Reunion Brings New Love

Reunion Brings New Love. this is my NaNo story

Taking a deep breath Tara gathered her courage so that she could walk into the reunion for her high school graduating class. It had been 25 years since she had seen any of them, though through modern technology she had been able to reconnect with many of them. Laughing at her silly fears, she smiled as she whispered to herself, “you can do this. You aren’t the same wallflower you were back then. Now get in there and show them who you have become.” Squaring her shoulders she reached out she grabbed the door handle opened the door she took her first steps inside the ballroom that held her gathering classmates.
Smiling she retrieved her nametag and entered the dimly lit room. Stopping just inside the door she looked around to see if she recognized anyone from having talked to them over the internet. Smoothing out the skirt of her dress, she moved further into the room and made her way over to the bar. Getting her drink, she turned to watch those on the dance floor enjoy themselves.

Sipping her drink, she realized that she was enjoying herself just by watching the others enjoying themselves. Making small talk with other class mantes as they came over to the bar talking about how they might have known each other when they were in school. Turning to the bartender to order another drink she was startled when a hand came over her eyes from behind her.

“You sure you remember me but we have been talking for a while over the internet. I was hoping you were going to show tonight.” He waited for her to guess who he was. He had to admire the way she looked. The girl he remembered from back when they were in school wore jeans and over sized sweaters or t-shirts all the time. She wasn’t part of the crowd he hung with but she knew most of his friends back then.

Thinking it over as her fingers slowly moved over the hands that covered her eyes. “I don’t know. Umm Mark?” she slowly pulled the hands from over her eyes turning to see who was behind her. Turning she was able to see who was standing behind her, smiling when she saw that it was actually Mark from her friends list on her social networking page. “Mark, I almost didn’t come. It’s good to see you after all these years.” She hugged the big man that now stood in front of her. Stepping back she looked him up and down, smiling Tara shook her head, “you haven’t changed at all Mark.” She was glad to have finally met up some a person that she knew as a teenager and now as an adult. Taking her drink from the bartender the burnet smiled finally relaxed, enough to really let herself imposed shield down and really enjoy herself.

The two of them moved over to a table just off the right side of the dance floor and sat down to catch up on what they had been doing since they graduated. As the two talked, they realized that they had a lot in common back then as they do now. As the evening wore on the two had danced a few times and spent the whole evening together enjoying each company. As the last dance of the night came up the two friends moved onto the dance floor to enjoy the last song of the night.

As everyone started to file out of the ballroom, a small group gathered just outside the building to talk. As Tara moved toward the group, she smiled as she felt a hand on the small of her back. She knew that Mark decided that he was going to join her as she talked with some of the people she knew in the group she was approaching. After talking with several people of the group Tara excused herself and started for her car.

Mark decided that he would escort her to her car because of the darkness of the parking lot. “I really enjoyed myself tonight.” He stopped her just as they reached her car. “I was wondering if we could get together again before you leave” watching her in the dim light from a nearby street light, and how it made her hair shimmer as the light reflected off it as he waited for her to answer.

Looking down as she fumbled with her keys Tara nodded. “Sure I would like that.” Reaching into her car she found a piece of paper and a pen straightening back up she wrote her hotel number on it held it out to him. “I’m staying at The Holiday in here in town, this is my room number.” She handed him the paper with a smiles, “Call me to set up a time to meet.”

Holding onto her hand just a little bit longer then he should have as he took the paper from her. Mark couldn’t understand why all of a sudden he had feelings for her. He thought she was pretty in an understated way back in school but to see her now, her look just took his breath away specially standing here in the glow of the parking lot lights. Shaking his head, he nodded. “Alright I’ll call tomorrow with a time.” Stepping back, he watched her get into her car and drive off. Shaking his head with a smile Mark couldn’t believe what he was doing this, putting the paper into his pocket as he walked over to where his motorcycle sat. Grabbing his helmet Mark placed it on his head, securing it into place climbing onto the bike he started it up and headed home.

Reaching her hotel room Tara smiled as she switched on the TV and sat down. “It was worth going to night.” She said to herself as she removed her shoes rubbing her feet. Sighing she made her way into the bathroom and started running the water for a shower. Humming to herself with a smile as she thought back over the night, as she got ready to turn in for the night. Sitting back she watched a little TV while she thought about the night and how she enjoyed being at the reunion.

Stepping out of the hotel Tara and headed towards her car. Double-checking her purse to make sure she had her phone and hotel key before climbing into her car for a day of shopping. She headed towards down town Denver to the 16th street mall for her shopping spree for the day. Finding a parking garage and a paid for the day and went to the Trans that would take her to the mall. Stepping off the Trans she looked at the stores near her “where to start/” she asked herself.

With a shrug, the burnet walked to the first stop and started inside when her phone rang. Quickly retrieving the phone from its place on the waistband of her pants, she smiled when she saw that it was her friend Mark. Flipping open, the phone Tara smiled. “Hello Mark. How have you been?” she listened as she walked through the first store looking at things.

“Sure I would love to have lunch with you. Well I am down town at the mall shopping.” The burnet sighed then it came to her. “Why don’t you come down here and we can have lunch here on the mall?” She listened to her friend as she picked up a few things and paid for them before leaving the store. Frowning made her stop where she was on the sidewalk. “Oh don’t want to make you late getting back from lunch.” She thought for a minute, “Why don’t we get together for dinner? We can eat at a place near your house and my hotel.” She moved to one side to allow people to pass by while she talked with her friend.

Sidestepping a little child that came running by her Tara smiles, “alright I’ll be back in town around five o’clock. I will meet you at the hotel them follow you to your place.” Listening a little longer her smile brightened “see you then Mark.” She hung up and made her way down the mall to do some more shopping. She spent the day shopping and just enjoying the mall for the first time in a long time. With an armload of bags, Tara made her way to the Trans that would take her back to the parking garage where her car was parked. Clicking the button on her keys to open her truck, placing the bags in the trunk of her car she made sure everything was secured in the trunk before shutting the lid and moving around to the driver’s door and climbed into the car.

Making sure her door was closed and locked she get her car started and slowly pulled out of the space and headed down the darkened parking structure to the streets of down town Denver to head back up to where she was staying in her home town. Singing to the radio, she navigated the interstate with ease.
Mark couldn’t wait for the day to end so he could get home, clean up, and meet Tara. As the clock struck five o’clock, he hurried clock out and head home. Stopping at the store he quickly got what he needed to make dinner for them and a few special things he had thought of to make the evening even more special. Arriving at home Mark put everything away before heading to take a shower and clean up from a long day at work. Laughing at himself Mark could not believe he was acting this way, after all these years.

Checking on the chicken in the oven before double-checking to make sure everything was on the table that they would need to enjoy the meal he was preparing for them. Looking around the room he wanted to make sure that everything was picked up and looking clean. Checking his appearance in the mirror, he laughed at himself. “What am I doing it is just Tara from school.” Smiling he looked at the clock to see what time it was, when he noticed it was almost six o’clock and she would be showing up any time now.

Pulling up to, the house Tara sat in her car trying to calm her nervous stomach. It had been a few years since she had felt this way when it came to being around a person that she was attacked to. Shaking her head she smiled as she climbed from her car, “this is silly we are not attacked to each other we are just old friends.” Smoothing out her skirt, she shut the door of her car and headed around it and up the walk to the house. Taking a deep breath, she reached up and knocked on the door.

Opening the door Mark smiled when he saw her. “Hi Tara you look great. Please come in.” stepping back he opened the door wider to let her walk passed him into the house. “I hope chicken is okay to dinner?” He said as he closed the door behind her, watching her set her purse down and look around the room.
“Chicken is fine. This place is nice has a good homey feel to it.” The burnet turned to face him. “You didn’t have to go through the trouble of cooking for me. We could have gone out for dinner.” Looking him over she smiled, “you do look good Mark, and you have defiantly changed from that hoodlum kid I knew back in school. I’m impressed.” She gently touched his cheek.

Feeling his cheeks warm a little Mark smiled. “Thank you. I wanted to make you something special for dinner. The Military helped me clean up while I was overseas.” He couldn’t help but look her over. “You sure have changed. You’re not the same shy frumpy teenager I knew either. I like how you turned up.” He watched her blush and pushed a few strands of hair behind her left ear like she did in school. “You still push your hair behind your left ear when you’re embarrassed. Please sit down.” He motioned to the couch that was to their right.

“Thank you.” Tara sat down crossing her legs. “I’m surprised some lady hasn’t snatched you up yet.” She had to admit to herself that she did find the man that sat next to her attractive. She knew she wasn’t ready for another relationship just yet but she was willing to see where things between them lead but she was going to go slow, she was not ready to dive right into another relationship fast.

Fighting the warmth that came to his cheeks Mark smiled. “Naw was married once but it didn’t work out. Dated a little but nothing felt right with any of the women I was seeing. Maybe I wasn’t meant to be with anyone.” Hearing the timer go off in the kitchen, he stood. “Excuse me I don’t want to burn our dinner.” He headed into the kitchen to put dinner on the table for them. “I wasn’t sure what vegetables you like so I guessed I hope green beans and a green salad are okay?” Setting the last bowl on the table “dinner is served milady,” He gestured to the chair pulling it out for her.

Standing Tara walked over to where the table sat in a brightly lit dinning area. “Green Beans and Salad are just fine.” She let him help her move the chair a bit closer to the table. “It smells really good.”

Moving around the small square table Mark sat down and started to pass the food to her. “Thank you. I learned to cook after my ex and I spilt, it was that or live off peanut butter and jelly and frozen TV dinners.” Filling his plate after she passed the food back to him, he felt like a schoolboy again. Sitting back, he watched her as she ate. “I am glad that we finally got a chance to meet again in person last night. There were several times that I almost came up to Grand Junction to find you but didn’t think you would take to that real well.” He turned his attention to his plate and the meal he had made.

Setting her drink down Tara smiled. “I wouldn’t have minded but I was pretty busy with the local horses and other animals that I care for. Spring is usually the time that many of the animals I care for have their babies. and got local kids getting ready their animals ready for the rodeo and the fair I specialize in the bigger animals and farm animals.”

Finishing their meal, the two friends moved into the living room and sat on the couch talking for a few hours. Leaning over Mark reached for his guitar and smiled, “If I remember right you were in the choir when we were in school. I was hoping you still sang and would sing while I played. I don’t normally have anyone to sing with my playing.” He held out a sheet of music and handed it to her.

Taking the sheet of paper and looked it over with a smile, “how did you know I liked this artist?” looking up at the man that was sitting next to her. Turning her attention to the paper in her hand Tara started to hum the tune trying to get the rhythm of the song.

Watching her Mark couldn’t believe how much he had thought about her while they were talking over the internet, but now to see her in person and to have her in his home he know if there could be anything between them other then friendship. . He didn’t know what it was but ever since they started talking a few months ago over face book, he couldn’t stop thinking about her and how much she had grown to mean to him.

Looking up at the dark haired man that sat next to her Tara smiled, “Okay, I’m ready if you are?” she set the paper down where he could see it with a nod, she waited for him to start playing before joining in with the words. Smiling she counted the beats and soon joined in with the words to the song. The two of them sat there and sang songs that he had found for them to pass the time when a knock came and interrupted them.

Sighing Mark set the guitar aside as he stood, “Sorry Tara, I don’t know who this could be. I told my buddy’s to not come by tonight.” He walked over to the door just a few feet away from where they had been sitting. Opening the door Mark frowned when he saw that it was his ex-wife Alley. “What are you doing here? You know that you are not welcome here.” He stood so she couldn’t see who was sitting in the room behind him.

“Mark I can come by if I want. There was not order in the divorce papers saying I couldn’t stop by to see you if I wanted to.” Alley said as she tried to look over his shoulder, “aren’t you doing to let me in Mark?” she knew that he had a date over and she didn’t like that he was moving on with his life and was trying to find someone to be with. She was having trouble moving on knowing that their life together was not working and would never work. If she wasn’t going to have someone special then she didn’t want him to be happy with someone special either.

Making sure to stay in her way Mark frowns, “you need to leave Alley before I call the cops. I told you before that you are not welcome at my home. It is none of your business as to what I am doing and who I am doing it with.” Stepping back, he tried to shut the door only to have Alley put her foot in the way.
“I want to know who is in there with you Mark, I have that right.” The Blonde pushed hard to get passed him and see who was sitting in her former home. Seeing a brunette sitting on the couch looking over some sheet music she frowns. “I think you need to leave whore. He is mine.”

Looking up Tara stood, “Excuse me but he is no longer your husband and you have not say in who he sees.” She moved around the table to go over by the door where Mark stood. Slipping her hand around his arm the brunette smiles, “He is mine now, I suggest you leave and get on with your life.” She watched the blonde stare at her and step towards her. Holding up her other hand Tara shook her head. “Do not think about touching me either. Just leave and do not return.” She watched the tall slender woman leave with a glare in her direction as she walked out the door.

Chapter 2
Shutting the door Mark tried to shake off the urge to strangle his ex-wife, turning to the woman that stood next to him. “I’m sorry Tara for that. She knows she isn’t suppose to come here without an invitation. Where were we?” He smiled as he covered her hand that was still on his arm.

Pulling her hand from his arm shaking her head, “what is going on? Why is she acting like you two are still married?” she moved back over to the couch and sat down. “If my being here is going start up problems between you two then maybe I shouldn’t be here.” She had enjoyed the evening with her friend but after having to be confronted with his ex-wife’s jealousy towards anyone in his life put an end to the good times. Standing with her purse in hand, “maybe I should go I don’t want to cause problems with her for you.” Moving towards the door gently cupping his cheek Tara smiled at him. “I did have a good time tonight; maybe we can get together somewhere else so she isn’t temped to make a scene. Call me tomorrow and we can meet for lunch or something.”

Covering her hand that rested on his cheek Mark smiled as he nodded. “Alright, I am sorry that she ruined our evening together. I’ll give you a call tomorrow for a lunch date.” He took her hand, bringing it to his lips and kissed her knuckles. “At least let me walk you to your car just to be safe in case she is out there waiting.” He opened the screen door and let her out in front of him, as she stepped out of the house he closed the door behind him. . Placing a hand on the small of her back, he walked with her down the walk path towards her car that was parked along the street.

Tara couldn’t help but smile when she felt his hand on the small of her back. Stopping at her car, she turned to face the man her classmate had turned into. “I really did have a good time tonight. I am looking forward to tomorrow and out lunch date.” Just them her cell phone went off startling her. Laughing as she reaching into her purse and silenced the phone. “Sorry about that. My assistant knows not to call me unless it’s an emergency.” Leaning close she placed a soft gently kiss on his cheek. “I look forward to your call tomorrow.” She unlocked her car door and stepped back to open it.

Fighting down the urge to take a hold of her shoulders and turned her to face him and kiss her deeply, instead he reached out and opened her car door for her. “I will call in the morning to set something up. I am glad you came by tonight also.” Leaning into the car, he kissed her cheek quickly before straightening up and closing the door for her. Taking a step back, he watched her drive off into the night. Taking a deep breath, he went back inside and started to clean up from super.

Heading back towards her hotel Tara pulled over in a parking lot she pulled out her cell and looked at who just called. A smile crossed her face when she saw that it was Michael. “He must be in town for a few days.” She mumbled to herself as she dialed his number. While she waited for him to pick up, she headed back out onto the road and towards her hotel to unwind after the tense situation that had just happened at Marks.

Pulling into the hotel parking lot Tara smiled when she finally heard the voice on the other end and smiled. “Hey Michael, I’m glad you called are you in Denver?” she sat in the car for a few minutes. Listening to the voice on the other end of the line before climbing from the car and headed into the hotel to her room.

Michael smiled “Tara honey, I am in Denver I thought I would give you a call and see if we could meet up tonight. You could come to my bus if you’re in Denver.” He ushered his crew and band mates off his bus as he waited for her to respond to his question.

Climbing from her car the brown-haired person headed into the hotel. “I’m actually in Denver right now. Just got back to my hotel we could meet here. No one will know you’re here I have a corner room.” Stepping off the elevator Tara headed down the hall to her room that sat at the end. “Oh that would be great.” She told him what hotel she was at and her room number, “there is no one in the lobby so you should be safe walking through it to the elevator. I can’t wait to see you.” Nodding as she closed the door to her room behind her, hanging up she made sure her room was picked up, then quickly showered and changed into something else. She always looked forward to seeing Michael when he came to town. After the night she has, she needed to be with someone that didn’t want a relationship, just wanted to be there and enjoy each other’s company and closeness. Though she had not planned the affair when she won backstage passes to a concert that she had a ticket for. However, having met the main act and hitting it off with the artist things just happened that at the after party they ended up in his tour bus enjoying each other’s company. Sitting at the small corner desk, she logged onto her computer while she waited on Michael to arrive. Looking through her email, she was startled from her thoughts when a knock sounded on her door.

Standing and moving over to the door Tara looked through the peek hole and smiled seeing Michael’s dirty blonde hair sticking out from under a beat up cowboy hat. Opening the door, she stepped back to let the six-foot tall man in. “I’m glad you made it with out to much trouble.”
Pushing his hat back on his head the tall man smiled at her as he pushed the door closed and locking it, as he looked her over. “You look good.” Slipping a hand behind her neck and pulled her to him, as he placed a demanding kiss upon her lips.

Chapter 3
Letting her body melt into his as she returned the demanding kiss. She knew the relationship between them was wrong in all aspects but she couldn’t help but react this way when he touches her or just being near him. Sliding her hands up his chest Tara could felt his hand slid into her robe as he kissed down her neck. Tilting her head back she could barely talk, “are we going to do it right here or take me to bed?” she voice came out in a husky whisper.

Growling against her neck Michael knew what she was asking him. He knows that what he had with this woman was wrong and if it was found out the relationship would not only hurt his family but his career as well. However, when he was near her or in town he couldn’t stay away from her. The feel of her soft, curvy body was like a drug to him. He loved the feel of how her body reacted to his touch. Picking her up into his arms, he carried her over to one of the queen beds that stood in the center of the room. Setting her onto the bed, he quickly tore off his clothes before joining her on the bed.

Opening her robe Michael gazed upon her soft amble body open to him for his use and enjoyment. Leaning close he kissed her mumbling how he enjoyed being with her.

Returning the kisses Tara let her hands explore over his body before fully turning her body over to the man in the bed with her. She loved how he reacted to her curves and soft skin. Looking up into deep blue eyes, she nodded answering the question she saw in them. Opening her legs to allow him access to her body, the feel of their bodies melding together brought feelings of joy and peacefulness.

After what seemed like hours the two laid with the legs entangled breathing hard with smiled. Michael smiled stroking her arm lightly brushing the side of her half-exposed breast. “It is never dull when I come to your bed or you come to mind. I am glad you were in town and we could have tonight to be together before I have to go on stage tomorrow.”

Entangling her fingers with his as her head rested on his chest she smiled. “I am too. I always enjoy our time together. I wish we could be together more, but I can’t ask you to leave your wife and kids.” Pausing for a few minutes to gather her thoughts before she brought up the subject that was on her mind. Kissing his chest Tara traced a thing line of hair that ran down his stomach and disappeared under the covers. “Michael, I want us to have a child together.” The words came out to fast and soft for her liking.

Take a deep breath Michael sighed. “Tara we walked about this. We can’t have a child, I can’t have a child outside my marriage it would ruin me and my family.” Moving to get out from under her upper body and stands up the blonde-haired person frowned. “Why do you have to ruin a stress free wonderful evening by going to that topic again?” turned to face her he watched her sit up letting the blankets pool around her waist. His eyes drifted to her amble firm breasts; in his mind, he could see those smooth orbs nursing their child. Shaking his head in attempt to push those thoughts away. He would know dishonor his wife anymore by having a child with the woman that he is having an affair with.

Climbing to her knees Tara crawled across the bed to him running her hand over his stomach and up his chest. “I know we have Michael, but no one would have to know the baby is yours.” Moved closer making sure to brush against him, as she looked up at him. “I know you won’t leave your wife for me and I wouldn’t ask you to. I’m just asking for a part of you that will be with me all the time. We are going to have to stop our meetings at some point. Please it’s just a small thing I am asking for.”

Cupping the upturned face Michael sighs. “Why is this important to you?” He wanted to be with her but loved his wife. However, to look at the woman kneeling on the bed in front of him he couldn’t help but want her back in bed under him enjoying her body.

Chapter 4
Grabbing the sheet the brown-haired person wrapped it around herself as she stood from them bed. “I want a family. I’m not asking you to be part of the baby’s life or to even help support it. It would be a part of you that I would have with me all the time.” Tara frowned as she moved around the edge of the bed and over to the desk and sat down in the chair she was sitting in before he got there. Pulling the sheet together around her body Tara looked at him. “We’ve played by your rules and I have been content with just spending a few days with you when very you’re in town to do a show. I only ask this one thing is all.”
Sighing Michael walked over to where she sat not even worried about covering himself up. As he reached the chair, he knelt in front of her, resting his hands on her knees. “Tara we talked about this. I can’t be found having an affair; you agreed to keep this under the covers so to speak. Why are you all of a sudden do you want a child now, my child? Help me understand please?”

“This can’t go on forever Michael, your wife will find out at some point. I will want something more permanent some day.” Tara sighed, “You don’t see it. You come here have a few hours or days in bed with me then go home to your wife and kids. I go home to an empty house.” Shaking her head, “maybe it’s time we call it quits and go our separate ways.” She looked down at the hands that rested on her knees, “I just want what you have when you go home and I know I can’t have that with you.”

Standing the blonde-haired person took her hands, “Come back to bed.” He could feel her resist his trying to pull her to her feet. “Just to talk this out okay?” as much as he would rather make love to her again, he knew that if they didn’t work this issue the night would end on a bad note and he didn’t want that. She did mean something to him even if he wouldn’t leave his wife for her.

Reluctantly Tara let him pull her to her feet and lead her to the bed. She knew things between them would end at some point. Sitting on the edge of the bed Tara let him remove the sheet from around her before he joined her on the bed. “Michael I’ll even have a paper drawn up saying I won’t come to you for money for the baby.” Looking into his blue eyes, she knew she had to be strong if they were going to talk about this, and not end up in the throes of passion again not that making love to him was a bad thing.

Climbing onto the bed and crawling behind her he started to kiss her shoulders. “You haven’t answered my question Tara about why now and why me?” leaning back against the headboard he pulled her into his arms and wrapped his legs around her. “Talk to me lover.” As much as he wanted to make her forget about this subject, he fought the urge to make love to her.

Leaning back against him Tara frowned. “What’s to talk about, you and I both know we can’t go on like this forever. At some point, someone is going to find out about us and our affair will be exposed. Then you will be forced to make a choice your family or me. I don’t want to be the cause of you being forced to do that. A child would give me a part of you with me no matter what happens between us. If it will help I am willing to sign a paper saying I would claim the child is yours or ask you to for any support in any way for the child.”

With light gentle caresses, the older man ran his hands up and down her arms making sure he was listening to her. “I would never ask you to sign a paper like that. However, I could not have you threaten to bring out affair out into the open if I didn’t help you support the baby. Do you see where I am coming from? Though I don’t think you would do something like that to ruin my life to be mean.” Kissing her neck can you give me some time to think about it. I know I only have a few days here in town before we move on to the next stop on the tour.” Nibbling on her ear, he lowered his voice to be more seductive “why don’t you take a couple of weeks off and travel with me.” He would think about it he hadn’t broken his word to her yet and he wasn’t going to start now.

Turning to face him Tara smiled, “You will think about it really? Oh Michael I just want proof of the time we have been together and that I know you love me in some way.” Wrapping her arms around him and kissed him. Without breaking the kiss, the brown-haired person straddled him. Tracing kisses along his jaw line and down his neck, she smiled. “We have all night lover to be together.” She could feel him growl and take her by the waist and move her off his lap and lay her back onto the bed.

Laying her back onto the bed Michael couldn’t believe how beautiful she looked with her brown hair forming a halo around her. Watching her for a few minutes, he began to make slow passionate love to her. At that moment, he briefly thought about leaving his family to be with her but quickly pushed that thought away knowing it was wrong. Spooning up to, her he held her tightly against him as he slept his mind keep thinking about what she was asking of him.

Chapter 5
The ringing of her phone woke her, Tara moved out from under the arm that was draped over her waist, reaching for the phone she looked at the number with a frowns. “Shit. Michael wake up it’s your wife.” She shook the man that was asleep in the bed with her. “Michael wake up.”

Rolling over Michael rubbed his face, “what?” he looked at the number that was displayed on his phone. “Crap, be quite I don’t need her finding out right now.” Sitting up he answered the phone. “Sorry honey was asleep just heard the phone. Are the kids okay?” He listened for a little bit his frown getting deeper the more he listened to what she said.

Sighing Tara got up and padded into the bathroom to clean up while he was on the phone with his wife. Leaning against the door, she thought about what it would feel like to be in his wife’s place and finding out that her husband was sleeping with another woman. Knocking her head back on the door, as she covered her eyes, “how could I do this to another woman then demand a child with the man? I have to end this today for the sake of his children.” Turning to the mirror the brunette looked at herself in disgust, “what have you become Tara? You were raised better than this. Have you slipped so far down the moral chain to have an affair with a man you’re not married to, worse yet a man that is married to another woman.” Slapping the counter she knew that she had to go back out there and end this relationship. Washing her face and hardening her resolved she opened the door, and headed back into the room where Michael sat on the bed.

“Michael we need to talk about what’s going on between us.” The slender woman hated to do this but it was the right thing to do. Sitting on the bed Tara looked at him she knew something happened on the phone. “She found out didn’t she?”

Looking down Michael nodded. “Yes she did. She demanded I stop seeing you and work on earning her trust back in hopes of saving my family.” Reaching up he gently stroked her cheek, “I told her I would stop seeing you, but before I want out that door and your life. I want one more time with you; maybe you will get what you want out of it as well. I am holding you to your word, that if you get pregnant by me that you will not let on that its mine or ask me for help. I will contact you someone down the road” He watched her nod and stand up letting the sheet fall to the floor. He was determined to make this last time last for the both.

Chapter 6
Sitting up against the headboard Tara held her knees close to her chest holding the sheet to her body to cover herself as she watched Michael dress and gather his things. Sighing she knew this was the right thing to do. “I’m sorry someone found out and told her. I never wanted to hurt her or your children. I’m going to miss our time together.” She knew if she got off the bed, she would try to get him back into bed and she couldn’t let that happen.

Pulling his hair back out of his face as he put on the ball cap that he had one the night before, “it’s not your fault. I wasn’t as careful as I should have been last night.” He studied her for a few minutes before leaning onto the bed. “I had fun while we were together. May I contact you in the future to find out if our child was conceived?”

Nodding the petite woman smiled, “I’d like that. Nevertheless, I don’t want to make things worse at home for you by trying to get a hold of you. I’ll have the same number just in case.” She swallowed the lump in her throat as she watched him nod and turn moving around the corner of the bathroom and out the door closing it behind him. The sound of the door closing caused her to jump and tears start to roll down her cheeks. Lying over from where she sat on the bed, curled up into a ball, and cried. Knowing this was the right thing to do didn’t make it hurt any less.

Looking back at the white door Michael hated that had to leave her this way but it was what he had to do. Shaking his head “sorry Tara you do mean a lot to me.” His voice low hiding the pain he was feeling on leaving this way. He moved down the hall and out of her life for now, hoping it will not be forever. Stepping through the sliding glass doors Michael found the taxi waiting for him that he had called for while on the elevator. Climbing into the car and telling the cabbie where to go Michael took one last look at the hotel that held the woman that he never thought would come to mean so much to him.

Sitting on his brown Swede couch watching TV but not really paying attention to what was on the screen. Mark’s mind was on the woman was from his high school days. She was nothing like he remembered her back then; of course then he was high and not paying attention to many people if they didn’t offer him pot. Shaking his head with a smile “Man you are lost on her and you haven’t been talking that long with each other, you just saw her last night. What is it about her that has you so take man.” Laughing to himself as he reached for his cell phone, “where did I put her number, oh yeah I remember\.’ Standing he made his way across the room to where his keys sat in a large handmade bowl that his niece made him. “There you are,” picking up the small paper he could still smell her perfume on it from the reunion.

Hearing her phone ring the brunette sat up realizing she had cried herself to sleep, over a man she knew she could never have. Looking at the number on the phone she smiled wiping at her eyes she tried to gather herself so she didn’t sound upset on the phone. Flipping it open, she smiled. “Mark this is a surprise this early. I thought you would be at work right now.” Pushing herself off the bed, she moved over to the mirror on the wall that was across from the bed. Frowning when she saw how red and puffy her eyes were as she listened to the man on the other end.

Looking out the front window on his home Mark quickly tried to decide how to ask her this, shrugging his shoulders he just decided to ask it. “Tara can we get together again today? Other then my ex showing up I had a great time last night.” Suddenly feeling nervous, he wanted to bad to kill her and didn’t want to push her. “I couldn’t stop thinking about you all night.”

Thinking quickly she nodded. “Sure we can, what time to you want to meet and where?” listening as she set about gathering her clothes to get cleaned up and meet her friend, she hoped it would help her to get her mind off the pain she was feeling at the moment. Nodding Tara headed into the bathroom. “Alright I will meet you out front on the hotel in an hour. See you then.” Hanging up she got herself cleaned up.

Flipping his phone closed Mark let out a howler of joy as he went to clean up before he has to be at the hotel. Picking out a nice red shirt and dark jeans, he changed before going to the kitchen to get a picnic lunch together. Whistling as he worked on putting the meal together, he started to wonder if she was starting to feel the same way about him and he was about her. Stopping at the door, he set the alarm before heading out to his truck.

Placing the cooler in the front passenger seat along with his guitar, he got in and headed over to the hotel for her. He knew just the place to take her for lunch and to see where things led for them. He just hoped she was up for a drive that would last a couple of hours to get where he had planned.

Taking one last look in the mirror to adjust her floral pattern summer dress and check her hair before leaving her room and headed down stairs. Reaching the lobby, she smiled at the young man behind the desk as she moved to the doors. Taking a deep breath, she stepped through the doors and looked around to see if Mark was there yet. Not seeing him, she sat on the bench, pulled out her mp3 player, and started to listen while she waited for him to show up.

Chapter 7
Pulling into the parking lot Mark saw her sitting out front; to him she looked great the slight breeze that blew through her hair just made her even prettier to him. He knew he had to say something and make a move to get her to be his. Pulling up in front of the hotel, he climbed from the truck with a smile on his face, “Tara I’m glad you agreed to come with me today.” Moving around the truck to where she sat, he couldn’t help but let his eyes travel over her curves and back to her face as she stood from the bench.

Blushing she pushed the hair that blew into her face back behind her ear, she could feel his eyes on her as the wind sweep the bottom of her dress around her tan legs. “I am too. I needed to get out with someone I trust and feel comfortable with. What did you have planned for today?” Stepping close to him her eyes roamed over his well-built frame shaking her head she smiled at him as she moved closer to him and gave him a hug.

Wrapping his arms around her, he knew he had to make things between them more secure for them both. As he held her, he could tell she was trying to relax but it wasn’t working very well. “Hey what’s wrong? You seem tense today.” As he opened the passenger’s door on the truck, he noticed that his guitar had slid over onto the seat. “Let me move this first.” Reaching into the vehicle and pushed the instrument back up so that it gave her room to sit down.

Straightening back up he could tell that she didn’t want to talk about what was bothering her right there at the hotel so he didn’t push her to tell him. Helping her into the truck, he shuts the door for her then moved around the truck, got into the driver’s seat, and started off towards the planned picnic place he had chosen.

Making sure her seatbelt was fastened Tara put her mp3 player away before looking at her friend. “Sorry I don’t want to spoil the day. A casual relationship I was in ended badly this morning, I just want to move forward and start my life over.” She smiled at her friend as they headed into the mountains for the day. She couldn’t help herself but the more time she was spending with him she felt more than just friendship for him. Turning back to see where there were going the brunette smiled. “Mark you didn’t say what you had planned for today.”

Clearing his throat of the nervous lump that had suddenly formed so he could speak, he tried to keep his heart to slow down knowing now that she was single. “I thought that a picnic in the mountains would work today. My ex can’t find us and we can be alone to find out if there might be something between us.” He could hear the words coming out faster than he would have liked. Cringing when he realized that he had just told her he wanted to peruse a relationship with her. Coughing he shook his head. “A day in the mountains is okay I hope.”

Smiling Tara reached over and patted his arm, “that sounds perfect. I love to spend time in the mountains. I think it is the perfect place to explore the possibilities of a relationship.” Taking a deep breath she watched the scenery go by. Thankful that she was given this chance at a new start with a good man that she knew back when they were young and stupid. “What is the guitar for? Something really smells good, did you cook again?”

Pulling off the main road to a little side dirt road, “I might have wiped something up for us today. I wanted to surprise you, I hope that is okay?” Sneaking a quick glance at her while, he made his way down the road to where the place was that he had planned to take her for the day.

“I think that is just fine and it is beautiful here. Maybe I wore the wrong shoes for today” shrugging her shoulders she smiled, “Oh well, will not let it ruin the day.” She watched the pasture come into view and was taken away by it. “Oh Mark its beautiful here. I think we are going to have a great day.” Tucking her purse under the seat while she waiting on him to open the door for her. Taking his hand, she climbed from the truck and took a deep breath “this is heaven so clean and quiet.” Taking the cooler from him while he got his guitar from the truck followed him to one of the tables that were set up future into the field.

Setting the guitar on the table Mark took the cooler from her and set it next to the guitar before he opened it and took out a couple of sheets and a blanket out of it. Spreading out one of the sheets on the bench that stood in front of them, “you’re seat milady.” Taking her hand and helping her sit down. Moving the guitar, setting it on the ground, and leaning it against in the table. Spreading the blanket of the table and the other sheet on the other bench. Then he started to take the food out of the cooler and spread it out. Sitting across from her Mark smiled. “Lunch is served.” He offered her different bowls so she could fill her plate.

Taking a bit of the meat that he had prepared “ohh Mark this is great, you keep amazing me with what you can do and how you turned out. I’m glad to be here with you.”

The two of them talked, laughed, ate and enjoyed the sun and time in the cool mountain air. The day went by slowly for them as they enjoyed each other’s company.

Taking a deep breath Tara looked at a far off mountain peek before speaking again. “Sorry about earlier, my mind was somewhere else.” Turning back to him, she wasn’t sure she wanted to tell him this but if they were going to try to have something, they needed to be honest with each other. “I was involved with a man that was married. I know it was wrong we ended it this morning. I understand if you don’t want to peruse a relationship with me after hearing this.” She sighed standing and folding up the sheet she was sitting on. Without looking at him, Tara wanted to make a new start with him and to live her life different. “If you’ll just take me back to the hotel I will gather my things and head home. I don’t be hurt by it; I just wanted to be honest with you. It wasn’t planned it just happened.” She could feel her heart breaking and her stomach turn knowing she may have just ruined any chance they might have had to be together. Folding the sheet she had been sitting on when a pair of roughen hands covered and stilling her hands, slowly she looked up into a pair of deep blue eyes.

Taking her hands in his, he waited for her to look at him. When she finally looked at him, he could see the unshed tears in her eyes. “Tara I don’t want you to leave, its past and time to let it go and move forward. I won’t hold it against you; you saw my ex-wife and what I have to deal with. I still want to give us a chance especially if you are willing to.” He could see her start to smile and nod. Taking the sheet and setting it aside, before taking her in his arms and holding her close to him.

Chapter 8
Feeling the strength in his arms she felt safe and knew things would be okay over time, the urge to cry slowly subsided knowing that he didn’t hold her past against her and was willing to let it go and start new with her. Now she needed to let go of her past and look to building a new future for herself. Stepping back she quickly wiped away a tear that started to roll down her cheek, “I’m sorry I didn’t mean ruin the day.”

Smiling Mark gently cupped her cheek and gently stroked her cheek with his thumb. “Don’t be, you haven’t ruined anything. Let’s clean up here then we can go find a place and enjoy the sun and the rest of the day.” He handed her the sheet she had folded before he worked at folding the other sheet and packing everything back into the cooler. Picking up the cooler and taking both sheets Mark smiled. “Wait here, I’ll be right back.” He jogged over to where he parked the truck.

Sitting on the bench Tara watched her friend jog over to the truck to put things again and return to where she sat with the blanket in her hands and the guitar next to her. She couldn’t help but watch him as he came towards her. He wasn’t the same scrawny kid she knew years before he had turned into a well build and good-looking man. Letting her eyes roam over his strong frame, she noticed something in his hand but she couldn’t make out what it is.

Smiling as he walked back over to her Mark slipped his hand behind his back so she couldn’t see what he had. “I want you to put that guy out of your mind and just focus on having a good time today. We will see where it leads us okay?” as he brought a flower out from behind his back and held it out to her.

“Oh Mark its lovely, thank you.” She took the flower and smelled it she could feel the tears well up in her eyes. He has continually surprised her every time they have been together so far since she came to town. Not even her late husband was this sweet to her; these feelings were new to her. Shaking her head she wiped at her eyes, “sorry just been a long time since anyone gave me flowers let alone one flower.”

Smiling Mark loved how it made him feel to make her happy. “Well its time you got treated like the special lady you are Tara.” Taking her hand, he led her back to where his guitar sat. “There is a river just down a ways are you okay to walk over there?”

“Yes I’m fine to walk over there as long as it’s not to far. Let’s go I want to see what else you have in mind.” She let him led her back to the table and picked up the instrument. Tara followed him down across the field to the river that was nearby. Letting him help her onto a large rock that was just off the riverbank, before he sat on a smaller rock in front of her.

Sitting down he opened the case, took it out, and started to play for her. He made the tune up as he went along. He loved to watch her face as he tried to explain the feelings that had been building inside him since they started talking over the internet. As he watched the emotions played over her face he smiled and knew this was the right move to make to take the first step in making her his.

Tara smiled listening to him play she started to hum to the tune he was playing and relax more forgetting everything from the night before and enjoy the his company and where they were. Looking out over the river, she started to sing making up the words as they went along. Reaching down she unbuckled her shoes and slipped them off before sliding off the rock. Looking around where they were sitting to make sure it was safe to step into the water. Seeing that there was nothing around that would harm her she stepped into the edge of the river. She felt a pair of arms slip around her waist and a voice in her ear
Mark couldn’t resist taking her in his arms, hold her, and protect her. He knew she didn’t need his protection from the world for the most part; however, he couldn’t help it he loved how she felt in his arms. Laying his head against the side of hers, “stay the night with me tonight please. I want to hold you all night and show you how much you have come to mean to him since we started talking. I know you just got out of a relationship so to speak, at least think about it before you answer.”

Leaning back against the strong chest she had seen through his tight shirt she thought over what he was saying. Knowing that if she was going to start over she shouldn’t but she needed to get Michael off her mind by replacing the memories on the night before with better ones that could give her the family she wanted and hasn’t been able to obtain. Nodding she threaded her fingers with his until they were holding hands. “I will stay with you tonight. I know I shouldn’t but I want to be with you and see if we can be compatible together. However, I don’t want us to ruin our friendship.”

Turning her to face him Mark didn’t hide his happiness. “I don’t either. I won’t push you into anything you don’t want to do tonight. I have a spare room if you want to use it. The last thing I want to do is force you into something and ruin our friendship that this is all based on.” Moving his hands, he gently cupped her face and leaned in meeting her lips with his in a gentle light kiss.

Sliding her hands up his arms and into his hair her fingers entangled in his thick black main she let the kiss deepen and grow in intensity. She pressed against his hard-sculpted chest while her shoes fell to the ground behind him. The lack of air forces the them to back up and try to calm their hearts that were beating hard in their chests. “Guess we should leave before we do something we don’t want to in public.” Side stepping him she picked off her shoes and moved over to the rock sitting down to put them back on while she watched Mark pack up his guitar and reach for her hand.

Taking her hand he lead her back to the table to get the blanket before leading her to the truck and helping her into the vehicle and went around and got in. soon the couple were on their way back to his house.

Chapter 9
Moving the guitar to her other side as she moved close to Mark she smiled as she sniffed the flower he gave her. Moving the guitar to her other side as she moved close to Mark she smiled as she sniffed the flower he gave her. As they road in silence Tara let her hand rest on his leg. “Mark thank you for understanding that I made a mistake with him and letting us move past it.”

Squeezing her hand briefly Mark smiled, “you made a mistake that’s all. I can’t hold that against you.” He was enjoying having her so close to him, he couldn’t help but love how things were turning out for him. Making sure to keep his eyes on the road while he slipped his arm around her shoulders and pulled her close to his side.

The two rode in silence for a while when the silence was broken by the sound of a ring tone sounded from the floorboard. “Sorry, My office might need me let me get that.” Reaching down and fumbling in her purse until she found it. Sitting back, she looked at the caller ID on it and frowned when she saw that it was Michael calling. Hitting the ignore button she was determined not to let him inside her head again. “It was nothing.” She put the phone put into her purse; just as she looked up; she saw a rock come rolling down the mountainside. Before she could say anything, she felt the car swerve to miss something. Sitting up she felt his arm come across her chest as she felt him hit the brakes.

“Shit, Hold on Tara.” Mark started to maneuver the truck to avoid being hit by the falling rocks. Mumbling under his breath, he keep an eye on his passenger as he moved out of the way over the rocks as they came onto the road. Looking for a place to pull over he know that his time in the military would come in hand and her knowledge of anatomy would come in handy if anyone was hurt. Putting the truck in part, he handed her his cell phone. “Wait here and call 911. Stay in the car till I can see what is going on.” He leaned in and gave her a quick kiss before shutting down and running to another car that was stopped not far behind him.

Watching out the back window of the truck Tara waiting for 911 to pick up the phone. Hearing a voice on the other line caused her to snap out of her gaze, she quickly gave the operator where they were and what happen. Before she saw, Mark waved her over to the car. Grabbing her purse she climbed from the vehicle and ran over to where he stood, “they got help coming. What can I do to help?”

“See to this lady while I check on the other cars.” Mark ran to another car knowing he left the woman in good hands. He checked on several cars before he hears someone screaming. Looking around he saw a car trapped under a large boulder. “Tara I need your help NOW.” He ran towards the car calling out to the person inside.

Looking up when she heard her name being called she nodded and turned her attention to the woman in the car. “Hold that on your head tight help is on the way.” She ran for the car where Mark stood trying to get the person out of the car. Looking into the car Tara went into emergency mode like she would if a horse had been injured. Looking around she started to shout orders and does what she can to stop the bleeding. “Hang in there helps coming. Was there anyone else in the car?” Listening to the woman whisper to her, she looked up really fast. “Mark there is a child in the back seat.” She turned her attention back to the young woman in the car. “Shh, I have someone checking on your child ma’am just stay calm.” She held the woman’s head still and trying to keep pressure on the cuts. Hearing the sirens in the distance, “hear that, helps coming.” She prayed that help would arrive soon.

Looking into the back see Mark could see a small child curled up on the floor. “I found her, she’s on the floor I can’t reach her but she doesn’t look hurt.” He called out before turning his attention to the young girl. Smiling at her Mark tried to calm his pounding heart before he talked to her. Taking a deep breath, he watched the child. “Hey there honey. Helps coming to get you out. Are you hurt anywhere?” he could see she was scared, “I won’t hurt you honey, my girlfriends with your mom helping her. Can you tell me your name?”

Shaking and looking around, the little girl tried to calm down. “Mary. Is my mommy okay?” she looked at the man that was talking to her. She climbed onto the seat “I want out of here help me please.”

Looking at the window Mark nodded. “Okay hold on Mary honey let me clear the glass out of the way.” Looking around he found a stick, turning back to the window he looked in. “Mary honey I need you to move as far away as you can and cover your face while I get rid of this glass.” He watched her do as he asked before he started to knock the glass out of the way. Tossing the stick aside, he removed his shirt and laid it over the bottom of the window. “Okay Mary come on over and I’ll help you out.”

Moving over to the window the young girl reached through the window to the man that was helping her and her mother. Holding onto him tightly she let him slide her out of the window into his arms. Feeling him hold her close while he shook out his shirt he wrapped it around her before they started to move around the car away from the car.

Mark took her over to the truck and sat down with her. “You’re not hurt are you?” he watched her shake her head. “Your moms going to be okay, she wouldn’t want you to see her all cut up. So as soon as the medics get her cleaned up some I’ll take you over to her.” A smile crossed her face brought a smile to his face as he held her close and tried to keep her warm with the blanket from their picnic.

Chapter 10
Looking up from the woman in the car Tara saw a paramedic walking towards her. “I didn’t want to move her in case she had unseen injuries.” She moved aside keeping her hands on the woman’s head; she let the medic put a neck brace on the woman. Stepping back she felt her hand grabbed turning back to the woman Tara smiled. “You’re in good hands now ma’am.” Watching the woman’s face, she knew she was scared and wanted someone she felt safe with to stay with her. “Want me to stay with you till they get you out?” Seeing the woman nod Tara nodded with a smile. “Okay I’ll stay with you.” She kept a hold of the woman’s hand while the fire department worked to free her from the car.

Mark watched Tara as she stayed with the little girl’s mother. Seeing how caring and comforting she was with the injured woman it warmed his heart and he fell even more for her. He kept the little girl from watching as he watched the firefighters work at extracting her mother from the mangled wreckage of what was their car. Letting her play the games on his phone, he just hoped her mother wasn’t hurt to bad. Glancing he saw that they had gotten the roof off the car, and were strapping her to a small backboard. Glancing up at Tara, he waited for her to give him a sign that he could bring the little girl over to her mother.
“I’m going to step back and go get your little girl while they get you out.” Tara smiled as she squeezes the woman’s hand before moving out of the way of the firefighters and headed over to where Mark sat in the truck entertaining the small girl. Calling out before she got close enough to startle the already scared child. “They are getting her out now Mark we can bring the child over. Her mother is worried about her.” Stopping in front of the two of them, she knelt down in front of them and smiled at the little girl. “Hi there, they almost have your mother out of the car honey.” She watched the child look up at her and nod that she understood.

“Thank you for helping us.” Mary whispered as she leaned against Mark feeling safe with him.

Wrapping his arms around her Mark smiled at her as he nodded that he enjoyed holding the child. Leaning close to Tara he smiled as she whispered, “I wish I had a child that I could enjoy holding, but it wasn’t meant to be I guess.” Placing a quick kiss on her cheek before leading the way to where the ambulance sat waiting for the child to join her mother.

As the couple approached the ambulance, the EMTs worked to stop the bleeding on their patients head. The EMT frowns concerned that they couldn’t stop the bleeding and needed to get moving to the hospital. “We need to get her to the hospital and in a hurry. Let me get the child settled and we will be on the way.”
The woman shook her head. “No I want her to ride with me.” She reached for Tara “Please?”

The look on the scared look on the woman’s face the brunette nodded. “Sure what hospital are you taking her too?” listening to where the ambulance was headed she turned to her date. “Let me take Mary, I’ll meet you there, we probably will have to talk to the cops about what happen and how we were able to help out till help arrived.” As she took the child from his arms and kissing him, softly before climbing into the ambulance and settling the child on her lap so she could still hold the woman’s hand.

“I’ll meet you there.” Stepping back he watched the doors shut and the ambulance move quickly down the road and out of his sight. Knowing what hospital there were going to he quickly got into the truck and headed in that direction. He wasn’t about to let her out of his sight for long right now. Glance to see if she had her ID, he noticed that her purse was still sitting on the floor of the truck. Smiling to himself, he knew she trusted him to see that it was safe with him.
Arriving at the hospital Tara followed the gurney into the hospital with the little girl a sleep in her arms. Stopping at the waiting room she sat down making sure the precious burden in her arms was safe and comfortable while they waited for word on how the child’s mother was doing. Laying her head back, she thought back to what she had asked Michael the last time she saw him. Shaking her head, she knew he wasn’t the one, maybe Mark was.

“Ma’am?” an older male voice got her attention making her look at the older man standing in front of her. “The child’s mother wants to see you and ask that we find a lawyer for her. We have one on call, if you will follow me I will take you to her.”

“Alright.” Standing she adjusted the child in her arms and followed the graying man back into the treatment area of the Emergency Room to where the woman she had helped laid waiting for her. Swallowing hard she pushed through the curtains and stepped up to the bed “Hi there. The doctor said you wanted to see me.”

Reaching a hand out she gently stroked the sleeping child’s hair. Karen nodded with a harsh whisper of a voice, “yes I did. If I don’t make it I want you to raise Mary for me and tell her that I loved her very much.” She could see the shock on her helpers face. “I have no one else to leave her with. She needs a good woman to be her mother. Please tell me you will raise her as your daughter.”

Taking back Tara tried to push the through away of the child losing her mother. ”shh don’t say that. You’ll be just fine I know it. You’ll be out and playing with Mary at no time at all.” She prayed that she was right about Karen making it through and that she could raise her own child, but she knew that in order for her to rest comfortable and concentrate on getting better she nodded. “Alright but only if something happens to you. Which I know it won’t.”

Just then, a lawyer came through the curtain with the doctor not far behind him. “I hear you want to make a custody order so that your child is taken care of if the unforeseen happens.” He looked at the woman in the bed before turning and placing his briefcase on the bedside table. He pulled out several pieces of papers and started to go over them with both women. He explained that if the mother did for any reason die that the child’s new guardian would be Tara Wartyn would raise her and be her mother.

Nodding Tara agreed to raise the child in her arms if something happened to her mother and signed the papers. She watched Karen sign them as well.
Taking the papers, the Lawyer nodded. “I will put a rush on these and have them filed right away today so that we are covered and the child is protected. “Placing the papers in his briefcase, closing it he nodded to both women and left the treatment area.

Taking Karen’s hand Tara smiled. “I’m honored that you chose me to raise Mary if something happens to you, especially since you barely know me. I will take good care of her I promise. And love her as if she were my own blood.”

Squeezing her hand Karen smiled. “You did the one thing not many people would do. You and your boyfriend stopped and helped us and made sure she was okay and couldn’t see how bad I was hurt. That means a lot to me. In addition, tells me that she would be safe and raised to respect life and help others. I couldn’t ask for a better mother for her.”

Nodding Tara smiled returning the squeeze she let the doctor ushered her out of the treatment area to the waiting room. Stepping into the waiting room she smiled in relief when she saw Mark sitting there waiting for her to come out of the treatment area. Making her way over to him, she hugged him and fought back tears trying not to wake the child in her arms as she clung to him for strength.

Wrapping his arms around both of them, he rubbed her back. “Shh it’s going to be okay. Sit down and relax while we wait okay” feeing her nod he smiled and helped her sit on the small couch that was there and took the child into his arms as he winked at her. “I got us a hotel room for the night. I have a feeling we are going to be here for a while and have this little Angle while we wait for word on her mother.”

Laying her head on his shoulder, Tara nodded knowing he was right. She couldn’t bring herself to tell him right now, what happen back in the treatment area. She just wanted to feel safe and know someone cared how she felt.

Chapter 11
It seemed like hours before Tara spotted the lawyer again. Sitting up she gently touch Marks arm. “I’ll be right back Mark.” She stood and moved across the waiting room to where the gray haired gentleman stood waiting for her. “Hello again. There isn’t a problem is there with the papers we signed?”

Mr. MacArtuir smiled, “I don’t think so the papers were all done legal like but when I was talking with her lawyer back where she lives. He mentioned to me that in her will she wanted to person that she named to raise her daughter to be married and willing to follows certain stipulations she set forth for her child.” He watched the woman that was standing in front of him as she took in what he had just told her.

“Ohh, I’m not married yet. Haven’t found Mr. Right. What else did she will say in regards to her daughter?” Tara sighed as she took the paper that he held out to her. Reading the paper, she frowns. “Church?” shaking her head, “okay what else does she say in this thing?” she keep reading the rest of the stipulations that Karen had for the care of her daughter. Frowning as she looked up at the lawyer. “How can see really expect someone she asked to raise her child for her to do all this and raise the child as her own? It doesn’t make sense.” Looking over to where Mark sat holding Karen’s child. How could she let the Karen’s last wish for her child to go unfulfilled because she didn’t want to do some of the things that she wanted so that she would be remembered by her child? Closing her eyes briefly, she turned back to the older man that was standing with her. Nodding “alright I will do them but I have to make sure Mark is willing to do what she asks.” Looking back at her friend, she smiled. “Mary is taken with him and him with her. Maybe it’s a good thing.” Looking back at the lawyer, “give me a few minutes to explain to him what she is asking us to do and see if he will agree.”
With a curt, nod Mr. MacArtuir smiled. “That’s fine.” He watched the younger woman move with an ease that someone who rides horses has as she crossed the room to where the little girl sat with the young man how helped at the wreckage site. He knew they would do what was needed for that little Angle over there. He smiled as he watched the three of them together.

Kneeling down on the hard tile Tara looked up the man she was falling for. “That’s a lawyer the hospital brought in for Mary’s mother at her request. “He got a hold of her lawyer back wherever they lived about the papers she asked me to sign. She wants me to raise Mary if something happens to her. Her lawyer says she has a will that stipulates that whoever raises Mary must be married, and go to church and many other things. I hate to ask but if something does happen to Karen would you be willing to get married for Mary’s sake?” she waited for his answer as she gently touched the small girls blonde hair.

Looking between the woman at his feet and the child in his arms Mark smiled as he gently touched Tara’s face, “I think I can handle that. I wouldn’t want you to break a promise to this Angles mother on her deathbed. Sides I can’t think of a better more beautiful woman to spend my life with and maybe have children of our own to give this Angel siblings.” Leaning over the sleeping child Mark smiled, “Go tell the Lawyer we will do it. We can talk about where to live at the hotel. I know you have a big place on the Western Slope.” Gently kissing her, he took her hand, helped her stand, and nodded to the older man standing not far away from them.

Smiling with tears of happiness Tara nodded as she turned and went back to the lawyer. “He said he would do it for Mary. We’ll do what Karen wanted for her child. If something happens to her. I haven’t heard anything from the doctor since they took her back for surgery.” Shrugging she looked the papers that were needed their signatures. Nodding she took the papers back to Mark and sat down next to him so they could go over the papers together.

Taking a seat near the doorway Mr. MacArtuir waited for word on his client and for the young couple to sign the papers for being able to take custody of the little child if her mother doesn’t make it through this ordeal. He had to admit they did make a good couple. All though that he didn’t know the couple, he knew they would give the child a good and loving home.

Mark handed her Mary before standing. “I’m going to let the nurse know that we are going to the hotel so Mary can sleep more comfortable.” He kissed her cheek before heading over to the nurses’ station. Talking to the nurse that sat behind the counter and giving her the hotel number and room number. Nodding he thanked her and headed back to where Tara sat waiting on news about Karen. Smiling as he watched her while, he made his way around others that were sitting in the waiting room. Holding out a hand his smile brightened as she took his hand and stood up.

Standing Tara adjusted the child in her arms and let him lead her from the hospital only stopping to let the lawyer know that they will sign the papers and have then ready for him when they come back after Mary wakes up from her nap. Shaking his hand, she followed Mark from the hospital and to the truck that sat not far from the doors. Climbing into the truck, she sat the child on the seat next to her and put the lap belt on her before putting her own seat belt on.
Climbing behind the wheel Mark fastened his seatbelt, started the truck, and headed for the hotel that was just down the street from the hospital. “Don’t worry I don’t think that Mary will lose her mother today. Not that I wouldn’t mind marrying you while we are here.” His voice was low so he didn’t wake the small girl while he drove the short distance to the hotel.

Chapter 12
Gently laying the small girl on one of the beds and covered her up. Tara sat on the other bed and rubbed the back of her neck. The day hadn’t turned out the way she had hoped. In some ways it turned out better and in others is was one of the worse days she had faced in a long time. Looking up as Mark came into the room with the papers in his hand. “She’s not asking a lot of perfect strangers, to take on her child and all the stipulations that she has attached to the child.” Glancing at the sleeping child who couldn’t be more then what four or five years of age. Laying back, she had a lot to process, and still worried about the girl’s mother.

Setting the papers on the desk that sat against the wall as he walked by and sat on the bed next to Tara, taking her hand. “She just cares about what happens to child if something happens to her. You know you would want to know your child is being raised like you wanted if you couldn’t raise it.” Gently squeezing her hand, he smiled. “Sit up and let me rub your shoulders.” He moved out of her way waiting for her to sit up and turn her back to him.

Nodding sitting up Tara smiled turning her back to him as she thought over what he said. “You’re right I would want the same thing for my child, I wouldn’t be able to rest in peace unless I knew my child was being taken care of the way I wanted them to be cared for.” Her eyes closed when she felt the tension on her shoulders slowly ease and leave her more relaxed then she was earlier that day. “In order to do this one of us needs to move. We both have lives where we live and have jobs there. What are we going to do?”

Wrapping his arms around her and pulling her against him. “I don’t mind giving up my job in Denver, and move in with you and help you in your business or get a job up there, so we can honor Karen’s last wish for her child.” Nuzzling her neck, he smiled. “We might not be fully in love right now but that doesn’t mean the feelings we do have now can’t grow deeper for each other.” He sat holding her and knowing he would do anything to keep her by his side. In addition, make a life with her whether or not Little Mary is with them as their child or not. “We could marry anyway and see how it goes with us.” Turning her to face him Mark cupped her face. “Tara marry me anyway. I fell for you months back when started talking over the internet. When you left my house last night, I thought I might not get another chance to win your heart. What do you say? We could do a small courthouse ceremony then down the ling do a big wedding if you want.” Leaning in he placed a gentle kiss on her lips letting her know how deep his feelings are become for her.

Sitting back further on the bed trying to calm her breathing what was with her everything he was close or kissed her she felt like her heart was going to pound itself right out of her chest. Taking a few deep breathes Tara smiled. “You really mean this don’t you? You want to marry me even if Mary’s mother lives and we don’t have her?” watching him not she knew that he really did mean what he said about marrying her. A smile slowly spread across her face as she nodded. “Yes let’s get married. I wasn’t sure you were feeling the same as I was.” Leaning close she wrapped her arms around him and hugged him excited about finally finding happiness. Standing she stepped over to the desk and picked up the papers that the lawyer had given them to go over from Karen’s lawyer back in her home town.

Sitting next to the man she had falling in love with she smiled as the two of them looked over the papers. “Church that is going to be a tough one because we are both raise in different faiths. Sure, we can find a church we both like. School private hmmm I think we can afford it. There are some good ones in the valley. I think all these are doable over time.” She looked up at the man that was soon to be her husband. Laying her head on, his shoulder she felt more loved then she had her whole life.

Putting an arm around her back and pulling her close to him the as he looked over the paper with her. “Right we will find a church that we need to be in and the other things we will find a way to get them done. I like the idea of private school for any children we have.” Kissing her temple, he knew they needed to get some rest while they waited to hear from the hospital on Mary’s mother. “Let’s get some rest; we don’t know when the hospital will call us with an update on that little Angles mother.” He moved so that he was leaning against the headboard holding her hand he pulled her towards him. “Come lay down and try and get some sleep before we have to return to the hospital and make sure we have all the papers signed for that lawyer.”

Cuddling next to him she rested her head on his chest, let her body relax, and slowly gave into the sleep that she needed after the night before. She knew if anything happened to Karen or if Mary needed her, he would wake her up. She let herself fall into a restful sleep.

Watching her give into the sleep she needed Mark smiled before turning his attention back to the papers. Carefully digging his cell out of his pocket, he called the number on the paper that was the lawyer. Talking a few things over with the lawyer he agree that when they came back to the hospital in the morning they both would sign and do what was needed to be able to take Mary with them if her mother did not make it. Flipping his phone closed he settled into a light sleep so he could hear Mary or the phone if either of them needed his attention.

Chapter 13
The whimper of the small child that was in the next bed woke Tara. Sitting up slowly she looked around the dimly light room to figure out where the noise was coming from. Sitting there, listening Tara looked towards the other bed. It took her a few minutes to understand who was in the other bed. As gently as she could she slid from the bed and Marks arms, to move to the to the other bed. Sitting on the other bed next to the small girl the brunette smiles as she took the child into her arms, “Shh its okay Mary.” Sitting back against the headboard, she held the small girl to her and rubbed her back. “You’re safe.” She hummed lightly to the child hoping she would go back to sleep since it was so early in the morning. Hearing Mark stir in his sleep Tara looked over to where he slept on the bed next to where she sat holding a scared little girl.

Moving a little to get more comfortable he knew Tara wasn’t at his side, opening his eyes he smiled when he saw Tara sitting on the other bed and holding the small girl trying to sooth her. Not wanting to scare the child, he whispered to Tara. “Is she okay?” as he slowly sat up. Watching how tender and caring Tara was with this little girl. He knew in an instant that she would be a good mother to Mary and any children they might have or adopt.

Laying her head against the top of the child’s head in her arms as she looked at Mark, “I think so. I think she was just scared not knowing where she was.” She hated to admit that she loved how it felt to hold this small child in her arms and sooth away her fears. Smiling at Mark, she nodded to him answering the unasked question she was able to read in his eyes as he watched her interact with this child.

Moving slowly Mark sat up never taking his eyes off Tara and Mary. He loved how comfortable Tara looked holding the child. In a low voice he said, “Would have never thought of you as a tender hearted person towards little children or at least the girl I knew of back in school anyway.” He smiled. Climbing off the bed he moved over at sat next to both of them wrapping his arms around them. Kissing Tara’s cheek he hugged the tightly to him before speaking in a low voice. “I have never been happier then I am right now with you and Mary.”

The three of them sat there in the dimly light room just enjoying the feel of security and comfort they gave each other. The silence of the room was broking by the ringing of Marks phone. Reaching over Mark picked up the phone that sat on the table between the two beds, sitting up as he brought the receiver to his ear. “Hello, yes she’s here hang on.” He handed the phone to Tara.

Sitting up carefully so not to disturb the child that was sleeping in her arms, taking the phone Tara keep her voice low but loud enough for the person on the other end could hear her. “Yes this is Tara Wartyn.” She listened to what was being said by the person on the other end. “Alright we will be right there.” Handing the phone back to Mark, she looked down at the child in her arms. Laying her head on the top of the child’s head and gently rubbed her cheek against the soft blonde hair as she looked at the man that sat next to her. “That was the doctor; Karen’s taken a turn for the worse and asked to see us and Mary.”
Nodding Mark climbed from the bed stretching, “alright we better get there.” He padded off to the bathroom to wash the sleep from his eyes, knowing that Tara would get Mary up and cleaned up and ready to go back to see her mother for the last time. Leaning on the sink, he looked at himself in the mirror. “Well this is a chance to start new and have the life Alley won’t let you have. Tara is a good woman and a caring one. Mary is comfortable with you both.” Slapping the counter top, he was determined to make this new chapter of his life work, make Tara happy, and give her everything that he could. Washing his face, he combed his hair before leaving the bathroom. “Tara we need to hurry.” He moved over to where Tara sat with Mary, taking the child from her he smiled. “Go wash up and we will be on our way.” He watched the slender woman stand and head to the bathroom. He knew this was a lot for her to take in and digest after what she had been through the night before. He was determined to help her adjust and together they would give Mary the best life they could.

Leaning on the back of the bathroom door Tara sighed when it finally hit her as to what was happening. Here she was just barely starting a relationship with a man that she knew as a teenager after a passionate but wrong affair with a married man. Now do to a twist of fate she was going to marry her friend and become a mother of a toddler whose mother she had tried to help when they were involved in an accident caused by falling rocks. Looking up at the ceiling, “okay God I think I understand what you’re right to get through to me. I know the relationship I had with Michael was wrong. Why throw me into a marriage and into being a parent so soon after getting together with Mark?” closing her eyes she stayed still for a few minutes like she had been taught as a child in order to hear that still small voice of the Lord for the answer. A feeling of calm and security came over her as she stood there, she knew that this was part of some bigger plan that the Lord had for them both and little Mary was a part of that plan. Nodding Tara opened her eyes with a new feeling of self-assurance, “okay Lord I don’t know what the plan in but I’ll follow the path you have me on.” Quickly washing her face, brushing out her long hair before opening the door, and stepped into the room.

Chapter 14
Taking the little girl from Mark as he came over to the doo, Tara could tell that the little girl was still sleepy she smiled rubbing the child’s back. “Shh it’s okay to go back to sleep, we are just headed back to the hospital.” Kissing the child’s cheek as she walked out the door that Mark had opened for her. As they walked down the hall towards the lobby, she glanced at Mark. “I will have to call my assistant and let her know I won’t be back tomorrow since we have a lot to take care of before I can go home.”

“That’s okay; I need to give my boss notice since we will be leaving up on the Western Slope with you at your place. We will have a lot to do before we can head up there.” Mark smiled as she watched the child snuggle into Tara’s arms while they made their way through the lobby towards the door. “I’ll go get the truck why don’t you two wait here for me to bring it around.” Seeing her nod, he headed off to where he parked the truck after arriving at the hotel for the night.

Sitting on a nearby large bench planter as she adjusted Little Mary on her lap. Watching the child sleep she knew she couldn’t let the child suffer more on top of having to deal with her mother’s death. Making a soft rocking motion Tara vowed that Mary would have a good happy life with her and Mark, though she wasn’t to keen on the name Mary. “Will have to talk to Mark about changing it to her middle name and figuring out a first name that they both liked, And finding one, Mary likes as well.” she said softly to herself while they waited on Mark to come back with the truck.

Pulling up to where Tara and Mary were waiting for him Mark smiled glad that they would be a family and they could help Mary deal with her mother’s death and adjusting to a new life. Stepping from the vehicle, he walked around and opened the door for his girls. Helping Tara adjust Mary on her lap for the short drive to the hospital before getting in and headed to where they were needed to be. Mindful of his speed and the stoplights as he made his way over to the largest building in town. Pulling into the parking lot, he found a spot as close to the door as he could. Shutting off the engine, he looked at the woman next to him. “I got the papers are you ready for this? It means a big change in how we both live.”

Glancing down at the child in her arms who was looking up at her with a hopeful look on her face Tara smiled hugging the little girl. “Yes I am. It is the right thing to do and I think we were put on that road at that time by God for a reason.” Opening the door, she climbed from the truck and walked around the front of it towards the door. The tension that she didn’t know was building suddenly left her body when she felt Marks arm slip around her lower back as they walked to the front doors of the hospital.

Stepping onto the elevator to go up to, the third floor the couple tried to braces themselves for what the doctor was going to tell them about Karen. Laying her head on his shoulder, Tara thought about how her life had been affected by the events of the last few days. She knew she had been lead to go to the reunion and for Michael’s wife to find out about them. Her dates with Mark, his ex-wife showing up and then the falling rocks on the highway, running into Karen and her daughter. Now having to marry Mark so that she can fulfill Karen’s wish, raise her daughter in a family that has both parents that care, and love each other. She knew now without a doubt that God had been trying to get her attention and bring her back into his flock. Lifting her head, she let Mark lead her and Mary from the elevator down the hall to the room that Karen was in.

Stepping into the room Tara picked Mary up and walked over to the bed setting the child on the bed. “Karen, Mark and I have agreed to your stipulations concerning Mary. We’ll give her the best life we can.” She took the younger woman’s’ hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. She helped Mary snuggle up to Karen before going over to where the lawyer and Mark stood talking over the papers that they would need to sign.

Watching Karen talk to her child she knew she would do all she could to help Mary remember who her mother was and how much she loved her. Turning her attention back to the lawyer and Mark as he explained what all they needed to do and how often Karen’s regular lawyer would be checking in on them over the first couple of years to make sure they were keeping with Karen’s wishes in regards to her daughter. Listening to lawyer, Tara nodded that she understood everything he was telling them.

Agreeing to everything that Karen had listed where her daughter was concerned Tara glanced back at Mary before turning back to the lawyer. “There’s nothing here about changing her name, it is okay if we want to do that right?”

Mr. MacArtuir looked over the papers, “I don’t see anything about that, so I guess it would be okay if you want to but I would double check with her mother’s
lawyer to be sure.” He gathered up the rest of the papers and slipped them into the file before placing them into his brief case. “I will see that her lawyer back where she is from get these. Here is his name and number. I gave him your number Miss. Wartyn. I am sure he will be in contact with you about Mary and her mother’s will.” Shaking both their hands, he left the room to make copies and sent the originals to the woman’s lawyer so that everything will be final and legal.

Taking a deep breath Tara mentally braced herself for what was to come before walking over to the bed where her new friend and daughter lay talking softly. Smiling she gently touched Mary’s head. “Don’t worry Karen she will have the best life we can give her I promise. We’ll make sure she remembers you and how much you loved her and wanted the best for her.” Squeezing the other woman’s hand Tara did her best to stop the tears from sliding down her cheeks.
Karen nodded with a smile. “I know you both will. In my page there is a paper with a list of important numbers, my lawyer has all the papers to get her records and other papers you will need” taking a swallow breath she looked up at Tara then back down to Mary. Talking softly to her child, she hugged her close and kissed her forehead before closing her eyes for one last time.

Tara quickly picked up Mary and held her close thing to comfort her. “I know it hurts go ahead and cry.” She left the room with the child and started for the elevator to take Mary outside so she doesn’t upset other patients. It was breaking her heart to hear the child cry and be in so much pain. Stepping outside the hospital, she found a chair that sat along the building and rocked the crying child in her arms. Wishing she could take the pain always but knew she couldn’t and just have to show her that she was still loved and wanted.

Talking with the doctor Mark found out that arrangements had already been made for Karen’s remains and the funeral. “Thank you. I will contact her lawyer back in Denver when we get there.” He took the bag that had her personal belongings in it and headed to catch up with Tara and Mary. He made sure his credit card had room on it, he planned on taking his new family shopping for clothes and a few toys for Mary, so they could get married at the court house before heading home to pack up and sell his home and deal with the funeral as well as talk to Karen’s lawyer.

Chapter 15
Stepping out of the front door of the hospital Mark looked around until he saw Tara sitting rocking Mary a few yards away from the doors on a stone planter. He could hear the sobs and the questions from the child in her arms. It was breaking his heart to hear such pain in such a small girl. Moving closer to the two women in his life careful not to startle them he listened to what Tara was telling the little girl as she rocked her.

Gently rubbing the little girls back Tara thought quickly to think of something to say to her to reassure her she was not alone in the world and that her mother was still with her. Resting her cheek on top of the girls blond curls, “I know you hurt right now and don’t understand why your mother went away. Your mother will always be in her heart as long as you remember her.” Feeling the child settle down she couldn’t help but smile. “When I was your age I was taught that when someone we love dies, that God told them it was time to come home. That when we are called home too we will see them again.” Sitting quietly she waited to see if what she said was understood by the little girl in her arms.

Sitting there for a few minutes Mary thought about what she was just told. Sitting up pulling away from her to look up at her, “really? I will get to see mama again. When God says it’s my time to come home?” she watched the woman that she had been spending a lot of time with nods. Sniffling as she rubbed her puffy eyes. “What happen to me now?”

Smiling at the tear streaked face of the little girl that looked up at her. The brunette gently wiped a tear from the small cubby face “well your mother asked me and my friend Mark to raise you as our daughter, and help you remember your mother. What do you think about me being your mother now?” she watched the young girl think about what she said then nod as she reached up and hugged her tightly. Hugging the little girl back Tara smiled she didn’t think she would ever know the love a child of her own, if this is as close as she was going to get then she would be thankful and praise the Lord for this chance to help a small child who needed her and get back on the right path again.

Standing a short distance away from the two of them as he watched the scene that played out between the two women warmed his heart and made him smile knowing that it was going to be an adjustment period but that with love, patients and Gods help things will work together to become a family. Swallowing the lump in his throat as he stepped closer to then, “Tara, we should go, we have a lot to do before we head back to Denver to settle everything.” Watching the little blonde as she ruffled her hair. “You get a new start with us.”

Standing Tara smiled. “what is the plan for the night?” she turned and handed the child to her new father.” Watching the two of them together for a little bit before she remembered that she needed to call her assistance to let her know that she was going to be longer because of some things that have come up. “Let’s get going I want to get Mary settled with us as soon as we can.”

Nodding Mark smiled as he kissed Tara cheek, “I agree but first we are going to get some new cloths and a few toys for our little Angle, before we go to the court house in the morning to see about getting married.” Offering his arm for her to take, as he saw her place her hand around his arm, he led her to where the truck was parked. “I know this is a big change for us but we can make it work out.” Reaching the car, he adjusted Mary so that she was sitting on his hip away from the truck so he would be able to unlock it easier.

Unlocking the door he reached in and got Mary settled in the center of the seat and got her seatbelt fastened before straightening and turning to Tara, he pulled her close to him and whispered. “Don’t worry, this was meant to be I just know it. We just have to trust in God.” Seeing the look in her eyes, he knew what she was thinking. Pulling her into a tight hug whispering in her ear, “We both need to get back into going to Church and following the promptings of the Lord. We both have falling away from that and what we were both taught as a child.” He could feel her nod as she turned his hug.

Stepping back Mary smiled, “You’re right we will get through this and make a good life together and for Mary.” Placing a quick kiss on his lips, she climbed into the vehicle and fastened her seatbelt. She couldn’t help but want him as he went around the truck to get in on the driver’s side. Glancing down at the child beside her Tara smiled “looks like we have some new things to learn.” She placed a kiss on the top of the child’s head as she put a comforting arm around her.
Sliding into the driver’s seat Mark smiled, “shall we go shopping ladies?” seeing them both nod he knew he was in for some big changes and was more willing to deal with the changes and accept them and make the best of his life with both of the ladies with him. Turning back to the look out the front window he pulled out of the parking spot, he eased the truck out onto the main road and headed to where the mall was located in downtown.

The three of them traveled in silence for a while, before Tara looked over at him. “You know you’re going to need a bigger truck now. No offense but I don’t think this one is to safe for Mary to ride in a lot. However, we can deal with that after we are all settled at my place on the Western Slope. I was already widowed once I do not want to be widowed again so soon. We have Mary to think about.”

Thinking over what she said Mark knew she was right, “I know your right; it’s just hard to give up this old truck. However, Mary’s safety is more important than sentimental feelings for a vehicle. And the safety of any other children we might have is also important.” Glancing over at them, he knew that his life was finally going in the direction he wanted. He had to find a way to keep his ex-wife from finding them and making trouble for his new family. Shaking his head he pushed the thoughts of that crazy woman out of his mind for tonight, he just wanted to concentrate on his few family and making them happy.

Pulling into the mall parking lot, he found a spot close to where the toy store was located. He wanted to see Mary smile and enjoy picking out some toys to play with and have, since he didn’t know what would be waiting for them when they reached the home she shared with her late mother. Pulling into a spot close to the door, he climbed out and held out a hand to his new daughter. “Ready to get some toys?” he couldn’t help but smile when he saw her scramble across the seat to him as soon as Tara got her seatbelt off. Lifting her into his arms Mark’s smile brightened as he swung her around making her giggle and squeal with delight.

Climbing from the truck Tara moved around it to join them. “shall we then?’ she held out a hand to Mary. Watching Mark set her onto her feet she took the little girls other hand and the new family headed across the parking lot into the store. Tara got a buggy while Mark walked with Mary up and down the aisles while she looked at everything trying to decide what she wanted to have. Moving slowly behind them Tara picked up a doll that was soft and a pretty white and black stuffed cat for Mary.

Mary looked at everything and pointed out a few things she wanted to see better. Looking at what her new father handed her she shook her head. “No, I want some trucks and cars daddy and some girl things.”

Tara watched Mark beam with pride as he looked at the toy trucks and cars selecting a few and handing them to her. Tara felt her heart fill with love seeing the two together and finding some things to put into the buggy. Then they moved down the girlie aisle. She watched Mary find a few dolls and some plastic horses to play with. Picking up a few coloring books and crayons, Tara placed them in the buggy as well. “I think you did well Mary. Now how about some new clothes and some lunch?” watching the child nod in agreement Tara smiled as they made their way to the cash register.

After paying for everything Mark picked Mary up and swung her up onto his shoulders as they took the two bags before heading out of the store, “Hang on Mary, Tara come on we got more shopping to do.” Turning around he watched her come to him.

“Come mommy hurry up.,” she giggled as she held out a hand to the woman that was going to be her new mommy.
Smiling Tara nodded. “I’m coming honey.” She reached up taking Maries little hand in hers as the three of them left the store and walked down the concourse to a children’s clothing store. Not sure, what went into buying children’s clothes she hoped that the sales person could help her get the right size for Mary in things she would wear. Looking up towards the ceiling, Tara made a silent promise to God and herself that she would learn to be the best mother she could be and do right by all her children.

Chapter 16
Looking around the store Tara walked over to a rake that had many different color tops on it. “Mark come over here please. I have no idea what size to get.” Turning around when she felt someone come up behind her expecting to be Mark she stepped back when she saw the sales woman standing there. “Oh sorry I didn’t see you come over.” Reaching around the woman and taking the little girl from Mark. “I need some help finding a few outfits for my daughter.”
Nodding the sales woman smiled. “Sorry I didn’t mean to startle you. You’re new at this I can tell. Usually as long as the child is under six the sizes are usually their age. How old is your little girl?” she started looking through the take of tops.

Tara nods. “Oh okay. She’s four.” She watched the sales woman pull out several tops that were brightly colored. ‘wow honey do you like any of these tops?” she held the little girl so she could see the tops that were pulled out for her to chose from. She wanted the child to have a few things that she would wear and not have to fight with her to get her into them.

Mary looked at the tops that were laid over the top of the rack. “I like the blue one, pink one, the one with the hearts on it.” she laid her head on Tara’s shoulder feeling content to be with her new family.

Rubbing Mary’s back Tara nodded. “Alright, we’ll get these three and some leggings and jeans to go with them. That will give her six outfits, now we just need underclothes, socks and shoes. Let’s see new tennis shoes, and some panting leather dress shoes and two dresses.” She moved over to where the dresses hung. Setting Mary down she looked through them, checking the size like the sales woman said she pulled two out. One was black velvet top with black satin skirt with white dots over a tulle skirt, the other one is a lavender cotton corduroy dress with horses on it. . “Mary honey what about this one for the funeral, and this one for tomorrow when daddy and I get married?”

Looking at the dresses the little girl looked at her new mother. “Why black? I like other one a lot?” she didn’t understand why she had to wear a black dress for the funeral. “Not like black, it dark.” She looked at the other colors of the dresses that hung nearby. Finding a green velvet dress, “I like this one.”
Pulling out the dress that the little girl had a hold of, Tara smiled. “I think that one will work better, you can also wear it over things too.” Hanging up the black dress, she smiled as she knelt down in front of her daughter. “I think it’s perfect for you honey. Let us go get your other things then we can get daddy to take us to eat before we finish spending his money winking at the little girl getting her to giggle.

Standing back, Mark watched the two women in his life shop and gets everything the little girl needed until they could settle her mother’s estate. Waving the sales woman over to him he whispered to her to add several more tops, pants, and other clothes she will need for two weeks.” He smiled as Mary came running to him; kneeling down in front of her, he caught her in his arms.

“Look daddy, mommy said I could have these slippers too if you say it okay.” She lifted a foot for him to see the slippers that had kitty heads on them. “Please daddy please.” She stuck out her bottom lip in a pout and gave him big eyes.

Chuckling to himself Mark smiled at her. “Sure you can have them. Can’t have your feet getting cold at night. Do you want to wear them while we eat and finish shopping?” he watched her nod he stood picking her up. “Alright let’s get mommy and go eat.” He started over to where Tara sat watching them. “do we have everything honey?’ he watched her blush and nod. The three of them made their way over to the counter and paid for everything. “Now what should we have for lunch?” he led Tara from the store while he carried Mary in one arm and the bags in the other.

Taking the steps Tara smiled. “Let’s go to the food court, and then we all can get whatever we want.” She led the way to the food court that was just down the concourse from where they were. The more time she was spending with Mary and Mark she knew she was right were the Lord wanted her to be. She was feeling his guidance since she vowed that she would do what Karen wanted for her child, as well as getting her life back on track to where she was before she had fallen for a married man.

Finding a table Tara set the bags down, grabbing a booster seat before taking Mary from Mark and got her settled into the char. Naming off what restaurants where there to her daughter she wanted to make sure she got something she would eat. Listening to what Mary wanted she looked up at Mark and handed him some money to pay for lunch.

Shaking his head Mark smiled. “No today is on me put it away honey.” Ruffling Mary’s hair he smiled at her before leaning close to Tara he whispered. “We can work it out later.” He got their orders and headed off to get the food for his family. Kissing her cheek, he headed for the line of mini restaurants to get what everyone wanted.

Sitting down Tara smiled pulling out a coloring book and crayons for Mary to keep her busy. “Daddy won’t be long I hope.” She watched the little girl start to color one of the pictures as she nodded in agreement. Brushing her hair back, the brunette watched her amazed at how much the child looked like Karen. Sitting back she looked for her husband to be to return with their food she could tell that Mary was getting tired and probably wouldn’t make it through the next store so her and Mark could get some new clothes for tomorrow. However, she didn’t mind they were headed back to the hotel afterwards anyway. Now the main thing was to come up with a schedule for Mary since she wouldn’t be starting school for another year. Good thing she worked at home so she could stay home with Mary.

Walking up to the table Mark smiled. “Everything okay? You seem to be lost in thought.” Setting the tray down and started to pass out. “Mary honey put the coloring book and crayons away so you can eat.” He watched her push the items to her mother and reach for her meal to look for the toy.
Putting the book and crayons away, Tara helped Mary get her meal out of the box and opened the toy for her. “You need to eat honey.” She took her food from Mark and watched the little girl she was growing to love as her own. Eating her own sandwich, she smiled as she saw Mary eat her food and talked about how much fun she was having today with them.

The small family finished eating, gathering their backs they headed to the larger department store. Placing all the bags into a buggy Tara used her purse as a pillow for Mary as she started to fight needing to go to sleep. “Its okay honey.” Watching as she saw the little girl laid her head on, the purse that was put there for her to since; they didn’t have coats and would work until they could find a blanket for her.

Heading over to the children’s clothes and looked for a couple of blankets. Opening the bigger of the two blankets and gently lifting the child’s head, she placed the folded blanket on top of the purse than laid her head back down.

After making sure Mary was comfortable, the two of them went and did a little shopping for themselves. Each getting what they would need for a few days. In addition, to a couple more things for their child. After making sure, they had enough until they could reach Marks house the day after tomorrow they headed out to the truck to head back to the hotel.

Arriving at the hotel Tara headed up to the room with Mary sleeping in her arms while Mark gathered the bags and followed behind her. Settling Mary in the bed, she slept in last night Tara helped Mark with the bags and set about hanging the dresses up. “We might have spoiled her to much.”

Taking the hanger from her and putting it in the closet Mark pulled her into his arms. “Don’t worry; she’s had a big shock. Once we are settled in at your place as a family and into a routine. She will be fine. To bad, she is asleep right next to us. I guess I can help off till we get home to get you alone.” Kissing her deeply he loved how she was reacting to him, stepping back he watched her react to the kiss. “Tomorrow we can get married I got all the information we needed to get it done.”

Blushing Tara smiled. “You have been to good to us today. Thank you.” She hugged him and moved past him to sit on the edge of the other bed and relax after a busy day. Moving over next to her Mark pulled her to him so they could snuggle while they watched some TV before falling asleep for a while.

Chapter 17
Hearing someone banging on the door crying Tara woke up laying still she listened to find out if she knew the voice. Sitting up she turned on the light to check on her daughter when she noticed the child was not in her bed. Sliding off the bed, she looked around the bend in the wall where the bathroom was and spotted the little girl by the door. “Mary honey what’s wrong?” she slowly walked over to the little girl and knelt next to her.

Looking over to her Mary sniffled. “Where’s my mommy? I want my mommy.” She turned back to the door and tried to open the door again. “Mommy.”
Hearing the fear and pain in the child’s voice it tore at her heart to know this little girl was scared and wanting the one person that she knew would keep her safe. Settling herself on the floor held out her arms to the tiny girl. “Mary honey come here.” She gathered the child into her arms and wrapped the blanket that was in her hand around her. Holding the child against her chest Tara hummed trying to soother the girls fear. “Do you remember what happen earlier and who Mark and I are?”

Snuggling into the warmth of Tara’s arms finally feeling safe again. “You both helped mommy and me when our car was hit.” She sat quietly thinking trying to remember everything that happened today. Looking up suddenly with wide eyes, “Mommy in hospital and died, you my mommy now right?”

Smiling Tara nodded, “yes Jesus came to take her home to be with God. But before she left with him, she asked me and Mark to be your parents. She wanted you to be safe and with someone she thought she could trust to take care of you.” She could feel the child’s sobs slowly ease and her body relaxes against her. Tilting her head so she could look Mary in the eyes, “How about a bubble bath while daddy is sleeping?” Watching the child nod slowly brought a smile to her face. “Okay, I think a couple of your horses could go into the tub with you if you want.” Helping her stand Tara climbed to her feet and followed the little girl to the bag that sat next to her bed. “Why don’t you get your horses while I get you some clean clothes okay?” Standing there a few minutes and watched the child dig through the bad of her toys to find the ones she wanted in the tub with her. Before she went over to the closet and dresser and got some clothes for her to change into after the bath.

Standing by the dresser Tara smiled as she watched the little girl get her toys. Holding out a hand to her child, “okay lets go play in the bubbles.” She let the child to the bathroom closing the door behind them. setting the clothes down the brunette got the water running and get the bubbles into the tub, making sure the tempter was not to hot she helped the child climb into the tub and sit down. Sitting back, she smiled watching the little girl play and enjoy her bath.

The little blond giggled as she made her horses come up with sudsy mains on them. “Look mommy they got their hair done.” She held them up for Tara to see.
“I see baby. You did a real good job on their hair.” Tara smiled glad to see the child smile again. Resting her head back on the wall, she enjoyed watching her child play and not show any fear at being with them. She just hoped that over time they could help her fully understand where her mother is and that they were a family now, and that she would never take her mother’s place in her heart. A knock on the door had both women looked up towards the door. Placing a finger to her lips Tara wanted Mary to remain quiet while she went to the door.

Stepping close to the door Tara put a hand on the doorknob, “who is it?” she was not about to let anyone but Mark into the bathroom with them. When she didn’t hear a response right away she began to reach for the shower curtain to pull it close to hide her daughter.

Smiling to himself Mark laid his head against the dark work of the door that led to the bathroom knowing that Tara was making sure that Mary would stay safe. “It’s me Tara, is everything okay? I thought I heard crying by the door.”

Glancing at Mary, she smiled. “I will be standing in the doorway okay?” seeing the child nod Tara opened the door for him. “Sorry I wasn’t sure if it was your, can’t to be careful anymore. You did hear crying Mary was looking for her mother. I think she was disoriented whey she woke up is all. She seems fine now see.” She opened the door more for him to peek his head into the room to see the little girl playing in the tub happily. “She is going to need a lot of time and patients from us while she digests everything about her mother and her new life.”

Smiling Mark felt a wave of pride run through him as he watched her play with her toys not paying them any attention. Turning to look at the woman that was going to be his wife in the morning keeping his voice low, “we need to decide what we are going to do while we try and settle her mother’s estate and try and sell my house.” He knew there was a lot they had to change and face now in their lives but he wasn’t sure how to take some of the pressure off Tara’s shoulders.

Sighing Tara nodded. “I know we do, just not sure how we are going to do all this and get her settled in her new life. Maybe her mother’s lawyer take care of the estate since we won’t be living in Denver. Your place I don’t know what to do, we can’t leave it sit empty while, maybe we can find someone we know that might rent it so that you can keep it in the family.” Leaning back on against the counter rubbing her temples with her eyes closed. “Sorry everything is happening so fast I can’t digest it all as fast are you.” Feeling a pair of arms around her, she leaned into them. “I want to do what Karen wants and I have come to love Mary as if she was my own child. I just need time to process it all.”

Kissing her cheek the dark haired man smiled. “I know it is. Don’t push yourself just follow your heart and listen to the Lord. We both need to do that and stop fighting Gods will in our lives.” He knows she would adjust in time, the last few days have been fast paced and she had a lot thrown at her. However, he knew she would take it all in and do what she needed to. “Why don’t you get her cleaned up and dressed? Then get yourself ready and we can go get some dinner and just spend the night getting to know each other as a family. Maybe even take her to the movies one of her choice.”

Nodding Tara felt like he had just lifted a weight off her shoulders “sounds good. She will like that.” Pulling back so she could see his face she smiled, “I thought I was hiding the stress better. I didn’t think I would ever get this chance. Then to find her crying and asking for her mother just tore at my heart.”
Hearing a squeal, they both turned to look at the little blond girl in the tub. They both smiled when they saw bubbles on her head and face making it look like she had a beard and white hair. Trying to suppress the laughter at the sight before them,

Moving over to the tub Tara knelt down and picked up the washcloth. “You look cute honey. But daddy wants to go to dinner, how about we wash up and get all prettied up for him. Maybe we can talk him into going to a movie.” Watching her nod Tara set to getting her washed up and dried off, then wrapping her in a towel. Standing she picked Mary up and left the bathroom to get the little girl cloths, since she had brought PJ’s into the bathroom.

“Wait mommy. My horses they need dried off too.” Mary reached for the toys that lay in the bottom of the tube. She didn’t want to lose the new toys that she had gotten from her new patents.

“I’ll get them; let’s get you dressed first okay.” She helped the little girl get dressed into one of her brightly colored tops and a pair of jeans. Sitting down she put the child on her lap and helped her put her shoes and socks on. Moving her to sit next to her on the bed, “wait here honey, I’ll get your toys and then we can do your hair.” Hugging the girl to her, she smiled at her before standing and grabbing one of her new outfits and headed into the bathroom to change.
Within the hour, they were sitting in a local pancake restaurant enjoying a good meal and time together. The couple laughed as they talked about how to combine their two households in addition what Mary might need as furniture and clothes. They were concerned on what condition of the place where she lived with her mother and what they would have to replace, in addition to what they would be able to bring with them. After dinner and a quick trip to the restroom to clean Mary’s face, the family was off to one of the many animated movies that were out there for families with young children.

Leaving the theater Mark carried the sleeping child wrapped in her blanket with her stuffed cat held in her arms to the truck. He smiled as she helped Tara get her into the truck and then into the hotel and settled into her bed for the night. He was disappointed when Tara said she wanted to sleep with Mary but he understood that it might help the child sleep better till they could get something’s from her home to help her feel more at home with them. Laying down in the other bed, he watched the women in his life and couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to know that Tara was carrying their child and that Mary was happy as his daughter. See his eyes drifted closed and he dreamed of his new family and life away from his past.

Chapter 18
Waking before anyone Mark got ready for the day then called down to room service and ordered breakfast for his family knowing that they had to be at the courthouse by nine am that morning. Once they food arrived he lifted the covers so that aromas could fill the room hopefully waking his soon to be wife and his daughter. He watched them stir and begin to wake up.

Sitting up Mary smiled, “pancakes daddy you got pancakes.” She wiggled out of Tara’s arms waking her as she crawled to the end of the bed and licked her lips. Shaking Tara’s foot she didn’t take her eyes off the food. “Wake up mommy daddy got us breakfast.”

Sitting up Tara smiled “I see baby.” She moved off the bed, picked up the child, and sat her down at the desk so she could sit better and eat without making to much of a mess before turning to Mark. “Thank you.” Kissing him quickly she took a plate and sat down on the edge of the bed and enjoyed her breakfast.
Sitting next to her Mark enjoyed his breakfast as he watched Mary eat her pancakes and drink her juice making a mess on the desk. Just happy he could do this for his family. He was going to make sure that everyone of his friends will know where he is living but will know that they are not to tell his ex-wife where he was. He did not want her making trouble for his family and to try and interfere in his new life. He was finally getting a chance to have the life he had wanted when he married Alley while in the Military but it wasn’t meant to be. He would have never thought that an old classmate would have been the one he was to be with.

After breakfast and a cleaning up the family of three left the hotel and headed over to the courthouse so that they could become a family legally. Walking up the steps of the courthouse with Mary in his arms, he saw a man come down the steps towards them. Handing Mary over to Tara, he stepped in front of his family. “Stop right there Mr. what do you want with us?” He wasn’t about to let anyone he didn’t know why near them.

Stopping a few feet from them Mr. Hans raised his hands to show he meet know harm. “My name is Mr. Hans I am the lawyer for Karen. I thought I come up here and we can finalize the papers for you and your wife’s adoption on little Mary.” Nodding to the little girl that was in Tara’s’ arms. He waited for the man in front of him to take in what he had just said.

Glancing back at his future wife to see if she was okay with what he said. Seeing her nod Mark turned back to the man in front of him. “Alright we just need proof you are who you say you are. I will not have Mary hurt. She has had enough trauma already in the last few days. First, we have a meeting with a judge to get married. We can meet with you after that.”

Touching his shoulder Tara stepped forward. “If you are really Karen’s lawyer then you can wait outside the courtroom to see the proof we are married like she wanted. I will not have her memory ruined for her daughter.” Adjusting the small girl on her hip she moved passed the two men and headed into the courthouse. “Mark are you coming along?”

Looking behind them Mary reached out for Mark to take her hand. “Daddy hurry. Mommy wait for daddy.” She was afraid that the man she thought of as her father now would not do as he promised and make them a family.

Shaking his head he smiled Mark moved past the man that has stopped them. “Mr. Hans if you’re going to proof that you are and help us finalize Mary’s
adoption then you best come along. Tara isn’t one to wait around when things need to be done.” Picking up his steps he quickly caught up with the women that were going to be his family within the next 30 minutes. Hearing the man quickly catch up to them, he knew that there was a good chance that he was who he said he was. Having caught up with Tara as she got to the door of a small courtroom where they waited until their names were called.

Going into a small room just off the courtroom they signed the marriage license and were legally married by a county clerk that had the power to officiate the ceremony. Tara smiled as she kissed Mark truly happy to know that things were working out. She could feel her love for the man that she had gotten to know again after so many years after they graduated from high school.

Putting an arm around both her new mother and father Mary smiled kissing them both on the cheek. “We family now. Now we go home?” she looked between the two of them. She was ready to go home and get her life back.

Wrapping his arms around both the women that were now part of his family and hugged them to him. He couldn’t have been more grateful for the events that took place that got him to be standing where he is now well except for the death of the little girl’s mother. He looked up and said a quiet pray of thanks to God for helping him get the family he had always wanted. Kissing both their cheek he made sure to sign the spot on the marriage license that was for him while he watched Tara sign in her spot. “well I guess we better see if that Mr. Hans is who he says he is and if so then we can get the part of adopting Mary over with. One less thing that we need to deal with when we get back to town.”

Nodding the brunette smiled, “yes. I do not want anyone trying to take her away from us. She is adjusting to us as her parents and I don’t want her set back.” She moved to the door, opened it stepping out into the hall, and looked around for the man that had stopped them on steps outside. Spotting the man over by the water fountain, “Mr. Hans I would like to see any proof you have that you are Karen’s lawyer before we go anywhere or tell you anything.” She waited for the man to reach into his brief case, pull out some papers, and bring them over to where she stood waiting.

“These will prove I am who I say I am, and that Karen had everything thought out when it came to her child.” The gray haired man waited until she looked over the papers and handed them to Mark as he stepped out into the hall behind her with Mary holding his hand so he could read them as well. “What was Karen’s doing up here a few days ago?” knowing the answer because Karen had told her on the way to the hospital. However, she still couldn’t figure out how she would have had any connection with this woman.

The older man smiled. “She knew a friend of a friend of yours. She was headed up to find your to see if you would be willing to be her daughters mother if something should happen to her. I told her that you being single wasn’t that big of a deal when it came to being a good parent, but she insisted that if someone else was going to raise her child that they would be married and see to a few other things she was trying to get going in her life.” He watched her take in what he had just said. He could see the man she had just married stand behind her look up at to what he said.

“Tara what is he talking about? You knew Karen?” Mark didn’t understand why she didn’t but it wasn’t important right now. Shaking his head, he stepped up next to her. “Okay so a she had a friend who knew someone my wife knew. Why didn’t she call her or send word to her?” he watched the older man think about the questions he had asked.

Shrugging Mr. Hans shook his head.”I don’t know she never told me why. All I know is she wanted your wife to be the mother of her child if something happen to her.” Nodding to the papers, “those papers are already filed with the courts in Denver all you two need to do is sign them and Mary is all yours. The other things will be taken care of. I already have people packing up Karen’s house and will have it shipped to where you want it to go. Along with all the papers Karen had.”

Nodding Mark thought about it “alright let’s get this over with. I want to get Mary settled and into a routine as soon as possible.” Taking Tara’s and Mary’s hands and lead them into another room where they would sign the final papers and finally become a family that no one could tear apart.

After signing the papers and agreeing to meet Mr. Hans when they got to Denver then they got there. The new family headed out to have a special dinner and celebrate their new live together.

Chapter 18
The long drive back to Denver filled with laughter and singing silly songs to pass the time for Mary. Mark liked hearing the two of them sing children’s songs, ones he might have known as a child but can’t remember knowing them. It didn’t matter to him he was happy finally. Pulling up to his house, he swore under his breath when he saw his ex-wife’s car sitting on the street right in front of it. “Dam what is she doing here. Tara waited in the car with Mary.” Pulling the truck into the driveway, climbed from the truck and walked over to where his ex-wife sat on his front door step. “Alley I told you never to come here again. There is no chance I am ever getting back with you. You need to leave me alone. Now I want you to leave now.” He waited for her to leave his property.
Watching from the truck window Tara was really starting to dislike that woman and the hold she tried to have over her husband. Stepping out of the truck, she gathered Mary in her arms and walked over to where the two sat. “I suggest you need to leave and never bother us again. The next time I see you here or anywhere near, my family I will have you arrested and a restraining order put against you. It is over between you and my husband and I expect you to respect our marriage and wishes.” Handing the child to Mark, she stepped closer to the woman standing in front of her and leaned close lowering her voice so Mary couldn’t hear her. “Leave now and don’t look back. I have no problem having you taken away in a cop car it is your choice.” Straightening back up she waited for the woman to remove herself from the property.

Glaring at the other woman that was in her way of having the man she wanted. “I will not. You do not have a say here bitch. You’re marriage isn’t legal I know it’s not.” Alley reached up push Tara out of her way.

Taking the hand that was placed on her arm and bent it behind the woman’s back and pushed her towards the street. “I did not give you permission to touch me. You have not claim here as for my marriage being legal you can think again a judge signed off on it this morning so live with it and leave him alone.” Putting a little force behind the next push, she shoved Alley towards the street. “DO NOT COME BACK, this is your last warning.” She stood between the woman and her family. Watching her pull out her phone Tara smiled. “Go ahead call the cops on me. You’re on my property and we both asked you to leave.” Her smile grew as she watched the woman speak to the person on the other end of her phone.

Alley watched at the cop pulled up to the house and climbed from his car. “What is the problem here ma’am?” he walked over to Alley. He listened as Alley explained what happen in her mind nodded. “I see wait here while I go talk to them.” he made his way up to were Tara and Mark stood waiting. “Okay tell me your side of the story here.”

Turning her back on the woman that stood down by the cop’s car Tara knew if Alley tried to attack her cop would see her do it. “We came home from a few days in the mountains to find that woman sitting on our porch. My husband asked her to leave and not come back. I asked her to leave and never return or I would have her arrested and put a restraining order against her. Then she tried to attack me and tell me that my marriage wasn’t legal. She is my husband’s ex-wife. They have been divorced for several years.”

Hearing the woman at the curb yelling at them, the cop looked at her. “Be quiet or I will arrest you.” Turning to Mark he listened to Marks side of the story as to what happen since they arrived and how Alley keep showing up trying to get him back and he has asked her to never to return and to leave him alone. “I see. You had every right to defend yourself when she touched you without your permission. Do you want her arrested?”

Mark sighed but nodded, “yes I do not want her around my family, while we are trying to pack up to move. I will press charges against her and see about the restraining order in the morning.” He watched as Alley started to get upset and start yelling at them. The woman that would be out of his life for good was saying covering Mary’s ears so she could hear what.

Shaking his head the cop took her arm, “there is no call for this. You were asked to leave and not return several times. Then you put your hands on his wife knowing you were not wanted here.” He wrestled with her a little bite to get her into the handcuffs. “You are under arrest and are going down to the county jail. Do not come back here or you will be sitting in jail again.” He helped her into the car and read her rights to her before shutting the door. Walking back over to where the couple stood the officer gave them his card. “She will be arraigned in the morning. Just go to civil court and get a restraining order.”
Taking the card Mark nodded. “Thank you officer,” shaking the officers hand before he turned and headed to his front door. Unlocking the door he opened and let Tara walk in a head of him and Mary. Closing the door behind him, he set Mary down and pulled Tara into his arms. “Thank you for what you did out there. I wanted to hit her for touching you, but I knew that was not the right thing to do. I fall more and more in love with your everyday.” He kissed her deeply; a tug on his pants got his attention.

Seeing her parents kissing Mary smiled as she walked over and tugged on her father’s pants. “Daddy me too. I want hug too.” She reached up to him for him to pick her up.

Coughing to cover his laughter Mark stepped back and bent down picking up his child. “We would never leave you out honey.” Hugging her then pulled Tara into that hug. ‘why don’t we show you to your room for the next few days?” watching her nod he headed down the hall to what use to be his sisters room when they were growing up. Opening the door, he set Mary down “what do you think?” he watched her walk through the room and look at everything. He hoped she liked everything in the room.

Walking around the room that was painted a warm yellow color, the white furniture made it look warm and inviting. Turning back to the door, “Whose room was this daddy?” she turned her attention back to the things in the room. Walking over to the pile of stuffed animals that sat in the corner, picking up each one and looking at it closer before replacing it to where it sat in the pile. Noticing a dollhouse sitting on the other side of the room she ram over to it. “Wow.” She looked over the house and moved around to look at the open side of the house. Forgetting that her father was standing at the door watching her.

Standing there watching his little girl Mark smiled. He hoped someday he would have a little girl that would like the things his sister’s girls didn’t want. Leaning against the doorframe, he couldn’t seem to tare his eyes off the child and how happy she was playing with the dollhouse that his father made for his sister all those years ago. Feeling a hand on his arm, looking back he saw Tara standing there watching their daughter as well. Putting his arm around her and pulling her close to him, he couldn’t remember a time in his life that he has ever been happier.

Chapter 19
Taking her hand Mark held a finger to his lips to indicate for her to be quiet as he led her down the hall towards the living room. “We’ll go to the hotel tomorrow and get your things and bring them here. So you,” smiling he shook his head, “we won’t have that bill when we can stay right here.” Pulling her into his arms he could feel her breast push against his chest, his hand cupped the back of her neck as his thumb caressed her jaw line. “I never thought after meeting up with you are the reunion that we would end up here together. I will try my best to do right by you and Mary.”

Cupping his cheek Tara smiled at him, she loved the feel of his strong chest against her. “I’m not worried about that, I know you will. I think that is a great idea, I don’t think we have to worry about her coming back anytime soon. We can do that after we go get the restraining order against her.” Leaning in placing her lips against his and let him feel how she felt about him.

Burrowing his fingers in her hair Mark made the kiss more demanding trying to tell her that he did not want to try to live his life without her there next to him every day for the rest of their lives. His other hand moved over her back moving it down and rested it on the swell of her bottom. He crushed her against himself so she could feel what he was trying to tell her without breaking the kiss, but the need to breathe and fill their lungs with air made him break the kiss and step back. Breathing hard Mark blushed, “sorry. I guess I am a little anxious about tonight after Mary goes to bed.”

Feeling the warmth climb up her neck and into her cheeks, “we’ll have our time later tonight. Right now we need to focus on helping her feel secure and comfortable with being a part of our family.” Letting her fingers trace his jaw line marveling how strong he was and how tender and gentle he could be when he needed to. She couldn’t believe that he had changed so much since she had last seen him when they were in high school. Now here she stood with him as his wife, life was finally working out for her again.

A crash from the bedroom had both them running down the hall towards the bedroom where Mary was playing. Pushing through the door Mark stopped and started to laugh when he saw the dollhouse laying on top of Mary how was lying on her back looking up at him. He could see the mischief in her eyes as she laid there. “What happen sweetie?” he walked over to where the little girl was laying and lifted the house off her. Setting it back up on the floor where she could get to it better. The black-haired man knelt in front of her. “Are you hurt sweetie?”Helping her stand and lightly ran his over her to make sure that she hadn’t broken anything. He knew the house was heavy for a small little girl.

Shaking her head Mary smiled. “No daddy I no hurt. I wanted it on the floor; I could play with it sorry.” She looked down thinking she was in trouble. She was afraid that he would be mad at her for knocking the dollhouse over without asking him for help.

Smiling Mark gently put a finger under her chin and lifted her face so he could see her eyes. “Honey you are not in trouble, its okay that house is built tough, mommy and I were afraid you were hurt. Next time just ask for help alright?” He watched her nod before pulling her into a big bear hug he was afraid of losing her and her not having a chance to grow up bothered him more then he could say.

Standing in the doorway Tara watched the two of them. The more she watched Mark interact with the little girl she fell more and more in love with him. “Why couldn’t I have seen this potential in him when we were kids and not just the troubled teenager he showed everyone back then?” She said to herself as she leaned on the doorframe. Hearing a noise in front of the house, she pushed off the doorframe and headed into the living room. Looking out the front room window a frowned crossed her face when she saw that Marks ex-wife was back. “what the hell?” reaching for the phone that sat on the table beside the couch she dialed 911 never taking her eyes off the woman that was trying to get into the house.

Talking to the person that answered her call Tara told them what was going on and that the woman that was at her door was arrested earlier for not leaving when asked to and assaulting her. Glancing around for a weapon to defend her family Tara frowned as she listened to the woman on the other end and waited for the cops to show up. Seeing the lights down the street, she heard the door open a little. Grabbing the bat that was laying on the floor under the table the phone was on and swung it at the door hitting the hand that was holding the door. “Get out.”

Yelling Alley pulled her hand back. “You bitch, I told you I would not let you ruin my chances to be with my man again. Get out of my house now bitch.” She kicked at the door trying to get inside and remove the woman that stood in her way.

Hearing the yelling coming from the front room frowning Mark picked Mary up and put her in the closet, “I need you to be very quiet till mommy or I come back for you.” Seeing her nod he closed the door, moved down the hall to his room, slipped into the room, and removed the gun he keep hidden in the dresser drawer. Remembering his sniper training, he slipped down the hall quietly to see what the noise was. Seeing Tara swinging the bat at the door and his ex-wife yelling at her he let out the breath he was holding. Setting the gun down in plain sight he moved over and slammed the door shut catching Alleys fingers in the door just enough to make her pull them out of the way so he could shut the door and locking it.

Stepping back, Tara lowered the bat, “the cops are on the way. The cop said she wouldn’t get out tonight. She was trying to get inside.” She hadn’t realized that she was shaking until he took the bat from her and laid down on the couch. Wrapping her arms around his next, she could feel herself shaking trying to gain control of her body before they got Mary out of hiding.

The sound of sirens getting louder and colored lights starting to flash and light up the living room. Mark knew the cops where close pushing her back so he could see her face. “Tell them what happen while I put the gun away. I don’t want them coming into the house with their guns drawn.” Seeing her nod, he backed up; grabbing the gun and heading down the hall to quickly put it away, then returned to the living room and took his wife into his arms. As he opened the door for the cops, he recognized the officer from earlier that night. Nodding to him Mark frowns. “How did she get out? You told us she would not be able to bother us again tonight. Look at my wife she is shaking because this woman tried to break into our house.”

Nodding the officer frowned, “she wasn’t suppose to come back here, and it was a condition of her bail. I’m sorry I had no control over it. This time she won’t be getting out of jail while she waits her court date.” He noticed the door handle was broken and he could see where someone tried to keep the prep out. “Is there someplace you can stay tonight that is safe for your family? That door doesn’t look like it will be very secure.”

“Yes we do officer thank you for coming.” Tara whispered trying to push what strength she had left together to put a brave face for when they go get Mary. Hearing Alley yelling about how it was her house and that she was the one that was trespassing. Tara turned her head and buried her face into Marks shoulder mumbling “what a way to spend our first night of marriage together.”

Rubbing her back Mark frowned. “That is my ex-wife we have been divorced for over two years now. She won’t leave me alone and not she has threatened my wife and child. I want to press charges and make sure she pays for this.” He glared at the blonde-haired person that was trying to get by the other officer that was holding onto her arm after putting the handcuffs on her.

“Alright you have every right to do that sir. Here is the case number from the earlier incident and this is for this one. Since the courts have closed for the day
she will be spending the night in jail.” He handed Mark two cards with case numbers on them and his name. Shaking the couple’s hands, he turned and headed back to his car. “Ma’am you need to settle down right now. You knew you were not to come back here and were to leave them alone. Now you will be spending the night in jail.” He helped her into his car.

Looking up at him Alley frowned. “This is my house she stole them from me. She even hit me with something as I tried to come inside. She should be the one being arrested.” Seeing that he was not buying her story she turned her gaze to the couple that stood on the porch and yelled. “I will have them both bitch; you will pay for taking them from me. I swear it.”

The officer shut the car door, than get in and drove off with the other cars following him. Peace was back in the quiet residential neighborhood.
Hugging Tara to him Mark nodded. “Go get Mary out of the closet in her room and pack up the dollhouse and any toys she wants. I am going to secure my weapons and important papers. Then find a way to secure this door, and then we are going to stay in your hotel room for the night. I will worry about fixing the door after we see that she is put where she belongs and gets help.” Kissing her quickly on the lips, he ushered her inside and sent her down the hall to Mary’s room to see to her while he set about doing what he needed to do before they left for the night. Moving quickly Mark made sure all his guns, knives and bows and the arrows were locked in the gun safe along with all his important papers. Digging out his grandmothers ring he stuffed it into his pocket before heading down the short hall to where his family way. He could tell that both were scared, taking a deep breath he vowed to himself and God that he would do what he needed to do to make them both feel safe again.

Moving into the room, he gathered them both into his arms. “Don’t worry we will be moving in the next day or so I promise. I will not let anyone hurt you.” He watched them both nod before letting them go and finish gathering the toys that Mary wanted to take with them. Stepping into the room Mark smiled, “Are you ready to go? I think we might even have time to get you a swimsuit Mary. Were we are doing there is a pool. I’m sure mommy likes to swim, I know she use to when I knew her a long time ago.” Watching his little girls face brighten as she ran to him, scooping her up into his arms he spun her around before hugging her to him. “Go on help mommy while I get your dollhouse.” Setting her back onto her feet he watched run back over to where Tara sat on the bed waiting with a lap full of stuffed animals.

“Mary honey we can’t tell them all tonight, but don’t worry we will make sure they all go to our new home. Pick five you want to take tonight to the hotel.” Tara watched the little blond as she looked over the pile of animals that sat on the bed. She wanted to give her daughter everything she wanted but knew that wasn’t good for the girl and would not teach her how to make choices.

Mary looked over the pile of animals that she wanted to take with her for the night trying to decide what ones she wanted just for the night. Thinking carefully the little girl picked out a several animals that she liked the best to play with in the hotel for the night. Looking up at Tara, she smiled. “Okay mommy. I have five, the rest are coming to our new home right?” seeing her mother nod with a smile on her face the little girl squealed with delight. “Yay. What about the dollhouse and dolls for it?’

Holding out a plastic bag to her Mark smiled, “it’s coming with us tonight if you want it to. But it will be at our new home too honey all the toys in here will be in you want them?” Winking at her as she took the bag from him he picked up the wooden house and headed down the hall to the living room with a small bag sat of things he wanted to take with them for the night. Reaching into his pocket, he checked to make sure his grandmother’s ring was still there that he wanted to give Tara as her wedding ring, though he hasn’t figure out how he was going to do it. He wanted to make it special for her. Sighing frustrated that he didn’t know how to surprise his new bride he loaded the dollhouse and his small bag into the back of the truck where their other bags still sat.
Going back inside he meet his wife and daughter in the living room with her bag of toys for the hotel. To look at them both you would never tell that they were not mother and daughter by blood except for the color of their hair; however, to him they were mother, daughter, and part of his family now. “Are you two ready? We can stop at the store and pick up some swim suits, get some dinner then head to the hotel” as he watched them it suddenly hit him as to what he is going to do to surprise Tara with ring.

Nodding Tara smiled, “I think we are. My suit is at the hotel. I usually swim in the morning since I had been in town so we just need one for you and Mary.” She swung her up into her arms and settled her on her hip while the child held the bag in her hand. “I think we are going to have a fun night tonight.
Smiling Mark took Mary from his wife, “mines in the truck already, so then we just need one for Mary. I think she deserves a bikini what do you think sweetie?” seeing her nod he looked up only to be greeted with a frowns. “What?” he wasn’t sure what he did to upset the woman that he loved.

“No bikini Mark. That isn’t modest. I don’t want her to get into the habit of showing off her body by letting everything she has hang out where everyone can
see it. They have cute one piece suits that are really cute.” Tara stated knowing that she was not going to let her daughter grow up not respecting her body and herself by dressing to entice boys to not treat her with respect. She knew this respect and modesty needed to start while Mary was still little to make it second nature to the child.

Taking in everything, she said Mark nodded understanding where she was coming from. “Your right, we don’t want our children not respecting themselves but letting themselves be disrespected by others because they dress trashy. I’m sure we will find the right suit for our little one here.” He bounced Mary on his hip before stepping to the side so that Tara could go in front of him. Stepping out the door, he set Mary onto her feet while he shut the door and secured it with and pad lock he put on while they were in the bedroom so it added extra security to the locks that were on the door already. Stuffing the to the key into pocket along with the ring, with car keys in hand he picked Mary up and led her and Tara to the truck that sat in the driveway.

Climbing into the vehicle Tara took the bag and placed it at her feet with her purse; she took Mary and got her settled in the car seat that they had bought in Central City for her. Watching his movement out of the corner of her eye, she got the child buckled into her seat before she fastened her own seatbelt. Reaching across Mary, she squeezed Marks hand as he fastened his seatbelt. “Thank you for understanding about the swimming suit. I just want her to be a teenager that others don’t call sluts.”

Taking her hand and bringing it to his mouth Mark kissed her knuckles, “I am glad you thought of that. I don’t want anyone calling our children names and not trying them with respect. Thank you for pointing that out to me.” Giving her a smile, he pulled out of the driveway and headed down the street in the direction of the store so they could get their child a swimsuit.

The trip to the store was a quick one then the small family stopped at a local fast food restaurant to get something to eat. Taking Mary’s hand Tara smiled telling Mark what she wanted and what kind of children’s meal she wanted before taking her over to the play area so she could play. Taking Mary’s shoes Tara sat at a nearby table so that she could keep a close eye on her child while she played on the equipment.

After a few minutes, Mark joined his family in the play area with their food. Sliding into the bench across the table from his wife, turning his gaze to where his daughter was playing he smiled. “Mary Honey foods here.” Chuckling he watched her come down the slide and run across the small padded floor area to where they sat.

Climbing into the seat next to her mother Mary smiled as she dug through her meal box for the toy. Looking at her mother the little girl held it up. “Open please.” She wanted to play with the toy while she ate.

“No baby you need to eat first then you can play with the toy okay?” Tara smiled at her, took the toy from her, and sat it just out of her reach while it was still in front of the child.

Pouting for a few minutes Mary realized that if she didn’t eat she wouldn’t get the toy. Picking up the chicken nuggets, she started eating it and smiled when she saw honey placed in front of her. “Tank you.” She dove into her meal and enjoyed eating her chicken and French fries, along with her milk.
The family of three sat enjoying eating their meal; as soon as she was done; eating Mary went back to playing on the equipment while her parents sat watching her enjoy herself. Tara and Mark enjoyed hearing their child laughter as they watched her playing.

“Mary honey time to go if you want to go swimming back at the hotel.” Mark called out as he stood with her shoes in his hand. He couldn’t help but laugh as he watched her run over to him and sat down on the floor lifting her feet one at a time to him to put her shoes on her. Making sure the little girls shoes were on tightly he helped her stand up before picking up the tray of trash and go get rid of it knowing Tara would follow with Mary.

The drive to the hotel was a short one, gathering all their bags and the dollhouse the family made their way into the hotel. Keeping a tight hold on Mary’s hand Tara opened the hotel door for Mark she followed him inside and got the elevator doors to open just as he reached the elevator. Making sure Mary was close to her Tara got them to the floor where her room was. Stepping off the elevator first, she moved the short distance down the hall to the room. Opening the door for him, she pulled Mary back out of his way since he couldn’t see her for the dollhouse. Following him inside and closing the door, she set the bags down in the small hall in front of the bathroom. Clapping her hands together, the burette smiled. “Okay if you want to go swimming we need to get changed into our suits.”
“Yeah.” Mary squealed as she searched the bags for her swimming suit. Pulling the suit out of the bag, she held it out to Tara, “Help me mommy please.” Seeing her nod, she took her hand and pulled her mother into the bathroom so she could change.

“Tara honey wait here is your suit.” Mark held out a black swimsuit that he found in one of the drawers. So she could change while in there as well. After seeing the two of them to the pool, he decided that was the time to get the flowers and the drinks and set the room for his surprise for Tara. Remember the mistakes that he made in his first marriage and he wasn’t going to make them this time.

Chapter 21
After escorting his family to the indoor pool Mark excused himself and headed out to get the things to, he needed to surprise his wife and give her the ring. He wanted the room fully set up before he goes down to get them. He wanted to let them spend some time just as mother and daughter. Getting the flowers and the food, he ordered from a nearby local restaurant that he wanted to have ready for them when they go back to the room. He had planned to do this at his house but Alley had seen that it wouldn’t happen, he was not about to let his family feel unsafe just so he could do something special for them

Setting up the room with everything, he changed and headed down to the pool where his family was enjoying the warm water and relaxing. Stepping into the humid pool area, he spotted his family over in the shallow end playing. Moving over to the table where he knew their towels, laying his towel on top of theirs he moved over to the deep end and dove in. Swimming over to them, he snuck up to Mary and picked her up. “Gottcha” he laughed when she squealed as he turned her to see it was only him that had a hold of her.

Turning around Mary smiled when she saw it was her father that had her. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she giggled. “You scared me daddy.” She started to wiggle when he started to tickle her as she held onto his neck. “Stop daddy.” She pushed away from him playfully and splashed him. “Watch daddy mommy taught me to float on my back.”

Mark watched as Tara put her hands under Mary’s back as she laid back in the water with her head tilted back so that she wouldn’t get water in her mouth and her eyes were closed. “Wow honey that is really good. I can’t even do that.” Reaching out he picked her up and spun her around in the way with him. “Are you having fun with mommy in the pool?” seeing her nod he smiled. “Good, we got to head up to the room in a little while.” Lowering his voice, he whispered to her. “I have a surprise for mommy too.”

“Really? What is it?” Mary couldn’t help but be excited about what he had planned for her mother. “Tell me please daddy. I won’t tell mommy.” She whispered to him.

Smiling Tara over heard the little girl she smiled and acted like she didn’t hear what was being said between father and daughter. Sitting up on the edge of the pool, she watched the two of them play around in the water and just be relaxed. She was afraid at first that this wasn’t going to be easy for all of them to adjust to the changes in their lives. Kicking her feet in the water Tara smiled happy for the first time in a long time. She couldn’t want to get her family home to the valley away from all the trouble and heartache they have had to deal with over the last few days. Jumping into the water, she moved over and circled both her child and husband with her arms kissing the child’s cheek. “How about we go to the room and find a movie to watch and settle down for the night?”
“Any movie I want mommy?” the little blond asked watching her mother nod.”Yay I want to watch little mermaid please.” Watching between both her parents as she held onto both of them with an arm around their necks. Seeing them both nod she giggled “yay with popcorn?” she tried to swim to the side of the pool.
Moving to the edge of the pool Mark waited for Tara to climb from the pool before he handed Mary up to her. Then he climbed from the pool, moved to the table, handed Tara a towel for her to wrap Mary in. picking up another towel and wrapping it around Tara’s shoulders, and kissed her cheek. “Let’s go to the room” wrapping the last towel around himself, he kept his arm around Tara’s waist as he escorted them from the pool area and to their room.

Stopping at the door Mark smiled. “Close your eyes dear.” He waited until she had closed her eyes before he opened the door for them. “Keep them closed.” Taking her free hand, he gently led her into the room. Closing the door behind them, he turned the light on. Turning her till, she was facing the table where he had everything set up. Putting his finger to his mouth to keep Mary quiet. “Okay open your eyes.” He took Mary from her and watched her reaction to what he had set up for her.

“Ohh Mark this is wonderful. When did you do all this?” she hugged him tightly as she struggled not to tear up with happiness and job. “I haven’t seen anything this beautiful in a long time.” Stepping back, she wiped at her eyes. “I’m sorry no one not even my late husband did things like this for me. You don’t know what it means to me.”

Setting Mary down on the bed, he pulled Tara into his arms and rubbed her back. “It is only the first of many special times for us. I want to make sure you know just how much you mean to me. I will do my best to make sure you and Mary and happy and know that I love you both very much.” Pushing her back just enough so he could see her face. “The more we talked online and when we meet up at the reunion, I knew I didn’t want to lose you. I cannot explain it but I knew I loved you. I am honored to be married to such a wonderful woman and to raise Mary and any other children we have with you.”

Swallowing pass the lump in her throat Tara cupped his face, “I am the lucky one, I have never been this happy before. I feel the same way about you.” Placing a gentle but passion filled kiss on his lips. “Thank you.” Stepping back, she smiled. “Let’s eat so we can watch that movie. Sitting down the chair that he had pulled out for her.

Settling Mary into the chair next to her Mark smiled as he knelt next to the woman that he was married to. “Tara I know I didn’t get to do this the right way. But I want you to have this ring as your wedding ring.” He held out a silver ring with a ruby in the center surrounded by diamonds.” It was my grandmothers and she told me to give it to a special lady that had my heart in her hands.”

Covering her mouth Tara nodded when she saw the ring in his hand. “I would be honored.” She held out her left hand for him to place the ring on her finger. “It’s beautiful Mark.” She admired the ring for a few minutes before starting to fill hers and Mary’s plates.

Taking his place on the other side of Mary Mark filled his plate. He knew he did the right thing, the family eat the special meal then settled into one on the beds and ordered the movie and settled back with popcorn and enjoyed just spending time together as a family.

Chapter 22
The next morning after cleaning out her hotel room, they headed over to his house to start packing. The next couple of days seem to fly by for the new family as they worked to fix up the house so that they could list it with a realtor to sell and pack everything that was in them house so that they could move up to Tara’s property on the Western slope of the Colorado.

While packing up the kitchen Tara keep Mary out of the way of Mark and his friends as they carried boxes out to the moving truck. She didn’t liken that they ere leaving his truck with his sister for now, but she needed to lead the way to their new place. Knowing they would be back in town to visit his family and their friends. Feeling her cell vibrate on her hip Tara pulled it out of the holder she looked at and smiled. Replying to the text message from her good friend, “Mark we have been invited over to Annie’s for dinner tonight, she said to be there around six pm. She won’t’ take no for an answer, you know how she is.” She called out to her husband as he stepped into the kitchen and picked up their child.

“Alright we just about have everything packed into the truck, except the things we will need for tonight and the trip tomorrow that I put into your car.” The dark haired man smiled as he looked up to meet his beautiful wife’s gaze. Kissing Mary’s cheek before setting her back down on the floor near her dollhouse so she could keep playing quietly. Taking the few steps over to where his beloved stood packing dishes, he took her into his arms and kissed her letting her see just how much he was looking forwards to when they will get a chance to be along together.

Stepping back Tara smiled as she tried to catch her breath, he always seem to make her heart speed up when he took her into his arms. “You are so much trouble” she teased him with a smile on her face. “We still have a few hours before we have to be there, I do hope you are going to clean up before we go over.” She knew he would clean up before they would go over to their friend’s house. Seeing him nod she smiled even more. “Are sure your okay with selling this house? I know it has been in your family since you moved here. I’m sure we can find a renter for it you want?”

Touching a finger to her lips Mark smiled shaking his head. “I’m fine with it. I’m there is no way for Alley to track me down she will have to leave us alone. My home is with you and Mary. It’s time to start a new life with you both and hopefully more children before to long. Besides, I can do hunting from up there just as well as I can from down here. My job has already transferred me to their office up there.” He kissed her cheek before heading back into the basement to do a double check to make sure he hasn’t left anything behind before moving to his shed outside to gather his gardening supplies.

Putting the last dish into the box Tara taped it up, “well that is the last box in for the kitchen honey. I guess we need to move into your room and double check to make sure we don’t leave anything.” Extending her hand to the little girl, she smiled as she felt the tiny fingers wrap around her hand. Leading the way to the bedroom the two women looked through the room not finding anything. Then moved on to another room, as the two of them checked every room so that they didn’t leave anything behind. “Looks like daddy did good. Now time to go get a new hotel room and clean up for dinner with some friends of ours. I want you on your best behavior tonight.” She watched the little girl

Looking up at her mother the little blonde-haired person nodded, “yes mommy. I be good. But what about daddy?” she gave her mother big doe eyes.
Kneeling down Tara smiled hugging the little angel. “Don’t worry daddy will be good to tonight. We are going to have fun tonight. You will be the only little one there tonight. But I know they have a video game and we will take something for you to play with.” Kissing the child’s forehead before standing picking up the little girl. She moved through the kitchen, stepped out the backdoor, and looked for her husband. “”Mark its time go and get a room to clean up before he head out to Annie’s for dinner.” She watched her husband as he stepped out of the shed with a tote in his hands.

“Alright dear. This is the last tote, we have everything.”Mark walked over setting the tote done on the patio and playfully tried to touch his daughter. He couldn’t help but laugh as she squealed and tried to pull away from him. He winked at Tara as she set Mary on her feet so they could play for a few minutes.
Laughing Tara enjoyed watching the two people she loved play and enjoy each other’s company. Leaning against the post, she watched Mark case Mary laughing and being silly. Mary’s laughter was contagious as she squealed as she ran from his dirty hands. “Don’t get her to dirty please. I really don’t want to have to give her a bath before we go to dinner dear.” She called out to the man she found herself watching more and more. Stepping forward she let Mary hide behind her as Mark come close to them.

Laughing Mark stood up. “How about I get mommy?” He put his hands on Tara’s cheeks. “I thought I would get you instead of her.” Kissing the tip of her nose, he turned and picked up the tote and headed through the house to put the tote on the moving truck. Latching the lock that they had on the back of the truck he turned to see his family step from the house. “Let’s go clean up then head over. I know we need to find another room. I already thought of that and got us one over at the little B&B over close to the highway.” Handing her key to the lock he went and climbed into the moving truck, knowing his sister had come, and gotten his truck and taken it to her house.

Making sure Mary was secure in her seat she climbed in behind the wheel and followed the moving truck to the B&B where they would spend the night before heading home to the Western slope. Following him to their room she set about getting Mary cleaned up and changed into clean clothes. Then getting herself cleaned up while Mark keep an eye on Mary. Stepping out of the bathroom, she smiled. “Your turn now dear.” She watched him disappear into the bathroom to clean up. Soon the small family was on their way to their friend’s house for dinner and spends some time with good friends before heading home the next day.

Chapter 23
Waking early Tara showered and dressed for the day, she didn’t want to wake Mark or Mary until it was time for them to get up so they could make the four-hour trip home. Stepping out of the bathroom with her hair wrapped in a towel she smiled when she saw them both curled up together sounds asleep. Smiling she didn’t have the heart to wake them yet, turning on the lamp that sat on the table that was near she looked through the room service menu to decide on what to order for breakfast. Keeping her voice low, she ordered breakfast for all of them. She knew the plan to stop for lunch at the town that sat at the top of the last pass they have to go over would be a long wait for a little girl if she gets hungry. Looking over at the bed, she knew they would have to stop at the store and get Mary some snack food so she is not starving by the time they stop for lunch.

Setting the food on the table the brunette smiled as she sat next to the two members of her family. She gently laid a hand on Marks shoulder, “Mark dear breakfast is here.” She watched him slowly look over at her and smile. Shaking her head Tara smiled back at him kissing him gently on the lip. “We need to stop at the store to get Mary some snack food for the trip since we are not stopping for lunch till we reach the last pass.” A small girlie squeal slipped out when she felt his arms go around her waist and being turned and pushed back onto the bed. She was laying there looking up into a pair of blue eyes that were above her watcher her. She could see the hunger in his eyes. Reaching up and cupped his face, “soon dear. We will be home tonight and she will have her own room.”
Leaning into her hand, Mark smiled, “I’m glad we can finally settling into a routine, sorry you didn’t get the wedding day or honeymoon you deserve.” Lightly brushing a few strands of hair from her face the dark-haired man smiled at her. “I will make it up to you. We will have the wedding you always dreamed up and go anywhere you want for a honeymoon.” He leaned down taking passion of her lips in a demanding kiss he deepened the kiss until he felt a little pair of arms encircle his neck. Trying to hold off laughing without breaking the kiss, “I think we got company?”

Giggling Tara pushed her head back into the matters and looked over his shoulder, she smiled when she saw that Mary looking down at her. “Hi Mary honey. We didn’t wake you did we?” seeing the little blond shake her head Tara smiled,”oh good. Are you hunger? We got a long drive a head of us to get home.”
Sitting up Mark reached behind him and pulled his daughter over his shoulder into his lap. “Morning baby.” He tickled her and set her off in a fit of giggles. Sitting back, he smiled as he wanted her get up and run to the bathroom. “Oops didn’t mean to make her almost wet her pants.” He looked at Tara
shrugs. “Sorry honey.” Standing he helped Tara to her feet and pulled her into a hug.

Wrapping her arms around his neck kissing him briefly. “That’s okay, she didn’t. When she comes out we will eat and head out to the store them home.” Pulling away from him, she set the booster seat they had gotten from Karnes house with the rest of the things that belong to Mary and them now on the chair. A tug on her pants had her turning around with a smile. She picked up Mary and set her on the chair pushed her in. putting a blow of cereal in front of her she kissed the top of her head. “Eat up honey.” Nodding to Mark then the table, “you too dear.” She set a plate of eggs and bacon in front of the spot she wanted him to sit at. Putting her hands on her hips while she waited for him to sit down and eat. “Thank you.” She smiled trailing her hand along his shoulders as she moved behind him, sat down in the last chair, and ate her plate of eggs and bacon as well.

The room fell quiet as the small family of three sat eating their meal. Mary looked up, “Mommy, am I going to have a brother or sister soon?” turning her gaze back to her bowl.

Coughing to keep from choking on her food, “ahh well honey, maybe we will see how it goes. Right now we just want you to get use to your new life with us and your new home before we think about adding to our family.” Nudging Mark as she nodded in Mary’s direction.

“Oh right. Mommy’s right honey. In time maybe okay?” Mark watched the little girl accept what they said without batting an eye or question them more on it. Turning he looked at Tara and shrugs as he finished off his coffee and sat back. “Having more children doesn’t sound half bad though. It might help her adjust easier to know she is going to be a big sister.” Pulling out of the reach of her hand as she swatted at him, “I know I know in time. It will happen when it is meant to happen.” Standing he pushed his chair back into the table. “I’ll get our bags into the truck and run down the street to the store and get some snacks than, meet you down stairs then we can head out.” He bent down and kissed Tara them placed a kiss on top of Mary’s head, then making sure to leave clothes for her before picking up the bags and left the room and headed down to her car and loaded everything into it. He climbed in and headed to the grocery store to get some snacks and drinks before heading back to the hotel and meet up with his family.

Chapter 24
Making sure Mary fastened into her chair and the chair was locked in place in the back seat Mark smiled at her and quirked her nose. “I’ll see you when we stop for lunch honey.” Making sure her toys and books were within reach, He kissed her cheek he backed out of the car and shut the door. Turning to Tara, he pulled her into a hug, “Drive careful dear. I’ll meet you for lunch.” He kissed her deeply.

Retuning the hug and kiss Tara nodded, “alright you be careful as well.” she climbed into the car and fastened her seatbelt, looking up into his eyes she smiled. “See you in a few hours dear.” Starting the car and making sure her GPS was on and working she knew Mark had shut the car door for her. Turning to face him, she saw him lean into the window and winked at Mary before giving him a brief kiss.

Stepping back from the car Mark watched his family pull away from the hotel and disappear from sight. Climbing into the moving truck, he started it up and headed out onto the highway and into the mountains counting the minutes until he is with his family again. Pulling over he pulled out his blue tooth and made sure it was turned on and working before continuing. He knew Tara had her blue tooth on because he watched her turn it on so if she needed to get a hold on him she could. He worried about the stretch of road were the accident happened and how Tara and Mary would react to driving through that stretch of road.
Putting a CD into the CD player that had children’s songs on it for Mary to listen to and sing along with. Looking in the rearview mirror, she smiled when she saw the little girl start to kick her feet as she sang along with the music. Turning her eyes back to the road Tara thought over the empty rooms that were in her old Victorian style manner house. She wanted her close but if her and Mark had children together she wanted the nursery close to their room. There were two rooms at the end of the hall that would work prefect for Mary but she wanted to let Mary chose which one she wanted.

As she drove the brunette turned her attention to her room, she knew that she would have to pack up some of her things and possibly change the decor of the room since it was not just her in there now. Thinking over all the nick-knacks, she had sitting around the room she had to figure what ones she would be willing to pack up so the room didn’t look so girlie. The silence from the back seat had her glancing up into the rear view mirror. The image she saw was so sweet. Mary was asleep holding her doll close. Stopping the CD Tara smiled as she turned on the satellite radio that she used when she traveled outside town.

The trip didn’t seem to drag on this time before she knew it Tara was pulling into a burger stand where she was going to meet up with Mark to have lunch before traveling the last hour or two until they reach home. Shutting the engine off the brunette looked into the backseat only to spin around when she heard her door open with her hand going to the steel flashlight that sat next to her seat. Seeing Mark standing as she glanced at the window she relaxed and let out the breath she was holding. Opening the door, she smiled as she stepped out of the car. “Sorry honey. I didn’t know who was opening my door. I wasn’t going to take a chance with Mary in the backseat,” she waved her hand to the back window on the driver’s side of the car.

Smiling Mark took her hand, “It’s okay, and I shouldn’t have just opened the door without trying to get your attention first.” He could feel her trembling as he held her hand, “you were just acting like a loving mother is all.” Pulling her into his arms and rubbed her back trying to help ease her trembling. He was upset with himself for scaring her like he did. “I will never scare you like that again I promise.” Laying his cheek on the top of her head as she berated himself for what he did to cause her to be scared for herself and their child. Standing there just holding, her Mark kept an eye on the sleeping child in the back seat. He wanted to make sure the woman in his arms stop shaking and was able to gather self before they woke Mary for lunch.

Clinging to him for a few minutes Tara tried to calm her nerves before she could face the man that held her or their child. She had never thought of herself as a jumpy person that was easy to scare. After a few minutes, she was able to pull herself together and stepped back from Mark. “Sorry I don’t scare that easy normally.” The feel of his lips on hers cut off her words in a demanding kiss. Relaxing into the kiss, she couldn’t but help know that it was okay how she reacted and that she was willing to hurt him if he had been anyone else at her door. Touching his shoulder Tara stepped back, “we should wake her to eat so we can get on the road and home before it gets dark.”

Nodding Mark let go of her reluctantly, opened the driver’s side passenger door, leaned inside, and gently took Mary from her seat. “Shh It’s okay, we are just stopping for lunch.” Backing out of the car, he stood up and reached out a hand for his wife to take it. Feeling her fingers wrap around his he led them inside the burger stand. Therefore, they could get something to eat and relax outside the car and let Mary play in the play area for a while.

Sitting back Mark put an arm around Tara and pulled her to his side and they watching their little girl play and run off some energy that she stored up while sleeping in the car on the way up here. Hearing her laughter and seeing her enjoy herself warmed his heart. He couldn’t be happier then he was right now. He may not have gotten her to marry him the way it happened, but he couldn’t has asked for a better mother to his future children and to Mary. Alternatively, for a better wife for himself.

Chapter 25
Making sure his family was safely in their car before he headed for the moving truck, climbed in, and headed out for their last and final stop. Knowing Tara wouldn’t be far behind him on the road, she written down how to get to her house and what it looked like so that he would be able to find it just in case they were separated before they got there. As he came down into the valley he was amazed at how pretty the area looked, he finally understood why she loved it up here. It wasn’t long until he was at the exit that he needed to find her place. Getting off the highway, he looked around as he drove down the road until he saw the large blue Victorian style house with two smaller buildings and a barn sitting near it. Going down the driveway, and stopped next to the house, he climbed out of the truck and looked around while he waited on the rest of his family to arrive.

Pulling down the driveway she stopped just to the right of the moving truck Tara stopped the car relaxes to finally be home with her family. Turning in her seat to look at the little girl in the back seat she smiled. “We’re home honey.” She watched Mary look around, try, and see what the property is like. “hang on honey,” turning back around and climbed from the car and moved to the rear passenger door on the driver’s side and leaned in and helped Mary out of her seat. Setting the little blond on her feet next to the car and took her hand. She led the way around the truck so she could see this house. “There’s home.” She pointed to the big blue house as she knelt down by the little girl. There are several rooms so that you can choose your own room from.”

Looking from her mother up to the house and back Mary smiled.”I pick my own room really?” seeing Tara nod the little girl’s smile brightened even more “yay, I see now.” She took the other woman’s hand she ran towards the house excited to see what room she wanted. As she climbed the steps to the porch, she saw Mark sitting in a chair waiting for them. “Daddy, mommy said I can pick my own room.” Letting go of Tara’s hand as she ran over to where he sat in the chair. “Come on daddy you come too.” Taking his hand, she led him over to where Tara stood waiting. Reaching over she took her mother’s hand and looked at the door them to her mother.

Smiling Tara nodded and pulled out her key and unlocked the door and opened it. “Okay honey lets go inside.” She let the little girl take her time slowly stepping in the door and looking around the small entry hallway. Seeing the small shoulders relax as the child moved future into the small hallway she started to follow her when she felt an arm wrap around her waist and pull her back against a hard chest. The feel of hot breath on her neck and ear made her giggle a little.

Smiling Mark held her close making sure to keep his voice low, “oh no you don’t, I want to carry my wife across the threshold of our home.” He bent town, picked her up into his arms, and started into the house. Moving through the entry hallway to where there were two doorways. Setting her back into her feet, he scooped Mary up into his arms; he took Tara’s hand and headed up the stairs. He wanted to explore the house too but his first thought was to make sure that his daughter was happy with her room before they moved things in. He didn’t want to let on that he was worry about how he was going to get help to bring the heavy furniture into the house.

Squeezing his hand, it was as if she could read the thoughts going through his mind leaning close as they reached the top of the stairs. “Don’t worry I have help coming.” Kissing his quickly she released his hand and ushered Mary down the hall pointing out their room and what she hoped would be the nursery. Stopping she knelt next to the little girl. “These four rooms you can choose from sweetie.” She let go of the little hand in hers and stood up as she watched the little girl go room from room. Being lost in the joy of watching their child as she ran from room to room, she jumped when she felt a pair of arms slip around her waist and warm breath on her neck. Smiling she leaned back against her husband’s strong broad chest, “hmm this house finally feels like home to me. You two fill a hole that has been in my life for a very long time.” She couldn’t wait for them to settle into their lives here together.

Nuzzling her neck Mark knew that she and Mary had done the same for him, he couldn’t seem to get enough of holding her and just wanting to be with her. Before he could say anything to her, he saw Mary step out of a room. Looking up he smiled, “did you find a room you like?”

Nodding Mary smiled and ran over taking both their hands and led them into the corner room. “I like this one.” Letting go of their hands she ran to the bay window with a bench seat in it. “I can sit here and play with my dollies and things.” Pushing the curtains aside, she pointed out the window. “I can see horsey’s too and some other buildings what are they?”

Stepping away from Mark Tara make her way over to the windows and looked out the windows, sitting down on the bench she smiled. “That one over there is our personal barn. I have two horses in it. Those two over there are where I work. I work with horses and make sure their healthy. Right below us is the backyard for you to play in. we’ll get a swing set for you.”

Moving closer to the window Mary looked at the yard below them. “really, can we have a pool too mommy?” she looked up at her mother and then over to where Mark stood giving them space together then back to where Tara sat next to her waiting for an answer.

Shaking her head Tara smiled. “No sweetie not till your older because they aren’t safe for you to be around without us right there with you. How about we get you a pool just for you and that way you can swim with us watching you it’s safer too.”

Thinking it over Mary nodded agree. “Okay mommy.” Jumping down from the bench she opened the closet and looked in. then ran from the room and down the hall. Hearing her father call out for her to not run in the house she slowed down as she explored other rooms. Leaving her parents to follow her and get her things from the big truck that was outside.

Sitting there on the bench Tara smiled as she watched Mary leave the room leaving a trail of laughter behind her. Looking up to the man that stood just inside the door looking after the little girl that had come so unexpectedly into their lives but very welcome. Standing she walked over to him and brushed her fingers across his lips, “after she’s settled for the night we can figure out how to redecorate our room. It’s pretty girlie right now, the whole house is. We better go catch up to her.” Turning to the door only to be turned back to face him.

Turning her to face him Mark smiled. “I am not worried about that right now. I just want us to have time alone together. Not that I don’t love Mary because I do, I just want time with my wife too.” He pulled her into a deep quick kiss before letting her go after their daughter. He watched her go down the hall and then descend the stairs. Sighing he followed quickly, he wasn’t sure he would like whatever kind of help she had set up to come by.

Stepping out the front door he stopped in his tracks when saw at least ten men standing near the porch on the yard. Looking around he tried to find Tara, he started to worry when he couldn’t find her but just then, and he heard a familiar giggle come from behind him. Turning around he shook his head when he saw Tara and Mary carrying out trays of drinks and cookies. “Who are all these men Tara?”

Smiling the brunette kissed his cheek as she walked by him. “These are our neighbors dear. I had my assistant call and round up help for the unloading. Come meet everyone.” She stepped out onto the porch and started to hand out drinks and cookies to everyone. Chapter 26

Setting her tray down Tara took Marks hand and smiled, “everyone I would like you to meet my husband Mark Kaltyn. Mark these are our neighbors.” She went on to introduce each man there to him. She wanted him to know the neighbors and her clients so that he would not worry so much when a man came to the house after her office hours needing help for their horse. She knew thought there were a couple of single clients that would not take the news of her marriage easy and let her know about it in time.

Stepping forward Mark shook every hand that was extended to him in friendship. The friendship that was offered to him by most of the men there was something new to him and very welcomed. He didn’t miss the few that didn’t shake his hand or speak to him. He had a feeling those few were going to trouble if he didn’t keep his guard up around them specially to keep his family safe. Smiling he nodded and accepted the offers to help him carry their stuff into the house from the moving truck. Leading them over to the truck he make sure as he handed things down to the men that was there to help he did not give things for their bedroom to those that he thought were going to cause them trouble. Making a mental note on who those men were and he planned on taking steps to make sure they understands that he will not allow them to threaten his marriage and family.

Standing at the doorway Tara directed each man as they came up to the door on what room the box was to go into. She keep an eye on Mary that was sitting behind her on the porch playing quietly with her dolls. Talking with each man as they came up to her and asked where the box went. A couple of the men tried to ask her why she married this stranger when there were many eligible men right here in the Grand Valley. Shaking her head Tara frowns as she took the box from those couple of men. “I have my reasons they are not your concern. If you want to keep up this way, you can just leave my property and not return. You are my friends but I will not have you demanding that I explain my reasons.” She starred down the couple of men waiting to see what they would do; she knew they knew her well enough to know that she meant what she said.

The couple of younger men that had tried to date her for several years now with no success, now she returned from her vacation with a husband and child just upset them. They didn’t like it and were determined to make sure this man left so one of them could have her for themselves. For now they would bide their time and get to know that man that stood in their way of the woman they each wanted knowing they would have to compete between each other.
Keeping an eye on the couple of men she knew were going to cause some trouble for her and Mark. She smiled as a couple of the older men helped Mark bring in the furniture into the house and put it in the right rooms. As the last item of furniture was brought into the house, Tara had gathered the gift cards they had picked up for their help. Reaching out she took Marks hand as he come towards her.

Wrapping an arm around her shoulders, he stood next to her shaking their neighbor’s hands thanking them for the help as Tara handing them each a gift card to a local bookstore. He remembered her love a books so the bookstore gift cards did not surprise him. Keeping a close eye on the last two to take their cards he make sure to let them know that she was taken and that they better stay away from her unless they need her to see to their animals by squeezing their hands good and hard with a nod when they made eye contact with him. Following the last man out the main gate at the front of the house, standing there watching until the last car disappeared down the drive and turned off onto the main road. He knew the first thing he was going to do was to put a gate at the end of their drive with a secure lock and monitor so that they could know who was trying to come down the road towards the house. He knew he also needed to look over all the fencing on the property as well. He was going to make sure that no one was going to have an easy time coming onto the property and endangering his family. Closing the gate he headed back to the porch were both his girls sat enjoying the peacefulness of the country. Sitting on the rail Mark smiled at his beautiful wife, “I already see changes I want to make if that is okay honey?” he waited for her to tell him there was no need to do that but when she didn’t say anything he continued. “I want to put a gate at the end of the drive with a monitor connected to the house and your office that way no one comes to the house unannounced. I also want to check the rest of the fencing around the whole property just to make sure it is good and cannot be easily breached.”

Sitting back in the rocker with Mary playing quietly nearby Tara nodded, “I don’t see the need but if it makes you feel better I’m okay with it. This is your place now too I don’t want to be the one making all the decisions on our lives now we should do that together.” Pushing to her feet Tara smiled as she walked the few steps to where he sat on the rail. “I want us to not only be marriage partners but also partners in how we live, our home and our children.” She took his hand and intertwined her fingers with his as she turned to lean against him so they both could watch Mary play for a while before they had to go inside and start to get her room in order for her.

Holding his wife in his arms Mark smiled as he nuzzled her neck giving off a low playful growl in a low voice. Now that they were home, he knew that after Mary was down for the night they could finally be alone for the first time since they got married. Keeping an eye on his daughter how well she adjusted and seemed happy with her life now was great and reminded him of how fast, resilient children are, and how fast they can bonus back to being themselves.

The small family sat on the porch for a couple of hours until the sun started to slowly set behind the Bookclifs. Tara pushed away from Mark she opened the front door, “Tara honey it’s time to go get your room set up for you.” She held out a hand to the small girl, “thought you might like to tell us where you want your bed and things?” she watched the little girl gather her toys and take her hand. Looking back over her shoulder, “daddy are you coming?”

Shaking his head as he stood up Mark smiled walking over and picking Mary up placing her on his shoulders before the headed inside. Following Tara inside he made sure the door was closed tight behind them before the three of them headed upstairs. Moving down the hall as they reached the room that Mary had picked out he set her onto her feet just before they got to the door. He couldn’t help but smile as she ran into her room and stopped in the doorway turning and looking back at them.

Standing in her doorway Mary turned around to face her parents, putting her little hands on her little hips she stomped her foot, “Well are we going to do my room?” she starred at the two adults for a few minutes before sighing and turning away from them shaking her head. Walking around her room, she tried to think where to put her bed, dresser, toy box and dollhouse. After a few minute of looking over the room, she nodded and turned to find both her parents standing behind her. “My bed go there” she pointed to the wall near the door, “dresser there” she pointed next to the bed. “And my toy box by dresser.”
Nodding Mark smiled. “Alright honey,” he got the frame to her bed and started to put it together. He knew that Tara would get the toy box into the right place for Mary. Getting the frame together, Mark put her box spring and mattress into place then he moved the empty dresser into place. He could see Tara helping Mary put her posters on her walls of cartoon princesses. He smiled as she watched the two of them together as they worked to put her things away and make her bed. Nodding he stepped back out of their way.

Sitting on her bed Mary giggled, “I like it, can I get curtains that match my pictures mommy?” looking up at Tara as she kicked her feet just enjoying her new room. Jumping from the bed, she ran over to one of the boxes of toys and started to go through the box taking out certain toys and putting them on the window bench. Alternatively, on the bed. Suddenly she spotted the dollhouse setting right by the closet. Squealing she ram over and sat down, pushing it around so she could play on the other side she made it scratch on the floor the noise didn’t seem to bother her at all.

Seeing Tara tense Mark knew the noise and her worry that the house made a mark of the floor as she moved it he reached over and grabbed her hand pulling her to her feet and over to him. Whispering in her ear he keep an eye on Mary, ”I’ll go into town tomorrow and get something to put under it so it won’t scratch the floor and it will be easier for her to turn when she wants to play with it.” He slowly wrapped his arms around her and backed them out of the room to leave her to play happily.

Chapter 27
“I know your right, it’s just I am doubting if not putting carpet in here isn’t a good idea. It will be warmer for her in the winter. I know the windows are good and insulated.” Tara leaned her head back into the strong shoulder that was behind her knowing she was safe in his arms. Sighing as she just stood there for a few minutes enjoying their time alone in the hall and to occasional giggle that spilled from the room at the end of the hall.

Turning her to face him Mark smiled as he touched her face “we can put carpet in there that is not a problem. Relax honey you’re not going to be a perfect mother no mother is but I know you are going to be a dam good one because you care so much and put Mary and myself before yourself. You are always worried about what is best for us. You have a good heart you did even back in school.” Cupping her face, he smiled. “How about showing me the rest of the house while she is playing.”

Smiling she sniffled at how good he was to her already and how much he had changed nodding “you’re right. I can’t help but worry about you two. I just want to be the rest wife and mother I can be is all.” Taking his hand, she started down the hall pointing out each room as they passed it. Stopping at the room just before they reached their room. “I thought this could be the nursery if we have more kids since it is right next to ours.” She let out a girlie squeal as she felt herself being lifted off the ground and spun around. Laughing she hugged him.

Lifting her into his arms he spun her around happy to hear she was willing to have more children. Hugging her to him, “I was hoping you would say that we could have more kids.” Setting her back into her feet, he pulled her into a deep kiss before letting her go. “We better keep going get moving before I won’t be able to stop myself and I don’t want her walking in on us.” He loved watching her blush when he talked like that. Stepping into their room, he looked around. “You got some good lighting in here.” He liked where the room was located and how the sun came through the window flooding it with light.

Stepping into the room Tara smiled watching him look the room over. “We can change things if you don’t like something. It is your room too now.” She walked over to the bed and sat on the foot of it. “I will clean out some drawers in the dresser and in the bathroom, and some of the closet so there is room for your clothes and things.” She watched him look over the bathroom and the structure of the room. Smiling she shook her head. “I know the whole house is kind of girlie but after my first husband died I wanted to start over and either sold everything or packed it away except for one picture that I keep in my office.”
Waving her hand, “and I bought the house and land to start fresh. I think it’s time we need to make this house home to both of us.” Standing she walked over to where he stood just outside the master bath doorway. “I hope you will grow to love it here like I do.”

Putting a figure to her lips, the dark haired man smiled. “I will be fine don’t worry. We can make changes later. Let’s go look through the rest of the house.” Taking her hand, he led her from the room and down the stairs. He liked the structure that he was seeing as he toured the house. He did note a few things that he saw that could use some fixing but it was nothing that he couldn’t handle.

The couple worked to unpack the kitchen they talked and laughed. Coming across the baby monitor that Mary’s mother had in their house Tara teared up a little before looking up at Mark. “I want to put this in Mary’s room; it will help me feel better about her being a long in her room at night sleeping.”

Pulling her into his arms Mark nodded. “I hopped we had one somewhere in one of these boxes somewhere or I was going to go buy one. Go on and put it in her room where she can’t see it. I’ll plug the other one in down here while we work in the kitchen.” Kissing her quickly and turned her towards the doorway of the kitchen. Watching her leave the kitchen, he knew she was worried about Mary’s adjustment to her life up here now. Turning to the counter behind where they were working and plugged in the other part of the monitor set and turned it on.

Stepping into Mary’s room Tara stood quietly watching her daughter playing with her doll and stuffed animals. The site in front of her made her smile the little girl seem to be settling into her new life easy. “Well tonight we will know for sure.” She mumbled to herself as she moved over to the dresser and set the monitor on the top of it, and plugged it in. turning it on before quietly leaving the room and heading downstairs and rejoining Mark in the kitchen. “She was playing on the window bench with her doll and stuffed animals; she didn’t see me come into the room.”

Giggles floated from the monitor made them both smile. They turned back to unpacking the kitchen. After a few hours, they had everything they had brought from Mark’s house and Karen’s house. They ended up with two boxes of things that they couldn’t use and a box of things they wanted to keep but don’t have room for so they decided to keep.

“There is a basement too.” The brunette smiled as she led him to the door just off the kitchen that led to the basement. “It’s not really big but it should be big enough for now to store things until we think of something else.” Opening the door, she took the smaller box from him and the monitor and started down the wooden steps. Reaching the bottom of the stairs, she reached out to find the chain for the light. When she suddenly pulled her hand back dropping the box from her hands as she backed up into Mark. Swallowing the lump in her throat, taking a deep breath she frowned, “Go away, you’re not wanted here leave now.” She spoke out into the room and reached for the chain to the light again turning it on. Shaking her head, she bent down and picked up the box she had dropped, and started over to where she had other boxes stacked against the back wall. Setting the box on the top of another stack of boxes that were sitting there.

Following her Mark was puzzled as to why she reacts that way as she tried to reach for the chain to the light. Setting his box done to start a new stack, he took her hand. “Tara what was that all about? I have never heard or seen you act that way before. Is there something I should know?” Turning her to face him as he waited for her to answer him.

Sighing Tara shook her head. “It’s nothing really. Sometimes I have found stay cats, a non-poisonous snake down here. I have found if I just tell them that they are now wanted here and they have to go they leave. I know it is weird but it works that way I don’t have to get someone to take care of the snakes, the cats I can handle.” Squeezing his hand, “Don’t worry the house is safe. It’s the price of living in the country is all.” Wrapping her arms around his neck, Mary’s playing nice and happy upstairs we are alone down here.” Leaning into him, she started the kiss this time.

Wrapping his arms around her, he pulled her against him crushing her breasts against his chest. He could feel every curve she had and was sure she could feel his need for her as well.” Deeping the kiss Mark revealed in the feeling of her in his arms and could only imagine what later tonight would feel like. TO him it had been a long couple of weeks to know and feel her sleeping next to him and knowing he could not have her like a husband wanted his wife, however that would end later tonight when they were along in their room. Leaning back, Mark sighed resting his forehead against hers. “You don’t know how much I want to pick you up and carry you upstairs to the bedroom and show you how much I love you. I know I need to wait until Mary goes to bed before we can do that. It hurt to much to know and feel you sleeping right next to me and I couldn’t have my right as your husband while we straightened out with Mary and her mother’s will, and selling my house. Forgive me Tara.”

Smiling Tara kissed the top of his nose, “don’t worry I have felt the same way at times. We will be together tonight I promise.” She hugged him tight before stepping back from him. “Come on we have a lot of work to do to get everything put away.” Taking his hand, grabbing the monitor, she led him back upstairs shutting the door and locking it so Mary cannot do down there and get hurt.

Chapter 28
“I saw that you had an office back at your other house. So I thought you might want one here,” she took his hand and led him from the kitchen and down the hall to a back room just off the library. Opening the door that was before them reaching inside and flipped the light switch turning on the light, “this could be your office it you want one.” She watched him as he went into the room and looked around.

Stepping into the room Mark looked over the room, he couldn’t believe that she would be willing to give up the room to him. Turning to face her, “thank you I would feel safer with my guns locked up so Mary can’t get to them. You don’t mind if I change the color and put shelf’s up?” he smiled she shook her head and smile. “You are to good to me honey.”

After working for a few more hours, they almost had every box that was on the main floor. They had a stack of them that by the basement door that would be taken down tomorrow. After checking on Mary, the couple went out onto the porch and sat in the rockers enjoying the evening air while they sat there.

Looking down at her watch Tara sighed, “Guess I better go make something for us to eat for supper. Would you please go get Mary it won’t take long for me to have it ready.” Standing she bent close to him and kissed his cheek before heading inside to get started on a fast and simple supper for her family. It finally felt good to be in her kitchen not that she has a family to cook for instead of cooking just for herself.

Smiling as he turned and watched her head into the house. He could watch her walk away from him all day. Standing he headed inside and up the stairs that were not far into the hallway. Moving down the hall, he smiled as he heard Mary still playing happily in her room. Standing in the doorway, he smiled as he leaned on the doorframe just happy to stand there and watch her content with her life. He was glad that she was to young to really remember what has happened over the last couple of weeks. Pushing off the doorframe, he stepped into the room. “Mary sweetie mommy is working on supper, want to come help me set the table for her?”

Looking up the little blond girl smiled, “okay daddy,” she scrambled to her feet and ran over to where he stood waiting for her.”I like my new room.” She jumped around at his feet; taking his hand she led him down the hall to the stairs.”Come on daddy.” She started down the stairs and waited at the bottom of the stairs for him to join her. “Well come on daddy.”

Shaking his head with a smile on his face, “I’m coming sweetie,” he started down the stairs to join her. Reaching the bottom step, he picked her up, sat her on his shoulder, and headed through the dining room to the kitchen.

Looking up as she sat the last of the sandwiches on the table Tara smiled. “There is my family. I thought we would eat supper and them I think it’s time for a bath Mary, then we can settle down and watch a movie till bed time.” She watched her daughter giggle and nod as she wiggled to get down. “Did you wash up?”

Lifting her off his, shoulders Mark walked over to the sink and helped her wash her hands. “She did now mommy.” Setting her down while he washed his hands he smiled hearing her run over to the table and pull a chair out. As he turned around as he dried his hands, the sight he saw of Tara lifting Mary into her chair warmed his heart. Hanging the towel back up he headed over to the table and pulled out Tara’s chair for her.

Sitting down Tara smiled at him over her shoulder at him. Turning back to the table, she started to dish up the salad that she had fixed for them. “You don’t have to eat it all honey but you have to eat some on the salad okay?” watching the small blond nod and start to eat the salad after she had put some dressing on it. Filling marks plate before her own she sat back and just enjoyed her family and finally being together knowing that no one can tear them apart no. after everyone finished eating Tara took Mary upstairs and got her bath going and worked to get her cleaned up for their first night at home as a family.

Looking through a box that was marked movies from Karen’s house he wanted to find a movie that would help Mary settle down and hopefully fall asleep fairly early. Finding a cartoon movie for her he got a few blankets and manage to find the popcorn and make a large bowl for them to enjoy. Hearing giggles coming from upstairs he couldn’t help but laugh and enjoy hearing her having a good time taking her bath.

Sitting back on the toilet Tara watched Mary play in the bubble bath she drew for her. She couldn’t believe how fast this little Angel stole her heart, but was glad she did. Looking up at the ceiling she sent a silent word of thanks to God and to Karen for trusting her and Mark with this precious gift to raise and love. She let Mary play while she got everything she needed to clean her up. Kneeling by the tub Tara smiled. “Okay honey child’s hair wet. After a few minutes she had Mary clean, dried and into her new PJ’s. Standing the brunette smiled, “okay you can go play in your room for a little while. I need to clean up in here then we can read a story before bedtime.”

“Okay mommy,” she ran from the bathroom and down the hall to her room. Opening her dollhouse, she sat on her knees and started to play quietly with the dolls inside it. Looking up at her window, she giggled seeing a couple of blankets hanging over the curtains to make her feel safer in the room at night. Turning to the door Mary called out. “Mommy can I have curtains to match my bed?” she waited anxiously to hear the answer she wanted to hear.

Putting the last towel in the hamper, she could hear Mary calling to her. Stepping into the hall, she frowned not understanding the question. “Mary honey I can’t understand you when you scout at me, come to me and ask me things in a nice voice.” She headed down the hall to the little girls room, stepping into the room, she smiled when she saw the little girl point to the blankets that they had hung up to cover the window until they could get her some curtains. Nodding she smiled. “We will get you some that match the princesses that are on your walls and bed don’t worry. We will get them soon.” She went to the bookshelf and look for a book that Mary will like. Finding a short book, she walked over to the bed and pulled the covers down, “okay Mary time to put the dolls to bed and come to bed yourself.”

“awww alright mommy,” putting the dollies to bed, then she stood and ran over to her bed and climbed into it and snuggled under the covers. “You going to read me a story mommy?” she looked at the book that Tara had lying on the bed while she was over at the dresser.

“I sure am. Is that one okay honey?” she turned on the monitor and pushed the dollhouse back against the wall. Moving over she sat on the edge of the bed as Mary handed her the book. Seeing her nod, she smiled leaning back against the headboard and gathered the child into her arms. “Oh good.” opening the book she sat there reading it to the child in her arms. Glancing down she saw that the child was asleep; Tara closed the book and dropped it to the floor. Standing she slowly helped the little girl lay down under her covers. Placing her stuffed cat next to her Tara kissed the top of her head, before slowly moving to the doorway, turning on the nightlight on that sat on the small table that was beside the bed. Turning off the overhead light and closed the door about half way. Standing there for a few minutes, she watched the little girl sleep before heading down the hall to the stairs.

Sitting on the couch Mark waited for Tara to join him for a few hours alone together. Hearing someone on the stairs he smiled she he saw his wife come around the corner and walk over to him. Taking her hand, he pulled her down into his lap. “I guess she went down easy enough. I’m glad now we get to have our wedding night.” Tangling his fingers into her hair, he pulled her mouth down to into a demanding kiss, telling her how much he wanted to be with her not just now but always.

Wrapping her arms around his neck, she responded to the demand of the kiss. The more she molded her body to his upper body she could feel his need pressed against her hip. Moaning into the kiss, she did her best to convey her own need for him as well. The need for air made her pull back from the kiss Tara could feel her heart bounding so hard in her chest that it felt like it was going to burst from her chest. “Let’s go upstairs before Mary wakes up for whatever reason.” Sliding off his lap, she held out both her hands to him.

Taking her hands Mark stood, bringing both hands to his lips, he kissed her knuckles and gave her a wicked smile. “oh I want to make this night special for you so you have to trust me and let me lead you okay?” Watching her nod agreeing to totally trust him, he pulled a scarf from his pocket, placed it over her eyes, and tied it in place so she couldn’t see. “Now no peeking and let me do the leading.” Picking her up he cradled her close and headed for the stairs. Slowly climbing the stairs he made it to their bedroom doorway, stepping just inside he sat her back onto her feet. “This is just the beginning of what life with me is going to be like.” Turning her towards their room and removed the scarf from her eyes. Stepping up next to her, he waited for her reaction to what she saw in the room.

Blinking a few times Tara looked around the room in healing she covered her mouth as she saw Roses in a vase on the dresser, more petals on the bed, there was a wine bucket with a bottle of wine sitting on the far side of the bed. “Oh Mark this is…” she didn’t know what to say she loved what she saw. “You did all this while I was with Mary in the bathroom?” never taking her eyes off the room, stepping future into the room she can her hand long the bed over the petals that were spread out all over it. Turning towards him only to stop half her eyes never left the bed, stopping when her eyes caught sight of something on her pillow. Moving over to the side of the bed, she picked up the piece of paper that was rolled up laying there. Pulling the ribbon off the roll of paper.

Mark watched her unroll the paper and start to read it. Pulling the ring from his pocket, and lighting a few candles, he moved behind her and knelt down on one knee. As he waited for her to turn around, he wanted to give her the ring that had been in his family for generations and since he didn’t have it when they got married he had come up a special way to give it to her. He watched her look up as the candle light caught her eye.

Noticing a flicker out the corner of her eye Tara looked up to see that Mark had dimmed the lights and must have lit some candles. Turning around she looked down to see him down on one knee. “Mark what are you doing there?” Seeing him reaching for her she held out a hand to him, “Mark?” she wasn’t sure what he was up to.

Taking her hand the dark haired man took her smaller hand in his, “Tara I know I didn’t get a chance to do this before we got married, but I want to do this right.” Slowly placing the heirloom ring onto her finger, “Tara I want to you to know that I am honored to have such a wonderful and beautiful woman as my wife and hopefully the mother of my children that does include Mary.” Taking her fingers in his hand after he got the ring on her finger, he kissed her knuckles as he stood up. “The ring was my grandmothers; she had told me just before she died and in a note with the ring after her death that I was to give it to the woman that captured my heart fully and meant the world to me. No one has been able to do that before you, after the few times after we talked on the internet I wanted to make you mine. I want to do whatever it take make this work and to make you happy.” He kissed her hand before pulling her against him. “I want us to work on getting Mary a sibling tonight.” Touching her face with his fingers, he kissed her gently as he bent down and picked her up and laid her on the bed. Not breaking the kiss, he let his hands slid down over her body. Forcing himself to break the kiss and step back, he let his gaze roam over her body taking how beautiful she was an every curve of her body. “Wait there.” He turned making sure the monitor was on, the he shut the door so that they could be long but would still be able to hear Mary if she needed them.

Sitting up on her elbows, Tara watched Mark as he moved about the room so that they could be alone. She couldn’t help but admire his body and how gracefully he moved about the room. Turning on the radio and light more candles to make the room have a more romantic feel to it. “Mark how did you have time to do all this, I wasn’t up here with Mary that long.” She smiled at him shyly as she stood from the bed and moved over to her dresser. “Let me change into something more comfortable that fits the mood.” Opening the draw, she pulled out a silky black nightie and headed into the bathroom that was just off their room to change.

Smiling Mark nodded as he changed as well, he make sure the wine was chilled and pour them each a little of it, while he waited on her to rejoin him in the room. He was looking forward to being with her and actually being able to be interment with her. Sitting on the edge of the bed, he waited for her to come back into the room.

Looking at her reflection in the mirror, nodding she liked how the gown fit. Leaning on the sink she looked herself in the eyes “don’t be nervous you can do this, you know Mark and he has shown he loves you already. Stop feeling like a virgin on her wedding night.” Taking a couple of deep breathes Tara straightened up, taking her perfume she did a few light sprays over her gown before she stepped out of the bathroom. “Mark honey the room looks great,” she took the glass he held out to her.

Taking a sip of his wine Mark smiled.”It wasn’t hard I knew what I wanted to so that made it easy to get things done.” He took both their glasses, set them aside, and pulled her against him. Picking her up then walked over to the bed, laid her down, and laid down next to her. He kissed her and made a trail of kisses down her neck moving the strap to her gowns. Trailing the kisses slowly down her chest until he came to the swell of her breast. Watching her from the top of his eyes as he played with her nibble making it stand out taunt. Hearing her moan made him smile as he sucked the soft globe into his mouth. He was determined to give her as much pleasure as he knew she would give him later. Alternating between her breasts he keep her near her release point but wouldn’t let her go over yet. Kissing his way down her stomach he played with her bellybutton before making his way down to the junction between her legs. Watching her, he knew he couldn’t torment her much longer but he was enjoying having her at his mercy. Finally, he smiled as with of his tongue he sent her over the edge into pure pleasure.

Feeling the warm of her climax over take her Tara bit her lip as to be quiet enough as she rode the wave of pleasure he had finally set her into. Breathing hard as she came down from the pleasure high she smiled reaching down and tangling her fingers into his hair. Pulling gently on his hair she brought him up to her so there were face to face, “that was wonderful, now it’s my turn to make you feel good.” Placing both hands on his chest she pushed him back into the bed and straddled his hips as she leaned down and kissed him with all she had. Making a trail of kisses from his mouth to his ear and down his neck her progress down his body was stopped when he grabbed her hips. Looking up at her, she frowned. “Don’t you want me to give you the same please you gave me.
Shaking his head with a smile on his face, “not that way I am getting pleasure just making you feel good and when we join together.” Bucking his hips telling her what he wanted, wiggling his eyebrows as he lifted her up and slowly pushed into her as he lowered her onto his body. Rolling his head back, he couldn’t believe how good she felt around him. Returning his gaze to meet hers, sitting up he kissed her then broke away, “I do love you Tara, let me show you just how much.” Seeing her nod, he laid back down pulling her with him and rolled until she was beneath him. Pushing up he let his arms take his weight as he started to move within her with slowly with long slowly strokes. He loved watching her enjoy the sensation of their bodies joined together. Speeding up the intensity of his strokes, he was enjoying the sensation just as much as he can see she is. Leaning down he kissed her as he pushed deep into her one last time
and released himself sending them both into wave after wave of pleasure.

Wrapping her arms around him as he collapsed on top of her, Tara smiled feeling his heartbeat just as hard as hers. Rubbing his back, she kissed his shoulder. “That was wonderful love. Thank you for making this one of the best nights of my life so far. I should check on our daughter.” She wiggled out from under him; sitting up Tara leaned down and kissed him briefly before standing and reaching for her robe. Tying it around her waist, she headed out the door and down the hall.

Rolling over Mark watched her as she put on a fuzzy mint green robe and tie it around her tiny waist before leaving the room. Pushing himself into the sitting position he slapped his leg frustrated that he didn’t last as long as he had planned. Laying his head back, he knew they had all night though so he was sure this wouldn’t be the only time they would be together tonight. Looking towards the door, he saw her come back into the room and shut the door.

“She is fast asleep.” The brunette removed her robe and climbed back into the bed next to him. “Now where were we my love?” taking his glass of wine from him leaning across him she set it on the bedside table. Straddling his lap Tara smiled, “don’t worry we have all night.” She began to kiss his neck wiggling on his lap trying to tell him that she was not disappointed about earlier. Leaving a trail of kisses down his neck and towards his chest, she could feel his need building again. “You put up with me spending more time with Mary then you.” She soon worked her way down his chest.

Growling Mark wrapped his arms around her rolling with her putting himself on top of her. Leaning down and nipping at her neck he growled playfully, “oh I see your not satisfied yet.” Cupping her breast he gently squeezed it making her arch and gasp, he could tell she was losing herself in the feel he was sending through her body. Leaning close and put his mouth next to her ear whispering in a growling voice. “Open to me honey; I want us to start our family growing tonight.” Feeling her legs open to his command nipping her ear he slowly pushed into her. Moaning as the feel of her soft warm sleeve wrapped around him. Tossing he head back, “you don’t know how good this feels my love.” He keep his movements long and slow.

Arching Tara moaned nodding, “oh I think I do, it feels wonderful to me too.” Wrapping her legs around his waist, she wrapped her hands in his hair, with another moan escaping from her lips as she looked at his eyes. “I want to add to our family too. Always wanted a large family.” Titling her head back she gasped “ohh gaw this feels wonderful honey.” Looking back at him, she pulled him down into a kiss, moaning even more into the kiss, as he seem to ignite a fire in her.

Growling into the kiss as he felt her body react to what he was doing. Taking his hand that was on her breast and moved it up to tangled it into her thick brown hair. Pulling her head back so he could see her eyes, “I say lets fill this house with the laughter of children my love.” He pushed deeper into her feeling his climax building releasing her hair he reached down between them and pinched her bud that was fully engorged. Seeing her head go back as she gasps he knew it wouldn’t long before she would be over the edge lost in her own climax. Timing his pinch on her engorged bud as he thrust into her one final time sending them both over the edge into a world of pleasure and where it was just the two of them for a few minutes. Rolling off her he smiled pulling her close to him kissing the top of her head, “oh man that was great honey.” Reaching down he pulled the blankets up over them. “Let’s get some sleep she might be up early tomorrow.”

Nodding Tara snuggled close to him draping an arm over his chest. “Yes it was amazing my love. I am sure Mary will be up early.” She let sleep claim her knowing she was safe in his arms, and with the knowledge that Mary is safe in her room.

The next few months the new family started to blend well and adjust to their roles in the household. Mark went back to work for the branch of his company that was in the valley. Tara and Mary spent the days together in her office and seeing to the animals that she took care of during the day. The family of three talked about trips they wanted to take. In addition how Mary wanted a lot of brothers and sisters to play with. That she would be starting preschool in the fall.

Early in July Tara frowns after being sick the fifth morning in a row. Going to her phone book that sat on a small desk in the kitchen, she looked up her doctor’s number and called making an appointment. Setting the home phone down she turned around to find Mark standing there watching her. “What’s wrong love? I didn’t mean to but I overheard your talking to the doctor.” Stepping closer to her, he pulled her into his arms as he did every day when he came home to join his tow favorite women for lunch and kissed her.

Returning his hug and kiss Tara sighed, “I wish I know but I have been sick every morning for three days now. I don’t normally get sick like this in the morning just the thought of food makes me want to lose what little I seem to be able to keep down at night.” Shrugging she smiled as she stepped away from him. “He can see him at two this afternoon. But I have Mary to worry about. I don’t know what I will do with her.” Breaking his hold on her, she moved over to the stove and started to warm up some leftovers for them to eat for lunch. “Mary is in the sun porch playing with her dolls if you want to get her this should be ready in a few minutes.” She watching him leave the kitchen and head towards the sun porch.

Stepping onto the sun porch Mark stood there just inside the door and watched his little girl playing quietly. “Mary honey mommy has lunch about ready. We better go wash up.” he held out a hand to her. He couldn’t help but laugh when she told her dolls that they needed to be good and play quietly while she ate lunch before she stood and ran over to him and took his hand. Leading her to the bathroom that was on the main floor and helped her wash her hands before they headed into the kitchen and sat at the table where lunch was waiting for them.

Finishing lunch Mark called his boss to let him know that he would be need to be off early to watch his little girl while his wife went to an appointment. After kissing Mary goodbye, he set her on her feet so she could go back to her dolls and play some more before naptime. Pulling Tara close he kissed her quietly. “I will be here in time for you to leave for your appointment. I just want to make sure you are alright.” Placing a quit kiss on her cheek, he headed out the door to head back to work.

The rest of the day went by fast before she knew it Mark was walking through the door and swinging Mary up into his arms. “Tara you better get doing or you’re going to be late honey.” He watched her rush out the door and climb into her car then drive off down the road towards the main road. Turning to Mary, he smiled. “Why don’t we go and surprise mommy by seeing to her horses and the animals in her work barn okay.” Seeing her nod Mark smiled as the two of them headed out to the two barns that housed their personal animals and the animals that Tara took care of as a veterinarian while they animal was sick.
Tara soon found herself sitting in the waiting room of her doctor’s office, she was a little nervous about what might be the reason for her getting sick this week. After about ten minutes she was called back to one of the exam rooms, she sat on the edge of the table waiting for the doctor to join her. Though it was, only a few minutes it seemed like forever for the doctor to join her in the room.

“So I hear you haven’t been feeling well in the morning. Well let’s see what is going on with you.” The Doctor listen to her heart and everything. Then drew some blood, “go on a lay back, I just want to make sure there is nothing wrong with your stomach while we wait on the results of the blood work to come back.” He brought the ultrasound over to the exam table and got it ready while he waited for her to lay back and expose her stomach to him, making sure the blanket stayed over her pelvis area. “Don’t worry we will figure this out.”

Lying back on the table, she lifted the gown exposing her stomach to the doctor. Feeling the doctor press on her stomach didn’t cause any, pain did make her fee l a little nauseated. “Doesn’t hurt it causes me to feel nauseate when you do that.” She watched him not that in her chart. “My husband’s worried because of this. We haven’t been married very long.” As she watched the small screen as the doctor moved the wand over her belly, he turned to her and pointed to the screen.

“I think we found out the reason for you being sick in the morning when it comes to being around food. See this right here Tara. Here is the reason; you are going to have a baby. See this right here.” He pointed to a small fuzzy image, “That is your baby’s spin and here is its head.” He smiled as he watched her react to what she was seeing. “I wish you had come in sooner but the baby looks really healthy. Its heartbeat is strong that is good. I would say you are about three months along.” Stopping he looked closer at the screen, “I didn’t see it sooner but see this right here?” he pointed to a small second beat of the heart? It looks like there is another baby in there, we should be able to tell what you’re having the next time you’re here if you want to.” Printing out a picture for her he cleaned up the gel off her stomach, then measured how big she was before sending her home with a new appointment date and all the vitamins she will need. Looking at the results of her blood test that were just brought into him nodded “You are having twins Tara. Judging by how big the babies are I would say you are due January 15. I want to see you back next month for a check-up. You are going to have to take it easy during your pregnancy, carrying twins to term is hard enough, but you being over 35 makes it even harder and poses more of a risk. I want you to rest a lot, not lifting anything over ten lbs, and to call me if you feel any pain at al. I am not going to put you on bed rest yet but I will if it will help you carry them as close to your due date as possible.”

Nodding she understand she changed and left the exam room, Thanking the doctor and the nurse Tara left the office with instructions, Being she is over 35 she was classified as high risk so she had to be very careful and knowing that she was carrying twins make her a even higher risk. On the way home she thought over what had happen at the doctor’s office and that, she was carrying their child together twins no less. She would have to look back in her family records and see if there was a history of twins as well as ask Mark if they run in his family. Counting back from her due date she was able to figure she probably got pregnant on their first night there were intimate with each other. Smiling stopping at the store she wanted to get something to surprise Mary and Mark about the babies. Picking up several stuffed animals she bought a couple of T-Shirts, one said something about being a big sister and the other two were about being a daddy. After paying for them, she headed home, her thoughts going to all the things they would need to by before the babies come. Pulling up to the house she smiled when she saw her family over by the barns, this would give her the chance to slip inside and set things up before they got back to the house.
Slipping into the house, she headed for the living room and set all the animals up with their shirts on. Stepping back, looking the scene over before moving out onto the porch, and calling out to them. “Mark, Mary I’m back, we need to talk why don’t you come back into the house.” She watched them come towards her, seeing Mary being set on her feet and run towards the house. “Careful honey,” kneeling down she hugged the little blonde as she came to her. Standing she smiled at Mark taking Mary’s hand and led them both towards the living room. Stopping in front of them, Tara smiled. “The doctor gave me good news today; it is going to mean a lot of changes around here.” She watched the confusion on their faces, “this might help.” She stepped aside so they could see what she was talking about.

Mary squealed when she saw the animal for her. “What’s it say daddy?” she looked up at Mark who just stood there speechless. Tugging on his hand, she tried to get his attention. “Daddy what does mine say?”

Shaking his head, he knelt down next to her, “It says you’re going to be a big sister honey. That means mommy is going to have a baby.” Then is suddenly hit him what she was trying to tell them. Standing abruptly, he turned to face you. “A baby really?” He started to smile when she nodded and held up two fingers, “twins, oh wow.” Letting out a yell of joy he picked her up and spun her around laughing he was so happy. Setting her back onto her feet, he put a hand on her stomach, “when are they do? Are they okay? What do we need to do before they get here? When do they get here?”

Laughing Tara put a finger to his mouth to stop the endless stream of questions. “Shh, they are both healthy; if all goes right they will be here mid January. We need to get everything a baby needs just two of them, I want Mary include so she doesn’t feel left out. I just have to take it easy and not lift anything heavy.” She watched as he picked Mary up and held her so she could hug them both. “Lets go out and celebrate with a special supper.” She took Mary’s hand once she was standing again and let the little girl led her to the car so they could go out to supper. Opening the door she smiled seeing Mary climb into the car and then into her booster seat, getting her buckled in. Tara moved around to the passenger side and got in.

The small family celebrated the new additions to their family. Over the next couple of months, they worked on getting the nursery ready for the new babies. Mark loved to watch her as her belly expanded with his children growing inside her and Mary adjusting to being a big sister, he loved seeing her sit with Tara reading and giggling when the babies kicked or moved around a lot. To him October couldn’t get here fast enough, he worried about all three of them being okay, he wasn’t ready to lose any of them.

Then a warm day in early September the family was getting ready to go on a trip to the Denver when Tara’s cell rang. Setting the bag down by the car, she pulled out the phone and looked at the number. Resting a hand on the small of her back, she put her cell back into her pocket. Knowing who the number belong to that came up on her caller ID, she didn’t want to get involved with that part of her life again, she was married to a wonderful man, had a daughter she loved very much and twins on the way, there was no room in her life for Michael anymore. Pushing Michael from her thoughts, she silenced the ringing, she smiled seeing Mark playfully chasseing Mary out to the car. “Hurry up you two we need to get moving if we are going to get there while it is still daylight out.” Feeling the one of the babies kick, she placed a hand on the spot and smiled. “Settle down in there it’s not time for you to join us yet.” Opening the back passenger door for Mary to scramble inside and climb into her chair leaning in she helped her buckle in and make sure the straps are tight like they should be. Straightening up she squealed as she felt a pair of hands on her shoulders. Turning she smiled seeing it was Mark. “You startled me. She is all buckled in and ready to do.”

Smiling Mark nodded, “good I heard your cell go off who was it?” watching her shake her head, he wanted to know but knew not to push her on it. The last thing he wanted to do was upset her about it. Kissing the tip of her nose, he opened her door for her and helped her sit down inside the car. Shutting her door he went around the front of the car knowing she was watching him and got in on the driver side.

Then the family was off to Denver for their weekend of fun and culture. Visiting the museum and zoo and to visit family and friends that lived just north of there. They both knew that the future along Tara got in her pregnancy the less she would be able to do and would have to rest more to have a better chance that the babies didn’t come to early. After a quick four-hour drive, the family arrived at their hotel close to the zoo and the museum.

Checking into their room Mark helped Tara over to one of the bed. “You need rest love. I’ll see to Mary.” He helped her to lay down and get comfortable. Pulling a light blanket over her and kissed her forehead. Then turned to Mary and picked her up, “we need to be quiet so mommy and the babies can rest, or she won’t be able to go with us to the zoo later okay?” Sitting down on the bed, he turned on the TV and looked for some cartoons for her to watch while he got their things from the car. Sitting with her for a few minutes until she was involved in what she was watching he stood from the bed. “Stay right here, I am going to go get our things from the car. Keep an eye on mommy and the babies for me honey.” He smiled as she nodded engrossed in her show he left the room making sure the door was locked he did not want anything to happen to them while he got their things from the car. Setting the bags down Mark slide the key in the door when he heard Tara’s phone go off again, standing just inside the door he could hear her on the phone.

Sighing Tara sat up against the headboard with a hand resting on her belly as she answered her phone. “Michael why are you calling me, you have a family to think about. I made it clear months ago that I will not be the reason for your marriage falling apart.” She listened to what he was saying on the other end of the phone. Shaking her head with a heavy sigh, “No, I do not want that life anymore. I have married and have a family now.” Leaning her head back and closing her eyes, “NO Michael, we are through it’s over for good. No, I did not get pregnant that night with your child. Now do not call me again, just leave me and my family alone.” Snapping her phone shut, she dropped it to the bed and covered her face trying not to cry. “How could he try and come back into my life now when I am finally happy?” she asked herself as she struggled to keep herself together.

Moving into the room Mark set the bags down between Mary’s bed and the wall. Then moved over to the bed where Tara sat and sat next to her. Pulling her into his arms, “what did he want? I thought he walked out of your life to save his family?” He could feel her struggle to keep herself calm he rubbed her back, “go ahead let it out. He is not going ruin our family. He had his chance and walked away. You are my wife now he has to accept that.”

Nodding as she held onto him, Tara let herself cry, hearing his voice seem to bring up the pain she felt the day he walked out of her life. After a few minutes, she was able to pull herself together sitting up she wiped at her face. “Sorry I didn’t mean to ruin our trip so far. I thought I was past that pain. He wants to come back into my life. His wife left him a month ago she blames it on his affairs. He is in town and wants to see me. I told him no, you and Mary and the twins are my life now.”

“I know we are. He cannot force you to get involved with him if you don’t want to be. You said it was over between you two and I believe you.” Mark handed her a Kleenex, “what else did he say that upset you so much?” He didn’t want to push her on it but knew if this guy was in town they might run into him and he wanted to be ready to defend her and get him to leave them alone.

Laying her head on his shoulder, “that if I still wanted to have a child with him, he wanted to. When I told him, I have the family I wanted and I am happy. He wants to know if the baby is his. He threaten to take me to court for a test to prove the baby is his. I didn’t tell him that I am carrying twins.” Sniffling she felt his hand rubbing the small of her back. “I don’t want him anywhere near our children Mark. I know neither of them are his. What are we going to do if he takes me to court.” She couldn’t believe that she let him upset her like this especially because of how it could affect the babies she is carrying. Them and Mary needed to be her first concern. Feeling a small hand on her leg Tara looked up and smiled holding a hand out to the little girl for her to come to her. Pulling her daughter close and cuddled her close she smiled a little when she felt a small hand patting her belly.

Wrapping his arms around his girls Mark thought about what he had said. “We’ll call the lawyer that helped up adopt Mary. Don’t worry about him; he will not have anything to do with our children. We will call your OB and get him to help us to prove that you conceived them after we were married. Why don’t you go clean up and help Mary to clean up then we are going to go to our cell provider and change your number so he cannot contact you. Then we will call your office, family and friends about the number change. You leave him to me.” He stood up picking Mary up and sat her on the floor, “go wash your hands and find your brush.” He watched her run towards where her bag sat on the other side of her bed. Taking Tara’s hands he pulled her to her feet and hugged her close to him. “Go clean up, and then we will go change your cell number and go eat.” Putting a figure under her chin, he lifted her face so she was looking at him “we will chance the house and your office number too. If he doesn’t get the hint, we will get a restraining order against him. Okay.” Seeing her smile a little bit and nod, he kissed her briefly before sending her off to clean up so they could go out. Once the bathroom door shut behind them Mark got on the phone with the lawyer that they keep on retainer after they adopted Mary at her mother’s request.

Helping Mary wash her hands Tara sat down on the toilet and brushed Mary’s blond hair putting her hair in ponytails. “Okay go on out to daddy, I will be out there in a few minutes.” Standing she opened the door for her daughter and smiled watching her blond ponytails bounces as she ran out to where Mark sat talking on the phone. She couldn’t hear what he was saying exactly but she knew he would take care of things that he could. Closing the door, she sat on the toilet and prayed for a few minutes for help to get through this and to protect her family. Standing she got washed up and got her hair brushed before leaving the bathroom and joined the two other members of her family. “Okay lets go, I am getting hungry.”

Hanging up the phone Mark stood and smiled. “Alright, the lawyer said he would draw up whatever papers we need and till do what he can to keep him out of our lives.” Picking up his wife’s purse and handed it to her and picked Mary up, “so where are we going to ate after we get mommy’s cell number changed?” he ushered his family out the door and down to where he had parked the car. He was determined not to let this man ruin their mini vacation. After getting Mary into her seat, he helped Tara get into the car and got in himself then headed off to the mall so that they could get her number changed. He knew he would surprise them with buying them something special because he hated seeing his girls unhappy he would do anything to keep them safe and happy.

After getting Tara’s cell number changed the family walked down the mall looking at the stores doing window-shopping. Stopping at the toy store Mark let Mary lead them inside to look around. A smile crossed his face when he saw Tara pick up a couple of small stuffed animals for the twins. Feeling his hand being tugged on he turned his attention back to his oldest child and what she was showing him. “Is that what you want honey?” he laughed when she nodded “okay let’s go pay so we can go eat. I’m sure mommy is hungry.” Taking her hand, he led her to the counter and paid for her toy and the stuffed animals, handing Mary the bag he led them out of the store. “So where should we go eat.”

Skipping along with them Mary thought about what she wanted to eat. “I want Fried Chicken daddy.” She looked up at him waiting to what he would say.
Looking down at her Mark nodded. “I think that sounds good. I know just the place we can eat. So mommy can sit down while we eat too.” Swinging her up onto his shoulders, they left the mall and headed over to the restaurant he had in mind.

The family had a relaxing supper and enjoyed the rest of their evening out as a family. They did a little driving around.
As they arrived back at the hotel, pulling into the parking lot Tara frowned spotting Michaels tour bus sitting the lot at the far in. “He’s here, I don’t want to see him Mark.” She looked away from the bus towards the hotel. Feeling a familiar hand over hers, she turned to face the man that had her heart. She knew that by the look he gave her that he would get them inside to their room before Michael could get close to them. Giving him a smile she stepped from the car and helped Mary out, then headed inside towards the elevators to go to their floor knowing Mark wouldn’t be far behind them after he parked the car.

Just as they reached the elevator, she felt a hand on her shoulder that made her freeze in her tracks, her hold tightened on Mary’s hand. Taking a deep breath, she turned around to praying that it was Mark, but it wasn’t it was Michael standing there. “What are you doing here? I said it was over Michael.” She moved Mary behind her. She watched his eyes travel down her chest to her belly. “Don’t get any ideas this is not your baby. I am married.”

Looking up at her Michael frowns, “why didn’t you tell me you were pregnant? Are you sure, that isn’t my baby? I bet it is mine, who’s the father, whose kid is that?” he tried to get a look at Mary as Tara keep herself between himself and the little girl. Trying to take her hand, he frowned when she pulled her hand away and backs up from him. “Oh don’t be that way. I regret walking away from you that day, I love you I know that now. I can give you everything you could ever want.”

Glancing around him Tara saw Mark standing there with an angry look on his face. “Just go away Michael. What we had is over, I love my husband I don’t want a scene please, you made your choice and I have made mine.” Putting a protective hand on her stomach, she just wanted to go to their room and not deal with him.

Growing under his breath Mark watching him grab for his wife again, it took all he had to not attack the man that stood with his back to him. Glancing over at the front desk, he motioned the clerk to call 911 before he tapped the man on the shoulder. “I suggest that you leave my wife and daughter alone. She has asked to leave her alone.” Keeping an eye on the tall man, he nodded to Tara to get out of there and go over to the front desk. Seeing her and Mary move over to the desk he waited for the man to turn to face him. As the taller man turned to face him, Mark glared at him. “She told you it was over on the phone, and now in person. I would suggest you leave before the cops get her. She has moved on with her life, I suggest you do the same.” Not being sure what the man’s reaction would do he braced himself for a hit he was almost sure was coming.

Looking at the smaller man in front of him Michael shook his head. “I will not, I will have her back. I am almost sure that baby she is carrying is mine. I don’t know who you are but I suggest you stay out of this it is between her and me.” Pushing the smaller man away from him then turned looking for Tara. He was caught off guard by the punch that came in from his left side making him take a step to his right.

Stepping back, Mark was ready for the big man might throw his way but the cops ran in before he could throw the punch. Moving back Mark put up his hands, “He was harassing my wife and child, and then put his hands on me. I have witnesses.” He did just as the officers told him to and let them put the cuffs on him until them figured everything out. “My wife and child are over at the front desk officer, she can back up my story so cans the clerk.” He sat down and explained his side of the story to the cops.

Sitting down Tara rubbed her belly and tried to sooth Mary so she would stop crying. Looking up she saw a red head female officer came and pulled a chair over so she could sit across from her. She was worried that they would take Mark away and she would have to find away to bail him out, all he did is tried to protect them. “The man in the chair over there is my husband. Michael is my ex-boyfriend; we broke up over seven months ago. We are staying here at the hotel for the weekend. Michael called me when I told him it was over I had moved on. He threatened me with court to make me have a test to prove the baby I am carrying isn’t his. My husband was only trying to defend us. I just want him to leave my family and me alone. He did try and grab my hand and I wouldn’t let him.”

The female officer listened to Tara’s side of the story while the other officers where listening to the two men’s side of the story. Turning back to the pregnant woman that sat across from her the officer smiled. “Do you want to press charges against him?” listening to what the woman across from her, she nodded and wrote the information down, “alright you will need to write out a statement and go to the courthouse to get an order of protection against him. This way he will have to leave you alone of go to jail.”

Holding her hand out to Mark as he came over to where she and Mary were sitting talking to the officer. “We will thank you. I didn’t want it to end this way but I just want him to leave me alone.” She knew that they would have to expend their stay so they could go take care of this and have her OB send the information she would need to prove the babies she carried were Marks and not Michael’s. “Thank you.” Standing she let Mark led her to the elevator and up to their room. She could hear Michael yelling at her in the background as the doors to the elevator shut.

“Sir you need to settle down. She has made it very clear she has moved on with her life and created a good life for herself. You need to accept that fact and move forward.” The tall dark skinned officer said as he led Michael from the hotel. “She is pressing charges and so is the hotel. You are not to come back here or go neat her or her family.” He helped Michael into the police car, put the seatbelt on him, listening to the big man try, and explain who he was to the officer. Shaking his head the officer smiled, “It doesn’t matter who you are, and you can’t go around pushing people and demanding that they prove their child is theirs or that they need to be with you. Just accept the fact you lost her and find another woman.” He shut the door shaking his head smiling as he went around, got in on the driver’s side, and headed down the station house.

Reaching their room Mark helped Tara over to their bed for the weekend and helped her to lay down putting her feet up. “Don’t worry we will get him to stay away. I will call your assistant and my boss tomorrow and explain what has happened and that we will be home Tuesday. I want you to rest the rest of the night.” He kissed her forehead as she nodded. Then turning to Mary, he knelt down to her, “we have to stay in the room tonight, that man was very mean to upset mommy like he did. She needs to rest. We can order a movie and play games while mommy rests.” Hugging her as she nodded he set, her on the other bed sitting next to her he turned the TV on and flipped through the channels until he found the kids station for her to watch. Checking on Tara Mark sat back and watched TV with his daughter while his wife slept to try and relax from the stressing events of what had just happened down stairs.

As the night wore on Mark tried not to worry about his wife but knew that she was a high-risk pregnancy and if to upset or stressed out over what happen earlier could send her into early labor. He knew that her doctor wanted her to try to carry the twins to full term. Checking on her to make sure, she wasn’t having contractions he settled Mary into her bed with her doll and new toy before turning off the TV. Making sure the door was locked and their phones were on the table between the beds before turning the light out and climbing into be behind Tara and spooning up to her with a protective hand on her stomach. Let sleep drag him into a light sleep so he could hear Mary if she woke up scared or Tara had any trouble during the night.

Being the first one to wake Tara felt relaxed and safe again. Sitting up she soothed Mark as he stirred in his sleep because she moved. Not ready to get out of bed she sat there in the quietness of the room while her family slept. Leaning over she pulled the draw out that was in the table between the beds, took the Bible out, and turned on the light closest to her. Sitting back against the headboard, she opened the Lords word to the first chapter of Geneses and started to read. After getting through the first couple of chapters, she set it aside and looked at the man that was lying beside her. Lightly touching his hair and brushing it back from his face knowing that she needed to be his helpmate and not depend on him so much. Smiling she glanced at the child asleep in the other bed.
Setting the Bible aside Tara slowly slide from the bed and padded over to the other side of the bed were Mary slept and gathered some clean clothes before heading into the bathroom to get ready for the day. After a nice warm shower, she put on a maternity summer dress and brushed out her hair. She was determined not to let Michael ruin the rest of their weekend. She would have to deal with him at the courthouse soon enough. Picking up her clothes from yesterday she stepped from the bathroom to be greeted by a small blond hopping on one foot. Smiling she stepped to one side and let Mary run into the bathroom. Stepping backward into the room, she tensed feeling a pair of arms wrap around her waist.

Chuckling Mark smiled as he kissed her neck, “it’s just me love. You’re safe in our hotel room. How are you three feeling this morning?” he pushed his body against her back. He wanted to protect her and Mary from everything that could harm them. Stepping back, he let her turn in his arms to face him.
Wrapping her arms around his neck Tara kissed him, “good morning love. We are doing better thank you love. I’m not going to worry about him till Monday; I will not let him ruin our weekend and Mary’s fun.” She kissed him getting as close to him as her expanding belly will let her. Hearing a giggle behind her Tara laughed into the kiss and moved to the side so they both could see Mary standing there. “Hi baby, you ready to get into clean clothes so we can go the zoo today?” watching her nod she moved over to the bag that held Mary’s clothes. Picking out a cute summer outfit and her tennis shoes, “here you go honey do you need to any help?” she set the clothes on the bed for her.

“No mommy I big girl now,” the little blond said in her big girl voice. She moved over to the bed and started to get dressed for the day.
Smiling Tara let her dress herself and tried not to step in and help her get dressed. Turning to hide the laughter that threaten to come out as she watched Mary get dressed. Taking a few deep breaths, she was able to gain control of herself before she turned back and faced her daughter. After a few minutes she turned back to face the little girl. “You did good honey, climb up onto the bed and let me brush your hair.’ She grabbed her brush, got into her bag, and took out some new ponytail holders before sitting next to her daughter. She started to work the tangles out of the blond hair.

Kissing both their cheeks Mark gathered his clothes and went to the bathroom to get ready for the day. Feeling like a weight was lifted off his shoulders knowing that Michael was in jail and that he couldn’t bother them. He would have to face the fact that Tara was happy with her life now and wanted nothing more to do with him. Mark knew keeping the lawyer on retainer was expensive specially when they do not need him most the time but Mark was glad they did keep his serves on retainer now. Making sure his stuff was picked up in the bathroom; he joined his girls in the main part of the room.

The small family left the hotel for their day on the at the zoo and enjoy the big city. They stopped at the small local pancake house for breakfast. After a meal filled with laughter and smiles, the family made their way through the city streets on their way to the zoo. Tara pointed out things for Mary to look at as they drove along. It wasn’t long and they were in the zoo parking lot. Sliding out of the car Tara leaned into the backseat and helped Mary get out of her seat and out of the car.

Getting the stroller out of the trunk and came around to where Tara stood with Mary. Getting the stroller ready Mark picked Mary up and set her into the stroller so that it was easier on Tara not having to keep track on her as they made their way through the park. Paying the ticket prices, they headed into the park. They headed off towards the east side of the park to start looking at the animals. Mark let Tara push the stroller so that she had something to lean in if she needed. “We will go at your speed love. I don’t want you over doing it today.”

Smiling Tara touched his face, “thank you love. I feel fine, I will let you know when I need to rest.” Taking the handle of the stroller and started at a slow pace so Mary could see the animals better. The sun was slowly warming the day and the birds were singing it made her smile to hear the birds the day seem like it was going to be a perfect day. She enjoyed watching Mary babble on about the animals to both of them and what she thought they were doing in their cages.
Around noon, the family stopped at one of the many food huts, and had lunch, while listening to a local band that was playing at a nearby pavilion so she could rest. Mark was worried that this weekend was putting to must stress on her and the babies now, especially with having to deal with her ex-boyfriend showing back up again. He could see she was having short bouts of pain as they sat there. “Tara are you okay? You look like you are in pain.”

Smiling she took his hand and placed it on her stomach so he could feel his children moving within her. “I am fine, their just really active today. The doctor said them being active is good thing. Don’t worry so much.” Tara smiled as she felt the baby’s move, “Mary honey come feel your siblings move.” She took Mary’s little hand, put it on her belly, and watched the little girl really smile as they moved. “I think they might be joining us soon.” It made her heart fill with joy hearing her daughter giggle when the twins moved under her tiny hand.

The rest of the day seems to go by without to many surprises. Reaching the car Mark noticed that Mary was asleep in the stroller. Shaking his head as he picked her up and get her fastened into her car seat. “Guess sit down super is out. Something to go and head back to the hotel okay dear?” backing out of the car he saw Tara smiled.

“That’s fine love. I need to put my feet up anyway.” She let him open her door for her, getting into the car she covered his hand as he handed her the seatbelt before he shut the door for her. Fastening her seat belt

Tara smiles watches him as he moves around the front of the car. Every day she fell deeper in love with him she still couldn’t believe that she didn’t see the real man that hid inside the bad boy shell in high school.

After putting the stroller up he climbed into the car. Pulling out of the parking lot mark headed the car back towards the area of town where their hotel was to get something to eat before turning in for the night. Calling a little Chinese restaurant that he knew was close by, placing the order he nodded and headed for the restaurant.. After about a few minutes he pulled up to a small shop in a strip mall. “I won’t be long keep the doors locked.” He kissed her, stepped out locking the door, and shut it, heading into the restaurant to get their food.

Glancing in the back seat at her sleeping daughter Tara smiled at how much Mary enjoyed the zoo. She just hoped that she enjoyed the museum tomorrow as well. It wasn’t long and she heard the door opening. Turning around to see mark getting in the car with a brown paper bag, “you startled me sorry.” She tried to relax.

Handing her the bag Mark climbed into the car. “Sorry I thought you saw me come out of the restaurant. Let’s go back to the hotel you look like you could use the rest.” Starting up the car he and headed it the direction of the hotel. Within 15 minutes they were in the hotel parking lot, finding a spot up close building Mark parked the car. After helping Tara from the car, he handed her the bag with their dinner in it. Then he got Mary from the car and led his wife into the building and up to their room.

Settling Mary into her bed Tara smiled as the little girl snuggled under the covers. Placing her favorite doll next to her Tara didn’t hide her smile at how sweet and innocent she looked as she slept. Rubbing the small of her back as she sat on the other bed the brunette nodded. “I think she enjoyed today more than I thought she would.” Looking up at the man that she loved, “we are going to have to go slower, not sure I will be able to make it through the whole museum if we don’t. The babies are really active, I don’t want them coming to soon.” Taking a few slow deep breathes waiting to the active babies that she carried to settle down and give her from relief from the light pain. Resting a hand on her stomach, she leaned back against the headboard as she waiting for them to settle down.

Setting down next to her Mark rubbed her leg lightly, “are you sure about tomorrow? We don’t have to go tomorrow we can stay here and Mary and I can play in the pool. I don’t want you over doing things just to make sure Mary has fun.” He was worried at the amounted of movement she was having. Patting her leg, he stood and crossed the short distance to where the food sat on the table, making her a plate of food he returned to her bedside and held the plate out to her. “Eat and rest. Don’t argue with me Mrs. Kaltyn.” He pushed the plate at her and waited for her to take it. Kissing her forehead as she took the plate Mark smiled, “you rest and let me handling thing.” He left her to eat while he stepped into the hall and made a call to her OB just to be sure, the amount of activity she was experiencing was normal.

Taking the plate, she watched him leave the room with his cell phone out. Sighting she knew that he was worried and calling her OB about what she was feeling. She hoped that the rest of the weekend was ruined by this; Mary was having so much fun at the zoo and would enjoy the museum tomorrow. Looking down at the plate that rested on her extended belly, she picked at the food that was on it. Knowing she had to eat for the babies sake. Looking over at the other bed and watched her daughter sleep peacefully. A sudden pain hit her hard causing her to gasp sitting up quickly spilling her plate onto her legs, “whoa easy in there you two. It’s to early for you to come join us.” Humming quietly as she rubbed her belly trying to get the babies to settled down.

Leaning against the wall just outside their room Mark listened to his wife’s doctor explain that Tara needed to rest and not over do things. She didn’t want to admit her to the hospital but might have to judging by what she was being told, she didn’t want the babies born to early. Nodding he understood that he needed to get her home and into bed he would not take any chance with his wife’s life of the life of his children. “thank you doctor, we will head home in the morning.” He agreed to call her once they got home before he hung up and called the lawyer. Explaining to the lawyer what has happened and that he needs to Tara home and into bed to insure that she gets rest and doesn’t go into labor way to early. But that they wanted Michael out of their lives and he not to be able get anywhere near their children. He would have the doctor fax in the information he needed. Closing the phone he rubbed his face letting out a heavy sigh. Gathering himself before he wanted back into the room.

Hearing the door open Tara looked in the direction on the door, her heart seemed to beat faster when she was Mark standing there. “Mark the babies are trying to tell me they want to join us before they are suppose to.” She tried to sit up against the headboard only to be stopped.

Moving quickly over to where she was laying on the bed. “no don’t honey. I spoke with your doctor, she said that they shouldn’t be this active yet. But she wants you home and in bed. She is putting you on bed rest for at least a month maybe two. We are heading home in the morning.” He could tell by the look in her eyes she was going to protest, “shh don’t fight me on this. If you don’t she will put you in the hospital till they come. I can’t lose you or them.” he watched her take in what he was telling her and nod agreeing to go home. Smiling, “good, you and the children are the most important things to me. I will do everything I can to make sure you all are in good health and happy.”

Smiling up at him Tara nodded, “yes dear but I don’t want to ruin Mary’s weekend. I could stay here while you two go to the museum.” Taking his hand she could see the worry in his eyes and seeing that bothered her. “stop worrying so much my love.”

Sitting next to her on the bed, leaning down he kissed her gently on the lips before giving her hand a gentle squeeze, “now Tara don’t fight me on this. We wouldn’t have any fun if you weren’t with us. So its best we go home. You can rest better and be closer to your doctor if something happens.” Seeing she was going to protest again he placed a finger against her lips. “shhh its final. The Lawyer will handle Michael and knows what we want. Now rest and relax I will see to Mary.”

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About jsassychriselda

a child of God, a mother, wife and a writer, working towards getting my masters degree in Business Admin. working on completing my first novel
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