?"

"For you to tell me why you feel it's okay for the Ďoutí Mayor to leave a hickey on your neck?"

Blake turned and started to walk away.

Chapter 76

"You never answered me," Frank said as he followed her.

Blake took Frankís hands. "Itís Thanksgiving. Weíre having fun. Thatís all. Letís go inside, okay?" Reluctantly, Frank let her lead him toward the house. Blake figured now was as good a time as any to tell him about her shopping plans with Doris. "Oh, by the way, Doris and I plan on going shopping tomorrow after breakfast."

"Why?"

"What do you mean why? Because we thought weíd get some food and hit some stores. Are you telling me that I canít go out with my friends? Because if you are-."

"Iím not trying to own you, if thatís what you think," Frank countered.

"Really? What would you call it?"

"You just seem to be spending a lot of time with Doris and she might get the wrong impression."

"And how would you know what I do or who I see?" Blake challenged. "Youíre rarely home lately."

"I told you. This Rizzoli case is important," he stressed.

"Fine. Make the streets safer, Frank. Just donít accuse Doris of thinking I want her to keep the sheets warm just because we have dinner or drinks or go dancing."

"Dancing? What?"

"Never mind," Blake sighed. "Doris isnít getting a wrong impression. She knows where I stand." She didnít lie... exactly.

"And where do you stand?" Frank asked.

"What does that mean?"

Frank stopped walking and Blake followed suit.

"I canít believe Iím asking this question, but... are you sleeping with Doris?"

"I am not sleeping with Doris Wolfe."

"Fine. Just to make sure Iím not getting screwed by semantics, let me ask this... Are you having sex with Doris?"

"No. Not with Doris or anyone else for that matter. Hell, I donít even have sex with you anymore. Most nights Iím alone."

"I told you-."

"Yeah. Rizzoli off the streets. Safer world. Whatever."

And with that, she finished her journey into the house.

Once she got inside, she saw Doris saying goodbye to everyone.

"Are you sure itís no trouble?" Doris was asking Daisy.

"Oh, no. Iíll bring Ash home. In fact, I might crash at your place tonight, if thatís okay."

"No, thatís fine, Sweetie," Doris told her.

"Youíre leaving?" Blake asked Doris trying to hide her disappointment.

"Iím not much of a video game player," Doris said.

"But this is different. Itís not like a normal game," Blake tried to persuade her.

"Hey!" Reva called over to the pair as she looked at the TV screen. "Theyíve got ĎNight Feverí on here," she laughed. "Iíll sing and you two can dance again!"

The people, who were at the ball, chuckled.

"You were dancing with Doris?" Jason asked his mom.

She didnít answer immediately, but then said, "Yeah, I was waiting for Frank and Doris kept me company at the Thanksgiving Ball. We both liked the song, so we danced. No biggie."

"And she didnít step on my toes once," Doris joked. Again, Doris noticed that everyone, except Frank, found it humorous. "Maybe some other time though," she added. "You guys have fun."

She started to the door, but Blake followed her and reached out taking her hand.

"Tomorrow?" she asked hopefully. "Weíre still getting together tomorrow, right? I told Frank we made plans."

Doris couldnít help, but notice Blake held on to her, refusing to let go.

"Yeah. How about we meet at Zorbaís Coney Island? 7 AM?"

"Iíll be there." Blake grinned.

"See you then," Doris replied as she gripped Blakeís hand. She released her and then waved to the room. "Happy Thanksgiving everyone," she added before she walked out.

"Whose band do you want to be in, Mom?" her other son, Kevin, asked. "Team up with me, Jason and Clarissa and weíll be like the Jonas Brothers."

"Hey," Clarissa said indignant. "Iím a girl."

"Jonas Brothers and sister," he corrected himself. "What do you say?"

"Actually, weíd be more like the Partridge Family if I joined," Blake countered.

"Who?" Kevin asked.

The room groaned and chastised him.

"What?" he asked.

"Even ĎIí know who the Partridge Family is," Clarissa above the din. "Did you go to Europe and become stupid?"

"Enough," Blake warned her and then turned to Kevin. "Iíll explain who they are later... and feel old beyond believe in the process."

"So is that a yes?" Kevin asked.

"Actually, I think Iím going to sit this out. Iíll just go clean up the kitchen."

"Nooo," Marina insisted. "I donít want you cleaning up. I can do it later."

"Itís no trouble," Blake said.

"Yeah," Ashlee said, "and since Iím not really very musical either, Iíll help you."

"Oh, you donít-." Blake tried to say.

"No. I insist. I want to help... Besides, I really havenít had much of a chance to catch up and see... whatís new."

By the look in her eye, Blake knew Ashlee had some serious questions, so, reluctantly she followed the young woman into the kitchen.

Chapter 77

"Are you still getting married?" Ashlee asked, her voice uncharacteristically quiet as she dried the dishes Blake was washing.

Blake looked over her shoulders to see if they were still alone in the kitchen.

"I donít know."

"She loves you."

"She does? Did she tell you that?"

"When I asked her if she loved you, she said it didnít matter."

"So she didnít actually say the words then?"

"She thinks youíre getting married, so sheís protecting her heart... Just tell me the truth... Do you love her?"

Blake began to grin, but then looked somber again. "Letís say Iím very attracted to her."

"Do you like her at least?" Ashlee countered.

"Yes. Very much," Blake said without delay.

"So youíre attracted and you like her... Then you donít need more," Ashlee replied.

"Ashlee, youíre young and-."

"Yes. I AM young. So what?" she argued. "You think I donít know how love works? I think youíve settled into a Ďsafe lifeí and youíve forgotten what fire and passion are about. I canít claim to know you all that well, Blake, but Iíve seen the way you write. You need passion as much as you need air. Sure, Frank might fit the bill now, but letís be honest; does he captivate you like my mom does? I saw the way you looked at her when you opened that door today."

"Oh really? How did I look?"

"Like you wanted to devour her and believe me thatís... freaky. Iíve never seen my mom act... like a normal woman. Iíve never seen anyone treat her like...a person. But I know what I saw at the front door and I know what I saw on that football field. Love bites aside, you truly enjoy and... enchant each other."

"Itís not that easy."

"It is," she said, her voice starting to rise. She lowered it again and took a step closer to Blake. "What about the Thanksgiving dance?"

"What about it?"

"James Spaulding sent us a video he shot that night. Be honest... you felt more alive with my mom on the dance floor than you have in years, didnít you?"

"Yes," Blake said with a slight whimper.

"I know because I saw that smile on your face Ė both your faces. My mom hasnít loved many people in my lifetime. And Iím not talking about lovers Ė I mean just people in general. I can count on one hand whoís important to her. But when she does love someone, sheís all in -- 110 percent. Thereís nothing she wonít do for them. And I can see it here... She loves you, Blake. Sheís just scared."

"I scare her?"

"Of course you do. Sheís ready to hand over her heart, but the question is... will you be there to accept it if she does?" Blake looked away. "See? This is why she wonít say anything. That reaction you had right there... Why are you dragging your feet on this?"

Blake looked over her shoulder again. "I donít want to hurt Frank."

"What about my mother? What about you?"

"Frankís already been left by one woman for another. I canít do that to him. I canít hurt him."

"At this point, the way I see it, someone is going to get hurt regardless. Iíd rather it not be my mom."

"No, if I marry Frank, sheíll go back to her life. Iíll build a future with him and... no one will get hurt."

"Sure," Ashlee said sarcastically. "My mom goes back to pointless one night stands and closes me out of her life. Youíre trapped with a man who doesnít excite you. And Frank eventually finds out he was married out of a sense of obligation; not any type of aspiration. Thatís wonderful."

"Ashlee-."

"However," Ashlee continued her point, but not before looking over her shoulder to see they were alone. "If you leave Frank, heíll be hurt, at first, but he wonít waste months or years with the wrong person. You and my mom would be happy, and honestly... I can think of worse women to be my step-mom."

Blakeís grin mirrored Ashleeís. The author reached up and stroked the younger womanís face.

"You really love her," Blake said softly.

"So do you," Ashlee countered firmly. "Iím willing to stand up for her. But what are you ready to do?"

Blake let out a long sigh.

Chapter 78

Ashlee and Daisy arrived later that night to find Doris in her silk robe, drinking a glass of wine. The only light was coming from the TV, which was showing, "Itís a Wonderful Life."

"So who won?" Doris asked.

"Sorry?" Ashlee said.

"The Rock Band competition."

"Oh, Shane and Oliviaís band."

"And Natalia can sing! Did you know that?" Daisy asked.

Ashlee agreed. "She could be an American Idol. But not the bad idol people, but the good ones Ė the ones that go to Hollywood."

"A singer and a linebacker? Who knew?" Doris teased. "You girls want a snack? I made cookies."

"Mom, you donít bake," Ashlee said as Doris rose from the sofa, taking her wine with her.

"Not from scratch," she said. "I opened a package and plopped them on the tray for Godís sake."

A few moments later, the girls each had a cookie, eating their treats at the kitchen island. Doris was at the fridge, pouring them milk when Ashlee said, "I talked to Blake tonight."

Doris paused a moment. She didnít turn around and said, "Itís nice you had a chance to catch up with her and tell her about California."

"Yeah, but we mostly talked about you."

"Ashlee," Doris said nervously. "Iím not sure if right now is a good time-."

"Daisy knows," Ashlee said.

Doris ran her hands through her hair. "Blake is practically her aunt. Why would you tell her any-?"

"Ashlee didnít tell me," Daisy said quickly. "I guessed and dragged it out of her. And although I love my Uncle Frank, and I love Blake... I think theyíve run their course. I mean they tried years ago to get together and it didnít work then. Uncle Frank says theyíre different people now but... there are some things that just donít change. Know what I mean?"

Doris considered the question. "I suppose. Go on."

"Well, Blake really likes you and I think Uncle Frank should be with a woman who feels that way about him. Again, Blake is great," Daisy added quickly. "Iím just not sure if sheís right for my Uncle Frank."

"Okay girls, for the record, Blake and I arenít together. She still plans on marrying Frank and... I want her to find happiness."

"More than your own?" Ashlee asked.

"Yes," Doris answered immediately. "More than my own."

"Thatís why you have to make more of a play for her, Mom."

Daisy nodded her head in agreement with Ashlee.

Doris looked to the young Cooper. "You realize youíre plotting against your Uncle, right?"

"Yes. Well, no. I donít think itís plotting when you want whatís best for someone even if they think itís what they want and itís not. Follow me?"

"Surprisingly, yes."

"I think Uncle Frank was missing Natalia and he latched onto the first woman he found Ė Blake. Sheís rebound girl. But he doesnít see her that way since they knew each other before. Really, if you ask me, and I know you didnít, I think heís rushing into this."

"You do?"

"Yeah, heís spent over a year with Blake, sure. But Iím not sure if he wants to get married. I think he believes he HAS to get married."

"Has to get married?" Doris asked.

"Yeah," Ashlee said. "Daisy and I talked about this in the car."

"Right," Daisy agreed, "Natalia moved on. She has a stable life with Olivia. I think heís looking for that same stability for Francesca that she has with the Spencerís so heís pushing this thing with Blake. Now donít swear me to that because itís just my opinion and itís not based on any facts. Itís just a vibe you could say."

Doris snorted. "So you really donít mind if I... date Blake at some point?"

"Oh no, and really, I donít think my granddad wouldnít care either."

"Right," Ashlee added.

"How so?" Doris asked.

"We heard Buzz talking with Lillian and Marina," Ashlee answered, "and heís wondering, after the football game, if something else was going on with you two. He mentioned Blake at the Thanksgiving Ball."

"Yes, we danced. So what?"

"No," Daisy added. "He said that Blake looked jealous that night when you kissed her mom."

"Did you kiss Holly?" Ashlee asked.

"Yes, but not like you think."

"Well, Granddad didnít think it was his place to say anything," Daisy explained. "He said his main concern is he doesnít want to see Uncle Frank get hurt again. So if Blake is gonna leave, he wants her to leave sooner, rather than later. One runaway bride is plenty according to him, and I have to agree."

"The truth is," Doris told them. "Iím not sure what Iím going to do. At the moment, itís just breakfast and shopping tomorrow."

"Well, just remember," Daisy told her. "If it is something more, then the sooner she moves on, the better."

Doris considered her words.

Chapter 79

Blake walked into Zorbaís Coney Island. She looked at the far booth where Doris sat and she had to smile. The mayor had her glasses perched on her nose as she read the Springfield Journal.

Blake had to admit there was a majestic beauty to the woman Ė a manner of confidence that exuded from every pore without her even trying. At this distance, Blake could see it and felt gravitated toward it. On the table, there was a glass of what appeared to be apple juice, but no food.

Blake straightened her oxford shirt and undid another button before she made her way over. Sensing someone approaching, Doris looked up and smiled at the author.

"I hope you werenít waiting too long," Blake said as she took a seat.

"I just got here actually," Doris said as she began to take off her glasses.

"No, leave them on for a bit longer."

Doris smiled. "So you like a girl in glasses?"

"I like you in glasses."

"But Iíd like to see you," Doris said and pulled them from her nose. "There. Thatís better. Beautiful as ever. "

Blake smiled and then asked, "Are you sure you werenít here long? You look pretty settled in this booth."

"Rule 57 Ė Never lie to a woman about how long youíve waited for her... Feel," Doris said. She took Blakeís hand and the author felt her heart leap to her throat. Doris then led her hand to the glass. "See? The juice is still cold."

Doris began to move her hand away, but Blake reached out and snared Dorisís fingers. The mayor nervously looked around to a nearby table with a man and woman who might have seen the gesture, but they were paying them no attention.

"Blake," Doris said softly. "You need to be careful."

"Weíre just sitting."

"Holding hands."

"So?"

"So?" Doris repeated and let go of Blake, but not before giving a light squeeze. "Youíre an engaged woman. Everyone in town knows it."

"Says the woman who gave me this?" Blake asked as she raised her hair slightly to show the blue and purple love bite.

Doris tried to hide her grin. "Yes. What I did yesterday was dumb. I shouldnít have done that."

"Donít apologize. It felt..." Blake smiled again.

"Yes?"

"I loved how it felt. I loved... your lips on my neck."

"S-So you werenít upset?"

"No. I was... surprised by it all. I never expected you would do that and I-I never imagined Iíd feel..."

"What?"

Blake opened her mouth to speak, but the waitress came over.

"You ready to order?" she asked shortly.

"Oh, uh, whatís good?" Blake asked.

"People like the grits here, if you like grits," she said in a monotone.

"Iím not a grit fan," Blake replied.

The waitress turned to Doris. "What about you?"

"Since Iíve given up shedding my last five pounds, Iíll have the number one. Over medium, wheat, hash browns and bacon."

"Make it two," Blake said as she handed the waitress her menu.

"What to drink?" the waitress asked her.

"Uh, do you have iced tea?"

"One iced tea coming up."

She walked away and Blake asked, "Is it just me or was she kinda snotty?"

"Itís not you. Why do you think I go to Company all the time?"

"I thought it was to see me."

Doris began to blush. "Okay, two reasons I go to Company... Anyway, you were saying..."

Blake looked confused. "I forgot. Help me out."

"You said you never imagined youíd feel...Then the waitress arrived."

Blake smiled again and nodded. "I was going to say, Ďso arousedí."

"I arouse you, huh?" Doris grinned too. "Still... I shouldnít have done that."

"Is that why you left yesterday? Could you tell?"

"Tell what?"

"How much you turned me on?"

Doris took a drink of her juice. "No. But I did I hear you moan... I liked it."

"It was genuine," Blake assured her. "The feel of you pressing down on me; controlling me... your lips pulling at my skin... I never felt anything that forbidden and erotic in my life. If you would have moved your leg a little more the right, I might have climaxed on the spot."

"Dear God," Doris sighed and downed her apple juice.

The waitress bought Blakeís tea. Doris handed the empty glass back to the waitress.

"Another apple juice please," she told her. "And a tall glass of water. Lots and lots of ice."

Blake giggled softly as the waitress walked away.

"Damn woman," Doris muttered to Blake while she grinned.

"Getting hot in here for you Madam Mayor?" Blake teased.

Doris began to smirk. "You know what?"

"What?" Blake said as she took her time licking her fingers after putting the lemon in her glass.

"After she brings my drinks, and I know she wonít interrupt us for awhile, Iím going to tell you what I did after I got home... to my big empty house... in my big empty bed."

"Damn woman," Blake muttered to Doris, who was now the one grinning.

Chapter 80

The waitress returned and put the water and apple juice on the table. Doris thanked her, but didnít get a response except for a curt nod.

"So?" Blake said anxiously after the waitress left.

"Patience," Doris chastised playfully.

"You know, just for the record, you moaned yesterday too," Blake countered.

"How could I not? You taste delicious."

"Really?"

Doris nodded and then leaned closer. "I wondered what itíd be like to taste all of you."

Blake blushed, but didnít say anything.

"Sorry. Did I offend you?" the mayor added with a confident smirk.

"You know you didnít," Blake shot back. "Actually, itís been a long time since anyoneís been this... vocal..."

"Vocal?"

"Yeah, vocal about desiring me."

"Frank doesnít... stroke your ego?"

Blake released a heavy sigh. "Letís not discuss Frank right now."

"Well, as much as Iíd love to continue to flirt, maybe we should."

"Why?"

Doris avoided the question and said, "Tell me what heís like in bed."

Blake giggled nervously. "Why do you want to know?"

"Curious; thatís all. Besides, weíre just two friends having breakfast and shopping, right? Weíre just gossiping like those hags on ĎSex in the Cityí."

Blake had to laugh at that point. "Whatís happening between us is much more than Carrie and Samantha and you know it."

Doris considered her words. "Probably. Still, Iíd like to know. He must be doing SOMETHING right if you agreed to marry him."

Blake took a deep breath and blew it out slowly. "Heís considerate. Attentive. He-."

"Does he go down on you or do you have to ask? Or maybe you donít ask because thatís not what good girls do?"

Blake turned bright red now and took a long drink of her tea. "Why are you so curious?"

"Why do you think?" Doris retorted.

"I donít know."

"Yes you do. Youíre not as naive as you try to act sometimes. So whatís the answer Ė does he or doesnít he-?"

"He does."

"Do you need to ask?"

Blake still blushed, but said, "Yes. Now is this the part where you tell me that, with you, I wouldnít have to ask."

"You wouldnít ask," Doris said with a confident smile. "... Youíd beg."

Blake giggled again. "Arenít you smug," she teased.

"Not smug Ė Iím as good as I say I am."

"Is that a fact?"

Doris nodded slowly and confidently. "Yes, Maíam."

"Well, Iím still waiting to hear about last night," Blake said.

"You mean after I went home?"

Blake nodded.

"First, I went to the bedroom and lit a few candles... I love the scent of vanilla and lavender. Strangely, I find it calming yet exciting at the same time... What about you?"

"I-I...yeah."

"So once the fragrances filled the room, I turned off all the lights, so the only illumination was the flickering of the candles... Then I turned on my ipod because I just hadddd to hear Tina singing, "Why Must We Wait Until Tonight". Do you know it?"

Blake nodded. "Itís one of her sexier ones."

"Yes it is," she agreed and then started to sing softly. "You wanna take a little tiiiiime. Wanna drink me like a fiiiine wine... Damn, it reminds me of you."

"It does?" Blake asked, her voice sounded strained.

Doris nodded slowly. "Thatís why I picked it. I would love to drink you. And that night, I couldnít get you out of my head. I didnít WANT to get you out of my head... I wanted to revel in it -- The way you strained against my body in the field. The taste of your skin. The softness of your hair gripped in my hand. The moan that floated to my ear and shot to my center..." Doris shuttered and closed her eyes for a moment. When she looked back at Blake the woman was breathing hard, hanging on every word.

"So," Doris continued, "once I had everything in place, I took off every piece of clothing I had on... Not quickly, mind you... I closed my eyes... I imagined it was your fingers, not mine, brushing against my skin... shedding garment after garment... until I was completely naked."

Blake licked her lips. "T-Then what did you do?"

Doris looked over Blakeís shoulder and then sat back slightly.

"Two number ones," the waitress announced. Blake jumped slightly. The waitress put the plates down in front of them and asked, "You need anything else?"

"I think weíre good," Doris replied. "Blake?"

"Uhhhhh," she said distracted.

"I think that means sheís doing just fine," Doris teased. "Weíll shout if we need anything else."

The waitress walked away and Blake still seemed completely distracted by Dorisí story.

"Eat up," Doris told her as she picked up a piece of bacon. "You donít want your breakfast to get cold."

Chapter 81

Blake began to put strawberry jam on her toast as she grumbled, "Thatís not fair."

"Life isnít always fair. I know. I work in the justice system, or I used to work there," Doris countered.

"If anything, I figured youíd go on with your story in the name of justice. If Iím the subject of your fantasy, I should at least hear about it, right?"

"Are you trying to Ďlawyerí me, Marler?"

Blake chuckled. "A little."

Doris leaned closer and pointed the bacon she held in her hand at Blake.

"You really want to hear about my masturbatory fantasies?" She then popped the piece of bacon in her mouth.

Blake smiled and took her time licking the jam from her fingers, swirling her tongue around the extended digit.

"Yes, I do," she finally replied.

Doris grinned and snagged Blakeís hand. She brought the authorís finger into her mouth. She closed her eyes for a moment as she gently sucked on the appendage. She opened her eyes and pulled away slowly. Then she fixated on Blakeís flushed face.

"You missed some jam," Doris explained.

Blake smiled. "I-I..."

"Yes?" Doris teased.

"I suddenly want to get dirty again."

Doris snorted. "I thought you wanted to hear my story?"

"That too," Blake replied. "Canít I do both?"

Doris nodded and took a drink of her juice. "Okay, where was I?"

"Iíd just taken off your clothes and you were completely naked." Blake took a bite of her hash browns.

"Oh, right... Well... I should preface this by saying I like toys."

"Ooh what kind?"

"Lots of things... rings, beads, some times clamps."

"Vibrators?" Blake asked hopefully.

"Why yes? You seem excited at that prospect."

"I lovvvve vibs."

"Oh really?" Doris said doubtful.

"Yep. I even took Olivia shopping for one."

Doris laughed out loud. "Really?"

Blake nodded. "Well, I didnít take her. I just ran into her at Sammiís shop over on Main Street and gave her a few recommendations. She ended up buying the silver Je T'aime vibrator."

Doris giggled. "Did she like it?" She raised her fork and took a bite of her eggs.

Blake laughed too. "I never asked."

"Wonder if Natalia likes it?" Doris giggled again.

"Actually, I didnít even know she was with Natalia when she bought it. This was before they... you know... moved in together, well, back in togeth- sheesh you know what I mean!"

Doris chuckled. "Hmm... Iím going to have to ask her opinion of it."

"She might not have even used it," Blake argued.

"Shame if she didnít. Thatís a good one."

"You have it?!"

Doris just nodded.

"Me too!" Blake exclaimed. "I like the settings because you can-. Okay, time out. Iím getting distracted. Go back to your story."

Doris chuckled again. "I guess I know what store weíre hitting first after breakfast."

Blake laughed. "Fine, but first things first... Your story."

"Okay," Doris said and took a drink of her juice. "My body was still humming, thinking about you under me, as I made my way back into the bed... I imagined what it would be like to..." Doris trailed off and looked away.

"Would be like tooooo... what?" Blake said.

"Iím really... attracted to you and I... really want you. But I donít know if you feel that way too. I suddenly feel... exposed."

"Iím attracted to you, very much in fact," Blake reassured her. "Iím... at a bit of a crossroads about what to do with my attraction, but... itís mutual. Still, Doris, if youíre not comfortable telling me... you donít have to."

Doris nodded. "No, I want you to know... the way you make me feel. I... Itís been a really long time since Iíve... desired... a woman as much as I want you. And itís even longer since I admitted that kind of desire..."

"Then," Blake said as she reached over and squeezed Dorisís hand for a moment. "Please continue."

Doris grinned and settled back to the edge of her seat. "Anyway, I climbed into bed and all I could think about were your hands, and you lips and your teeth... I imagined that long hair tickling my skin as you kissed your way down my stomach and... across my thighs."

Doris paused remembering the night before and Blake asked, "How wet were you?"

"Soaked... And I got even wetter when I imagined the feel of your tongue when I put the vibrator against me. I pictured you lapping at me, but then I wanted more."

"More?" Blake asked in a throaty whisper.

Doris nodded. "I fantasized about pulling you higher on the bed. Then I moved to my palm and my knees. I visualized tasting you while you tasted me... It was incredible. The feel of you cheeks rubbing against my thighs; my breasts brushing against your hips. The sounds you made. The feel of your tongue... It only took a few minutes, but..."

"But what?"

"I came harder than I have in a really long time..."

Blake let out an aroused sigh.

"The reason why was you," Doris continued, "In that field, when my lips were claiming you... I know you felt it. This connection... itís very real... and itís stronger than anything Iíve felt in a long time."

Blakeís aroused state shifted into a sexy grin. "Finish your breakfast. Youíre going to need your energy... for sex toy shopping."

Doris smiled.

Chapter 82

The two women walked through Macyís. Few people were actually shopping, but there were some stragglers.

"You realize weíre four hours late and itís only 8:30 AM?" Doris asked her.

"Disappointed we didnít go straight to the sex shop?" Blake said in a hushed tone.

Doris grinned. "A little," she chuckled.

"Thatís the next stop, I swear," Blake replied. "Oooh, look!" she said as she dragged Doris over to the jewelry case. "Arenít these beautiful?" she asked as they looked inside the glass case. "I love jewelry. Shiny things distract me."

Doris smiled too.

"Would you like to see something?" the clerk asked in a tone too perky for such an early hour.

"Oh, no!" Blake said. "Iím just looking."

"Whatís the sense in just looking?" Doris asked. "Have fun! Like..." Doris looked around the case and then pointed. "What about that one?"

"Oh," the clerk gushed. "Thatís a wonderful piece," she said as she unlocked the case and brought out a diamond tennis bracelet. She placed it on a black velvet display cloth. "Itís 14 karat White Gold and it features 7 carat white diamonds for a magnificent glow."

"I donít even want to ask how much," Blake said.

"Then donít," Doris replied. "Just try it on."

Doris motioned her head toward the clerk who then picked it up and held it out for Blakeís wrist. Reluctantly, the author extended her arm.

Once the clasp was in place, Blake said, "Oooooh," with a small chuckle.

"It looks wonderful on you," Doris complimented.

"You think so?" Blake asked. She twisted her wrist back and forth. "Feels nice too," she giggled.

"Fine. Iíll ask," Doris said as she turned to the clerk. "How much?"

"Itís actually 70% off this morning so itís quite a steal at six."

"Six?" Blake asked. "You canít mean six dollars?"

"No, six thousand. Itís normally twenty thousand."

Blakeís eyes went wide and she held out her arm to the clerk suddenly. "Get this off me. Quickly. If you have a ĎYou break it; you bought ití policy Iím a dead woman."

Doris and the clerk both chuckled as the clerk took it off. Blake looked behind her to the jewelry outside the case.

"Iím gonna go hang out over here in my price range," she pointed.

Doris chuckled slightly and watched her walk away. The clerk had begun to put the tennis bracelet away, but Doris silently waved her hand to stop her. The mayor looked over her shoulder to see Blake distracted by some earrings on a nearby shelf. She took the opportunity to slip the clerk her charge card and put her fingers over her lips in a hush motion. The clerk simply nodded with a conspiring grin and began to ring up the purchase as Doris walked over to Blake to see what sheíd found.

"Ah, see?" Blake said holding up some hoop earrings. "Beautiful and only twenty Ė thatís twenty dollars; not thousand. Time to see if theyíve got those sweaters Clarissa likes. Want to head over to juniors?"

"Sure, lead the way," Doris said and started to walk with her. "Oh, hold on," she said as she dung into her purse and pulled out her cell phone. She looked at it and acted like she hit the button. "Hey Ash, hold on Sweetie." Doris turned to Blake. "Why donít you head over and Iíll catch up?" Doris said as she waved Blake away. The author nodded and headed over to the juniors department. Doris put her finger in one ear and walked toward the jewelry counter again as if she were actually talking to her daughter.

Still holding the phone to her ear, Doris turned to the jewelry clerk.

"Thank you very much," she said as she opened her purse and rested it on top of the counter. "Fake phone call for distraction," she whispered yet still held the phone to her ear.

The sales clerk nodded and quickly showed Doris it was the same bracelet and then snapped the black velvet box closed before putting it in a bag. She slyly put it in Dorisís purse.

Keeping her voice low in case Blake returned she said, "I added the three year warranty. It covers just about anything Ė lost diamonds, broken clasps, you name it Ė but I can take it off if you-."

"No, thatís good thinking. Thanks," Doris said.

"Here you go," the clerk said as she slid the receipt for Doris to sign, which she quickly scribbled.

"This oneís yours," she said giving her the other receipt and her credit card back.

"Thank you very much," Doris conspired.

"My pleasure. Sheís a lucky lady. Iím sure sheíll be very surprised and happy to wake up to that on Christmas morning."

The clerk smiled warmly as Doris considered her words. Waking up together on Christmas morning? Doris didnít know if that would happen. And the truth is she hadnít decided, if and when, she would give Blake such a lavish gift. She only knew that Blake loved it so that was enough for her.

"Thank you," Doris finally said politely without adding more.

Closing her purse, she raced over to catch up with Blake, who was none the wiser to her extravagant impulse purchase.

TBC

Chapter 83

Blake entered Sammiís Intimate Apparel and held the door for Doris. There were two younger women inside, maybe their early 20ís. The owner Sammi was there too. The two ladies were giggling as they looked at some Bachelorette Party novelties.

"What about you?" Doris asked as they strolled through the store. "Do you want a bachelorette party? I can get you some penis ice cube trays."

Blake smiled. "I think Iím good. Thanks anyway."

"Hey, Sammi," Doris greeted her.

"How are you two doing today?" she said. Sammi couldnít help notice that Doris and Blake seemed to arrive together.

"Can we go to the back?" Doris asked.

"Of course," she said. "In fact, we got a couple of new things in last week, if youíre interested."

"Hmm, maybe. Actually, we wanted to see some of your lingerie."

"We did?" Blake smiled.

"Yes we did," Doris replied with a sexy leer and then turned to Sammi. "Is there anything youíd recommend for us?"

Sammi didnít answer immediately. She paused, trying to sum up their relationship to each other.

"Well, both of you are rather shapely so you could pull off any type of lingerie. Youíre not too tall or too short either." She gave them both an appraising eye. "Iíd recommend something along the babydoll/teddy fashion - something thatís romantic and Ďflowsí. As for color, fiery redheads look fantastic in green, blues and earth tones," she told Blake. "For you Doris, pastels Ė any color. Blondes look beautiful in pastels. Of course, if youíre daring, we got in a new black spandex faux leather catsuit. Youíd look like the vampire from ĎUnderworldí."

Blake and Doris both chuckled.

"Weíll stick with the babydolls," Doris said.

"Good choice," she said and then leaned closer. "The catsuit might look sexy on, but itís hell to get out of. You could hurt something." All three of them chuckled. "But head on to the back and see if you like anything, ladies."

The pair walked into the back and on one side of the wall was lingerie while the other held various toys.

"Oh, look at this," Blake said as she went over and held up a light blue lace, open front, babydoll chemise.

"Sammi did recommend blue for you," Doris replied.

"No, not me; you," Blake said. "Youíd look beautiful in this."

"I donít know," Doris grumbled.

"Please. It matches those stunning blue eyes."

"Stunning?"

"Absolutely stunning," Blake insisted. "Try it on... please."

"Sammi doesnít keep the bottoms out here... for obvious reasons. So itís not going to look very good with my boring white bikinis."

"Well, lose the panties altogether."

Doris turned red. "So just strut out here naked from the waist down?"

"Hey, itís just us girls, right?" Blake smiled.

Doris began to nod confidently. "Okay, Marler. Iíll do it." She then looked around and pulled a similar sheer rose red sheer babydoll teddy from the wall. "But only if you do the same."

"You wanna get me naked?" Blake teased.

"Yes. Yes, very much so," Doris said deadpan and then grinned.

Blake laughed and took the garment Doris held and gave the mayor the teddy sheíd picked out for her.

"Youíre on," she said with a wicked gleam in her eye as she motioned Doris to the dressing room.

"W-wait...What?"

"I said you're on. I'll do it if you will... I mean... if you've got the guts. Of course maybe all that talk about toys and beads and clamps was just that - talk," Blake quipped. "Maybe you're not as adventurous as you say you are?"

"I'll have you eating those words."

Blake tossed the garment into the dressing room and grabbed Doris by the lapel of her coat. "Something tells me that's not the only thing you hope I'll be eating by the end of the morning."

Doris barked out a laugh and turned even redder than before.

"So what do you say former councilor?" Blake said giving Doris a slight shake. "Ready for some fun?"

Chapter 84

Doris didnít reply. She walked in and she motioned Blake to follow.

"Oh no," Blake told her.

"No?"

"No. Iím finding my own room."

"Youíre kidding, right?"

"Not even a little," Blake said as she walked away and went into the next dressing room.

Doris closed the door. She sighed as she took off her pants and socks in a dressing room alone.

"I canít believe you sent me to my own dressing room."

"I want to be surprised when you step out," Blake said from the changing room next to hers.

She continued by taking off her shirt.

"I just want you to know, in all the years Iíve been a lesbian, Iíve never let a woman talk me into something like this."

Blake laughed. "Come on. Iím trying to make it worth your while. I mean, Iím putting myself out there too you know? You could see the cellulite and stretch marks and run for the hills."

"Somehow I doubt that," Doris said as she adjusted the final strap.

She examined herself in the mirror and mused her hair up a little to give it some volume. Little did she know Blake was doing the same thing in her dressing room. She gave one last lift to the underwire cups to raise her breasts a bit higher.

"Are you ready?" Doris asked.

"Yeah, come on out."

"No, you first."

Blake laughed. "How about the count of three we step out. Okay?"

"Fine. One..."

"Two..." Blake said.

"Three," they both said and opened the door stepped out.

Blake smiled and Doris stood slack jawed.

"See? Cellulite," Blake replied, growing nervous. Doris didnít say or do anything except stare. "I, uh, better go get dressed."

"No!" Doris practically yelled, coming out of her daze. "Please donít. Just... stay, right there. Okay. Donít move. I need my coat and my purse."

She quickly darted into the dressing room and grabbed both items.

"Damn it, Doris!" Blake said. "If you leave me back here-."

"I wonít," Doris promised. "Just stay right there like that. Iíll be back in 60 seconds."

Blake didnít know what Doris had in mind, but she had to admit she was intrigued.

Dressed now in her coat, Doris walked out to find the front of the store vacant, except for Sammi, the owner. She went to the cash register where the woman stood and pulled out $200 from her purse and put it on the counter.

"This for your keys for the next hour. No questions asked."

Sammi grinned. "Doris, itís Black Friday. You know? The biggest day for retailers? I canít just close my shop."

Doris looked around the empty area. "Nobodyís freakiní here."

Sammi seemed unmoved.

"Please," Doris tried again. "Weíre Ďfamilyí, okay? Help me out here."

"Marlerís not Ďfamilyí. In fact, sheís engaged to Frank Cooper from what Iíve heard."

Doris lowered her head. "Please, donít remind me."

"You want to give me $200 to have sex with Marler in the back of my store? There are cheaper hotels, Doris. Why not take her there?"

Doris didnít answer. She put another $100 on the counter. "No questions asked," Doris stressed.

Sammi looked at the money. "A half hour and you got a deal."

"45 minutes," Doris countered.

Sammi thought for two seconds and then handed her keys over.

"Sold."

She put up a sign on the front door that said, "Weíll be back at 10:30 AM" before Doris followed her and locked the door behind her. She made her way to the back, taking her coat off as she went.

Blake still looked bewildered when Doris returned.

"We have the entire store to ourselves," Doris announced happily.

Blake slowly began to smile. "Really? Howíd you arrange that?"

Doris knew she didnít want Blake to know she just handed over $300 dollars.

"The Ďhowí doesnít matter. The fact weíre alone does."

Blake began to smile again. "What did you have in mind?" she asked.

She began to move toward Doris, but the mayor put up her hand. She tossed her coat over the video surveillance camera. Blake began to move in again, but Doris held her hands out once more, stopping her.

"Iím not going to touch you," Doris told her.

Blake looked confused. Doris walked over to the toy side of the wall and pulled down the Je T'aime vibrator. She looked to the right and found a set of batteries. She tossed them, one at a time, to Blake, who managed to catch each one.

"I want you to touch yourself," Doris explained. "...and I wanna watch."

Chapter 85

Blake and Doris both seemed to struggle to breath as they sat across from each other in one of the large changing room. Blake lay sprawled along one of the corner seats as Doris sat in the opposite corner. Each woman still held a vibrator in their hands.

"That was one of the most erotic things Iíve ever done in my life," Blake sighed. "Be honest. Have you done this kind of thing with many dates?"

"Weíre not dating," Doris pointed out. "And no, I havenít."

"Why me then?"

"Because," Doris continued, "I wanted to know what you looked like and sounded like when you climaxed. Something to inspire me during those lonely nights."

"Well, there are other means you know?" Blake said with a coy smile as she finally moved to her feet. She walked the short distance to where Doris sat and straddle, the mayorís lap.

"Youíre... taken," Doris explained. "So if I keep my hands off you then..."

"Then maybe Iím not being an adulterer? Is that it?"

"Well, youíre not married yet, but yes, something like that." Doris got a serious look. "I donít want to cause you any regret, ever."

Blake ran her fingers between her own legs and brought them up to Dorisís lips.

She leaned down and nuzzled toward Dorisís ear.

"Taste," she ordered her. "Tell me if this seems like regret."

Doris snaked her tongue out and batted the tip of Blakeís finger with lightening like speed, which made the author whimper. She then snared the digit into her mouth. She sucked the satisfaction from Blakeís finger and gave a moan of approval.

"As good as you hoped?" Blake asked.

"Better."

"Want more?" Blake asked knowingly.

"You want to have your cake and eat me too." Doris grinned.

Blake put her hand over her mouth to stop from laughing too loud.

"Youíre bad," she said.

"You like that Iím bad," Doris said knowingly.

"I like... good people," she replied.

"No, you donít," Doris countered. "Iíve talked to your mother."

"Technically, you did more than talk. You dated my mother," Blake replied.

"No. That was not a real date, okay?"

 

"What was it?"

"A way to make you jealous," Doris replied.

"So you didnít take her just to get her into the dance?"

"Well, that too. But the larger goal was to make you see what it would be like if I had another woman on my arm."

Blakeís expression hardened. "I didnít like it."

"I noticed. I also noticed how you didnít like me flirting with the bartender."

"I want you to myself if Iím around. Is that a crime?"

"Crime? No. Double standard? Yes. After all, I donít like you being with Frank. I ended up drunk that night. But we canít always have what we want."

"So what are you saying? Do you want me to leave Frank and live happily ever after with you?"

"No," Doris said after a short consideration. "I want you to decide what you think is best for you. I donít believe youíre doing that."

"How come?"

"Because you seem to be racing down the aisle like Natalia Rivera did. And if you remember, she ended up racing right out of the church before saying, ĎI doí."

Blake stood up and started to get dressed.

"Iím not Natalia," she argued.

"No, youíre much sexier and wilder. Plus, youíre not with my best friend. Youíre with my police chief, which could make things... complicated."

"Exactly," Blake replied. "So why rock the boat?"

"Because itís your future on the line. Youíre willing to marry a man you love yet one who doesnít captivate you."

"Is that so?" Blake tried to sound offended.

"Again, donít play dumb. You know exactly what I mean. Would you have put on an exhibition like this for Frank?"

Blake considered. "He wouldnít ask."

"Are you upset I did?"

"Not at all. I... really liked that."

"Exactly. So why?"

"Why?"

"Yes, why do you want to marry him?"

"I donít."

"So youíre calling the wedding off?"

"No."

"So you donít want to marry him, but youíre getting married?"

"Youíre confusing me," Blake said.

"Iím only repeating what youíre telling me."

"Fine. Then I donít know what Iím talking about."

"Okay. If you donít know what youíre talking about, is now really the best time to make a life changing decision, like getting married?"

"Again, are you saying I should leave Frank and marry you instead?"

"No. I might not be any better for you either," Doris answered honestly. "But youíll never know for sure if you marry Frank, or if you see him exclusively."

Blake paused. "So let me see if I follow you. I should postpone the wedding to Frank and what? Date you too?... Hold on. Isnít that what I said five minutes ago?"

"No, you asked, ĎDo you want me to leave Frank and live happily ever after with you?í and Iím saying I want you to FIND OUT if you can live happily ever after with me."

"Whatís the damn difference?" Blake asked.

"Rule # 21 Ė Never promise a fairy tale. Iím not promising you a fairy tale. Iím not Frank. Iím not looking for a lifetime commitment. Iím looking for the chance to see if we fit into each otherís lives and THEN make a lifetime commitment, if thatís whatís best. As it stands now, thatís not going to happen. The reason is youíve decided to marry Frank. So again, Iíll ask... Why do you want to marry him?"

Blake took a deep breath and blew it out slowly.

Thatís when they heard pounding on the front door. Doris looked at her watch and then back to Blake.

"Timeís up," she told her.

Chapter 86

Both of them were now dressed when the shop owner came over.

"Everything okay?"

"Yes," Blake said politely, "Thank you."

The owner walked away and Doris said, "Iím waiting."

"For what?" Blake asked.

"Why do you want to marry him?"

"Lots of reasons."

"Name three."

"What?"

"Name three, right now, off the top of your head."

"Heís handsome."

"Going right to looks sounds a bit shallow, but I agree -- heís not homely. Next?"

"Heís a father figure for Clarissa."

"Heís condescending towards her and she resents that," Doris replied. "Next?"

Blake looked offended.

"What?!" Doris asked. "He is! Whatís next?"

Blake ignored her. "Heís dedicated."

"To who? Most nights youíre alone."

"I mean heís faithful... unlike me after today."

"Oh, please. Theoretically, we gave ourselves orgasms," Doris countered. Blake gave her a look of disbelief. "We did! I didnít lay a hand on you, did I?" Blake smirked slightly and shrugged her shoulders because, technically, Doris was right. "Beside, didnít he leave you for his ex-wife once before? How faithful can he be?"

"Okay, years ago, maybe, but you donít know all the circumstances-."

"Please listen to me," Doris interrupted. "Frank is a decent guy. Iíll give you that. But heís not the right guy for you."

Blake rubbed her forehead. "Canít you go back to flirting with me and seducing me in the sexy teddies? This is giving me a headache."

"Sorry," Doris said. "Iím not in the mood. Iíve got a headache too now." She took Blakeís hand. "Listen... I know Frankís not the right one. Your attraction to me says it all."

"My attraction-?"

"The way you feel about me is not new," Doris interrupted. "Yes, acting on it is new, but Iíve felt your admiration for awhile."

"You have?" Blake asked.

"Sure. There were certain ways youíd watch me or... flip your hair..."

"Iím not a hair flipper." Blake crossed her arms with a guilty grin.

"Oh yes you are," Doris chuckled. "Flinging those gorgeous strawberry blonde locks over your shoulder." She reached over and ran her fingers through Blakeís hair, gently placing it over her shoulder. The look on her face conveyed she wanted more... much more. Instead of acting on it though, she awkwardly took her hand away and said, "But youíre spoken for and despite what happened today, Iím not gonna be... your dirty little secret. Since you wonít call off the wedding, the only solution for me at this point is..."

"Distance?" Blake finished.

Doris nodded slowly. "Yeah," she said sadly. "Distance."

"What if youíre the one I want?" Blake asked.

Doris gave a slight grin. "What you want and what you need might be two different things. If itís me, then that would be wonderful, but..."

"What?"

"You havenít made that decision," Doris finished. "Even after this morning you havenít, have you?"

Blake couldnít look at Doris because she knew the mayor was right.

"Youíre not certain you can make the leap and start to date me," Doris continued. "Not morning trysts in a lingerie store, but a bona fide date. In public. With all the eyes of Springfield on you. But on the other hand, youíre not sure if your future is really with Frank... I feel for you since youíre in a rough spot."

"Really?" Blake asked. "You feel for me? The woman who many people might say is Ďleading you oní?"

"Absolutely," Doris replied. She leaned closer again and whispered, "Iím only in love with one person. I think you love two people, although it might be for different reasons... am I wrong? Am I the only one who feels this draw... this connection? Be honest."

Blake shook her head. "No. Youíre not. Thatís why I feel... torn. Do I do what everyoneís expecting by marrying Frank or do I... take a chance on something that might crash and burn or be the best thing Iíve ever had? Thatís my biggest question now. And Iíll tell ya, years ago, when I was... I donít know, brave and crazy, or both... Iíd go out on that limb, but now... Iíve had loss and... Iím not as young. My options of finding love are getting more and more limited and... Iím not as fearless as I used to be."

"Right, and even if you want to explore things...with me... Frank would never allow that. And neither Frank nor I will want to share you. Like I said... a rough spot. So no, Blake, as much as Iíd love to be friends with you... After today, I just canít. I canít see you outside of group gatherings and I canít be alone with you, like right now."

Blake licked her lips. "The temptationís too great, is that it?"

"Exactly," Doris said.

She started to leave, but then she swiftly turned to Blake. She pulled the author into her arms. Before she could second guess herself, she firmly planted her lips on Blake.

Although momentarily stunned by the action, Blake relaxed into the kiss and had just begun to return the gesture when Doris pulled away.

Without any words of departure or pretense, Doris released Blake and, with coat in hand, walked out, not looking back.

Chapter 87

Doris walked into her house, head low. Forgetting that Ashlee was home, she jumped when her daughter rushed toward her.

"Sooooo?!" her daughter said excited.

"So what?" Doris replied.

"Food. Shopping. Howíd it go?!"

Doris let out a heavy sigh.

"Oh no," Ashlee muttered. "What did you do?"

Doris smiled. "What makes you think I did something wrong?"

"So you didnít? Things went well?"

"We got... closer," Doris said discreetly.

"Great!"

"But sheís still picking Frank."

"What? Why?!"

Doris shrugged. "Heís the safe choice, okay? Heís got a good steady job. A relationship with him wonít be filled with gossip and stares. Plus, since sheís getting older sheís not sure how many more good relationships sheíll find."

"Thatís bull," Ashlee replied.

Doris gave an awkward shrug before she walked away. Ashlee watched her put her purse on the island chair and take off her coat.

"It is what it is," Doris said quickly, trying to hold back a sob.

"Oh, Mom," Ashlee said sympathetically as she closed the distance between them. When Ashlee pulled her into a hug the gesture was her undoing. The dam broke and Doris wept openly, although it was only a few whimpers before she regained a sense of dignity.

Doris chuckled as she wiped her eyes. "This is ridiculous! Youíre supposed to be crying on my shoulder about your angst-filled love life as you navigate the dating scene; not the other way around."

"Youíre new to this too, Mom."

"Ashlee, you have no idea how many woman Iíve known over the years."

"Okay, a little more honest than I wanted to hear, but, thereís Ďknowní and then thereís loved," Ashlee replied. "Honestly, how many times have you really, and I mean REALLY, put your heart out there?" Doris gave her a guilty grin. "Exactly! So? You need my shoulder now. Thatís fine! Someday Iíll probably need yours!"

Doris reached up and touched Ashleeís cheek. "I was always so hard on you. I really did think I was helping by, well, criticizing. At the time, I really saw it as commentary Ė giving you a sense of reality so you didnít feel disappointment when you didnít get everything you wanted. I was wrong. Youíre a wonderful young woman."

"I wonít lie. It was tough: the comments about my weight, my limited prospects at relationships, or lack there of. And donít even get me started on Coop." Ashlee then smiled. "But honestly, I took those comments as a challenge. So... whether it was intended or not Mom, you did mold me into who I am and I like who I am."

"I love who you are," Doris told her sincerely. "I never told you enough. I shut you out and..."

"Mom, itís different now. It is," Ashlee stressed and teared up too. "If someone told me two years ago weíd be here like this, I never would have believed it. Would you?"

"No," Doris said with a smile.

"Right! But look at us! Weíre in the kitchen, talking about how youíre in love with Blake! About how sheís making a terrible mistake by marrying Frank and not you."

"Well, that was one of our conversations actually Ė me marrying her. I donít want to be the stereotypical lesbian joke."

"I donít follow you."

Doris grinned. "What do lesbians do for a second date?"

"I donít know. What?"

"Rent a U-Haul," Doris said dryly. Ashlee giggled. "I donít want to rush her and Clarissa into the mansion. I-I want to court her. I want to make sure we fit together. I... I want her to be with me because she WANTS me, not because of... obligation... like she feels about Frank right now."

Ashlee paused. "So she really doesnít want to be with Frank?"

"No, but heís safe and... since I canít promise her forever she wonít make a jump from a secure relationship. And who can blame her? Heís offering a home, a support system. All I can offer her right now is... dates and whispers and... nothing more yet... What do you think? Should I lie to her? Do I tell her I want to spend the rest of my life with her to win her over? But what if thatís not really the case?"

"You love her, right?"

"Yeah, but love isnít enough, Ash. We need to know we fit. We need to know that we want the same things out of life. We need to face conflict together to see how we work."

"Iíd say youíre doing that now," she retorted.

"Okay, perhaps youíre right. In that case, I see where she stands... or rather where she runs. Itís not in my direction. Itís right into Frankís arms so... maybe thatís where she belongs."

"I donít buy that."

"Neither do I," Doris confessed. "But thatís where sheís at and where she wants to be so I have to accept that."

"So where did you leave things?"

"I told her I canít see her, except for family functions. No, alone time at all. Besides, thereís nothing coming up until sheís married, so Iím in the clear."

"Is that so?" Ashlee asked.

"Yeah, if I avoid her and keep my distance, like I told her, Iíll be fine."

"I think the universe is sending you a message."

"How so?" Doris asked.

"What is today?" Ashlee asked.

Doris paused. "Black Friday," she answered.

Ashlee sighed. "Yeah, but think back a year ago today. We also have a family function tonight, remember? Itís Francescaís first birthday party."

Doris paused a beat. "Fuck," she said cynically.

"Mom! Such language," Ashlee chastised, but laughed at the same time.

"Erhhh," Doris moaned. "I canít go, Ashlee. I canít. You go without me. Tell them Iím tired from being up early or Iím sick or something."

"Chessiesí new word is AwwwnD," Ashlee remarked.

"Are you trying to make me feel worse? Beside Chessie wonít know if Iím there or not. Sheís one."

"Her moms will," Ashlee countered.

"Her moms will understand," Doris said.

Ashlee knew by the tone in her momís voice she wasnít going to be swayed.

 

Chapter 88

"Ashlee!" Emma exclaimed as she opened the door of the farmhouse. She flung her arms around the young woman who returned the hug as best she could while also balancing a few wrapped boxes in her arm.

"Hey, Emma!" she greeted and gave one of the boxes to Emma. "This oneís for you to open later tonight Ė kind of a big sister present."

"Thanks!"

"The other ones are for Chessie."

"Whereís your mom?" Emma asked as she looked around Ashlee and down the sidewalk.

Olivia and Natalia were now making their way over to greet her as Frank, Clarissa and Blake looked on from deeper in the living room.

"Sheís not feeling well tonight," Ashlee remarked dryly and then shot daggers at Blake until the woman looked away. "She said sheíd call tomorrow." Ashlee handed Natalia the presents. As she closed the door she asked, "So whereís the birthday girl?"

Olivia waved Ashlee deeper into the house and Blake handed Chessie over to Ashlee.

"Hey Kiddo," Ashlee said softly, as not to frighten the baby. "Aunt D wanted to be here, but sheíll see you soon."

"AwwwDeee?" the toddler said and started to look around.

"No, Sweetie. Sheís not here."

"Aunt D went bye-bye," Olivia told her daughter.

"Bye-bye?"

"Yeah," Ashlee said, "But she got you some nice gifts. You like toys?"

"Oh you lovvvve toys," Natalia offered.

Chessie began to nod insistently at the thought of toys.

Olivia motioned to the kitchen and said, "Iím gonna..." she didnít finish the sentence, but Natalia understood what she meant.

She slipped away and hit the speed dial on her phone once she was alone. She grunted as it went to voicemail.

"Doris, pick up the phone. I know youíre not sick... Fine. Iím calling your cell."

Olivia hung up and dialed again.

Immediately, without saying hello, Doris said, "Leave me alone."

"And a good evening to you too? Where are you?"

"At home... Iím sick."

"Bullshit."

"You kiss your daughter with that mouth, Spencer."

"Doris, I know the only reason youíre not here is Blake. Well, she canceled too so come over."

"Ha! Ashlee already texted me from the car to say Blake was there. Nice try."

"Damn it!"

"I give you points for trying, Liv."

"Why are you avoiding her?"

There was a pause. "Itís not important. Besides, sheíll be married soon and any aspirations I had at ever being more than a friend will be over, okay? Iíll see you soon. Give Chessie a kiss from me."

"Doris?" Olivia started to say when she heard the phone disconnect. "Damn it!" she swore and hit redial. This time it went straight to voicemail. "Okay. Fine. Iíll leave you alone. I just donít want to have to choose between my friends... Please call me tomorrow... I love you. Bye."

When Olivia came back out, she watched Frank putting on his coat.

"Leaving already?" Olivia asked.

"I left a gift in the car," Ashlee said. "I asked Frank if heíd bring it in. Itís kinda big."

"Oh," Olivia said as she watched Frank go outside with a nod.

Ashlee watched until the door was closed and Frank was out of range. She then turned sharply to Blake.

"Are you insane?!" she hissed.

Blake looked over at Emma, who looked confused, The author then turned to Ashlee. "I donít think this is the time or the place."

"Fine! Letís get drinks!" Ashlee took Blakeís hand and pulled the author with her into the kitchen.

Once they were gone, Emma looked to her moms and asked, "Whatís wrong with them?"

"You know," Olivia began. "They worked on a book before. I could be wrong, but maybe itís something about that."

"Ashlee seemed pretty mad," Emma offered.

"Well, letís not say anything about it to Frank, okay? Itís Chessieís birthday party and thereís no need to get him worried. Besides, Blake and Ashlee can talk and then clear up whatís bugging them, alright?"

She considered it a moment.

"Okay," Emma replied.

Before she could add more Natalia said, "Em, can you give me a hand upstairs with Chessie?"

"Sure!" she said as she followed after Natalia and her sister.

Olivia went to the door and watched as Frank opened Ashleeís car door, wondering if Ashlee would finish her rant before he returned.

On the other side of the kitchen door, Ashlee was trying to keep her voice low, but the venom in her words was fierce.

"She loves you! I told you how she feels about you and still you throw her away like sheís nothing!"

"Sheís not nothing to me," Blake argued.

"Then what is she? Your plaything? Your diversion until you walk down the aisle? Some last minute fling to fill the time until death do you part?"

"Sheís not-."

"Sheís not here tonight because of YOU! Sheís missing out on her family events because YOUíRE here and really, who are you? Youíre nobody!"

"Ashlee!"

"Youíre a-a tease! And a-a heartless two-timing wench!"

"Thatís enough!" Blake snapped. "Iím not gonna stand here and take that from you!" She started to walk away, but Ashlee grabbed her arm, spinning her around.

"You listen to me!"

"Get your hands off me!" Blake said as she tried to pull away.

Ashlee only tightened her hold and gave her arm a shake for good measure.

"If I find out that youíve lead her on, made her feel like she doesnít matter or hurt her in anyway Iím gunniní for you. Do you understand me? I donít care if you are Mrs. Springfield Police Chief. Youíre a marked woman and Iíll make your life difficult in ways you canít even fathom. Nobody, and I mean nobody, makes a fool of Doris Wolfe and gets away with it. She might not hurt you for the pain youíve caused her, but mark my words, I will."

"Ashlee?" she said shocked.

"I liked you, Blake. I did. But what youíre doing right now is wrong. Itís wrong to her. Itís wrong to Frank. Itís just... wrong!"

Ashlee let her go with a jolt and walked out into the living room to see Olivia and Frank bringing the oversized gift. She moved over swiftly to help while Blake tried to regain her composure.

A couple hours later the birthday cake had been destroyed, the presents were unwrapped and the guests had departed. Emma insisted on wearing the locket necklace Doris had sent over with Ashlee, despite her moms protests that it might break.

Olivia had just begun to climb over the comforter and up her wifeís body to steal the book from Nataliaís hand.

"Yes, Ms. Spencer?" Natalia asked. "Can I help you?"

Olivia tossed the book over her shoulder and without replying her lips descended on Nataliaís neck, making the younger woman giggle. Olivia pulled back to claim Nataliaís lips when her cell phone went off with Dorisís ring tone.

"Now?" Olivia said to no one in particular.

"Go on," Natalia told her. "Sheís upset."

Olivia sighed and climbed off her wife, going to her nightstand for the phone.

"Hey, Doris," Olivia began.

"Look out your bedroom window facing the field," Doris said.

Olivia appeared curious as she climbed off the bed and looked in the backyard. She saw Doris in the middle of the field holding a glittering bracelet in one hand, a bottle of Gray Goose in the other and a cigarette hanging from her mouth.

"What the hell?" Olivia said into the phone.

Doris didnít reply she just motioned Olivia downstairs.

"Go to sleep, Sweetie," Olivia told her wife. "I think Iím in for a long night."

Chapter 89

Doris and Olivia were sitting on the picnic table, their feet on the bench.

"Iím sorry I wasnít there tonight," Doris said. "I just didnít want to run into Blake, especially with Frank there too. You know?"

"Actually I almost threw up one morning when I saw him and Natalia kissing each other."

Doris giggled. "Really?"

"Okay, I was hung over too at the time, but still, that almost put me over the edge so I get it."

There was a small silence between them.

"Barryís decided to run," Doris said before she took a drag on her cigarette.

"Your cousin, Barry? The former Police Chief?"

Doris just nodded.

"For Mayor?" Olivia asked.

Again, Doris nodded.

"He called this afternoon to give me a Ďheads upí.

"Think heís got a shot?"

Doris shrugged and took another hit on her cigarette. "I need a drink," she said. Then she motioned to Olivia to take another swig of the Goose for her.

"Explain to me why IíM the one drinking," Olivia said.

"Because I promised your wife I wouldnít drink anymore when Iím sad. I didnít say you couldnít drink for me."

"And the cigarettes? You quit over a year ago, Doris?"

"Hey, I didnít say I wouldnít smoke. Itís the one vice Iíve got left since I canít drink."

Doris and Olivia both started to giggle before Doris went back to playing with the bracelet.

"Whatís the story?" Olivia asked as she nodded toward the jewelry.

"Rule number 14," Doris began, "Never buy jewelry for a woman youíre not sleeping with, especially anything worth more than 20 grand."

Olivia was taking a hit of Goose and almost choked.

"You dropped twenty grand on a bracelet for a woman youíve never even slept with!?" Olivia asked.

Doris looked away and said nothing.

"Oh my god! You slept with her? When?!" Olivia asked.

"First, it was on sale for six grand so itís a bargain, and second, I didnít sleep with her or lay a hand on her..." Doris then sighed and added, "I just watched her have an orgasm at Sammiís adult store... that sounds much more tawdry than it seemed at the time."

"Tawdry? Really? You donít say?"

"Please donít judge me," Doris replied.

"How did you get her to do that?"

Again, Doris looked away, but this time she mumbled something.

"What?"

"I joined in too."

Olivia giggled. "You little horny minx."

Doris grinned. "Just keep drinking that bottle." She motioned to the Goose in Oliviaís hand.

The hotelier looked over her shoulder for her wife and then motioned her head toward Doris.

"Iíll trade you. A hit of this for a hit of that?"

"Werenít you just berating me two minutes ago for smoking?"

"Come on!"

"Youíre a heart patient!" Doris said.

"Youíre not my mother or my wife! Give me a hit!" Olivia shot back in a whisper.

Conspiratorially, Doris handed Olivia the cigarette as she took the bottle. As Olivia inhaled, Doris took a long swig on the bottle. Then they quickly traded back.

Olivia giggled. "I feel like weíre teenagers that got into momís liquor cabinet and dadís cigar box."

Doris laughed, but Olivia got a sickly look on her face and took another swig of vodka.

"Doris, thatís awful. Quit smoking again, please."

"Tomorrow," Doris said as she took another drag. "Right now Iím going to chain-smoke this pack and hide from Ashlee until I can get in the shower."

"What about the bracelet?"

"Do you want it?" Doris said handing it to her. "Iíll sell it to you. Natalia might like it. Itís a steal."

"Five grand," Olivia countered.

"I paid six this morning!" Doris argued.

"Depreciation. You lost one thousand when it Ďrolledí off the lot."

"Screw that. Iíll take it back," she replied.

Olivia giggled. "Iím teasiní, ya. But no, I donít want to buy Blakeís bracelet because anytime my wife wears it youíll be reminded that it was Blakeís so, thanks, but no thanks."

"Your loss."

"How can you afford this anyway? Being Mayor pays that well?"

"Hell, no," Doris replied. "I got a nice Ďsettlementí from Alan after the divorce."

"Damn you must be a good lawyer to get that much out of him, you know, since Ashlee shot him and all."

Doris grinned. Olivia was starting to slur and lose any sense of tact. "Yes, I am a good lawyer. But he let me keep a few Ďthingsí I found around the house."

"Like?"

"Like a Ming Vase, for example," Doris said casually, making Olivia chuckle. "He also gave me a diamond bracelet worth twice the one I got Blake... I hawked it for the cash."

"Alan was something else."

"True... I think he genuinely liked me," she said and earned a look of surprise from Olivia. "Not love me. He liked to spar so he did like me...or as much as the wack-a-doodle could. And Iíll admit, Alan did have an appeal."

"Yeah, money."

"No, okay, yes - money. Iíll give you that. But he also had power and Ďpresenceí that could be appealing."

"Itís hard to believe heís gone sometimes," Olivia said. "And actually, with him dead, and Phillip sane, Springfieldís gotten a littleÖboring. The only drama now is you and Blake," Olivia said with a smile.

"Donít remind me," Doris groaned.

Olivia motioned for the cigarette as she handed Doris the bottle. "One more," Olivia said.

After Doris took her drink and Olivia inhaled, the hotelier said, "Doris? You, my friend, are a bad influence."

"And you love me for it," Doris countered.

They both giggled and bumped shoulders.

"So whatís your plan with Blake?" Olivia asked.

"Avoidance."

"You think you can do that?"

"At least until the wedding," Doris replied.

"Again, you think you can do that?"

"I have to, donít I? I mean she wants Frank."

"I think she just wanted someone and Frank fit the bill. I think, deep down, she wants you, but sheís scared."

"And I want a woman whoís not afraid to love me," Doris countered. "So there you have it."

Olivia took a drink and then said, "Iím sorry it didnít work out. I am."

"Me too," Doris sighed.

Chapter 90

"Doris, thank god I got you!"

Doris closed her eyes when she heard Blakeís voice on her cell phone.

"Blake, I canít do this," she replied.

"Please, donít hang up!" Blake begged. "Iím at Cedarís all alone."

"Cedars?" Doris asked, concerned. "Why?"

"Itís Clarissa. Sheís been in a car accident."

"Are you hurt too?"

"No, I wasnít with her. She was with a friend. They got T-boned by someone running a red light. Look, I know Iím in no position to ask for favors, but I havenít been able to reach Olivia or Natalia. Frankís a no-show too. I called, but they said heís undercover Ė surveillance or something Ė and he canít be reached."

"Iíll try him. Howís Clarissa?"

"Sheís in surgery with Rick now but theyíre not giving me any info. IímÖ Iím scared, Doris. Would youÖ Would you please come up here to the E.R.? Iím going a little crazy."

"Iím on my way," Doris said and hung up before Blake could reply.

She was going for her coat when her deputy mayor walked in.

"Whereís the fire, Doris?" he asked.

"Blake Marlerís daughterís in the E.R. Cancel my appointments and find Chief Cooper. I donít care how; just do it and have him call my cell."

"You should knowÖ"

"Know what?"

"Your cousin, Barry, heís on TV talking aboutÖ you."

"Go figure. Little shit decided to run against me at the last minute. Let me guessÖ heís playing the lesbian card?"

"Not exactly."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, a trip to see Ms. Marler might not be in the interest of your campaign right now given some of his comments."

"Comments?" Doris asked.

"Heís insinuating youíre more than friends with the chiefís future wife."

"What?!"

"Yes, heís showing a video of you two dancing, rather close I might add, at the Thanksgiving Ball as proof."

"Oh for godís sake," Doris sighed.

"I just think right now might not be a good time to be seen with Ms. Marler," he told her. "Wait until after the election."

"She needs me now; not two weeks from now."

"Doris," he stressed, "itís going to look bad if you-."

"I donít give a damn how it looks," she said as she put on her coat. "Now, Iím going to try to reach the chief myself, but if you manage to reach him have him call me immediately. Understood? If not, Iíll hire someone who does," she said as she left the office.

"Yes Maíam," he replied with a nod and followed her out.

Doris was on her cell phone again. She had it to her ear for a few seconds and said, "Hey Liv, Clarissaís been hurt. Iím on my way to Cedarís to sit with Blake so meet me there when you get this message. Thanks."

Doris hung up and dialed again. Once more, she reached voicemail.

"Natalia, itís Doris. I thought Iíd try you at home, but no luck it seems. Blakeís at the E.R. Sheís okay, but Clarissa was in an accident with a friend, so can you make your way up to Cedars when you get this? Thanks."

Doris was almost at her car when she dialed again. This time a voice said, "Hello?"

"Where are you, you son of a bitch!?" Doris yelled as she climbed in her car.

Chapter 91

Doris had her speakerphone on as she drove to the hospital.

"I asked where you are?" Doris said.

"And a good afternoon to you too my dear cousin."

"Drop the bullshit, Barry, and leave Blake Marler alone or Iím coming where you are and kicking your ass. Got it?"

"Geeze, Dori. Since when do you give a damn about Marler. You used to call her a nitwit, remember?"

"Yes, but things change."

"You know, I thought it was just rumor, but maybe you two are together?"

Doris took a calming breath. "I am not WITH Blake, but I am on the way to see her. Her daughterís been in a serious accident and sheís in surgery."

"Damn," Barry muttered. "Thatís rough."

"It is. So, for any other reason if not human decency, will you stop this crap? If you want to fight me on policy, experience, you name it, thatís fine. Hell, call me a dyke if you want. Just leave her alone. If not, I promise youíre gonna regret it."

Doris didnít wait for a reply and hung up. She dialed again.

"Any news on Cooper yet?" Doris asked the person on the other end.

"No Maíam," her deputy replied. "But weíre still trying. Heís with Detective Boudreau so weíre trying his cell as well."

"Good, even if Frankís not there have Remy call me, okay?"

"Will do, Maíam."

"Thanks," she replied and hung up. She pulled into the parking space and made her way into the hospital to the emergency section. She looked around and found Blake pacing in a small corner.

"Blake," Doris called out as she came over.

Blake was lost in her thoughts and didnít hear her. She did see someone approaching her and looked over. She raced over and Doris enveloped her in her arms.

Blake began to sob. "What if I lose her, Doris? Iíve lost her father. I canít lose her too."

Doris tightened her hold as Blake rested her forehead in the crook of Dorisís neck.

"Sheís a tough girl," Doris said. "Sheís got a lot of fight in her and that goes a long way. DidÖ Did they tell you anything?"

"No, nothing. Just that they got hit on Main and third. The drunk that ran the light doesnít even have a scratch. Her friend is upstairs in a room with her parents. Sheís got a concussion, but ClarissaÖ" Blake trailed off and took a deep breath. "She was in the passenger seat and he hit them on that side. The car was mangled up from what I overheard and they had to get the Jaws of Life to cut her out."

Blake began to sob again and Doris pulled her back in and led her to one of the nearby chairs. She took the seat next to her and pulled it around so they sat face-to-face rather than side-to-side. She reached up and took Blake by the face.

"Listen to me," she said. "Iím going to find out whatís going on, okay? You stay here."

"Iím not sure if I want to know how bad it is," Blake confessed. "Iím having a hard time breathing as it is."

"Okay, then Iíll just stay here then. Howís that?"

Blake nodded and gave a short smile. "Thank you. Really. I know you didnít want to see me."

"Itís not that I donít want to see you," Doris replied.

"So you do want to see me?"

"Youíre the only one I want to see period. And thatís the problem," Doris told her. She looked like she was going to say more but then brushed it off. "Besides, what was I supposed to do? Leave you up here alone? I couldnít do that."

"Right now, I feel like Iím going nuts," Blake said. "The wondering. The worrying. I canít focus on anything except that she might be dead." She began to cry again and Doris seemed at a loss of what to do, but then she seemed to get an idea.

"Letís sing it," Doris told her.

"What?" Blake asked confused.

"Your favorite Tina album. Cover to cover. Letís do it. You start."

"Doris," Blake started. "IÖIím having a tough time concentrating on anything right now."

"No. You need a distraction right now so Iím providing it. Anyone who knows the words to Steel Claw has to know the first song on her favorite album. Come on Blake. Think. Whatís the first song on the album?"

Blake searched her mind and then said uncertain, "Typical Male?"

Doris nodded. "Right. You remember it?"

Blake started to chuckle and wiped her eyes. "Yes, I remember it. You really want me to sing it because I canít sing well."

"Neither can I. How about we do it together. Iíll start the first line okay?" Blake nodded and Doris cleared her throat. "Tellll mee, lawyerÖWhat to doooÖ" She then nodded toward Blake.

The author smiled and reached up to Dorisís face. She caressed her cheek and said, "I think Iím falllliní in love with youuuuÖ Defend me frooom the waaay I apppeaaar."

Doris cleared her throat again. "Yeaaaaah, maybe I should have picked a different album," she giggled nervously.

"Wonít ya give me," Blake continued to sing in a soft voice as she inched closer, "Some adviiiiceÖ On how to handleÖ my private liiiiifeÖ Iím sure that we caaaaan make a dealllll."

Blake nodded for Doris to continue with the next line.

"I confess Iím a fooool for a manÖ with a cllllllever miiiiindÖ" Doris sang softly.

Blakeís hand found itís way to Dorisís knee as she whispered, "But your intellect ainít no matchÖ for this heaaaart of miiiineÖ"

Doris grinned and put her hand over Blakeís. They motioned to each other to sing, and together they sang the chorus.

Alllll I want is a littllle reaaaaction...

Just enouuugh to tip the scallles...

I'm just usin' my femalllle attraaaaction...

On a typical mallle, on a typical male

Blake motioned for Doris to continue so the mayor did.

"This sense of justiceÖ. Iíll embraaaaaaaaceÖ But your defenseÖ wonít help my casssseÖ Iím deep in trouuuuble with the lawww."

Blake paused for a moment and moved closer before she sang, "Somethiní aboutÖ authoritttttyÖ seems to bring outÖ the baaaad in meeeÖ Hey lawyer gonna catch me when I fall?"

Doris grinned and gave a slight nod. When Blake reached up and stroked Dorisís face again the mayor closed her eyes. Blake led her palm toward Dorisís lips and the mayor turned slightly and placed a delicate kiss in Blakeís hand as the author continued to sing.

"Oh, they saaay that you match your witsÖ with the best of themmmm," Blake whispered. "But I know whennn Iím close youíre juuuust like the rest of themmmm."

Blake didnít wait for an invitation. She leaned in the small distance and her lips claimed Doris with no resistance.

Chapter 92

Doris was matching Blake, tongue stroke for tongue stroke, when she slowly pulled away and began to shake her head softly.

"Iím sorry," she said.

"You donít want me?" Blake asked.

"I do," Doris admitted, "but youíre upset right now. Sure, Iíve done some pretty crappy things in my time..."

"Join the club," Blake said.

"But Iíve never taken advantage of a woman when sheís in pain, and Iím not going to start now," Doris concluded.

"Oh Doris, please donít think youíre taking advantage."

Dorisís phone began to ring and with a sigh, she pulled it from her pocket. She examined the caller name and appeared undecided. Then she sighed again and said, "Sorry, I need to take this. Excuse me."

She got up and made her way around the corner, out of earshot, when she pushed 'send' and said, "Hey you."

"Doris," Frank said on the other end. "Iím on the verge of making an arrest on Rizzoli. Whatís so important that-?"

Dorisís jaw tightened at the short tone of his voice at being Ďdisturbedí by her call.

"Clarissaís in surgery. She was in a car accident with a friend."

"What?"

"Yeah," Doris said, sounding short too. "Iím waiting on word at the E.R. with YOUR fiancťe, so get to the hospital."

"Now?"

"Yes now!" Doris snapped. Her phone beeped and she looked. It was Olivia trying to call. She didnít switch over though. She kept Frank on the line.

"Iím asking because-," Frank started to say. It was too late, however. Doris was already seeing red.

"What the hell is wrong with you?" she ranted.

"What?"

"I shouldnít have to strong-arm you into being here for your wife. Sorry, future wife."

"Doris-."

"Youíre lucky you have her, and if you canít pull yourself away from your job to be here for her, then...Forget it. You know what? Youíre fired!"

"What?"

"Say Ďwhatí one more time, Frank . Go on! I promise you wonít be able to find a job anywhere in this town again. Do you understand me now?"

"Doris, just tell me-."

"Put Remy on the phone!"

"Just calm down and tell me what-."

"I mean it, Frank!" Doris hissed.

She then heard Remyís voice after a brief pause, and some muffled conversation.

"Hey, Doris. Whatís up?" the detective asked.

"Congratulations. Youíre my new Chief of Police. Your first duty is to take Frankís badge and gun and tell him to get his ass up to the hospital NOW. Is that understood?"

"Uhhhh," Remy wasnít sure what the hell just happened, but he said, "Okay."

"Good, now put Frank back on the phone."

"Doris," Frank began, "The union rep is going to hear about this. You canít just fire me in the middle of an investigation and expect-."

"You no longer have a job to worry about. So shut up and get your ass to Cedars," Doris said and then hung up without a good-bye.

She started to call Olivia when the elevator doors opened, and the hotelier stepped off.

"I tried to call," Olivia said as she approached. "I just got voicemail."

"Sorry. I couldn't pick up. I finally got Frank on the phone. The ass wanted to weasel out of coming up here so I fired him."

"You fired Frank?!"

Doris motioned for Olivia to keep her voice down. "It was the only way I could get him up here," Doris replied.

"Frank told you he wouldnít come up here for Clarissa?" Olivia asked in disbelief. "I know they butt heads, but Frankís always been there for the kids. I canít imagine him not wanting to come."

"Is Frank your new best friend now?"

"Doris, Iím not picking sides here."

"It sounds that way to me!"

"Okay, one second," Olivia said raising her hands in front of her in surrender. "What the hell did I do besides step off the elevator?"

Doris took a calming breath. "Iím sorry," she said. "Iím a little on edge. BlakeÖ kissed me again. I was just being a friend, okay? Just trying to distract her from maybe hyperventilating."

"Kissing would do that." Olivia gave her a sly smile.

"Stop," Doris said and then began to grin too. "I really was just trying to be a friend, but IÖ I canít. The pull is too much soÖ will you stay, at least until Frank gets here?" she asked as she motioned her head around the corner.

"Sure."

"And have Frank or Blake call you so you can tell me how Clarissaís doing, okay?"

Doris began to walk away, and Olivia reached out to her. "Are you sure you donít want to stay? I make a great bumper Ė you wonít even have to sit next to each other if you want to avoid temptation."

Doris grinned. "Thanks, butÖ Just tell her I got called away and Frankís on his way," she said sadly.

She started to leave again, but Olivia called out.

"Hey?"

Doris turned, and Olivia put her arms around her. "I never thought Iíd say this, but youíre a good woman, Doris Wolfe."

Doris grinned again and pulled away to see Olivia's teasing smile.

"Yeah, tell Frank heís reinstated too. Let him know I just fired him to get him up here." She waved and said, "Iíll see you later."

Olivia watched her go and then walked back to Blake, who was looking behind her.

"Did you see Doris?" Blake asked hopefully.

"Yeah, she had to go, so I told her Iíd hang out." Blake looked disappointed. "I know Iím not a big wig like the Mayor," Olivia joked.

"No," Blake assured her. "Itís not that... Thank you for staying. Really. I donít want to be alone right now."

"Any news on Clarissa yet?"

"None," Blake said as Olivia took a seat beside her.

"Doris said Frank is on the way," Olivia said optimistically. Blake seemed unmoved and Olivia nervously cleared her throat. "You donít seem happy about that."

"What? About Frank coming?"

Olivia just nodded.

"Well," Blake sighed, "I donít see him that often anymore. Itís kind ofÖif heís there or heís not, whatís the point, ya know?... Have you been in love with someone whoísÖ absent?"

"Are you in love with Frank?" Olivia asked.

"I love him. I thought if I married him, Iíd be set. I wouldnít be alone, butÖ I feel more alone than ever. Itís not easy being married to a man whose mind is elsewhere."

Olivia snorted. "Yeah, I know."

"You do, huh? I hope Natalia isnít-."

"Oh, no. SheísÖ" Olivia smiled. "She adores me and itís mutual. I was thinking of Josh Lewis."

"Heís a gorgeous man," Blake said with a slight grin. "What happened with you two? You still seem friendly and all. It just didnít work out?"

"I spent my wedding night dancing with my brother because Hurricane Reva blew into town that night."

"Reva is insufferable," Blake sighed.

Olivia grinned. "Itís a long story. But to answer your question, yes. I do know what itís like to be in love with someone whoís absentÖ Itís likeÖ dating a ghost. Someone whoís there, butÖ not there," Olivia said. Blake just nodded and Olivia added, "But Natalia, sheís all in - one hundred and ten thousand percent. Iíve never had anyone like her, ever. SheÖ she loves me for me. Sheís seen all the sides there are to me, even the ugly ones, and sheísÖ devoted. And Iím devoted to her, completely."

"Thatís sweet," Blake said sincerely.

"You know," Olivia said in a guarded tone, "You could have what I have."

"I donít want Natalia," Blake teased.

"Good because she's all mine, but... you know what I mean," Olivia countered.

"Doris," Blake muttered with a touch of appreciation.

"Yeah... Sheís devoted to you too."

"Then where is she now?" Blake motioned around the room.

"Running," Olivia said.

Blake ran her fingers through her hair. "I shouldnít have kissed her. IÖ I upset her."

"Itís not the kisses that bother her as much as what comes next."

"What do you mean?"

"She doesnít want to be here when Frank comes in. I know what itís like to stand in a room when the woman you love is in Frankís arms. Itís one of the hardest feelings in the world to endure. And while Doris is tough, sheís not that tough. She wears her heart on her sleeve. In fact, Iím surprised she managed to stay in the closet as long as she did, but there might be another reason, now that I think about it."

"Whatís that?"

"Youíre the first woman sheís truly adored. And Iíll be honest, I hate to think her admiration is misplaced."

"Itís not. The truth is I loveÖ Frank."

Olivia looked disappointed, but then she watched Blake stand up, and she followed Blakeís line of sight to see Frank approaching them.

"Hey, Blakey," Frank said as he hugged her. "Any news yet?"

"No," Blake said. "Iím so scared."

"Well, Iím here now," he reassured her. Olivia turned her head so the couple wouldnít see her rolling her eyes. He then looked to Olivia, "Hey, Liv, thanks for staying with her. I thought Doris would still be here, but I see she ran out, like a coward."

"A coward? What?" Blake asked.

"She fired me! Can you believe that?" Frank told her.

"Why did she fire you?" Blake questioned.

"She was being bossy and-."

"Oh no, she didnít actually fire you," Olivia jumped in. "Doris wanted me to tell you that youíre reinstated. She just said you were fired you so youíd come up here. That's all."

"You werenít going to come until you lost your job?" Blake asked, sounding angry.

Olivia opened her mouth to explain, but then snapped it shut instead. After all, she didnít lie. She gave Frank the message the way Doris asked her toÖ exactly the way she said it.

"No," Frank insisted. "I was going to come up."

"Oh really?" Blake said skeptically.

"Yes, and when I tried to ask Doris what was going on up here, she got all defensive and pigheaded. Then she fired me."

Olivia grinned deviously for a split second and then turned to them.

"Well, perhaps Doris misunderstood. She was under the assumption you were making excuses not to come up."

"I was doing no such thing," Frank said as Blake turned a cruel eye to him. Seeing the look, he added, "Itís true. Tell her Olivia."

Olivia was at a crossroads. Should she mention the same thing she told Doris that she was surprised Frank wouldnít be there if one of the kids was in trouble or should she play dumb.

Olivia held up her hands and split the difference.

"I didnít hear the conversation," she began, "I heard only what Doris said. Anyway, youíre here now. Doris just wanted you to come, and you still have your job, so itís all well and good, right?" Olivia asked. Blake still looked annoyed, and Frank looked pissed. "Alrighty then," she said not waiting for a response. "Blake? Will you let me know when you hear something? Doris wanted me to call her, and we want to know too, obviously."

"Oh, yeah, sure," Blake replied.

Olivia gave her a hug and patted Frank on his arm as she departed to the elevators. They didnít see her Chester cat smile at planting the seeds of mistrust.

ĎWhatís a little dissent?í Olivia reasoned, ĎItís for the greater good.í

Chapter 93

It was dark outside. That was the first thing Clarissa noted as she slowly opened her eyes. She tried to focus on the person sleeping in the chair beside her. When her eyes finally did adjust, it wasnít her mother or Frank. She was surprised to see Doris Wolfe, who appeared to be asleep. Across from the sleeping mayor sat her mother, awake and watching Doris withÖ a slight grin? Clarissa had so many questions, but right now, the pain in her stomach and knee were the priority. She cleared her dry throat and, simultaneously, both women seemed to perk up and look in her direction.

"Hey," Clarissa called out.

"Hey Sweetie," Blake said as she came to her feet and walked closer. Doris put the recliner upright and made her way over too.

"I feel like I was run over by a truck. Oh, wait, I was." Clarissa grinned.

"At least her wit is still in tact," Doris remarked. "Do you remember anything?"

"Not really," she replied. "I saw him coming a few seconds before impact and then I was out untilÖwhat time is it now?"

"Around 2 A.M.," Blake answered.

Clarissa tried to move her leg and winced. "So my wit is fine. Whatís the story on my knee? Did it take a beating?" Clarissa asked.

Doris and Blake both nodded.

"According to Rick," Blake went on, "You have a torn meniscus."

"A torn what?" she asked.

"Torn meniscus. He said meniscus is the cartilage in a person's knee that acts like a cushion between your thighbone and shinbone. Youíll have to do physical therapy, but youíll be okay."

Clarissa nodded and tried to rise up again, but immediately gripped her stomach.

"I gotta feeling thereís more wrong?" Clarissa asked. "Actually, Iím gonna lay here until you list everything so I know what to expect."

"Well, thereís a slight concussion," Doris remarked.

Clarissa nodded slightly. "That explains why the light in the hallway hurts my head, but what about the stomach?"

"Your spleen got a little torn too," Blake explained. "Rick said, the lining was torn from the impact, and the bleeding spilled into the space in the abdominal cavity that contains all the squishy organs like your intestines, liver and such. But they stopped the bleeding. Youíll just be sore for awhile."

Clarissa digested all the info and looked around the room.

"Did you need something, Sweetie?" Blake asked.

"Actually, Iím thirsty," she began. She looked to Doris. "Can you see if theyíll give me some ice chips, Doris? Oooh, and maybe some red jello, if I can eat. If they have grape or orange though, Iíll just take some ice chips."

Doris looked to Blake and then back at Clarissa. "Ice and Red jello only. Got it." She leaned over and kissed Clarissa on the top of the head. "Iíll be back," she said as she started to leave, but not before she squeezed Blakeís forearm that rested on the bed as she held Clarissaís hand.

Once Doris had left, Clarissa said, "Good; she fell for it."

"What?" her mother asked.

"Hospitals never have red jello. Itís always crappy jello and I need time to talk to you alone."

"Whatís wrong?"

"I have the same question. Whatís wrong? Frankís not here but Doris is? Whatís up with that?"

Blakeís mind went back to 3 hours earlier. She was sitting alone, watching Clarissa sleep when she heard, rather than saw someone standing in the doorway with a cardboard drink tray with three cups and a small bag.

She was surprised to see Doris but her shock slowly transformed into a smile.

"Olivia called," Doris whispered. "She told me about Clarissa. Sheís gonna be okay?"

"Thank God."

"Thank Rick - he did most of the work," Doris countered. "Has she woken up at all?"

"No, not yet. They said it might be awhile. Theyíre keeping her sedated because of the injuries."

Doris nodded and then asked, "Liv said you sent Frank home?"

"There was nothing he could do by sitting here."

"He could keep you company until she wakes up," Doris countered. Blake just shrugged. "Anyway," Doris continued as she raised the bag and the tray slightly. "Iím not sure if you got a chance to eat tonight so I brought some stuff."

"Iím starving actually," Blake said. "I told Frank he could leave, but I forgot to ask for food."

Doris put the bag on the small bed stand and mumbled, "He should have asked you."

"What?" Blake said not catching it.

"I, uh, I said I should have asked you Ė asked what you wanted to eat," Doris replied.

"Oh, anything is good at this point," Blake replied.

"Ham or Roast Beef?" Doris asked. "I didnít get turkey because it makes you sleepy and you might want to be up tonight."

Blake smiled. "You think of everything, donít you?"

"Iím told it can be one of more annoying attributes." Doris blushed.

Blake reached up and stroked Dorisí cheek. "Iíd say otherwise."

Doris smiled and looked inside the bag again. "So which one?"

"Letís live on the edge. Surprise me."

Doris closed her eyes and reached into the bag. She pulled out the sandwich and handed it to Blake. The author looked at it and pouted.

"Itís ham. I was hoping for roast beef."

Doris sighed and rolled her eyes. She reached in the bag to give her the other sandwich instead.

"Iím teasing," Blake giggled.

"You seem in much better spirits than earlier," Doris remarked.

"I am. And thank you for theÖ distraction this afternoon. Youíre a great kisser."

Doris didnít want to seem to discuss the distraction in question so she simply asked as she motioned to the sandwich, "So the ham is good then?"

"I like both actually. I just wanted to see if youíd part with the roast beef."

"Iíd give you whatever I could," Doris muttered and then looked away.

"Doris?" The mayor looked back at Blake. "Thank you. Really. I knowÖI know this isnít easy on you so, honestly, thank you for being here."

Doris blushed again and then motioned to Clarissa as she smiled at the young woman.

"Well, I gotta make sure the future D.A. of Springfield is going to be okay," she remarked.

Blake smiled too.

Back in the present day, Blake tried to answer Clarissaís question.

"Doris brought me some food and then hung out to make sure youíd be okay."

"And Frank?"

"FrankÖ heís had a long day. There was no sense in both of us staying so I sent him home to rest."

Clarissa didnít say anything for a few seconds. "If I ask a question, will you promise to be honest with me?"

"Whatís the question?"

"Are you in love with Doris?" Blake looked away and couldnít focus on her daughter. "I wonít be mad orÖ embarrassed if you are Mom. I just want the truth."

"The truth?" Blake asked, as if she was also considering the question. "Yes, I think I am."

"You could use me, you know?"

"Use you?"

"Yeah, Iím offering my injuries as an excuse to postpone the wedding, if you needed more time to figure things out, I mean."

Blake smiled and then she leaned over and kissed Clarissa on the forehead.

"Thank you dear, butÖ Itís important that I give youÖ a father figure, thatís something thatís been lacking for a big part of your life. Frank could do that."

"Mom? Really? Itís two oíclock in the morning. Frankís not hereÖ but Doris is. Doesnít that tell you something?"

Blake grinned slightly again. "Quit being observant."

"Besides, the way I see it, having an absentee father isnít as great as having two mom who are there for meÖ even Emma Spencer can tell you that."

"I know you donít always see eye to eye with Frank."

"Always? Try never."

"And you do like Doris," Blake countered, ignoring her jab.

"Yeah, my opinion is biased. Iíll grant you that," Clarissa admitted. "But what about your opinion? What do you really want? And please leave me out of it; donít use me and some notion of a life with Cliff Huxtable as being the answer to everything. What do you want, Mom?"

Blake considered the question. Before she could answer though, Doris returned with some ice chips and some red jello.

"You got it!" Clarissa said happily.

"Of course I did. Sometimes you need to pulled a few strings to make things happen." Doris smiled.

Clarissa looked back at her mother and said, "Yes, you do."

Chapter 94

Doris opened her front door and smiled at the person on her step. Just over a week had pasted since Clarissaís accident, and although Doris hadnít seen Blake, she was constantly in her thoughts.

Today was Saturday Ė the day Blake was going to say ĎI doí. Truth be told, Doris wasnít feeling any pain. Of course, that might have to do with the glass of wine she had with lunchÖ or the three glasses, to be more correct.

"Buzz Cooper!" she greeted and motioned him inside. "What brings you out here today? I figured youíd be planning another walk down the aisle for your boy."

"Yeah, well, uh, thatís the thing," he replied as he entered.

"Whatís up? Did the bride get cold feet?" Doris tried not to sound hopeful.

"Why have you heard something?" he asked concerned.

"No," Doris replied honestly. "She was still going to be Mrs. Cooper from what I understand. What brings you out?" she asked again.

"I need your help with that actually."

"With?"

"Their pastor is sick and the other is out of town at a conference," he told her.

Doris swallowed. She saw where this was going.

"So whatís that got to do with me?" she asked.

"I need you to marry them."

"Sorry. Iím busy."

"Itís Saturday. What do you have to do?"

"Hey, I have a life."

"Doris, please. Youíre one of Blakeís closest friends and Iím sure sheíd love it if you did the honors. So what do you say?"

Doris chuckled as she realized she had no way out of this.

"You know the last wedding I presided over for Frank ended with the bride running away," she noted. "You sure you want to take that risk again?"

She really hoped heíd reconsidered. She had no intention of being there today and the last thing she expected was to be the one asked to do the joining.

"This time is different," he said. His eyes narrowed for a brief second, as if he was considering something momentarily. "I mean, it is different, right?"

"Youíre confusing me," Doris replied.

"You and Blake seemÖ cozyÖ with each other. Not unlike Olivia and Natalia once upon a time. And your cousin Barry is saying things about you two. Maybe youíre not busy and thereís some truth-."

"Are you asking if thereís something going on with me and Blake?"

"I am," he answered.

"Buzz, please. Youíre here to marry Blake and Frank; not Blake and ĎDorisí, right? I think itís pretty obvious sheís with him. But to answer your earlier question, yes. Yes, Iíll marry them. Iíll see you at the church, letís sayÖ 3:30ish?"

Buzz smiled. "Thank you, Doris," he said sincerely.

As they started to walk out, Doris felt torn by what she agreed to do, and concerned not even showing up, but she was also curious.

"Tell me, why isnít Frank here, asking me to give his hand away?"

"Frank had Rizzoli arrested this morning, didnít you hear?"

"No, I didnít. Really?"

"Yeah, they got enough evidence this time. Frankís at the arraignment, but he promised heíd make it to the wedding afterward." Buzz grinned. "I told him he betterÖ or else. Blakeís put up with a lot while Frankís been on this investigation. Not showing up for the wedding could be the deal breaker."

Doris seemed to ignore what came after the word Ďarraignmentí and she had a far off look.

"What is it, Doris?" Buzz asked.

"Rizzoli already has an arraignment?" Doris asked concerned.

"Yeah."

"With who?"

"What do you mean who?"

"Which judge?"

"Oh, I donít know. Frank didnít say and I didnít ask. Why? You seemÖ worried?"

"Well, Rizzoli can be intimidating to put it mildly. And some witnesses have a habit of disappearing in the past. Well, more like ALL of them disappearing."

"Frank swears this one is open and shut," Buzz assured her.

"Where-Whereís Lillian?" Doris asked.

"At home," Buzz replied, getting a little concerned. "Why?"

"JustÖ stick close to her, okay?"

"Doris, youíre scaring me a little here."

Doris smiled slightly.

"Sorry. Just trying to be cautious is all," she said trying to sound reassuring. "Just be careful until Rizzoliís away for good, okay? Donít accept any packages from strangers. Donít open the door unless you know whoís on the other side. JustÖ be aware, okay?"

"Okay," Buzz agreed. "Sounds like I should get back home."

Doris just nodded and closed her door as Buzz walked away.

Doris immediately went to her cell phone and dialed.

"Whereís Natalia and the girls?" she asked without saying hello. "Good. Do you still have your Glock?"

Chapter 95

A few hours later, the family had gathered at the church.

"You know, Christina, I was thinking," Ed Bauer began, using her formal name. He came behind Blake in the chapel morning room and she turned to face him. "Remember that day, the summer before last? I saw you at the cemetery. I heard you tell Ross you miss him, but you were looking forward to whatever came next. You remember that?"

"I do," Blake said with a half-hearted grin.

"If you donít mind me sayingÖYou look beautiful in this dress, but you donít seem to be looking forward to today."

"Wedding jitters I guess," she replied.

"Jitters or second thoughts, Chrissy?"

"IÖ I canít leave Frank." Blake stammered.

"Do you want to leave Frank?" he asked. When Blake didnít answer after a few seconds he added, "Sweetheart, I wonít lie. I was honored when you asked me to be here today. I looked forward to walking you down that aisle and into a life of happiness." Ed paused and looked over his shoulder, double-checking they were alone. "But you donít seem real happy."

Blake didnít have an answer.

In the changing room next door, Holly was helping Clarissa, who was trying to stay upright with her leg brace. The young woman managed to get the dress over her head, but getting it zipped up was problematic so Holly helped.

"Here, Humpty Dumpty," Holly teased. "We just got you back together again. We donít need to have Rick sew you back up."

As Holly helped, Clarissa said, "Gram? Can I tell you something?"

"Anything, Sweetie."

"Promise you wonít get mad or tell anyone?"

"Sounds important."

"It is. I donít think Mom should marry Frank."

"I know you two donít get along-."

Clarissa turned the best her body would allow as Holly spoke. She cut her off with a whispered, "This isnít about me. My Mom loves Doris Wolfe. And Doris loves her. But theyíre both too strong and stubborn or whatever to discuss it. Momís making a big mistake and I donít know how to stop it. Of course, you probably think my Mom loving Doris is weird, so you wonít help, but-."

"Why would I think thatís weird?"

"Well, youíre old."

Holly grinned. "Gee, thanks."

"You donít LOOK old," Clarissa stressed. "Youíre just, you know, you're from another generation is all."

"Olivia Spencer is one of my best friends, you know?"

"True, but itís different when itís your daughter whoís gay, isnít it?"

Holly considered it. "Sure. It is in some ways, maybe. But in the end, I only want your Mom to be happy."

"Me too and Doris makes her happy. And Doris makes me happy," she whispered. "The problem is Iíve only got a half hour to stop this wedding."

"When the pastor asks if anyone opposes, you could speak up," Holly offered.

"And mortify her? No thanks. Besides, if I did that, Frank would think it was about not liking him and trying to cause trouble."

"And youíre sure thatís not the case here?" Holly asked.

"The truth is I just want my Mom happy. Okay, mostly I want my Mom happy. The other part is I donít want Frank around to tell me I should be a cop like him and Marina. I can only take so much."

"Sweetie," Holly told her. "Your Mom is going to do what sheís going to do. If Iíve learned anything in all these years, itís this: When your Mom decides sheís going to do something, itís hell or high water with her. Sheíll see it through or die trying."

"Thatís the thing," Clarissa said.

"What?"

"I donít think my Mom wants to see it through. I think she wants out but doesnít know how to do it. I offered to use me as an excuse last week. You know, with me being in the hospital and all? I said it might not be a good time, blah, blah, blah, but she didnít take the out."

"Maybe she does want Frank?"

"Would you?"

Holly grinned. "No fair."

"See? You donít want him either and Iíve got 30 minutes to convince Mom that Doris is what she needs and call this dumb thing off. So will you help?"

Holly considered her request.

Inside the church, Olivia and Natalia were happy to see Doris walk in.

"Hey," Olivia whispered to her wife. "Maybe Doris came to her senses and weíll get Blake the hell outta here." Then Olivia noticed the Bible she was carrying. "Or not," she muttered and motioned Natalia to follow her toward Doris.

Natalia slapped Dorisís arm upon arrival.

"Hey!" Doris hissed.

"You!"

"Me what?"

"Donít get my wife drunk and let her smoke again. She smelled like pear vodka and cigarettes all night, not to mention that she IS a heart patient."

"You said I couldnít get drunk when Iím sad. You didnít say anything about her," Doris pointed out. "Besides sheís the one that wanted the cigarette. Blame her."

Natalia looked at her wife, who was refusing to look back.

"Whatís that?" Olivia asked Doris instead, as she motioned her head toward the bible the mayor held. "A little light reading?"

Before she could answer, Frank came over and said, "Thank you so much for doing this, Doris!"

"So youíre going to marry Blake?" Olivia asked as she tried to keep the displeasure from her voice.

"Yes," Frank said happily. "Dad asked her when the pastors couldnít make it." He turned to the mayor. "So Iím glad to see you," he told Doris.

"Really, donít mention it," Doris replied, the double innuendo lost on Frank. "Buzz said Rizzoliís arraignment was today?"

"Yeah, Judge Wallace set the bail at half a million for him. Can you believe that?"

"He was granted bail on a murder charge?"

"We didnít get him on murder actually. The charge is protection racketeering. Itís kind of how Ness got Capone: Get the big time murderer off the streets by convicting him of another crime - tax evasion."

"Frank," Doris began with a concerned tone. "Is he out now?"

"Maybe," Frank replied. "I donít think the judge should have given him a bail, but thereís not much I can do about it."

"Doris, whatís wrong? Olivia asked sensing her friendís discomfort.

"Maybe we should postpone the wedding," Doris offered.

"Yes!" Olivia said excitedly. She toned it down and said, "I mean, until things are safer, right?"

Doris nodded.

"No," Frank said. "Iím not going to let a thug dictate my life so the sooner we get it done, the sooner everyone can leave. Howís that?"

"Frank, please," Doris begged. "Everyone you love is in one place. If Rizzoli wanted payback, now would be a great time. That psycho is a sadistic son of a bitch. He wonít hurt you. Heíll hurt everyone around you Ė Blake, your daughters, your father. Heíll hurt them to make you suffer."

"Doris," Frank sighed. "I think youíre over-reacting. He'd be dumb to do anything in front of all these witnesses."

"How airtight is your case? Any chance he'll walk?"

"Not at all," Frank said proudly.

"So he has nothing to lose by showing up here," Doris said annoyed. "Is that what you're saying?"

"Doris," Frank sighed. "You're getting upset over nothing. Look, letís just get through the ceremony, okay?"

"Fine," she replied. She looked at her watch. "We start in the next ten minutes so go get ready." She didn't wait for him to leave. She pulled Olivia aside and out of earshot. "Did you bring your nine millimeter like I said?" she asked once they were alone.

"Yes, itís in my purse," Olivia said and patted it softly. "You know, if Frank finds out heíll arrest me. I donít have a CCW."

"Donít worry. As the Mayor, Iíll let you slide." She spared a glance to Natalia and the kids. "Just stick close to them. I want to wrap this up and get out of here."

"Is this going to get that bad?" Olivia asked.

"I hope Frank's right. I hope I'm just over-reacting. I just... I remember this guy from my time in the D.A.'s office. He always had a few screws loose and he's even killed his own people for pissing him off. If Frank really has him dead to rights..."

"What?"

"I'm afraid he'll want everyone around Frank dead. So don't leave your girls alone for a second, Natalia included, okay?"

"Okay," Olivia nodded. "You know, Blake shouldnít even be marrying him today," she whispered hotly. "I canít believe youíre not going to stop this. Hell, I canít believe you agreed to perform the ceremony! Isnít this against one of your Ďrulesí? Something like never marry the girl you love to someone else? Really, are you masochistic?"

"Why didnít you stop Natalia?" Doris asked.

"What?"

"I gave you every chance to step up that day, but you didnít."

"In the end, she didnít marry him, did she?"

"I know that," Doris said. "What Iím asking is why didnít you say something or do something?"

Olivia took a deep breath and said, "I get it, alright? It has to be her choice. You need to know that sheís telling him no because itís what she really wants and not anything you did."

"Exactly. I need to know Iím Blakeís choice rather than just Ďrescuingí her from a mistake. So until she steps up and calls this off, Iím going through with it."

"Thatís your story?" Olivia teased.

Doris gave her a sad smile. "And Iím stickiní to it."

Chapter 96

Clarissa, who acted as ring bearer and flower girl, walked down the aisle first (or hobbled might be better said). The leg brace offered little mobility. Next, Matt escorted Holly and then Buzz walked with Natalia. Olivia released the breath sheíd been holding as she waited for Natalia to come back into sight. With all of Dorisís talk about the Italian mob coming to get Frankís family, she couldnít help but be worried.

Natalia gave Doris a sympathetic look as she took her place. When Ed and Blake came into sight the congregation, which included most of the family and friends of Springfield, Doris involuntarily sighed.

"Beautiful," Doris muttered.

"She is, isnít see?" Frank agreed, not taking his eyes off of Blake, and ever oblivious to the love and adoration in Dorisí voice.

Doris looked away and in doing so met all of Blakeís bridal party, who looked expectantly at the mayor. Doris knew what their looks meant but she believed what sheíd told Olivia. She couldnít stop the wedding. That would be up to Blake.

As Ed and Blake arrived at the altar, he raised her veil and then kissed her on her cheek.

When no one said anything, Buzz coughed and said, "Uh Doris?" and motioned for her to say something.

"Oh, sorry. UhÖ" She struggled for what she was supposed to say next when suddenly it came to her. "Who gives this woman to be wed?" she asked.

"Her mother and I do," Ed replied and then gave Blakeís hand to Frank before he took his seat next to Rick, Mindy and Blakeís sons, who were dressed as ushers.

"Dearly beloved," Doris began. "Weíre here today to join this man and this woman in holy matrimonyÖ Itís an honorable state, not one to be entered into lightly, but rather soberly, advisedly, and full of the knowledge it entails such as consequence and responsibility."

"Psst," Frank said softly. "Do you have to do the same speech you did with Natalia?"

"Itís the only one I have," Doris shot back in a whisper. She then turned to the audience. "With that said, is there anyone here who believes Frank and Na-Blake should not be lawfully wed? Speak now or forever hold your peace to this blessed union."

Blake looked to Doris, almost as if she hoped sheíd say something, but Doris looked around the audience, not making eye contact with her. Clarissa gave Holly a small nudge and when no one said anything Holly cried out, "Ohh, geeze!"

"What is it?" Blake asked concerned.

"Iím sorry. I-I feel a little lightheaded."

"Here," Clarissa said as she took Hollyís flowers and then her mothers. "Mom? Why donít you take Gram and get her a glass of water?"

"Iíll take her," Ed offered.

"No," Clarissa and Holly both yelled at him.

"Sorry," Holly apologized for the outburst. "Blake? Do you mind?"

"Thatís fine," she replied. "Weíll be right back everyone," she told the crowd and helped her mother to the back room.

"Sorry again," Holly apologized to everyone.

Once they were in the back room, Holly dropped all pretense of illness.

"Do you love Doris?" she asked her daughter.

"I do," Blake admitted.

"Then walk away."

"I canít leave Frank at the altar. Not again."

"What about Doris? Youíre going to make the woman you love Ė and the woman who loves you Ė marry you off to someone you donít love."

"I do love Frank," Blake offered. "Just not the way I love Doris."

"Please Blake, just leave with me. Weíll walk out right now."

"I have to try to see this through, Mom. So just stop, okay? And donít go Ďfaintingí on me out there."

"I wasnít going to faint," Holly countered. "Vomit, perhaps."

"Are you okay?" Ed asked as he came around the corner.

"Sheís much better," Blake replied before Holly could answer.

Ed looked to Holly for confirmation and she simply said, "Yes. Much," she told her husband. "Letís get this freak show back on the road," she muttered to Blake.

The three of them returned to their places Ė Ed to his seat, Holly beside Natalia and Blake next to Frank.

"Everything fine?" Doris asked.

"Yes," Holly answered. "Sorry for the interruption. Please continue."

Clarissa looked hopeful, but that soon faded when she realized her grandmother failed to talk any sense into her mother.

"May we have the rings?" Doris asked Clarissa.

The young woman seemed reluctant to hand them over.

"Clarissa?" Doris asked.

The teen took a deep breath and then handed Frank and her mother the rings.

"The ring," Doris began. "Itís a sign of never ending loveÖ LoveÖ Itís quite amazingÖ It has the power to raise cities while bringing those same city makers to their knees. It can make enemies of friends and friends of enemies. Love always takes what it wants, does want it wants andÖ goes where it wants. Love is a savage beastÖand a gentle caressÖ Itís a furious stormÖand a relaxing wind. LoveÖ controls you, but itís also whatever you decide to make itÖ It comes easilyÖ It leaves easilyÖ But with constant care, it survives anything.

And thatís what a marriage is. It's about binding of two spirits in a circle of never ending love. That's what these rings represent. Itís about finding someone that you can weather those storms with. Itís about two people dedicated to moving in the same direction. Itís about taming that savage beast and enjoying that relaxing wind. It isnít something to be entered into casually. It takes great thought and deep consideration.

So with that said, do you, Frank Cooper, stand before these witnesses and take Blake Marler as your wedded wife?"

"I do," Frank said happily and slipped the ring onto Blakeís finger.

Doris pursed her lips for a moment and had to clear her throat.

"And do you Blake Marler, stand before these witnesses and take Frank Cooper as your wedded husband?"

"IÖ" Blake said. "IÖ" She couldnít look at Frank or put the ring on his finger.

"Blake?" he asked.

Blake glanced at Frank and then looked up at Doris.

"I love you!" she told the mayor. She dropped his ring and the bouquet before she pulled Doris into a searing kiss. The audience gasped at the outburst.

"Again!?" Frank said in shock to his dad. "Really?"

Before Doris could react, the doors opened at the back of the room violently and everyone turned to see Rizzoli standing there with two other men.

"Take my freedom?!" he yelled. "Iíll take what you love."

All three pulled a gun and raised it toward the altar as Remy yelled, "Get down!" People scrambled to the floor in an instant.

Just as they began to open fire, Doris dove in front of Blake, sending both of them to the ground. Frank ducked and reached under his shoulder instinctively for a gun that wasnít there.

Olivia pushed her family to the ground and got her Glock as others in the church were ducking and scrambling. Natalia grabbed Emma and Francesca and covered them with her body on the ground. Olivia, used the pew as cover when she pulled the trigger on the nearest man taking aim at them. She squeezed off a round and watched the man rear back slightly to one side. She knew she hit him in the shoulder, but he continued to raise his weapon again.

Thatís when she heard another barrage of bullets that werenít her own or the attackers. This time it was from the pews on the other side. Remy and Cyrus had guns drawn and were returning fire.

Although it seemed like an eternity, it was only a matter of seconds from start to finish. Gun smoke still hung in the air and Rizzoli and his two men were dead on the floor.

"Is everyone okay!?" Buzz asked as he and Frank tried to restore order in the room.

"Did anyone get hurt?" Rick called out over the chorus of scared voices while Remy and Cyrus moved to check the vitals of the attackers.

"Got grazed," Marina replied and showed her slightly bleeding arm.

Frank rushed over, as did Rick.

"Are you okay?" Frank asked concerned.

"Yeah, Iím fine," Marina said as she showed them again.

"Just a nick," Rick teased with a smile. "Iíll get a band-aid."

Although it was slightly more than a scratch, Marina grinned at him with the knowledge that it wasnít serious in the least.

"Did anyone else get hit?" Ed asked.

People inspected themselves and their loved ones. Olivia checked out all her girls and then looked to the altar. Blake and Doris were both standing again and Doris appeared to sway and shake a bit.

"Iíve got reinforcements and medical on the way," Remy announced.

"Good man," Frank complimented him. "It seems like everyoneís okay," he added to the gathering. "We can all calm down. Everyoneís alright now."

Frank shot a disapproved glance at Blake as he helped Rick tend to Marinaís arm. Blake ignored him and looked at Doris with a smile.

"He ducked, but youÖ dove. You saved my life. ThatísÖ No oneís ever done that."

Blake smiled even bigger and reached for Dorisís forearms, but the mayor still hadnít said anything and her face seemed to contradict the joy that Blake was exuding. Blake started to notice it too and looked over her shoulder to Olivia, as if asking for confirmation of the feeling she was getting.

"Doris?" Olivia called over to her. She too could tell her friend had an odd expression on her face. "Are you okay?"

It was then that Doris held up her blood soaked hands. Blake looked down and could now see the ever-increasing red patch on Dorisís stomach.

"I think I need a doctor," Doris mumbled.

Seconds later, she began to drop and she collapsed into Blakeís arms.

"Ed!" Blake shouted. "Help us! Now!"

Chapter 97

"You have to hold on," Blake told Doris as she cradled the bleeding woman in her lap. "Just hold on. The ambulance is going to be here in a few minutes," she added as she fought back tears.

"Tell me something?" Doris asked Blake. The author absently ran her fingers through Dorisís hair.

"Anything," Blake told her.

"Why does every wedding Iím at end up with a bloody dress, a runaway brideÖ or both." Blake just grinned. "You know a little club soda will get that right out. I speak from experience," she motioned her head slightly toward Blakeís dress that was covered in bloody handprints. Doris then let out a loud groan as Ed put more pressure on her stomach.

"Sorry," he apologized. "Need to keep the bleeding to a minimum." He looked across to Rick who was on the other side. "Put more pressure there," he advised.

"Here," Olivia said as she brought over more towels. She settled herself directly across from Blake.

"How you holding up, Doris?" Rick asked as she replaced the old towels with the new oneís Olivia had bought.

"Iíll admit, Iíve felt better," she quipped. She turned her head to Olivia. "Get out of here," she told her.

"Iím not leaving you."

"Yeah, you are. Get your girls and go home. No, wait. Not home," she said, correcting herself. "The Beacon; not your suite thought. Pick a new room where they canít find Chessie. Rickíll call your cell with news on me, right?"

"You bet," Rick told her. "We really should clear everyone out," he said to the group hovered around Doris. Then he looked at Olivia, "It wouldnít be a bad idea for all the guests closest to Frank to do the same, LivÖ Is the Beacon filled up tonight?"

Olivia held up a finger and then dialed.

"Hey, what are you doing?" Olivia said into the phone as she took a few steps away.

"Watching Project Runway," the other voice said. "Iím not on call."

"I know itís your day off, but youíre in town though, right?"

"Yeah, Iím at home. You soundÖ frazzled."

"Thatís because all hell broke lose at Frankís weddings Ė mobsters with guns, Doris got shot-."

"What?! Is she okay?!"

"Sheís got both Bauer doctors working on her now actually."

"Natalia and-and the girls?!"

"Yes, Natalia and the girls are fine. Iíll give you a run down soon. For now, just listen to me, okay?"

"Sorry," he said meekly.

"I need a favor, Greg, and youíre the only one I trust to get it done properly Ė I need to move these people to the Beacon and hide themÖ Probably about 50 rooms. Can you quietly set the rooms aside, on different floors, in say the next ten minutes?"

"Iím not sure how, but Iíll find a way."

Olivia smiled. "Good man. Just remember, no one can know who they are or that theyíve come inÖ"

"So anonymous check-ins?"

"Exactly. Use names like Smith, Jones, Brown, give them confidential names. Iíll have them say theyíre with the Ďlighthouse societyí so they can get a room key with no billing and no questions asked."

"You got it, Ms. Spencer."

"Iíll need a room too for Natalia and I and the girls Ė nothing fancy Ė two doubles is fine. I donít want to stay in our suite or have anyone else in it for the time being."

"Would you like me to bring your things from the suite?"

"Yes, actually, thatís good. You can bring the essentials but have housekeeping put them in a cart and act like theyíre cleaning the room. The mobsters might have people camped out, expecting our arrival and I want everyone safe until we know more, okay?"

"Absolutely," he replied. "Just be careful."

"You be careful too. Weíll see you soon, and Greg, thank you."

"Youíre welcome, Ms. Spencer."

Remy came over to the doctors with a small cardboard rectangle box as Olivia walked back to see how Doris was doing.

"They had plastic wrap in the pantry," Remy said as she started to pull it out of the box and into strips of different sizes.

"Wonderful!" Ed told him. "Letís try to use this as a seal for now."

He looked at his watch and Doris noticed.

"Six minutes, huh?" she asked.

"Theyíll be here any second, Doris," he told her.

"Iíve only got 10," she told him. "Iíve seen enough victim reports over the years and I know timeís running out."

"Ed," Blake cried, "You need to do something!"

"Calm down -- both of you. Every wound is different and honestly, Doris, your blood loss looks worse than it is."

"Heís right," Rick agreed. "Youíve still got lots of minutes so everyone calm down."

Buzz was a few feet away thinking the same thing about getting people moved, although he didnít hear Rickís suggestion for clearing the area.

"Frank," Buzz said softly to him. "We need to get everyone out of this building in case they come back."

"True," Cyrus agreed as he continued to look at the two doorways. "That might have just been the first wave. Rizzoli could have had orders to send someone else if he didnít return by a certain time."

"Okay," Frank agreed and turned to everyone. "If I could have everyoneís attentionÖ Medical unitís are on the way to take care ofÖ" Frank seemed to pause, unsure of how to address the woman who appeared to have stolen is fiancťe. He finally finished by calling her, "the mayor." He added, "So everyone, if you would, slowly and orderly, make your way to the exits."

Not having to be told twice, the gatherers began to make their way outside but Olivia shouted out, "One moment everyone! We donít know the entire situation yet."

"Olivia donít cause a panic," Frank said.

"Iím not!" she shot back and then addressed everyone, "I wanted to let you all know -- if anyone is uncomfortable about going back to your homes, Iíve set aside rooms at the Beacon, free of charge. Donít give your name. Just say youíre with the lighthouse society, okay?" She turned to Buzz and asked him, "What do you say to check in?"

"Iím with the lighthouse society?"

"Perfect! So for those who think they might be a target because of your association with the Coopers, youíre welcome to stay at The Beacon until the police know your safety isnít an issue, okay?"

"Thank you, Olivia," Matt said loudly and several other voices agreed.

"No problem," she said.

Cyrus looked outside to make sure it was safe and then said, "It looks all clear folks. Letís start out."

Back near Doris, the medical team and a few onlookers still surrounded her.

"Anyone whoís not medical personal should leave," Frank told the circle around Doris.

"See, Liv?" Doris told Olivia again. "Besides, Rick says Iíll be fine, so go."

"DorisÖ"

The sound of a siren could be heard in the distance.

"You wanna help me now?" she asked. Olivia just nodded to her question. "Then look after your girls. Iíll feel better knowing you and them are all safe and outta here."

Oliviaís brow furrowed for a moment in indecision, but then she moved to the ground. She leaned over and kissed Doris on the forehead. "Iíll see you tonight. Promise me?"

"Rule number 4," she said. "Never make a promise to a beautiful woman you canít keepÖ"

"Promise me," Olivia repeated, this time sounding more like an order.

Doris grinned slightly. "I promise."

Olivia kissed her again and then stood up. She started to make her way to Natalia who was at one of the pews, trying to keep Emma and Francesca away from the bloody scene. As she started to walk toward them, Frank reached out and took her arm. Not roughly, but not entirely gentle either.

"I need that gun. Weíve got to talk about that shot you fired."

Olivia did a double take. "Later," she replied.

"Not later; now. I donít need you leaving town and-" he began.

Olivia pulled her arm back from him roughly.

"Fuck you!" she hissed, keeping her voice down. "I just gave away 50 rooms for the safety of YOUR guests for a wedding that Doris told you to call off, and right now sheís laying on the floor bleeding to death. So I donít give a damn about what you want. You say you wanna take my property? Then get a goddamn warrant! Right now, Iím taking my family with me. And just so you know, Iíll use that gun again if I have to defend them, including YOUR daughter whoís coming with ME." She gave him a final poke to the chest and said, "Got it, Chief!" before she walked away to escort her family home.

Disgruntled, Frank walked over to where they were working on Doris.

"Blake," he began as he reached his hand down toward her. "You really should leave here. Itís not safe."

"You can go," she told him. "Iím staying."

"But Blake-."

"But nothing!" she spat. "This woman took a bullet for me. Iím not going."

"She dove to avoid-."

"Are you that delusional?! She got shot protecting me while you ducked!" Blake countered. She took a calming breath. "Frank, just go."

Buzz appeared at Frankís shoulder and then led him away silently.

Chapter 98

Blake was pacing in the emergency room as Clarissa, Holly and Ed looked on. She glanced to her left and saw Frank standing there. He approached, but stopped when he got about four feet away, just beyond armsí reach. He handed her a piece of paper.

"Whatís this?" she asked.

"Marriage license," he told her. "Itís not official until the marriage officiant signs it."

Blake stared at him a long moment in disbelief as Holly and Ed, who overheard the conversation looked on in amazement.

"Tell me youíre not seriously asking Doris to sign this?" she asked growing angry.

"Oh no. No, I wasnít," he replied immediately. "I wasnít sure what to do with it, so Iím letting you handle it. Last time this happenÖ" He shook his head slightly in his own astonishment at the situation, "Öwith Natalia, I meanÖ my Pop handled it."

Blake took the paper from him. "Iíll take care of it," she told him.

"That really couldnít wait, Frank?" Holly chimed in annoyed. Clarissa looked equally aggravated.

Ed put his hand on Hollyís knee. "Ladies, why donít we get some coffee in the cafeteria?" he suggested.

He led his reluctant wife and step-granddaughter away to give the pair some privacy.

Frank and Blake stood for a short moment, saying nothing.

"Have they said anything?" Frank asked as she motioned toward the ER.

"Not yet," she replied.

Another silence passed between them.

"With Natalia and Olivia," he began. "I was shocked. I wonít lie. But after I considered it, I understood. Olivia was ĎCyrano-ingí Natalia via me. But this timeÖ We were living together, building a life together, Blakie. What happened here?"

"In the beginning, that was true, Frank. But once we announced the engagementÖ"

"What?"

"Everything else became more important. Company, your investigations, you name it. Clarissa and I were last on the list and while I donít always expect to be tops, I expect to be number one once in a while."

"You are number one."

"No, Iím not," Blake said. "But itís more than just that."

"What do you mean?"

Blake paused a moment. "Iím not trying to hurt you by saying this, but I love Doris. I really love her and IÖ" Blake seemed reluctant to go on.

"What?"

She took a deep breath. "I havenít loved anyone this way since Ross." She paused a moment to let that comment sink in for Frank. "She makes me feel alive. She makes me feelÖtreasured."

"You make ME feel treasured," Frank said. "We can fix this."

"No, we canít-."

"We can."

"No, because although you might feel treasured, I donít."

"Blake, Iím sorry if youíve felt neglected."

"Iím not your lover anymore. Iím someone who washes your clothes, raises your baby, helps your dad run his diner, and sometimes Iím the person who warms your bed for those rare times youíre there."

"Look, I know Iíve been busy lately, but this whole Rizzoli thing is over now."

"Oh really? No more gun battles?"

"That was unfortunate," he conceded.

"Unfortunate? That could have been prevented," Blake countered. "Natalia said Doris warned you to cancel the wedding."

"I was wrong, okay? I didnít think heíd do that. But itís all right now. Remy said the familyís gone into hiding and everything is up in the air now that Rizzoliís gone. Itíll be a while before theyíre reorganized, if ever. So itís safe."

"Itíll never be safe. Itís only a matter of time until the next crime lord rises up to take his place and then what happens, huh? Iíll tell you, itíll be more nights aloneÖ and I donít want that life."

"Blake," Frank said, "I really think we can fix this if you give it a chance."

Blake shook her head and her hands at him.

"Youíre not getting it. Even if thatís true, the point is I donít WANT to fix it. Iíve made my choice, Frank. And itís Doris. And if itís not too late - meaning if I havenít done too much emotional damage with my indecisions and if she survives Ė I want to spend my life with her, if sheíll have me. But if not, and she decides she canít forgive me for hurting her, AND getting physically hurt at a wedding I SHOULD have canceledÖ well, I wonít like it, but Iíll respect her decision. Iím asking you to do the same and respect mine." Blake slipped the rings from her finger and handed them back to him. "Iím sorry for hurting you, Frank. But Iím not sorry for my decision."

Frank took the rings and released a sigh. He nodded to the exit.

"Iím gonna go, but if you need me..."

"Thanks, but Iíll be fine," Blake told him. "Go take care of yourself."

He nodded again. Then he turned around and left. Blake went back to pacing until she saw Rick making his way over.

"Is she okay?" Blake asked nervously.

"Sheís fine. Sheís in recovery and asking for you," he answered and then grinned. "Wanna see her?"

A few moments later, Blake texted her mother to say she was going back to see Doris. Rick motioned her to the right and she crept into the small recover room with the marriage license still in her hand.

"Please donít tell me it was a dream," Doris said.

"What do you mean?" Blake asked as she came closer.

"The kiss and the declaration," Doris said. "That was real, right?"

"Completely." Blake smiled. She stroked Dorisí face and then leaned over, giving her gentle kiss on the lips.

"Good," Doris replied. "When I saw that marriage license in your hand, I thought for a minute I imaged everything or maybe you changed your mind."

Blake tore it in twoÖ and then in two again before depositing it into the waste can in the corner.

"No, Iíve made up my mind. Frank just brought it to me, and said he didnít know what to do with it."

"What Frank doesnít know could fill Lake Michigan."

Blake started to laugh and even Rick grinned. Doris gave a small giggle, but then stopped when the pain took over.

"Yeah," Rick said seeing her reaction, "youíll be feeling this for awhile, so keep laughing and sneezing to a minimum."

"Thanks for the warning," Doris replied.

Rick nodded. "Well, Iíve got good news and bad news. Which one do you want first?" he asked Doris.

"Bad," she said immediately.

"Youíll never have children, well, again," he said.

"Is that a lesbian joke?" she asked.

"No. You have no uterus anymore. You were damn lucky, Doris, providing that you had no plans of being a mom again."

"At my age? Are you kidding? Iím planning for grandkidsÖ So you did a hysterectomy?"

Rick nodded. "The bullet tore it up pretty bad, but of all the places it could have gone, this was a better place than others. At the church, I speculated thatís what happened, but I couldnít be sure until we got you here."

"The good news?"

"We saved your ovaries. So no hormone therapy yet."

"So sheís going to be okay?" Blake asked hopefully.

"If sheís a good girl and does what we tell her, and promises to behave, weíll have her back home this time tomorrow."

Doris asked, "So Iíll have plenty of time to cast my vote at the polls this Tuesday?"

Grinning, Rick said, "Sure. Just take it easy on the pain meds that day or you might put an Ďxí next to the wrong ĎWolfeí."

Blake smiled. She leaned over and kissed Rick on the cheek.

"Thank you," she said heartfelt

"Yes," Doris added. "Thank you, Rick. Not just for your work here but at the church too. I owe you and your dad a lot."

"Itís what we do," he replied. He looked over at Blake and then at Doris again. "Blake gave up a lot for you. I hope you know that."

"I do," Doris said with great certainty.

Rick nodded and said, "Now, if you remember, you made me promise that Iíd call Emmaís mom to tell her whatís up." He grinned. "Seriously, Iíll call Olivia to give her the news, if thatís alright with you."

"Thank you, Rick," Doris said.

He nodded politely. "Iíll see you gals later," he said before slipping out.

"Be sure to call Natalia," Doris whispered to her. "Rick has a habit ofÖbeing kind of an ass to them. He likes to stir the shit or he might Ďget busyí and forget to call until tomorrow."

"I will. I justÖ"

"What?"

"What do I tell her about us? I meanÖ is there an Ďusí?"

Doris looked confused. "I thought we solved this back at the church? Did I miss something or is it the drugs Iím on right now?"

"No, I love you and I want you. I even told Frank that when he came up here and wanted to Ďtry againí."

"He still wants you?"

"Yes, but I donít want him."

Doris grinned knowingly. "What do you want?"

"You," Blake said firmly.

"Say it again. I like the sound of that."

"I want you Doris Wolfe; just you."

"Good, because I want you too Blake Marler."

Blake smiled, but then began looking serious. "I just wasnít sure if youíd want me. I mean, after everything I did, you might.... Well, now that I think about it, itís more like everything I didnít do. I never should have been at that church. God, Doris, if I hadnít been there thenÖ"

"It might have been worse," Doris replied.

Blake looked surprised. "How so? Youíre shot and in the hospital."

"Rizzoli might have narrowed in on one target and gone after you, or Francesca, or Buzz, who knows. And in doing so, he might have been successful. So, maybeÖ this was meant to be. A bullet in my gut was the best possible outcome Ė for everyone."

Blake grinned slightly. "You took a bullet for me. That wasÖ wow."

"And Iíd it again," Doris replied. "So yes, there is an Ďusí. And I donít care about anything else, but being with you."

Blake leaned down again and gave Doris a slow burning kiss.

"I want you too," she whispered. "And when youíre up to it. I plan to show you just how much."

Doris smiled. "Iím going to hold you to that," she said.

"Thereís so many things Iíd like to hold," she countered.

Doris giggled and then grabbed her stomach. "Stop," she said half-hearted. "I need to healÖquickly. Very quickly."

"Yes, you do," Blake laughed.

Chapter 99

"Thereís a Wolfe in the Mayorís Office!" Doris said triumphantly from Oliviaís office doorway.

"Yes, but itís not you," Olivia countered. "I canít help but notice you seem happy about that."

"No, not really," Doris sighed as she entered the room and slowly sat down in the chair across from Oliviaís desk. "But it beats crying about it."

"Your cousin is a real shit, you know that?" Olivia sympathized.

"You mean for the ĎShe stole Chief Coopersí Wifeí campaign or the fact that he wonít give me my old job as D.A. backÖ even though I gave him a position as Police Chief when I was in the mayorís seat."

"How about Ďcí? All of the above?"

Doris grinned and shrugged.

"Honestly," Olivia continued. "I canít believe he used Ďthe Cooper affairí to discredit you and win by a landslide."

"I took a real beating, didnít I?" Doris smiled.

"I also canít believe how Ďokayí you seem with this."

Doris shrugged again and then beamed once more. "I got the girl. Thatís all that mattersÖthe rest will work itself out."

"Speaking of?" Olivia prompted.

"She and Clarissa are all moved in, for now," Doris replied. "Of course, in January weíll have to find a new place to live when they kick me out of the mayorís quarters."

"Well, you could always stay here until you find a place," Olivia offered.

"Thatís sweet but I need a home Ė somewhere where Clarissa has her own room, and preferably a bathroom too. I refuse to live in a home where three women are fighting over a single mirror every morning. Iíll need something with an extra bedroom too for when Ashlee or the twins come home."

Olivia smiled. "Look at you! Gettiní all domestic and such!"

Doris laughed. "I know! Iíve never had this! ItísÖsomething I never thought I would have. Itís nice," she said in a soft voice.

"Yes, it is," Olivia agreed. "And in case you didnít know, there IS a property just down the road from us that went on the market. Not sure how many bedrooms, bathrooms or the asking price, butÖ"

"You want us to be neighbors?" Doris asked. "I guess there are benefits to that. When Martini night comes along I can just stagger home," she laughed.

"Exactly," Olivia replied. "Think of all the fun we could have," she added conspiratorially.

"Your wifeíll kill us, Liv. Iím already on her shit list for the night I brought the pear Goose over."

"Sheís a forgiving woman, thankfully. She has to be to put up with us."

The two friends smiled at each other.

"Anyway," Doris said, "I came by to see if you and the girls wanted to come over this Friday for dinner? Clarissa wants to do another Ďtrialí."

"What time?"

"Seven?"

"Okay, I donít think itíll be an issue but Iíll double check with Natalia and let you know for sure."

Doris nodded and began to make her way out of the chair as quickly as her wounded stomach would allow.

"Are you even supposed to be driving yet?" Olivia asked.

"No, but if I show Blake I CAN drive then maybe sheíll be willing to try sex."

Olivia just laughed. "Howís that workiní for ya?"

"Not at all, so far. She swears itís because she doesn't want to hurt me. Regardless, in three weeks Iíll be all clear for romance. And before you ask, yes, it IS the longest three weeks of my life."

Olivia just laughed again.

A few minutes later, Doris arrived back at the mayorís mansion.

"Hi honey. Iím home!" she called out with a sappy grin. She walked deeper inside and added, "I always wanted to say that." She moved into the living room and found Blake looking at her iPhone intently.

"Bad news?" Doris asked upon seeing the expression on Blakeís face.

"Iím late," Blake said as she looked up at Doris.

"ForÖ?"

Blake flipped her phone around and showed Doris a calendar. "My period. But I might be worrying for nothing, right?"

"Uh, sure?" Doris replied sounding sure of how to reply.

"I mean, okay, yes, Iíve been like clockwork most of my life exceptÖ"

"Except?"

"When I was pregnant. But you know, Iím getting older and maybe this is just you knowÖ Ďthe changeí and nothing more, right?"

"Uh, sure?" Doris repeated in the same intonation.

Blake still didnít seem convinced and sighed, "Oh God, Doris. What if Iím pregnant?"

"Well, is there a chance you might be pregnant? Have you beenÖ un-careful?"

Blake looked guilty. "That nightÖ" she muttered.

"I feel like Iím cross examining someone. What night?" Doris asked getting frustrated with Blakeís lack of disclosure.

"The Thanksgiving Ball! You know?! The one where you got me all worked up and told me I would end up jumping Frank?! Well, I got worked up and jumped Frank!" Blake caught her breath and then gave Doris a small grin. "So really, you know, itís your fault."

Doris chuckled. "Oh, itís my fault huh?"

"You got me worked up!" They both chuckled for a moment and then Blake sighed, "Really, DorisÖI didnít intend for this to happen."

Sensing the despondency in her voice, Doris began to grow concerned.

"So are you having seconds thoughts? You know that this might be a sign you really should be with Frank?" she asked in a rush, as if afraid of the answer.

"No!" Blake snorted. "God, do I look like Natalia? Hell no!"

Doris grinned. "Okay, I had to ask."

"Fine, you asked. Donít ask again. If anything, Iím worried."

"Why?"

"You said it yourself at the hospital, Doris. At your age, youíre focused on being a grandmother, not a momÖ You didnít sign on for this. Midnight feedings, dirty diapers, tantrums." Blake released a heavy sigh.

Doris could tell she was losing the color in her own face. She had to get out of there.

"Look," she said as she stood up. "I-uhÖ I forgot to stop at the bank so Iíll swing by the store, pick up some milk and maybe a pregnancy test, okay? Weíll see what it says and then take it from there, okay?"

"Are you freaked?" Blake asked.

"No!" Doris said a little too loud.

"You say Ďokayí a lot when youíre upset. Ashlee told me."

"Ashlee isÖ Ashlee." In a quieter voice, she said, "Look, Iíll be back, okay?"

She muttered something under her breath for saying the word Ďokayí yet again. Then she made her way from the room without looking back.

 

Chapter 100

Doris looked white as a sheet as she stood in Oliviaís doorway again.

"Youíre back. Whatís wrong? Are the Rizzoliís after us?" Olivia asked concerned.

"Oh no. I talked to Remy, NOT Frank," Doris replied with a roll of her eyes. "Itís all cool now. Word is some people in the family are glad heís gone because he wasnít playing by mob rules and he started giving the family a bad name. Believe it or not, organized criminals have codes of conduct they live by."

"If everythingís fine why are you here and lookingÖ ill?"

"Sheís pregnant...maybe."

"Who?" Olivia asked.

""Who?!" Who do you think?! Blake!"

"Blake? Since when?"

Doris threw her arms in the air and walked inside. "That damn dance," she answered.

"Does that man ever wear a condom?" Olivia asked rhetorically.

Doris took a seat across from Olivia and asked, "What do you do when the woman you love is pregnant with Frank Cooperís child? Seriously. Iím asking. You would know."

"Frank is gonna flip," Olivia told her. "Two children to two lesbians within two years? Thatís just-."

"I donít give a fuck about Frank! Help me!"

"Help you? Why?"

"Iím freaking out here!"

"Oh, donít tell me she going back to him and she thinks this is some sign?!" Olivia asked in disbelief.

"I asked that very question, actually."

"And?"

"To quote her, ĎNo, do I look like Natalia? Hell no!í."

Olivia grinned for a moment "Then whatís the problem?" she asked confused.

"Whatís the problem?" Doris parroted. "Iím nearly 50 years old, Olivia!"

"Youíre making that up?" Olivia said.

"No, she thinks she might be pregnant. I need to go buy a test after I leave-."

"No, not the baby. Youíre almost 50? Really?"

"Do the math, Liv."

"Get outta here!" she still said in skepticism.

"Ashlee is over 20 and I was nearly 30 when I had her."

Olivia thought about it. "Shit! I thought you were my age! You look fantastic!"

Dorisís mild panic washed away and she looked overjoyed at the compliment.

"I eat right, avoid the sun, work out now and then-wait a second," Doris said, as the bashful smile ran away from her face again. "Quit distracting me with flattery. My point isÖ Iím old, okay? Ashlee is an adult. I did my Ďtimeí, okay? Iím hoping for grandkids in the next few years, notÖ kindergarten."

"You donít look old."

"Fine," Doris relented. "How about this? I have no job thanks to my dickhead cousin, who probably only got elected because the dumb-asses in this town just voted for the first Wolfe on the ballot. And since B comes before D, he got elected instead of me."

"Ehhh," Olivia tried to disagree lightly. "I think it was the sex scandal."

"Sex? I havenít had sex with the woman. Iíve been busy being SHOT!"

"Okay, the wedding scandal then?"

"Fine, Iíll give you that. Moving on Ė Iím being Ďevictedí in the next two weeks so I have no home. My newly acquired girlfriend with a teenage daughter is perhaps pregnant with her exís child, and, like me, she also has no home and no job. And to top it off, Iím living with Blake and, again, I havenít even had sex with her yet! Do you know what thatís like?" Immediately, without taking a breath she said, "Of course you do. It happened to you. Why the hell am I asking? That was a dumb question and I withdraw it."

Olivia began to giggle. "You know, when you said she was moving in, I did think of that lesbian joke about what to do on the second date."

"Rent a U-haul." Doris smirked. "Funny," she added without merriment.

"Hey, people in glass houses over here. I pretty much did the same thing too," Olivia laughed.

Doris had to grin in spite of herself. "Well, this isnít overnight for me. Iíve loved her for a long time andÖ wellÖ sheís loved me too. Besides I couldnít see her getting a place of her own now. Sheís got no job at the moment. What was she going to do? Keep working at Company? And Frank wanted her to go soÖ"

"Iím not judging you," Olivia said. "Like I said, I went from zero to ninety too with Natalia and it worked out for us."

"You know if Blake is pregnant, it means our daughters are relatedÖ wellÖ if I stay and raise her."

"You really donít want to do motherhood again?" Olivia asked.

"Iíll admit it. When Rick told me about losing my uterusÖ For a split second, I mourned the loss, but then it went away fast. I mean do I really want to deal with all that?"

"What do you mean all that?"

"A new baby. You know? Dirty diapers?" Doris sighed.

"First smiles?" Olivia countered.

"Waking up every two or three hour?"

"First steps?"

"People asking if thatís my grandchild?"

"Being able to say thatís my girl, or boy with pride?"

"Be honest," Doris said with a growing grin. "Howíd you take the news that Natalia was pregnant?"

"You canít judge what happened to me. She ditched me and then showed up looking like she swallowed a basketball."

"I remember." Doris grinned.

"And from what youíve said, it doesnít sound like Blake is doubting your relationship."

"No, but I am," Doris replied. She took a calming breath and ran her fingers through her hair.

"Doris, you took a bullet for this woman. Are you really that set against having another child youíd walk away? I see you with Chessie and youíre a natural. She even calls you ĎAunDí for God sakes."

Doris grinned. "Sheís a sweetheart."

"Iím sure, if Blake IS pregnant, her child Ė your child Ė will be a sweetheart too. Do you really want to miss out on loving them Ė all of them? Because I gotta tell ya, I wasnít thrilled when I thought of motherhood all over again and raising Frankís kid. But now, with Baby AhGoo, I canít imagine my life without her."

Doris considered her words. She nodded and said, "Well, Chessie is pretty fantastic and down right adorable. And from an aesthetics point of view, Frank and Blake would probably make one damn cute kid."

"After all, looks ARE everything," Olivia teased which made Doris chuckle for a moment before looking morose again.

"Honestly, Liv, Iím so scared. I mean, cute or not, what about that baby?"

"What about it?"

"When Iím 60, itíll be 10. IF, and thatís IF I make it to 70, itíll be 20Ö My point is Blake might be alone, raising this child. She did it once with Ross and I donít want that for her again."

"So whatís the solution? You leave?"

"Maybe? Then sheíll find someone whoís gotÖ more time."

"Time? We donít know when weíre going to die, DorisÖ"

The former mayor just sighed.

"Look," Olivia continued, "I do understand your apprehension. I have the same concern too. Transplant patients have shorter life spans, on average. And I discussed that with Natalia the day I went to her ultrasound. I might not have as much time as someone else. I might not see Francesca grow up, or even grow to be Emmaís age for that matter."

"What did she say?"

"Sheíd rather have one day with me, if thatís all God would give her, than a thousand lifetimes with someone else."

"See? Thatís sweet. Thereís a reason I like Natalia." Doris grinned for a moment and then looked distracted. "Itís not just the age factor with Blake though Ė everything is so Ďup in the airí right now."

Olivia looked at Doris a moment. "When I was still kicking around the idea of getting back with Natalia I ran into you one day in the park. Do you remember?"

"Not particularly."

"You still hadnít come out to Ashlee yet and you said something that struck me."

"I did?"

Olivia nodded. "You said you wished youíd taken more risks in your life. It seemed like you regretted things that you didnít doÖ You said maybe it was time to reach out for whatís really worth it. I know you were talking about coming out to Ashlee, but I could relate too since I was torn about Natalia. You and Phillip, and even Josh too, you guys are the reason I went back to her and took the risk."

Olivia smiled and so did Doris.

The hotelier, however, began to look serious as she went on and said, "Now, if you donít mind me sayingÖ Youíre doing it again. Youíre living in fear and if you walk away from this chance, I think itís going to be another one of those Ďrisksí you wish you had taken. Besides, youíve got Blake. Do you really need more than that?"

"I do have Blake, donít I?" Doris said optimistically. Olivia smiled and nodded. "And youíre right, I donít need more right now. So, yes, I might be turning 50 soon and, yes, I might not have a job... yet. But Iím smart. Iím a great lawyer and Iím a cat."

"Cat? You always land on your feet?"

"Exactly. This time is no different. Besides, I have to admit, a part of me canít wait until this little one is calling you ĎAunOí."

"Good," Olivia said. "Now, go home and keep being brave, my friend."

A few minutes later, Doris was at the Mini-Mart with a half-gallon of milk in one hand and a pregnancy test in the other. She placed the items on the counter and thatís when she noticed someone come up behind her.

She turned to see Frank there. Her eyes went wide and he looked down to see what she was purchasing.

"Something tells me that test isnít for you," he said coldly.

Doris froze under his icy glare and she grinned nervously.

Chapter 101

Doris handed the clerk her money for the milk and the pregnancy test.

"Hello Frank," she began without facing him again. "How very observant. And yes, Iím not pregnant. Itís for someone else."

"For Blake?" he asked.

Doris then turned around as the clerk bagged her items. "Who Iím buying this for is really none of your business since I was given this task in strictest confidence. In other words, Iím not discussing it with you."

"Fair enough," Frank said as Doris began to walk away with her purchases. "I love her, you know?" he added.

Doris stopped and turned to face him. "So do I. And despite what you think, neither Blake nor I set out to hurt you."

"I donít think you care about anyone but yourself."

"Are we really going to do this at the mini mart of all places?" Doris asked as she took a few steps closer.

"Where else?" he asked. "I could say Iíll see you at City Hall, but youíre not going to be mayor anymore." Frank grinned.

"No, Iím not. My cousin ran a dirty campaign."

"No. Your cousin told the truth. This town doesnít take kindly to wife stealers, just like your BFF Olivia Spencer."

"Okay, letís do this," Doris sighed. "Number one: Neither Blake nor Natalia were ever your wife Ė both of them said no before saying, ĎI doí. And Number two: Do I have to remind you that youíre bad mouthing your daughterís mother?"

"My daughterís mother is Natalia Rivera."

"Natalia Rivera-Spencer," Doris corrected as she emphasized Nataliaís married name. "Francesca is every bit Oliviaís daughter as she is yours and you know it."

Frank didnít have an argument for that and instead asked, "Was it her idea?"

"I donít follow you, Frank."

"Was it Oliviaís idea of having you go after Blake, manipulate her, like she did with Natalia."

"Okay, first of all, Blake is a bright woman, albeit indecisive at times. But once she makes up her mind, you canít change it Ė nobody can. She isnít someone whoís easily manipulated. And if you took the time to know her, and I mean really know her, then youíd understand how incredibly stupid that comment is." Frank opened his mouth as if he was going to talk, but Doris held up a finger. "Second," she said forcefully, "donít talk about my best friend, and the mother of MY nieces, that way. Itís no mystery that Natalia tried to let you down easy back in the day, but you kept pushing."

"Natalia was a traditional woman, until Olivia. Sex outside of marriage-."

"Wasnít the issue between you two, for the ten thousandth time," Doris said cutting him off. "Natalia was in love with Olivia, period. And instead of running to Olivia that night, she ran to you because she was scared and confused. Instead of questioning her decision to suddenly sleep with you, like a gentleman with any intelligence might do, YOU took advantage of HER."

"I did no such thing!" he said raising his voice.

The clerk looked to Doris and seemed to silently ask if she should call for help. Doris waved her off.

"Donít get me wrong, Frank. Iím glad it happened since weíve got Chessie now. And she wouldnít be who she is without you, Natalia, and yes, Olivia. But you have to understand something: Olivia didnít manipulate Natalia so let it go."

"Thatís easy for you to say."

"Honestly, if you really did love Blake then what happened with Natalia still wouldnít be on your mind. It wouldnít matter. Youíd have moved on. So donít stand there and profess some great love for Blake, because the truth is, she was your second choice Ė behind Natalia, behind your job, behind everything. For me though, sheís MY FIRST CHOICE. She knows that. Sheís not a runner-up to any other woman, or any other thing, in this world. I could have denied Barryís attacks and won the election, but I didnít because she matters most. But more than that, you need to realize, whether you like it or not, Iím her first choice too."

"Six months, a year tops, and sheíll be gone," Frank taunted. "Mark my words."

"No, she wonít," Doris said confidently. "Because unlike you, I wonít ever take her for granted."

Doris didnít wait for him to reply. She left the mini mart as fast as she was able to physically move, given her wound. She was almost to her car when she heard her name being called.

"Doris Wolfe, esquire," a woman said cheerfully. Doris groaned inwardly and turned to see Mel Beauddroux walking toward her.

"When it rains it pours," Doris sighed quietly to herself. "Ms. Beauddroux," she said formally addressing her.

"Youíre a hard woman to find these past few days."

"Yes, Iíve been at homeÖ healing."

"A gunshot wound to the stomach, I heard. Iím betting you donít have orders to drive that car yet."

"Are you the medical police now? Here to arrest me?"

"Not at all." Mel smiled.

"Is there something I can help you with?" Doris asked shortly.

"Cutting right to the chase I see," she replied.

"Iím sorry. Itís been a long day."

"Thatís fine," Mel said sincerely. "Iíll be brief. Iím assuming you know Beth Spaulding," she said tongue in cheek.

"Spaulding? Spaulding? That name rings a bell," Doris teased. "Seriously what do you want?"

"Weíre opening a new law practice together. My expertise is medicine. Bethís is family law. Weíre missing someone for the criminal side and weíd prefer someone who knows quite a bit about all three."

"Okay, you do know why Iím not mayor anymore, right? Youíve read the tabloid articles?"

"Yes, IÖnoticed Chief Cooper left the store right after you and he didnít look too pleased."

"Thatís an understatement," Doris replied. "And you do know that Beth Spaulding hates me because of Alan?"

"Water under the bridge."

"Says you?" Doris asked.

"Says Beth," Mel replied. "When she and I heard the election results, I have to admit, we were both happy."

"Happy? Of course, who wants an alleged home wrecker in the mayorís office?"

"No," Mel snorted. "We were happy because we thought you might be free now. We need a great trial lawyer on staff so regardless of whatís going on personally in your life, weíd still like you to be part of Beauddroux and Spaulding, if you want a job, that is."

Doris pursed her lips and considered it. "You still want to hire me after everything."

Mel considered the question a moment. "Some people might see you as, what did you say, a home wrecker?" Doris just nodded. "I see a woman who dove in front of a bullet. Well, I didnít see it. Rick and Remy told me about it. If you ask me, that takes guts and character. Thatís a woman Iíd want to work with."

Doris considered her words. "Tell you what, MelÖ Make it Beauddroux, Spaulding and Wolfe, and you gotta deal."

"A full partnership?" Mel asked. Doris just nodded. "Thatís not unexpected. But I really figured youíd want Wolfe, Beauddroux, and Spaulding if thatís the case," Mel countered with a grin.

"No, itís your idea, so your names should go first. Thatís only fair. Besides, itís the last name that people remember most anyway," Doris replied with a smirk as she opened her car door and placed her items inside. "Think we can make a deal?"

Mel handed her a business card. "Iíll talk with Beth, but I donít see it being an issue. Perhaps we can all talk this week, if youíre feeling up to it?" she offered.

"Iíll call you soon," Doris promised.

Mel looked pleased as she made her way into the store. Doris looked at the business card and then at Melís retreating form. With a shrug, she placed it in her pocket. When she arrived home, she brought the items inside and was met by Blake immediately.

"You were gone awhile," Blake said. "I started to think you might not come back." She smiled nervously.

Doris grinned. "I, uh, I stopped by to see Liv first."

"I thought you saw her this morning? I mean you can see who you want when you want, I just-."

"I got a little freaked," Doris said honestly. "But she helped me see all sides of the situation."

"And?"

"And Iím here, arenít I?" Doris asked in an affectionate tone.

"SoÖdid you get it?" Blake asked as she nodded to the bag.

Doris held it up. "Yep and guess who I saw at the mini-mart?"

"God, I hope it wasnít Frank."

"It was Frank."

"Did he see what you bought?"

"Yes."

Blake ran a hand over her face. "What did you say?" she asked, worried.

"I said it was none of his damn business and itís not his businessÖ yet." Doris sighed, but then more optimistically she said, "But thatís not the only person I saw. Mel Beauddroux was there too. Seems she and Beth Spaulding want me to join a new law firm theyíre starting."

"Really?" Blake said hopefully.

Doris nodded. "Yes, so I will be gainfully employed soon. Well, we need clients obviously. BUT, I have money saved up until then so weíll be fine." Doris then started to look concerned and began to ramble, "I say Ďweí but I know everything is so new right now a-and I know this living situation might not be permanent for you since you just needed a place for now, but if-if you need me to take care of you then Iíll take care of you. No pressure though, okay?"

Blake smiled and pulled Doris toward her, kissing her delicately on the lips. She whispered, "Youíre gorgeous all the time, but especially when youíre flustered."

"Is that so?" Doris grinned.

Blake nodded. "It doesnít happen often thoughÖ Still, I like it."

"How much do you like it?" Doris asked as she began to stroke Blakeís cheek.

"Is it three weeks yet?"

"No," Doris giggled.

"Son of a bitch," Blake sighed and pulled away.

"You know, I feel fine," Doris replied as she continued to stroke Blakeís face.

"I donít want to hurt you," Blake said honestly.

"Well, Iíll tie you to the headboard. Howís that? I can have my way with you and you donít have to lay a finger on me." Doris grinned.

Blake laughed and then tapered off as the thought ran through her head.

"Hmmm," she said in consideration.

"See? A great idea huh?"

Blake cocked her head. "I like it, but only when weíre both ready."

"Iím ready. Believe me, I am beyond ready."

"I mean physically," Blake countered with a chuckle. "Really, Doris I wantÖ no concerns the first time Iím with youÖ Do you know what I mean? I want to relax and enjoy every second and not worry I might hurt you in someway. Besides, you promised Rick youíd be good."

"I can be fantastic," Doris leered.

Blake chuckled, "You know what I mean." She stroked Dorisís face again and brought her in for another short round of soft kisses. "Three weeks, okay?"

"The kisses arenít making this easier," Doris remarked.

"I can stop," Blake said as she pulled back.

Doris immediately reached for her. "Donít you dare," she ordered and then pulled Blake back to her.

Blake was smiling when she looked over and saw the bag. She took out the pregnancy test and began to read the back of it. She then looked up at Doris with a nervous expression.

"No matter what," Doris said, as if reading her mood, "I love you, Blake." Her palm cupped her cheek and she added, "More than Iíve loved someone in a really REALLY long timeÖ if ever."

Blake turned her head and kissed Dorisís palm. "I know exactly what you mean." She stood up and released a heavy sigh again before making her way into the bathroom.

Doris could only wait apprehensively.

Chapter 102

"Iím 36-years-old," Blake said as sat on the rim of the bathtub. Doris sat on the commode lid as they both waited for the test result to show.

"Iím 48," Doris answered. "I got twelve years on you, Dear."

Blake bit her lip for a moment and replied, "I remember what you said at the hospital about not being sorry youíd never have more children."

"I did," Doris replied. "Iím looking forward to grandbabies at this time in my lifeÖ I have to admit thoughÖ"

"What?"

She began to smile. "A part of me, a big part of me, wants Oliviaís life Ė the whole deal, you know? Wife, kids, white picket fence. She told me once that I could have what sheís got and I didnít believe her. Of course, back then, Ashlee didnít even know I was a lesbian. And sure, Olivia could be a grandmother any day Ė hell, she WAS a grandmother until little Max died Ė but thereís something special about your own child." Doris grinned bashfully. "Iím sorry. Itís not my potential child. Itís yours."

"If this turns out blue with a big Ďxí in the middle," Blake said, "Itís our childÖ I want to build a life with you, Doris."

"I want that too," she replied. She then took a deep breath and blew it out slowly. "What about you?" she asked.

"What about me?" Blake replied.

"Do you want another child? Clarissa is almost off to college too in a few years. Are you ready to Ďstart overí?"

"Iím conflicted. On one hand, like you said, thereís something special about raising a baby with the person you love. On the otherÖWould you think Iím a horrible person if I said I might not be ready for another baby?"

"No. I mean Frank doesnít know it was your test. He doesnít have to know if, well, you decide to, you knowÖ terminate."

Blake rubbed her forehead a moment. "Do you want to end this pregnancy if itís positive?"

"Iíve considered what it would be like to be a mom again, but Iíd be lying if I said that thought hasnít crossed my mind too. What about you? Be honest."

Blake took a deep breath and blew it out slowly. "Iíve considered it too," was all she said.

The timer went off and they both looked at it and then back at each other.

"Before we see the test," Blake said, "Can we decide right now Ė yes or no?"

"Itís your body, Blake," Doris told her. "Your call."

"No," Blake said, "Itís our lives. This decision impacts both of us because, like I said, I want a life with you, Doris. But you didnít sign on for this. I donít want to saddle you with an child you might resent someday."

"I could never resent or hate anything thatís a part of you."

"Regardless of Frank?"

"Yes, if Olivia Spencer can manage it, I know I sure as hell can. Is a child with Frank my greatest scenario? No. But I do think being a mom again, even at my age, would beÖhorrible. In fact it might proveÖdelightful in some ways. So if youíre asking me what to doÖ?" Doris let the sentence hang and Blake nodded for her to continue, "If itís positive, I say we go for it."

Blake grinned. "You do?"

"Yeah, Ashlee will be thrilled to finally be a big sister and I think Clarissa might not mind either. The twins pretty much have their own lives, you know?"

"Right. But what about you?" Blake asked.

"Question: Are you sure you want me to be the mother of your child?" Doris asked.

Blake grinned. "Answer: I do."

"Then that works for me," Doris replied with a smile. "I will say thoughÖ If something is medically wrong with this child or if your life is endangeredÖ we end it. I know itís your choice, Blake, but-."

"No, I agree," Blake said. "Weíre not young parents and I donít want to burden any of our kids with child rearing or outrageous medical expenses of a sibling once weíre goneÖSo weíre on the same page it seems?"

Doris nodded and took Blakeís hand.

"You ready?" Doris asked.

Blake nodded and together they looked at the result.

Simultaneously, they both released the breath theyíd been holding.

"Negative," Blake said. "Just a false alarm, I guess."

"Letís do a blood test," Doris said.

Blake chuckled. "If I didnít know any better Iíd say it sounds like youíre disappointed itís not positive."

"Maybe a little," Doris answered.

"Really?"

Doris shrugged. "Like I said, Liv loves Baby A-Goo so maybe a Baby A-Goo of my own wouldnít be so horrible, you know?"

Blake nodded. "Yeah, I can see that."

"But even if you donít want to do a blood test, if things havenítÖ begun a week from today, itís a trip to the doctor to see why you might be late. Agreed?"

Blake smiled. "Thank you."

"For what?"

"For caring." Blake leaned over and kissed Doris softly on the lips.

"Iíve waited my entire life for a woman like you," Doris said honestly. "So I need to value that and take care of it. I promise, right here and now, I will never take you for granted."

Blake smiled and asked, "Is it three weeks yet?"

Doris just chuckled.

~~ June 30th, 2012~~~

Two and a half years had passed since Blakeís pregnancy test. The Beacon Grand Ballroom was decorated from the floor to the rafters with whites, deep purples and light blues. Doris originally wanted a dress with puffy arms that mimicked Lady Diís wedding dress. Olivia, however, managed to convince her to dress her a bit more modern, or as she put it, something that showed of Dorisís assets - great legs and biceps. In the end, Doris relented and went with a thin strapped/ leg-baring wedding gown. Blake opted for a chiffon empire dress in ivory that was shapely and allowed greater movement on the dance floor than other styles.

"Ladies and Gentleman," the D.J. announced. "On behalf of the brides, Iíd like to have your attention and introduce our bridesmaids. Put your hands together for Mel Beauddroux and Natalia Rivera-Spencer!"

As the gathering clapped, Mel escorted Natalia toward the main banquet table. Olivia and Holly stepped up toward the doorway.

"Nervous?" Olivia asked looking over her shoulder to Doris.

"No," Doris replied and spared a glance to Blake. "Itís been a great day. All our kids are here, she didnít run away and I didnít get shot."

Blake giggled and then kissed Doris on the cheek.

"Maids-of-honor Olivia Spencer and Holly Bauer," the D.J. announced. The pair waved goodbye and took off into the hall.

"Are YOU nervous?" Doris asked Blake.

"No, I have you," Blake replied. "So I have nothing to fear. Likewise, you didnít run away either." She bumped shoulders with the attorney.

"Iím right where I wanna be," Doris said as she leaned over and kissed Blake softly on the temple.

"Ladies and gentlemen," the D.J. announced, "please rise as we welcome our new brides, for the first time everÖBlake and Doris Wolfe!"

The couple entered the hall and waved to the gathering. Rather than going to the banquet table, they made their way to the dance floor where the D.J. was standing. He handed Blake the microphone and went behind to his make-shift booth of equipment.

"Hello everyone," Blake told the gathering as she held her wifeís hand. "Please sit downÖ" She waited as everyone took their seats again. "Dori and I are both glad youíre all here so thank you for making today so special. Iíd like to take some time to also personally thank our friends for their help in getting this all together. So please, letís hear it again for Mel, Natalia, Olivia and my mom. We love you all."

Doris released Blakeís hand and joined in with the others who were applauding. Near the main table, Ashlee held a 15-month old girl on her lap. The toddler had long blonde curls and deep blue eyes. Ashlee took the young oneís hand and they clapped together.

"Sis?" The toddler looked up at Ashlee.

"What, Bella?"

"Mamas pretty," she replied.

Ashlee smiled and said, "Yes, they are pretty."

Clarissa chuckled and before she knew it, Isabella was pointing a finger at her.

"Sissy! Mamas pretty!" she said in an angry tone.

"I know they are," Clarissa continued to giggle.

"You laugh?" Isabella pouted.

Clarissa picked her up and gave her a kiss on the cheek. "Thatís because youíre funny, Baby Boo-Doo."

The toddler looked like she was going to argue again, but Clarissa planted a razzberry against her cheek. The sound and vibration made Isabella laugh instead.

"Letís watch our Mamasí dance, okay?" Clarissa asked.

Isabella nodded enthusiastically as Clarissa settled her on her lap.

"Sheís pretty amazing," Buzz said to Ashlee as he held 3-year-old Francesca on his own lap while her moms sat at the nearby main table.

"Chessie? Oh yeah, sheís great!"

"No, well, yeah she is great, but I was talking about Bella." Buzz smiled. "Sheís a-a medical miracle."

"Well, from a science point of view, itís a typical surrogacy pregnancy Ė the tough part was locating a suitable egg from my mom to fertilize and implant into Blake. My momís far from a young woman, and, letís face it, Blakeís no spring chicken either. But you didnít hear that from me. So I guess, yes, you could say Bellaís a medical miracle."

"But sheís your full sister, right?" Phillip asked. "You two have the same natural parents?"

Ashlee nodded. "And one extra parent, if you count Blake, which I do since she did a lot of the work and got the stretch marks."

Buzz chuckled. "Yes, but having the same donor over 20 years later has to be a record? I didnít think sperm could live that long."

"Oh, yeah! In fact, the time frame isnít really relevant Ė at least when it comes toÖ how should I put thisÖ sperm shelf life? Whatís REALLY amazing is the bank kept my momís records and the donor samples all this time. She picked the right clinic all those years ago."

"And the right donor," Buzz complimented. "Iím sure that little one will be as exceptional as you."

"You mean even if my mom stole your sonís wife awhile back?" Ashlee asked gingerly.

"Sweetie, you canít steal whatís not yours," he replied. "Blake adores your mother and vice versa."

"Shhhh," Francesca said as she covered her Grandpopís mouth. "Auntie D talky now," she said in broken English as she pointed to Doris.

Up on the dance floor, Blake finished her well-wishing and introductions and handed the microphone to Doris.

"While we get the finishing touches done on dinner, Blake and I thought weíd do the opening dance now. We both love to dance and sheís a great partner. She follows my lead and doesnít step on my toes at all." Doris smiled and the gathering chuckled. "Seriously, we picked this as our first song because we both love Tina Turner and because IÖ wellÖ I have a list of Ďrulesí I try to live by. I created it years ago as a way to protect myself andÖ wellÖ with Blake, I seemed to violate every one of them." The gathering chuckled again. When they quieted down, Doris said, "When I let her in, I can honestly say Ė besides having Ashlee, and then her sister IsabellaÖ" Doris paused and then she and Blake waved at the pair. Ashlee and Bella waved back, "Öbreaking those rules was the best thing I ever did because sheís every dream Iíll ever dream; sheís every beautiful thing Iíve ever seen." A small Ďawwí floated through the crowd.

Blake leaned over and said into the microphone, "Iím always singing your praise; counting the days away." Blake quickly asked, "Is it three weeks yet?"

Both women chuckled.

"Inside joke," Doris told the partygoers.

The gatherers soon began to clink their glasses with their silverware, insinuating a kiss. Doris smiled and turned off the microphone. She tossed it over to the D.J. and grabbed Blake by the hip, sending their bodies crashing together slightly.

Blake giggled, but then Doris captured Blakeís face with one hand while her other stayed possessively on her hip.

Blake licked her lips and wrapped her arms around Dorisís waist. "I would be your slave; Iíd even be your fool," she sang softly.

Dorisís thumb stroked Blakeís cheek and she sang back, "Iím so in love with you. Iím in love with you baby, I, ah, Iím gonna break every rule."

As their lips came together, the crowd hooted and hollered in support. When they did finally pull apart, Doris nodded to the D.J. who began the music. Immediately, Doris and Blake began to rumba. Like years before, the world around them seemed to slip away and all they could focus on was each other. And again, like years before all eyes were on them as they moved around the floor in perfect time.

Epilogue

The wedding and reception turned out to be a wonderful affair. At the moment, Blake reclined against the headboard of one of the Beaconís Suites. Her fingers caressed and admired the diamond tennis bracelet on her wrist. She remembered the evening she got it.

It was Christmas Eve 2010 and she recalled the reluctance on Dorisís face as she handed over the box. Doris sat back on the bed in the mayorís mansion and nodded to the alarm clock that said it was half past midnight.

"Technically," Doris began, "Öit IS Christmas so I guess I could give this to you."

"What is it?" Blake said with a grin as she took the rectangle box.

"Something thatíll make you smile orÖ scare you," Doris said with a nervous grin.

"Scare me?" Blake asked and then leaned closer.

"Well, you might see it asÖ too much too soon."

"Is it a bizarre sex toy?" Blake whispered.

Doris giggled slightly. "No. Just open it and youíll see."

With a touch of apprehension, Blake lifted the top to reveal the diamond tennis bracelet she admired at Macy. Immediately, her jaw dropped in shock.

"Doris," she whispered. "I canít believe-Oh, I canít keep this. Itís over twenty thousand dollars. I canít. I-."

"It was a steal," Doris told her. "I bought it that day we went shopping, remember?" She took it out of the box and placed it on Blakeís wrist. "It looks beautiful, like you."

"Itís gorgeous," Blake agreed as she admired it. "But when did you buy this? The sale was only that morning."

"When you went to get Clarissaís sweaters, I faked the phone call from Ashlee and bought it."

"You sneak," Blake chuckled. She then paused in thought. "Wait a second. We werenít even together then and youÖ"

"Spent six grand on a diamond bracelet?" Doris finished. Blake just nodded. "Yeah," Doris continued self-consciously. "You saw it. You loved it and I loved you, soÖI bought it. I didnít think at the time Iíd ever give it to you, so I donít know exactly why I bought it. Maybe somewhere inside I had hope that one day weíd be together. It just seemed like the right thing to do and, the clerk even mentioned how happy youíd be on Christmas to get it. I didnít correct her. I just thanked her and, well, here you areÖ with meÖ at Christmas. And all my dreams and wishes came true."

"Oh, Doris," Blake sighed again. She leaned over and kissed Doris firmly on the lip. As she pulled away, she stroked Dorisís cheek. "I love it! I do, but I canít keep this. Itís too expensive."

"Please, itís an investment," Doris tried to convince her although she looked skeptically. "No, really. You know what itís worth. You know what I actually paidÖ Sorry lady, but itís yours." Doris smiled for a moment and then added, "Besides, I look at it this way: If Iíd had the courage to really be myself Ė to be out many, many years ago Ė I would have spent far more on some other woman who probably wouldnít have deserved it nearly as much as you. In those terms, this bracelet is just a drop in the well."

"I donít know what to say," Blake replied.

"Say youíll keep it, because, when it comes down to it, this bracelet is more than just a way to say Merry Christmas. It means youíre more important than any woman Iíve known or ever will know and I want to spend my life showing you how wonderful you are."

Blake shifted and straddled Dorisís lap as she faced her. She ran her fingers through the mayorís hair, letting her palms caress the sides of Dorisís face.

"Iíll keep it as long as I can have you too," Blake whispered.

"Is it three weeks yet?" Doris grinned.

"One more to go," Blake replied with a smile of her own.

"Fuck that," Doris muttered.

She pulled Blakeís lips to hers, her tongue puncturing through Blakeís closed lips. Soon enough though, the authorís lips opened and accepted the foreign presence. She began matching Doris stroke for stroke. Blake then felt her silk pajama top slipping from her shoulders. She pulled back to see that, at some point, although she couldnít say when, Doris had unbuttoned her top.

She looked surprised to find herself in a state of undress.

"When did this happen?" she said with a smile as she looked down at her half nakedness.

"Iím good." Doris smirked before her lips captured Blakeís exposed cleavage that was secured by a red satin and lace bra.

As her tongue traced the line of the lace, she placed her hands on either side of the womanís breasts and pushed them even closer together, allowing her better access to nip at the tender flesh. When her thumbs began to caress the erect nipples methodically, bringing them into even greater points, Blake buried her fingers in Dorisís hair and couldnít contain her whimper. Upon feeling the points pushing against the satin, Doris continued to allow her right thumb to teased the budding flesh while her moist lips descending on the left breast. She licked and sucked on the material clad nipple, getting it so wet that the satin had become see-through and feel-through.

The bra wasnít the only satin to grow wet though. Blakeís matching panties were becoming soaked from Dorisí suckling. The ache between her legs was becoming unbearable and she whimpered slightly. She needed relief. Before she could voice her desire, or even guide Dorisís hand to her center, she felt Dorisís right thumb leave her breast and snake down her body, over her stomach, and head straight for her sex.

She watched as Doris began to stroke her center with her right hand. At the same time, Doris used her left hand to free Blakeís right breast from the bra. She cupped the supple mound for a moment and then began to rub the erect nipple between her thumb and index finger. She watched as Blakeís head fell back and her back arched.

"God, youíre sexy as hell," Doris complimented in a heated whisper.

Blake let out a garbled whimper and began to grind and swing her hips, rubbing her clit against Dorisís hand. She reached down and pulled Dorisís pajama top from her body, momentarily stopping their movements. Blake immediately led Dorisís hands back to their original task and Doris gave a slight chuckle.

"You like my hands, Baby?" she teased.

Blake, by contrast, didnít grin in the least. She was on a mission now. She took Dorisís hand and held it steady as she mounted it, burying Dorisís two fingers into her sex. She then reached down and began to massage Dorisís breasts as she began to ride the mayorís hand.

"Fuck meÖ" Blake leaned down and breathed into Dorisís neck. "Like you wanted to that day at Samiís."

Doris literally growled and pushed Blake away.

At first, Blake wasnít sure what was happening. She thought her heart stopped for a moment when she imagined sheíd done something wrong. She was pleasantly surprised though when Doris pushed her back to the mattress and ripped the pajama bottoms and panties away in one single tug. Doris stood to her full height and pulled her own pants down until she was completely naked. Blake sat up to undo her own satin bra, but Doris stopped her.

"No," Doris implored her. "Leave it on. You look beautiful in it."

Blake stopped and reclined on her elbows as she waited for Dorisís next move.

"Did you mean it?" Doris asked. "Can I do what I wanted to do that day?"

Blake could feel her sex twitch in anticipation. She could only nod.

Doris smiled and grabbed Blake by the ankles. The author yelped and then giggled slightly as Doris slid her down until her bottom was at the edge of the bed.

"That dayÖ When I watched you," Doris said as she moved to her knees, "I could smell you and the urge to taste youÖ" She kissed along Blakeís thighs. "Ö It was stronger than any urge Iíd ever had in my life."

Blake whimpered. "Y-you wanna taste me?"

"More than anything," Doris replied.

Seconds later, Doris had Blakeís thighs over her shoulders and her face buried into the authorís slick sex.

They both moaned at the first contact as Dorisís tongue began to dance along and inside Blakeís desire drenched center. The author reached down and took hold of Dorisís head, caressing her hair in praise. Her hips began to grind again and she called out, "Doris, would you please-?"

She didnít finish the question because Doris had already begun to fulfill the unspoken request by sliding two fingers inside her, gliding them in and out in a rhythmic motion.

Blake gave an elongated grunt of satisfaction and Doris raised her head.

"Is that what you needed?" the mayor asked knowingly as her fingerís continued to fuck the woman senseless.

"Yes," Blake hissed.

"You want more of me?" Doris asked.

"More," Blake muttered, the want dripping from her voice.

Doris smirked. Given how wet her fingers were and how soaked Blakeís center was she pushed in a third finger easily. With each thrust her fingers made, her thumb gently slapped the authorís clit. Soon with every thrust that Doris made, a lustful grunt was Blakeís response.

The sounds, the sights, the smells created a gush within Doris as well. She was wet Ė perhaps wetter than sheíd ever been in her life Ė as Blake began to climax.

"Oh God, Door-ahhhh," Blake tried to call out. She tried to say Dorisís name. She did. But the orgasm that gripped through every nerve ending in her body had robed her of the ability to speak.

It was only when Blake stopped moving her hips several seconds later that Doris slowed her movements. Doris kissed her way up her loverís body until she returned to Blakeís side.

"So," Doris said as she reclined next to Blake, "What do you think about this whole Ďlesbian thingí so far?"

Blake chuckled and rolled over to face Doris, who had a cocky grin on her face. The mayor lay on her side, resting on her elbow as her head rested on her palm. However, she wasnít that way for long. Blake rolled again and put Doris on her back with an Ďoomphí noise.

Immediately, Blake thought of Dorisís stomach.

"Iím sorry! Did I hurt you?" Blake asked nervously.

"No, you surprised me," Doris answered. "You can move quicker than I assumed."

Blake looked guilty for a moment as her fingers traced the outline of the scar with feather softness.

"Sometimes I donít move quick enough." A small silence passed between them and Blake added, "Iím sorry for not being braver sooner. Iím sorry I didnít move faster in the church. Iím sorry-."

Doris put her finger over Blakeís lips. "Itís done. Itís over. We canít change it. Youíre here now and youíll be here tomorrow. Thatís all that matters."

Blake smiled. "And Iím gratefulÖ How about if I show you how grateful I am?" she asked seductively.

She began to run her hand between Dorisís breasts when Doris captured her.

"What wrong?" Blake asked.

"You donít have to do this if you donít want to."

Blake looked confused. "Is that an excuse to wait? Are you worried Iíll hurt you?"

"What? No!"

"Okay." Blake smiled. "Then Iím doing exactly what I want to do," she added as she removed her bra so she too was completely naked.

She then moved to the other end of the bed to massage Dorisís feet while Doris rubbed Blakeís legs that rested near her head. The author began to kiss Dorisís shin as her fingerís kneaded the muscles in the mayorís leg. She worked her way higher toward Dorisís thigh and the mayor cleared her throat.

"You know," Doris called out, "I did have another fantasy that day."

"Do tell!" Blake said as she continued to lick and kiss Dorisís upper leg. She started to sit up to face her, but Doris motioned her to stay put. The mayor opened her legs a little wider as an invitation while she continued to caressed Blakeís legs.

"Straddle me? Please?" Doris begged. "I want to feel you while you feel me."

Blake smiled as she spread her body over Dorisí. For her part, Doris reached up and grabbed Blakeís ass. She pulled the strawberry blonde down until Blakeís center hovered over her lips.

Seconds later, Blake felt Doris begin to lap at her and it took all her resolve not to get too lost in the sensation. She rested her weight on her elbows as she herself settled over Dorisís sex. Her first lick was a tentative one, but the moan that Doris omitted gave her a boost of confidence. After a few moments, she tried to concentrate on what Doris was doing to her and she began to mimic the movements.

Much like their time on the dance floor together, they both fell into a perfect rhythm with one another. Blake felt her climax taking hold of her and she involuntarily arched her back as she groaned out in pleasure.

When her quakes of her orgasm subsided, Blake pulled away from Doris without a word and positioned the mayorís legs over her shoulder.

"I want you," Blake sighed as she fixated on Dorisí glistening center. Without waiting for a reply, she slid on her stomach toward her lover before she began to devour her.

"Oh, God," Doris sighed.

She balled the comforter into her fists while her toes curled. She was already close to the edge anyway so when Blake slid in two fingers, and began to pump into her, it only took a few strokes to send her over the edge.

It took all her strength not to shout out, but Doris succeeded. As she came down from her high, she stroked Blakeís hair and led her back to her shoulder. The author settled at Dorisís side and gently placed a hand on the mayorís stomach, just above the wound.

"Iím assuming I did okay?" Blake teased.

"You didÖ fantastic," Doris chuckled.

"Seriously," Blake said as she rose slightly.

"Oh, yes."

"I didnít hurt you, did I?"

"Not at all," Doris replied.

Blake began to yawn. "Good," she sighed.

"Sleepy?" Doris asked.

"Yes, but take that as a compliment," Blake giggled.

"Wore you out, eh?"

"But in a good way," Blake said as she leaned over and placed a delicate, lingering kiss on Dorisís lips.

"SoÖ youíreÖ okay with this then?"

"Sex?" Blake asked as Doris just nodded. "Oh hell yes!" Both women laughed until Blake looked serious again. "I love you, Doris," she said as she held up her bracelet, "And not just because of this. You saved my life. Youíre good to my daughter and youíre good FOR my daughter. I justÖ I love you."

Doris snorted. "Back at cha," she remarked casually.

Blake smiled and picked up the nearby pillow and smacked her with it. Doris laughed and put it under her head.

"Nah, come Ďer," she motioned as she climbed under the covers. Blake soon followed and she had the author tucked under her arm. "There are some many things I want to experience with you that I never have before."

"Are we talking about kinky stuff? ĎCause, lucky for you, Iím not as vanilla as I look," Blake teased.

Doris chortled. "This from the woman who let me watch her masturbate in a lingerie store? You donít say?" she added sarcastically.

"Iím just saying, anything is on the table to discuss," Blake countered with a playful grin.

"Okay," Doris said, "How about holding hands at the beach? Kissing me at Towers? MaybeÖ having another baby? You know, all the things I denied myself for years?"

"You want a baby?" Blake asked.

"WellÖ" Doris considered the question, "Maybe. I see the life Olivia has, and yes, I want that too. But only if it were something youíd want. I know when you thought you were going to have Frankís kid you werenít pleased and-."

"That was Frankís baby; not your baby. Thereís a difference," Blake corrected her.

Doris smiled. "Youíd have my baby?"

"If you ask real nice, I might." Blake smiled too. "But letís face facts - neither one of us is getting any younger. If weíre going to do something like thisÖ"

"Weíd have to startÖ five, maybe ten, years ago," Doris teased.

Blake chuckled softly. "Perhaps, but, for you, Iíd be willing to take the chance. Rick said you have your ovaries, but, stillÖ"

"I know. It could be a long shot."

"After you get a clean bill of health, letís look into it. Whadíya say?"

"Are you serious?"

"Were you joking?" Blake asked.

"No," Doris replied.

"Neither am I. When youíre healed letís explore all our options."

Doris smiled. "I love you."

"I love you too," Blake said. "Now letís get some rest," she said as she turned out the light and snuggled into Dorisís shoulder.

Doris caressed Blakeís bare shoulder.

"Merry Christmas," she whispered to her.

Blake nuzzled in closer and replied, "Merry Christmas."

Back in the present, Blake played with the bracelet and remembered that evening with a smile. When Doris left the bathroom of the honeymoon suite, she stopped in her tracks. Blake was entirely nude, wearing only the bracelet and a smile. Blake looked up and motioned to Dorisís silk pajamaís.

"Doris L. Wolfe, esquire..." she said with a tisk of her finger. "You are waaaaay overdressed."

"And you are waaay too smiley, Mrs. Wolfe. What gives?"

Blake smiled even bigger. "I like the sound of that Ė Mrs. Wolfe."

Doris chuckled as she pulled down her pajama bottoms. "I never thought I could have that."

"What?"

"A ĎMrs. Wolfeí in my life," Doris said as she slinked across the bed, clad only in her PJ top. "I think the best thing I ever did was try to discredit and scandalize Olivia Spencer."

Blake laughed. "Is that so?"

"Yep," Doris said as she began to nibble on Blakeís earlobe. "She stormed into my office and soon enough her courage was contagiousÖ Still, you never answered me. Why are you so smiley?"

"I was just thinking about the night you gave this to me," Blake said as she played with the bracelet.

"So I won you over that night, huh?"

"I was already pretty smitten, but that night thoughÖ"

"Yesssss?" Doris drawled as she returned to nip at Blakeís neck.

"The way you touched me. The way you reacted to my touchÖ I knew we were made for each other."

"So no regrets?" Doris asked as she kissed Blakeís wrist that held the bracelet.

"I wish Iíd met you sooner."

"I donít," Doris said bluntly. Blake took her wrist away and Doris chuckled. "Think about it," the attorney went on. "If I met you when I was still buried deep in the closet, we might not be where we are today and I love where we are. Ashlee has the family she always wanted. Clarissa finally gets to be the big sister and weíve got Isabella Ė one of the greatest gifts you could ever give me. So, yes, Iím glad we didnít meet sooner. "

Blake smiled and gave her wrist back to Doris. "Okay. You may continue," she said with a sense of snobbishness in her voice.

"Oh, I can, can I?" Doris shot back disobediently.

Blake nodded and pointed to one particular part of her wrist. "You can start here."

Doris just smirked. She pulled back and then lifted off her top until she was completely naked too. She then crooked her finger.

"Címere," she ordered playfully.

Blake looked at Dorisí naked body a moment longer and then hissed, "You win, damn it," before she tackled a laughing Doris to the bed.

The two women tumbled to the mattress, wrapped up in each otherís arms and it wasnít long before lips began to explore, hips began to roll and their bodies began to grind against each other.

"Oh!" Blake said as she rose up abruptly.

"What?!" Doris asked concerned. She shot a look at the door, thinking someone might have entered.

"That table over there," Blake pointed.

Doris released the breath sheíd been holding.

"What about it?" she asked.

Blake began to smile. "Can we play? We donít have a table in the bedroom at the farmhouse."

"What did you have in mind?" Doris asked sounding intrigued.

Blake didnít reply. She kissed Doris and continued to kiss her as she led her off the bed and toward the table. Once there, she turned her back to Doris. She reached back and hooked her palm around the back of the attorneyís head.

"I want you to take me," she whispered.

Doris leaned over. She smiled against Blakeís neck as her hands ran down the authorís shoulder, over her arms and to her hands. She placed Blakeís palms flat on the table and the younger woman moaned. Doris extended the authorís arms outward until each hand wrapped around the edge of the small table. She then retraced her movements again, going up Blakeís arms and back to her shoulders. Once there, she gave Blake a firm push so she was bent over the desk with her posterior extended out.

"Keep your head down and your eyes closed," Doris commanded in a soft voice near Blakeís ear. She could see the goosebumps rise on the womanís arms as she did her bidding. "Stay that way until I say."

Blake simply nodded and held her position. She heard Doris zip one of their suitcases theyíd backed for their honeymoon. She raised her head slightly, but just as quickly, she put it back down. After she listened to some rustling noises that lasted a few minutes, she felt Doris return. The older woman began to massage her buttocks for a few seconds before she gave one of the cheeks a firm slap. Blake whimpered.

"I told you to keep your head down and your eyes closed," Doris replied and then issued another firm slap. Again, Blake whimpered. This time though, Doris massaged the stinging area for a few moments.

"You know," Doris continued. "I had a surprise for Hawaii that I was going to show you early, but since you canít listen, maybe I wonít."

"A surprise?" Blake muttered and began to raise her head again. Doris grabbed her by the back of the head by her hair and forced it back down again. "Oh, God," Blake moaned.

"You like it rough sometimes, huh, Sweetheart?" she said, giving the long locks of hair another squeeze.

"Yes," Blake moaned.

Without any build up or pretense, Doris reached down with her free hand and ran it along Blakeís sex to find the woman already soaked. She took those wet fingers and began to suck on them. Once clean, she ran her fingers there again and then offered them to Blake.

The author pulled the attorneyís digits into her mouth and began to perform fellatio on Dorisís fingers. The lawyer began to groan herself. She pulled her fingers away quickly and Blake whimpered at the loss of contact.

Doris reached down and spread Blakeís legs a little further apart.

"You want fucked, Baby?" Doris asked in a throaty whisper.

"Yeah," Blake moaned.

Doris took a deep breath and blew it out slowly as she moved closer behind her lover. Thatís when Blake felt a phallus against her right cheek. Her eyes shot open and she looked over her shoulder to see the strap-on. She grinned wildly and tried to turn, but Doris held her in place.

"Iíd never do anything you didnít want to do, so remember our safe word?" Doris asked her as she rubbed her back. Blake nodded in understanding. "I really, really wanna fuck you on this table if youíd let me."

Dorisís words were like quicksilver to her center and Blake got even wetter. With a wicked smile, she faced forward again and spread her legs a little wider. She arched her back and lifted her ass higher in enticement. She then tightened her hold on the edge of the table.

"Mount me," Blake moaned.

That was the only invitation Doris needed. Blake immediately heard the unmistakable sound of jelly escaping a tube and knew that Doris had to be lubing the dildo.

"Youíre not gonna need that," Blake added. "Iím soaked."

Doris tossed the tube on the table in front of Blake. "Perhaps," she said as she coated the dildo and used the remnants on her hand to glaze across Blakeís sex. "But I still want to make sure I slide right in."

With that, Doris reached down between them and glided forward, entering Blake with ease. Both of them sighed simultaneously at the contact. In a few seconds, Doris began to roll her hips in a fluid back and forth motion. Once she knew she was firmly in place, one hand reached out to possessive grab of Blakeís hip, pulling her closer. The other hand ran up Blakeís spine until she came to the back of her scalp. She buried her fingers in the authorís hair. After a few light caresses, she gave Blakeís hair a firm pull.

The authorís head fell back and she cried out in desire. She felt Doris tugging her closer with each thrust. All Blake could manage were one-syllable words between each thrust as she gripped the table for dear life as Doris rode her hard.

"Oh-Fuck-Oh-Yes-Oh-Damn-So-Good-Fuck-Me-Fuck-MeÖ"

Doris, for her part, couldnít even form words. All she could handle were primal grunts as she plunged into her lover over and over and over again. Each stroke rubbed against her own clitoris. Finally, she needed more and she released Blakeís hair and grabbed the strawberry blonde by both hips. She began to jack rabbit against Blake with a fevered ferocity.

"Ooooooooh Yeaaaaaaaaaah!" Blakeís voice warbled because of the vibration Doris created from her fast paced gyrating hips. Blakeís naked breasts were jiggling at such quick rate and momentum that her erect nipples rubbed against the table, creating an all-new wetness between her legs.

"Gonnnnnnnna Cuuuuuuuummm," Blake managed to cry out.

Sweat poured off of Doris and trickled down to Blakeís back and ass. The lawyer took a brief pause to catch her breath. She reached around to Blakeís clit and used two fingers to stroke her at the same lightening fast speed her hips were moving. Blake called out as her orgasm ripped through her and she began to buck.

The action, along with the gyrations was already doing, pushed Doris closer to the edge, but not entirely over. Sensing her partner had yet to climax, Blake pulled away and pushed Doris back a foot or two. The lawyer watched as Blake cleared the desk of the usual hotel desk paraphernalia in one swoop of her arm.

Smiling, Doris then watched Blake turn and unfastened the harness at a quicker rate than imagined. It fell to the floor with a thud as Blake pulled a surprised, but eager, Doris to the end of the table. She led her to sit on the very edge.

Blakeís center still twitched from her recent high as she sat Doris on the tableís edge. She then quickly grabbed the two small chairs on either side of the desk. Doris wasnít sure what Blake had in mind, but she wasnít about to argue or complain. Her woman looked to be on a serious mission.

Blake put the chairs side-by-side in front of Doris. Only then did she sit down before the lawyer. Doris now understood and let Blake lead her feet to each chair back so she was completely spread eagle. Blake had a perfect view of Dorisí center.

"Talk to me, Baby," was all Blake said and she wasted no time as her tongue found Dorisí engorged clit.

"Fuck," Doris sighed as she buried her fingers in Blakeís hair.

Blake began to lap at her lover as both her hands reached up to fondle Dorisís breasts.

"Yeah, thatís itÖ" Doris panted, "Go on. Lick my pussy. See how wet you make me, Baby? See how hot you get me?"

Blake moaned and nodded in exaggeration. She let her tongue run all around Dorisís sex in the process while the lawyer began to grind her hips against Blakeís face.

"Yeah, you like my juice all over your face, donít you? Gets you good and wet, huh? I bet you already want me to fuck you again, huh?"

Dorisís voice sounded strained and the author knew her lover was getting closer. Blake then rose up slightly, bringing Dorisís legs with her so they rested on her shoulders instead of the chairs. Blake plunged three fingers into Doris easily and began to pump into her with the same speed sheíd done just minutes ago.

"No," Blake finally spoke. "I donít want you to fuck me. I wanna make you howl, Wolfe," she laughed. She didnít slow her fingers in the least, even in her laughter. In fact, she sped up even more as her thumb knuckled slapped against Dorisís clit.

When Doris began to make a series of ĎOohí noises, Blake knewÖ

"Thatís it," Blake coaxed. "Come for me, Dori. You look so fuckiní hot when you come, Baby."

That did it. Doris tumbled over the edge and her muscles gave out. Blake continued to pound into her. She tried to drain every drop of pleasure out of her wife that she could. When Dorisí orgasm did subside, she began to chuckle and Blake pulled her up into a sitting position as she gathered her in her arms.

"Iíve made a decision," Doris said sounding winded, wrapped in Blakeís arms.

"Yes?" Blake asked, sounding just as exhausted.

"When we get home from the honeymoonÖ"

"Yes?"

"Weíre buying a table for the bedroom."

The End

 

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