When Kim called Robin at work early the next morning, the export expert was upset. Not only did Kim have to suddenly fly back to Greece for her aunt's funeral, the young woman never did explain what happened during her discussion with Sandro the night before. Robin desperately wanted to find out but when Kim returned to the pub not fifteen minutes later, she said she wasn't feeling well and stated she wanted to go home. Robin insisted on taking her home after she dropped off Sarah.
Robin started to write several quotations for tool orders but her mind was definitely not on the task at hand. She nearly jumped when her cell phone rang. Recognizing the caller, Robin answered. "Hallo."
"Hey, Robin, can you talk?" Sarah knew approximately when Robin took her mid-morning breakfast break.
"Yeah… hold on a sec." Robin entered the last few digits in her computer and hit the save button. Getting up from her desk, Robin said to Sarah. "Walk with me."
With her socked feet propped up on her desk near her computer, the redhead said. "Sure."
Robin talked to her as she walked through the lobby and out the front door. "Kim called this morning. When she got home last night, she found out that one of her aunts died. She's probably already on a plane to Greece by now."
"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that." Sarah paused briefly before continuing. "Well? Did she say anything to you last night after you dropped me off?"
"Nope. She wasn't feeling well… and she's been kinda tired this last week." Frustrated, Robin wished she hadn't stopped smoking several years ago. I could sure use one now. It was her only vice and one she took up after the death of her parents. "And it's no wonder she's tired… taking care of me all week." Robin felt a little guilty about that since she knew very well she was capable of taking care of herself and had done just that for the last six years. But truth be known, Robin secretly relished the attention the younger woman gave her even though it was a bit hard for her to accept.
"When's she getting back?"
"Saturday sometime she said." Robin ran her hand through her short hair. "She's been under a lot of stress and now with her aunt dying… I promised her I'd take her to the castle this Sunday. Hopefully, it will help her relax."
"I see." The way Sarah said it somehow seemed to have a hidden meaning behind her words.
"What do you mean by that?"
"Nothing." Sarah denied any double meaning. "Listen, I've got some more research to get done today on the internet. This is the time of year when it gets busy." The redhead worked part time searching the internet for several professors at the nearby university. Sarah's multi-lingual language skills came in handy for this particular task.
"Talk to you later then." With that, Robin punched the 'end' button on her tiny cute cell phone. Tapping the phone against her leg, she pondered how she was going to keep from worrying herself to death until Kim returned and they could talk. "I'll just keep myself busy. It's always worked in the past."
The next few days went painstakingly slow for Robin. She wished Kim would have called and several times started to call her young friend but didn't want to intrude.
The plane ride with her parents to Greece was hurried, as was the rest of the afternoon on Thursday. When her cousin Yasmin arrived later that evening, Kim was relieved. "I'm so glad you came."
Yasmin looked around the room filled with numerous members of the Patakas family. It was actually their great-aunt Sigrid that had died and neither Kim nor Yasmin had spent much time with her since they now lived in Germany. "Yeah, well, Martin had business out of town so I thought… what the hell."
"Yassi? Are you okay?" Concerned green eyes studied her cousin closely.
Glad to be in a secluded corner away from the rest of the family, Yasmin confessed. "No." Then broke down crying. "I know he's cheating on me."
Kim wrapped her taller cousin in her arms. "Oh, Yassi. I'm so sorry."
It was then a couple of distant relatives walked up, patting Yasmin on the back. "There…there dear. She lived a long life. These things happen."
That last statement sent a shudder through the curly haired woman. Kim politely nodded to her relatives then whispered to Yasmin. "Come on, let's go outside for a bit." Leading her cousin through the back door, Kim waved to her father to let him know where she would be.
With the funeral and gathering of family and friends all the next day, it took a toll on the young auburn haired woman. And having to console Yasmin drained Kim to the edge of exhaustion. A very worried mother noticed her daughter's pale complexion and sent Kostas to intervene while she collected her daughter. Elena led Kim to an empty bedroom and promptly sat her on the bed. "Honey, you don't look so good. How are you?" Elena ran a soothing hand through her daughter's shoulder length hair.
"I'm fine…. really. Just tired." Kim leaned against her mother when Elena wrapped an arm around the younger woman.
"You don't sound fine." Elena knew her daughter was under a lot of stress from worrying about Amanda's health to her recent break-up with Sandro then with her aunt dying. And now with Yasmin attaching herself to Kim like a leech, Elena astutely recognized her daughter was near the breaking point. "I want you to get to bed early tonight. You father changed our flight back home…."
Jacking her head up, Kim asked. "What? But I have to be back tomorrow."
"Kim. You told me Amanda knows you won't be back to work until Monday…. "
"But I'm supposed to meet Robin Sunday." There was a distinct frantic note in her voice.
That brought a surprised look from Elena. "Then don't worry. He changed it to late Saturday afternoon instead of in the morning. You can sleep in and besides your father needs to meet with his brother and he won't be in until late tonight." Yasmin's parents were vacationing in the United States and unable to make it back in time for the funeral. However, when Kostas found out his brother would be arriving later that evening, he changed his family's flight plans in order for them to go over a few family matters that were best settled while they were in Greece.
"I guess it is a good idea to go to bed. I don't know what's wrong with me lately." Kim began to get undressed while her mother walked into the adjoining bathroom.
"I do." Elena gathered a few of her daughter's nightclothes together. "With everything you have on your mind… Amanda….Sandro…" The older woman studied her daughter for a brief moment from the doorway of the bathroom. "And with Yassi pouring out her heart about Martin. That man was no good from the start."
"Mom!" Kim whined, not wanting to hear what she would have readily agreed with.
"Now the funeral and everything else. It's no wonder." It was quite obvious to Elena that her daughter was full-grown but as she gazed at Kim all she saw was her little girl. "Here you go."
Taking her nightclothes, Kim slipped into them. "Thank you. And really mom… I'm just tired. It has nothing to do with Amanda … and surely not Yasmin. I'm used to that. And as far as Sandro is concerned… actually… I'm more relieved than anything."
Stepping back into the bathroom, a distracted Elena began to straighten a few items on the counter. "Well, if it's not that then there's only one other thing I can think of…. maybe you're pregnant." She said offhandedly. Stunned by the realization of her own words, Elena slowly turned around to stare directly at her daughter. "You're not…. are you?"
"No!" Kim adamantly protested then turned briskly around. Though it's not out of the realm of possibilities. Mentally she calculated back to her last period and deduced that she was late. But I've always had irregular cycles. With everything going on in her life, Kim simply didn't think about when she was supposed to start again. Mumbling to herself, she said. "And we used protection."
Elena walked up behind her daughter, placing both her hands on her Kim's shoulders. "Honey, maybe when we get back you should see a doctor."
Kim sighed heavily and not wanting to address the potential issue, she simply agreed. "I will."
The smile on Robin's face couldn't be denied as she walked around her car and opened the passenger's door. She helped Kim out before grabbing her hand. "Come on." Robin tugged at the young woman's hand.
They walked in silence across the castle grounds under the sun shining sky. It was shortly after noon when Robin picked Kim up at her home. Even though Sunday morning was Robin's day to sleep in late, she was up early packing a lunch and counting the minutes until she was to meet Kim.
For her part, Kim was eager to spend the day with Robin and relished the thought of just soaking in the sun and relaxing. There were too many loose ends running around in her mind and she desperately needed a reprieve, a safe haven away from her troubles. So it was natural that Kim sought out the protective umbrella of Robin's company.
As they crossed the last few yards to the stone bench that stood as it did many years, Robin gave a small tug on Kim's hand, guiding her to the bench. "Sit."
The younger woman did as she was requested, relaxing under the peaceful shade of the nearby huge beech tree.
Soaking in the breathtaking view, Robin remained standing. "This is one of my favorite places."
"I can see why." They were not far away from a small brook and she could hear the running water.
Turning to look at the younger woman, Robin took a few steps then sat down next to Kim. "It is beautiful." Her eyes never left Kim. "But it's much more than that to me."
When Robin turned her head, Kim studied the older woman's profile. Strong, proud and…. very secluded in her thoughts. Kim decided to be the crowbar that would unleash the strangle hold Robin held on her deepest feelings. Remembering that Robin had told Kim that she visited this place often, the shorter woman asked. "What is it about this place that calls to you?"
Brown eyes turned to gaze on Kim for a long moment before Robin looked away. "This is where my parents met." She recalled the loving stories her mother and father told of their initial meeting. "Well, actually, it's about a half mile from here." Pointing in the direction of the road, Robin continued. "Up that way. You knew my dad worked here."
"Mmmmm…." The young girl recalled some of her visits to the castle when she was a lot younger. "He ran the place."
Laughing, Robin agreed. "Yeah.. and there was a time I thought it belonged to us. I remember coming up here everyday… at least in the summer. Dad had full run of the place and so did I."
Placing her hand on Robin's shoulder. "Do you remember that time those boys tried to scare us?" Robin nodded. "You came out of nowhere and chased them away. I thought you were larger than life."
Robin laughed again. "I guess I was big for my age."
"That's not what I meant." She lightly slapped Robin across the arm. "I was little for my age."
"You mean short…." Robin decided to tease her friend even more. "Still are."
"Hey! Enough of that." Kim stood up and walked over to the tree, leaning against it, she sighed. "I pretended that you were my…. our knight in shining armor that day."
"Hardly." Robin slipped her leg over the bench to straddle it. "I came to work that day with dad and from one of the castle windows I happen to see you and Yasmin… and who else was with you that day?"
"Her best friend, Anita. Until Yassi went off to the foreign language school."
"Oh, yeah." Robin took a quick detour down memory lane. The reason she was sent to foreign language school was because her grades weren't that good in high school and the fact that Robin had a natural aptitude for language. She was taught both English and German from birth. However, only she knew the reason her grades sank quickly that last year was because Yasmin had left school to attend the foreign language school and Robin wanted to be close to her. "I just came down to say 'hi' when I noticed those guys giving you a hard time."
"You know, I always wished that….." Kim stopped suddenly.
"What?" Robin stood and walked closer.
"Oh, nothing." Wanting to change the subject, Kim said. "So your parents met here. I thought your mom was in the Air Force. What was she doing here?" The United States Air Base was quite a ways from the castle.
"Mom had a few days off and had heard about the castle. She was driving up the main road to the castle when she came upon an accident. The place I pointed out earlier." Kim nodded. "Some guy ran my dad off the road and my mom stopped to help."
"I bet being a doctor came in handy. Was he hurt badly?"
"No… mostly scratches but they spent the weekend together." There was utter joy on Robin's face at that memory of her parent's stories. "He showed her the castle and all of Hechingen." Robin sucked in a deep breath. "This is the exact spot he proposed to her."
Kim was well aware of Robin's fascination with the Hohenzollern castle and now she knew one of the reasons why. "That's a lovely story."
Robin shrugged, reaching for Kim's hand, the taller woman said. "Let's walk."
As they strolled across the castle grounds over the small hills and valleys, Robin debated upon bringing up the subject of Sandro while Kim wanted to ignore that issue altogether. For the next half hour or so, they talked about Aunt Sigrid's funeral and Robin briefly recounted her last couple of days. But in the end, Robin was compelled to ask. "I was wondering…. did your talk with Sandro go okay last Wednesday? I know you didn't want to talk about it then and maybe you don't now and that's okay. I was just wondering…"
Squeezing her friend's hand, Kim smiled. "It's okay. It's not my favorite subject but…. he did most of the talking. He tried to explain why he flirts and that it doesn't really mean anything."
"And you believed him?" The way Kim's cavalier attitude appeared caused Robin concern.
"Yes… sorta. It doesn't really matter though."
"What do you mean… sorta?"
"Robin, it's like this…. Sandro was always so charming and he even charmed me there..." Pausing briefly before adding. "… for a while. He's a young man who wants to sow his wild oats, so to speak, before he settles down. Don't get me wrong… I don't agree or quite understand it. I think when you find that… someone, why would you ever want anyone else?"
Quietly, Robin said. "I know."
In her own thoughts, Kim barely registered what Robin said before she continued her train of thought. "Unless, of course, you thought there was no hope for being with who you…" Yasmin. She's thinking of my cousin.
"What's the point in that though?" Robin slowed her walk. "There can only be one." Robin's concept of soulmates didn't allow for any flexibility.
Coming to a complete halt, Kim wondered whether she would ever have a chance at being with the love of her life. "Sometimes I wonder if we really know or would recognize that … one… who is meant for us."
For some reason, the reoccurring dream Robin had popped into her mind. The face of the beautiful woman in her vision was always blurred but she knew it was her soulmate. And Robin had reason to believe that Yasmin was the one. When Robin came back fully to the present, she saw Kim staring at her. "Did you think Sandro was the one?"
A direct question deserved a direct answer. "No."
"Then why did I go out with him and end up practically engaged if you heard my mom and Sandro's mom talk?" Kim started to walk down the path. "Did I tell you about when I first met him?"
"You were swimming." Robin jumped into action, quickly catching up with Kim.
"I had just graduated from high school and going to head off to the university that fall. It was a hot summer day.. perfect for a day at the pool. Anyway, he stopped a bunch of bullies from harassing me."
"And you fell in love at first sight?" Robin spat sarcastically.
"No, silly. But I was enamored by him." Kim bumped up against Robin. Even though that first meeting between her and Sandro sparked a romantic interest, they didn't get together until nearly a year ago. "And it's all your fault."
"What? I wasn't even here then." For the life of Robin, she knew she would never have set Kim up with the egotistical Sandro.
"He reminded me of you." The shocked look on Robin's face caused Kim to explain further. "You spoiled me, Robin… when I was little." And when I got a little older, too. Old enough to know it wasn't what everyone else would describe as puppy love… it was the real thing. "Always coming to our rescue. Of course, I only received the residual benefits of your actions."
"Yassi… Yasmin." Kim had opened the unpopular can of worms and decided to go fishing so to speak. "I know you always liked her. It was her you were showing off for when you speeded past us on your bike… acting like you were all that. It was her that you came to our rescue time after time again… watching over us… her." But I was the one that noticed while Yassi was totally oblivious to what was going on around her… too much centered on her own self.
Not being able to deny what Kim was saying, Robin remained quiet.
Noticing her silent friend's uneasiness, Kim returned to the course of their conversation's subject. "Sandro rescued me that day. He offered the same kind of protectiveness you did. We didn't go out then or anything. That wasn't until much later. Our parents became good friends and over the course of the next few years, we got to know each other better and…." I didn't think I'd ever have a real chance with you. "Last year we started dating. It was okay and we had a lot of fun."
"We want different things…." Kim sighed. "… and I'm not willing to settle."
Relieved, Robin wrapped an arm around Kim. "Good for you. You deserve the very best."
The next fifteen minutes were met with silence and when they found their way back to Robin's car, she grabbed the packed lunch basket. "Ready to eat?"
"Like about an hour ago." Kim was hungry all the time lately.
"Why didn't you tell me?" But even before Kim could answer, Robin said. "Come on. I know the perfect place."
Down by the babbling brook, Robin flipped the light cover over the ground. Kneeling down, she straightened out the cover. Reaching up, Robin took Kim's hand. "Here. Come sit with me."
The younger woman quickly unpacked the food supplies and her green eyes grew wider with each item removed. "All this looks good."
Grabbing a nice red juicy apple, Robin bit into it. "Mmmmm… here." She offered it to Kim.
Kim took a big bite out of it herself. Crunching on the apple, she spied a bit of apple juice escape Robin's mouth since the older woman was struggling with chewing her apple. Kim wiped the drop away with her hand.
"Thanks…. it's still kinda hard to chew with my stitches."
"Next time, don't take such a big bite." Kim crinkled her nose. "More for me."
Robin offered a small crooked smile because a wider one would have pulled too much on her stitches. "Do you want something to drink? We have several kinds of juice." Robin searched deeper in the basket and retrieved the long thin item. "And straws."
Nodding her head, Kim laughed. "When do you get those out?"
Robin carefully bit off a piece of roll. "Tuesday…. I hope."
That reminded Kim of the doctor's appointment she promised her mother she would get. Not wanting to be distracted due to the wonderful day she was having, Kim tucked that unpleasant thought aside. "Well, I'm famished…. so I'd advise you to stay out of my way."
"Go ahead." As Robin carefully scouted out the food she could eat, she watched Kim tear into what the younger woman described as the mother load. In the blink of an eye, Kim had selected two kinds of meat, three different rolls and claimed several pieces of fruit. It pleased Robin to see her friend so happy and relaxed.
After their stomachs were full, Robin cleared the area and lay down on her back. She studied the clouds in the sky, easily falling into a drowsy sleep.
Kim finished the last of her juice before sitting the empty bottle aside. She turned back to see the sleepy Robin turn toward her on her side. As Robin turned, she gathered up a small pillow, resting her head on it. Kim noticed a tattoo on Robin's left upper arm, which was slightly covered by her sleeve. The younger woman carefully lifted the sleeve to completely reveal the tattoo. Scooting closer, Kim traced over the tattoo with her finger. On Robin's arm was the head of a hawk framed inside the circular eternity sign symbolized by a snake. Her finger felt a raised area on Robin's arm at the base of the hawk's chest. Kim leaned down to take a closer inspection of the tattoo. Something's not right. Not quite able to put her finger on it, Kim noticed a small shaded area in the feathers of the hawk. "I wonder what that's all about."
Robin let out a satisfied moan in her sleep.
Gazing lovingly at her friend, Kim's finger trailed up along Robin's arm and over her shoulder when she saw the small looped earring dangling from the sleeping woman's ear. Kim couldn't stop herself from playing with it. Smiling, Kim then traced the edge of Robin's ear and then slid her finger along the neckline. Kim was content in that moment, a moment she wished would last a lifetime.
Still asleep, the only thing Robin felt was this overwhelming sensation of being completely loved.
When Robin finally awoke, she noticed curious green eyes staring at her. "Oh, sorry." Robin lifted herself up. "Guess I fell asleep. I don't usually do that unless I'm comfortable around…"
"It's okay." Kim bumped Robin against her shoulder. "I enjoyed it… watching you sleep. Oh, and I saw your tattoo."
Instinctively, she rubbed her upper arm. "Do you like it?" Not quite sure what Kim would think.
"On you? It fits… somehow." While Robin slept, Kim had plenty of time to think and she figured there was no time like the present. "What was it about Yassi that you liked so much?"
Shifting uneasily upon hearing that question, Robin shrugged.
"Okay. How do you know you like someone… that way?"
For Robin, it was easy. She had only liked one person that way and her stomach told the whole story. "Butterflies."
"Where?" Kim searched the immediate area.
Pointing her belly, Robin said. "Here. I get butterflies when they're around."
"Butterflies, huh? Yeah, I guess that's one way to know."
Kim didn't seem convinced to Robin so she elected to expand on a subject she had never really broached with anyone else. "It's a feeling in the pit of your stomach when that special person is around. You just… I don't know. I just feel it." Finding it difficult to explain, Robin asked her friend. "What about you? What do you feel?"
"Hmmm…….. the smile on my face." Kim beamed at Robin. "When they're around. All of a sudden I realize I've got this huge silly grin and…. everything falls into place. I feel safe and sorta like invincible." Kim gave that last thought some serious attention. "Yeah, invincible… because that person is there protecting me."
Leaning over to bump up against the smaller woman, Robin noted. "Kinda the same thing."
"That warm tingling feeling inside when you touch…" Kim returned the bump. "…. when you accidentally brush up against each other." The memory of Kim dancing with her arms around Robin's neck suddenly popped up in the younger woman's mind.
Dazing off to nowhere in particular, Robin let out a breath. "You just want to wrap them in your arms and never let go."
Turning to look at her friend's profile, Kim would swear she felt Robin's arm encircle her waist just as they did at the dance last Wednesday night. "Robin?"
The older woman turned and her fluid brown eyes locked onto green. "Mmmmm….."
The moment of truth jumped into focus and Kim seized it. Leaning over, Kim's trembling lips brushed against Robin's mouth. Her lips lazed there briefly, lounging in the sweet nectar of a forbidden love until suddenly it was gone.
Startled by the innocent kiss, Robin jerked back. What just happened? Did I just kiss my friend?
Dragging her eyelids open, Kim prepared for the worse but prayed for a miracle. "Robin?" Seeing the stunned look in Robin's eyes, Kim's heart sank. "I… I'm…." Words failing her, Kim buried her face in her hands. Oh, my God, what have I done? She's going to hate me now.
Confused and upset that Kim was nearly on the verge of tears, Robin wrapped her arms around her friend. "Hey… it's okay. Kim? It's okay."
Shaking, Kim refused to look at Robin. I saw it in her eyes… she's disgusted.
"Kim?" Trying to get her friend to look at her, Robin was having no luck. "Come on now. It's okay. You've had a rough couple of weeks and….. hey, I understand. You just need some comforting. That's all." The older woman continued to hug Kim. "We're friends, right? What are friends for?" Robin knew she was rambling and finally lamented. "We're practically like family… you and me."
Tearing eyes jolted wide open as Kim sniffed. "Like a little sister?"
Thinking she was making progress, Robin was quick to confirm that question. "Yes… exactly." Robin brushed her lips against the auburn haired woman's head. "Just like my little sister." The comforting words Robin offered to her friend did anything but comfort the younger woman. As a matter of fact, this was the day Kim would always remember as the day her heart broke completely in two.
After calling the bookstore and finding out that Kim wasn't there, Robin dialed her friend's home number. When Elena answered, Robin asked to talk with Kim.
"She's already left for work, Robin." Elena said as she picked up a few items off the floor and shoved them in the wash basket.
Frustrated, Robin closed her eyes. "I already called there. She wasn't in yet."
"Mmmmm…." Elena sat down on the edge of her bed. "Kim's has a lot on her mind….."
"I know." Robin quickly ran over an array of issues her friend was facing to include the 'kissing incident' from yesterday.
"Did you try her cell phone?" Elena suggested and if Robin wasn't going to, she would. Elena was worried about her daughter. When her daughter arrived home late last night, she astutely recognized that something was wrong with Kim. "Robin, tell me…. I know Kim spent some time with you yesterday. Did she talk to you about anything?"
Trying to decipher exactly to what Mrs. Patakas was referring to, Robin gave a general answer to the question. "We talked about lots of things."
"Yes, that… and her stories. Her aunt dying and Amanda." Robin wasn't going to mention the kiss if Kim's mother didn't. "Things like that. I know she's been under a lot of stress."
Not wanting to delve into the touchy subject on Elena's mind, she said. "I'm glad you've been there for her, Robin. She needs a good friend to listen to her. In the past, she's talked with Yassi about things but since she's….. hey, maybe Kim stopped by to see Yassi on her way to work."
Since the tourist office Yasmin worked in was cattycorner from the bookstore, Robin figured Mrs. Patakas' assessment was logical. "Okay, thanks then."
"Robin? Thanks for being Kim's friend." Then Mrs. Patakas said goodbye.
"Bye." I'm not sure how much of a friend I've been to your daughter though. Robin resisted the idea to call Kim on her cell phone since she didn't want to disturb the young woman. "Maybe I'll try the bookstore later."
Robin practically jumped out her skin when Daniel tapped her on the shoulder. "Robin." He sat on the edge of her desk. "You okay?" Nodding, the sales manager continued. "I might have to go to Paris later this week and as you know we have that exhibition. So, I'll need you on stand by to take my place at the exhibition. Okay?"
Nodding reluctantly at the unwelcome idea. "Sure." Her tool company had about four to five exhibitions every year and Robin hated them so she always volunteered to stay at the company and hold the fort down.
"Great. I should know one way or the other by Wednesday." Daniel patted her on the shoulder as he left.
Grabbing her headset again, Robin returned to her quotations.
Yasmin Dietrich hung up the telephone then returned her attention to her younger cousin. "Do you want my advice?" Kim nodded. "Go back to Sandro."
Green eyes widened in surprise.
"Why are you so shocked I would suggest that?" Yasmin walked around the counter. "You want something to drink?" Declining the offer, Kim sat in the chair next to Yasmin's desk and watched her cousin fill her cup with coffee.
"You know I don't love him." Kim finally admitted.
Yasmin stared at her a moment before sitting down behind her desk. It was a slow morning and there was no one else in the office. "Kim. The way I see it… one, you and Sandro make a cute couple." The frown on Kim's face caused Yasmin to expand on that statement. "I'm not saying it's a basis for a good marriage… doesn't hurt though. Two, he's rich and both of your parents get along well. Having in-laws that like you can't be discounted."
Watching Yasmin sip her coffee, Kim slumped down in her seat. "No.. and I like them a lot, too. But I'm not marrying my in-laws. And why are you so hot on marriage anyway?"
Thinking about her cheating husband, Yasmin admitted. "I'm not… not really. Kim…. Sandro's not like my husband. Heaven knows I would never have married Martin had I not been pregnant. He cheated on me even then."
"It's not your fault. I knew what I was getting into…. but I thought with the baby and all, he would change… settle down." However, Yasmin lost their baby and Martin never did stop his cheating ways. He did like the aspect of marriage as it kept a few of his female wolves at bay. "I've tried to make the best of my marriage and I came to love him….. and that's the problem now."
"He doesn't deserve you."
"You're right." Yasmin leaned back in her chair and found herself saying something she realized during the last few years. "But then again, I guess I'm not such a prize either."
That shocked the younger woman. "That's not true."
Scooting up, the curly haired woman shook her head. "Kim… ever since you were just that high….." Yasmin held up her hand. "You've had this idealistic picture of me as some kind of role model."
"You were very popular in school and no one was prettier. Everybody loved you."
"I don't deny that." Yasmin let out a wicked laugh. "I was always pretty cocky about it." She rubbed her temple. "But that was such a long time ago. Things change. We get older and we realize we weren't all that."
"Yassi….. I know that sometimes you're still…." Kim struggled to find the best word to use in describing her cousin.
"Not exactly the word I was looking for…"
"You were… very sure of yourself. I liked that about you. I looked up to you because you seemed so confident."
"So that's why you always hung around me. Wanting to be like me?" Yasmin offered a brief smile before it turned to a frown. "Now look where I am. Wanting someone to validate that I still have what it takes to turn a head or two and make me feel desired."
"You shouldn't let Martin's stupidity make you think less of yourself." Kim sat up. "I wanted to be just like you. I even pretended you were my sister."
Yasmin laughed then reached over to caress Kim's arm. "Well, I always wanted a little sister."
And that was the crux of Kim's problem. "You're not the only one."
"Hey, now. What's with the frown?" Yasmin cupped her mug in her hand. "You're bright… and very pretty. College educated girl… who wouldn't want you? Sandro still does from what you tell me."
Pursing her lips together, Kim sulked even more. "If only he was the one I wanted."
Studying her young cousin, Yasmin asked. "You sure you don't want something to drink?" When Kim declined the offer again with a short nod, Yasmin continued. "You gonna tell me exactly who has you all upset?"
Not sure that she wanted to reveal her heart's desire, Kim hesitated.
"Come on…. you can confide in me. Just think of me as your big sister." Yasmin winked at the obviously upset younger woman.
With a deep breath, Kim said. "Robin."
"Oh…… I see." Remembering how a much younger Kim went on and on about Robin this, Robin that, Yasmin asked. "And she doesn't feel the same I take it?"
"No." Kim crossed her arms. "Seems she's obsessed with someone else."
When Kim refused to look up, Yasmin pressed on. "You know who it is?"
"Uh… huh." Her greens eyes carefully avoided her cousin.
Yasmin scooted all the way up in her chair and nudged Kim's arm. "Look at me." When Kim did, Yasmin asked. "Who is it?"
Completely surprised, the curly haired woman asked in wonder. "Me?" Yasmin knew Robin hung around her a lot during grade school and then again at the foreign language school but she was clueless about the taller woman ever liking her that way. And in some way, Yasmin was elated by the news.
"She never did get over you… never."
"Wow." Yasmin sat back in her chair. "I never realized. I knew you had a hero worship kinda crush on her."
"It was much more than that."
Eyeing her cousin, Yasmin said. "Have you told her?"
Kim shrugged. "Sorta… not really directly."
"Maybe you should." Yasmin suggested.
"I don't want to lose her friendship." Kim wondered if she already had after the unfortunate kissing incident the day before.
Wishing she had the gall to confront her own husband about his affairs, Yasmin said. "You'll never know until you ask." Of course, Yasmin was too cowardly to directly ask her husband the question that was ever present on her mind for if she did and learned the truth that would be something she would then have to face. It was much easy to suspect than know for sure.
"Then there's one other little thing." Kim confessed.
"Hmmmm…" Yasmin leaned her head forward, anxious for Kim to continue.
"I might be pregnant."
This stunning revelation changed the whole complexity of the matter. When Yasmin found out she was pregnant every learned social behavior prompted her to marry the father of her baby and she still felt this was the way it was supposed to be even as it did not turn out exactly as she had hoped. "You need to go back to Sandro."
"Why?" Kim jumped up out of her seat. "And have a miserable life just because I'm pregnant… our unhappiness would affect our child."
"It's the right thing to do, Kim."
Turning around, Kim pinned her with glaring green eyes. "Do you think it was the right thing for you to do… now?"
Yasmin stood up and sat on the edge of her desk. "If the baby would have….." The older woman didn't want to think of her miscarriage. "I think… no, I'm sure things would have been better between Martin and me."
Rubbing her temple, Kim refused to accept her cousin's logic. "No. Baby or not, I wouldn't be happy with Sandro not when I feel so strongly about Robin. I wish she could….." On a precariously emotional edge, Kim sighed heavily. "There's just more to me than she can see."
The rest of the day Robin and Kim attempted to contact each other but fate was against them. When Kim called Robin, she was out of the office or busy in the warehouse and when the export expert tried to return Kim's calls, the younger woman was not available.
Early the next morning, Kim rushed out of the house in order to get to her doctor's appointment. To her surprise, she ran into Amanda at the medical complex. "Amanda… hi."
The older woman eagerly accepted Kim's hug. "Why you're up and out early? What brings you here?"
"A doctor's appointment."
Knowing that her employee hadn't been feeling well, Amanda suggested. "Then why don't you take the rest of the day off… but first you let me know how you're doing."
"Oh, no. It's nothing like that." Kim felt she could share her concern with Amanda but wanted to be sure about the results of her test before she did. "How are you doing?"
Sighing, Amanda shrugged. "The doctor says I'm fine. He thinks I'm letting running the store and the pressures get to me."
"How can I help?"
Amanda lovingly stroked the younger woman's face. "You do more than your share at the store already. He thinks I should maybe sell the store."
"Do you have a minute?" Kim nodded before Amanda looked for a couple of chairs. "Here… over there." When they were seated, the bookstore owner continued. "I've been thinking about it myself. The everyday working part isn't bad… I actually enjoy it. It's the business end of it that's getting to me. My partner used to do all of that."
"I see." Kim held Amanda's hand.
"Problem is… I don't want to move from my upstairs apartment and if I sell the place the new owner might not let me stay."
Adjusting herself in her chair, Kim sought a solution for her friend's problem. "I love that store and…
"Sweetie, don't you fret about it. If I do sell, I'll make sure you get my highest recommendation."
"That's not it, Amanda." Kim quickly ran through a couple of financial scenarios that would help her secure her dream. "Maybe I can buy it. Then you could live in your place as along as you want… and even work there, too. If you wanted… that is."
Amanda had to admit it was an excellent idea. "There's no one I'd rather have own the store. But are you sure?"
"I need to think about it." Kim brushed back a few bangs from her forehead before she said out loud. "I'd rather not ask but I know my dad would loan me the money."
"Kim, if you're serious, I'm sure I could work out some kind of deal that would be good for both of us." Amanda was taking to the idea more and more.
"I'd still need some upfront money." Kim smiled. "I have some ideas for the store already."
"Hmmmm…. put a new facelift on the old place, huh?"
"Not much… just a few things." Kim admitted. The old world charm of the bookstore appealed to her and she didn't want to change that part but she had always dreamed of carving out a place in the store where she could tell stories to kids. And now that I may be having one of my own. But the young woman refused to entertain that thought for the moment. "Guess I better get to my appointment."
Amanda kissed Kim on the cheek. "Let me know how it turns out."
"Oh, I will… and I'll be into work later."
Amanda watched Kim dash off to catch an elevator when she noticed Robin Hart enter the building. "Robin? Is that you?"
"Hello Amanda." The tall woman walked over to where the bookstore owner was sitting. "How are you today?"
"Maybe I should ask you that?"
"Ahh… these stitches get to come out today."
"Kim told me about that." Amanda stood. "And how you were a hard customer when it came to being a patient."
That made Robin smile. "Well, I have to admit I'm not very good at it. But Kim was great."
"Yes, she is." The older woman studied Robin for a long moment. "And she's lucky to have you as a friend."
Shyly, Robin shrugged when she looked away.
Patting Robin on the arm, Amanda advised the younger woman. "You take good care of her."
Jerking her head around to look at Amanda curiously. "I will."
Robin was in a dark mood come play night on Wednesday and Sarah was quick to notice. "You're mind's not in the game."
Frustrated, Robin banged the machine when the time ran out. "Not my night, I guess."
"Want to talk about it?" Sarah gathered her change and headed back to their usual booth.
Obediently, Robin followed. However, she wasn't really in the mood to talk either. "How are the kids?"
"Fine… and Michael's good, too." The redhead inserted before Robin decided to play twenty questions about Sarah's life instead of talking about herself. "I want to know what's on your mind."
"Listen, Robin. I know you're reluctant… a real mule sometimes about sharing what's going on in there." Sarah pointed at Robin's head. "But I am your friend.. and I want to help. Okay?"
"Yeah, sure." With Daniel out of the office at the exhibition, Robin's workload was busier than ever. Twice she started to call Kim earlier that day but then the company' telephone rang and distracted her. Then right before she left for the day, Daniel called to say he needed her at the exhibition for the next two days. "I got to go out of town till Friday."
"Yep." Robin was happy to be able to drink her Spezi out of a glass instead of the straw she had been using.
"That all I'm going to get out of you tonight?"
Robin offered her friend a weak smile. "If you don't mind, I think I want to go home."
"Okay…. but you remember… I'm here if you need me." Robin nodded. "I mean it, Robin. You've been a great friend to me and Michael and I want to be able to return the favor."
"Alright." As much as Robin wanted to share what she was feeling even she didn't know exactly what was going on. Analyzing what she felt was not one of Robin's fortes.
Shocked, Kim stared at Sandro's dad after he made a toast to the invited guests at his party. Even when Sandro grabbed her arm, hugging her, Kim was still reeling from the announcement.
Sandro ducked down and gave her a kiss on the cheek. "Are you happy?"
Kim didn't have time to answer the question or ask several of her own because a few people were congratulating her. I knew I should have begged my way out of coming here. I had plenty of excuses… headache, not feeling well…. stressed. I am that. And the one person she desperately wanted to talk with had to go out of town on business for two days.
When the young couple was left alone for a moment, Sandro asked. "Honey, can I get you something to drink? Champagne?"
"Yes…. something to drink… yes, I could use it right now." Then it hit her. I'm pregnant… I can't drink. She yanked Sandro back to her. "No!"
Sliding his hands on her hips, he cooed. "I know you don't want me to leave but I'll only be gone for a minute."
"I don't want anything to drink." Thinking quickly, Kim said. "You go ahead." She shoved him away from her quickly only to hear him give a small laugh. Just as Kim was set to search for her mother, there she stood next to her. "Thank God, you're here."
"I was inside when your dad came and told me about Johann's toast." Elena wrapped a supportive arm around her daughter. "Don't worry, honey. Your father and I will straighten this out."
All Kim wanted to do was go home and crawl up into a ball in her bed and sleep. Hoping that when she woke, all things would be righted in her world and this night would have never happened. But she nearly loss it when Sandro's mother approached the two.
"Kim, darling. Isn't this wonderful?" Silvia Fischer gave a conspiratory wink to Elena then said. "We are all so happy for the two of you."
Clearing her throat, Elena smiled. "Silvia…. Kim's not feeling well. Kostas and I are going to take her home."
Concern crossed Silvia's face as she asked sincerely. "Are you alright? Is there anything I can do?"
Nodding her head, Kim was unable to express her jumbled feelings.
Elena motioned for her husband then said to her good friend. "Silvia… it seems this announcement is a bit pre-mature."
"What?" The older woman was totally confused. "I know our young couple had a…. misunderstanding recently but….."
Handing off her daughter to Kostas, Elena pulled Silvia aside. "They haven't worked things out and to be quite frank with you….. I don't think they will."
"Elena, this is all…. even you told me Kim was wanting my son to ask her to marry him."
"Apparently, I was mistaken about..… we both were so much hoping they'd get together. It seemed quite natural."
Nodding, Silvia agreed wholeheartedly. "Absolutely…. they make such a lovely couple and my Johann and I love her like our daughter already."
Sighing, Elena decided to lay the cards out on the table since she had had a long talk with her daughter earlier that day. "It would have been great… perfect even since we all get a long so well. But it's not what Kim wants and I'm afraid Sandro kinda blindsided her tonight."
Silvia's gray eyes scanned the small group of guests before coming to rest on her laughing son as he joked with Sebastian and several other friends. "So that's why Sandro put together this little party."
"They've talked about it and Kim ended the relationship for good over a week ago. I'm afraid I kinda insisted Kim come tonight because I want us all to still be friends….and she cares a great deal about you and Johann."
Silvia's eyes never left her son. "I knew something was up….but I guess I didn't want to see it." She turned back to Elena and touched her friend's arm. "Take Kim home….hopefully she'll feel better. I think I need to talk with my son before this night is over." Silvia's kissed her friend on the cheek. "I'll call you tomorrow."
Kim sulked even more so the next day when several friends called and congratulated her on her engagement to Sandro. She wasn't up to explaining the truth so she said nothing. Finally, she refused to take any more calls and crawled back into bed. She would have spent the rest of the day there except that Amanda needed her at the bookstore. Finally, a couple of hours later as she was about to leave for work her only wish was that she would get through the day without anymore complications because tomorrow Robin would be back in town.
Since Robin didn't get home until very late Friday night, she called Kim's home the next morning. After finding out that Kim had a late night also and was still sleeping, Robin advised Kostas that she would call back later. She went about her usual Saturday morning routine going to the cemetery then to several stores before going home and checking her email.
When Kim learned Robin had called, she immediately called her friend's home number and it was busy so she called Robin's cell phone but there was no answer. Frustrated, Kim hung up the phone and told her father. "I'm going to the movie theater before I go to work. When mom gets back, will you tell her I'll be home late?"
"Okay, glikiamou, bye." Kostas kissed his daughter then returned to his newspaper.
"Damn!" After she got offline, Robin searched her room for the third time before she checked the bathroom and kitchen. She used her home phone to call her cell phone and not hearing any ringing in the house, Robin realized she must have lost the phone between the cemetery and the butcher shop. She rushed out the door to her car in order to try and find it since she had an early afternoon showing at the movie theater.
Robin raised the garage door, got in her car and backed out then she closed the garage door before getting back in her car. As she was about to put the car in gear, she heard a phone ringing. Robin practically tore the car apart only to find her phone under the passenger's seat. "Hallo?"
The twenty-five year old projectionist Mitch said. "Robin… I'll be back in town in about an hour so I'm going to work my regular shift tonight at the movie theater."
"Good…. I wasn't looking forward to working all afternoon and night."
"Well, now you don't have to and thanks for working this afternoon for me." Mitch smiled. "Talk to you later."
"Bye." Robin maneuvered her car down the road on the way to work but the only thing on her mind was Kim. As soon as I get to the movie started, I'll give her a call.
Robin was just about to relax after starting her afternoon movie when Yasmin approached the cashier's office. She heard Yasmin order two tickets for the evening show from Mrs. Franz.
The cashier accepted the money and gave the young woman the tickets. "There you go, honey."
"Danke." Seeing Robin standing in the background, Yasmin waved. "Hey…..did you hear the news?"
Robin motioned Yasmin inside. The curly haired woman stood in the cashier's office doorway. "It's about Kim."
Upon hearing that name, Mrs. Franz interrupted. "That reminds me. Kim stopped by just before you got here."
When the cashier didn't say anything else, Robin asked. "And?"
"She was looking for you."
"I thought Mitch was supposed to work today." Mrs. Franz shrugged.
Frustrated, Robin nodded. "I'll try and call her in a little bit." Returning her attention to Yasmin, Robin asked. "What about Kim?"
Suddenly, Yasmin recalled the conversation she had with her cousin earlier in the week but now it was too late to avoid the subject. Hesitantly, she said. "The word is that she and Sandro got engaged Thursday night."
Stunned, Robin was unable to move even when the candy girl, Nicole yelled for her to help out. Finally, she said. "That's crazy."
Nicole yelled again for Robin to assist her at the candy counter.
Completely ignoring the young woman, Robin glared at Yasmin. "Do you know where she is?"
"I don't know. Home or at the bookstore, I'd guess." Yasmin studied her old friend from school carefully as did the cashier.
When Nicole complained again about needing help, one of her customers decided to take matters into his own hands. He walked directly up to Robin and asked. "What do you have to do around here to get some service?"
That voice certainly got Robin's attention. Nodding at Nicole, the projectionist smirked. "Isn't the special service you're getting from her enough?"
"Oh, I'm getting all the special attention I want from a very special lady." Sandro crossed his arms. "Or maybe you haven't heard about my engagement yet." After being scolded by his mother regarding the mock engagement announcement, Sandro knew eventually the truth would come out but for now he was going to play it for all it was worth.
"Excuse me." Robin whipped past both Yasmin and Sandro in order to assist the many costumers standing in line. Her emotions raged from irritated, insulted and irate to an inferno brewing up inside. But Robin was the consummate professional as she assisted the customers diligently without giving away even a trace of the turmoil raging in her.
When she finally had a spare moment, Robin realized both Yasmin and Sandro had disappeared. She walked into the cashier's office and closed the door. Sliding on the stool, Robin gazed off into the distant as her mind wandered aimlessly.
"Robin?" The cashier tried to get the young woman's attention. "Robin!" Finally, she shook Robin and got the projectionist's full attention. "Hey, what are you going to do about it?"
"I'm going to call Kim."
Jerking her thumb over her shoulder, Mrs. Franz said. "She's not going to marry that jerk."
"Oh, and just how do you know?" Robin crossed her arms.
Shaking her head, Mrs. Franz sat back in her chair. "You young people… don't you ever talk to each other? She's not in love with him… she's in love with you?"
"That's not true… about her being in love with me. We're just friends." Robin was naïve about all the clues Kim had dropped regarding her feelings.
"You can't be that blind."
Feeling insulted, Robin protested as she adjusted her glasses. "What makes you think she's really in…. love… with me?"
"We talked.. that night." Mrs. Franz never heard Kim say those very words but it was obvious to the woman that had lived sixty-five years on this green Earth.
"She said that?"
The cashier pursed her lips. "Are you…. you can't be that naïve… that innocent not to see it. Especially with you feeling the same way."
That last comment hit Robin like a ten-pound hammer. "You've got it all wrong. Why she's …. she's like my …. sister."
"Uh huh….. then the next time someone tells you Kim's engaged maybe you ought to be looking in the mirror at your face." The cashier turned around and pressed a few buttons on the computer and mumbled. "You'd see the green eyed monster raise its ugly head."
"I am not jealous." Robin declared. But something was tearing at her insides. Something she had never felt before not even when her heart pined for Yasmin all those years.
A nervous Robin pulled up in front of the bookstore. She attempted to settle her upset stomach by pressing her hand on it. "Feels like a bunch of busy butterflies inside me." Instead of going inside the bookstore, Robin waited in the car. After Mrs. Franz refused to talk with her any more, Robin called Kim at the bookstore and asked to see her after she got off work. Kim agreed and Robin said she would pick her up.
When Kim opened the door to the bookstore, an anxious Robin jumped in her seat before she hurried out of her car in order to meet her friend. "Hi."
"Hi." Kim smiled.
Robin opened the passenger's door for Kim. "How are you? Good?"
Once settled into Robin's BMW, Kim said. "I'm fine…. sorta."
Hurrying back around to her side, Robin slid in her car. She started it up and then realized she didn't know where they were going. "Ah…. you hungry?" When Kim shook her head, Robin suggested. "Want to go for a ride or how about my house and if we get hungry later, I'll fix something."
That made Kim laugh. "Or order out…. since you can't cook."
"Hey… I can make sandwiches… with some help." Robin shyly looked at Kim. "Okay, we order out."
"Sounds good to me."
They drove to Robin's house in silence since neither woman knew where to start even though Kim had a lot on her mind and Robin had one burning question eating away at her insides.
Upon entering her home, Robin slipped off her shoes and Kim followed suit. Robin's one steadfast rule…. no wearing shoes in the house. But for Kim she would have made an exception. "Come on… why don't we sit on the couch?" The older woman grabbed Kim's hand and guided her to the living room.
Settling on the comfortable sofa, Kim relaxed a bit. She took a moment to really study the room and noticed a large glassed case that housed numerous limited edition dolls. On the sideboard that ran the length of the wall sat several commemorative plates decorated with fairy tale characters. Robin had a lot of family pictures spread throughout the room and one interesting black and white picture of a large hand holding a baby. "This is nice. I like the way it's decorated."
"My mom did it. It was one of the last room's she redecorated before…. I'm never going to change it." She added, matter of factly.
Kim sensed Robin's melancholy mood so she touched her friend's arm. "I wouldn't change a thing either." Then a thought slammed to the forefront of her mind. "Unless you had a bunch of kids running around…. they'd get into everything I'm afraid." There's no sense putting it off. "Robin… I'm pregnant."
Brown eyes opened wide as she stared at Kim. "So…. you're really going to do it?"
Now quite understanding what Robin meant but thinking she was referring to the baby, Kim assured her. "Yes, I'm going to have the baby."
"I mean…." Robin's mind was reeling. She couldn't believe she was going to ask the next question or that Kim would actually contemplate it. "Marry Sandro? You're going to marry him."
"No!" Kim searched her friend's eyes, trying to read them but she couldn't decipher what was on Robin's mind. "Is that what you think I should do?"
"No!" Robin yelled, nearly coming off the couch. "Sorry…. no. I know it may be hard to raise the baby alone but you're parents will help, I'm sure and….." Then it really hit Robin. She's pregnant. That's why….
Kim's green eyes welled with tears. The logical thing to do was marry the father of her baby at least according to society and her cousin. Kim was glad her parents confirmed to her that they would be by her side no matter what she decided. But then again, she needed to think about what would be best for the baby and finally confessed. "I don't know what to do."
Robin wrapped her arm around Kim, pulling her closer. She gently took hold of the younger woman's hand. "I'll always be there for you."
Kim's head dropped safely on Robin's strong wide shoulder. But will you be there like I want you to be?
"Mrs. Franz says that Kim is in love with me and that I'm…. in love with her." Robin's brown eyes refused to meet her friend.
Clearly confused, Robin's head popped up. "Not the cashier… Kim."
Shaking her head, Sarah stifled a laugh. "That's not what I meant." The redhead regrouped before continuing. "First off, let me say I'm honored that you're talking with me about this subject… let alone ever bring it up."
Feeling very uneasy, Robin shifted in her chair and again refused to meet her friend's caring eyes.
Reaching across the table, Sarah placed her hand on Robin's arm. "It's okay…. really." But that didn't do anything to relieve the unbridled tension building in Robin. "Are you asking me what I think?"
Robin gathered her hands together and started fidgeting before she shrugged her shoulders. "Maybe…. I don't know. I can't see it."
Sarah relaxed in her chair in order to study the dark haired woman a moment. "Then perhaps you should."
"What do you mean by that?" Robin chanced a quick look at Sarah.
"Robin…. you take life as it comes. Not asking why or what and especially not looking at the deeper levels behind it all." She could tell Robin was about to protest so she quickly cut her friend off. "I'm not criticizing you for it. It's worked for years for you. But are you really getting out of life what you want?"
Robin briefly thought about Yasmin. "I can never have what I want."
"Really?" Sarah crossed her arms. "And why's that?"
Robin bolted upright in her chair. "It doesn't matter. I've never been with a woman…. or anyone."
"I know that." Even though Robin never shared much of her personal feelings or heaven forbid anything intimate, Sarah correctly guessed about the absence of anyone in Robin's love life. But now it was time to bring out the big guns since Robin offered her this rare opportunity to discuss something personal in her friend's life. "If you ask me, you've been so… obsessed with Yasmin all these years that you've never giving anything or anyone or even yourself a chance to consider others."
"You mean Kim."
"Kim, yes…. or anyone else for that matter." Sarah moved forward, resting her arms on the table. "I'm here for you, Robin…. anyway I can to help."
The reoccurring dream Robin had about the love of her life held in her check. Since she always believed the woman in that dream was Yasmin, Robin rebuffed any other scenario and now Kim along with her friend was asking her to think differently about what she really wanted. And that request scared Robin. Her world as it was became a safe haven away from feelings that could end up hurting her even more. "I don't even know what a woman would want."
Interested in that comment, Sarah smiled. "Now you're talking. I can give you a pretty good idea."
"But you're a woman."
Sarah quickly scanned her body. "Nice of you to notice."
Pursing her lips, Robin frowned. "That's not what I meant."
"I know what you meant, my dear friend." Sarah winked at her uncomfortable friend. "You mean, what does a woman want from another woman."
Robin shrugged, acting nonchalant.
"Well, I'll tell you. She wants the same thing a woman wants from a man. Yet, in a different way."
"Different way?" Robin quizzed. I don't even know the traditional way. And that was the problem Robin faced. She never explored her own feelings beyond the initial one she had held so long in check regarding her first love.
"Come on, Robin. People all want basically the same thing…. to be loved for who we are, appreciated…. and supported. We want the kind of love that speeds our heart up… takes our breath away." Sarah smiled. "Same thing goes for when your having sex."
Robin did not want to think about that for the moment. Robin knew how she felt when she thought of Yasmin those many years but even she had to admit those feelings had faded through time. "How did you know you were in love with Michael?"
Now we're getting to the crux of it. Sarah was careful to traverse this emotional minefield. "Besides what I said earlier, I imagine that you and I shared some of the same feelings. What you felt toward Yasmin…. I had those feeling about Michael… along with a few other boyfriends."
"How did you know he was the one?" Robin insisted.
After thinking about it a moment, even Sarah was surprised with her next words. "I changed…. I was willing to compromise. You remember Frithjof?" Robin nodded upon recalling one of Sarah's old boyfriends. "Well, I thought I was in love with him, too. And, in a way, I was but when he wanted to quit school and travel all over the world …. as exciting as that sounded and I did consider it for a moment or two, I wasn't willing to do that. That's when I realized I wasn't willing to follow him to the ends of the earth or anything like that."
"And you would for Michael?"
"Robin, I've seen you with Kim. You remember that night we went out to eat and then to a movie?" The taller woman nodded. "It was evident then to me how much you cared about Kim. It was like you were a couple… just like Michael and me." When Sarah saw the confused look on Robin's face, she suggested. "Think about it."
Frustrated, Robin slid down in her chair.
"Let me ask you something. You never told Yasmin how you felt, did you?" Robin shook her head. "Why?"
"She was in love with Martin. Besides, she was pregnant." Robin countered.
"But if you loved her so much why not tell her? Sure she may have turned you down."
Robin grunted. Or laughed at me.
"Why weren't you willing to fight for her? And don't tell me because she was in love with Martin or she was pregnant. You felt that way about her a long time before Martin ever came into the picture."
"It doesn't matter. Kim may get back with Sandro anyway." Robin pretended that thought didn't bother her.
"Why in the world would she do that?"
"Oh….." Sarah thought it was ironic that her friend was now facing nearly the same dilemma Robin encountered ten years earlier with Yasmin. "So what are you going to do about it?"
"She wants to know what I'm going to do about it." Robin stood at her mother's grave. "What does she mean… what am I going to do about it? It's not up to me." Robin was glad that there wasn't anyone else at the cemetery.
Robin kicked at a chunk of grass on the ground. "Momma, what should I do?" An internal whispering invaded her thoughts asking 'what do you feel?' "I don't know how I feel." The voice then suggested firmly… 'then I suspect you should find out'. The tall woman stuffed her hand in her jeans pockets.
Yasmin rubbed her temple as she talked with her husband on the telephone. "Why do you have to go out of town again so soon?"
Gruff and not in a very patient mood, Martin nearly growled at his wife of ten years. "It's my job. And if I don't stay on top of things then I won't be considered for that promotion."
The curly haired woman sighed. "When do you think they'll decide about that?"
Straightening his tie, Martin quipped. "Who knows…. but it won't be me if I'm late getting out of here. Listen, I gotta go."
"Call me tonight?"
Just before he hung up, Martin said. "I'll try."
Sadly, Yasmin dropped her phone back on its cradle and stared out the huge front window of the tourist office. She was feeling totally unloved and unappreciated. Even the weekend had not gone as she had hoped. Martin was home but too preoccupied with a big deal coming up that he evaded her sexual advances the whole weekend. When she saw Robin cross the street in front of her office, Yasmin jumped up from her seat. Opening the door, she waved. "Robin! Hi."
Upon seeing Yasmin, Robin smiled and waved back.
"Come here." Yasmin called.
Robin hesitated, giving one quick look toward the bookstore just cattycorner to the tourist office then she elected to spare a moment to talk with the one who had crushed her hopes of love. "Hi, Yasmin." Robin situated herself where she could see across the street to the bookstore. She thought she saw Kim inside. "How are you?"
"Great." Yasmin flashed a counterfeit smile at Robin. So you were in love with me. The tourist office worker studied the taller woman. She is quite nice looking.
Feeling uneasy from the hard stare her friend was giving her, Robin shifted back and forth and kept sneaking a few peeks toward the bookstore. Robin came to Market Square to talk with Kim about the baby and her future.
Thinking about her husband's cavalier attitude toward her and his seemingly lack of sexual interest, Yasmin stepped closer. "You know Robin…. you're a good person."
That got Robin's attention. "What?"
"No… I mean it. You've always been a very good friend to me. Oh, I know we haven't really seen each other much in these last few years but when we were in school… you were…. very much so." Yasmin touched her arm. "Would you like to come in?"
"Well, I…." Robin started to follow Yasmin but it was then she saw Sandro drive up in front of the bookstore and get out of his car. "No….. thank you."
Yasmin had to slam on the brakes, wondering why Robin changed her mind. The curly haired woman noticed the intent look on Robin's face and followed her line of sight. Oh, no! All of Yasmin's insecurities came screaming to the surface and her competitive nature reared its ugly head. She slid her hand along Robin's arm. "I owe you an apology, you know."
"Huh?" Absent mindedly, Robin nodded as she stared intently at the closed bookstore door that Sandro had just entered.
"About that kiss." Yasmin wasn't having any luck getting Robin's attention as yet. "Robin?" The taller woman spared Yasmin a look. "I admit it was a joke…. on a dare. But…." Yasmin squeezed Robin's arm. "I did enjoy it… very much so."
Robin swallowed hard. "You did?"
"Absolutely." Yasmin stepped even closer and shyly looked up at Robin, tugging on her arm. "Why don't you come inside?"
Mesmerized, Robin watched as Yasmin licked her lips. Her dream was standing before and willingly offering herself to Robin. She tried hard to capture the woman's face in her reoccurring dream but it was still fuzzy and for some reason when Robin consciously put Yasmin's face on the woman, it somehow didn't fit there. Then when she heard a door slam, Robin jolted from her thoughts. Jacking her head around toward the bookstore, she was unable to get Kim off of her mind. Wondering if her young friend needed her, Robin made a decision that would change her life forever. She turned back to Yasmin. "I thought that kiss was nice, too. But that's all it was… just a kiss." Letting go of her long held fantasy forever, Robin removed Yasmin's hand from her arm. "I've got to go now."
Yasmin watched Robin hurry across the road toward the bookstore. "Damn…." She stomped her foot on the ground.
Robin rushed into the store and when she saw Kim standing behind the counter, her stomach filled with nervous butterflies. But when she heard Kim laughing at Sandro's joke, she retreated quickly before they saw her.
"Just a moment." Kim quieted her laughing. The young woman leaned around to see who had entered the bookstore and upon seeing no one there, she turned back to Sandro. "Did you see anyone?"
The dark haired man shook his head. "It's good to hear you laugh again. Reminds me of all the good times we had." Sandro leaned up against the counter.
"We did, didn't we?" Kim sighed when she easily detected Sandro engage in his usual and all too consuming charm that had seduced her in the first place. "Sandro, we enjoyed spending time together and both of us going to school kept us from really examining what we really wanted. I know it did for me. You're not ready to settle down… not with me or anyone else for that matter."
Sandro waggled his eyebrows at her. "So you want the beast to be tamed. What's the fun in that?"
"What I want is…." She thought of Robin but wondered if even Robin would be able to give her what she craved in a relationship. "…someone who's going to be there for me. Someone who wants me… and no one else." She thought of Yasmin with that last comment.
"Kim…. I do care about you. I just want to taste all of life before I…" Sandro spit out the next two words. "…settle down. Why don't we just take a break for a while and see how it goes for us?"
"You might as well accept it, Sandro. There is no us." Kim said without a condescending tone. It was simply a fact.
His usual cocky self-confidence reared its charming head as Sandro vowed before he left the bookstore. "I'll never give up."
She watched him leave, get in his sports car, rev it up and then speed off. "Oh, yes, you will…at the first sight of a pretty girl."
Robin slammed her car door then muttered. "I guess she doesn't need me any more."
Another couple standing near their car in the parking lot looked up. "Did you say something, miss?"
Noticing them for the first time, Robin shook her head. "Sorry." Fuming, Robin marched along the castle's well-worn trail and found herself near the huge beech tree where she had shared an afternoon with Kim. The sullen woman plopped down on the ground. She jacked her hand up under her chin after she propped her elbow on her crossed legs. Staring out at the wide expansion of the castle grounds, Robin made a concerted effort to examine her feelings.
The rest of the afternoon, Robin wandered aimlessly through the castle grounds and even went inside the castle. She tried to reclaim the safe and secure feelings that the place held for her as she spent many a day at the castle with her father. Remembering her childhood and the numerous stories told to her by her parents, Robin wished for the kind of love they shared.
She later found herself out near the stone bench where her father proposed to her mother and sought comfort in their spiritual presence. "I want that…. what you two had." Robin heard her mother talk so often of finding her soulmate in Germany at this very spot. Near tears, Robin slipped down off the bench onto the ground. Even the babbling brook in the distant offered no soothing comfort to her yearning soul.
When a low flying hawk caught her attention, Robin thought of Kim's children story. It was a story about a hero that saved the village. But she remembered something more about it. The subtle undertones of the story came clearly into focus. Kim wrote her story from the perspective of a young girl in the village who had a crush on the hero. The young girl yearned to gain the affections of the hero and the hero, even after saving the village, felt something missing from her heart. After contemplating Kim's story for a while, Robin finally leaned her head on the cool bench and drifted off.
In her dream, Robin stood as she did so many times on the train depot's platform, waiting for the train. When she heard the whistle blow, she saw the train in the distant. Nervous, Robin stood stock still in great anticipation of meeting the love of her life…. her soulmate.
When the train finally eased to a stop, a beautiful woman stepped down from the train. Robin's heart opened up and the butterflies in her stomach pranced in delight. Suddenly, her heart lurched when she saw the same shadowy figure approach the young woman. Unable to move, Robin blinked in an effort to make out not only the woman's face but also the face of the shadow that had whisked her love away so many times before in this same dream.
The shadowy figure touched the woman's arm and redirected her back to the train. As usual before the woman took that first step back on the train, she turned her head and looked directly at Robin. Only this time, the vision of the woman's face who was staring at her snapped into focus. Shocked awake, Robin bolted up. "Kim!"
Robin raced to the bookstore, not caring if the local police were patrolling the streets of Hechingen. She seemed to catch every red light and several pokey drivers on the road, impeding her progress. When she finally arrived at the bookstore, Robin came charging through the door. "Kim!"
From the back of the store, Amanda welcomed her guest. "She's not here."
"Where is she?" Robin demanded.
"It's nice to see you, too, Robin."
"I'm sorry." Anxious, Robin rushed her next words. "Where is she?"
Amanda placed a book back on the shelf. "Her shift was over. I imagine she went home for the day."
On her way out, Robin yelled back over her shoulder. "Thanks, Amanda… and I'm sorry but I have to go."
Shaking her head, the older woman smiled. "I can see that."
Robin pressed the doorbell over and over. "Kim!" Just when she was about to hit the button again, the door opened. "Is Kim here?"
Elena studied the overwrought woman before her. "She was earlier… after work then she left. Hold on…." Elena turned. "Kostas? Did Kim say where she was going?"
Scratching his head, Kostas walked up behind his wife. "Hi, Robin." The young woman nodded a hello. "I asked if she was going to be home for dinner but she seemed pre-occupied with something."
Elena grunted. Of course, she is…. she's pregnant and just broke up with the father of her baby. "Maybe she went to visit Amanda."
"No, I was just there."
Realizing that her daughter had been spending a lot of time with Robin lately, Elena asked. "Do you work at the movie theater usually on this night?"
"No." Robin was confused. "Why?"
"If you did, I just thought that maybe she would go there."
Maybe! Robin started to turn. "Thanks.. maybe she did go there."
As Robin rushed off, Elena yelled. "Try her cell phone."
Robin never answered as she was already seated in her car and driving off.
"I wonder what that was all about?" Kostas slipped his hand on his wife's waist.
"I don't know." Elena pondered several scenarios. "I think I'll try and call Kim." When there was no answer on her daughter's cell phone, Elena sat down next to her husband. "Dear… we need to be more aware of what's going on with Kim."
"I'm sorry, agapi mou." Kostas put down his newspaper and wrapped his arm around her. "She didn't seem upset or anything."
"I know… but she's got a lot of things on her mind, I'm sure." Elena leaned against her husband's shoulder. "Sandro, being pregnant…… "
"She knows we love her and even though she doesn't want to marry Sandro, she will live here and we will help with the baby." Kostas kissed his wife's cheek. "You're going to be a beautiful grandmother."
"Kostas!" Elena playfully shoved against her husband. "And, yes, Kim knows we're there for her… but a young woman wants someone to share her life with… someone special."
"Like we do." Kostas winked.
Kissing her husband first, Elena agreed. "Yes, exactly like we do."
On her way to the movie theater, Robin stopped briefly at her friend's house. "Sarah, you don't happen to know where Kim could be, do you?"
"Come in." Sarah insisted. "No, why would I?"
Robin refused to sit down, walking aimlessly around the room. "I don't know."
"Robin, would you stop pacing and tell me what's going on?"
Michael walked in the door when Robin was about to leave. "Hey, what's your hurry?"
"I gotta go."
But he held onto her after seeing his wife motion for him to stop their friend. "Hold on."
Standing up, Sarah grabbed Robin's arm. "You're not leaving until you tell me what's going on."
A bundle of nerves was a lot calmer than Robin was at the moment. "It's Kim. I…. I… oh, I don't know."
Crossing her arms, Sarah smiled. "So you finally figured it out?"
"Figured what out?" Michael asked.
"Go ahead, tell him, Robin."
Michael stared at his friend but she refused to talk. "Okay, Sarah, maybe you're going to have to clue me in."
"She finally figured out how she feels about Kim."
"Oh…." Michael sat on the edge of the chair. Being a man of action, he asked. "What are you gonna do about it?"
"I don't know." Robin started to pace again. "I don't even know where she is."
"I'd say you need to find her first." Sarah suggested.
"Then what you gonna do?" Michael asked again.
Waving her arms about, Robin said. "Tell her, I guess…. somehow."
"Do you have a ring?"
That question sent shock waves through Robin.
"Michael, they're not that far into it yet. She has to tell her first."
Robin corrected her friend. "Find her first."
Rubbing his chin, Michael insisted. "You have to take something to let her know you're serious."
Sarah stared straight at her handsome husband. "Telling Kim is serious."
"That's true." Michael conceded that point. "However, I know women and they always like something…. material."
"Michael! Not all women are like that." Sarah glared at him.
"Just listen… from what you've told me." He then looked at Robin. "And you…. this will be a surprise to Kim… how you feel now. Right?" Robin nodded. "She might not think you're serious or you're just saying it out of friendship."
Again, Robin nodded but didn't say anything.
Michael turned back to his wife. "And by material, I mean something symbolic and since you think giving a ring is too soon… I'd suggest something else."
"But what?" Robin was clueless. She knew she would have a hard time saying the words and now she had to come up with some kind of symbolic show of love. It was beginning to be too much for her to handle.
"Hold on a second."
Both women waited patiently until Michael came back into the living room carrying one of their old baby car seats. "Here."
"What is she supposed to do with that?" Sarah stuck her hands on her hips.
Robin was eager to hear the answer, too.
"Nothing says I love you like a sign of permanency." He looked at both women as if his explanation was self-evident.
And for the logical Robin it was. "You're right." She immediately remembered Sandro's vain attempts at wooing Kim back with flowers and candy that had failed miserably. Robin grabbed the car seat. "Thanks."
Sarah stared at her husband long after Robin had left. "You know, honey, sometimes you take my breath away."
Michael wrapped his arms around his lover. "And I'm gonna take your breath away again….." Sarah smiled at the prospect of that proclamation. "…later. First, I'm going to fix dinner."
Feeling as if she was recipient of some special reward, Sarah followed her husband into the kitchen. "Now you're talking."
At the movie theater, Robin learned that no one had seen Kim. Slumping up against the cashier's door, Robin quickly ran over every possible place that Kim would be. It wasn't until Mrs. Franz asked her about where would she go if she needed time to think that a light popped on in Robin's head. Robin gave a hasty peck on the cheek to the startled cashier then disappeared before Mrs. Franz could register a good comeback.
Retracing her path back to the castle, Robin was nearly oblivious of the on coming traffic on the road. Her mind was reeling with the possibilities and myriad of emotions spinning out of control in her body. The sight of Kim's old VW bug brought relief and at the same time spun her overexcited body into a nervous knot.
Robin had to suck in several deep-calming breaths before coming face to face with the woman that held the key to her heart and future. Just the thought of that nearly forced the on edge woman to run. But Robin steadied herself and vowed that she would never again hide or run away from her feelings. This chance came only once in a lifetime and she was going to seize the day.
Sitting serenely near the stone bench, Kim was a picture perfect beauty. Upon seeing this lovely sight, Robin's heart pounded against her chest. She found it hard to take those last few steps and face her destiny but for Robin there was no other option.
The sweet sound of that voice broke Kim from her musings. Angling her head around, Kim gazed at Robin. "Hi."
Shyly, Robin took one more step forward. "Hi."
"Won't you come sit?" Kim patted the ground next to her. "It's such a beautiful day."
Robin did as she was requested and when her arm brushed against Kim, she shivered. "You look…. peaceful."
Folding her hands together, Kim stared off into the distance. "I am." For the last hour, Kim had been contemplating her life. She ultimately resolved within herself the situation she was in. Having somewhat settled her differences with Sandro and coming to a decision, Kim next focused on the fact that Robin didn't share the same feelings she did. It was then Kim decided that no matter what Robin did or didn't feel, she wanted to remain friends with her first and only true love. "Robin?"
Robin edged closer to the young woman, giving Kim her undivided attention. It was a bit hard since her body was on full alert and the butterflies in her stomach acted like they were in a feeding frenzy. "Yes?"
"We're friends?" Robin nodded. "Good. I want that….. forever."
"I know." Preparing herself for the worse news possible, Robin vowed this time she would tell the person she loved of her feelings even if Kim elected to go back to Sandro. "Kim…. I….."
Kim cocked her head slightly as Robin looked away. "What is it?"
"I…." Robin refused to look at Kim, knowing she would lose it.
Cupping Robin's chin, Kim gently pulled her friend around to face her. "Tell me…. what's on your mind?" It was evident to Kim that Robin was frantic with worry and she had never seen her this way before.
When Robin's fluid brown eyes locked onto Kim's calm and reassuring green ones, she felt her whole body settle. "I love you."
The words she heard soared through her heart yet Kim wondered about the depth of their meaning. "I love you, too, Robin. We're friends."
"We're not friends?"
"No." Robin shook her head adamantly.
"Then I'm at a complete loss."
Feeling that she had somehow screwed it all up, Robin repeated her heart's desire in a rush to get out the words. "I love you and we're friends and….. oh, Kim, I love you." Robin tried to clarify what she felt.
Shaking her head, Kim sat back. "You love me…. that way?"
"Yes." Robin nodded emphatically.
Reeling from this startling revelation, Kim tried to grapple with Robin's sudden change of heart. "Why? I mean…. how?" Then it occurred to Kim that she had declared her feelings about Robin and her friend was just trying to be a good friend since she was now pregnant. That's what a hero would do and you've always been that to me. But I won't accept your pity. "Robin, you're great friend and I know you said you'd be there for me. I appreciate that and I'm going to hold you to it." Kim smiled. "But…. I don't want you to feel sorry for me."
Realizing Kim did not take her proclamation seriously, Robin stood up, grabbing for Kim's hand. "Come with me." When Kim seemed reluctant, she tugged on her friend's hand. "Please."
Robin led Kim back down the path to her car. Opening the back door of her BMW, Robin pointed. "See."
Stepping up, Kim leaned down to get a clear view. "It's a baby's car seat."
"Exactly." Robin crossed her arms as if she had just made her point.
"So?" Kim shrugged. "Are you giving me an early gift for the baby?"
"No." Robin pointed again at the baby seat. "It's for the baby."
"I got that, Robin. Since we're both just a little bit too big for it."
Kim was totally confused and Robin knew she had to take a different tact. Stepping closer to Kim, Robin reached for her. "Sandro….."
"This isn't about Sandro."
"I know.. it's about us."
"Us?" The nearness of the one she loved was unsettling.
"Yes, us." Robin placed her hands on Kim's waist. Licking her lips, Robin's eyes flickered back and forth between Kim's lips and eyes. "I knew candy and flowers wouldn't get your attention." Robin smiled. "It didn't work for Sandro…. and I had to make sure you knew I was serious when I told you."
"Uh…huh." Kim's heart raced with every word Robin spoke.
"So…. there." Robin nodded toward the car seat. "I love you Kimberly Gayle…. and I love your baby and I love you."
In a complete daze, Kim was barely able to whisper. "You already said that."
"And I'll say it again and again…. until you believe." Robin slowly ducked her head down and kissed the lips of the woman she loved. The kiss was tender and innocent but held such sweet promise of passion that it ripped through any lingering doubts either woman had.
Sucking in a much-needed breath, Kim said. "Oh, I believe you."
Laying her head on Robin's chest, Kim spoke softly. "Robin?"
"Hmmmmmmmm?" Falling easily into the wonderful feeling of having the woman of her dreams in her arms, Robin sighed.
"What does this mean for us?"
Robin gently moved Kim back so she could see her love's face. "It means that you're everything to me… you and the baby. And that I love both of you and about us…." Robin smiled. "I like the sound of that. We're forever."
Once again, Kim dropped her head on Robin's chest as she let her whole heart freefall into the depths of love that only soulmates shared. "I love you."
It was nearing noon at the bookstore on Tuesday and Amanda waited patiently all morning for the mail. When the special delivery package arrived, the bookstore owner smiled like a cat that had just swallowed a canary. "Kim?"
Kim's head popped around the bookshelf. "What?"
"Come here." Amanda slipped behind the counter so Kim took up residence on the other side.
"You have something else for me to do?"
Amanda giggled. "Buy the bookstore from me and let me work here ….. part time."
The younger woman sighed, dropping her head. "I wish I could. I mean I want to and…." Kim pursed her lips together. "…. with the baby…. and all."
"Kim…." The auburn haired woman looked up. "What's with the sad face? Why all morning you've had this silly grin on your face and we both know why." Amanda winked at her friend. "Robin's one lucky girl."
"I agree wholeheartedly with that."
Both women turned to see Robin nearly float on air as she entered the store. Robin immediately stood next to Kim, brushing against her but didn't know if she should hug her love or not. She was glad when Kim took the initiative and wrapped her arm around the taller woman.
"Good morning." Kim smiled.
Looking at her watch, Robin said. "Good afternoon….. you mean."
Kim teasingly glared at Robin. "Are you glad to see me or not?" Robin nodded quickly. "Then who cares what time it is?"
Robin smiled and hugged the smaller woman before shifting her eyes toward Amanda. "How are you?"
"I was just talking with Kim about buying me out." Amanda fiddled with the package. "It's her dream… you know."
Recalling this news from when they talked before, Robin stood back to look directly into the green eyes she loved. "I know you want to write and get your stories published and…. you want to buy this place…. so, are you?"
Kim nodded before she turned away. "That's not possible now."
Both Amanda and Robin asked simultaneously. "Why?"
Kim fidgeted in place so Robin steadied her love with a calm reassuring touch. "The baby…. money…." She looked up at Robin. "Us."
"Why would 'us' keep you from buying this place?" Robin didn't see the correlation.
"I…we… haven't even discussed things. What we both want…. our future." Kim shyly looked away. "It was only yesterday that…."
"Kim?" Robin hooked the younger woman's chin, bringing it back to face her. "If this is what you really want, then you should go for it."
"Here….here." Amanda agreed. "I'll give you a great deal."
Looking at the storeowner, Kim smiled. "I know… but I still don't have the money and I don't want to ask my parents."
Amanda waved that notion off without a thought. "I'll make it a loan."
Kim shook her head. "I can't."
"Maybe you don't want me to work here. Is that it? Or would want the apartment upstairs?"
"No…not at all." Kim adamantly rejected that thought. "That's the point …. I would need you here to help…. especially now that I'm pregnant."
"Kim?" Robin got Kim's undivided attention and said sincerely. "I'm here for you."
"Robin, I can't expect…."
"What? What can't you expect?" Robin swallowed hard. "We're…. partners…. right?" Kim nodded. "And if this is what you want, I'm here for you whether it's money or whatever."
"You don't need any money, Kim." Amanda assured her young employee. "We can switch over the ownership of this place and you get a loan."
"Thank you, Amanda. But even a bank would want some kind of reassurances that I was worth it."
"Then it will be a loan directly from me." The older woman insisted.
"Again, thank so very much but I…." Kim looked around. "…would like to make some changes."
"How much money do you need?" Robin asked.
"I don't know but I can't…."
"Kim… we can get the loan." Robin assured her. "You and I together. And I have some money in savings."
"I can't use your money."
"Our money." Robin corrected her then she winked. "I grew up in the old Swabian tradition of saving money…. we have enough for whatever you have in that smart mind of yours."
"Listen, both of you… I appreciate it… really I do." Kim sighed. "And I know you will be there to help me Amanda but running a business will take lots of time and now…" Kim looked down. "…being… having a baby on the way. I don't know if I could do it by myself."
"Kim….." Robin's serious brown eyes stared at Kim. "I guess I haven't done very well of making you know that I'll be there for you… we're in this together…. you, me and the baby." When Kim started to protest, Robin vowed. "I'm here for you no matter what… and I'll even quit my job and work here with you if that's what it takes. Heck…." Robin shrugged. "I've spent many hours here years ago and I love this place myself."
"I love you, Robin." Kim gazed at her love causing Robin to shyly look away upon that declaration while standing in front of their friend. "I do. But it's not fair really…. I've nothing to give."
"Oh, yes, you do." Amanda pushed the envelope toward her young friend. "Open it."
Robin watched Kim slowly open the package and pull out several bounded papers. Kim studied it a moment. "Oh, my God… it can't be true."
Robin stretched her neck over to get a good look. "They want to publish your stories. This is great, Kim."
Kim gladly accepted the warm hug Robin gave her. "Amanda… this is all your doing, isn't it?"
Smiling, Amanda winked. "I only sent it off. It was your stories that got their attention and my friend told me they're willing to give you an advance although it won't be much."
Kim skimmed the contract and saw the amount they were offering upon signing the contract. Hopping up and down in Robin's arms, Kim squealed.
"Who cares? I'm going to be published."
"Congratulations, Kim." Robin gave into her desire and kissed Kim on the cheek. It was going to take some getting used to for Robin to show this kind of affection in public. Robin always found it easy to hug or touch her friends and thought nothing of it. But now it was different since where Kim was concerned, the drawbridge to Robin's heart was wide open and vulnerable.
"This week keeps getting better and better." Kim grabbed a pen, ready to sign the contract.
"Kim… maybe we should read it first." Robin suggested.
"Okay." Leaning over the counter, Kim kissed Amanda on the cheek. "Thank you so very, very much. And yes…." Kim gave a quick look to her partner before agreeing. "… we'll buy the store."
"Thank goodness." Amanda exclaimed. "Now why don't you two go to lunch. I'm sure that's why Robin stopped by today."
Robin agreed. "Shall we, Kim? I'm kinda hungry."
"Sure… let me grab my purse." Kim hurried back behind the counter then caught up with Robin on their way out. "But don't eat too much…. mom's got a big dinner planned for tonight."
The taller woman had just opened the door for Kim and the young girl walked out without seeing Robin's face pale at the thought of meeting her love's parents. Suddenly, I don't feel so hungry.
Robin was on edge all afternoon at work and when she arrived at Kim's house nothing she had done was able to settle her stomach. When Kim greeted her at the door, Robin considered asking the younger woman to run away with her right then and there. But the bright green eyes smiling at her as Kim took her hand seemed to shove the impending meeting with Kim's parents away long enough for Robin's plan of retreat to go by the wayside.
After reacquainting themselves again, Elena served a wonderful Greek meal that Robin would have normally enjoyed except for the fact that her nervous stomach was rebelling with every swallow. So apprehensive was Robin that Kim slipped her hand over to steady her love's nerves.
Both Elena and Kostas kept the conversation light as they talked of business and Kim's mom even asked Robin about her brother and his family. That topic was enough to make Robin ease somewhat.
When they walked into the living room, Robin again insisted on cleaning up the kitchen or at least helping in some way. "I feel I should do something."
"Oh, please, Robin, sit down. You hardly ate to make any kind of mess." Elena sat down next to her husband on the sofa. She motioned for Robin to sit across from them, next to Kim who literally had to grab Robin's hand and pull her down next to her.
Being sensitive to Robin's position of having to meet her future in-laws and after his daughter warned him not to make Robin anymore nervous than she already was going to be, Kostas figured he had waited long enough before asking the question he felt was his fatherly duty. "So you love my daughter, do you?"
Robin's head jerked up. "Yes, sir."
"Daddy?" Kim glared at her father.
"And you're going to take good care of her?" Kostas was unimpressed with his daughter's attempts to keep him quiet.
"And the baby?"
"Daddy? Robin doesn't need to be in….."
Placing a hand on Kim's hand, Robin assured her love the question was not only okay but also expected. "I'm going to do everything and anything I have to do to take care of both of them and I will protect them with my life… sir." Kostas was about to say something but Robin quickly continued. "I have a good job and I have saved some money and… Kim and I have decided to buy the bookstore where she works and if needed I'll quit to work there … depending on the money situation…. and then if…"
"Hold on there." Kostas interrupted the young woman. He was quite pleased that she had already made plans and he knew of Kim's desire to buy the bookstore. He was prepared to loan her the money himself. "I have no doubt about your work ethics…. you're a hard worker, Robin. My only concern is the love you have for my daughter."
"Our daughter, dear." Elena leaned against her husband but looked at Robin.
Having to declare her love to Kim was hard enough as she had never done that before and thought she never would but now facing her was something that had to be done. "I can assure both of you… I love your daughter with every ounce of my being. I loved her even before I knew it…" A faraway look came over Robin's eyes. "I've loved her all along." She smiled as she thought of her reoccurring dream and seeing Kim standing on the train platform. This time in Robin's dream she swept Kim off her feet before the love of her life could get back on the train. Holding Kim close, the train melted into the distance. "She's everything to me."
Elena smiled when Robin gazed into her daughter's eyes and declared her love before them. "Kostas? It seems our family is growing very fast." Her husband's eyebrows shot up. "We have Kim and soon a grandchild…. and…" Elena reached over to place her hand on Robin's knee. "Welcome to our family."
Relief spread through Robin's body quickly but was soon encased in huge bear arms as Kostas hugged her. "I always wanted another daughter."
Kim hugged her mom and then her dad as Robin received a very warm welcome from Elena. "Isn't this wonderful?"
They all had to agree that it was until Kostas said. "Don't get too relaxed, Robin." Robin cocked an eyebrow. "Kim still needs to tell Sandro about the baby."
Once again, Robin's face paled and Kim followed suit. This was one exchange neither of them welcomed. But Robin vowed to her love that she would be there for her.
Since Sarah was unable to go out for their usual play night on Wednesday, Robin and Kim agreed to stop by the pub for a drink or two and maybe play a game of Shanghai then go to Robin's place before she took her love home.
They were sitting in their usual booth discussing their future when Thom, the pub's owner, placed a couple of non-alcoholic drinks in front of them. "This one's on the house." When Robin looked surprised, Thom just winked and said. "I have my sources."
"Do you think everyone knows?" Kim asked.
"I'm not sure. Does it bother you… us?"
"Oh, no. It doesn't bother me at all." Kim assured Robin as she moved closer then whispered. "I was talking about the baby."
Nodding her head, Robin wrapped a comforting arm around Kim. "The baby's going to be beautiful… just like you." The older woman was increasingly surprising herself as she easily spoke those words to Kim.
Leaning against Robin, the younger woman smiled. "Thank you."
Crossing his arms, Sandro walked up to stand directly in front of their table. "Well, well…. well…. what's this I hear?"
Kim closed her eyes. They had discussed telling him this weekend but had yet to decide exactly when and where but now the decision seemed to be made for them. "Sandro…. why don't you join us?"
Sandro jerked his head back, indicating for his friends, Sebastian and Benno, to move on before he slid in the booth. "Is that what this is all about… you and her?"
Kim knew instantly Sandro was talking about her relationship with Robin and knew nothing about her pregnancy. "Maybe we should talk somewhere more private."
The glazed over look in his eyes indicated that the dark haired man had been drinking. "What the hell for?" Sandro slumped against the back of the booth. "Now I know why you were so frigid all the God damn time."
Robin jumped forward, reaching across the table to grab at Sandro upon hearing that insulting comment. "Shut up!"
"Robin, please…" Kim held tightly onto Robin's arm. "This isn't about my …. sex life."
"Could hardly call it that." Sandro smirked.
Sucking in a deep breath, Kim gave it to him point blank. "It was enough for me to get pregnant."
It took a while for that bit of information to wind through his alcohol infested mind but when it registered, Sandro's eyes flew wide open. "What the fuck!"
Trying to ease the moment, Kim said. "That's one way of putting it."
"Oh, no…" Sandro crawled out of the booth. "You're not putting this on me. How the hell do I know it's mine? It could be anybody."
That did it. Robin flew out of the booth before she grabbed Sandro, pushing him back. Robin positioned herself between the drunken man and Kim. "Just stay back and there won't be any problems." Robin was not willing to subject Kim to Sandro's foul mouth or accusations but she didn't want to get into a fight either and risk Kim getting hurt.
When Sandro regained his balance, he charged at Robin who was ready to hold her ground. Sebastian grabbed his friend's arm. "Come on, Sandro. Calm down."
"Fuck you." Sandro yanked his arm back and pointed at Kim. "Fuck you and her. That's it…. is that it? You two?" The tall dark haired man let out an evil laugh. "I wouldn't doubt it. You two together… you always did take up for her."
"Sandro… there was never anything between Sebastian and me." Kim shook her head at the outrageous suggestion.
"You should leave, Sandro. You're only making a fool of yourself." Robin said calmly even though every bone in her body was ready to rip him apart.
Sebastian grabbed Sandro's right arm just before he took a swing at Robin and with Benno's help, they dragged their drunken friend out of the pub.
Robin waited till they had left the pub before sitting back down next to Kim. Taking Kim's hand, she joked. "I think that went well, didn't you?"
Over the next couple days, Robin and Kim spent every spare moment together. They went shopping Saturday afternoon and Robin decided on the spur of the moment to buy a small circular earring. She immediately placed it in the same hole as the bigger round earring, dangling from her left ear. Kim found it curious but didn't say anything at the time. She was just so happy being with Robin after all those long years of yearning and wishing for her dream to come true.
Clutching Robin's hand after they left the Italian restaurant, Kim declined her love's suggestion to go to a movie. "Why don't we go back to your place? I just don't feel like a movie tonight. Is that okay?"
"Sure." Robin agreed reluctantly. "We can do that."
But on their way to Robin's home, the older woman suggested. "Want to go for a ride up around the castle? Or get some ice cream?"
"No… and no." Kim slouched back in the BMW's leather seat. "I just want to go to your place and crawl up on the couch…" Kim gave a sly look at Robin. "…and you hold me."
"I can do that." Robin's eyes returned to the road. It's the other things you might have on your mind that scare me.
Earlier that day before she picked up Kim, Robin had called Sarah for some advice. While Robin was convinced it was too soon to become that intimate with Kim, Sarah assured her friend that the young woman had simply waited years to be with Robin and may not want to wait much longer.
To Robin, their embraces and kisses were steamrolling down the track much too fast and it worried her. Of course, if she really knew how Kim felt about her, all her insecurities would dissolve like snow at the equator.
Earlier that afternoon, Robin reluctantly shaved her legs as Sarah suggested. She knew that was the final barrier that would keep her from making love with Kim that very night and it scared her to death. How will she see me? My body? What will she think? Will she think I'm a total jerk because I never made love before? That and other questions plagued her mind.
"Robin? Robin?" Kim touched her love's arm. "We're here."
Awaken from her musings, Robin realized she was home and it scared her even more to know she didn't remember the last few miles. I have got to get my act together now.
As soon as they entered the house, Robin asked. "You want anything to drink or eat?" She was so preoccupied with what she thought would happen that night that Robin forgot to take offer her shoes when she entered the house.
"Robin… please. I don't want anything." Kim sat on the couch then turned to her love. "Except you. Come here."
Robin took two steps then remembered. "Oh, my shoes." She rushed over to the door and methodically took them off, placing them carefully next to the door. Satisfied, she stood. "There."
When Kim realized that Robin wasn't going to move from her spot at the door, she encouraged her. "Why don't you come over here and sit down?"
Scratching the back of her head, Robin tried to think of anything that would buy her some time. "I should check my machine. Ross may have called. He wants me to come over there for Christmas." Robin stopped in her tracks then turned to Kim. "Would you want to go, too? I mean… can you with the baby and everything?"
Mentally Kim counted before replying. "Sure, I'd love to. I'll only be just over five months along."
Standing in place, Robin seemed frozen in time.
Kim licked her lips as she studied Robin. She's as scared as a baby rabbit lost in the woods. "Robin…. please just come over here… and we can talk. Okay?"
Robin nodded absentmindedly. "Sure." I can talk. I think.
Once Kim was able to settle Robin down next to her, she carefully extracted Robin's arm and put it around her shoulder. "There… that wasn't too hard. Now was it?"
Shaking her head, Robin braved a small smile.
Kim gently leaned her head against Robin's shoulder and just allowed the silence between them to conjure up a wave of relaxation over both of them. When she felt Robin's breathing settle, Kim recalled a few of their adventures together from many years ago. "We sure were crazy a few years back." Kim laughed but Robin didn't join in. "Do you remember when we came home drunk and I couldn't climb back up in the window to get back in the dorm?"
That brought a smile to Robin's face. She remembered that they had talked about before and figured Kim had her reasons for bringing it up again.
"Because my jeans were too tight and….."
Robin's smile melted into a frown. "I remember…. those guys were all too eager to help you up after you took your jeans off."
"And you came to my rescue and helped me up yourself." Kim concluded.
"I had to. They were like hungry wolves." Robin grunted, realizing the reason Kim may have brought up the subject. Ahh…. I guess I was jealous back then and didn't have a clue..
"And the hawk swooped down and drove them away." Kim recalled a theme from one of her children stories. "You were always my hero."
"I wouldn't say that." Robin shifted uneasily. "I'm not perfect or anything." Robin figured it was better for Kim to learn about all of her flaws now before it was too late.
"None of us are." Sensing her partner was tensioning up, Kim nudged Robin. "Why don't you lay down? Go on." Kim had to coax Robin the whole way through before the dark haired woman finally dropped her head on Kim's lap. "See? That wasn't too hard."
Robin turned on her side toward Kim without saying a word.
Unconsciously, Kim allowed her fingers to brush across the length of Robin's left arm. "I shouldn't really admit this but… do you remember when you put that decorated tree on top of Yassi's roof?"
Robin's brown eyes flew open.
"I do." She continued to run her fingers along Robin's arm that now had goose bumps on it. "Yassi's boyfriend at the time had already been up on the roof putting up his own tree when I heard someone else climbing around." Kim was referring to the German tradition of decorating a small tree and sitting it up on top of the roof nearest his girlfriend's room. The annual event took place the night of April 30th and it was called a May tree. The tree symbolized to everyone that the girl in question had a beau. "It was you. You took his tree down…."
"Well, it was ugly." Robin finally confessed.
"And put yours up there." Kim stared down at Robin. "I… I pretended that you put it up there for me."
Robin jacked herself up on her elbow. "I'm sorry."
Running her fingers through Robin's short hair, Kim placed a sweet kiss on her love's lips. "It's okay. I always knew you had this thing for Yassi."
Robin's eyelids fell down.
"Robin?" Kim calling her name made Robin look back up. "I have you now and that's all that matters."
The older woman replaced her head on Kim's lap.
The silence brought a comfort between the two as each reflected upon their feelings for one another. Kim resumed her finger's journey and was now tracing Robin's tattoo. She closely studied the shaded outline nearly hidden in the feathers of the hawk. She remembered that she had seen it before but forgot to ask Robin about it. "What is that? It kinda looks like…."
"In the feathers on the hawk. It looks like the letter 'y'." Kim traced over it.
"I just got that not too long ago. It's the Greek letter for 'G'."
"But your middle name is Sean and I don't think it stands for Robin or Hart." Smiling, Kim scrunched her eyebrows together and crinkled her nose. "The snake is a sign for eternity.. I get that. Heck, I can even guess why you got the hawk. But what's up with the 'G'?"
Robin turned just enough to see Kim's face clearly. "Maybe it stands for Gayle."
"Oh, yeah, sure. I would have sworn you didn't even know I existed until just recently." Kim joked.
Seriously, Robin countered. "I always knew every minute you were around…. always."
That was music to Kim's ears. "I love you."
Robin snuggled closer. "I love you, too."
"So are you going to tell me why you got that Greek 'G'?" Kim pursued the line of question.
"Maybe it stands for a great Sappho writer who's name began with 'G'?" Robin teased her love then winked. "Then again… maybe it was you all along… after all, you're a writer."
"I write children's stories." Kim corrected her.
Robin shrugged. "Doesn't mean you can't expand."
That thought intrigued the younger woman as her hand absentmindedly ran the length of Robin's neck to her ear. There she felt the two round earrings together and played with them for a moment. She saw how the smaller one naturally slipped into the larger earring. "I meant to ask… why did you get that smaller earring?"
"Ah…..the smaller one…. well…." Robin unconsciously felt the two entwined earrings, brushing against Kim's hand. "I put that there for you. The bigger one protects the other one."
Excited, Kim asked. "Does it have a match?" Robin nodded. "Can I have it please? I want to wear it… if you don't mind that is?"
Robin smiled at the idea. She secretly wished that Kim would agree to her request of wearing the identical small earring. "Absolutely. Hold on." Robin dug into her pocket and brought out the small box. She climbed up on her knees, took out the earring and placed it in Kim's left ear.
"Does this mean we're going together?" Kim teased.
"It means so much more than that." Robin tentatively leaned down to kiss Kim gently.
When Robin's lips began to retreat, Kim chased after them. She was successful in pulling Robin's lips back to her own for a long, luscious and languid kiss.
Robin's head was spinning and her heart pounded against her chest. The woman was on fire and her instincts demanded satisfaction but Robin's insecurities raised their ugly head as she withdrew from the wonderful exchange. "I…I…." Robin sucked in a deep breath. "Can we go slow?"
The overheated auburn haired woman knew it was the best course of action but her body was also demanding to be satisfied. "Okay."
Robin started to ask again if Kim wanted anything to eat or drink but figured that would only meet with rejection. "You want to watch a movie?"
"No." A movie was not on Kim's mind.
"You want to take a walk or something." Robin desperately wanted to cool off. Her nerves were causing the inside of her stomach to churn.
"No…. maybe another time." Kim was doing all she could to ease her love's fears. "Robin?" Robin could do nothing but stare at Kim. "I want us to be… together …. tonight."
"Tonight?" Robin squeaked.
"Robin? I…." Kim scooted closer. "I don't want to rush you…us. But it feels so right between us." Then Kim realized that maybe Robin didn't feel the same or was having second thoughts on their union. "Unless of course you…"
"No." Robin shifted so their bodies were touching. "I feel… I know this is right. I do. I just that…. I've never… you see…."
Shyly, Kim leaned against Robin's chest. "I know."
"How?" Robin was completely surprised.
Kim sat back so she could look at her love. "You… what you just said and how you're acting…"
"Don't be." Kim hugged Robin. "I also kinda got the impression from Sarah that you've never been with anyone. Robin? I know this is your first time… our first time…. and there's a certain amount of trust…. love that….."
Robin was near tears when she quickly wiped them away. "Do you know how much I will treasure this experience with you? Will you….."
"Yes." Kim didn't give Robin time to respond as she found purchase with her love's lips. The younger woman put all she could in that kiss to reassure Robin that her love was forever and she would always treasure their time together. "I'll wait for as long… when you're ready."
I'm ready. That's the problem…. my body is so ready, it's screaming. "Kim." Robin wrapped her love in her arms and held her tight. "I want you… I do. I…need you but…. I'm not sure… if you'll ….. when you see me…. " Naked. Robin found it hard to even say the word.
"When I see you…. with or without clothes, I will always see the woman I love… who means more to me than life itself. You're my dream, Robin. I will always see you through the eyes of love." Kim's green eyes filled with tears that Robin gently wiped away.
"Will you…. will you show me?"
Kim stood and took Robin's hand. She gently tugged at her love, pulling Robin up off the couch. As Kim maneuvered through the living room and up the stairs to Robin's bedroom, the nervous woman followed. This would be a night Robin would remember forever and she was determined to break through all of her fears and insecurities. The one thing that gave her strength in that moment was the touch of Kim's hand on hers and the love she felt through that connection.
Robin stood on an emotional precipice as the back of her legs touched the bed behind her. Kim moved closer, placing a hand on Robin's arm. "Do you trust me?"
Nodding, Robin said. "Yes…. completely."
Kim's other arm snaked its way up Robin's side and curved around her love's neck. She kissed the panicky woman before her. The kiss was slow, tantalizing and very delicious, sending both women even higher on their road to ecstasy. However, Kim was smart enough to know that Robin would require time before any explosions would rock their world before the night was through. She was confident that they would get there by morning.
"Darling…." Robin's brown eyes were dazed after that last kiss. "Why don't you sit back on the bed?"
Robin did as she was requested.
Kim slowly unbuttoned her shirt, one button at a time. With the last button undone, she stripped open her shirt to reveal a white lace brassiere.
Robin swallowed hard. The completely smitten woman's eyes glazed over the firm breasts then fell lower to Kim's abs. Robin unconsciously licked her lips and simultaneously felt her center twitch. When Kim popped open the snap on her jeans, Robin nearly lost it. Her hands dug into the mattress in an attempt to steady herself.
"Robin? Look at me." Kim smiled because she was well aware of what she was doing to Robin. "Up here… I want you to look at me."
Robin used all the strength she had to drag her eyes from the newly revealed belly button of her love up until they finally locked onto Kim's green eyes. "I love you."
"That's nice." Kim placed both hands on Robin's face before leaning down and kissing her love. "Now don't move."
I couldn't move even if I wanted to. Robin simply nodded.
Kim lazily turned around; running her fingers along the inner waistband of her jeans then pushed them down past her backside.
Robin sucked in a heavy breath when it became clear to her that Kim was wearing a pristine white thong. Oh, God, I'm dead. I'm going to die right now. Robin would swear later that was when the dam broke, completely flooding her entire being. She had passed the point of no return.
Kim wiggled out of her jeans. As they dropped to the floor, she stepped out of them then turned back around to face Robin. "Do you like what you see?"
Scanning the length of the most beautiful body she had ever seen, Robin's head nodded up and down like one of those moving dog heads drivers have in the rear window of their cars. She had to check herself to make sure her tongue wasn't hanging out.
"Good." Kim slipped off her shirt and let it drop to the floor. "Spread your legs."
"Huh?" Literally, the whole bed was shaking from Robin's nervousness.
Wanting to calm her love, Kim stepped closer and began placing small butterfly kisses along her love's cheek as she whispered. "Spread your legs."
Robin's body fulfilled her love's command even as she did not consciously realize it. Without knowing it, Robin's hands automatically found their way to Kim's hips.
Kim reached down and tugged at the bottom of Robin's pull over shirt. "Please?" Robin's hands temporarily left Kim's hips to lift up as the woman above her relieved her of her shirt. Kim was pleased that Robin replaced her hands back on her hips. "Now stand up… please?"
As Robin stood, Kim's lips traveled along her love's neck and over her chest that was covered with a sports bra. Kim nipped at the bra. "That will have to come off…. in a minute." Robin was relieved upon hearing that last part but her body was on full alert when Kim's fingers unsnapped the button to her jeans. Looking up at Robin, Kim asked. "That wasn't too hard now was it?"
Robin's hands slid up along her love's side, coming to rest near the edge of Kim's breasts. Her eyes fell to the suddenly cumbersome bra. That's got to go. Robin was so intent upon finding out for herself what was under that bra that she didn't notice as Kim slipped her fingers under the waistband of her jeans and pushed them down. It was only when Kim ran her hands along the top of the backside of her legs that Robin jerked.
"I love you." Kim kissed her love in order to ease the worried woman in her arms.
Robin remained steady as Kim's hand traveled up on over her backside, taking all the time they needed to explore the edges of the French high cut panties. I don't think I can stand much longer.
Sensing the vulnerable woman before her was nearing a perilous edge, Kim suggested. "Why don't we lay down?"
"Okay." Robin was happy to comply as her weak knees barely accomplished the task before her. Robin slid over to the far right of the bed, allowing enough room for Kim.
Kim smiled at her reluctant love but was careful not to let out a little laugh. Reaching over to Robin, she tugged at her hand. "Over here." Kim gently directed Robin to the center of the bed.
Robin was lying on her back with Kim propped up next to her love's side by an arm. Looking down at Robin, Kim considered carefully her next move. The anxious look in her love's eyes foretold her to go slow…. real slow. "Robin? Do you mind if I just lay next to you?"
I can do that. "No." Robin opened her arms to greet her love and immediately felt the warmth of love surge through her overexcited body. This is nice … holding you. Then she realized she should say it. "Kim…. I like holding you like this."
"It fits ….. we fit." Kim agreed before slowly scooting herself up closer to Robin. After a bit, she slipped her leg over Robin. The smooth skin she met felt good as Kim glided her leg up and down the length of Robin's legs. "This is nice."
"Mmmmm…hmmmm…." Robin's fingers were sweeping over the side of Kim's back. "Very nice."
Kim realized that every step of their lovemaking would have to be her initiative but at Robin's pace. She always considered herself a quick study and put that talent to immediate use. With her eyes and hands, she took in every nuance of Robin's body from her breathing to the slightest tremor of motion. Anything that would indicate that she was moving too fast. Kim nuzzled Robin's neck as she slipped up and over her love's body.
Robin was so delirious from the tiny kisses and exploring hands that she was surprised to find Kim on top of her. However, it was a position she would come to relish through the years. Robin liked the fact that Kim was in control and felt comfortable enough to show her the way she felt. Though feeling out of control was something Robin abhorred, with Kim it somehow felt different even comfortable. "How did you get up there?"
Leaning down, Kim kissed her love. "That's my secret." She resumed the kiss as her tongue asked permission with the lick of Robin's lips and received it when the woman below her opened her mouth. They slowly explored each other, soaking in the delicious taste of each other.
Robin's mind was reeling and her body hummed with the feel of Kim on top of her. Her hands had a mind of their own as she became aware of them freely traveling up and down Kim's body. "I want you so much."
While Robin was surprised she said that out loud, Kim was delighted and it gave her the green light to speed up the seduction. Kim leaned back on her knees, pulling Robin up with her. "Let's take these off."
Robin waited for Kim to undo her brassiere. But when Kim didn't move, Robin asked. "Are you going to?"
"You do it." Kim gently commanded.
Her eyes flickered between Kim's face and her love's breasts. Robin's hands were unable to move from Kim's thighs.
Finally, Kim reached down taking Robin's hands in her and directed them to the front hook. Robin somehow was able to undo the hook, revealing what the selfish brassiere was holding. Two wonderful treasures fell into Robin's hands.
With her brown eyes glued to Kim's chest, Robin said. "Oh, my God, they're beautiful." Realizing what she just referred to, Robin tried to make amends. "I mean you're beautiful."
"But you don't think they are?"
"No! I mean, yes, they are…. I just…" Robin's head dropped.
Kim reached down to lift Robin's chin back up. "I like it that you love to look at me… and you think both me and my breasts are beautiful. Believe me, Robin it's okay. As a matter of fact, it's wonderful." Kim placed her hands over Robin's and held her soon to be lover in place, caressing her breasts.
Both Robin's eyes and hands were mesmerized from the sight and touch of Kim's firm yet soft, silky breasts that held her captive. Robin was willing to explore the treasures forever. However, Kim had another idea. Kim slipped her fingers under Robin's sports bra. "May I?"
Immediately dropping her hands, Robin shrugged. "You will probably be disappointed."
"I don't think so, love." Kim kissed Robin as she slowly removed the bra, breaking their lips only long enough for the bra to go over Robin's head. With their lips still interlocked, Kim tentatively reached down, cupping both of Robin's breasts. Kim knew she struck gold when she heard the hitch in Robin's breath.
Robin's body was strung tight and she was near explosion when Kim pushed her gently back down. Now it was time to remove Robin's panties. But when Kim tried, Robin grabbed her hands, preventing her. "I…. " Nervous brown eyes looked everywhere except at Kim.
"Do you want me to turn the lights completely off?" Kim had dimmed them earlier.
Shaking her head quickly, Robin declined the suggestion. "Let me… you go first."
"Okay." Again, she guided Robin's hand to remove her thong.
Robin's hand delighted in the task even though they were shaking like leaves in a tree being slaughtered by a hundred mile an hour wind. Somehow Robin completed her task and vaguely remembered flipping the thong on the floor but only after having a very brief lascivious thought of holding them close to her face, inhaling the aroma of her love. Summoning her courage, Robin looked at Kim and swallowed hard. "My turn?"
Nodding, Kim asked. "May I?"
"You're going to have to… I don't think I can." Robin grabbed the sheets below in order to stop her shaking hands.
With ease and such love, Kim looped her fingers in the waistband of Robin's panties, sliding them down the length of her love's long legs and then tossed them carelessly aside. Gazing down at her completely naked love, Kim smiled. "You're beautiful."
Not believing Kim, Robin reached for the top sheet. It never made it across her body because Kim was there first. And it felt so good. Skin on skin.
"I want to make love to you, Robin." Kim gazed at the woman below her with unadulterated love in her eyes.
"Kim?" Robin was hesitant to express her thoughts. "I want this, too."
When Robin didn't continue, Kim coaxed her love to share what was on her mind. "Tell me, please." Kim smothered her with sweet, gentle kisses that fanned the flame of fire burning inside Robin.
"I love you and I want this to be…. it's special…. " Robin had to stop when Kim kissed her and she eagerly returned the kiss. Feeling much love by the woman on top of her, Robin mustered the courage to continue. "You're special and this…."
"So are you, my love." Kim rubbed her body up against Robin, causing the poor woman below her to shiver.
"I'm giving you… not only my…." Robin hoped Kim would get her drift. "…. my first time but my heart…. " She drew in a very deep breath. "My very soul."
"Oh, God, sweetheart….. Robin…." Kim faced the final gateway to Robin's heart and she knew her next words would be the key that allowed entry or deny it. "You're my breath, my heartbeat…. you are my very soul."
The sweet, gentle and innocent lovemaking they shared in that first time was etched in their memories forever. It was framed as a treasure in their minds and would be remembered with each glance, each touch, each 'I love you' and nothing would ever tarnish the brilliance of their first night together.
They shared a passionate night of love and by morning Robin was a woman possessed and she loved it. In one single night, most of her inhibitions were slowly peeled away and Kim could attest to it when Robin met her in the bathroom.
Kim woke up early in the morning wrapped inside of Robin's arms, feeling safe and secure something she had never experienced before when she was with Sandro. Looking at the small smile playing around her lover's lips, she couldn't help and smiled back in response. Slowly turning her head to her left side, she checked the time on the stereo that was conveniently placed beside the large bed and after seeing what time it was Kim decided to get dressed. Kim put on her panties and Robin's T-shirt in order to open the blinds. She knew about that little quirk of her lover and while finding it quite amusing she wanted to let her sleep in and do this favor.
After her task was completed, Kim decided to take a quick shower but before she could get in the shower, suddenly Robin wrapped her arms around her lover. The passion inside exploded as their tongues clashed in a war of dominance. The taller woman's hand glazed up along the curve of the woman in her arms. Heat and fire flickered, spiraling upward… like a raging inferno sizzling from her touch. Breaking breathlessly from the enticing lips of her lover, the smaller woman grasped for a much needed breath. "I love you."
Again, her lover claimed her mouth, probing deeply, needing to feel, needing to be inside the woman who held her heart. The dark haired woman pulled her lover closer. They could not get close enough. Perspiration trickled, bringing a very heady sexual scent that aroused both over heated women.
"Take me." The auburn haired woman demanded.
With fierce intensity, fluid brown eyes pierced into green, saying the words she never thought she would. "I love you." A shudder ran through the older woman before the walls around her heart crumbled at the woman in her arm's feet. "With all that I am… from the very depths of my soul… by God, I love you so much." Claiming her lover's lips, the dark haired woman poured all of her love into every kiss.
"Now…. take me now!" Breathless, the shorter woman commanded.
Lifting her woman up, Robin carried her lover back into the bedroom and crossed the floor. Gently, she placed Kim on the bed they would share for a lifetime. With such loving devotion, Robin tenderly stripped away the clothes of her lover and with each piece of clothing shed, the stoic woman cast years of doubt and fear from her heart forever. Opening it at last to the only woman she would ever love, Robin surrendered to Kim the key to her innocent heart.
Perspiration beaded up on the auburn haired woman's forehead so once again Robin gently wiped it away. "Your doing great, Kim." Robin brushed her lips against her lover's head.
Kim was in the final stages of giving birth and with the pain nearing more than she felt she could handle, the about to be mother squeezed Robin's hand. Huffing, Kim barely whispered. "Robin…. "
Drawing even closer to her partner, Robin tried to reassure Kim. "I'm here."
"Robin…." Then the doctor ordered her to push again.
The doctor looked up at Kim and smiled. "There's the head…. one more ought to do it. Wait till I tell you."
Robin didn't think it was possible but her hand felt like it was in a vise under Kim's strong grip. "You hear that…. one more." When the doctor gave Kim the go ahead for the final push, Robin wrapped her right arm around Kim, helping her sit up. The older woman felt her own stomach strain with Kim's labor pain.
With one final grunt, Kim pushed out the baby. Breathing heavily, she relaxed. She tried to see over her still inflated stomach but couldn't see the baby yet so she searched Robin's face. "Is the baby okay?" Kim didn't hear any crying.
Concerned, Robin jerked her head up and around in order to get a better view of what was going on but felt sudden relief when the doctor held the baby up for both of them to see. It was obvious the baby had healthy lungs but to Robin the baby seemed very small.
"It's a girl." The doctor smiled.
The doctor was about to hand the baby up to Kim when the new mother felt another labor pain. "Doctor!"
The doctor handed the baby over to a nearby nurse who took her and immediately cleaned the baby up.
"Don't worry….Kim. Go ahead and push it's just the……" But what she expected wasn't what she received since it had a full head of hair. "Uh oh…"
Frantic, Kim cried. "What do you mean 'uh oh'? Robin!"
Trying to calm her love, Robin moved to see what was going on down there. She was still holding Kim's hand and it was a good thing because what she saw made her pale. "It's… it's…."
Kim didn't hear much as she was pushing hard when the doctor ordered.
Holding on to her only lifeline by way of Kim's hand, Robin froze at the sight of another baby being born. Dizzy, Robin loosened her hold on Kim's hand.
In the midst of giving birth to a second baby, Kim was astute enough to see Robin's dilemma. "Robin." Her calm and steady voice shored up her partner's shaken resolve. "Come here."
Robin returned to her place by Kim. Sucking in breath after breath, Robin started hyperventilating. "Kim…. there's another…. " Robin nodded her head. "…one in there."
The doctor spared the delivering mother a look before she said. "Okay, Kim …. another push should do it."
"Robin… " Feeling the onslaught of another labor pain, Kim quickly grabbed Robin's chin, swinging it back to her. Green eyes locked onto Robin as she said. "Honey, I need you… okay?"
Shaking her reeling mind from the unexpected arrival of another baby, Robin closed her eyes briefly, gaining her composure. When she reopened her brown eyes, Robin smiled. "Ready?" Kim nodded as they waited for the doctor to give the final command to push.
When the order came, Robin shifted around Kim for the last push that brought another little girl into this world. Kim fell back in Robin's arms and gained some much needed rest before another smaller pain shot through her, releasing the afterbirth.
Robin placed a gentle kiss on Kim's lips. "I love you so much."
"I did good, huh?"
Smiling, Robin's eyes gleamed. "You did good, all right…. twice!"
Two nurses brought the tiny girls over to Kim, handing one to the new mother and one to Robin. Staring at the new life in their arms, Robin and Kim's hearts exploded with love for their daughters.
The doctor asked. "I hope you have two names picked out." It was not only a complete surprise to both Kim and Robin that she was carrying twins but the ultrasounds didn't reveal this fact either. The doctor grinned as she watched the young couple with their children. "Sometimes it happens."
The older woman carefully held the bundle of joy in her arms. "Mmmmm…."
"I want you to name them." Kim nodded.
Feeling a heavy weight of responsibility in this honor Kim was bestowing on her, Robin drew in a deep breath. She stared intently at the first born in her arms and said. "Maike." Then looked to her twin sister that Kim was holding and added. "Megan?"
Smiling, Kim agreed. "Maike and Megan….." The new mother looked up at Robin before adding. "Patakas Hart."
By adding Robin's last name to their children's name, Kim's words sent a rainbow of love through Robin's heart, capturing it again completely. "Thank you." Robin leaned down and kissed her lover. "I love you."
With both her children nearby, Kim winked at Robin. "And we… love you."
The doctor and nurses left the couple alone for a while so the new family could get acquainted. Robin edged further up on the bed, handing Maike to Kim as she still held on to Megan. Sliding slightly behind Kim, Robin wrapped her arm around her partner and leaned her cheek up against Kim's head. "I'm going to remember this day forever. Kim, I just never knew I would ever feel this way." Robin brushed her lips against her partner's head. "You gave this…. all of this to me." Unshed tears began to build in her brown eyes as Robin lovingly gazed at the three women in her life.
Kim leaned down to first kiss Megan's head then Maike before turning upward locking onto the brown eyes of her lover. "You…. you're the one that gave all of this to me. Our family."
Squeezing her lover gently, Robin chuckled as she thought about their future with their……twins. "Guess I'll have to stop by Sarah's and see if she has an extra car seat."
Thank you for taking the time to read this story. Feedback is greatly appreciated at firstname.lastname@example.org *** Please take the time to let us know what you think. We would love to hear from you!!!
Here is the web addy for anyone wishing to check out the Hohenzollern castle in the story:
An Innocent Heart is the first in a series of stories about Robin Hart and Kim Patakas along with their two children, Maike and Megan.
This is copyrighted material, © 2003 Binkley and Freudenmann…all rights reserved. It may be reproduced, duplicated or printed for personal use only. For all other uses, please contact email@example.com