See Part 1



A Sibling's Rivalry

{Part VIII}

By Katia N. Ruiz

Copyright 1997

Copyright Poem "Love Not Lost" By Katia Ruiz ©1997

Copyright Poem "Almost lost you" By Erica Polanco ©1997




THE weeks passed and Frances and Katie always went together to see their son. William was still unconscious. His body was beginning to heal and his young beauty was returning. The doctors allowed Frances and Katie to go into his room together. Frances would sometimes sit next to him on the bed and would talk to him softly. She would tell him how much she missed him and how much she loved him. Sometimes, tears came to her eyes and she would cry on Katie's shoulder.

Katie was the stronger of the two, she kept Frances pulled together. There were times in their home that Frances almost lost it all together. The thought of their son not being with them tore her apart. Katie felt the same way, but her love for Frances wouldn't allow her to weaken like her. They slept in each other's arms, but they would not make love. The comfort of the other kept them each sustained.

THEN one afternoon, Syrah and Lucy showed up at the hospital. Lucy had called Frances at the wine business in Paris, and she was told that Frances had returned to New York. When she called her parent's home, she was told of William's accident. She cried to Syrah, who was with her as she made the phone calls. She really was fond of the little boy. She decided to go to Jamaica Hospital.

Syrah and Lucy approached Katie while she was waiting to speak to the doctor. Frances had stayed behind with William, asking Katie to fill her in. Katie frowned as she saw Lucy walk into the hall holding Syrah's hand. Since when did Lucy and Syrah see each other? Syrah walked up to her and saw the way Katie was worn out. She suddenly felt for her.

Also, she now knew that Ross had lied to her that time that they met. During the past month, she'd had long conversations with Lucy. Lucy had blatantly called Ross a lying bastard. She'd said that Katie made Frances the happiest woman. That during that month that Frances was preparing to go away, she had been empty and not herself. Syrah knew this herself; she'd seen the way Frances was acting. And it certainly wasn't as herself. So, how could Katie not be making Frances happy when Frances was so unhappy without her?

Katie was cold to Syrah, but warm to Lucy, who never did anything to her. She was Frances' best secretary and a good friend to Katie, since they had both started college together. In the last couple of months, Lucy and Katie had not spoken or kept in touch; mainly because Katie kept to herself and hardly called anyone. When Lucy had reached her side, they had hugged tightly. Lucy had kissed her on the forehead and murmured comforts while Syrah watched, feeling awkward.

"Katie," Syrah said. "I'm really sorry about your son."

Katie had glared at her and frowned. "Thank you." She mumbled, turning away.

Lucy looked at both of them and shook her head. "What room is the baby in?" She asked Katie, planning on leaving both women alone to speak.

Katie looked at her and smiled. "ICU 323." She answered.

Lucy thanked her and exchanged a meaningful smile with Syrah, who nodded. She walked away and disappeared around the corner of the hall. Syrah reached up and put her hand on Katie's shoulder. Katie tensed and pulled away. Syrah swallowed hard and spoke: "Katie, I really need to speak to you." Her voice broke.

Katie heard the tears in her voice and turned to look at her. "What do you have to say?" She asked after a while.

Syrah took a deep breath and looked down at her feet. "Do you know that Frances never stopped loving you?" She asked.

Katie smiled softly, crossing her arms over her chest. "I had an idea." She said sarcastically.

Syrah looked up into her eyes. "Frances never cheated on you." She said.

Katie tensed. "And what makes you think that I'll believe you?" She asked coldly.

Syrah shook her head vehemently. "I do not know," She whispered, tears came to her eyes. "God! When I went to see her, she didn't even let me get near her. I pushed myself upon her. And let me get it clear, the lipstick wasn't on purpose." She tried to wipe the tears away from her eyes, but they kept coming. "I swear on my life!" She sat down on one of the chairs and sobbed into her hands.

Katie watched with pity. She sat next to Syrah and put her hand on her back. "How do you know that Frances never cheated on me?" She asked softly.

"Because she loves you too much." Syrah answered, looking up from her hands into Katie's eyes. "Katie, you have to stop being so insecure! You should be proud of the fact that you are the only woman that Frances never cheated and never would cheat on! I'm so sorry all this ever happened. It was because of me. Forgive me!"

Katie was starting to believe Syrah. She knew that Frances loved her with a strength no one could weaken. She also knew that leaving her really hurt Frances. And she knew that she loved Frances with the same intensity... Maybe she could trust Frances after all. She knew that with one word from her, Frances would return to her. And now something told her that they would be together again. She looked at Syrah, who was looking up at her, and smiled. "Syrah," She whispered. "Do you think that we could be friends? That we could forget everything of the past?"

Syrah nodded vigorously. "Yes!" She said. "I would love to be your friend. To get to know you."

Katie smiled and nodded. She extended her hand to Syrah, who took it. "Friends, then."

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LUCY had walked into William's room, finding Frances standing next to the bed; she was running her fingers through the unconscious boy's hair. Her gray eyes were deeply sad and they looked at William with hope and love. Lucy approached the bed; Frances looked up at her and smiled. "How are you?" She asked, her deep voice was dull with sadness.

Lucy didn't know what to say. She never expected to see the boy in this condition. He was much thinner. His tiny arm was on a cast that made his small body look even smaller, the other cast was around his torso, protecting his broken ribs; his face showed only a tiny hint of having been swollen. He was still on respiratory aid, but other than that, he was on his own. He wasn't responding, there was no sign of life other than his chest rising and falling very slowly. Frances followed her gaze back down to William. "I'm fine, Frances." She finally said. "How about you?"

Frances pondered for a few seconds. "Loosing it sometimes, but Katie keeps me on earth." She replied. She looked down again at William, her eyes were very sad. "I miss him."

Lucy walked around the bed and up to Frances, lifting her hand to her shoulder. "Everything's going to be okay," She whispered reassuringly.

Frances was about to reply, but she heard a small noise coming from William. Both women turned to look at the beautiful wide-eyed little boy that was staring at them. Frances gasped as she realized that what she had heard was William's yawn. He looked at her and smiled. "Di," He croaked, his little voice was hoarse from being unused for so long.

Frances smiled widely as tears came to her eyes. She kneeled next to the bed and put her head on William's chest, sobbing loudly. Lucy tearfully ran out of the room in search of Katie and a doctor. She found Syrah and Katie talking to William's doctor. She gasped the news to them. Katie was the first to turn away from them and run towards William's room. The doctor and a nearby nurse ran after her, leaving Syrah alone with Lucy. They hugged and kissed in their happiness.

A few minutes later, when they went to the room, they found Katie and Frances in each other's arms, looking at their son through happy tearful eyes. The doctor and the nurse were looking over William, who was smiling and happy, as always before.


HOURS later, upon the insistence of the doctors and nurses, Frances and Katie left the hospital. They joined Syrah and Lucy for a celebrative dinner. For a couple of hours, they talked and expressed their happiness at this new prospect of William's recovery. The doctor had told them that William would have a few problems. The use of his right arm would never be completely his again, meaning he would have to learn to write with his left hand. They noticed that when he tried to speak, he couldn't too much, his voice was slurred and there was a possibility that it would remain that way for a long time. The only word he was able to say correctly was Di; but only that first time.

Frances and Katie expressed their wonder at Syrah and Lucy's new relationship. Syrah recounted the last couple of months to them and concluded at the time when they decided to work things out. It was agreed between them that Syrah would still travel for her art, but she would try to return to Lucy as soon as her work would allow her. Lucy still wanted to work with Frances, who was glad that this was so. Lucy was the best secretary that she'd ever had, plus she had always been a very good friend of Katie.

After a few hours of talking and catching up, both couples decided to split up and go home. Frances and Katie left before Syrah and Lucy, leaving them smiling at each other knowingly. They each had hopes of Frances and Katie really getting back together.

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FRANCES guided Katie into the darkened house. It was already ten o'clock in the evening. She turned on the lamps in the living room and turned to look at Katie. They were both smiling and happy that their son had finally woken. They were tired and worn out, but they still wanted to celebrate. Images of the conversation she'd had with Syrah that afternoon haunted Katie, even though she didn't show it. Frances looked at Katie, her beautiful smile a jewel.

She wanted her so much, she could almost feel her. In the long month that had passed since her return to New York, they had not dared touch each other again. It took all their strength to not devour one another. Their bodies and souls yearned for that union that only they could share. Their minds would not allow themselves off the thought of their son. But now that they knew that William was recovering, their minds were more at ease.

Frances turned from her and went towards the radio. She turned the knob onto Kiss FM; Always and Forever reverberated through the loud speakers. Katie watched her slow movements with mounting desire. She watched as Frances turned and slowly walked towards her. She heard Frances' slightly labored breathing as she stood in front of her. Slowly, they moved towards each other; Frances arms slowly wound themselves around Katie's waist and Katie's wound around Frances' neck.

Frances pulled her closer to herself, one hand at the small of Katie's back and moved her hips slowly against hers. They looked into each other's eyes. In them, Frances saw the deep love and trust that she had longed to see those years they were together. "Katie," She whispered hoarsely. "There is something I have to tell you."

Katie knew what Frances was about to say. "What?" She whispered back.

Frances' lower lip quivered. "For those two months that I was away," Her voice broke, tears came to her eyes. "I could not keep…. still! I mean, I could not stop thinking about you-"

Katie stopped her by putting her fingers over her lips. She chuckled softly at the way Frances seemed so childishly afraid to tell her this. "You do not have to explain." She whispered hoarsely; she smiled warily. "We aren't together, are we?"

Frances shook her head vehemently. "But I want us to be together!" She pulled her harshly close. "Take me back! But trust me!" The tears flowed down her cheeks. She kissed her hard on the lips. "Please!"

Katie pulled away and looked into Frances' sorrowful gray eyes. "I trust you!" She gasped as the tears spilled from her own eyes. And she meant it. She did trust Frances. She remembered the sincerity in Syrah's eyes; the tears that had come to her eyes when she swore to Katie that Frances never cheated on her. She pulled Frances' head to her shoulder and ran her fingers through her hair. She felt Frances shake with sobs.

Katie pulled Frances' head back and kissed the salty tears from her cheeks. Slowly, softly, she kissed each of Frances' eyes. She kissed her forehead softly; her cheeks, her chin... and then, her lips. Slowly, their mouths touched. Katie opened her mouth to allow Frances' tongue to touch her own. They swayed to the soft music now, their mouths hungrily locked together. Their breathing was slowly accelerating, their hips were pushing harder against one another.

Frances felt the moistness between her thighs increase. She held Katie to her tightly. She pushed her towards the sofa, making her sit on it. Katie looked up at Frances, watching as she frantically removed her blazer. She locked her eyes to hers as Frances kneeled in front of her. She took Frances' hands and guided them to her waist, where her shirt was tucked into her tight jeans.

Katie let Frances pull out the shirt and pull it over her head. She reached behind herself and freed her full breasts. Frances stared at them hungrily, wanting to devour their beauty with her hands and mouth. Katie reached out and pulled Frances to them. With a groan from both of them, Frances took a nipple into her mouth. For what seemed like glorious hours, Frances feasted on the fullness of Katie's breasts, her hands feasted on the softness and fullness of the rest of her body. She moved from her erect nipples to kiss Katie's soft neck. She let her tongue trace her soft jaw; her silky lips pulled softly on her ear lobe.

Katie moaned as she brought Frances' lips once again to her own. Frances pushed her hips against Katie's, groaning with desire. Their tongues met hungrily, their bodies pressed against one another. Katie frantically pulled at Frances' shirt, she was loosing control of herself: Her hips were moving in an erratic rhythm; her eyes were glazed and her whole body was trembling. Katie had wanted this for so long, that now she couldn't stop herself; she was making helpless noises. Frances pulled back from her and removed her own shirt; she unbuckled her belt and unbuttoned her pants, pulling them down. Once she was naked, she wrapped her arms around Katie's waist and pulled her to the floor, astride her. Katie wrapped her legs around Frances' waist and she watched, moaning as Frances buried her face in between her breasts.

She gasped, thrust her hips forward, as Frances unbuttoned her pants and slipped her hand inside. Frances teased her, pushing her hand in deep, but not deep enough to touch her wetness. They looked into each other's eyes and Frances knew she had to taste her. She pushed Katie backwards so that she was on her back. She almost ripped the pants apart as she tried to pull them from Katie's rounded hips, but succeeded in tearing them down her legs.

Now they were fully naked against each other. Frances lay on top of her, between her legs, and cupped her face in her hands. She studied the full lips, her thin and straight nose, her chin, everything. Katie studied Frances also, her perfectly straight nose, her full pink lips, her soft cleft chin, and her beautiful gray eyes... The love they shared threatened to consume them. Frances moved lower, taking her time kissing her breasts, her stomach, her thighs…

Katie arched under her kisses, her cries a beautiful song in Frances' ears. She teased Katie, kissing her inner thighs softly. Her tongue was a hot ignition for Katie's passion. Frances pushed her arms under Katie's thighs and grabbed her fluttering hands. Entwining their fingers, she pulled her to her hungry mouth. Katie's back arched as Frances' tongue entered her. She cried out as a deep, pleasurable spasm came from somewhere deep within her.

Frances felt the heat of her desire for Katie. She demonstrated her love through her lips and tongue. She moaned as Katie tensed, and remained tense in that wonderful moment before ecstasy would consume her. Katie cried out and then held her breath as she pulled herself harder against Frances' soft, inviting mouth. Then suddenly, her body shook violently as orgasm after continuous orgasm came from deep within her. She moaned as she felt Frances take everything that she gave her, her tongue touching her all over.

Suddenly, not knowing why, she sobbed.

Frances let go of her hands and quickly moved up to kiss her lips; Katie tasted her sweetness in that kiss. They kissed softly, taking their time in their once again found passion. "Frances," Katie said breathlessly. "I love you so much!" She caressed the softness of Frances' back.

Frances chuckled; a delighted smile came slowly to her full lips and soft eyes. "Oh, Katie," She whispered, before giving Katie a breathtaking kiss. "I love you too." She continued passionately.

Oh, how Katie loved this passionate woman who was so comfortably lying on top of her, who was kissing her so heatedly, who with one kiss could turn her whole body inside out. She knew she loved and always would love Frances with a force that no human or thing could ever weaken. And best of all, she knew that Frances loved her in the same way.

They made love on the living room floor for the rest of the night, not wanting to stop to go that long way to their bedroom.

"...Love Not Lost"

And now I have you in my arms.

Loving you,

Touching you,

Kissing you,

Adoring you,

And Forever You Will Be Mine...


KATIE woke; Frances was sleeping under her, her soft breasts pressed against hers; her soft breathing soothing her. Katie had fallen asleep on top of Frances, after a long night of passionate lovemaking. It was still dark outside, giving it all a romantic feel. Katie tilted her head up to look at Frances' beautiful sleeping face. She felt a surge of passion and kissed her softly clefted chin.

Frances stirred, forcing Katie to brace herself, lest she fall from the couch onto the floor. She smiled as Frances opened her eyes and gazed at her; Frances returned the smile. "Bonjour, mon amour." She whispered.

Katie smiled softly. "Good morning to you, my love." She whispered lovingly. Frances kissed her softly on the lips, tightening her arms around Katie's shoulders. Katie caressed Frances' hard stomach, her soft hands arousing Frances anew.

"Now it is vous who can not get enough." Frances whispered, trembling when Katie's hand touched her thighs.

Katie laughed softly, saying: "Oh, do not lie to me! You know you would have eventually started it if I hadn't woken you first." She hissed as her finger went in between Frances' trembling thighs.

Frances pushed her hips up to meet Katie's soft fingers. She groaned with her increasing arousal, moving her thigh a little to allow Katie more space with which to touch her. "Touch me!" She groaned.

Katie teased her with increasing desire. Slowly, she touched Frances' swollen clitoris, undulating caresses. She looked up at Frances' open and quivering lips; her eyes were shut in the rapture that she felt. Her hips were pushing against Katie's bewitching fingers. And then suddenly, without Frances expecting it, Katie entered her.

Katie gasped; her fingers entered Frances' wetness slowly. Frances moaned, she was tight but wetly ready for them. Suddenly, she pushed herself against Katie's fingers, forcing them to enter her completely. She was breathing hard now, short gasps escaping her lips. Frances moaned again as Katie wrapped her legs around her thigh and rubbed her wetness against it. She moaned again as Katie pulled and pushed her fingers within in a slow rhythm. She pulled Katie's lips to her breasts. The warmth of Katie's mouth was weakening. She gasped as Katie's rhythm quickened, as her breath was leaving her in long moans. She came with a force that left her arching with ecstasy. Shortly after, Katie came hard against her muscled thigh, gasping and moaning against her breasts. She pulled her fingers out and brought them to her lips, licking them and smiling sensuously.

Frances was still panting and shivering. "You lovely," She gasped. "Lovely thing!" All Katie could do was smile. They fell asleep again in each other's arms a few minutes later.


ROSS stormed into his parent's house, slamming the front door in his wake.

He'd been out drinking the whole night. When he'd seen Katie and his sister walk out of the hospital, arm in arm, his heart fell. He felt cheated and hurt. He had it in his mind that Frances did not deserve Katie. Worst of all, Ross knew, from the look in their eyes as they walked out of the hospital together, that they were going to make love. Why did Katie have to be the woman to whom Frances would be faithful? He wondered painfully.

He'd spent all those years trying to get her to love him. But she was hooked! Hooked like all the others; that was why he hated Frances. And he hated the kid too; because he had to look so much like her. The resemblance was too much; it wasn't as if Frances could impregnate her. Frances, the spoiled one, the one who always got what she wanted. She was making great money, had the best woman in the world, forget about the stupid kid! Nothing could work to get Katie for himself.

He flopped down on a chair and held his head between his hands. Oh, Katie, why are you such a waste? Why did you have to be one of those women? I love you so much! Tears came to his eyes. He sobbed as the image of Katie and Frances making love entered his mind. His jaw clenched, and a growl rose in his throat. He had to talk to Katie right at that moment; his drunken brain had no sense of time. He stood up and swayed, the alcohol affecting his body further; he stumbled towards the front door.

He managed to get to his car, climbing in and turning the key on the ignition, which he had already left before. The questionable thing about drinking and driving is what if the person is drinking by his or herself? There would be no one to stop them, no one to take the keys away, or to hold them down if they became violent. This applied to Ross, poor Ross, who had screeched down the driveway and dazedly driven the car into one of his parent's numerous large trees. The horrible crashing sound was heard throughout the whole neighborhood. But worst of all, it was heard throughout the whole DeValoi residence, sending everyone into a frantic frenzy. Francine's motherly instincts instantly told her that her son was dead.

He was only twenty-seven…

Ross died instantly, all of his ribs having been crushed into his chest. Pushed into his lungs, instantly causing a hemorrhage that killed him within ten seconds, drowning in his own blood. Sorry thing that Ross didn't live long enough to forget about Katie and to make up for all those hateful years with his sister. Sorry thing that he never realized the wrong he did to himself by unjustly hating his only sister. It was all too bad.

"No!" Francine screamed when she was near enough to the car and saw the bloody Ross inside it. Richard's eyes filled with tears as he took Francine into his arms, pulling her away from the horrid scene.

Louie approached the slightly steaming car and reached in, putting his index on the already swelling and bloody throat to feel for a pulse. He knew it was too late. He covered his eyes and felt the tears stinging them. He never hated this poor unhappy man, even though he knew Ross hated him; instead, he felt sorry for him. His arrogance got him nowhere. If he hadn't wasted all those years trying to get Katie, he probably would have gotten somewhere, with someone. What a waste.

Korina tearfully stood close by, not knowing what to do, watching these people she already cared immensely suffer so much. The sound of the approaching ambulance obliterated all other noise. The fearful Richard pulled the sobbing Francine away, comforting her as she cried without consolation.


AT the time of the accident, Frances was still sleeping under Katie. She woke up with a jolt. Something had happened. Katie felt her jump and woke instantly, concern in her features. Light was already filtering in through the windows, and she could see the fear in Frances' eyes. "What's the matter?" Katie asked when she felt Frances shiver. "Did you have a nightmare?"

Frances looked straight up at the ceiling, her psychic heart told her something really bad had happened. Someone would call her, would let her know what it was. "I do not know." She whispered. She expected a call any second. A few minutes later, the phone rang. When Katie hesitated, Frances whispered: "Please pick it up."

Katie quickly stood up and ran to pick up the phone. "Hello?" She frowned as Frances sat up and looked at her with fear.

"Katie?" It was Louie, his voice hoarse with tears, who went on to explain about Ross. Katie's mouth fell open and she looked at Frances, who was waiting for her to say something. She felt tears stinging her eyes.

When Louie finished, Katie said goodbye, hung up and walked to sit next to Frances. She wrapped her arm around her. "Frances," She whispered. "It's Ross..."

When Katie finished, Frances broke down into tears. She babbled on and on as Katie listened, crying also. "Why did he have to hate me? Why did I hate him? It was all so stupid! It was all so stupid, so childish. Oh God!"

Katie held her and cried with her. She comforted her and soothed her. Frances suddenly stood and wiped away her tears. "I have to go see my parents." She said, her voice was husky from crying.

Katie stood and stared at her. "I'm going with you." She said.

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AS Frances drove up the gravel driveway, she looked at the horrible sight. Ross' Ford Mustang was now a pile of garbage. The tree seemed to not have been disturbed, it's trunk stood as straight as ever. Katie squeezed Frances' hand, which she held on her lap with both hands. The cops and the ambulance were long gone with the body; they'd sealed the area with police tape.

Inside the house, Richard, Francine, Louie and Korina were sitting in the den. Francine stood up shakily and walked into her daughter's embrace. "Frances!" She gasped as more tears sprung to her eyes. "Your little brother, he's dead."

Frances shook her head and frowned. She cried out, tightening her embrace. "Oh, mother!"

Richard wrapped his arms around his daughter and his wife. He rested his head against Frances'. Frances shook her head again. "Who is taking care of arrangements?" She croaked, pressing her lips against her mother's head.

Louie spoke from where he sat next to Korina. "I will." He said. "Papa and Mama are pretty torn."

Frances nodded; she slowly disentangled herself from her parents' embrace. She turned to Katie, who stood back, sadly watching everyone. She walked up to her and hugged her, needing her closeness. She asked her parents: "How did it happen?"

"He'd been drinking," Louie replied for them. "They found a bottle of alcohol with him in the car."

Frances nodded. "I will take care of arrangements with you, Louie." She said, her voice thick with emotion. She greeted Korina and left Katie with her as she and Louie went to another room, to talk out the details for the funeral.


THE funeral was three days later, on the morning of Thursday. Friends of the DeValoi family were very supportive and respectful. The accident held society through the newspapers. Many sent bouquets and flowers for the dead, many more people showed up at the ceremony and the burial both. Frances, always at the side of Katie, was somber and tearful. Katie held her arm comfortingly and cried also. Syrah and Lucy had also attended, shocked at the outcome of Ross' hatred. His parents were composed, but tearful and sad. The day seemed to pass slowly, but it finally ended.

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THE days passed and everything began to go back to normal. Frances and Katie continued to visit their son. William was slowly recovering, though there were things that would never be the same for the poor two-year-old, though. For example, he would never regain full use of his right hand, his nerve endings were broken; eventually, he would have to learn to write with his left. Physical therapy was at hand for him; also mental, just in case he developed any fear of automobiles. But even though he could not speak yet, he could clearly express his happiness at having both his mothers together with him again.

Every time he saw Frances, he would, as best as he could, jump into her embrace. Towards Katie, he'd silently laugh and tightly hug. He was his happy self again, having gained some of his weight and energy back. He got visits from more people than was expected. His grandparents went to see him every day, lavishing upon him gifts and love. Louie visited with Korina, whom they suspected was pregnant with his child; he had asked her to marry him as soon as they return to France in two weeks' time. Also, the well-known DeValoi family's friends visited little William, or they sent him gifts.

Finally, the day came when his doctor decided to release him. William's cast had been already removed and he was getting used to using his left hand more often than before. His legs were fine, not affected by the accident. The cast around his torso had also been removed and that left him happy and even more energetic.

The day of his release, Frances and Katie agreed that they would pick him up together as soon as Frances came out of work. The whole day, Frances had been in meetings with her father and other fellow lawyers, planning strategies for one court case or another. Richard was equally nervous about William's release and it was agreed that Frances and Katie were taking him to the residence to see his grandmother, who was making plans for a little celebration with the help of Louie and Korina.

Finally, five o'clock came. Frances rushed to her office and called Katie. "Hello?" Katie answered on the second ring.

"Listen," Frances said after greeting her lovingly. "I am about to leave the office, Cherie. Be outside in about thirty minutes." After they hung up, Frances rushed out of her office, reminding Lucy that they'd see each other at her parents' house.

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KATIE waited outside. She knew the drive from Frances' office, which was somewhere on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan could be traffic filled and annoying. Frances arrived five minutes after Katie had stepped outside. She pushed the passenger door open for Katie and took off when Katie was safely inside. At a stoplight, they kissed. They pulled away when a car blared its impatient horn behind them.

At the hospital, William was already dressed and impatiently waiting for them. The signing of release papers was thankfully quick. William was released with a lot of hugs and kisses from the nurses. He was a popular boy.

The celebration at Frances' parents' house was fun for William, despite that there were no other children present, only his family. He had already forgotten about Ross, the cause of his accident. And the fact that he was not there helped William forget weeks of painful recovery. He also got greetings from Flores and the rest of the maids and servants, who all adored him too. All in all, it was a fun, happy night.








FRANCES was looking at herself in the mirror, assessing her attire. She looked at her hair, which was once again closely cropped again. She looked gorgeous and stylish. She was in the bedroom that used to belong to her before she moved out with Katie. She knew that Katie was somewhere in one of the numerous guest bedrooms of the house.

It had been over five months since everything had happened.

Francine had a long talk with Frances and Katie, suggested that they should have another vows exchange, since the one they had initially, had been broken when they'd separated. She suggested that they do it on the day of their fourth year anniversary. "Babies," She had said to both of them, her jeweled hands covering theirs. "It would be better if you did, it would be like starting over. Your father and I have even discussed a honeymoon for you two."

It was then that Frances thought about taking Katie and William to the house in France. Their son was recovering quickly; his birthday had just passed a few days before. Frances thought that she would also introduce her to Claudette, who'd agreed to stay Frances' friend no matter what. Frances confessed to Katie that Claudette was the last woman she'd slept with before returning to her. Katie took the information with no problem or jealousy; her trust towards Frances was already too deep.

Frances was still not satisfied with her look. As always, she had chosen off-white colors. Slacks with a Chinese collar blazer and brown stylish boots; very simple, really. But Frances was very nervous, just like the first time. She turned around when her mother knocked and instantly entered in a flurry of glistening jewelry and perfume. "Mother," She heard herself whine. "How do I look?"

Francine noticed her daughter's hands shook. She had just been at the opposing east wing of the house, where the room where Katie was lodged was located. Katie was a little calmer than Frances, who looked like she was just about to loose her mind. Francine looked at her daughter closely, proudly assessing her attire. The custom-made suit fit beautifully on her daughter's perfectly slim figure. The brown boots gave it all an earthly tone, giving the impression that Frances' tanned skin and golden hair shone healthily. Which it did, only the colors enhanced it all the more. "You look gorgeous!" Francine exclaimed, clearly proud. "I'm so proud of you." She walked over and kissed her on both cheeks.

Frances felt a little better. She hadn't been nervous like this since the night she asked Katie to marry her in front of most of the people that would be present tonight. Most of the youth accepted the opportunity to see these two stunningly beautiful women join together again as they had four years before. Frances knew the house would be full.

"Mother," She said. "Where is Katie?"

Francine smiled. "Do not worry, darling. We're about to start." She left the room after giving her daughter more kisses on her cheeks.

A few minutes later, Richard, Louie and Korina (who were now married and expecting their child in three months' time) walked into Frances' room. Frances was standing by the windows, hands in her pockets, staring thoughtfully out at the arriving guests. Her gray eyes were thoughtful. "Frances," Richard said when he noticed his daughter was distraught.

She jumped and turned to look at them. Her father, so handsome in his black suit, was still mourning for Ross. His silvery blond hair had a neat part on the left side, leaving the rest wavy and shining.

Louie was also handsome in his light gray suit. His blond hair was loosened over his shoulders, a perfect contrast with the light gray. The suit consisted of slacks, just a vest and an open Chinese collared blazer, revealing his muscular chest in a reserved way. He and Frances had developed a taste for Chinese collars together. Korina, on the other hand, was beautiful beyond belief. Her dark brown hair hung around her shoulders like a cape, it shone with health and the pregnancy shimmer. Frances realized that Katie's had glistened that way when they were expecting William. Korina was wearing a gown specially made to give room to her already plump stomach, but useful for night celebrations like this one.

"How are you, Frances?" Richard asked, walking up to her and wrapping his arm around her shoulders.

Frances fell into his embrace gratefully. "Nervous, father!" She exclaimed. She stood quiet for a few moments, then she suddenly asked: "What is Katie wearing?" Her eyes softened with the desire she felt by just thinking of Katie.

Richard, Louie and Korina laughed at the same time. "Do not worry," Louie said, chuckling. "She looks gorgeous, as usual."

Frances was not satisfied. "I want to see her." She said, frowning.

Korina walked up to Frances, hugged her and smiled broadly. "It is almost eight. It should be starting."

A few moments later, Francine ran into the room, grabbed her daughter's hand, and pulled her out into the hall. Frances was stunned. "Mother!" She gasped.

Francine turned to look at her, assessing her looks. "Beautiful! Magnifique!" She breathed. "Just go down the stairs, wait at the bottom. You three," She said to the others. "Go downstairs!" They obeyed without question. She then pushed Frances towards the stairs.

Frances was surprised at the multitude of people present. She nervously avoided the eyes of some of her admirers as she went slowly down the stairs. Cameras flashed pictures and videos recorded. She smiled and waved to their thunderous applause. She stood at the bottom of the stairs, as indicated. She shook hands with some of her colleagues, met eyes and smiles with Syrah and Lucy, who were not far to her right. Syrah threw her a friendly kiss and then planted a big one upon the pleasingly surprised Lucy. Frances threw her head back and laughed with delight. Suddenly, everyone went silent, looking up the stairs in awe. Sighs of admiration escaped their lips.

Frances turned slowly, following their gaze. She took an empty swallow when she saw Katie, her throat suddenly dry. Katie looked unbelievably gorgeous in the beautiful satin white gown that clung to her like skin. Her body's perfect curves were accentuated by the sensual tightness of the gown. The gown was designed to cause sensation and it worked. She wore high heels that brought her height up a couple of inches. Her shiny black hair was loosened around her shoulders like a cape, framing her sweet face, which was teasingly serious as she looked down at Frances. The cameras flashed fervently. Katie's somber expression slowly turned into a sensual smile directed exclusively at Frances, who looked at her with wide eyes and parted lips. Her red lips puckered softly in a kiss.

Katie studied Frances. She was gorgeous in her off-white colored suit. Her gray eyes were lovely orbs in her beautiful eyes. Her closely cropped hair was windblown and gave Frances a natural look. Katie started slowly down the stairs. When she reached Frances' side, she smiled at everyone, and then she turned to face her lover. Frances took her small hands into her larger ones and looked into her beautiful green eyes. "I love you." She whispered; her eyes shone with tears.

"I love you too." Katie whispered back.

Richard walked back up the stairs to stand one step behind them. Everyone quieted down when they saw that he was going to speak. "Welcome, everyone." He said, loud enough for everyone to hear. "You all know that this is a vows exchange. You may say that this already happened; it did. But these vows were broken and it was suggested that they'd be amended." He paused for effect. "Well, we chose their fourth year anniversary to mark their new beginning." He looked down at them; they were still looking into each other's eyes. "Frances, Katie."

Frances swallowed again and spoke, her voice was hoarse with emotion: "I, Frances, promise you, Katie, to give you Love, Trust, Happiness, and my whole Soul, 'till death do us part." Everyone clapped.

When they quieted down, Katie spoke; her voice shook with tears: "I, Katie, promise you, Frances, to give you Love, Trust, Happiness, and my whole Soul, 'till death do us part."

Richard fought back the tears. Everyone waited for him to speak. "Well," He said after a while. "This is their new beginning. A joining of two-"

"Three." Katie and Frances said simultaneously.

Richard laughed. "Three souls. Katie, Frances, their son William; their new beginning. And with this, Francine and I have something for these two beautiful young women." He looked back at Francine, who was slowly coming down the stairs. Her red silk dress glistened with the bright lights. She was stunning and everybody knew it. She carried a palm-sized box in her hands. Richard took the box from her and kissed her softly on the lips when she reached his side. He opened the box and gave it back to Francine.

Frances and Katie were watching, confused. Richard took out a thin gold chain from the box, which carried a gold plate in the shape of a heart. Richard extended it for everyone to see. "This heart contains Frances' name." He explained. "Vows exchange also includes hearts exchange." He opened the chain and gave it to Frances.

Frances looked into Katie's eyes as she said: "I give you my heart, Katie." She reached around Katie's neck and clasped on the chain.

Richard smiled with satisfaction, reaching into the box and extracting a similar chain. "And of course, this chain contains Katie's name." He gave it to Katie.

Katie also looked into Frances eyes as she said: "And I give you my heart, Frances." Then she reached around Frances' neck also and clasped on the chain, leaving her arms wrapped around her neck. Frances didn't wait; she wrapped her arms around Katie's waist and pulled her tightly to herself, giving her a deep kiss. Their tongues met and they swayed in their passion.

The thunder of the claps reverberated throughout the house. Finally, Frances and Katie pulled away. They smiled at each other and then at everyone. The music started, a slow song, and Frances pulled her towards the crowd. They were aware of nothing but each other, dancing and slowly swaying their hips against one another. Their eyes were locked together. Frances kissed Katie softly and Katie responded, opening her mouth to her.

The hours passed quickly. It was three o'clock in the morning when Frances and Katie had decided to sneak out of the party. They had remained there, enjoying the attention they were receiving from the guests. Syrah and Frances exchanged partners and danced and talked and laughed. Francine would often take Frances and Katie around to her friends, showing them off. Frances and Katie laughed at this, going along with her.

When three o'clock came, Frances couldn't take it any more. Her desire for Katie was overwhelming. She quickly pulled her up the stairs and down the hall towards her old room. Once inside, she locked the door and pulled Katie into her embrace. They made love passionately, quickly, and desperately. Afterwards, as they lay languishing in each other's arms, they studied their plates.

"Katie?" Frances said, looking down at the plate hanging from the chain around her neck.

Katie looked up at her, smiling tenderly. "What?"

Frances smiled shyly, meeting her eyes, and asked: "Ha- have you thought of another child?" She tightened her arms around her lover.

Katie laughed and kissed her on the lips. "Of course!" She said. "I've been thinking about it all the time." She paused for a while. "Maybe a girl, this time?"

Frances chuckled happily and pulled her deeper into her arms. They kissed passionately, for a long time. Later, Frances spoke again. "This is unbelievable." She said huskily, smiling softly.

Katie looked at her with a confused expression. "What is?" She asked, stroking her hair gently.

"That I have you in my arms again." Frances replied. "And that I will have you forever."

Katie smiled and kissed Frances softly. "I know exactly what you mean." She whispered, pulling Frances tightly against her.



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Katia N. Ruiz