DISCLAIMER: The characters herein are used without permission. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To ariadni.mou[at]gmail.com
SERIES: Follows Winter Solstice.
Chapter 3 Winter Mischief and cake
As the holidays were over things seemed to get back to normal. There was inventory to take and files to file; cookies to bake and books to read. Myka found herself sighing more and more, wishing for a case to come up. But to her chagrin it seemed like the undocumented artifacts of the world were as quiet as the wintery bleakness of South Dakota. Things remained peaceful at the warehouse.
Claudia had started a new course online that she really enjoyed, and Pete steadily beat one level after the other on the new game Myka had given him for Christmas. The only person that did not spend much time at home these days was Helena. Since the arrival of Majeed, Helena spent most of her free time at the barn. To everyone's surprise little Mina had taken an interest in the place and begged Helena to take her with her. Leena was a little apprehensive at first to let the girl go, but Helena's convincing argument that she would guard her with her life finally put her at ease. So under Helena's watchful eye, Mina ended up spending a lot of time at the barn where she quickly became known to everyone. Most of the staff instantly took to the little girl and didn't mind having her around. Helena watched her like a hawk in the beginning but as she noticed how intuitive the girl was with the horses she relaxed more and more. Majeed especially seemed to be very gentle with Mina, not bothered the slightest by her hugs and running around in his box.
There was only one event that had Helena close to panic. She had been checking the tack and gear, something Mina found very boring so she had skipped off in search for the new kittens, promising that she would stay in the room right next to the tack room where the kittens normally slept. Ten minutes later, noticing the sudden silence Helena called Mina's name and got nothing. She dropped what she was doing and ran with a beating heart into the next room, but the girl wasn't there. She called Mina's name over and over, but the girl didn't respond. She had tears in her eyes as visions of Christina's lifeless body danced in front of her eyes. Forcing the memories away she made everyone search for the girl. Rushing past the row of boxes to get outside she noticed that Majeed's box was slightly open and peeked inside. Mina was in the far corner, on her stomach, a small cat curled up next to her. Helena held her breath as she looked at the lifeless child. Then Mina took a deep breath and stirred. She blinked at Helena and smiled when she recognized her. Helena made a strangled sound and ran to her, pulling her to her.
"Never scare me like that again," she said to the sleepy girl.
"I got sleepy," she said and yawned.
Helena laughed and a tear rolled down her cheek. "I know sweetheart. Let's go home."
"No," Leena said gently not even looking up from her vegetable chopping.
Helena ran her hand through her hair and sighed. "But Leena, I really would like to do this for her. Please."
Leena sighed and put down the knife. She turned around and looked at Helena. "I am not going to let you buy my daughter a horse. End of discussion."
Helena smiled at her. "And why not? It's really not that much money."
Leena sighed. "She's not even four years old. I don't want her to start thinking that she can get everything she points her little finger at."
Helena smirked. "Perhaps not everything, but it doesn't hurt to let her have some things."
"The answer is still no. No horse Helena."
Helena pursed her lips, then a grin started to form on her lips and a rascally twinkle appeared in her eyes.
Leena shook her head. "No, and no again. Whatever you're thinking, no."
Helena laughed. "Majeed is a very nervous animal. He could use a companion, especially for traveling. I think a pony would do just fine," she said and grinned.
Leena rolled her eyes. "I can't tell you how to spend your money Helena, but I can prevent you from telling my daughter that the horse is hers."
Helena nodded. "Alright, the horse is mine, but she'll be allowed to ride him?"
Leena nodded. Her heart ached when she saw the smile on Helena's face. She could almost feel the change in her aura. She bit her lip and sat down.
"Helena," she said softly. "I know that you love my daughter," she started.
Helena gently put her hand on top of Leena's. "You're afraid that I'm transferring my feelings."
Leena nodded. "She will never be Christina," she said softly.
"I know that, but it doesn't mean that I can't love her," Helena said and squeezed her hand. "It gives me pleasure to be able to do things for Mina that makes her happy, but trust me, I'm not trying to buy her love."
Leena nodded. "I know that. It's too late for that anyway. She adores you."
Helena chuckled. "The feeling is mutual."
Leena grinned at her. "She does have you wrapped around her little finger. I'm keeping an eye on you two, just so you know. I can just see how much trouble you could get into as she gets older. Far worse than Pete and her," Leena teased.
Helena feigned a shocked look." Leena, why would you ever think that?" she said and laughed.
"Because you are the most creative and intelligent woman I've ever met, and my daughter is starting to show similar traits. And she has other gifts too," she added the last words in a soft voice.
"You're worried about her," Helena suddenly realized.
Leena nodded. "I don't know what gifts she has. What if she's not using them for good?"
"She has a good heart, I just know it," Helena said softly. "All we can do is love her and try to be good role models. And if you'll let me, I'd like to share my hobby, my love for horses with her."
Leena nodded. "You are right."
"I can't believe I'm doing this," Artie muttered.
"Oh come on Artie, live a little," Myka said and laughed. He glared at her as he took a tentative step out on the ice. His arms started to flail as he lost his balance, making him look like a windmill. Myka laughed and grabbed his left arm, carefully avoiding getting hit.
"Hold my hand and you'll get a hang of it in no time."
"Whose idea was this anyway?" he muttered.
Myka chuckled. "You know it was Mina's idea. This is what she wanted to do for her birthday."
He shot her a dark look. "She's four years old. She didn't come up with this on her own. Someone gave her the idea. I should just have stayed home. At least I would be safe from bodily harm," he said icily.
"Come on Artie, you know you'll do anything for her." She let go of him when he seemed to be a little steadier. She skated backwards keeping an eye on him, expertly moving out of the way every time he tried to grab her.
"Myka!" he barked. "Don't move."
She laughed and snorted a little. "You can do it." She took off and made a beautiful pirouette before returning.
"Well I guess we know who gave the kid the idea," she said, his lips a thin line.
"Darling, that was beautiful," Helena said and stopped right next to Myka. She smiled at Artie.
"I thought it was you," he said and gave her a suspicious look. Helena folded her arms and tilted her head.
"Thought it was me what?"
"That told Mina that ice skating is FUN!"
Helena laughed. "It is fun. I used to take Christina ice skating every winter. It was so much fun. We had a pond behind our house. It wasn't very deep so it often froze in the winter."
Myka smiled. "I was a bit surprised that you knew how to skate, but it makes perfect sense now."
"We didn't have TV and video games back then darling. I had to entertain her in other ways. And ice skating is very good exercise," she said and smiled. "Come, skate with me?"
Myka took her hand and they took off.
"Myka!" Artie shouted as his arms started to flail again. He finally got his feet under control and stood still on the ice, his breath like a cloud as he huffed and puffed.
"I'm so gonna get you for that," Pete shouted after Claudia.
"You've got to catch me first," she shouted back over her shoulder as she skated faster.
"Myka," Mina said and waved to her. She was holding Leena's hand taking carful little steps on her skates.
"Hi sweetie," Myka said and stopped in front of her.
"Can you do that thing again?"
Myka smiled. "The pirouette?"
She nodded. Myka let go of Helena and took off to get a little speed before she executed a perfect one foot pirouette. She returned to the two women and the girl. She smiled at down at Mina.
"I'll teach you how to do that some day."
Mina nodded. She held out her hand to Myka. "Can you show me, like you showed Artie?"
Myka chuckled. "Of course I can." She took her hands and skated backwards as Mina skated forward.
"Come," Helena said to Leena. "We'll get cold if we don't move, and since your daughter so smoothly took over my skating partner, you're now with me," she said and held out her hand to Leena.
Leena just laughed. She took Helena's hand. Then suddenly there was a loud scream and noise behind them, and then complete silence. Leena and Helena looked over their shoulders to see what all the commotion was about.
"Ha! Gotcha," Pete said and grabbed Claudia.
"Let go of me ape-man," she said and tried to push him away.
Artie was on his stomach on the ice, Claudia half on top of him, and Pete half on top of her. From above they would have made a beautiful piece of art, forming an almost a perfect X on top of Artie, with their legs sticking out on each side of him.
"Get off of me!" Artie huffed, his arms flapping and flailing.
Pete got up on his feet and hauled Claudia up by the collar. "Your arse is mine," he hissed in a low voice.
"Pete, think about this. You don't really want to do this. You like me. I'm like an extra sis, just sweeter, cuz I'm really cool."
"Really annoying is more like it."
"I make awesome hot chocolate," she said and smiled widely at him. He just pulled her up higher until she was on the tip of her skates.
"That's true, but it's not gonna get you out of trouble this time."
"For god's sake Pete, let go of the poor girl."
Pete made a face at Helena over his shoulder. "She tripped me right in front of that hot chic over there. This is war."
Helena sighed and rolled her eyes. She took Claudia's hand and pulled her away from Pete.
"Hello, I could use a hand here," Artie yelled. He was still on the ice, though he had managed to roll over on his back.
The four of them had completely forgotten about Artie and now turned and stared at him. Artie tried to get up, but fell back down. He reminded Helena of a turtle. She smiled and patted Pete on the arm. "Be a sweetheart and help the poor man up."
Pete hauled Artie up and Claudia started to brush him off.
"Enough," he said and swatted at her. She giggled and skated over to Helena.
"Race ya nana," she said and showed Helena.
"Oh you little " Helena glared at her as she fought to keep her balance. Claudia just laughed harder. Helena quickly set off after her and it didn't take her long to catch up with her. She wrapped her arms around Claudia's waist and twirled them around. Claudia shrieked. Helena stopped and smiled at her. "Take my hands."
Claudia took her hands and when Helena skated backwards in a circle she got it. "Lean backwards and out," Helena instructed. Claudia did and they twirled until they lost speed.
"That was cool," Claudia said and grinned at her.
"Helena, look at me!"
Helena turned just in time to catch Mina as she was about to fall. She laughed and held her against her. "Darling, you learn fast. It seems like Myka is a good teacher."
Mina looked up at her. "Myka is really good."
"She is. And she's pretty too." Mina nodded.
"She's an ice princess," she said and giggled.
Myka heard her as she came to a stop in front of them. She smiled at Helena. "Well, this ice princess is getting a bit cold."
Leena nodded. "It's way past lunch too. Let's get everyone back home for some sandwiches."
Mina's eyes sparkled as she looked up at her mother. "And cake!"
"Did someone say cake?"
Myka rolled her eyes and looked at Pete over her shoulder. "Is that all you ever think of?"
He pretended to be pondering her question for a moment. "No actually I also think about cookies and hot dogs."
Myka groaned and shook her head.
"And now I want hot dogs," Pete said and sighed.
"A camera! Mommy look; my very own camera," Mina was so excited she jumped up and down. Claudia grinned and high-fived Pete.
"Say thank you sweet pea."
Mina skipped over to Claudia and hugged her. "Thank you."
"You're welcome peanut." Mina giggled and made a face at her before running over to Pete and throwing herself at him expecting him to catch her.
"Thank you, thank you."
He picked her up and tossed her in the air. She shrieked and laughed. "Just promise you take some funny pictures okay? Like Myka falling on her butt in horse poop."
"Pete!" Myka huffed and folded her arms. "That only happened once, and it wasn't my fault."
"Whatever," he said and winked at her. He put Mina down and she ran back to her pile of presents. There was one really large one left and a smaller one. She glanced at Leena.
"Open the big one baby girl."
"It's from Helena and Myka," she said and ripped the paper off of the large box.
Leena shook her head and shot Helena a look. Helena just shrugged and smiled.
"A riding helmet! And riding pants." She was again jumping up and down in excitement.
"I've never seen a kid that excited over clothes," Pete muttered.
Mina put the tan riding breeches and the black helmet aside and pulled out a smaller box with the name Ariat on the top from inside the larger one. Inside was a small pair of brown paddock boots. "They are just like Helena's!" she said and gasped. A shoe in each hand she ran over to Helena and gave her a big kiss on the cheek. "Thank you."
"Happy birthday darling," Helena said and kissed Mina's soft cheek. "They are from both of us."
Mina smiled and put her new boots on Helena's lap before hugging Myka. "Thank you Myka."
"You're welcome sweetie. Promise you take care of Helena at the barn, okay?" she said and put her on her lap.
Mina giggled. "I already am." She plopped her feet in Helena's lap, kicking a little bit with excitement. "Can you put them on for me?"
"Please," Leena added and gave her a stern look.
"Please," Mina said and grinned at Helena.
Helena looked down at the girl's feet that for the occasion were covered in one pink and one yellow sock. She chuckled and shook her head. "Of course." She unzipped the boots and slipped them on Mina's feet. They fit perfectly, perhaps just a tiny bit too large, which was fine.
Mina looked at her new boots and smiled at Helena. "They're just like yours."
Helena nodded. "Just no shoelaces which makes them even better," she whispered conspiratorially.
Mina smiled and skipped over to open her last birthday present.
"A horse," she said and smiled as she pulled out a large doll horse that looked a lot like Majeed. It came with all sorts of accessories that Mina looked at with huge eyes. She hugged the horse and kissed its nose. Then she noticed something stuck under the saddle. She pulled out the card and gave it to Leena. "What does it say mommy?"
Leena pulled her up on her lap. "It's a year of riding lessons for you."
Mina gaped. She looked at Helena and then at Leena. "For reals?"
Leena rolled her eyes and shot Claudia a dirty look.
"Sorry," she said and shrugged.
"Yes baby girl. If you're going to be spending time at the barn with Helena I think you need to learn how to ride too."
Mina hugged her and kissed her cheek. "Thank you. I love you mommy."
Leena smiled at Helena over the girl's head. Helena had been right. It was a good idea.
"And hopefully by spending more time with Helena, your language will improve too," she added with another sharp look at Claudia.
"So," Pete said and rubbed his hands together. "Cake time!"
Leena put Mina down on the floor and she ran over to Helena to show her the riding lesson card.
A moment later Leena and Pete returned with the cake. It was a pink My Little Pony cake with four burning candles.
"Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you " Pete howled somewhat off key as they entered the room. Artie picked up the tune on the piano and they all chimed in as they gathered around the table. Helena held Mina and they blew out the candles together. Mina clapped her hands and laughed.
"Can I cut its head off now?" Pete said and leered at the pony shaped cake, knife held high.
Mina gasped and looked at him, but then laughed when he winked at her.
"Peteman, you're seriously disturbed," Claudia muttered.
Pieces covered in pink and white icing was distributed. Helena did not seem to mind when she ended up with pink frosting on her shirt from tiny little fingers that decided to use her for a napkin. Myka chuckled at the sight. Mina had pink frosting on her face and tried to put some on Helena's who did her best to avoid her sticky little hands.
"Is my tongue pink?" Pete asked and stuck his tongue out at Claudia.
"Eh, yeah," she said and made a disgusted face.
Mina stopped her game of putting frosting on Helena and looked at Pete. "Can I see?"
He stuck his tongue out at her and she giggled. It was the same color as the frosting. She stuck her tongue out at him. He nodded.
"Yep kiddo, yours too."
Leena shook her head. Still she was pleased that Mina behaved like a regular child at times. It eased her mind tremendously. She put her plate down and picked the girl up from Helena's lap.
"Time to hose you down. You are turning into a pink My Little Pony."
Mina giggled and kissed her cheek leaving some pink frosting behind. Leena sighed.
Myka leaned closer to Helena and kissed her cheek, making a little swirl with her tongue. She chuckled when she heard Helena gasp. "Frosting," she whispered. Helena swallowed as Myka moved away again.
An hour later Helena walked quietly down the hall on the second floor with a cup of tea in her hand and a book tucked under her arm. She was bone tired and needed some peace and quiet. There were times when she really missed the old days without TV and video games, or music blaring out of speakers. She smiled; some of the modern music was quite good; she had to admit to that.
"No!" The stubbornly spoken word followed by a loud stomp interrupted her musings. She followed the sound to Leena's room. The door was ajar so she peeked inside. Mina was standing by her bed looking up at her mother. She was in her pajamas, hands on hips and wearing her new paddock boots. Helena chuckled at the sight. The sound alerted the two to that they weren't alone.
"I'm sorry," she said and smiled at them.
Leena smiled. "That's quite alright. Perhaps you can talk some sense into her."
Helena's eyebrow arched. "What seems to be the problem?"
"I want to sleep in my new boots, but mommy says I can't," Mina said stubbornly and made a face.
Helena chuckled and shot Leena an apologetic look. Leena just shrugged.
"Sweetheart, boots aren't meant to be worn in bed."
Mina just glared at her.
Helena sighed and put her tea down on the dresser, and the book next to it. She kneeled by Mina and took her hands. "Mina darling, your boots will be right there tomorrow when you wake up and you can wear them when we go to the barn. Come on now; show me that you can take them off like a big girl."
Mina looked at her as if pondering her words. "No."
Helena sighed, trying to stay calm, but then she got an idea. She smiled at Mina and got up. She looked around the room and spotted Mina's slippers. She picked them up and held out her hand to Mina. "Come, I want to show you something."
Mina took her hand and looked at her a bit suspiciously but she followed Helena silently downstairs to the back entrance.
"See that?" Helena said and pointed at a coat hanging on a lonely hook on the wall.
Mina nodded. "It's your riding jacket."
"It is," Helena said and smiled. "And why is it down here and not in the coat closet with all the other coats?"
Mina giggled. "Because it's smelly and Myka won't let you keep it there."
Helena smiled. How true. Myka had had a fit when her work coat smelled like horse a few weeks back. "You are absolutely right. And what about those?" she said and pointed at her boots.
"You can't wear them inside because they might have horse poop on them."
"Correct again," Helena said and smiled. "I really would like to keep my boots somewhere else so they would be warmer when I put them on, but I agreed to keep them here so I wouldn't mess up the house."
"See that little space right next to my boots? It's just big enough for your boots I think. What do you think?"
Mina leaned closer and thought about it. "Maybe."
"Your boots need to learn to live down here with my boots after tomorrow. Maybe we should just let them be friends now?"
Mina giggled. "Boots don't make friends."
"Oh, they don't?" Helena said surprised.
Mina looked up at her and smiled. "You're silly."
Helena smiled at her. "So what do you think? Should your boots claim their spot next to mine while it's still there?"
Mina thought about it for a moment shifting her weight from one foot to another. Finally she nodded. She sat down on the floor and pulled of both of them and then placed them neatly next to Helena's. She giggled. "They look just like yours, just smaller."
"I hope I don't make a mistake tomorrow when I try to put my boots on," Helena teased.
Mina rolled her eyes at her. "They won't fit you. They're for kids." She put on her slippers that Helena had put on the floor and yawned. Helena picked her up and she put her head on her shoulder.
"Let's get you to bed. You are going to the barn with me tomorrow, right?"
"Mm, hmm," Mina said tiredly. "I want to show my new boots to Steph."
"I'm sure she'll love them. Did your mommy tell you that Steph is the one giving you your lessons?"
Mina nodded. "When can I start?" she asked and twirled a lock of Helena's hair.
"Let's talk to Steph when we get there. Perhaps she can fit you in tomorrow?"
Mina's head shot up from its resting place on Helena's shoulder. "Tomorrow?" she said and gaped.
"I can't promise darling, but let's ask her.
"What was all the commotion about?" Myka asked and closed the door behind her.
Helena looked up from her book. "Oh, nothing really. Mina wanted to sleep in her new boots. We finally agreed that they should live downstairs with mine," she said and smiled.
Myka walked over and took the book from Helena and sat down on her lap. "I'm glad that it's settled. Because now you're all mine," she said and kissed her.
Helena moaned and wrapped her arms around Myka's slender waist. They had missed out on some closeness lately, something that had been hard on both of them.
"Come to bed," Myka whispered against her lips. She slipped off Helena's lap and took her hands pulling her up. She unbuttoned Helena's shirt as she walked backwards towards the bed. She grinned when Helena grabbed her buttocks and pulled her against her.
"Darling, do you have any idea how much I love you?" Helena whispered against her lips.
Myka smiled and kissed her. "I have an idea, but perhaps you should show me, just in case?"
Helena laughed and pulled Myka's shirt over her head. Her bra followed quickly before Helena's nimble fingers popped the button on Myka's pants. She leaned down and took a pink nipple in her mouth as she slipped her hands inside Myka's underwear, caressing her soft butt.
"Oh Helena," Myka sighed as her head fell back. She grabbed on to Helena's shoulders to steady herself.
Helena pushed Myka's pants and underwear down and watched her step out of them. She quickly slipped out of her own clothes and stretched out on top of Myka on the bed. She sighed, delighted by the feel of Myka's warm body against hers.
Helena made love to Myka slowly and lovingly, taking her time kissing and caressing every part of her body. When Helena's tongue stroke her softly, brining her closer and closer to release, Myka sobbed and whimpered. She finally let out a muffled whimper as Helena's skillful touch brought her to climax.
Helena kissed her softly and held her close under the comforter. She loved the tenderness of the aftermath of lovemaking.
"You are so amazing," Myka whispered and snuggled closer to her. She ran her hand over Helena's breasts, rubbing the nipples and enjoying the little sighs from Helena. She took a nipple in her mouth and sucked hard. Helena arched up under her and she nibbled a little harder. As expected, Helena whimpered softly at the pleasure it caused.
Myka's hand had been caressing Helena's soft stomach and now trailed further down. She felt Helena's legs separate to accommodate her. She groaned against the nipple when she felt how wet Helena was. She pushed two fingers inside of her and rubbed her thumb against the clit.
"Oh god," Helena whimpered. She grabbed the headboard behind her and pushed against Myka's hand.
Myka moved her lips to the other nipple, teasing it to a stiff red peak. Helena squirmed under her and she wrapped her leg over hers to keep her still. She slid down a bit which gave her a better angle. She pushed in deeper and kissed her way down Helena's stomach, licking sensitive spots along the way.
"Darling," Helena whispered.
"Your mouth," she moaned as Myka brushed her thumb over her clit again. "I need your mouth on me."
Myka smiled and moved down further. She pushed Helena's legs up and ran her tongue the entire length of Helena's center.
"Oh god! Yes."
Myka smiled and repeated the caress. She pushed her tongue inside, stroking the top of Helena's entrance, and then up to her clit. She finally settled in and lapped gently against her clit. She knew Helena liked all of the touches, but this was the one that would bring her to an orgasm the quickest, and Myka could feel that she needed release. On most other occasions she would have been happy to tease Helena and keep her on the edge, but not tonight. She entered her again and rubbed the top of her insides. Helena was so soft; she just loved to touch her like this.
"Mmm, oh god," Helena whimpered, trying to hold back a cry. It was so hard, but she knew that the walls were thin, and out of respect for the rest of the occupants of the inn, she tried to be as quiet as she could.
Myka smirked as she heard Helena's attempts not to cry out. She added another finger and then moved so she could touch her rosebud too. She rubbed gently and pushed a little, just as she intensified her movement over Helena's clit.
"Oh god!" Helena grabbed a pillow and put it over her face just in time to catch her crying out as she came violently. She yelled and whimpered into the pillow as Myka's tongue and fingers brought her to a height she had not experienced in a while. Finally she collapsed on the bed and went completely limp. She pulled the pillow off her face and gasped for air.
"Are you trying to kill me?" she finally asked with a chuckle, still a bit out of breath.
Myka chuckled and stretched out next to her. She pulled the comforter up over their cooling bodies and kissed her. "Not yet," she teased.
Helena laughed. "You're well on your way darling." Her eyes twinkled as she smiled lovingly at Myka. "That was absolutely perfect. You know me so well."
Myka smiled. "Your body can't keep any secrets from me. It's an open book."
Helena made a face. "Is that so, well, if it means that it will make me feel like this, I have no objections what so ever darling."
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