Emily had gotten up early that day to fly down to Texas. It was two days before New Years Eve, and she had thought about the brunette constantly since the last time they had been together. They had talked several times a week and exchanged emails during their time apart. On Christmas Day, Erin had even gone so far as to track the blonde down at her fathers' place just to wish her and her family a Merry Christmas. It made Emily happy to know Erin was thinking about her on a special family day.
As the blonde got off the plane that afternoon and headed down to baggage, she wondered what this trip might hold. They had been getting along so well, but Erin had done her best not to get too intimate between them and remain on friendly terms. It made the attorney wonder just how long the road of friendship was really going to be between them. She wanted much more, but she was willing to wait. Getting to the baggage carousel, the tall brunette was waiting on her dressed in her usual way, in tight jeans and boots and dark blue fleece pullover. You look so sexy as usual. Erin smiled at her when she saw her and immediately came to her.
"Hey there. So glad you finally made it," she said, putting her arms around the blonde.
Emily returned the embrace. "I know. Holiday travel is always a bear. Even though it was a direct flight, they still managed to not be on time. I hope you didn't get here early."
Erin shook her head. "I called ahead of time. Here. Let me take your bag," she said, lifting it from the blonde's shoulder. "I hope this isn't work in here."
Emily nodded. "I had to bring some. That's a long flight, and there were things I needed to do."
"Well, as of now, you are on vacation, so no more work. That's an order," she said, wagging her index finger in the shorter woman's direction. "Come on. Let's get your other bags and get out of here." When they arrived back at the ranch, Erin hefted the bags up onto her shoulder and then led the way inside. Up the stairs they went to the guestroom where Emily always stayed. "Your usual room," the brunette stated, walking in first and putting the bags on the bed.
Immediately Emily saw that a dozen pink roses were on the bedside table and smiled. At least you remember that. "Thanks for carrying those and for having me here."
"It's always a pleasure, Em. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a dinner to prepare. You just get settled and then come on down to the kitchen when you're ready, but I'm warning you. If I see you doing any work, I'm going to take it and hide it away until you go home again."
"All right. No more work. I promise."
When Emily was alone, she took a few minutes to unpack her bags. As she put her clothes in the dresser, she pondered what it might be like to live there at the ranch. She had never really considered leaving New York before, even with all the times she imagined she and Erin together, but being at the ranch just then, the thought occurred to her that Erin might not want to leave Texas. Her friend absolutely loved her ranch, and she might not be willing to give it up, not even for a potential relationship. The thought troubled Emily, because she knew her career would not allow her to move, and it could be a potential problem between them if they did in fact get serious. That's all I would need is to lose my heart again only to not have it work out because of the living situation. I guess only time will tell what the right thing is.
Once she had put all her clothes away, she took the present she had gotten for Erin downstairs. Instead of going into the kitchen right away, though, she detoured into the living room where she had seen the tree when they first walked into the house. Underneath it was a gift, so Emily set the one she had brought with her next to it and then went to find Erin. The older woman was in the kitchen preparing their dinner.
"Would you like some help?" the blonde asked as she slipped onto a stool at the bar.
"Sure. You can make the salad if you want. Everything is in the refrigerator."
Heading the direction, Emily went to the refrigerator and pulled out the items to start their salad. She washed the lettuce and then chopped the vegetables to add to the leafy greens. When she had finished, she asked, "Are we going to sit in here?"
"Yeah. Sure. We can eat at the kitchen table."
Emily went to the cabinet closest to the table and proceeded to pull out place mats and linen napkins for their dinner. Then she went to get the plates and utensils. She took her time in setting the table and even managed to find a candle to place in the center. The two women worked in companionable silence. The familiarity of it felt good to Emily. She always liked visiting Erin at the ranch, for it felt like a home away from her real home in New York. Once the table was ready, she turned back to Erin for more instruction.
"The chicken is just about ready. Why don't you grab yourself something to drink? There's plenty to choose from, or if you want some wine, there's a lot in the bar area."
"What would you like?"
"Some white wine would be good with this dish. Why don't we go with that?"
Dinner between the two of them was filled with idle chatter. Neither wanted to speak of work, so it left them time to explore other avenues they rarely spoke about in each other's company. When the meal was complete, Emily helped with the dishes before Erin suggested they watch a movie. Since the blonde was up for anything, she agreed. Together they made their way into the living room. Erin knelt down by the fireplace to light it as Emily went to the bookcase where the movies were. Quickly they agreed on a title. Settling themselves down on the couch, they began their film. Quietness surrounded them as they sat closely together on the cuddling on the couch.
When the film was complete, Erin checked her watch. It was still a little early, so she asked, "What would you like to do now? It's not quiet bedtime yet."
"I want you to open your gift," the blonde answered, going over to the tree. She picked up the wrapped present and brought it to her friend.
Erin smiled as it was placed in her lap. "Oh, this is sweet of you. Thanks, Em. I actually got you something, too." Moving to the tree, she picked up the solitary present left and brought it to the sofa. "You go first," she said.
The attorney nodded and proceeded to slowly open her gift. When the wrapping was off, she was left with what was obviously a clothes box. She popped open the lid and smiled when she saw what was inside. It was a beautiful silk blue blouse with an accent scarf. Emily knew immediately it would become her new favorite. Looking back at Erin, she smiled and leaned to hug her. "This is beautiful, Erin. I love it. Thank you so much," she said, pecking the brunette on the lips.
"You're welcome. I just knew it was you when I saw it. A woman can never have too many scarves," she teased.
"Open yours now," the blonde insisted.
Erin did as she was told. She ripped open the paper and top of the box to find a heavy navy wool sweater. "This is great. I love it," she said pulling it from the box and holding it up.
"Try it on." Erin pulled the sweater over her head and then turned to get approval. Emily smiled. "Very sexy," she purred, running her hand along Erin's arm.
"You want to try yours on?" the taller woman asked.
"All right. I'll be right back. Stay right here."
Erin cleaned up the paper and boxes while the blonde was changing clothes. She was just kneeling down next to the fire when Emily returned to the room. Erin stood as she closed the distance between them. "You look beautiful," she complimented.
Emily smiled as she reached to embrace the brunette. "I love it. Thank you."
"Thank you. I can't wait to wear this sweater out somewhere," she said, leaning down to kiss Emily on the cheek.
Holding hands and going back to the sofa, they settled themselves once again. "So, do we have a plan for tomorrow?" Emily inquired, taking a sip of her wine that had been sitting on the coffee table.
"Actually, we're going to go into Dallas to see Jared and Margaret. I offered to keep Blaine tomorrow night, so they could go to a party. You don't mind, do you?"
"Not at all. I love spending time with Blaine. Are we spending the night there?"
"No. We're going to bring her back here tomorrow evening. Margaret and Jared are going to come over for New Year's Day brunch and pick her up when they've recovered."
Emily nodded. "Where does Blaine normally sleep when she's here?"
"Well, I'll admit I spoil her when it's just the two of us. She always wants to sleep with me. I know I need to get her to sleep in her own bed eventually, but it's kind of fun for both of us, like a big sleep over."
"You're her aunt. You should be able to do the fun stuff."
"That's the way I see it."
"What do you all normally do when she's here?"
"Well, we usually are in the playroom. After all, I added that thing on just for her. It has all her favorite toys in it. Sometimes I take her to the barn to see the horses. She loves the barn."
"I'd like to see the barn myself."
"Then I'll show it to you tomorrow. It's a little late right now. The farmhand I'm sure has already gotten them settled for sleep."
"You have a farmhand?"
"Yeah. I had to get one, because I'm in Dallas so much now. He takes care of the horses and makes sure the place is clean."
"Is he around all day?"
"No. He has a full-time job at another ranch. This is just twice a day and some weekends if he has to clean the stalls. I'm out here every weekend, so I do most of it then."
Emily nodded. "You really do love it here, don't you?" she asked after a moment of pause.
"Oh yeah. I couldn't imagine being anywhere else. I wouldn't go to Dallas if Blaine weren't in the picture. I wouldn't own that house up there. I'd be content right here for the rest of my life, but I know I can't just stay at the ranch forever. Life calls me away sometimes."
"Would you ever move if you got married?"
Erin was quiet a moment before answering, "Actually, I've never really thought about it. Marriage might be the only thing that would get me to move, but I would never give up the ranch. I would hope my wife would want to make this her home as well, but I know most women live in the real world. The ranch is too far away from life. I guess my answer is that I don't know. I'd have to think about that long and hard. What about you? You're entrenched in New York. Your whole world is there. You wouldn't leave, even for love, would you?"
It was the blonde's turn to look pensive. "Leaving New York would mean leaving everything I ever worked to achieve. My career wouldn't allow a move, not a big one anyway. I have to stay in New York or quit my job. My job is my life right now."
"I understand. It's what you've been working for all these years. You've wanted the CEO job for a long time, and you're so close to getting it. It would be a shame to walk away from that."
Emily nodded her head in silence. She knew then there was an obstacle that stood between them that they would have to overcome if they were to ever find happiness with each other. You'd have to move to New York, Erin. It wouldn't work any other way. At least you said you'd think about something like that, but it would be a shame to take you away from your favorite place and your family. You'd have to leave Blaine behind. That would be a lot easier said than done.
The following morning Erin and Emily got up and dressed at a leisurely pace before heading out for their drive to Dallas. Erin was wearing the new sweater Emily had given her the night before, which pleased the blonde. In turn, she had at least managed to work her new scarf into her own outfit for the day.
Getting to Jared and Margaret's house, they were greeted warmly at the door by Jared, who ushered them inside. Margaret was sitting on the sofa reading while Blaine played on the floor near her. The older woman smiled at the two of them.
"Erin, Emily, it's always so good to see the two of you," she greeted, standing to give them hugs.
"It's good to see you too, Margaret," the attorney said with a smile as Erin went for her niece.
"Thank you so much for agreeing to watch Blaine tonight. We really owe you," Jared said.
"It's fine. Erin and I were going to have a quiet evening at the ranch anyway. It'll be fun to have Blaine with us."
"Well, we certainly do appreciate it. This party is quite important, and as the dean, I really needed to be there. I'm just so glad Jared will be able to go with me. My colleagues aren't sure he really exists. He usually misses out on this stuff, and I usually miss his," she explained.
"Well, you know you have a built-in babysitter anytime you need one," Erin said picking Blaine up.
"We know, but we don't want to take advantage of you, Erin. You have a good heart, and you should be spending time with some nice lady," Margaret said. Changing the subject, she said, "We waited for you all to have lunch. Are you hungry?"
The group moved into the kitchen for lunch. Erin placed her niece in her chair before she and Emily helped with getting the food on the table. The four adults just talked over their meal. "It's good to see you down here again, Emily," Jared mentioned. "I know you don't have a lot of free time these days with work and all."
"That's true, but I love coming down to the ranch. It's the perfect getaway. Erin's always so gracious in letting me crash with her."
"It's good for her to have the company. We worry about her down there by herself," Margaret said, smiling at her future sister-in-law.
"I'm just fine down there alone. Thank you very much. Besides, these days Blaine keeps me busy up here. I always knew it was going to take a special woman to get me to leave the ranch," she teased, looking at her niece, who was busy devouring her lunch with flair.
Emily watched from across the table. Erin's gaze at the young Mahoney was always adoring. I bet you'd look at your own kids with that much love. You really would be such a great mother, Erin. I could just picture you with our children.
"You know, I wish you would find a special woman. You've cleaned up your act and all. Why can't you find any nice girls, Erin?" Jared asked, taking a sip of his drink.
His younger sister shrugged as her eyes met blue across the table. "I keep hoping that she's out there."
"You need a wife and some kids to keep you company. You need your own children to dote on, so you can stop spoiling Blaine," he joked. "Just remember pay backs. I'm going to spoil your kids rotten."
"I hope so," Erin said with a grin.
After the group had lunch together, Erin and Emily took Blaine back to the ranch. The first stop upon their return was to the stable since the little girl liked it so much. As Erin held her niece up to the stall doors so she could pet the horses, the blonde took the time to watch them together. It was by far one of her favorite things to do in the company of those two. Every time they were together, it made the attorney realize the longing she had for children of her own. The threesome stayed out in the barn for several hours just enjoying the horses and playing in the hay. Finally though it was time to get dinner on the table for Blaine, and they returned to the house.
Emily offered to cook for them that night and shooed the two brunettes into the playroom. When they were alone, Erin sat her niece on the floor in the center of the room and pulled the crayons and coloring books off the shelf. Together they lounged on the floor and immersed themselves in the books. Erin watched her niece color pictures in rapid succession as she worked slower on her own creation. When the little girl grew tired of her own book, she leaned over to start coloring in her aunt's until the picture Erin had been working on was completed. The woman smiled at their work for a moment before deciding to add a dedication to their favorite blonde. "To Aunt Emily," it read at the top of the page, and at the bottom it said, "Love, Blaine (and Erin)." Setting the coloring aside, Erin waited to see what her niece wanted to do next.
Forty minutes later Emily went to retrieve the two for dinner. Heading back to the playroom, she found the brunettes in the middle of the floor with their backs to the door. Erin was lying on her stomach, propped up on her elbows, and Blaine was sitting next to her, her little body swaying back and forth slightly at the melodic tempo of Erin's voice as she read nursery rhymes from a book. The attorney watched for a few minutes as the older brunette was pausing long enough to point out the pictures to her niece.
"Are you two about ready for dinner?" she questioned finally.
Erin looked over her shoulder and smiled. "I'm starving. It's dinner time, Blaine."
Both of them rose from the floor. Erin grabbed the coloring they had made earlier and presented it to the shorter woman. "We made you a little something." Emily looked at it and smiled. She could tell Erin had actually being trying to color in the picture with precision, but Blaine had taken her colors to it with wild abandon. "It's more of an abstract piece," the tall Texan explained with a grin.
Emily chuckled. "It's beautiful. Thank you, Blaine," she said, leaning down to kiss the little girl on the top of the head. Leaning up to Erin, she kissed her on the cheek and whispered, "Thank you, Erin. I'll cherish this." Leading the way to the kitchen, Emily asked, "Where does Blaine normally sit?"
"We'll put her right here next to me." Erin grabbed the booster seat she kept for such occasions from the hall closet and put it in the chair before hoisting her niece into her assigned seat. Then she went to retrieve a drink for her while Emily got beverages for Erin and herself. Within moments the three of them were sitting down to their meal.
"Thanks for cooking. It looks great," Erin complimented.
"You're welcome. It's not everyday I get to cook for people."
The older woman served her niece's plate for her and then went to give herself a generous portion. "So what shall we do after dinner?"
Emily shrugged. "What do you two normally do?"
"Well, we have to clean up the dishes and then Blaine has to take her bath. She loves playing in the water, so that takes some time. After that I thought we'd give her a treat and let her watch one of her favorite films before she has to go to bed. How does that sound?"
"Sounds good to me. Whatever she wants is fine."
"Then that's what we'll do. For now though, let's just watch the entertainment of her eating dinner. This is always fun."
The two adults paid most of their attention to Blaine, who indeed provided amusement throughout the meal. Most of the food landed everywhere but her mouth, creating a mess to clean up later, but the toddler was a good eater and spirited company. When all of them had finished, Erin suggested, "It's probably best if I just drop her in the tub now and then come back for these dishes later."
"Let me help. Do you want me to start her bath while you do these?"
"You don't mind?"
"Not at all. Let me take her. Do you normally put her in your bath?"
Erin nodded. "Her stuff is under the sink. She really likes the toys, so just throw all of them in there with her. I'll come up as soon as I'm finished."
Emily nodded her head and then turned to Erin's niece. "Come on, Blaine. It's bath time," she said, extending her hand. The girl took her hand, and the two walked off toward the stairs. Emily slowly walked the staircase, waiting as necessary for Blaine to take each step on her own. Going into the master bedroom, they walked into the large bathroom attached. Immediately Blaine started to squirm out of her clothes as if she knew what was coming next. Emily just watched her in amusement, helping a little when the child was struggling with her shirt. When she was naked with her clothes in a pile on the rug, she sat on the side of the tub and waited. Emily smiled at her as she leaned over to start the water. Right away Blaine slid into the tub and started to splash the water while the blonde dug out the supplies from under the sink. Just as Erin instructed, she dumped the large bucket of toys into the water. The brightness that lit up Blaine's face was priceless. She grabbed the toys instantly and began to play with them. Emily picked up the baby shampoo and soap from under the sink and the washcloth that had been there as well before coming to the tub. She knelt next to it. Gently wetting Blaine's hair, she began to lather it with suds. The child didn't even seem to notice, being far too involved with her toys. After a few minutes, Emily filled the bucket the toys had been stored in and slowly poured it over Blaine's head to rinse the dark hair until it was clean and shiny once again. Then she soaped the washcloth and started to bathe the little girl. Thankfully Blaine was docile during the entire process, letting Emily do exactly what she needed to finish the task while she simply played with her toys. Once the cleaning process was complete, the attorney just knelt beside the tub and watched her young charge play. It's no wonder your aunt is in love with you, Blaine. You are amazing. I hope some day I'll be lucky enough to have a child just like you. I bet you'd like to have a cousin to play with. Maybe some day if I can get your aunt to agree, we might be able to make that happen for you. That would be so wonderful.
When Erin finished cleaning up the kitchen, she went upstairs to check on her girls. She found them just as she had suspected. Blaine was having a grand time in the tub, and Emily was sitting in quiet content reflection. "How's it going?" she softly asked, coming and taking a seat on the commode.
"Fine. She's the perfect little girl, isn't she?" the blonde mentioned.
"She is pretty perfect," Erin conceded. She consulted her watch. "Unfortunately it's time to take her out of the tub. You two have been up here for almost half an hour. This is the part where she can get fussy."
"I knew there had to be a flaw somewhere," teased Emily.
"Not to worry. I've figured out a way to get her out of the tub with the least amount of drama."
"Just pull the plug and let her sit there until the water is gone. As long as there is water in that tub, she'll want to stay in it, but when it's gone, it's much easier to take her out."
Following the advice, Emily pulled the plug on the drain. Blaine continued to play as if she hadn't noticed, but within a few minutes there was nothing but a naked toddler and toys littering the empty tub. Blaine looked up at Emily in confusion. The blonde smiled at how adorable she looked just then. Erin handed her guest a towel. Emily took it and extended her hands to Blaine, who started to stand in the tub and crawl over the side into her awaiting towel. Embracing her closely, the attorney towel dried the toddler's hair and body before picking her up and taking her back into the bedroom. Erin followed them but said nothing as she observed the blonde and her niece.
Emily deposited Blaine on the bed before going to the overnight bag for pajamas and a new diaper. The usually unstill child was relatively good and allowed herself to be dressed once again. When pajamas were on, Emily took a moment to comb the dark wet hair with the tiny brush she had found in the bag.
"Well, what do you think?" Emily asked, presenting Blaine for inspection.
"That's my pretty girl," Erin said with a smile and a kiss on the top of the head for her niece. Turning her gaze on the blonde, she complimented, "You certainly have the mother bit down. Now you just need little ones of your own."
"Someday I hope. We'll see," Emily replied quietly.
"Well, we have just enough time to watch a movie before Blaine goes down for bed. I already have it set up for her, so let's go back downstairs."
The threesome headed back to the living room where they cuddled on the couch. Blaine took to Emily's lap and rested her head into her chest as she watched TV. All was quiet between them for the movie. When it was finished, the child had nodded off to sleep in the blonde's arms. Erin gestured for Emily to follow her upstairs, so they didn't risk waking Blaine in transfer between them. Going into the master bedroom, Erin made a makeshift bed out of pillows for her on one side of her king-sized bed, so she didn't accidentally roll out in her sleep. The two women then kissed her good night and went back downstairs.
Erin put the baby monitor on the coffee table and the consulted her watch. "Well, now it's just adult time. What do you feel like doing?"
"I'm fine just sitting in front of a fire. We don't have to do anything," Emily replied.
The brunette nodded. "A fire sounds good. I'll start one. Why don't you get us something to drink?"
The attorney nodded in agreement before heading off to the kitchen. She stood there a moment looking into the refrigerator contemplating their options. What she really wanted wasn't going to be found there, so she headed back to the living room and to the bar. Emily pulled out the wine bottle they had started the night before and poured two glasses for them.
Both women took to the sofa once again. Erin got herself settled and raised one arm up along the back of the couch. Seeing the opening, Emily decided to take a chance and snuggled closer. Immediately the arm came around her shoulders and a head leaned on hers. Silence prevailed for a long time as they stared into the fireplace.
Finally though Erin whispered, "You are something with Blaine. You're going to be a great mother, Emily."
"I hope so. I know you will. It's obvious with everything you do for her."
"Have you ever thought about how many kids you'd like to have?"
"I'd feel lucky just to have one, but I always thought two would be nice, so they could have each other. I was lonely as a kid."
"I could see that. It was kind of nice to have Jared around, even though we fought sometimes. He still was my big brother, and I knew I could count on him."
"Do you think he and Margaret will have more children?"
"Probably but I think they want to wait until after the wedding to work on that."
"I understand that. It's in June now, isn't it?"
"Yeah. Margaret had to have it in the summer. School is just too hectic otherwise, so they rescheduled."
"I can hardly believe it, you know. I thought your brother would be single forever," she joked.
"You and me both but life is funny that way. It gives you some unexpected twists. He's lucky to have found her. I know she's the only woman in the world that can put up with him," she teased.
"And what about you, Erin?" Emily asked, deciding to see where the Texan stood on relationships at that point in time. They hadn't discussed it in a while.
"What about me?" Erin inquired.
The blonde lifted her head from Erin's shoulder. Blue eyes connected with brown ones in a profound gaze. There was so much Emily wanted to say. Just give me some sign, Erin. I know you feel the same way, but you won't act on it. "Do you think there's a woman out there for you?" she finally inquired.
Erin nodded slowly. Moments passed without a word as they looked at each other. Erin's left hand came up to Emily's face and caressed her cheek before tucking blonde hair behind her ear. "You really are an amazing and beautiful woman," she confessed.
Before Emily could say anything in response, the woman was leaning toward her. Erin's nose brushed lightly against hers as their lips hovered closely for a moment. Finally though, Erin kissed her in a way they had never kissed before. Their mouths brushed together lightly at first before the brunette pressed just slightly harder to make full contact. It wasn't sexual in nature, just purely the sweetest, most heartfelt display of affection Emily had ever felt. When it broke neither said anything for a moment. "Well," Emily finally whispered, lacking words to express herself just then.
"Was that okay?" Erin gently asked.
"Yeah. It's more than okay," the attorney confessed.
Eyes met again for a moment before Erin said, "I've thought about you a lot since we last saw each other, Emily. I don't think this just friends thing is going to work for us, is it?"
"No, nor do I want it to, Erin," she admitted.
"Then what do we do?"
"Well, we both want the same things. I guess we just figure out if we can have them together. We're too old for games."
"I don't want to play games, especially with you."
"Then I guess we just take our time with it. Neither one of us wants to rush anything, but I'd like to try to be with you. I've always wanted that with you," Emily conceded.
Erin nodded her head. "I knew that in the beginning, but I just wasn't able to be that woman for you. However, I'd like to try to be her now."
"That's all I ask of you."
The couple went back to watching the fire quietly for awhile, but then suddenly they heard a cry from the baby monitor. "I need to go check on Blaine," Erin whispered, disentangling herself from the blonde's arms.
"Let me go."
"Are you sure? That's an upset cry. It might take her a little bit to settle down again."
"It's fine. Please let me go."
"All right. Give it a shot, but if you need me just bring her down. I know a few tricks that might work if all else fails."
Emily nodded and kissed her girlfriend on the cheek before heading toward the stairs. Erin just watched her go. She knew she had done the right thing. It was useless fighting against what she truly wanted. She wanted Emily, had for a long time. Even though she was scared, Margaret was right about trying again. It was worth the chance, especially if they could be together in the end. Erin had her doubts, but seeing the blonde with Blaine that day squelched her reservations. Anyone that Blaine liked was a woman worth consideration to her, and it was obvious she adored Emily.
While the blonde was gone, the Texan turned on the TV to see the typical New Year's Eve special being broadcast. Then she went to tend the fire and turn over the wood to keep the flames burning strongly. That finished she just stood in front of the TV watching until she felt arms slip around her waist and a body press into her back.
"What are you doing, Super Dyke?" Emily softly asked.
Erin turned and smiled down at the woman who held her. "I think I may have outgrown that name," she mentioned.
"Never. You'll always be Super Dyke to me. Why do you think I gave you the name?"
Giving a confused look the taller woman said, "I thought you said someone else gave me that name, but you couldn't remember who."
"I never said that," protested Emily with a guilty grin.
"Oh, yes you did. I remember it distinctly. I asked you who gave it to me on our first date, because I thought it was such an amusing name, and you said you didn't know."
Emily shrugged. "I may have misstated that one."
"Why?" Erin inquired with a grin.
"Well, because the first time I ever called you that in front of my friends, it wasn't meant as a compliment. They found it so funny, though, that they began to use it and passed it on to others, and that's how you got the name. My one disparaging critique of you took on a life of its own."
The brunette nodded. "I can only imagine what you might have said back then. There were so many things I could have done to earn such a name."
"That's the ironic thing. I really don't remember what I said. The only thing I remember was that I was out with some of my friends, and you came up in conversation. I had consumed a few too many beverages by that point. However, I will say that your nickname is still accurate but with a much better connotation. Now it's more of a nod to how successful you've been and how you've juggled all those things that matter most to you. Not a lot of women can manage that."
Erin chuckled. "You're trying to flatter me as a way of getting out of this. Not to worry. It's working."
"That means I've forgiven then for my slight misrepresentation?"
"Misrepresentation? You attorneys with your large words for big fat lie. Yes, you are forgiven. Besides, I kind of like it when you say it."
Both women laughed. "Well then, Super Dyke, whatever shall we do now? Blaine's asleep again. Do you want to watch the New Year's Eve special some more?"
"Oh, I don't care about that, but we can watch it if you want to. I'm fine with whatever."
"All right. In that case I have a better idea for a way to pass the time until midnight," the younger woman said. She left Erin standing in the middle of the room and went to the stereo. Pulling out a CD, she placed it in the CD player and pressed play before turning back to her hostess. Erin was wearing a warm smile as the slow romantic country music filled the room. Putting arms around the taller woman's neck, Emily softly asked, "How about a dance, cowboy?"
"My pleasure," she replied. The couple moved in methodical time to the beat as they held each other closely.
This is how I always dreamed it might be. I knew there had to be this side of you somewhere. I can't believe I've finally found it after all this time. I wonder if this carries over to bed, too. I wonder if you've changed that much. It was good before, but if you're like this, I bet it would be even better than I could possibly imagine. When will that chance come? And when it does will I finally be able to touch you like I always wanted? With that thought in mind, the blonde decided she would test the waters once again. Erin had always held her back from touching her too much. However, if they were ever going to get anywhere, she had to know that they would be equals. Letting her hands roam, she took in the back side of her girlfriend's frame, starting with her shoulders and slowly working down her back. Erin said nothing, but Emily knew she was paying attention by the way she held the blonde tighter. When Emily's hands got to the waist of Erin's jeans, they paused for just a moment before finding their way over the top of the back pockets.
"What are you doing?" Erin whispered teasingly into the blonde's ear as she kissed it lightly.
"I'm just feeling out the territory," Emily answered, looking up into dark eyes.
Erin leaned down to kiss her slowly. Emily moaned deeply at the feeling of desire she could feel pouring out of the Texan and into her. However, it was different, too. There was restraint where unbridled lust had once been.
"You know, having you do that makes me want something I can't have," teased the older woman.
"Who said anything about not being able to have whatever you want? You can have anything. I'd give you everything," Emily seductively whispered as their mouths met again.
Erin groaned lightly when Emily's hands continued their explorations, but she was taken by complete surprise when she felt the attorney's right hand on her belt buckle. The northerner managed to work open the large shiny silver buckle with one hand. It made Erin pull back slightly. "Wow. I am truly amazed at how you did that. It's hard enough with two hands, and you did it on your first try with one."
Emily laughed under her breath. "I'll admit. I've been practicing. I ordered a buckle for myself."
It was Erin's turn to laugh. "I guess that means I'm turning you into a regular cowgirl, huh?"
With a flash of blue eyes, Emily pulled Erin's head down toward her own again to kiss her. "Could we not talk about buckles?" she suggested.
Several moments and kisses later, the brunette pulled back once again. "You are driving me crazy," she confessed, stilling Emily's roaming hands with her own.
"That's supposed to be a good thing."
"Oh, it is, but I just foresee some problems."
"What kind of problems?" hesitantly Emily inquired. She hadn't been prepared for a statement like that.
"Well, Blaine's here asleep in my bed right now. I wouldn't want to get otherwise involved with her here. I don't feel right about it."
"Oh. Well, I guess I can understand that. I had kind of forgotten she was here."
"But there's something else you should know."
Erin looked deeply into blue eyes. It seemed an eternity that they just gazed at each other even though is was only a few moments. "I'm in love with you, Emily," she confessed gently.
Oh my God. You actually said it. I can't believe I didn't have to say it first. "I'm in love with you, too, Erin. Is that a problem?"
"No. Not at all. It's just that I want the next time we make love to be for keeps. I can't do this with you unless I know it's forever this time. It hurt way too much last time. I can't do that again. I just want to wait until we're sure."
Emily just stood in complete silence for a moment. She had no idea what to say just then. I can't believe it. You really have changed. You said make love and forever. I never thought I'd ever hear those words out of you, Erin. Finally after a few moments, the blonde nodded. "Okay. We'll wait. I've been waiting this long. What's a little longer?" she questioned.
"Are you sure you're okay with that? You're not just trying to pacify me?"
"I'm sure. Erin, you just said things I never thought I'd hear from you in my entire life. I don't want either one of us to hurt like we did last time. If this is what you need, then I'm willing to wait. It's going to be hard while I do, but I'll do it for you." Cracking a smile grin, she teasingly added, "I happen to remember that you are well worth every moment of waiting."
"So are you," answered Erin.
The rest of the evening was spent dancing in the living room until midnight. Sharing their first kiss of the New Year together, they decided to head to their respective bedrooms, because Blaine would be up early. Going upstairs, they paused in front of Emily's door.
"Happy New Year's, Erin," Emily said as they embraced for a hug and kiss.
"Happy New Year's, Emily. See you in the morning."
The next day the threesome was up early to play. Blaine's parents arrived around one that afternoon excited to see their little girl. Erin and Emily made brunch for the five of them while they all just chatted in the kitchen. Erin could tell her future sister-in-law knew something different was going on, but her brother seemed oblivious at first until Emily kissed the brunette for something she had done.
"Wait a minute. What was that?" he asked with a smile.
"A kiss, honey. You act like you've never seen one," Margaret chided jokingly.
Brother and sister looked at each other. "What, Jared? Just ask. You're dying to ask," Erin teased.
"Are you two finally together?" he questioned.
"Yes," Emily nonchalantly replied, turning back to her chore of cutting vegetables.
"Well, it's about time," he remarked. "You've tortured all of us long enough. We even had to resort to taking wagers you two were taking so long."
"Who won?" the blonde asked curiously with a smile turning to her girlfriend's brother.
"Seamus. Although he did have somewhat of an advantage of being able to see you," he said to the attorney. "He picked New Year's as the date. Now I owe the guy $100."
Erin chuckled. "What date did you pick?"
"Our wedding so I was off by six months. Everyone else picked something in between. I just knew you were going to be hard-headed about it and resist. I thought I had it."
"Sorry I couldn't win the bet for you. Did all the cousins participate?"
"Most. Lucky Seamus gets to pick up a couple of grand off of us."
"Well, we're so glad we could provide amusement for you," Erin stated with a shake of her head and a smile.
"Oh, please. It was so obvious to everyone. No one actually thought it wouldn't happen," Margaret chimed in. "It was just a matter of when."
"Exactly. Now do me a favor and let me know when the two of you are going to get engaged, so I can win my money back," Jared said.
Both women flushed a little at the comment. "We're just taking things slowly right now. We're not rushing into anything."
Margaret scoffed at the notion. "Honey, place your bet now. These two will be engaged by our wedding and married within 12 to 18 months. Mark my words."
"No pressure or anything," Erin mumbled, glancing at Emily. The blonde seemed unphased by the conversation.
For the rest of the time Jared and Margaret were there, the conversation stayed away from Emily and Erin. When they finally went home, Emily took Erin's hand and looked at her. "Don't worry about what Margaret said. I'm not."
"I love her, but sometimes she can stick it to you."
"I kind of like that about her."
"Most of the time I do, too, except when she's talking about me."
"Just put it out of your head. She means well, but by no means are we on a schedule. I just want you to be comfortable. It's important for both of us to know that we want the same things, but the timing will work itself out when it's meant to be."
"But she didn't say anything that I hadn't considered," Erin admitted after a moment. "This time I do hope that's where it ends up."
Emily gave a pretty smile in response. "I've thought about it, too. You aren't alone in feeling that way, but there are obstacles to overcome, and we really should see if we will be as compatible as we think we will. Thinking it and knowing it are two different things."
Erin nodded. Leaning down to kiss Emily, she said, "I'm so glad we can talk about this stuff. For the longest time I wasn't able to talk about my feelings."
"I know. I'm so happy that you're trying for me."
"Well, now that they're gone, we have the rest of the afternoon and evening. What do you feel like doing?"
"Can we go horseback riding, or is it too cold?"
"You think that's a good idea now, but trust me, it's too cold. We can go see the horses, though," she compromised.
"All right. Let's go."
The rest of the day passed with them just enjoying their time together. They didn't talk about their relationship at all, just allowed each other to be themselves. Dinner was a low-key affair, and the evening much of the same. However, that night as they went upstairs for bed, Erin stopped the blonde from retiring into her room. "Now that Blaine's gone, do you think we could both sleep in my room?" she asked. "I just don't want the night to end right now."
Emily smiled. That was an unexpected offer, but she was more than willing to accept it. "I think that would be nice. I don't really want to sleep alone. Let me just get ready for bed, and then I'll be there."
"Okay." Erin went to her room to prepare for bed. She decided on a pair of conservative pajamas as to not give off the wrong impression before going into her bathroom. She was ready a few minutes later. Upon returning to her room, she found Emily already in the bed waiting on her. Going to her side, the brunette slid in and extinguished the lights. Both women made themselves comfortable curled up into each other. Neither said anything other than the usual night time exchange as they just lay in the dark.
This is a dream. I can't believe I'm here after all this time. I never thought it would happen, but here you are holding me like I had always dreamed you would, and it's better than anything I have ever imagined. I know I could do this forever. I do hope that is where this goes, Erin. I know we could be happy together. I suppose it's only a matter of time.