DISCLAIMER: CSI Miami and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By sinjenkai


Part 18

The alarm seemed to sound immediately after Natalia closed her eyes so she tried to slap it silent, but when she went to roll over in that direction, her legs protested and she swore.

"Damn it, that hurt!"

Reaching over, Calleigh silenced the alarm before turning back to her wife.

"Are you ok?"

"Yeah, I just moved wrong and it pulled a bit."

Brushing the caramel hair off her face, Calleigh gave her a gentle kiss. "I'm sorry that I didn't move fast enough to get the alarm before you."

"Baby, it's ok. Just frustrating that I can't move the way that I need to without pain. Speaking of which, would you mind helping me up?"

Raising an eyebrow in a seductive manner, Calleigh teased. "Darlin', I'll help you up, down and sideways if you want. Any position is good for me."

Natalia chuckled as she was pulled gently to a standing position and waivered there for a moment with Calleigh's hands about her waist.

"I'll keep that in mind. There are a few positions that I wouldn't mind trying."

Carefully stepping up to her wife as close as she could without causing her pain, Calleigh wrapped her arms about her, resting her head against Natalia's chest.

"As soon as you feel better, we'll try them. I don't know how long your list is, but mine is really long. It will probably take us the next sixty years to get through them all."

Wrapping her arms around the love of her life, Natalia grinned at some of the positions that she was imagining they would be trying and then chuckled.

Calleigh's head pulled back so that she could look into whiskey colored eyes.

"Do I even want to know why you made that evil laugh or just use my imagination?"

Leaning down to capture her wife's lips, Natalia murmured. "Use your imagination and you'll probably be really close."

They both enjoyed the slow, gently teasing kiss before they finally pulled apart and gazed at each other.

"I love you Natalia. Please don't ever forget that."

"Not to worry baby. I love you right back. Now let's get this show on the road since I'm up and mobile."

They walked into the bathroom to start getting ready and Natalia looked longingly to the shower. "How long did the doctor say that it would be before I can take a bath?"

Rinsing her mouth from brushing her teeth, Calleigh spit out the water and said, "You can't get your legs wet for another five to seven days. When the glue starts falling off, we'll get you into the shower. Would you like for me to bathe you, my dear?" Wiggling her eyebrows suggestively.

Natalia smirked as she watched her wife's facial antics. "Do you think that you could do it without getting frisky?"

"Frisky! Who me?" Calleigh pointed a finger at her chest. "I am the paragon of respectability."

"Ok, here's the bet. If you can bathe me without getting frisky, I'll treat you to a night out to anywhere you want to go for dinner and dancing, but if you do, you owe me a night out. Deal?"

"Deal, let me get a couple of wash cloths, a towel and some soap and I'll start planning my night out."

Grabbing what she needed, Calleigh returned to the sink, then helped Natalia take off her nightclothes. She closed her eyes as she pulled up the nightshirt to expose what she considered the perfect pair of breasts only inches away from her lips. Unconsciously licking her lips, she knelt as she pulled the shorts down the long bronze legs. The wounds did nothing to take away from their beauty.

Clearing her throat and turning to the sink to dampen the rag, Calleigh tried to put her mind on anything other than the nude woman standing behind her. She forgot that she was standing in front of the mirror and Natalia was watching her discomfort with amusement.

Turning back around, Calleigh found that her wife had stepped a bit closer and almost knocked her over.

"Oh sorry, didn't realize that you were that close. Do you want to start with your front or your back?"

"The front please. Might as well as its right in front of you, aching for your touch."

Clearing her throat once again, Calleigh muttered. "And I expected her to make it easy? Who was I kidding?"

Slowly, she drew the cloth down the gentle slope of Natalia's neck and shoulders, trying to think about anything other than silky skin that was so close to her lips that she could taste it. Taking one of Natalia's hands in hers, Calleigh washed first one arm and then the other, trying not to imagine them clasping her close or the hands, which were fine-boned and strong, and the way they caressed, leaving her breathless.

Rinsing out the cloth and applying more soap, Calleigh took a deep breath as she began to clean the collarbone, working her way down Natalia's chest, trying very hard to once again ignore perfect breasts or the tiny little noises that were escaping Natalia's barely parted lips. Oh, how she wanted to take the pebbled nipple between her lips and show it some attention, but instead she brought over the other cloth to clean away the soap.

After cleaning that off, she brought over the soapy cloth to wash down toned abs and slowly moved lower in tiny circles until her fingers grazed tight damp curls, producing a moan that Calleigh wasn't sure came from her or Natalia.

Breathing heavily, Calleigh noticed that both of Natalia's hands were fisted and when she looked up, saw that her eyes were dark with passion. Swallowing hard, she slowly brought the cool damp cloth between Natalia's legs and began to rub. She could feel slight tremors roll through her wife's body and knew that it was mirroring her own. All she wanted to do was to drop the rag and slide her fingers into the warm slickness she knew was waiting for her. Instead, she swallowed hard, clenched her jaw and continued cleaning the luscious body.

Carefully she washed firm thighs, and calves before rinsing off and moving onto the back. If Calleigh had any thoughts about Natalia's back being less distracting, she was very sadly mistaken. The soft curves and valleys leading slowly down to a very shapely bottom that seemed to beg to be touched. Closing her eyes, she quickly finished her and dried off her wife.

Coming back around, Calleigh looked at Natalia's face with a teasing look on her face. "I guess that you owe me dinner and dancing, darlin'."

Looking down at the blonde for a long moment, Natalia replied. "Yeah, I guess that I do. Uh, would you mind helping me dress before you take your shower?"

"Of course babe. I love dressing you almost as much as I love undressing you. I hope that I didn't hurt you."

Natalia shook her head as she headed back into the bedroom. "No, you didn't hurt my legs at all."

Following her into the bedroom, Calleigh had to swallow again as Natalia needed help to step into a pair of black lace French cut panties, then a pair of black pants. They decided that she could wait to put on her shoes until they were ready to leave.

After making sure that Natalia was going to be all right finishing up on her own, Calleigh went back into the bathroom, took off her clothes and stepped into the shower. Taking a deep breath, she reached out with her right hand and turned on the cold water. Swearing as it hit her heated skin; she stood underneath it until she started to shiver and then slowly added the hot water. Muttering to herself about cold showers, she missed seeing Natalia standing in the doorway, watching her bathe for a few minutes before she turned and walked away. Calleigh quickly lathered up and cleaned herself before rinsing off and getting out. Rubbing herself briskly with a bath sheet, Calleigh wrapped it about her as she walked into the bedroom.

Pulling on a pair of black boy short panties and a matching bra, she then buttoned up a steel grey long sleeve shirt topped by a black vest. After zipping up a pair of pants, her favorite pair of black boots finished up the outfit, save her jacket.

Quickly making the bed, she went out to the living room expecting to see Natalia sitting on the sofa, but instead she found her in the kitchen, fixing scrambled eggs with bacon.

"Aw babe, I was planning on fixing breakfast for you. I'll tell, you what, I'll fix it for the rest of the time down at the cabin. How's that sound?"

Quietly Natalia responded. "You don't have to do that. I need to start moving around more or it's going to hurt more later on. I hope that you want bacon because I basically fixed what was left in the package as I didn't want it to go bad while we were gone."

"Darlin', you are kidding right? Me... Bacon... that's almost heaven to me. Next to you, it's my favorite thing to eat."

As soon as those words came out of her mouth, Calleigh was slapping her hand over the offending orifice and turning red as Natalia almost doubled over with laughter.

"Oh my God! I don't believe I said that out loud."

As soon as Natalia caught her breath, she looked over at her wife and started laughing again. "Babe, red is definitely a good color on you."

Turning around to go sit down at the kitchen bar, Calleigh hung her head in her hands in embarrassment. Shaking her head, she muttered to herself. "I can't believe I said that. It came out on its own. I wasn't even thinking."

Placing a plate of bacon with a side of eggs in front of Calleigh, Natalia chuckled. "Out of the mouth of babes and blondes, which you qualify for both. Just kidding hun." As Calleigh's head shot up.

Going back to pick up her own plate, Natalia returned to sit next to Calleigh, but when she went to sit down on the bar stool, the movement pulled at the cuts, making her gasp.

"Shit, damn it, son of a bitch. I fucking hate this. I can't even sit down without hurting myself."

Throwing down her napkin, Natalia made her way over to the sliding doors, opened them and walked out onto the patio.

Calleigh put down her fork and watched her walk away. She understood how frustrating limitations could be, especially when they were not of your own doing, but because of someone else's.

Getting up and walking over to the patio doors, she started to say something when Natalia turned around to face her and she drew back at the expression that was on her wife's face.

"I have never hated anyone in my entire life. Not even Nick, when he was beating me, but right now I feel such hatred for Jethro, that I could kill him with my bare hands. Damn him, for doing this to me…To us. Because of him, I can't walk, sit down or bathe without being in pain. Holding a fork, a glass or even getting dressed is a chore with my hands. And forget about making love, that's entirely out of the question. He's not even here and he's controlling my life. I swear that if he wasn't dead, I'd gladly kill him."

"You don't mean that Talia."

Taking a step towards Calleigh, Natalia almost snarled. "Don't tell me what I mean and don't mean. I want to make him hurt. I want to cause him as much pain as possible. I don't want to have to depend on you to bathe and get dressed. I don't want to have to lay flat on my back in bed because I can't put pressure on my legs. What I really don't want to do is to go to this funeral today and face the family of one of his victims. Someone who won't be around because of me. I know that I didn't do it so you don't have to go there, but I still feel that it's my fault. It's my fault that I supposedly led Jethro on, even when I didn't. That it's my fault that I can't even hold you or touch you without feeling pain. So don't even start telling me what I mean or don't mean, because right at this moment, I do."

Natalia stood there, breathing heavy and hands shaking, staring at her wife, waiting, for what she wasn't sure. After a few moments, Calleigh whispered. "I'm sorry." Then turned and walked back inside.

Turning away, Natalia placed a hand over her mouth, smothering a sob. She knew that she was on the very edge of losing control, but she couldn't seem to stop. It was as if things were piling up and she couldn't sort through them fast enough. She went to fist her hands in frustration, but instead almost started screaming in pain. Hanging her head, she just stood there and cried.

After walking back inside, Calleigh just stood at the breakfast bar, staring at the food. She knew that she should turn around and comfort her wife, but she honestly didn't know what to say. She knew which words were needed, but she also knew that she felt the same way in regards to Jethro.

Walking over to the dirty pans, she took them over to the sink and drew water to begin washing them. Just the mundane act allowed her mind a bit of calmness against the turmoil. Taking her time, she washed, dried and then put away the pans. She was standing at the sink, when she felt Natalia standing behind her, but before she could turn around, Natalia stopped her.

Carefully Natalia wrapped her arms around her wife, drawing her as close as possible without causing herself pain. Leaning her head down, she nuzzled the spot just below Calleigh's ear and breathed in the fragrance that was uniquely Calleigh. They stayed that way for quite awhile, each basking in the closeness. Finally, Natalia whispered. "I'm sorry for going off on you. You're the last person that I should doing it to and please don't say that it's ok because it's not. I'm just gonna ask that you put up with me and try not to get too angry with me."

Cautiously, Calleigh turned in the lover's embrace so that she could look her in the eyes and when she saw Natalia's tear stained cheeks, her heart nearly broke. Clearing her throat, she huskily replied. "You're right, it's not ok, but what's not ok is that we have to go through this. However, we do and we can get through it together, so kiss me and let's eat breakfast because it's gonna be a long day and we both need to keep our strength up."

Smiling through fresh tears, Natalia slowly bent her head to brush her lips against her wife's. At first, it was a whisper of a kiss, but gradually became more heated and harder. And as hard as it was, Calleigh just let Natalia control the kiss; to control the pleasure that they were both seeking because she was terrified of causing her more pain, when all she really wanted to do was to lower them both to the floor and have her way.

Framing Calleigh's face with her hands, Natalia groaned as Calleigh opened her mouth and she slowly breathed in her tongue. Tilting her head slightly, Natalia slanted her lips and delved in deeper as Calleigh placed her hands on Natalia's hips, preventing them from grinding against each other.

Pulling away reluctantly, Natalia moaned. "All I want to do is take you to the floor and have you for breakfast."

"I was literally thinking the same thing."

Taking a deep breath, Natalia took a few steps back so that she could lean against the bar. "I love you Calleigh."

"I love you too darlin'."

They looked at each other for a moment before Natalia shook her head and turned away.


Picking up her fork to take a bite of still warm eggs, Natalia chewed and swallowed her food before answering. "I can just tell that the sexual tension is going to get so thick that we're going to be able to cut it with a knife."

"Yeah, but think how good it's gonna be when we can."

Natalia was just about to take a sip of juice when she caught herself, slowly she turned her head to stare at her wife, who was trying to keep an innocent look on her face, but failing.

"Well, I am just stating the obvious."

Laughing Natalia replied. "I know that babe, but the visual along with the long list of positions we were talking about this morning, my imagination went into hyper drive."

Raising her eyebrows suggestively, Calleigh teased. "Yeah, those are some good visuals, but I bet that it will be better in real life. Neither one of us is gonna be able to wa..."

Natalia's hand quickly covered her mouth. "As true as that maybe, let's not say it. It will just make the waiting worse."

They quickly finished their breakfast, and then Calleigh cleaned up the dishes as Natalia made her way to the bedroom to get her shoes. Luckily, they were easy enough to slip on so she didn't need Calleigh's help. She grabbed their jackets and walked back into the living room just as Calleigh was finishing up.

Calleigh looked at her watch and saw that they had a few more minutes before Horatio was supposed to be there so she went around closing the doors and making sure everything was locked up tight. She then made sure that they had their badges and she had Natalia's medicine.

She happened to look out through a window as Horatio pulled into the drive. "Hon, he's here. You ready to go?" Turning, she found Natalia picking up their jackets and purses, meeting her halfway and together they opened the door before Horatio could knock.

"Good morning ladies. Are we ready to hit the road?"

Silently, Natalia nodded her head as she walked past him and Calleigh locked the door, and then turned to put on her sunglasses.

"Calleigh, I hope that you don't take this wrong, but are you bringing your gun?"

Imitating her oldest friend, Calleigh turned sideways to him, holding her glasses loosely in her grip and cocked her head. "Do you actually think that I would go anywhere that was off the beaten path without my gun? I actually brought an extra one for Natalia."

"Good, I know that the area is safe, but I feel better knowing that you will have protection. Now we had better be on our way."

The ride to the airport was quiet and both women were surprised when they turned into a private entrance, and then driven up to a private jet. The Hummer had barely come to a stop when Ryan and Eric walked out of the plane to join them on the tarmac. Ryan opened the front passenger door, reached in and carefully picked up Natalia before setting her on her feet next to the vehicle.

Calleigh jumped out of the back seat. "What are you guys doing here?"

Eric sheepishly admitted. "We thought that we would join you at the funeral. You know, show support for our family."

Natalia walked over and carefully gave first him and then Ryan a hug. "I don't know how I'm ever going to thank you guys enough. Especially you Ryan, I put you through hell."

"Don't worry about it. You still owe me a beer."

Horatio had parked the Hummer and made his way back over to his team. "I believe that we need to get this up in the air if we want to be on time."

Ryan bent down once more, picked up Natalia and walked up the steps of the plane before he gently placed her in a seat.

Calleigh smiled at his chivalry, following him up with Horatio and Eric bringing up the rear. Horatio closed and locked the door while the others buckled themselves into the seats. He then sat down opposite Calleigh, buckled himself in and then called the cockpit to let them know that they were ready to go. Soon the jet was moving slowly down the runway before leaping up into the cloudless blue sky.

As soon as the seatbelt light was off, Calleigh asked Natalia if she wanted something to drink. "Some juice would be good if they have any."

Calleigh got them both a glass of grapefruit juice and then asked the others if they wanted any, but they declined. Handing the glass to Natalia, she sat back down, taking a sip of hers. Turning to Natalia, Calleigh saw that she was staring out the window, just holding the glass of juice. She knew that Natalia was dreading going to this funeral, but she understood why she felt that she had to go. Calleigh only hoped that Kris Jackson's family wouldn't mind them showing up.

The flight took the only about forty-five minutes and they were soon landing at Orlando's Executive Airport where Horatio had another Hummer waiting on them. Ryan once again, made sure that Natalia was carefully carried and placed in the front passenger seat. Calleigh sat behind her, while Horatio drove and Eric and Ryan sat next to Calleigh. The drive to the Greenwood Cemetery in Apopka took about twenty minutes, as there was light traffic. At the entrance, Eric jumped out to find out where the service was being held and that gave everyone else time to look around.

The area was filled with Live Oak trees hanging with Spanish moss with Palm trees appearing every now and again, but the most striking thing was the flowering Azaleas bushes that dotted the landscape with bright pinks, purples and whites. The whole area had a very peaceful feeling to it.

Eric got back into the car, giving Horatio the directions and they were soon parking behind a long line of cars. Calleigh quickly got out to open Natalia's door and helped her out, knowing that she didn't want anything to detract from the service. Holding out her arm, she let Natalia place her hand against it, then slowly swing her legs out of the vehicle and slide to the ground. She stood in the open doorway, blocking the view from everyone else's eyes.

"Are you ok darlin'? Do you need your medicine?"

Nodding her head, Natalia looked around nervously as she fumbled to affix the mourning band to her badge and then attached it to her waistband. Calleigh handed her a pill with a bottle of water and she quickly swallowed it down. Calleigh then took a step back to allow her to walk away and it gave her the opportunity to see how far she was going to have to walk to get to the gravesite. With Ryan on one side of her and Calleigh on the other, Horatio and Eric in front, Natalia began the slow trek up a slight hill. Calleigh pointed out places for her to be careful of with the roots of the oak trees.

They were about three quarters of the way to the site when a tall young man detached himself from the group at the site and made his way down to meet them.

"Lt. Caine, thank you for coming. I wasn't sure if you were going to make it."

Shaking his hand, Horatio replied. "We weren't quite sure of the directions, but we made it just fine."

Without waiting for introductions, the young man walked up to Natalia and reached out to shake her hand. "Ms. Boa Vista, my name is Paul Jackson and Kris is… was my sister. I just wanted you to know that our family is glad that you survived and didn't let that man win." However as he shook her hand, he felt the glue, looked down and quickly dropped it. "I am so sorry. I didn't know about your hands."

"Mr. Jackson."


Natalia corrected herself. "Paul, there's no reason for you to apologize. This pain is nothing compared to what you sister went through because of me."

"Ms. Boa Vista."


"Natalia." He said with a small smile. "My sister didn't go through any pain because of you. It was because Jethro Thomas and we're just glad that he can't hurt anyone else."

Paul turned to Ryan saying. "You must be Natalia's husband. Nice to meet you."

Sputtering, Ryan looked over to Calleigh with an utter look of shock on his face. "Uh no. I'm Ryan Wolfe, Natalia's teammate."

Getting Paul's attention, Natalia turned and gestured to Calleigh. "Paul, this is my wife Calleigh Duquesne. She, Ryan, and Eric Delko are also my team members."

Looking at Calleigh for a moment, he turned back to Natalia and said in a soft voice. "You have more in common with my sister than just your looks. Her partner was also a team member and they had been together for two years."

Shaking his head, he turned towards the site. "I was only able to save one seat, but you are most welcome to take it Natalia."

She refused it by saying. "It's actually easier for me to stand than it is to sit down and then stand back up so with your permission, I'll just stand up in the back."

"Of course, whatever would be easier for you. We had better get up there. The service is going to start soon."

Paul turned to lead the way, but before Natalia could take a step, Calleigh asked the rest of them to give them a few moments of privacy, so they went ahead to the site, leaving the two women alone.

Moving closer to her wife, Calleigh looked up into the eyes of the woman she could no longer imagine her life without and struggled to find the right words to say. As she stood there, Natalia watched as an array of emotions as they flitted across her wife's face and with the barest of whispers, she said. "I love you too Calleigh."

Swallowing and nodding her head, Calleigh motioned in the direction of the service and they continued on their way. They reached the back of the final row of chairs, just as the chaplain started to speak. Natalia reached over and placed a hand on Calleigh's arm, as she needed some type of contact with her, but Calleigh took it one-step further. She moved the arm out of Natalia grasp and settled it around her waist instead, pulling her close. They stayed that way, listening as the chaplain spoke on and all too soon, they were hearing the first volley of the gun salute.

Natalia jumped at each volley and after the second one, had tears running down her face. All Calleigh could do was to whisper that everything was going to be all right and hold her close.

After the last volley, family member stood up and began placing flowers on the casket. One of the first persons up was an attractive young woman with flowing auburn hair and green eyes. She laid down a white rose, then leaned down to placed one last kiss on the lid and turned to walk away. As she brought her head up, she caught a glimpse of Natalia and stumbled slightly. An older woman behind her placed a hand on her back and asked her if she was ok. Nodding in Natalia's direction, and they both started to come around the crowd in Natalia and Calleigh's direction.

Taking an involuntary step backwards, Natalia had a good idea who the two women were and almost turned to walk away.

"What's the matter darlin'?" Calleigh asked while still keeping an arm about Natalia's waist.

"I think that Kris Jackson's mother and girlfriend are on their way over and all of a sudden, I'm afraid of what they are going to say."

Stepping in front of Natalia while turning to face her, Calleigh quietly asked. "Do you want me to run interference for you? I'll stop them right where they are."

Reaching to caress the face that looked at her with such love, Natalia almost started crying again. "No, my love, I can get through this just fine as long as I have you by my side."

"I'm not going anywhere."

"Ms. Boa Vista?"

Turning around, Calleigh reached out her hand to shake their hands. "Yes, she is and I'm Calleigh Duquesne. Mrs. Thomas?"

"Yes and this is Nikki Orson, Kris's partner. We just wanted to come and thank you for coming."

Natalia put a hand on Calleigh's shoulder to draw her back and that's when Mrs. Thomas noticed the injuries.

"Did he do that to you, if you don't mind me asking?"

Quickly putting the hand out of sight, Natalia quietly responded. "Yes, he used a riding crop when I wouldn't watch his videos." Swallowing, she paused.

Nikki took a step closer, her eyes filled with tears, but she was refusing to let them fall. "What else?"

Mrs. Thomas laid a hand on the young woman's arm. "Nikki, you don't need to know."

Softly Natalia went on. "He used a taser and then cut my legs."

"How did you get away?" The red head demanded.

Sparing a glance at Calleigh, Natalia explained. "After he taunted Calleigh on the phone, I wouldn't give him the reactions that he wanted, so he began to go into detail on what he was

going to do to her once he killed me. He made the mistake of walking away, leaving a knife close enough that I could reach it. I cut the straps and when the power went out, I stabbed him."

Tears were falling freely down Nikki's face by this time and she was looking at Natalia as if she was her lifeline. Finally dragging her gaze away, she looked at Calleigh.

"Take care of her. Keep her safe. Tell her that you love her as much as you can and never, ever go to bed angry. You just don't know when it will be over."

"I will." Calleigh vowed.

The young woman walked away leaving Mrs. Jackson standing there. "They were to have their commitment ceremony next week. Nikki kept putting it off and now she feels guilty."

Carefully taking Natalia's hand within her grasp, Mrs. Jackson simply stated. "I hope that you heal quickly and have a very long and happy life. My family and I thank you for coming. It was an honor to meet you."

"Likewise. Thank you."

Bidding the two women goodbye, Mrs. Jackson walked away, leaving Natalia with tears in her eyes.

Turning to Calleigh, Natalia was barely able to speak past the lump in her throat. "Get me out of here, please."

"Not a problem darlin'. Let's go."

Slowly they made their way down the hill and were almost to the Hummer when Calleigh turned to see where the rest of the team was and Natalia tripped on a root. Crying out, she landed on her hands and knees.

Instantly Calleigh was by her side. "Baby, I'm sorry. I should've pointed that out to you."

Taking deep breaths, Natalia was trying to keep the pain from making her throw up. Luckily, the medication had taken off some of the edge, but it was still intense. Leaning back on her heels, she tried with Calleigh's help to stand up, but she just couldn't do it.

Suddenly Horatio was there, scooping her up and carrying her to the vehicle. Calleigh ran ahead to open the front passenger door and he gently placed her inside. The rest of the team was right behind them so they were soon on their way back to the plane.

Once they got to the plane, Horatio situated Natalia so the she could lay her head in Calleigh's lap. Almost immediately, she was sound asleep and Calleigh gave a sigh of relief.

Eric and Ryan sat with their backs to Calleigh so she gave herself permission to let the tears fall. Horatio was astute enough not to notice as he just looked out the window.

The hour and a half flight was made in relative silence as Calleigh continually ran her fingers through Natalia's hair. She wasn't sure who it was comforting more; her or Natalia.

When they finally landed, Horatio once again scooped her up and placed her in the waiting vehicle and Calleigh got in the seat behind her. Eric and Ryan followed in another car and they soon were on their way to Horatio's cabin. On their way, Horatio made a quick call so as soon as they pulled up to the cabin, the front door opened and Alexx stepped out to meet them.

Carrying Natalia inside, Horatio gently laid her on the bed that had been set up in the living room that looked out over the ocean. As soon as he laid her down, Mallory bounded in to sniff her and lay down on the floor beside the bed.

Alexx quickly shooed out the men while her and Calleigh got her out of her clothes and into something to sleep in. Natalia slept through the entire procedure thanks to her medication.

Once they finished, Calleigh collapsed in a nearby chair and Mallory got up to place her head on her knee. "I'm glad that you were here, Alexx. I wasn't looking forward to trying to change her on my own or asking Horatio to help."

"It's not a problem, baby girl. I came down here to get you groceries and whatever else I thought that you might need. There should be enough to last you for a couple of weeks unless there's something special that you need. How did it go?"

Calleigh scratched Mallory behind her ears, silent for a moment before she quietly answered. "Harder than I thought it would be. We first met the brother and he thought that Ryan was Natalia's husband. Do you know what she did? She actually told him that I was her wife. I have never been more in love with her than I was at that very moment. To make a long story short, too late, I know, but we also met Kris Jackson's mother and lover. I think that meeting Nikki was the hardest part for Natalia because that girl looked like all she wanted to do was to take her in her arms and never let her go. Come to find out that they were supposed to have a commitment ceremony next week. I know what she's going through because I would be a basket case right now if I lost Natalia."

Horatio stuck his head around the corner of the door. "Is it safe to come back in?"

Standing up, Alexx motioned them all in. "Yeah, she's still out and probably will be until tomorrow morning."

"Alexx, would you mind staying with her while I go say goodbye to the guys?"

"Not a problem, girl,"

Taking Horatio by the arm, Calleigh walked out front and found both Eric and Ryan leaning against one of the cars. Walking over to the, she first hugged one and then the other. "I just want you guys to know how much it meant to us that you came with us today. You guys are the best."

Turning to Horatio, Calleigh stepped closer and said only for his ears. "You, kind sir, are the best. Thank you for letting us use this place. This will help Natalia so much I can't even explain."

Looking down at his second in command with affection, Horatio just smiled. "Anything for family."

"Gentlemen, we should be leaving. Calleigh, if you would please tell Alexx that we need to catch the plane, that would be great."

Walking back inside, Calleigh gave Alexx a hug and thanked her once again. Soon she was alone in the cabin, watching over her sleeping wife. Placing a gentle kiss on Natalia's forehead, Calleigh went into the other room to unpack and to put away their things. After finishing that, she changed into a pair of shorts and a tank top, before going into the kitchen to fix herself something to eat. She fixed herself a sandwich, and then grabbed a bottle of beer before bringing it back out to sit in a comfortable chair next to the bed.

The only noise that filled the room was the sound of the surf hitting the beach and an occasional cry of a gull. Mallory begged for a bite every now and then, but the silence was soothing.

When she put her plate back into the kitchen, she walked over to the sliding door and opened them, letting in the warm breeze. Turning back to the bed, Calleigh decided that there was enough room for her to lie down without hurting her, so she did and was soon sound asleep.

It was late evening when a noise woke Calleigh up and it took her a moment to realize where she was. Turning to look at Natalia, she saw her thrashing around and began to try to calm her down.

"Talia... baby... It's ok...It's ok... nothing is going to hurt you."

Running her fingers through caramel colored hair, Calleigh kept reassuring her that everything was all right and slowly her movements stopped.

The moonlight was streaming in through the open doors, making Natalia's normally bronze skin almost shimmer. As Calleigh continued to stroke her hair, dark eyes slowly drifted open to gaze up at her.

"Hi, how are you feeling?"

Clearing her throat, Natalia softly said. "Thirsty. Is there any juice?"

"Let me go check real quick. Be right back."

Going to the refrigerator, Calleigh found some fresh papaya juice and poured a tall glass before hurrying back to her wife.

"Here ya go babe."

She helped Natalia sit up and then handed her the glass. Taking a long swallow, Natalia leaned back and sighed. "That's good."

Sitting down beside her wife, Calleigh brushed her hair away from her face. "Are you in pain babe?"

"Not too bad, the drugs are still keeping things pretty mellow. So this is Horatio's cabin. It looks pretty nice."

"Yeah, it is. Tomorrow when you get up, we'll look around a bit outside if you feel up to it. Alexx came down and stocked the place for us. She got us everything that we could want and then some. I swear, we have the best friends around."

Right at the moment, Mallory decided to make her presence know my sticking her head over the edge of the bed and whining.

"Mallory! Hey sweetie! How are you doing?"

Natalia patted the bed and Mallory swiftly jumped up and before either woman could stop her, lay down across Natalia's legs.


Natalia sat up screaming, trying to push the dog off her legs without hurting her, but Calleigh wasn't being that gentle. She grabbed Mallory's collar and basically, flung her off the bed. Turning back to her wife, she saw tears in her eyes and pain telegraphing through her body.

"I'm so sorry darlin'. I shouldn't have let her near you. I'm sorry baby, I'm sorry."

Shaking her head while trying to control the nausea, Natalia held up a hand to quiet Calleigh. After a few moments, she was able to look up. "Cal, it's not your fault and Mallory didn't mean to. I patted the bed and she thought that it was ok for her to get up. You need to tell her that you're not mad at her, but that she just needs to be careful for a little bit. She'll understand you."

Calleigh shook her head in disbelief, but called Mallory over to the bed. The dog slunk over with her head down and her tail between her back legs. Natalia almost started crying at the sight, but instead she patted the bed again. This time however, she said. "Careful Mallory." And the dog, gingerly hopped up on the edge of the bed and lay down.

Petting the dogs head, Natalia softly spoke. "Momma Talia, that's me by the way, is hurt and you can't be jumping up on me for awhile. I know that you didn't mean to, but you hurt me and Momma Calleigh isn't mad at you. She was just worried about me, so you just need to be careful so that it doesn't happen again, ok?"

Slowly Mallory inched her way over to Natalia and gradually raised herself up so that she could lick her cheek. "That's a good girl Mallory. Now get down so I can talk with Momma Calleigh." Carefully the dog backed off the bed to go to lie at the foot with her head on her paws.

Watching the dog in amazement, Calleigh turned back to her wife. "Are you the dog whisperer now? I've never seen anything like that before. Damn, you're good."

Natalia reached out to caress the blonde's face. "Yeah, that's true, but so are you. I love you Calleigh, please don't ever doubt that."

Turning so that she could kiss Natalia's palm, she then whispered. "I won't, but the same goes for you."

They stared at each other for a few moments before Natalia began to yawn. "I think that I'm gonna go back to sleep babe."

"You don't want me to fix you something to eat? You haven't had anything since breakfast."

Carefully scooting down until she could lay down, Natalia declined. "I don't think that anything would stay down right now, but don't forget that you owe me breakfast in the morning."

Leaning over to gently brush her lips against Natalia's, Calleigh murmured. "Darlin', I'll fix you anything that your heart desires."

Quirking her lip, Natalia smirked. "I wonder how you would taste with bacon."

"Good lord woman! What a combination! Be still my Southern heart."

"Kiss me again, you fool and let's go to sleep. You are going to sleep with me right?"

Leaning back, Calleigh looked at her worriedly. "Are you sure that we should? I'm so scared that I'm going to hurt you somehow."

Natalia started at her for a moment before she looked away. "Well, if you don't' want to, I won't force you,"

Gently Calleigh reached around so that she could bring around Natalia's face so that she could look into her eyes. "Darlin', sleeping with you is one of life pleasures that I don't ever want to be without. I lay down with you this afternoon and nothing happened, so I guess that it will be ok. I just want you to tell me if something happens, all right?"

"Thank you."

Leaning down, Calleigh gave her a slow, soft kiss that seemed to go on forever. Finally pulling away, Calleigh whispered. "Sleep sweet my love." Then laid down and they were both soon sound asleep.

Part 19

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