Carrie Ryan & K. Darblyne


"...Your Grandma told you stay away from freaks like me, the ones that act real cool, break those rules, I ain't so bad you'll see..."

Installment Two – Leaving…On a Jet Plane

The rhythmic ticking of Mable’s travel alarm clock marked time for the random thoughts in her head. The day had been a hectic one, complete with trials and tribulations but in the end, it had turned out well. Brooke and Sam were together now and that alone put a smile on her matriarchal face. The daughter she had always been so worried about had set off on a path with a strong partner by her side.

The woman turned onto her back and stared into the blackness of the night. Her thoughts changed with her position and her heart felt heavy with sorrow for her daughter-in-law’s parents. Try as she might, Mable could not fathom the emotions that she saw earlier from the pair.

Her mind shifted to the somber looking Samuel after his return to the gathering. His mumbled apologies to the guests were a sight Mable never wanted to see again. She glanced over to her own husband and made a mental note to tell him how much his time spent with Samuel would mean to Sam once she found out. Whatever he had said to the grim looking man had made a world of difference in his demeanor, at least on his outside appearance.

The sound of Henry’s snore brought her out of her thoughts and into the present. She rolled over and gently patted his shoulder, "Henry, what if you didn’t have me to talk to?"

"Mmmph…" came his muffled, sleepy answer and the snoring softened but didn’t stop.

Mable pondered an idea for a moment then slipped out from under the covers. Pulling on a pair of pants and a sweater, she took her shoes and her room key in her hand and headed for the door.

Mable stopped at the desk only long enough to jot a few words down onto the hotel’s stationary. "There, just so you won’t worry, Henry." She turned back to look at her slumbering mate. "Thanks for the idea, my Love." She threw her husband a kiss and was out the door, closing it softly.

"Okay," she turned with the click of the lock and in the subdued lighting of the hallway slipped into her shoes. "Now, to see what I can do for damage control." She took in a deep breath and started down the hall.


Staring into the fireplace, Elaine sat motionless in the lonely hotel lobby. The only movement in the room besides the flickering of the flames for the last few hours was the almost motionless desk clerk. She paid him no mind, now with his head propped up on his hand as he casually paged through some paperwork. The quiet of the room had left her more alone with her thoughts then she cared to be. Looking up at the figure that was crossing the room, she felt her already bad mood worsening as a hesitant frown came to her face and a groan stuck in her throat. She watched as the woman went to the refreshment island and poured two cups of tea.

"Honey or sugar?"

Elaine didn’t believe her ears and she looked directly at the woman who was speaking to her. A fast turn of her head revealed no one else in the room. "Are you asking me?"

The dark haired woman looked around then smiled back with her reply, "I hate sitting up and drinking alone. I thought that maybe…" Mable shrugged. "We could drink our tea together and take some of the chill away. That is if you don’t mind my company for a while."

"No…I was just…" Elaine looked into the flames again and cleared her throat. "Sugar, please," she said, turning to meet the woman’s eyes for only a second. "I think…maybe…" she looked away. "I’d like some company for a while. We could both share the fire." She motioned to a chair across from hers.

Mable crossed the room carrying the two cups and offered the one with sugar in it to her lobby mate. "I can see where Sam gets her good looks."

Elaine’s eyes riveted to the woman as she lifted the cup to her mouth and sipped at it. "You know my Samantha?" She paused for only a second and then demanded, "How?"

"My daughter C.C. shared a room with her in the dorm this semester."

Studying the woman closely as she sat the cup back down, she sighed silently then looked away into the flames. "You must think that I hate my daughter." Elaine stole a glance in Mable’s direction. "I don’t. I…I just don’t think she’s very wise in this judgment of hers. Does that make me so bad?" She braced herself for a conflict.

"No, I don’t think you hate her." Mable chose her words carefully. "I think you just don’t have all the facts." She settled into her chair and sipped at her tea. "Believe me, I know what you’re going through."

The brief sound of clipped laughter tumbled from Elaine’s mouth. "Like you’d have a daughter in the same position as me." Her eyes flirted with the fire as she went for her drink again. "I doubt that. You’re too young to know this kind of torture."

"Actually, I do." Mable took another sip at her tea. "I was there myself about 17 years ago. I’m Brooke’s mother, too." She glanced over to the woman to see the reaction her revelation would get. "I’m a little older than you think."

"What? I don’t remember seeing you at the…" Shocked by the candor, Elaine felt her emotions swing into action as she thought about the events of the afternoon.

Mable slowly nodded. "I was there. I was the one shielding my grandchildren from the melee of the press."

"And you let this happen? Don’t you care about her? See that things wouldn’t be better if she were…"

"Normal?" Mable finished her thought. "Believe me, those two are more normal than half of the straight people I know."

The enraged woman sat forward. "You don’t know my daughter." Elaine squinted her eyes for a few seconds and slowly sat back in her chair, her face almost emotionless now. "I don’t even know my daughter," she mumbled in realization, then looked to the woman across from her. "And…" Elaine paused not knowing what to call the woman.

"Mable," the woman offered her name as she brought her cup up to drink from.

"Mable, what do you term as normal…" Elaine’s eyes turned cold, "…to be an outcast of society?"

The Gordon matriarch thought for a moment then answered. "I'd have to say that my definition of normal is someone who comes from a good family upbringing, which Samantha obviously has." She nodded toward Elaine. "Someone who takes everything God has given them and makes the best out of the situation, good or bad. It’s someone who is very giving, loyal, and gives love as freely as it is offered. Both of our daughters try, to the best of their abilities, to offer what they can to society. I love my daughter very much," she brought the cup to her lips, "and yours too, I might add."

"And what do you call this…" Elaine took in a deep breath. "This mockery of family life. Two women together," she closed her eyes in disgust. "What kind of love is that?"

"That…" Mable paused for effect, "…is the love that God gave them. I truly believe that their love is just as much a gift from God as the love that you and I both share with our husbands."

"Why…I would have been sent off and never heard from again if I’d done this to my mother." Elaine puffed out her chest, proud of her upbringing. "Is it some bad seed or just the wheel of fate that makes them like that? Sam couldn’t have possibly wanted to be this way."

The question was left lingering in the air for several minutes before Mable shattered the quiet once again. "You know, Mrs. Moleson, there must have been something that your mother had planned for you that you never followed through on or disagreed with…" she shifted her position in the chair to face the woman across from her. "Nobody wants to be that way," she shrugged. "Why would they choose to be like that when they have to deal with so much ridicule and hatred from their peers and society in general? Nobody would willingly choose that. It’s not a choice for them to make." Mable looked down into her cup of tea.

The words caught Elaine off guard. She didn’t expect to hear them from someone who accepted her daughter’s lifestyle and it made her think. She picked up her own cup of tea and stared silently into it, listening to the words of the woman as they continued to reveal Mable’s reasoning.

"It’s who they are and all we can do as parents is to love them." Mable sipped her beverage. "We accept them as best we can to make it a little easier along their way. I do believe that it was fate that those two daughters of ours met."

"You…you seem to have…adjusted to this way of life with your daughter." Elaine’s gaze met Mable’s. "How?"

The smile broadened across Mable’s face as she thought back over the years. "I didn’t really have a choice," she chuckled. "She was my second child…" Mable paused then corrected herself. "Actually, my third. I miscarried between Randi and Brooke. That made her all the more special to me. Brooke told me when she was twelve that she thought she was…different." She looked to Elaine and confided, "I always told her she could tell her father and me anything. I love her too much to let who she loves come between us." She watched as Mable sipped at her tea. "We talked about it. I didn’t quite understand but I let her know that I still loved her and would try to help her make the right choices. I think she did."

"And you don’t mind this…" Elaine looked directly at Mable. "This notoriety of her sexual preference?"

"And how many mothers could say that they had a thirty year old virgin for a daughter?" Mable smirked, "She wasn’t the one who made that sexual preference public knowledge. It was the people around her."

"But I thought that if they were gay, they were…"

"Promiscuous? Hardly." Mable shook her head. "When Brooke was in the band, James had a problem with her because he wanted her. She didn’t want him. He tried some things and she didn't go along with them, so he got together with the record company execs and they pretty much outted her against her wishes. They tried to trash her reputation saying she was with all of these nasty women but believe me she wasn't. Brooke was never one to really date anyone, male or female."

"How could she be sure she was gay if she was a virgin?" Elaine interrupted.

"The same way you and I knew." Mable had the hint of a blush starting at her cheeks. "We were attracted to men when we were still virgins." She looked over to Elaine. "She just knew. Like she knew that music was what she was all about." Mable smiled as she remembered Sam’s first dinner at their home. "She opened up so much when she met Sam. I saw a side of her that I never thought I'd see."

"Samantha did that?" Elaine repositioned herself more attentively. "I mean…how could my Sammi show you something about your own daughter." She watched Mable intently as she waited for an answer.

"I had been concerned about my Brooke. She was thirty years old and showed no interest in anything other than music. Henry and I won't be around forever and I despised the thought of Brooke being alone." Mable sat back in her chair and thought about the rest of her family. "I mean, Randi is married to Brian and they have three wonderful children. Terri is married to Rick and they have one on the way. C.C.," she sighed. "Well, I'm sure C. C. will meet someone and get married, but Brooke..." Mable smiled. "Brooke was very open and candid around us but there always seemed to be something missing about her. You could see all of that change the day she met Sam. There was actually a life in those blue eyes of hers and love for someone other than her family." She reached over and picked up her cup of tea. "It was actually very sweet how she courted Sam." Mable smiled as she thought about it.

"You mean that they just didn’t…ah…didn’t just…" Elaine motioned with a wiggle of her eyebrows. "You know…"

Looking confused at first, Mable realized what Elaine was thinking. "Oh, that…" her eyes grew wider. "No, they didn’t. Not for quite a while." Mable sipped at her tea. "Did you know that they were each other’s firsts?"

Elaine's eyes narrowed as she realized that she hadn't known her daughter at all. "Why, I just figured that when Samantha said that she was gay, she just did it with everyone."

"No," Mable said, without a doubt in her mind. "I believe it was fate that they found each other and that they waited for each other."

Staring into the fireplace, Elaine tried to wrap her mind around the image of her daughter with words that she could easily deal with. She sat there for the longest of moments before a smirk came to her face. "Well, at least my daughter was the one that was courted."

Elaine’s sly smile brought one of the same to Mable’s face. "That’s true, but Sam courted Brooke, too. From day one everything was a mutual decision between them."

"Well, either way, it looks like yours wears the pants in that fami…" she stopped and redirected her thought. "They do make a cute coup…I mean," the words felt odd coming from her mouth and she had to force herself to say something. "I…I’m not at all comfortable with this yet."

"It takes time. Give it a chance, Mrs. Moleson. Believe me, I know it's hard but I'll be there to help you." Mable studied Elaine for a moment then softly added, "As well as your husband and Sam too…if you let them know that you want it." She reached over and patted the woman’s hand as it rested on the arm of the chair. "She speaks very highly of you, you know. I know that Sam loves you very much. You know that she misses you and her father very much? I tried to make her feel as at home as possible but you can never replace your own mother."

Elaine looked to Mable with hope-filled eyes. "She does? I would have thought," fear now took hold of her emotions.

"I’ll tell you what, why don't you let things settle for tonight and join all of us for breakfast with them in the morning."

"You'd actually want me to be there?" Doubt rested on the woman’s face.

"Of course. You’re as much a part of this family now as Sam is. I'd be delighted if you would join us." Mable leaned in and whispered, "Besides, my wealthy daughter is buying."

"I'm not one to change my mind overnight Mrs. Gordon. I can't promise you anything, but that I'll show up. It’s going to take more than just having breakfast for me to be able to deal with all of this."

"That's fine and please call me Mable." She stood up and walked over to Elaine, giving a reassuring touch of her hand on the woman’s shoulder. "Just give them a chance and try to have an open mind is all that I ask.

"Mable," Elaine let their eyes meet. "Thank you for this…chat. I'm sure we'll be doing it again."

"I wouldn't have it any other way." Mable smiled as she moved from the room and hoped that Sam’s mother would accept the new couple.


Even though her head still felt like she was floating in the clouds, Sam could sense Brooke’s hold on her. The strong arms wrapped around her midsection, long legs intertwined with hers, and moist kisses being placed upon her shoulder all added to the pleasure that she had known for the last twelve hours or more. In fact, Sam’s mind slowly began to reason that the kisses were leading to more wetness on her body than just her shoulder.

Barely opening one eyelid, she gazed upon her lover’s attentive face. "Hmm…this is simply glorious," she purred. "Can we get married every day?"

"We can get married every hour if you’d like," Brooke said seductively as she peppered her wife’s neck with kisses. "Good morning, Gorgeous." Brooke whispered in her ear out of habit. "Oh, excuse me," she paused for effect. "I meant Mrs. Moleson-Gordon."

Sam could feel her heart flutter at the sound of her wife’s words. "Nope," she shook her head slightly as she traced her fingers over Brooke’s face. "Not every hour. That wouldn’t be enough time to… " Sam smiled coyly, "…do what I like the best."

A dark brow arched high as Brooke’s interest was piqued. "Oh yeah?" She watched as green eyes twinkled mischievously.

"Yeah," Sam cleared her throat quietly. "You even seemed to like it quite nicely yourself, Brooke Moleson-Gordon."

Sam turned and kissed a smiling Brooke on the lips and when they parted each resumed their previous positions with a renewed feeling of content.

The silence was broken by the sound of Brooke’s voice. "Samantha Addams Moleson-Gordon and Brooke Loran Moleson-Gordon…" she listened to Sam’s sigh. "Now that’s a real mouthful." She grinned into her wife’s shoulder.

Sam debated with herself for a minute, and then spoke the words aloud. "Brooke…I was…"

"Hmm…?" Brooke lifted her head and searched out her favorite place to show her affection.

The kiss on her ear distracted Sam for only a second. "I was thinking. Do we have to keep that name? I mean…the one that the minister gave us?"

"What…Moleson-Gordon?" Brooke mumbled as she moved to the spot behind Sam’s ear and kissed it. "Why?"

Goosebumps erupted all over Sam’s body and she closed her eyes to savor the feelings it evoked throughout her body. "You know what that does to me, Hon…" Sam giggled when Brooke’s hand brushed over her nipple. "Ohhh…" She pushed it away. "I’m trying to be serious here." She gave a not-so-stern look to her lover. "We never thought about that before the ceremony."

"What…" Brooke pulled herself back to rise up on her elbow and stare at Sam’s breast. "I’ve thought about all of you…" her tongue slid across her lips wetting them, "since I set eyes on you."

"All of me or just certain parts?" Sam asked teasingly. She watched the blush grow in her wife’s cheeks. "I thought so," she said. "Lucky for you that we’re already married," Sam winked. "Okay, back to the original topic. Maybe we should change that name before it sticks with us…the Moleson-Gordon.

"Why?" Brooke rested her head in her hand and concentrated on what Sam was saying. "What’s wrong with it?"

"Well…" Sam turned to face her wife, "To be honest, every time that I see a hyphenated name like that I think of kids that never had parents that had no intentions of getting married when they were born." She slipped her left hand into Brooke’s and brought them into both of their sights. "We are married. I don’t want that stigma being laid on our children."

"Then let’s just pick one of them."

"Which one?"

They looked at each other for a second and stated verbally their thoughts simultaneously.

"Gordon," Sam said with a smile.

"Moleson," Brooke nodded.

Laughter filled the room and as their gazes locked on one another, their mood became serious once again.

"So, you think you could be that flexible to change your identity, eh?" Sam placed a stray lock of hair behind Brooke’s ear, "My wife."

"Why not? I’m all yours anyway."

Green eyes roamed over the body next to her, lingering occasionally. "Hmm…I’ll say that again."

"Brooke Loran Moleson…" she said her name thoughtfully. "What’s wrong with that? I can change it. I need new business cards anyway."

"Nothing…but I was thinking…" Sam took in a breath. "How about…Samantha Addams Gordon?" Sam watched Brooke’s face hopefully. Please Brooke, I want to be a part of a real family…a loving family. The thought raced through her mind like a prayer and she found herself gazing into the depths of blue pools for an answer.

Overwhelmed with emotion, Brooke did the only thing she could think of. She leaned in and started kissing Sam on her neck. "But Baby…your initials would be S-A-G."

She shrugged indifferently to the letters. "Most people have a normal middle name. Brooke, I’m already saddled with two last names from birth. I don’t want a third." Sam pointed to a missed area of her neck, eliciting another kiss. "So it will fit when I’m old, gray, and ah…" she looked down to her breasts, "…Saggy." She looked to her wife. "Are you still going to like me when I’m that old?"

"No, I won't like you." Brooke shook her head watching for Sam’s reaction.

"What?" Sam’s eyes bugged, fearing the worst.

"I'll love you even more knowing that I was able to spend the majority of my life with you." Brooke wrapped her arms around Sam. "I could take your name. I'd love to share that with you."

"What...you want to be a beer, too? It gets old after a while, Brooke." Sam rolled her eyes thinking of all the whispered jokes from the groups she had been a part of. "Think of our kids, if we have any. Do you want them to hear the jokes about being a Sam Addams and a Moleson all at the same time?"

"When we have any…" Brooke corrected her.

Sam giggled, "You're right, when we have them." Sam touched Brooke’s chest lovingly. "Trust me on this one, Brooke. I’ve always prayed for a better name to come along someday." She looked into her wife’s eyes and confided. "Besides, I kind of always wanted to be a part of a loving family. Brooke, letting me take your last name would make it so."

"If that’s what you really want, baby…"

"That’s what I’d like." Sam touched their foreheads together. "But…what I really want is…" she whispered, pulling back so that Brooke could see her wiggling eyebrows. "I want you." She drew out the word with her lips lingering in a pucker.

"Oh yeah…" Brooke tried to calm her racing heart with a deep breath. "Whatcha gonna do with me?"

"Well…it sure isn’t eating breakfast with a lot of relatives around us." Sam’s seductive purr nearly melted Brooke. "If you catch my drift."

"Oh, yeah…" Brooke’s eyes darkened as the passion inside her built up and she moved closer to Sam. "But Baby, we don’t have to be there for another…" she glanced past the table they had eaten their delivered meal at, to the clock on the mantle above the fireplace. "Two hours. Hmm…" she brought her eyes to the empty bottle of champagne lying on its side next to the glasses on the nightstand and smiled remembering the card that came with it. Brooke made a mental note to thank Sam’s Aunt for the gift.

"What are you smiling at?"

"Nothing…" she turned her attention to the body beside her. Her head dipped down and she rolled her tongue around a pert nipple. "So, what can I do with you?" She proceeded to drop a line of kisses down Sam’s abdomen. Reaching Sam’s navel, Brooke looked to see the effect that she was having on her wife. "To you," she amended her thought seeing the pleased look on Sam’s face. It wasn’t but a second longer, and Sam’s hands began urging Brooke further south.


The noise level in the room was no more different than the Gordon house during a family dinner. The sound of chattering filled the air highlighted by the ringing sound of child-like laughter. The gathered friends and family made good use of their time together as they awaited the arrival of the honored couple.

Given the job as lookout, C.C. had one by one greeted all of the guests with a large smile. She watched the main entrance into the dinning room and waited to get the first dig in on her newly married sister. Seeing Brooke’s head high above the line at the door, C.C. rubbed her hands together and cleared her throat. "Don’t look now, they’re here." She stood up and pointed to them as they entered the room. Her snide comment was said loud enough so that all could hear. "Now maybe they’ll let us have some chocolate milk. Hey, Brooke," she directed her comment to her sister. "You did leave some chocolate syrup for us to use, didn’t you? You know the kids don’t drink coffee."

Instinctively Brooke snagged a mini muffin off the table and threw it at C.C., "Be quiet, brat." She shot a glare at her baby sister. "There might be some left but I don’t think you’d want it." Brooke showed the tip of her tongue to C.C.

Sam moved closer and whispered in her wife’s ear. "Brooke, you know that we didn’t…" her words stopped with the touch of Brooke’s kiss on her cheek.

"I know that…" she caught Sam’s eye and glanced over to C.C., "But she doesn’t." Brooke winked and flashed a dazzling smile as she leaned in to whisper. "Okay, Darlin’, I’ll behave."

"Hi, Mom," Sam turned to her mother-in-law next to her. She placed a kiss on her cheek. "Hi, Dad." Sam met her father-in-law halfway as they both stood and leaned in exchanging kisses on their cheeks. Sam nudged Brooke and watched expectantly.

"What, Sweetheart?" Brooke had yet to take her eyes off of Sam.

"You know, you could be sociable. There are other people here besides me."

Dutifully Brooke nodded and replicated the actions of her wife. "Hi, Mom." She moved toward her father. "Hi, Pop."

"And the training begins," Randi said with a raised eyebrow. "I’m impressed." She raised her coffee cup and saluted Sam’s effort. "Morning you two."

Brooke retracted the beginnings of a snarl for her sister when Samuel entered the room. "Hello, Mr. Moleson," she extended her hand in his direction.

"Good morning, Brooke." He grasped her hand and felt her nervousness, more now than when they had first met. Samuel looked her straight in the eye and commented. "I hope you rested comfortably…"

The woman swallowed and cleared her throat, trying not to let her nervousness manifest. "Ah…Yes, Sir." She breathed a sigh of relief when Samuel’s eyes turned to his daughter.

"Hey, Baby Cakes…" he opened his arms to Sam. "How’s my married daughter doing?"

The newly wed started to blush as she mustered out her words, "Fine, Daddy, just fine." She wrapped her arms around him and softly whispered into his ear. "But ‘Baby Cakes’, Daddy?" She felt his shrug and their hug grew stronger.

Not wanting to miss anyone, Brooke sauntered past Sarah’s chair and greeted her. "Hey there, kiddo." She let her hand ruffle the top of her sister-in-law’s hair. "So what’s good here?" Brooke eyed the menu in the girl’s hand.

Without any hesitation, C.C. looked over to Sam and smiled. "Do I really have to tell you?" She leered at Brooke.

"I was speaking to Sarah, C.C." Brooke looked at her sister in the next chair. "I haven’t gotten to you yet." She grinned looking at her sister’s top. "Well, other than that mini muffin I landed down your shirt."

C.C. stuck out her tongue rather childishly. "Oh, and I thought I was growing."

"Morning Sarah," Sam touched her sister on the shoulder and tried to move the conversation to more sociable topics.

"Hi, Sam." The girl’s eyes glanced past her sister and settled on Brooke. "Hey, Brooke, did you do any more praying last night?" Sarah smiled sweetly.

Brooke slowly looked to Sam and the smile on her face began to grow. "Your sister did, Sarah. But…I was the one worshipping." Blue eyes twinkled at the innuendo as her gaze lingered on, complete with a toothy smile.

The color in Sam’s cheeks turned from pale to red in less time than it took for the words to sink in. "Enough about religion," she grabbed Brooke’s hand and pulled her along toward a group of empty chairs. "Oh look, they saved us some seats."

With a few strides of long legs, Brooke was in position, pulling out Sam’s chair for her. "After you," she purred. Taking Sam’s hand in hers, Brooke brought it to her lips and kissed it. She waited for her wife to settle into the seat and handed her the menu before sitting down in the next chair.

"Thanks, Hon," she perused through the menu while letting her hand come to rest on Brooke’s leg. "I’m really hungry this morning…" Sam held in the smile that tried surfacing on her face. Without concern, she overtly disregarded the stares that came from her new family. "It must be this mountain air," Sam could feel the muscles in Brooke’s leg tense and she looked up to her wife. Seeing that she was not the focus of Brooke’s attention. "Hey, I thought that all your attention was supposed to be on me until the honeymoon was over." Sam carefully followed Brooke’s transfixed gaze. "What are you looking at?"

Holding on to any semblance of neutrality, Brooke answered her. "Your Mother."

Half afraid of what she might start, Samuel turned in his chair and crossed to meet his wife. "Elaine…" his voice was civil but his eyes flashed with concern. His forced smile wasn’t very convincing. He waited until he was next to her before saying anything else and then kept it quiet so that only she could hear it. "What are you doing here? Wasn’t yesterday enough?"

"I…ah…I…" Elaine’s eyes quickly roamed the room taking in the intermingled Gordon and Moleson families. She took in a deep breath and started over. "I was wondering where you and Sarah were." She lowered her voice so that only her husband could hear her, "I thought that we could talk, Samuel." She looked into his eyes, hoping that she hadn’t already been written off.

There was a long moment of silence before he closed his eyes and nodded. "Not here, Elaine. I’ll not spoil another day for anyone other than ourselves."

Sam watched the exchange of looks from one parent to the other. She could almost feel the tension in the air as everyone around the table waited to see what would happen next. Deciding to be the more gracious hostess, she put on her best smile and rose to greet the woman. "Good morning, Mother. Are you going to join us for breakfast?"

"Everyone’s more than welcome," Brooke said as she stood up next to Sam and pointed to the empty chair between Samuel and Brooke. "Please, have a seat."

Now the center of the spotlight, Elaine didn’t know what to do. "I…ah…" her quick glance to Samuel told her that she was on her own and she quickly sought out Mable. All it took was seeing the nod of the matriarch’s head and she felt inclined to stay. "Thank you, Brooke." Elaine moved to the waiting chair and sat down. Sensing a nudging to her left, she looked down to see a small girl trying to push in her chair.

"I help, Aunt Bwooke," the toddler beamed, looking up with a determined face.

"And who is this little girl?" Elaine smiled down at the child. "I don’t think we’ve been introduced."

Taking a deep breath in and out in huff, the tyke put her hands on her hips. "I’m Juwee." The child proceeded to introduce her family. "Dat’s my Aunt Bwooke and my new Aunt Sam."

Elaine cleared her throat, trying not to laugh. "That’s nice but who do you belong to?"

Julie stretched out her arm and pointed toward the next table. "Dat’s my Mommy, and Daddy." The toddler looked the woman over for a second or two then asked what she needed to know. "Are you Sam’s Mommy?"

Pleased with the traditional family, Elaine found herself breathing easier. She even smiled as she exchanged nods with the couple until Julie’s question caught her off guard. "Why…ah…" her attention was drawn to the rather loud cough coming from Mable’s side of the dining room. "Yes…" she looked to the ground rather sheepishly, then finished her statement barely louder than a whisper. "I try to be."

"I tought so." Julie crawled up into the woman’s lap and gave her a hug much to the astonishment of Elaine.

"She’s a…" Elaine tried to hide her shock as she searched for a word to describe the child, "…friendly, isn’t she?"

"Don’t worry, Mother. She grows on you…" Sam looked over to Brooke, "…in more ways than one." She wiggled her eyebrows and let a small giggle escape from her mouth.

"Come on, Rugrat." Brooke held out her arms to Julie. "I’m sure that Sam’s Mommy would like to eat breakfast."

The youngster looked from one adult to the other, then leaned in close to Elaine’s ear and whispered. "I’ll be back." The next second Julie was launching herself into Brooke’s arms and giggling.

"What? No hello for me?" Sam looked around Brooke’s shoulder and pouted.

"AUNT SAM," Julie screamed in delight with her arms outstretched and her feet moving wildly as she clamored over her tall aunt to climb into Sam’s lap.

"Come here, Punkin." Sam held the child tightly to herself and kissed her head. "So, when you going to come visit us again?"

The child’s mother sat amazed. "Wow, I never thought I’d see the day that Julie would leave her Aunt Brooke to go to anybody," Randi teased. "You’re definitely family now, Sam."

"Randi," Sam laughed openly as she winked at Brooke. "I’ve always been family."

Quick reflexes on Brooke’s part snagged the mini muffin that was headed toward Sam’s chest and she looked over to her brother-in-law.

Brian grinned devilishly. "I don’t think that’s what she meant by family, silly."

"Sorry," Sam offered, wrinkling up her nose. She let her attention focus on the child in her arms for a moment then commented. "You know, I do kind of feel like I’ve finally come home." She let her gaze take in the gathering of friends and relatives. "You are my family." Sam swallowed nervously as she noted the hurt and confused look on her mother’s face.

From sheer happiness at Sam’s sentiment, to a single face filled with confusion, Brooke took in the expressions of the people around her. Although she harbored animosity toward Sam’s mother, Brooke really wanted it all to work out for the better. She could already see that Elaine was becoming self-conscious around them and tried to ease the woman’s apprehension. With as much sincerity as she could show, Brooke locked gazes with her mother-in-law and spoke quietly. "Thanks for joining us, Mrs. Moleson."

Elaine didn’t look away but instead studied the woman intently. "You’re…a very polite hostess."

"And we’re not even at Aunt Brooke’s house," Kevin nodded eagerly as he smiled, showing all of them his missing front tooth.

Muffled laughter came floating from the Gordon clan at the youngster’s comment. Elaine sat there feeling rather out of place as more eyes turned toward Brooke. She worked at a weak smile then focused her eyes to the menu lying on the table. Picking it up, she perused it haphazardly as she quietly moved her seat just the slightest bit away from Brooke. She stole a look around the table to see if anyone had noticed her distancing action. Feeling secure that no one had, she moved her chair away further still.

"Well then," Brooke spoke loudly enough for all of her guests to hear. "Maybe we’ll have to pick a day real soon and go rent a bunch of movies, along with some popcorn and pizza and candy." The woman’s face lit up at the thought. "What do ya’ think?" She turned in her youngest sibling’s direction and held up a cautioning finger. "And before you say anything, that includes you too, C.C."

Sam cleared her throat, not wanting to take all the thunder from her wife’s invitation. She looked into each of the children’s face as they glowed with anticipation, and saw the same eagerness in C.C.’s too. "Brooke…" she waited for the woman to turn her attention to her, then continued. "You rent the movies. I’ll take care of the food. It’s time we got some real food into you instead of take out."

"I remember saying those words when I was first married," Elaine smirked glancing over at her husband.

"Really?" Brooke looked over to Samuel, catching his eye as he motioned his head toward his rather sullen daughter, Sarah.

"Yeah, I vaguely remember something like that a long time ago." Samuel commented to his wife’s remark as he directed Brooke’s attention to his rather sullen daughter. "Sarah, would you like to spend the day with your sister when they do that?" He studied her for a moment then looked to Sam for help. "I’m sure that Brooke and Sam wouldn’t mind," he glanced a warning toward his wife, "or your mother, either."

"Yeah, Sarah," Sam picked up her father’s enthusiasm. "That’s an open-ended invitation."

"Well, I guess I could." The girl’s face brightened as she looked to her father, then lessened as she settled her gaze on her mother. "If it won’t be a problem to anyone," she said hesitantly waiting for the anger to surface.

Sensing the woman’s predicament, Mable quickly spoke up. "How about this, Brooke?" She paused, waiting for everyone’s attention to center on her instead of Elaine. "You and Sam can take all of the kids this Saturday for the movie feast and the Moleson’s could join us at the house for an early dinner on Sunday."

"That’s a great idea, Mom," Brooke beamed happily.

"We could move the dinner to our house…" Sam offered. "I mean since all the kids will be there."

Brooke jumped on the bandwagon, "Besides, I have a bit more room for everyone."

"A family dinner," C.C. blurted out. "Oh how I love family dinners. They’re sooooo," she drew out the word, "Entertaining."

"Great." Mable looked pleased as she gazed at the faces around the table, settling on Sam’s mother. "What do you say, Elaine? Would you and Samuel join us at the kids’ place for dinner on Sunday?" She paused for only a second seeing the apprehension in the woman’s eyes. "Please…"

The lack of noise in the bustling room was deafening as everyone’s attention turned to Elaine. She closed her eyes in a calming effort and gave the subtlest of nods. "Yes," her voice was almost a whisper as she opened her eyes and looked at her husband. "I think that would be very…enlightening for me."

Mable noticed the change in Samuel’s expression. His mouth now leveling out from the grimace he had a moment ago. "Wonderful!" She was relieved that her words had not fallen on deaf ears. She turned at the sound of Peter’s attention-getting cough. "And of course, Sandy…you and Crystal are invited as well." The coughing started again and she looked directly at the man. "If you’re over with that nasty cough, Peter, you could join us as well," she smiled playfully. "Isn’t that right, Brooke?"

"Sounds good to me," Brooke nodded in agreement.

"Yeah," Sam looked around the table at her extended family. "It’ll be the first official dinner at our house." She glanced toward Brooke as the rest of the group began to break off into their own conversations.

"Baby, look…" Brooke whispered as she leaned in to see Julie now dozing on Sam’s shoulder. She wrapped her arm around Sam and let her other hand rest against Julie’s back.

"Hmm…this is nice. It’s like our own little family here," Sam kept her voice soft. "Look where her hand is."

Blue eyes registered the child’s hands, one on Sam’s stomach and the other balled into a fist on the woman’s breast. A coy smile came to Brooke’s face. "Ah…baby."

"Which one?" Sam teased letting a giggle surface.

Brooke moved her eyes from Sam’s stomach to meet her wife’s gaze. "What do you think?" Sam’s coy smile lit up her face until Brooke noticed that she was looking past her and her mood was becoming more somber.

"I think…we’ll talk about this later," Sam’s hesitancy was evident.

With her hand, Brooke gently guided Sam’s gaze back to her own. "I love you, Darlin’," she said quietly then kissed her wife on the cheek.

"Hey, don’t you two go jumping on the bandwagon," Terri rubbed her stomach in a soothing circle. "Enjoy the time alone for a while." She nudged her husband, "Rick and I sure did."

"That’s only because you and Rick hardly ever saw each other, Ter," Brooke shot back at her sister.

"You know, pretty soon I’ll be seeing way too much of her." He motioned with his hands out in front of his stomach and hurriedly leaned forward out of the way of Terri’s playful swing.

"Enough out of you, Daddy," his wife said with sarcasm.

"Hey Brooke, when you invited the kids…doesn’t that mean that Terri gets to go too, now?" He shot a glance over to his wife then gave her a very brief showing of the tip of his tongue.

"Sure," Brooke said enthusiastically. "When I invited the kids, Rick, I think that involved everyone in this room." She looked at the people gathered around her. "Why sometimes I think that C.C. is the most mature one here." Brooke flashed a huge grin in her baby sister’s direction.

"What?" C.C. choked out, not expecting the compliment. "Someone thinks that I’m mature?" She hastily grabbed at the passing waitress’ order pad and pen. "I got to write this one down. Look out world, I may be moving from the children’s table after all this year." She whipped the pen around the pad with a flourish, then ripped off the page and gave it a quick kiss. "My prayers are finally gonna be answered."

"Gee, and I would have thought that you wouldn’t want to move…" Brooke shrugged, "I mean since you’ve lived there so long." She made a face at C.C. as she cuddled closer to Sam and Julie.

"Arrgh," C.C. let out sigh.

"Aunt Sam," Kevin leaned across the table. "Can I come sit by you?"

Sam smiled sweetly, "Sure." She moved her chair just a little and motioned for him to come over. She watched as Kevin scooted from his chair and moved around the table toward Elaine where he stopped and greeted her with a little wave.

"Hi!" The youngster met the woman’s gaze and waited for a reply.

"Are all of your children this forward with strangers? Why in my day…" Elaine started but was quickly interrupted.

"Elaine," Samuel tempered his voice with caution. "Your day is long gone." He reached for his menu, "It’s time to eat."

"You’re not a stranger, Mrs. Moleson." Randi looked down the length of the table to where the woman sat. "To him, you’re Sam’s mommy so you must be really cool, like her."

"Cool?" Elaine let go with a loud sigh as she brought the menu into her view and pretended to study it. "In my day," she muttered under her breath, "Children were seen and not heard."

Cool blue eyes stared over at Elaine. "Well, on this day, these children are as much a part of the family as the adults are. They have just as much of a right to voice their opinions as the rest of us do. We’re an open family, Mrs. Moleson." Brooke stopped when she felt Sam’s hand on her thigh.

"Mother, times change and…" Sam chose her words slowly. "Maybe it might be a good time to learn and listen to even the youngest of the children in our family." She rubbed Julie’s head with her cheek and gave it a kiss. "We all have things to offer."

Elaine turned to Sam taking stock of what her own child had just said, then briskly looked over to Mable before she let the words form in her mouth.

"Yes, Elaine?" The matriarch of the Gordon family asked calmly.

The woman took in a slow breath, and then spoke. "Mable, maybe we could meet earlier on Sunday for a while…" Elaine smiled sweetly, first at Samuel then at the newlyweds. "We could have our own kind of girl talk before the dinner."

Mable nodded, relieved that the woman was at least making an effort to work at things. "Fine…I think that would be lovely, Elaine. I’m always happy to share my experiences."

Brooke noticed the exchange of glances between her mother and Sam’s. The mother-in-law from hell had definitely hid her claws this morning, but where? Brooke didn’t really care. She was just glad that the scene from yesterday was not going to be repeated. Her only lingering concern was how long before it did.

Learning very quickly not to tempt fate, she motioned for the waitress to come over and addressed her family and friends. "Well, has everyone decided what they want this morning?" Brooke held up the menu as she looked around the table, settling her gaze on Sam and Julie seated next to her. "Cause I sure know what I’m ordering." Brooke met her wife’s gaze and their smiles grew simultaneously.


The events of the last twenty-four hours seemed like a blur. It had started with a knock on her door and the offer of a quick plane ride. Now Elaine found herself once again on a plane, with her face turned to the window and her mind a million miles away. The only difference this time, instead of hatred and anger, she felt lost and alone. In a quandary over her own emotions, she turned away from the window and came face-to-face with Henry Gordon.

"Still having second thoughts about coming home with us, I see." Henry held out a cup of steaming liquid, offering it to the woman. "Mable said that you like it with just a little bit of sugar."

"Ah…the tea…" Elaine nodded thoughtfully. "I do. You get to taste the real flavor of the bag then."

"Really?" Henry looked at the cup of coffee in his hand. "I’m more of a coffee man myself but I do enjoy a good cup of tea from time to time."

She sipped at it, then hesitantly looked over to him. "Ah…Mr. Gordon, I realize that I wasn’t invited on this little trip initially." She cleared her throat. "And I do appreciate the ride home…"

"Thank you for joining us on the trip home."

"I…" Elaine sighed and started again. "I’d like to reimburse you for my part of the cost. If you’ll just let me know how much…"

"We’re delighted to have you." He looked over at the puzzled woman. "There is no reimbursing, this is Brooke’s jet." Henry sat back in his seat. "She doesn’t use the service very often. It’s mostly for her company but she flies us off on vacation every year."

"You mean she chartered it." Elaine sat back feeling smug with her answer.

"No, it’s Brooke’s jet. She owns it or rather she owns the company that it belongs to."

"She has a company?"

"Brownstone Records," Henry acknowledged his daughter’s accomplishment with a smile. "That’s her involvement with the music business now."

"Your family business is diversified then." Elaine looked puzzled. "But she's so young...how could she?"

Henry gave a little chuckle. "She's not a slacker," he looked over to his daughter and motioned for Elaine to do the same. "See what I mean?"

Sifting her eyes to take in the view, Elaine's initial reaction was to bite at her lip to keep her thoughts from being said aloud. She drew in a long breath as she watched Brooke and Sam. The newlyweds were oblivious to her staring as they interchanged hugs with kisses that punctuated their conversation along the way. "I see that there's a lot I don't know about…" Elaine paused for a second then swiftly recovered, "…your daughter, sir."

"Let me tell you a little bit about our family, Mrs. Moleson." Henry turned back to look at the woman next to him. "I work for a design corporation in the CAD Department. My wife, Mable used to do interior decorating before the children came. Our oldest, Randi, is an Assistant District Attorney and Terri is in her last year of residency in Pediatrics. Then there's Brooke…" he rubbed his chin. "She used to be in a band several years ago and they were pretty popular. Instead of throwing her money away when she received it, she invested it. When the band broke up she had quite a few dollars in the bank. That's when she started Brownstone, paid Terri's medical school tuition, bought this jet and her house." He glanced over to Brooke.

"You make it sound like she can buy anything she wants," Elaine's voice was tinged with anger. "Tell me...did she buy my daughter, too?"

"No," Henry turned his attention back to Elaine. "She started Brownstone so she wouldn't get bored and could still work in the music industry. She bought the jet because she doesn't like taking commercial flights and it was actually more beneficial for the company. Now as for Terri's medical school, she paid the tuition because we didn't have enough put away for her to go. That one kind of hit her out of the blue. Medical school is much more expensive than your standard college degree." Henry shifted in his seat. "As for the house, she wanted something to call her own..."

"And that's where my daughter comes in," Elaine snapped.

"Oh, please!" Henry rolled his eyes. "Sam won't let her buy anything."

"So that's what this whole Civil Union Ceremony was about," she said in a huff. "It's so that she can be able to call Sam hers."

"Brooke's never been wasteful with her money. If she needs it, she can buy it. If she wants it, she'll consider it."

"And what about love, Mr. Gordon...has she contemplated buying that too?" Elaine turned to look at him.

"No, the civil union was so the two of them would at least feel like they were married since this country won't allow same sex marriages." Henry met her stare. "Brooke loves your daughter. You would see that if you could open your mind for just five minuets and watch them. If you ask me, Sam and Brooke have been married since the day they met."

"How would you know?" She challenged him. "Were you there?"

Henry smiled sweetly. "Yes, I was there. All of us were." He waited for the shock to register on Elaine's face. "I mean the girls and I," he amended. "C.C. brought her over for dinner one Sunday after school started."

"I suppose it was one of your family dinners?"

"But of course…" he grinned at the woman like a Cheshire cat. "The girls and their mother all have dinner once a month together at the house. That was when Brooke and Sam met. I can't remember ever seeing Brooke get embarrassed so easily as she did that day. She was so shy around Sam." Henry looked off into the reflection of his daughter in the window and recalled the event.

A moment or two passed while Elaine studied the man's eyes, waiting for him to continue. Her patience was rewarded as he began to speak again.

"My daughter has always been very confident and strong..." his words trailed off to a whisper. "She could barely even look Sam in the eye that day," he confided with a smile.

"My Samantha did that?"

"Yes, she did." Henry came out of his thoughts and centered again on the woman next to him. "Do you know that Brooke opened herself up again to one of the most painful experiences of her life for Sam's twenty-first birthday?"

"I don't understand…" again Elaine became puzzled.

"Love," his answer was plain and simple. "You see…the band that she was a part of was very popular. When they broke up, it wasn't pretty. I don't know all the details but apparently one of the band members tried some stuff on Brooke and she wouldn't go for it." Henry took in a breath and continued. "Sam wanted to see her favorite band. Brooke dropped everything and called the jerk up and managed to get the band back together for one night just so Sam could say that she saw them. All Brooke wanted was for Sam to be happy on her birthday. My daughter loves Sam so much that she didn't care about the pain and torment it would cause to re-associate with them. She just wanted to see Sam happy."

Elaine leaned slightly forward and stared at the newlyweds. "Then, why would she see them again if it hurt her that much?"

"Because she loves your daughter more than she loves herself." He followed her gaze and watched the pair as they curled up together in their seats.

Caught off guard by his candor, Elaine was speechless for the longest time. "Maybe…" she was slow to verbalize her thoughts. "Maybe I was wrong."

The words were uttered in a soft whisper but Henry heard them just the same. Sensing Elaine's trepidation, Henry made his move to act in the newlywed's behalf. "No one's asking for you to change your views overnight, Elaine." He waited until her gaze met with his before he continued. "I'm just asking that you give the girls a chance. You'll see it for yourself in due time."

Startled by her own thoughts, Elaine nervously stuttered, "I…I…" She swallowed hard and got up to move from her seat. "Excuse me," she pointed toward the aisle.

Not ready to give up just yet, Henry fired his last assault in her direction. "And as for the kids being friendly to you earlier…" he hesitated for a moment until their gazes met again. "They know good people when they're around them. What, with you being Sam's mommy, they probably think you're the greatest person alive for giving birth to her."

He watched as the color drained from Elaine's face. She turned away, then looked back at him but didn't utter a word. That was all he needed to continue, knowing that he'd struck some kind of chord in the woman's heart. "They said that without thinking and in front of the whole family so it must be true. I believe that children do have the inside scoop on everyone…no matter what they try to project on the outside."

Elaine acknowledged the words with a weak smile. She'd need time to come to grips with the whole situation and she knew just the place to be alone…the restroom. Without another second of delay she promptly headed for the rear of the plane.


"I love you, Baby." Brooke's softly spoken words were punctuated by the gentle kiss she placed on Sam's cheek.

"Tell me more…"

"Ah…" Brooke cleared her throat and leaned into the woman's ear. "I got to go potty," she said with a child's innocence.

Sam sighed. "Leaving me already, eh?"

The smile on Sam's face told Brooke that she was teasing. She reached down and petted the dog’s head on her knee. "Come on, Mario. You can have Sam all to yourself for a few minutes." The tall woman rose from her seat and moved into the aisle as she stretched her legs. "You want something to drink, Sam?"

"Hmm…" Sam smiled as she thought, then slowly began shaking her head. "No…if I can't have you…" she looked up into Brooke's face, "then, I'll take nothing."

"That's what you say now while I'm still fresh in your mind…" Brooke flashed a playful smile. "Keep an eye on her, Mario." Brooke gave Sam a wink as she patted the dog on its head, and then started to walk toward the rear of the plane.

Lifting her eyes from the carpeted path, she spied Sam's mother as the woman came out of the restroom door. Before she could look away, their eyes met and locked for only a second or two. Damn it. This is not the time, nor the place. Brooke stopped her forward motion and turned to head back to her seat.

"You surprise me, Brooke." Elaine observed the woman.

Freezing in mid step with the sound of Elaine's voice, Brooke slowly turned to face the woman again. "How?" Her arched eyebrow acted like a question mark.

Elaine closed the space between them to a more conversational distance. "You're beautiful. I'm sure that you could have any man that you wanted. So tell me…" she looked Brooke straight in the eye. "Why my daughter?"

"I love her." The words flew out of Brooke's mouth in rapid succession. She held back for a moment seeing the rather startled look on Elaine's face. Looking away she replied. "I can't tell you why I love her…" Brooke shrugged and peered back into the face of her mother-in-law. "Just like I'm sure that you couldn't pinpoint why you love Mr. Moleson." Brooke paused for a second then expanded on her answer. "If you can actually pinpoint why you love someone in a single word or action, then it's obviously not real." She stared off deep in thought. "When you really love someone, there's not enough time in the world to explain every reason."

The woman was shocked by Brooke's reply but after thinking about for a moment she bowed her head in agreement. "Touché." Elaine looked directly at Brooke. "I…I love her, too. I just thought that…"

"I know, and deep down, I think that Sam knows it too."

"She doesn't hate me…" Elaine looked questioningly at Brooke, "…at all? Not even after all that I did?"

"She could never hate you," Brooke defended her wife. "She's hurt and confused…but she doesn't hate you." She watched the relieved expression on her mother-in-law's face. "Sam loves you very much, Mrs. Moleson." Brooke relaxed her stance just slightly. "And to be honest with you, I don't hate you either. Not that it would matter to you but I think you're the most wonderful person God ever placed on the Earth."

Elaine backed up fearing that Brooke was insane. "Why…why would you say that?"

"You gave Sam life, that’s why." Brooke wasn’t sure that her mother-in-law understood her, so she tried another approach. "Sam is the other half of my soul. I was nothing without her. You’ve given me all the reason in the world to be happy and loved."

Seeing the questioning look on Brooke's face, she offered an apology. "I'm sorry but this…this is going to take some getting used to. I'm not sure that I can…I mean…I've been this way a long time…"

"That's understandable," Brooke nodded in agreement. "But I promise you, I'm not the Anti-Christ or the devil incarnate." She looked Elaine in the eye. "I'm just someone who, like yourself, loves your daughter." She held her gaze for a moment then looked away. "Mrs. Moleson, if you get angry…or upset, take it out on me. Turn any hatred you have towards me. I can handle it." Brooke looked at the woman again to drive her words home. "Just don't do that to your daughter. I'd rather have you pissed at me than for you to take it out on her. If you'd like," Brooke gave a hint of a smile to her lips. "I could even schedule you for a weekly appointment just so you could blame it all on me." Brooke's teasing nature became serious again. "If you wake up in the morning and it's too cold outside…call me. Let me have your anger, your disappointment. Take it out on me, then call back and tell Sam that you love her. That's all she wants, to know that you still love her."

There was a moment of silence as the seriousness of the words registered in Elaine's mind. "You're quite a woman, Brooke. I don't know of any man who would saddle the wrath of their mother-in-law toward them willingly." She shifted her position and studied the tall woman from another angle. "Maybe, Brooke." Elaine's words were slow to form. "Maybe…if given enough time…you just may change my mind."

She moved to get passed Brooke in the aisle then after a few steps turned to meet her gaze. "I just didn't like the path that I saw she was taking. I never stopped loving her."

Brooke nodded. "Well that's something you and I have in common because I'll never stop loving her either."

"Somehow," Elaine looked Brooke in the eye, "I don't think you could if you tried." The candid revelation shocked even Elaine when she heard the words echoing in her head.

The tall woman's heart raced with excitement as she realized that Sam's mother knew exactly what she was feeling. Compelled to answer, Brooke readily agreed. "You're right, I couldn't." It was time to put an end to their private conversation as Brooke caught sight of her wife as the young woman made her way toward them. "We're kind of related now, so even if you don't like me…" she gave Elaine a big smile. "You might as well get used to me."

Just then Sam passed by her mother and stood next to Brooke, wrapping her arms around the woman's waist. "Isn't she adorable, Mother?" Sam turned to her wife. "I decided that I did need something to drink after all, Hon."

"Hi, Baby." Brooke's face lit up as she encircled Sam with her arms and kissed the top of her head. "What would you like?"

"You know what I like," Sam purred, "but water will do nicely ‘til we get home."

Brooke looked into the eyes of her mother-in-law and she could feel the warmth intensify in her face as it turned beet red. "Ah…Sam?"

"Hmm?" Sam raised her head only enough to see the embarrassed flush to her lover's face. She followed Brooke's gaze until her mother's face was in full view. "Oh! Sorry," she cringed.

"Your mother and I were just having a nice little chat." Blue eyes challenged Elaine to say anything different.

"Oh yeah?" Sam pulled back and looked up into Brooke's eyes. "That must have been a very one-sided conversation."

"One subject maybe but not one-sided," Brooke offered, in both her and Elaine’s defense.

"I bet." Sam glanced over to her mother, then back to the woman in her arms. "Brooke, could you get me that drink? I'm ah…a little thirsty right about now?"

"Sure thing, Sweetheart."

"Thanks." Sam leaned in and planted a kiss on Brooke's cheek, then released the woman from her grasp. She watched as her wife walked away and turned toward her mother as the woman started to walk back to her seat. "Not so fast, Mother."

The older woman stopped in mid step and turned to face her daughter rather reluctantly. "Yes, Samantha?"

"I know that you didn't want to be a part of this," Sam motioned with her chin to the rest of the passengers on the plane. "These people are all part of my family now whether you like it or not. You can either be for us or against us. The choice is solely up to you."

Elaine stood dumbfounded at her eldest daughter's boldness. "I…uh…"

"You don't have to answer. I already know how you feel about my lifestyle and my idea of marriage. You made that very clear to me when I came out to you."

"Samantha!" Elaine stood silently looking at the woman who now resided in her daughter's body. Things were changing. She could see that now and it scared her. "I…I really need some time to think about all this. I don't know what I feel anymore."

The surprised look on her daughter's face embarrassed her. Elaine lowered her gaze to the floor, and closed her eyes as she admitted what was inside her heart. "I do know that I love you very much." She paused, waiting for a rebuttal, but when none came immediately, Elaine continued, feeling a little braver. "I know that you looked absolutely lovely yesterday." Sheepishly the woman looked up to see the startled look on her daughter's face. "Now for the rest of it…I just need some time to think for a while."

"Think all you want, Mother, but Brooke and I aren't changing." Sam looked determined. "We've found that other half of our souls. Everyone else is just happy that two people have found love in a world full of hate."

"Sam, please," Elaine pleaded with her daughter. "I'm not asking you or Brooke to change. I'm just trying to understand. Really I am."

Still slightly skeptical of the possibility, Sam had to agree that she was making an attempt. Her mother was here on the plane with them. "I can see that you’re trying, Mother, otherwise you wouldn't be here." Sam motioned to the plane. "Heck, you probably wouldn't have even said my name just now."

"I just need some time," Elaine hesitantly reached out to lay her hand on her daughter’s as it rested on the back of an unoccupied seat. "Please, Samantha."

Sam felt the touch of her mother's hand as the plea settled in her ears and the bond that they had once had many years ago tugged at her heart. "I've got all the time in the world as long as you treat us both with respect, if you feel that you can't give us your love." Sam smiled as she thought about her own ideas for the future and the big part that family ties would play in them. "I'd hate to have to tell our children that their grandmother hates them because of their parents."

"Children…" the faint mumbling fell from Elaine's lips like a dangling cigarette.

"Yes, Mother," Sam saw the startled look on the woman's face. "We've already talked about having children. Is that a surprise to you?"

"No…I guess..." the words trailed off as confusion settled on her face. She already had a lot to think about and this new concept sent her mind into overload.

"Well, just think about it, Mother. The Gordon's are used to having a big family around them and any children we have will be received with open arms. I'd hate to have to leave you out of our family because of your misconstrued beliefs. I won't have them subjected to that."

Brooke came from behind and wrapped an arm around Sam's shoulder. "Baby, calm down. She's trying." Blue eyes shifted first to Elaine and then back to Sam as she offered the bottle of water to her.

Feeling both hurt and despair over things that had yet to happen, Elaine found that she could not look into either of the women's eyes standing before her. She was trapped, soaring high in an airplane with no way out and she knew it. She closed her eyes to the pain and took in a deep breath to settle her nerves. "I…uh…" she opened her eyes and looked away. "Excuse me," she whispered as she headed for her seat.

Sam watched as her mother turned and slowly headed back toward her seat. Only after the woman sat down did she sink back into Brooke's arms as they wrapped around her in an embrace.

"Shhh…" Brooke tried to soothe her wife. "At least she's listening, Baby. We actually had a nice little talk of our own before. She knows that I love you and that I'm not going anywhere.

"I only hope that she tries just as hard to accept us as she did to push me away. She's going to have to prove a lot to me before I believe she's changed." Sam turned into Brooke and tightened her hold.

"Give her time, Baby. I have a feeling that she'll come around." Brooke put her lips on Sam's hair, kissing it. "Sam…your mother is giving us a chance. Don't sink to where she was and not give her one.

"I know, Brooke." Sam buried her head into Brooke's chest. "I guess she just hurt me more than I ever realized."

"I know, Baby, and I'm here for you." She rubbed Sam's back with a circular motion. "You know, in order for this to all work out, you'll have to be just as open minded toward her as we're asking for her to be toward us."

"I know." Sam took in a breath and slipped out of Brooke's arms. Twisting off the cap to the bottle of water, she brought it to her mouth and took a drink as she contemplated the situation. "If she can try…" Sam nodded slowly, "so can I." She took another swallow of water from the bottle and spoke aloud what she had been thinking. "Somehow, though, I'm thinking that it's going to be a lot easier for me than for her."

Reaching out, Brooke linked their fingers together and leaned in until their foreheads touched. "Well, look at us, Darlin'. She might not have a choice but to accept us."

Sam smiled as she looked into loving blue eyes. "You got that right."


"Hey, you can't go in there yet." Brooke yelled out as she ran up the steps to her porch, stopping Sam before she could get to the door. "I'm not through with you."

Sam turned to gaze wryly at her wife. "Oh, you're not?" She jerked with the nudge to her knee that the dog had given her and looked down to see Mario weaving around her feet. "Look, Brooke, even the dog thinks it's too cold to stay out here." She pointed to the dog that was now pawing at the front door.

Brooke slid into the small space between Sam and the dog, then smiled sweetly and opened the door. "There you go, Mario." She used her body to block the doorway as she watched the dog scamper off into the warmth of the house.

"Come on, Brooke, " Sam gave her a little push. "What are you doing? It's cold out here."

An arched brow met Sam's question, then slowly disappeared as a subtle smile came to Brooke's face. "So let's go inside." In a flash, her gaze grew intense and she leaned down only long enough to sweep the young blonde up into her strong arms.

"Bro-o-o-oke, put me…" the startled cry ceased as Sam grew comfortable in secure arms. "Oh, hey…I like this," she said as she nuzzled into Brooke's shoulder. "So…you got any more ideas, my wife or are you just going to carry me around our house all day?"

"Several," Brooke pushed the door open wider and carried her wife over the threshold. "And you'll be damn lucky if I don't decide to carry you around at work tomorrow, too." She stepped in further and with a bump from her hip, the door slowly closed.

"You wouldn't," Sam shot back her answer with a playful nudge to Brooke's shoulder. "What would they say?" She hid her head into Brooke's neck and sighed.

"Not so fast, Darlin', " she held onto Sam. "There's one more threshold that I have to carry you over."

"What, the back door, too?"

"Nope, the bedroom door."

Sam felt the tip of Brooke's tongue tracing her ear and her resolve melted. "Mmm…now that's a door I could grow to love." She raised her head and met Brooke's lips with her own. "Just like you," she said with her eyes still closed.

"Then again…" Brooke waited to gaze into Sam's eyes. "There are quite a few doors in this house. I might just have to carry you through each and every one of them."

Green eyes began to twinkle at the thought. "And of course, we'd just have to make love inside of every room, now wouldn't we?" Blonde eyebrows wiggled as a coy smile came to the young woman's face.

"Hmm…now that's exactly what I had planned for this honeymoon." Brooke kissed her wife as she began to put her plan into motion.


Song Lyrics from this week's installment, written by Steve Brown.

Be sure to come back after the Holidays for Installment Three!!!

See You Then!!!