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

By sinjenkai


Part 26

The next morning, Natalia woke up before Calleigh and laid there watching her sleep for the longest time before she quietly scooted out of bed and made her way to the bathroom. After taking care of her needs, she made her way past her still sleeping wife to the kitchen to start breakfast. Opening the refrigerator, she pulled out ingredients for an omelet and of course, Calleigh's bacon, but she also decided to have a little bit of fun with her and brought out some Canadian bacon.

Fixing the regular bacon first, she hid it in the oven and then fixed the Canadian bacon and started on the omelet as a tousled head Calleigh made her way out of the bedroom.

"Morning, sleeping beauty. Should've figured that you would be in here once I started cooking."

Walking over to wrap her arms around Natalia's waist, Calleigh laid her head against her back and squeezed.

"Well, I smelled the bacon and didn't want it to get cold."

Flipping the omelet, Natalia was glad that Calleigh couldn't see her face. "We're out of bacon babe, so I fixed Canadian bacon instead."

Calleigh released her grip to go over to the refrigerator, opened the door, and double-checked. After going through all the shelves and drawers, she closed the door looking very dejected.

"Man, I could have sworn that I smelled bacon. We definitely need to pick some up later today."

Barely containing a smile, Natalia plated the omelet with the Canadian bacon and handed it to her. "Do you want juice or milk darlin'?"

Taking the plate over to the table, Calleigh sat down heavily. "I guess that I'll take milk this morning. So what time are we supposed to be at your sisters?"

Pouring a couple of glasses of milk, she took them over to the table before turning back to her own omelet. Quickly finishing it up, she plated it and on the way to the table, Natalia got the bacon out of the oven and placed it in front of Calleigh.

"Hey! I thought that you said that we didn't have any?"

"I just wanted to have a little fun. We still need to pick some up though and we're supposed to be over at Cristine's at 3:30."

Leaning over to give Natalia a quick kiss, Calleigh broke off a piece of bacon and happily chewed before saying. "I want to go by my dad's place to invite him to the wedding. I know what his answer will be, but I still want to try."

"Do you want me to come with you or would you prefer to go alone?"

Calleigh thought for a moment before replying. "You can come with me if you want, but I should warn you, I don't know what he will say or do even."

"Don't worry about it babe. I need to go find an outfit for the ceremony. How about this, we can go to the mall, separate and then meet back after a couple of hours."

"Do you realize that we hardly ever go shopping together? We're always splitting up to buy something for each other."

Natalia chuckled. "I know, but I don't want you to see my dress. I don't want to tempt the bad luck."

"I can relate to that. Ok, so we have a plan. Let's get this show on the road."

They quickly finished breakfast, cleaned up the dishes, and got dressed. Soon they were on their way to the Dadeland Mall. Once they were inside the entrance, they agreed to meet back at that spot in three hours.

Calleigh watched Natalia walk away and couldn't restrain herself from letting loose a wolf whistle. To her surprise, Natalia turned and blew her a kiss. Laughing, Calleigh headed off to her favorite vintage store.

Walking in, she was greeted by a middle-aged Hispanic woman, who came over and hugged her.

"¿Srta Calleigh! ¿Cómo está usted¿" Miss Calleigh. How are you?

"¿Buena Maria y cómo es usted?" Good Maria and how are you?

"Bueno. Encontré algo que pienso que usted puede ser que tenga gusto. Cuando usted llamó anterior, sabía que tenía apenas el equipo perfecto." Good. I found something that you might like. When you called earlier, I knew that I had the perfect outfit.

Walking into the back room, Maria soon came back out carrying a white Armani pantsuit. As soon as Calleigh saw it, she knew that it would be perfect. The pants were tapered with a white satin stripe down the leg, and the tuxedo jacket was a single breasted, double button, with satin peak lapels.

Taking the suit from Maria, Calleigh took it into a dressing room to try it on. The pants were a bit long and the jacket a little big, but it was something that could be easy altered. Walking out, she stood before the fitting mirrors, twisting and turning to look at herself from all angles.

Maria stood off to one side with her hands clasped in front of her, smiling fondly.

"¡Ah, Srta. Calleigh! Usted es hermosa." Ah, Miss Calleigh! You are beautiful.

"Gracias Maria. Usted tiene razón. Este equipo es perfecto. ¿Puedo conseguir esto alterada por viernes?" Thank you Maria. You are right. This outfit is perfect. Can I get it altered by Friday?

"Sí, eso no será un problema. Tendremos que saber la altura de los zapatos que usted llevando." Yes, that will not be a problem. We will have to know that height of the shoes that you will be wearing.

Calleigh turned back to her old friend. "Si usted podría darme una media hora o así pues, Iré veo si puedo encontrar alguno para ir con él." If you could give me an half hour or so, I will go see if I can find some to go with it.

The woman agreed so Calleigh turned to go back to the dressing room when a flash of black caught her eye. Going over to a dress rack, she reached in to pull out a sheer black lace dress that was delicately embroidered with flowers and vines. Looking at it, she began to smile as she thought of the look on Natalia's face when she saw her in it. Taking it into the dressing room, she quickly got out of the pantsuit and carefully pulled on the dress. It fit perfectly, like it was made specifically for her.

Taking off the dress, she pulled back on her jeans, oxford shirt, and sandals before taking the dress and suit out to Maria.

"Tomaré ambos éstos y estaré detrás tan pronto como pueda con los zapatos." I will take both of these and will be back as soon as I can with the shoes.

Leaving the store, Calleigh quickly headed towards a shoe store. On her way, she was walking past a boutique when a mannequin in the window caught her attention. Turning around quickly, she went inside and asked to see the same article of clothing in her size. Taking it, she went into the dressing room to try it on and once again, she grinned as she thought of Natalia. This is the one she would wear to the wedding rehearsal dinner; the other would just be for her and her bride.

Getting redressed once more, she paid for the clothing and finally made it to a shoe store where she bought a pair of black four-inch shoes and a pair of silver four-inch ankle strap sandals. Going back to the vintage shop, she put on the suit and heels and stood in front of the fitting mirrors while measurements were taken and notated. Afterwards, she made arrangements to have the items delivered Friday morning. She paid for the clothing, thanked Maria, and walked out with her packages.

Looking down at her watch, Calleigh saw that she had a little over an hour left before she was supposed to meet her wife, so she decided to window shop. As she came up to a lingerie shop, a thought crossed her mind and a sly look crossed her face. Going into the shop, Calleigh looked around for a few moments before she found a couple of items that she liked, paid for them and left with a bounce in her step and a smile on her face.

After blowing a kiss to Calleigh, Natalia walked down to a bridal shop. Her first wedding wasn't a formal affair as Nick had talked her into eloping so she wanted to at least have a wedding dress.

As she walked into the store, she was astonished at all of the different styles, colors, and accessories that someone could get for a dress. She declined the offer of letting someone help her, preferring to look for herself. Finally, after twenty minutes or so, she found the perfect dress. It was an off white, floor length dress with spaghetti straps a simple dress with no sequins or embroidery; it was a classic in every way and it was just what she was looking for.

Taking it into a dressing room, she tried it on, hoping that it wouldn't need any alterations. It fit like a glove and she released a sigh of relief. Getting redressed, she took the gown to the register to pay and quickly walked out with her purchase. Walking out of the store, she headed towards the car so that she could put the dress in the truck so Calleigh wouldn't see it. On her way back in to the Mall, Natalia called Horatio to check on one of her gifts. He said that he would know something by the end of the week and would let her know before the wedding rehearsal. As she walked through the doors, she hung up with Horatio and called her friend Thomas to let him know what she had planned for Calleigh's gift. He thought that it was a great idea and agreed to contact a few of their mutual friends to help out.

Closing her phone, she headed towards the food court to get some ice cream and was surprised to see Calleigh standing in line at the Creamery. Walking so that Calleigh wouldn't see her, Natalia made her way so that she was standing behind her wife. Leaning forward, she throatily breathed in her ear. "So do you want some?"

Without turning around, Calleigh answered. "I always want some. In fact there are days that I want it all the time, like right now, it's all that I am thinking about, but I'm gonna settle for some ice cream and wish that I was licking something else."

Groaning, Natalia restrained herself from grabbing the blonde, spinning her around and kissing her senseless. Instead, she leaned back and murmured. "Keep that in mind for later and I'll show you how talented I am with cherry stems."

Calleigh went completely still for a moment, before she turned her head so that she could see Natalia's face. "I'm gonna hold you to that."

"I'd rather you hold me against something else."

Turning around so that she was facing her wife, Calleigh looked up into the amused eyes and slowly licked her lips. "Darlin', I'll hold you against something that's so sweet that you're gonna think that you've died and gone to heaven."

Natalia's eyes watched Calleigh's tongue as it trailed across her lips and her own mimicked it.

"Mmm, would you be embarrassed if I kissed you in a public place?"

Shaking her head, Calleigh took a deep breath while taking a quick glance around them. "No, I'd be embarrassed if you'd kiss me in a private place right now, but with all of these kids around, I'll take a rain check on the kiss."

Taking a deep breath, then a step back, Natalia cleared her throat. "Deal, but once we get in the car, all bets are off."

"Deal, now what flavor do you want?"

"Mmm, French vanilla, with caramel, pecans and Ghirardelli chocolate in a waffle come please. How about I go and get us a table? Do you want me to take your packages?"

"Ok, but no peeking." Handing Nat her bags, Calleigh enjoyed the view of her walking away until the counter person got her attention by asking her what she wanted. Turning around, she gave him their order, and then looked back to see if she could see where Natalia was sitting. She didn't have to search long, as it was like her eyes automatically knew where to look and was enjoying the beauty of her wife. So much so, that once again the counter person had to get her attention so that she could pay and receive her order.

Taking the cones, Calleigh walked towards Natalia's table and saw that she licked her lips. As she drew near, and handed Natalia her cone, Calleigh asked. "Here, this may cool you down a bit."

Licking the ice cream that was threatening to drip over the side, Natalia never took her eyes off Calleigh. "I doubt it, because I'm just imaging that I'm licking something else and it gets my juices flowing."

With a glint in her eyes, Calleigh quipped back. "Hmm, can we cook with your juices?"

"I'm sure that we could try because right now, you've got me simmering."

Laughing, Calleigh sat down and replied. "That's the line that they should have used on Xena in the episode. That was a perfect comeback."

"Why, thank you. Thank you very much. So are you done with your shopping?"

"Yeah, I found the perfect outfit, but it needs to be altered so they're going to do that and deliver it to the house Friday morning. Did you find anything?"

Swallowing, Natalia took a moment before she answered. "Yup, it's in the trunk of the car. I'll probably leave it at my sisters tonight and I want to ask you something. Would you mind if we didn't spend the night before the wedding together? I kinda want to do the 'not seeing each other before we go down the aisle bit'. I know that it's stupid, but I don't want to tempt fate."

"Darlin', it's not stupid. It's kinda cute, but it's gonna be hard to sleep without you next to me."

Reaching over to grasp Calleigh's hand, Natalia raised it to her lips to kiss her knuckles. "Baby, it's not like we're actually going to get any sleep. We're gonna be too nervous."

"Why are we going to be nervous? We've already had a ceremony."

"I know that, but this time we're going to be in front of family and friends, instead of just Horatio and Alexx. I don't know about you, but I'm gonna be nervous."

Smiling the Duquesne smile, Calleigh tilted her head with her eyes sparkling. "There's nothing to be nervous about. We've already been through the worse part. We're just celebrating that we found each other and the love that we have with our family and friends."

Natalia stroked her thumb across Calleigh knuckles as she licked her cone. Warm chocolate eyes met cool green and both pair sparkled. Softly Natalia whispered. "Thank you."

"For what, darlin'?"

"For loving me, for being beautiful, for... I don't know... for everything."

Calleigh gazed at her love for a long moment before she was able to reply. "I don't know what I would've done if you hadn't made that first move after George Kornspan shot me. I probably would have continued to watch you afar and slowly wasted away. I am so blessed to have you standing alongside of me in life. So thank you darlin' for having the courage of the first step."

Now both pair of eyes were teary, but the smiles were joyous. Clearing her throat, Natalia whispered. "When we get home tonight, I'm gonna show you just how much I love you."

"There's no need for you to because I know, but don't let me stop you from trying."

The next few minutes were spent in easy silence with them finishing their cones, neither one releasing each other's hand. Finally, Calleigh looked at her watch and noticed the time.

"Let's go over to my dad's house so I can ask him. I don't know why I am doing this, I know what he is going to say, and I'm just opening myself up for hurt."

Squeezing Calleigh's hand, Natalia replied. "You are doing this because he is your father and no matter what happens, he still will be, but you want for him to share in your joy. Come on, he may surprise you."

Standing, they gathered Calleigh's packages and headed towards their car. Soon they were pulling up to the curb in front of her father's house.

From the car, they could see Kendall 'Duke' Duquesne sitting in a wooden rocking chair in the screen-in porch, sipping a drink.

"Are you sure that you don't want me to go up there with you?"

Calleigh was quiet for a moment, weighing her options. "No, you can come in later if it goes well. Let me go." Squeezing Natalia's hand, she got out of the car and walked up the steps to the porch.

"Lambchop! To what do we owe the pleasure of your company? Your momma's here too."

Kissing her father on the cheek, Calleigh caught a whiff of bourbon. "Hi dad. How are you doing?"

Leaning back in his rocker, he took a sip of his drink before answering. "I'm taking it easy today."

An older woman, roughly the same height as Calleigh walked out carrying an iced drink. She had pale blonde hair with the same delicate features as Calleigh, but Anna looked world-weary.

"Hello Missy, it's been awhile since I've seen you."

Going over to kiss the woman on the cheek, Calleigh replied. "Hi momma. What are you doing here?"

Motioning to Calleigh's father, she replied    "If I don't come over every once in a while, he'd forget to eat."

"Well, how else am I supposed to keep trim and fit?" Duke interjected. "So what are you doing here, Lambchop?"

Calleigh looked directly at her father and said. "I've come to invite you to a wedding."

"Well, that's nice of you, sweetie. Who's wedding is it?"

"It's mine, dad. I'm getting married next Saturday."

Jumping out of his chair, Duke grabbed Calleigh and swung her in a circle. "Well, it's about time that Jake made you an honest woman."

Calleigh patted his arms as he put her down. "No dad, I'm not marrying Jake. That's a long story. I'm marrying Natalia."

"Natalia... Natalia...you mean the woman that you work with?"

"Yes dad."

Duke turned away, shaking his head and roared. "There is no way that any daughter of mine is going to be like that. I thought that we decided that it was just a faze that you were going through and that it ended a long time ago. No, I forbid it."

"Dad, listen to me..."

Before Calleigh could say anymore, Duke turned and slapped her.

Anna gasped as Calleigh brought up a hand to her face and holding out her other arm to warn Natalia not to come on the porch.

Not seeing Natalia, as she stood ready to charge up the steps, Duke continued his speech.

"Nope, nope, what you are going to do is drop this silly notion and get back with Jake. I know that he's not perfect, but you're not getting any younger and you can't be picky."

Standing her ground, Calleigh shot back. "No dad, I'm not going back to Jake. He's out of the picture."

With a pleading look on his face, Duke replied. "I'm sure that he would take you back, if you asked him."

"Dad, Jake is dead. I shot him. He was a dirty cop and was selling illegal weapons. And I never loved him, not like this."

Stepping between her daughter and her ex-husband Anna asked Calleigh a question. "Do you honestly love this woman, Missy? Do you want to go through all the hardships that will come with this kind of relationship?"

Smiling that her mother was at least making an effort, Calleigh answered from the bottom of her heart. "Momma, I love her something fierce and I'll do whatever I have to do to be with her."

Pushing his ex-wife aside, Duke drew back his hand to deliver another blow to his daughter, when he found his wrist caught in a steely grip.

Spinning around, he came face to face with a fierce looking Natalia. "I don't care if you are Calleigh's father. That doesn't give you the right to hit her. No one hits Calleigh and gets away with it."

He looked at the young woman and tried to yank his wrist out of her grip, but was unable to. As he reached up with his other hand to start to pry her fingers open, he noticed the ring upon her finger. "What are you doing with my mother's ring?"

Calleigh pushed her way between them. "I gave it to her dad. Grams gave it to me before I left for college and told me to give it to someone special and that's what I've done."

"You had no right to give it to this… this woman. It's just not right and I demand that you ask for it back."

Gritting her teeth, Calleigh spat back. "I will do no such thing. I want her to have it and that's final."

Taking a step closer to his daughter, Duke threatened. "You go through with this Calleigh and you are no longer my daughter. You will be dead to me."

Anna reached out to push him back. "Duke, don't do this. You are in no position to judge her or anyone else."

"Be quiet Anna, I'm not going to have a daughter in one of those relationships. I'll be the laughingstock of the family."

Shaking her head at her ex-husband, Anna quietly stated. "You're already the laughingstock of the family, Duke. You're a third rate lawyer, and a falling down drunk, whose daughter, the same daughter that you're threatening to disown has had to go pick up your sorry ass out of so many bars that the bartenders has her number on speed dial."

Dismissing him with a wave of her hand, she turned to look at the young woman who was standing slightly in front of her daughter. She stared at Natalia for a few moments, trying to judge what she observed in her manner. Then she asked. "Do you love my daughter?"

Without hesitation, Natalia answered. "I'd die for her."

"Then you have my blessings. I hope that you and my daughter have a long life together."

Calleigh stood staring at her father with tears in her eyes. "Dad, please understand. I love Natalia and I want to spend the rest of my life with her. Please don't force me to choose."

Before he had a chance to answer, Anna interrupted. "Your father is not forcing you to choose, Missy. He is the one doing the choosing and in the long run, he is only hurting himself. You go on with your life Missy and you'll be better off without him in it. Now go on, get out of here."

She walked the two young women off of the porch and over to their car. She hugged Natalia and then turned to her daughter. "I would love to come to your wedding if you will have me."

"Yes Momma. We'd love for you to be there with us."

Calleigh gave her mother the date and the time of the activities of the next week, in addition of telling her that Chance and Court were coming also.

Anna kissed them both on the cheek and stood by the curb until they drove away, before she turned back to the man standing on his front porch. Slowly she walked over to the bottom step and looked up. "Well, you've finally pushed away your only daughter, the one person who looked up to you. Do you have any idea what it took for her to come over here to ask you to go to the wedding? I know that she was pretty sure of what you were going to say, but she came anyway. I'd feel sorry for you, but I'm too damn tired of this. Good-bye Duke, I'm done with you."

With that, she walked inside, got her purse and car keys, and left without another word.

As the car pulled away from the curb, Calleigh reached out and laced her fingers with Natalia's. Looking out the window, Calleigh tried to swallow the lump that was caught in her throat. She still couldn't believe what her mother had done. She had never seen that one coming. She was so caught up in her thoughts that she didn't realize that they were at their favorite beach until Natalia had stopped, turned the car off, and was opening her door.

Kneeling down so that she was eye to eye with her wife, Natalia reached up to caress her face and smiled as Calleigh leaned into her touch.

"Are you doing ok, love?"

Closing her eyes and enjoying the gentle touch, Calleigh took a moment before she answered. "Actually, I'm doing better than I thought I'd be. Momma surprised the hell out of me. I didn't know she had it in her."

"Sometimes, it just takes others longer to be able to stand on their own feet and your mom finally found her time. I'm sorry about your dad though."

Shaking her head, Calleigh replied. "Don't be darlin'. I knew what his response would be before I went there. I'm glad that it wasn't worse."

Leaning forward, Calleigh captured Natalia's lips with her own in a gentle kiss. Moaning, she slid her tongue along Natalia's bottom lip before she was granted entrance into her warm mouth. Tongues dueled for dominance until Calleigh just let her win, not that she considered it a loss.

Leaning her head back, Natalia groaned as Calleigh traced a warm trail along her jaw and down her throat.

"Baby, as much as I really want to continue this, and I really, really do, we need to head over to Cristine's. Later on tonight, however, I will remind you where we left off."

Chuckling Calleigh nibbled on a tempting ear lobe. "No need to remind me, darlin. It's burned into my memory."

Stealing one final, long hard kiss, Natalia reluctantly stood up, closed Calleigh's door and went around getting into her side. Soon they were driving through a tree lined neighborhood and pulling up in front of a Caribbean styled home.

Getting out of the car, Calleigh cast a worried glance to Natalia. "Do I look alright?"

"Babe, you're just meeting my sister and her family. You're probably gonna end up playing with the girls on the trampoline and playing penny poker after they go to bed. And besides..." Walking so that she was standing next to her wife, Natalia leaned so the she could murmur in her ear. "You look good enough to eat..." She threw over her shoulder as she walked to the front door. "Which I will do later."

Calleigh jogged up behind her and was about to say something, when the front door flew open and two young girls ran out yelling, "Tia Natalia!"

Dropping to her knees, Natalia opened up her arms and the oldest one ran in to her embrace, while the youngest came to a skidding halt and stared at Calleigh. With green eyes twinkling, Calleigh looked down at a little girl about three feet tall, with caramel colored hair and liquid chocolate eyes wide open, and looking up at her with her mouth agape.

"Are you an angel?"

Kneeling down so that she was level with the child, Calleigh chuckled and softly answered. "No, my name is Calleigh and I'm a friend of your Tia's."

The girl stared for a moment longer before saying. "That's a pretty name and I know that your Tia's girlfriend. My name is Isabel, but I'll let you call me Izzy B if you want." And wrapped her arms about Calleigh's neck.

Without even thinking, Calleigh wrapped her arms about the young girl and stood up. Swallowing hard, she replied. "Well, it's nice to meet you Izzy B. And who's that with your Tia?"

With a flip of her hand, Izzy seemed to dismiss her sister. "That's just Eva. She's my older sister, but I'm smarter than she is."

Natalia laughed as she stood up, holding on to the older girls hand. "Seems like I have some competition."

Before Calleigh could say anything, Izzy chirped up. "It's ok Tia, I'll share."

Both women looked at each other and started laughing while they headed inside where they were met by Cristine and her husband, Andre. Cristine stood just a bit taller than Natalia, but had the same coloring. Her husband stood around six feet four inches tall, with a muscular body and a military styled haircut. Introductions were made all around, they walked through the house and out into the back yard to a stone patio where there was a grill, table, chairs set up, with a wooden jungle gym, and a trampoline set up in a corner of the yard. A pitcher of lemonade along with bowls of homemade salsa, chips, and sliced vegetables were on the table.

Calleigh went to put Izzy down, when she asked. "Can I braid your hair?"

"Isabel! Why don't you let Calleigh relax a bit before you start in on her?" Cristine admonished.

"No, it's fine. I don't mind at all." Calleigh interjected. "You can if you want, Izzy."

"Yeah." The little girl ran off to get her hair supplies while the adults sat down at the table to get to know each other.

Calleigh found out that Cristine was a dental hygienist while Andre worked as an aerospace engineer for a local airplane manufacturer. He was explaining more about his position when Izzy came back outside with a plastic makeup kit and dragging a stool. Calleigh stood to take the stool and asked her where she wanted it.

"Put it right there because I have to be able to move around you."

With a very solemn face, Calleigh put it down where she was directed and sat down. "Yes ma'am."

With eyes twinkling, Natalia watched as her love sat down and tucked her feet underneath the stool, then sitting up straight so that Izzy could start brushing her hair. She smiled as the young girl started chatting about her school and her favorite classes. And as she watched, Natalia began to imagine Calleigh with their child. That one thought surprised, then intrigued her as they had never discussed having children, but she knew that without a doubt that Calleigh would be a wonderful parent.

Calleigh was listening to Izzy tell her about her class nature project where they were waiting for butterfly larva to hatch. She then told the young girl about the butterfly conservatory that she and Natalia had gone to when they were in Key West.

Before she could go into greater detail, Eva came and stood in front of her. She was quite a bit taller than Izzy, wore glasses, and had a math book in her hands. She tilted her head to the side and studied Calleigh's face. "You've hurt your face. There are little marks near your eyes."

"Eva, that's not nice. You need to apologize to Miss Calleigh." Cristine scolded.

Holding up a hand, Calleigh waved her away. "No, it's alright." Turning back to the young girl, she praised her. "That's right. I was in an accident a little while ago and my face was hurt. You're very observant."

Eva looked over to her father, saying. "Daddy says that everyone should pay attention to other people, because you never know when they might become important to you. Can I ask you a question?"

"You can ask me anything you want."

"Are you going to treat Tia Natalia like Tio Nick did? He would yell and hit her sometimes and she would cry. You're not going to make her cry, are you?"

Looking at the girl, Calleigh could tell that she had seen things that she shouldn't have and had never talked to anyone else about it, judging by the looks on her parents and Natalia's face. Izzy stopped brushing her hair and came around to listen to her answer.

"Eva, I'm never going to hurt your Tia. I love her very much and I don't ever want to see her cry. So the answer to your question is, no, I'm not going to treat Natalia like that. I promise."

Both of the young girls stared at the blonde for a moment before Izzy went back to brushing Calleigh's hair and Eva just said. "Good." Then walked over to the jungle gym to read.

Natalia looked at Cristine and quietly asked if Eva had ever said anything to them about the past and they shook their heads. Both Cristine and Andre got up and went over to Eva to talk with her, while Natalia turned back to Calleigh and her niece.

"Isabel. Did you ever see Tio Nick hit me?"

Shaking her head, Isabel started to divide the blonde hair. "No, I was too little then, but Eva told me about it. She said that Tio hit you on the face once when she was at your house when you lived at the other place and he told her that if she ever told anyone, that he would hurt mommy. Eva figured out that since he was dead, he couldn't hurt anybody anymore, so that's why she asked Calleigh about it."

Getting up to go over to her wife and niece, Natalia knelt down and placed her hands on Calleigh's knees. "I need you to promise me something, Isabel. If you ever see or hear something that bothers you, I want you to promise to tell either your parents, me or Calleigh. We won't ever be mad or upset at anything that you tell us."

Isabel didn't stop braiding Calleigh's hair. "Ok, almost done… Tia?"

"Yes Isabel."

Fastening a rubber band around the bottom of the braid, Isabel took a step back to admire her work. "Are you going to marry Calleigh and what am I supposed to call her?"

A blonde eyebrow rose as Calleigh waited for Natalia to answer and silently laughed at the look on her face.

"Umm… Yes, Calleigh and I are getting married next Saturday and you can call her Tia Calleigh if you want."

Isabel came around to stand next to Natalia. "Ok, all finished. Do you want to play on the trampoline Tia Calleigh?"

Looking at the two of them, Calleigh could easily imagine Natalia as a child that age, and smiled as Isabel leaned against her wife and tweaked her nose. "If you want, Tia Natalia, you can play with us."

Tweaking the little nose in response, Natalia stood up and held out a hand to help Calleigh up. "I'll play with you two later. Right now I need to show your mom something so why don't you show Tia Calleigh how you can do flips?"

"All right!" And the young girl ran towards the trampoline, leaving the two women alone for the moment.

Not releasing the smooth hand within her grasp, Calleigh brought it up to her lips for a gentle kiss. "I bet that you were just like her as a child."

Natalia smiled. "My dad says that she's just like me and Cristine says that she sees me in a lot of things that she does."

Green eyes went wide when something came to her mind. "You've got your own 'Mini Me'! A Mini Talia. That is so cool… Oh Lord… I don't know if the world can handle two of you."

With that, Calleigh took off running towards Isabel, leaving Natalia standing there with her hands on her hips, laughing. Natalia watched as Calleigh stood at the side of the trampoline, praising Isabel in her flips and turns.

Cristine and Andre finished talking to Eva, sending her over to the trampoline to join her sister, and then Andre started up the grill as Natalia asked Cristine if it was alright for her to leave her wedding dress there. She, of course said that it was perfectly fine, as long as she could see it now.

"I thought that you would never ask."

Going out to their car, Natalia opened the trunk, and pulled out the dress when her younger sister Anya drove up.

"Hey! What are you doing here? I thought that you were busy tonight."

Anya walked over to Natalia to give her a hug, and then linked her arm through hers, and they walked back up the walkway to go inside.

"I thought that I should come over and give Calleigh some support. She was so helpful during that incident with the photographer that I felt that she might like someone in her corner. I'm sure that the girls are giving her the third degree."

Laughing, Natalia led the way upstairs to the extra bedroom where Cristine was waiting. "Actually, Isabel fell in love at first sight, and even told Cal that she could call her Izzy B. You know that Isabel hates that nickname, but she just came right out and said to call her that."

Going on to tell Anya the rest of what happened; Natalia stripped down to her underwear and carefully put on the dress. Turning so that Anya could zip it up, Natalia was able to see out into the back yard and watched as Calleigh climbed up on the trampoline and started bouncing.

Turning back to face her sisters, Natalia waited for their response to the dress and wasn't disappointed when they both sighed.

"I was thinking that I would have my hair up, what do you think?"

Cristine agreed. "I think that you will be beautiful no matter how you wear your hair. I just wish that momma would be able to see you."

"Me too, but this time poppa will be able to give me away."

Taking off the dress and hanging it in the closet, Natalia got dressed, but before she walked out of the room, she went back over to look out of the window into the back yard. There she watched as Calleigh walked on her hands. The girls were laughing and trying to imitate her, but were failing miserably. Andre came over from the grill and surprised all of them by doing the exact thing himself. The girls crowded around him as he collapsed onto to the ground. Natalia watched as Calleigh sat down beside him and started a conversation, she motioning to Isabel and then to the house. Andre nodded his head and they shook hands. Natalia turned from the window and headed downstairs. By the time that she made her way to the back yard, Calleigh and the girls were playing in the fort section of the jungle gym.

"Girls! Your momma wants you to go inside and wash up for dinner."

The girls got down and ran inside, leaving Calleigh alone in the fort. Walking over and standing at the bottom of the ladder, Natalia looked up into the laughing eyes of her love.

"May I have permission to come up?"

With a smirk, Calleigh retorted. "I'd rather give you permission to go down, but that will work for right now."

Climbing up the ladder, Natalia backed Calleigh underneath the canvas awning, out of sight of anyone else that might be looking.

With a predatory look in her eyes, Natalia growled out. "Do you have any idea how sexy you look when you play with the girls? I don't think that I have ever seen you this carefree before."

Crooking her finger, beckoning Natalia closer, Calleigh whispered back. "Kids don't hide their feelings well. Everything is out in the open for the most part. As for me being sexy, you've got the market cornered on that, darlin'"

Reaching out, Calleigh grabbed a handful of Natalia's shirt and pulled her up against her body, moaning at the contact. Rising up on her tiptoes, Calleigh pressed her lips against Natalia's in a hard kiss.

Sinking down to the floor of the fort, Natalia drew Calleigh down to her until she was straddling Natalia's legs. Pulling her wife snuggly against her Natalia slanted her head to run her lips down the exposed throat as Calleigh leaned back, offering herself to her love.

"Damn! All I want to do is to make you scream out my name, again and again, but we can't do that here. We shouldn't even be doing this, but I couldn't resist." Natalia murmured against peaches and cream skin, nibbling against the thundering pulse point.

Growling, Calleigh fisted her hands in Natalia's hair, clenched her jaw, and took a hard breath. Swallowing hard, she stared into the eyes of the woman who had stolen her heart.

Her voice strained with need, Calleigh forced out. "This will be continued later this evening. That you can count on."

The two women stared into each other's eyes, slowly getting their breathing and other emotions under control. Leaning forward, Natalia placed her forehead against Calleigh's, closed her eyes, and sighed.

"Later on is good for me... Very good for me." Clearing her throat, Natalia moved Calleigh slowly away from her center, whimpering softly with need.

Standing, Calleigh waivered for a moment, getting her equilibrium centered, before reaching down to help Natalia up.

"Let's go have dinner with your family, but let's have dessert at home. You promised to show me what you could do with a cherry stem."

As Natalia slid past her wife, she leaned in to whisper into her ear. "I have a very talented tongue that can do more than tie knots with stems and you know it."

Using the slide to get down, Natalia reached the bottom and turned to look up at Calleigh. "Are you coming or not?"

"At this moment, I'm not, but I will be later." Calleigh teased before she used the slide herself. She reached for Natalia's hand and they walked inside, holding hands.

Dinner was a loud, laughing affair as Cristine and Anya told story after story about Natalia and her exploits growing up. Throughout dinner, Calleigh had to stop eating because she was laughing so much. Finally, she threw up her hands and begged them to stop.

"Please no more. I haven't laughed this much in a long time and as much as I really enjoy seeing Talia embarrassed, and by the way darlin', red is definitely one of your colors, I want to be able to finish dinner."

Cristine leaned back, wiping her mouth. "We just want to make sure that you knew what you were getting into by marrying her. She can be quite a handful."

Holding up a finger towards the blonde, Natalia warned. "Don't say a word Calleigh. I know that you want to, but don't." Turning towards her sister, she playfully chastised her. "Please do not give her openings like that. You have no idea of the comebacks she has."

Trying to look very innocent, Calleigh pointed at herself. "Who me? I wasn't going to say anything… Ok, not much anyways, other than I like…" Looking at Natalia, Calleigh wisely stopped what she was going to say and took a bite of steak.

"Smart woman." Turning back to her sisters, Natalia threatened. "If you don't want me tell her about some of your past, you might wanna hush now."

The rest of the dinner was enjoyed and they were soon cleaning up the dishes and getting ready to go.

Isabel walked over to Calleigh and tugged on her arm. Calleigh kneeled down, asking what she wanted.

"I just wanted to tell you that I'm glad that you are marrying Tia Natalia. You make her eyes smile."

Looking up at her wife, Calleigh saw that tears were glistening in her eyes. Turning back at the little girl, Calleigh whispered back. "I'm glad that I'm marrying her too, because she makes my heart smile. Can I ask you and Eva a favor?"

The little girl nodded her head as her sister came over to join them.

"Would you two like to be in our wedding? We need a couple of flower girls and are going to ask my nephews to be the ring bearers."

Eva piped up. "Do I get to wear a fancy dress?"

Walking over to stand next to the small group, Natalia explained. "Yes, you get to wear a fancy dress and drop flower petals on the ground."

That brought a smile to the young girls face while her sister frowned. "I want to carry the ring, I don't want to drop flower petals."

"Well then, I guess that we can start a new tradition and have a flower boy and a girl ring bearer. Whose ring would you like to carry? The one that Natalia will wear or the one that I will wear."

"I want to carry the one that you will wear."

Hugging the little girl, Calleigh agreed and stood up. Soon she and Natalia were on their way home. The ride was pleasantly quiet as both women were content with their own thoughts and they were soon pulling into their own driveway and into the garage.

Taking out her packages, Calleigh led Natalia into the house and into their bedroom. As she placed her packages on the floor next to the bed, Calleigh found herself spun around and pushed down on the bed with Natalia straddling her legs.

Leaning down, Natalia slowly unbuttoned Calleigh's shirt as she nibbled on the silky skin as it was exposed.

"I have waited all day to get you out of your clothes and I'm going to take my time to drive you wild."

Pushing the shirt aside, Natalia quickly unhooked the clasp of Calleigh's bra and drew a nipple between her lips.

Arching up, Calleigh moaned. "Aww fuck darlin'...shit...harder please."

Calleigh's hands were trying to unfasten Natalia's pants, but the tiny nibbles and kisses kept distracting her. Finally, Calleigh reversed their positions, slid off the bed and ripped off her pants, then tore off Natalia's clothes. Without giving her a chance to breathe, Calleigh dropped to her knees, parted Natalia's thighs and began laving at the pulsating bundle of nerves, causing Natalia to buck against her mouth.

"Ah, so sweet." Was all that Calleigh could think of as Natalia's essence filled her senses. Sliding in two fingers and thrusting in time with her own beating heart, Calleigh's own body began to thrum. Curling her fingers to stroke the tiny ridges, she gloried in the moans that were coming from above.

A hand fisted in her hair and tugged. "Get up here now." was heard. Giving a final lick, Calleigh crawled up the damp body until she was able to look down into Natalia's eyes. Never once did she slow down her thrusts or change her rhythm.

Reaching up, Natalia pulled her head down for a hard, hungry kiss, growling, as she tasted herself on her wife's tongue. Reaching down with her free hand, she found Calleigh's drenched center and filled her with one stroke, causing her to moan and press hard against her.

Gasping for air, Calleigh pressed herself up on her one arm and tried to focus on the face beneath her.

Dark chocolate eyes looked up at her before rolling back as Natalia finally fell over the edge right before she brought Calleigh along with her. Sighs and moans filled the air along with the heat of the lover's bodies. Repeatedly they took each other to spiraling heights, to be rewarded with an earth shattering release.

Finally, exhausted, they gingerly withdrew from each other and lay there, totally sated, enjoying the afterglow.

Turning her head towards her wife, Natalia let eyes drift over her face. A light sheen of sweat dampened her brow along with her golden hair, but Natalia was hard pressed to think back when she had looked more beautiful. Today had been an emotional day for Calleigh and Natalia was

thankful that her sisters and their family had taken her in so easily. Isabel was an added plus, giving Calleigh the acceptance that she needed. She was also thankful that Calleigh's mother had been there when she had asked her father. Natalia shuddered to think how it would have gone if she hadn't been.

Reaching over, Natalia gently brushed her fingers along Calleigh's jaw, causing her to turn towards her.

"Hello beautiful. Do you come here often?"

Smiling sweetly, Calleigh replied. "I come more than I ever had before. It's seems like you bring out the best of me."

Laughing, Natalia leaned over and gave her a quick kiss. "I knew that I left that one wide open and I can just imagine what you were going to say earlier at Cristine's."

Turning so that she was lying on her side with her head propped up by her fist, Calleigh dared her. 'Ok then, tell me what you think I would have said."

Mimicking her wife, Natalia turned onto her side. "Well, let's see. Cristine had said that I could be a handful so.... I would guess that you would say something about my butt being just the right size."

Rising to her knees, Calleigh placed one hand over each of Natalia's breast. "Actually, your breasts are a perfect fit for my hands so you are a handful for me, but I handle you quite well."

Natalia arched her back, pressing herself up against Calleigh's palms, moaning as her sensitive nipples were teased even more.

"I love the way that your hands can play my body like a finely tuned musical instrument."

Leaning down so that she could nibble on a tender spot on Natalia's neck, Calleigh murmured. "Well, the sounds that we make is like music to my ears, so that's a good thing"

Reaching out, Natalia brought her love within her embrace, then twisted them so that she was on top. Caramel hair hung down like a velvet curtain, shutting out everything, but her face in Calleigh's eyes.

"Now I believe that I told you that I would show you just how talented my tongue is."

Slowly lowering her head, Natalia let her tongue slid along Calleigh's bottom lip, softly asking for access to her warm mouth. Tongues sparred for a few moments, before Natalia decided to move farther down the delicious body awaiting her pleasure.

Nipping, and then soothing each spot with a lick, Natalia made her way to a pair of perfect breasts, to suckle and twirl around the already hardened nipples.

Tossing her head from side to side, Calleigh purred deep in her throat and fisted the sheets as her nerves endings went to high alert.

Slowly Natalia moved down the undulating body, making a wet path followed by her silky hair, teasing the already responsive body to further heights. Sliding down between honeyed thighs, she breathed in the heady scent of Calleigh and decided to wait no longer. Nibbling along Calleigh's nether lips, Natalia twisted and turned her tongue, on and around the tiny little knot as her hands massaged the thighs on either side of her head. Delving in deeper between the slick folds, she draws out Calleigh's arousal, like nectar to a bee, while humming a nonsensical tune, the vibrations shuddering along Calleigh's nerves. Faster and deeper, Natalia's tongue teased and fulfilled the desires of both women, while creating new ones. Adding gently thrusting fingers to curl against Calleigh's g-spot, she intensifies the sensations by drawing the little nub between her teeth and laving hard strokes against it relentlessly.

Calleigh's hips bucked up and a hand became entangled in caramel hair, holding her right there until her body suddenly went completely still, before tightening about Natalia's fingers and pulsating wetly. Fireworks exploded behind closed eyelids and heavy breaths were drawn. Finally a low, lengthily moan was released and her body seemed to become like liquid.

Giving a final kiss to the still pulsating nub, Natalia slowly withdrew from her wife to crawl up and gather her into her embrace while pressing kisses against her sweat-covered skin. Reaching out, she drew up a sheet to cover their cooling bodies.

Calleigh weakly tucked her head underneath Natalia's chin, listening to the heartbeat that matched her own. When she finally found her voice, she whispered. "Yes, that is a talented tongue. You had me in knots, but I didn't see any cherry stems."

Placing a gentle kiss against her forehead, Natalia murmured. "Picky, picky. Go to sleep love." And that's what they did.

Part 27

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