Disclaimers : See Part 1

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Part 4 of Loose Change Series - The Addy and Karen series.
(01) Turning on a Dime
(02) New Quarters
(03) One Little Bit
(04) Joint Venture

 

Joint Venture

By

K-Morgan

kmorgan.5674@yahoo.com

(Feedback is appreciated)


Part 7

That evening, Dr. O'Mally stopped at the cottage after completing Alejandro's treatment. She had spent the whole afternoon performing tests and treating him. She called ahead of her arrival to make sure that the women were home. Alex opened the door for her.

“Is he alright? Is he going to be alright?”

“Yes, Alex, he did very well and is feeling much better. I'm sure he'll tell you all about it tomorrow.”

“I'll stop by in the morning to see him before I go to school. Mommy Karen will take me.”

“Perhaps it would be better if you stopped in the afternoon when you come back from school. Since he will not be training tomorrow morning, I think a little more rest will do him well.”

“Okay. Mommy Karen, we stop to check on Alejandro in the afternoon, okay?'

“Okay, little girl. Come on in Dr. O'Mally.”

“Please call me Victoria or Vic.”

“Very well, Victoria . We are about to sit down to eat, would you like to join us?”

Melanie waived her hand when the doctor came in and was thrilled with Karen's invitation to the doctor.

“Oh no! I wouldn't want to impose, plus, I've been dealing with animals all day and I'm afraid I wouldn't feel comfortable sitting at the table with all of you. I don't think I smell too good. I would love to come and visit you some other time, though.”

Melanie seemed disappointed.

“You are very welcome anytime.”

“Thanks.”

“Victoria, Karen and I have errands to run early tomorrow, so if you can spare some time, Melanie will be here without much to do and . . .”

“Addy, I'm sure Victoria has things to do tomorrow as well.”

Victoria replied immediately. “Well, I do, but only a couple of simple things in the morning that will not take that long. I could stop and visit for a little while and maybe later we can grab lunch somewhere and I can show you around. Are you up for it?”

“Yes, sure.” Melanie immediately replied. “At what time should I expect you?”

“Is 10 o'clock too early?” All of a sudden, Victoria 's visit, which would have been to report on Alejandro's treatment, took another turn, and Addy and Karen settled back to listen to the developing conversation.

Not early enough! “No. That will be just fine. I'll be expecting you. You have the number here in case you need to call or something?”

Addy again jumped in. “She has our cell phones, Melanie. Perhaps you should give the doctor yours since we won't be here tomorrow.”

Addy inwardly rejoiced at her own mischief, having to look the other way not to laugh.

Melanie gave the doctor her number, and they bid her good night. When Karen saw the doctor's truck pull away, she turned to look for Addy who was in the kitchen talking to Melanie.

“For the life of me, woman! I don't know how you do it, but you have the art of—.”

Addy smiled in such a way that made Karen stop without finishing her sentence.

“Say it.” Addy ordered.

Karen continued to have an enormous smile on her face, but was still quiet.

“Say it!” Addy commanded.

Karen came over, took Addy in her arms, and squeezed her. “I love you! Happy now?” She gave her a quick kiss and proceeded to the refrigerator patting her on her butt.

Melanie was laughing. “You guys are incredible! And thanks, Addy. I think the doctor is definitely worth getting up early for!”

“You see!” She addressed Karen who was setting up the table. Rolling her eyes and moving her head side to side.

“You guys are my inspiration, you know? I wish I had half of what the two of you have.” Melanie got up as she spoke and went to the bathroom.

Karen and Addy looked at each other, thinking that perhaps cupid had thrown an arrow and finally hit Melanie. “You think?”

“I don't know. What about the doc? She seemed interested, but I'm still not sure that she's family. What do you think?”

Karen chuckled, thinking that Addy had finally integrated herself to the ‘family.' After so many years saying she was not a lesbian and that she had only been attracted to Karen, she had finally come to terms and proclaimed to be part of the family.

“I don't know. I think she and Melanie exchanged very definite looks, but I guess we won't be sure until we get it from the horse's mouth. “She chuckled on her choice of metaphor. “In this case, Melanie.”

Addy chuckled. “You are awful, too, Ms. Larsen.”

“You've rubbed on me.”

Addy grinned. “Yes, I have, and I will tonight as well.”

Now they were both grinning.

That night they talked about the change in Addy's attitude. “How come you are all of a sudden calling yourself ‘family'?”

“Why not? Whether I am or not a lesbian, the truth of the matter is that we are in a lesbian relationship. I really don't want Alex to grow up confused about that. I mean the poor kid will have enough to deal with to also worry about whether one of her mother's is or is not a lesbian! Don't you think so?”

Karen remained quiet, grinning from ear to ear as she kissed her behind the ear.

“Well?”

Karen had no words. “Yes, I agree.” Sometimes, it was better not to comment on Addy's silly responses. She just cuddled to her and chuckled silently. Of all the things on earth Alex could contemplate, or have to deal with in her life, what could possibly make Addy think that her mother's sexuality would rank high, or even matter at all, in the whole scheme of things? Did she really think it would matter to Alex?

The truth was that, as Alex grew up, the bigger issue would be that she was the daughter of a lesbian couple. Then, she smiled wondering if Addy would ever talk to Alex about her sexual uncertainties? Oh God! She chuckled. She might! She could just imagine the conversation where Addy used her own uncertainty to make a point and demonstrate the oddities of life. Karen chuckled again. She looked at the crazy brunette in her arms and thought that only God knew what she would ever do. Or did he? She chuckled again. Whatever she did, would happen, and there'd be no stopping. She looked at her again and kissed her and held her tighter.

“You love me, Blondie. You think I'm crazy, but you love me.”

Karen chuckled again. “With all my heart. I thought you were asleep.”

“Nope. Your thoughts are keeping me awake.”

Karen laughed. “My thoughts are keeping you awake?”

“Yes.”

“Are you sure, it's just my thoughts?”

Addy smiled and snuggled more to her.

“Would you like me to tell you what else is keeping me awake?”

Karen kissed her. “No need, Ms. Addy. I think I can figure that out on my own.” She kissed her on the head and continued to talk. “Sometimes I think that if I live 100 years it wouldn't be enough to love you.” Addy looked up and Karen combed a strand of her short brown hair back and kissed her.

“I like it when you get mushy on me. Do you know that you never talk when we make love?”

“That is not true!”

“Okay, no. I'm sorry, my mistake, you do talk. Let me see if I can recreate your talk.”

Karen grinned. She knew exactly what was coming. This was not the first time this subject had come up.

“It goes something like this - Addy! Addyyy? Aaaddy.” She was saying this in different tones and pitches. “Adriana, my Adriana. Addyyy ADDY!”

“Okay, okay! I get it! You've made your point!” She paused. “I never knew you wanted me to talk more? I didn't know I was doing something wrong.” She looked disappointed, almost sad, as if she had failed in some way.

Addy pulled out of the embrace and combed her hair back. “You are not doing anything wrong, baby. I love the way you make love to me. I don't think there are any words in the world that could substitute for what you do to me, even by just looking at me. Besides I love how you pronounced my name, even in different pitches.” Addy chuckled making Karen smile shyly.

“So, no complaints?”

“Nope. You are perfect. I told you that many years ago and I stand by my word. And you know me! If I had a complaint, you would know. I keep nothing from you. Ever. She kissed her nose and then her lips.

“So what were you saying about living 100 years for me?”

Karen kissed her neck and up behind her ear. “Umm!”

“There's a reason why I don't talk, you know?”

Addy smiled. “What's that?”

“You take all of me, all that I am.” Karen was the one combing her hair back now. Addy was very quiet listening.

“It's hard to explain. It's as if I poured myself to you in my loving you. There's so much I could say, but instead I become what I want to say instead.”

Addy was quiet but smiling very contently. “Then you do say a lot. At times I've wondered if I am the only living woman who has actually been to heaven.”

Karen chuckled. Addy always made her feel special. “No, you are not the only one. I'm right there with you all the time.” Karen smiled. “I know one thing for sure. I couldn't live a day without you. I wouldn't want to.” She was serious now, her eyes turning to the intense dark color of green Addy loved.

Addy could hardly speak now. She let out some air, and spoke in an overwhelmed tone. “Ker, I need—.”

“I know what you need, love.”

Karen kissed her tenderly in each eye, her mouth and neck and continued kissing her down the way Addy liked it. Addy laced her fingers into Karen's hair, and moaned as Karen continued her south bound path. She came back up to kiss her lips, as their bodies became intertwined. “Is this it?”

“Yes.”

Karen ran her hands all the way along Addy's back to where her hands could not reach further down. Just the pleasure of holding Addy in her arms and caressing her body this way was subliminal to her. “No, a million years wouldn't be enough, Addy, not even eternity.”

**

Melanie and Victoria Tucker became inseparable during Melanie's visit. Melanie confirmed that the doctor appeared to bat for their team and that although nothing had happened physically between them, there was an undeniable attraction. Melanie even extended her stay, but there came a point where she couldn't stay any longer because of her work at the hospital.

“I hate to see you go, Melanie. You know I . . . like you but I . . . and you are all the way in DC. You know, I was afraid to talk to you after I found out that you were a psychiatrist.”

“Why?”

“I was afraid that you would start to psychoanalyze me.”

“Why would I do that? Do you think you need psychoanalysis?”

“No. I was afraid that as a psychiatrist you would do such a thing anyways.”

“No. I only do that when I get paid, and believe I don't come cheap! And, by the way, I came here to get away from work and to have some fun with my friends.” She smiled as she finished her sentence.

“Will you be coming back any time soon?”

“I come, at least once a year. I love to spend time with Karen, Addy and Alex. They are my favorite people. But now I won't be coming for a while. Do you think you may be visiting Washington any time soon?

“I wasn't planning on it. I don't get out much. My work keeps me here. I recently bought some land and a house and there's a lot to do there. It's about an hour south from here. I would like to build stables and board horses and open a clinic. That's what I do. I have no greater aspirations.”

Melanie wondered why Vitoria was telling her all that. It was as if she needed to explain herself. Melanie decided to go in a little deeper now that the door to Victoria 's personal life had been cracked open. “What about love? You never mentioned anyone.”

“No. There's no one. How about you? Victoria was short on words and quick not to miss any opportunity to dig into Melanie's privacy as well.

“No, no one either. Always been too busy, and the truth is that I never met anyone I wasn't scared of.”

“What do you mean by that? What are you scared of?”

“Well, when I was younger, I was always too busy studying and working, I was never really the party type. Then, one day I woke up and realized that at my age there were two types of women in the world. The Addy-Karen type with solid relationships already going on and the player type simply looking for the next conquest. I'm not a home breaker and certainly didn't want to tangle myself with any player, so here I am, spending my vacation visiting my best friends and adoptive niece. Pathetic!”

Victoria smiled. Melanie made it very clear that she was a lesbian.

Victoria smiled and immediately grasped the opportunity. “I don't think it's pathetic. Since I'm not in a solid relationship like Addy and Karen, would you categorize me as a player?”

Melanie smiled. Things were becoming very clear. “No, I wouldn't.”

“How would you categorize me then?”

“Are you asking me to analyze you as a doctor or as a friend?”

Victoria looked troubled. “As a friend?”

“I'd say that you've had your share of play and you are looking for something real. You love your horses and cows, but you would like to find the part of you that is missing. So in that regard, you are checking out the psycho friend to see what's going on there.”

Victoria laughed out loud. She then looked to her feet and smoothed out the ground with the tip of her boot. “I think I might like to visit Washington after all. But I would like to know that you have more than Addy, Karen and Alex as an interest around here.”

“I see. Maybe I should buy a horse.” She smiled and Victoria cracked up laughing again. When they stopped laughing, Victoria came closer and kissed her. Melanie returned the kiss. Victoria 's hazel eyes were full of life. “Change your flight to Monday. Come with me.”

“Where?”

“My place. I'd like to show it to you. I'd also let you psychoanalyze me.”

“And just why would you do that? And for that mattered, what makes you think I would like to psychoanalyze you?” Melanie regretted her comment and tone the minute she finished making it.

Victoria replied somewhat unsure. “In answer to your first question, because I want you to know more about me. In answer to your second question, because I thought you might want to.”

Melanie looked at her. Victoria needed to talk and it looked like the talk could be promising. “Okay, I need to pack my things. Would you take me to the airport on Monday?”

“Yes, of course.”

**

When Melanie entered the cottage to pack her things, she told Addy and Karen what transpired.

“And you are going to what? Are you crazy? We don't know much about the doctor. We just met her the other day when you met her. How could you go off with her like that?”

Melanie looked at Addy who was trying to keep from grinning as she watched and listened to the conversation. Melanie spoke to Addy. “Is she for real?” Then she spoke to Karen.

“Karen, for God's sake! I'm a grown woman!” She paused and talked to Addy. “This is why we stopped being roommates many years ago. She used to go around doing whatever, but if I was ever going to do something it was the Spanish Inquisition all over again! I don't know how you put up with this waco person you have for a partner!”

Addy continued to smile watching the banter between the friends.

Melanie continued to address Karen. “For your information, I do not waste any opportunity to get laid when I find a good looking, nice woman. There! And this doctor is good looking and appears to be very nice. She also happens to like me, and there's something about her that is very intriguing and that I find very interesting and enticing.” She came over to Karen and poked her with her finger on the shoulder. “She has sparked something in me! And that is very rare, my friend. So, I'm going for it!”

“Okay, okay, fine. Go! Is she picking you up or do we take you there?”

“She's outside waiting for me. And I just hope she didn't hear mama bear protecting her cub!”

Addy chuckled. “This is so romantic!”

“Oh! Here we go! This is all we need now! Ms. Romantic joining us! Addy, she's getting laid! There's no romance in that!”

“Good for her! She needs it! I happen to agree with Mel on this one. The doctor seems like a very nice person. I think she will be fine and who knows, maybe Mel will end up here as our neighbor!”

Karen threw her arms in the air and collapsed on the sofa. “Why do I even bother? Am I the only voice of reason in this house?”

“Addy thanks for your blessing, but let's not rush things. Good luck taming mama bear tonight!”

“Don't you worry about mama bear. I'll make sure she's taken care of.”

Melanie laughed and went up to pack.

“I'm always amazed at how cool headed she is. I mean, not wanting to rush things and all that. I'm sure glad, I was never a single lesbian. Don't know that I could have done that.” Addy commented to Karen.

Karen looked at her and smiled at first and then chuckled.

“What's so funny?”

“I'm trying to picture you as a single lesbian, and I honestly can't.”

“Ha! That is because I would have never been single for too long! I would have managed to always have some company.”

Karen hugged her and said nothing. She thought it best to keep quiet. The idea of discussing the possibility of Addy with someone else was unnerving to her, and the idea that she would have had her heart broken was even worse. All of a sudden Karen felt great content. She had always thought that she was fortunate to have found Addy, but just now she felt fortunate that Addy had her. Suddenly realizing that no one in the world would love Addy and take care of her like she did. She'd never let anyone hurt her. Yes, they were both perfect for each other and glad that neither of them was doing the dating game anymore. Life was perfect.

Mel came back downstairs in five minutes and they walked her out. Alex was coming back from the stables with Marshal. Marshal greeted everyone, but as soon as Alex was out of the truck, she left.

“Are you leaving, Aunt Mel? I thought you were leaving on Monday, and that we were taking you to the airport?”

Melanie crouched to talk to her. “Yes, I'm still leaving on Monday, sweetie, but Dr. O'Mally would like to show me her house and then she will take me to the airport. I'll see you soon, okay? And call me and tell me all about Alejandro, okay.”

The explanation seemed good enough for Alex. She hugged Melanie and agreed to all her requests, placing a big kiss on her cheek. Melanie was delighted. “I love you, little girl.”

“I love you too, Aunt Mel.” Melanie got up, ruffled her hair and walked towards Victoria , Addy and Karen.

Dr. O'Mally was smiling at the scene with Melanie and Alex and the airport question. She walked over to Karen and talked to her. “I'll make sure she gets to the airport on time on Monday.”

Karen looked at her straight in the eyes. “She's as good as they come.” Karen replied, as if warning the doctor not to mess with her. Victoria said nothing and looked at Addy. Addy smiled to her and Victoria smiled back.

They hugged and bid Melanie farewell. As she hugged Melanie, Addy whispered in her ear. “Would you, please call us Monday from the airport? I need to bring the wacko one back to her senses, remember?”

Melanie chuckled then spoke out loud for Karen to hear. “You are the best thing that ever happened to that woman, you know? You are her miracle and she knows it. Just look at her, all smiles!”

They both looked at Karen who was grinning from ear to ear.

“Bye, Mel! Call us.” Karen came close to Addy, and when Melanie got in the doctor's truck. Karen placed her arm around Addy's waist and Addy leaned into her. Alex ran after the truck waving good bye.

**

They talked about the scenery and the house all the way to the entrance of the ranch like structure. It was a beautiful log cabin. “ Victoria it's beautiful! I love it!”

“Come on, let me show you everything.”

She saw the inside of the house and came back outside. The house sat on a meadow. There were wildflowers everywhere. In the distance all that was visible were trees and birds flying about. There were bushes and plants and the smell of fresh grass and honeysuckle lingered in the air.

“ Victoria , this place is beautiful, so unlike DC, there's peace here, and look at you! You go to work in jeans and boots. You look relaxed. I wish I could do that!

“Why don't you? What are you doing in DC?”

“I work there.”

“You can work anywhere.”

“I have a practice, patients.”

“Do you have family there?”

“No.”

“If you get sick, or have a problem, do you call your patients for help?”

“No! I can't do that!”

“So, who do you have there who would help you or care for you if you needed care?”

Melanie was quiet, realizing the gravity of her only response.

“Are you suggesting that I move to Scotland ?”

“No, all I'm asking is what's keeping you in DC.”

Melanie was a bit disappointed. She was hoping that the previous answer had been a yes.

Victoria knew her answer was disappointing, but she felt like she was treading on thin ice. They had just met and she had recently had her heart broken. She felt reluctant to move too fast, her head overruling the feelings she had for Mel.

“What I'm saying is that if you had a reason to come here, would you come?”

Melanie looked at her straight in the eyes. “Yes, I would. It would have to be a very good reason.”

“It should be. Come on let's sit in the back patio. Let's have some wine.”

Melanie sipped her wine and remained quiet. She was trained to listen to people and silence always prompted conversation from those not trained to listen. She also had a lot of patience. She sat on one of the reclining chairs in the patio and closed her eyes enjoying the serenity and the warm evening breeze.

“Look, Mel” she paused and Melanie looked at her. Victoria seemed thoughtful and troubled.

Melanie inwardly smiled. She knew Victoria was about to spill her guts. She did want her psychoanalysis after all, a personal one. She didn't invite her over to hop in bed with her, sure she wanted that but she wanted to talk about personal stuff.

“I came to this area a couple of years ago. I actually bought this property a few months ago. I had a practice in Surrey . Working at Epsom Downs with thoroughbreds, they are my passion and my specialty. That's why when Dr. Ferst mentioned Alejandro I was there immediately. You don't get to see a horse like that everyday around here. He's quite a specimen.” She took a moment to gather herself and go back to the main topic of conversation.

“While I lived there I was in a relationship.”

She looked at Melanie for a reaction but found none from the trained professional. Victoria was pleased.

“We were together for a couple of years. I thought I was in love and thought she was too. But she wasn't. She fell for the money and charm of one of the horse owners. She was not a scientist like me, or as grounded as I am. She was a dreamer and read a lot about the life of the rich and famous and when this woman showed up with all her money and glamour Pam fell for all of it. I had nothing to offer but love, but apparently love wasn't enough. So she left me for her.”

“I'm sorry Victoria .”

“It was then that I decided I had to get away. Since my sister lives in Edinburgh , I came to this part of the country. I wanted to get away from it all. That experience scarred me. I don't know if I will ever be able to trust and be like I was before. I would like to, but it will take time, I think.” She looked at Melanie for reassurance.

Mel nodded.

“That's me in a nutshell. I'm afraid I don't have much to offer.”

“I think you do, but what makes you think you need to offer?”

“You deserve better.” Victoria replied.

“If you have such high opinion of me, why don't you let me be the judge of what I need? I don't have an agenda, Vic. I'm not here to take anything not offered freely.”

Victoria was having palpitations as she held Melanie's gaze.

“And that is what I would like to do. I'd like to offer. I would much rather be on the giving end until you are ready.”

Victoria crouched next to her chair. ”In that case, I'd like to take what you offer, if that is what you want.” If that was not a ‘come on' she didn't know a thing.

Melanie sat up straight on the chair and turned to face her. She cupped Victoria 's face and kissed her on the lips. “Show me your bedroom.”

They made love all night. Neither could have enough of the other. They spent the entire weekend inside, most of the time making love or talking. When Monday came around, neither one could find a way face reality.

“Listen, Vic, I'm going to try and come for a sabbatical or something. I'd like to give us a chance. I mean that's how I feel, how about you? What do you think?”

Vic was elated. “I'd like that very much. I want you here, but I can't ask you to quit and come. It wouldn't be fair. It's great if you could arrange something for now. If not we'll think of something else.”

“Okay. I'll try.”

They both cried a bit while saying good bye at the airport. Melanie waited until she was in the restricted area of the terminal to call Karen.

“We'll! You finally remember your friends. It's good to know you are alive. Where are you?”

“At the airport. Alive and kicking, my friend. Listen I don't want you to tell Addy this, although I know I'm asking for the impossible, but Karen between us, I don't know how I'm going to do it, but I'm coming back.”

“What?! And why can't I tell Addy?

“No that you can tell her, what you cannot tell her is what I'm about to tell you. Karen, I've had the most, fantastic, out of this world, fucking sex of my life for the last three days and I'm coming back for more!”

“Mel!” Karen laughed so loud she almost choked. “Are you on some drug?”

“Don't laugh! And no, I'm not in any drug. I know you've never heard me talk like this, but I had to tell someone and who better than you?”

“So you and the doc, huh?”

“God Karen, she is incredible. I need to explore this and find out where it can go.”

Karen continued to laugh. “Oh, I can't wait for you to explore this new side of you. So when would you be back?”

“I don't know, but I'm going to work on it immediately.”

“Okay. Does the doc share your excitement?”

“Yes. But she's also excited about treating Alejandro. So I don't know the difference yet!” Melanie laughed, making Karen laugh as well. At least, she had the right attitude. Only God knew where this could lead. “Thoroughbreds are her specialty.”

“And apparently psychiatrists too.”

“I have every intention to make psychiatry her new area of interest, believe me! Hey, I have to go. They are boarding the plane now. Keep an eye on her, would you?”

“Sure, Mel, anything for you my friend. See you soon. Text when you get there.”

“Okay, bye.”

**

Karen was pensive. This could be good or not. Melanie had her share of bad relationships and didn't need another. Anyways, she was old enough to know what she was doing. She also thought that at her age, even good sex was worth the try!

“Addy? Where are you? I have something to tell you.”

Mel was right. There was never a secret between them.

“What? What's going on?”

“Melanie just called.”

“I thought I heard you laughing. Is she alright? Where is she?” Addy had just come down stairs with clothes over her shoulders and arms.

“What are you doing?”

“The local community project is to help some of the towns' people so they are collecting used items. I'm gathering stuff to give them.”

“Aren't those my old overalls?”

“Yes and you said it – old.”

“Addy, they are comfy.”

“And they look awful too. You are a beautiful woman and you should look beautiful all the time.”

“I don't need to look beautiful all the time. I only want to look beautiful to you.”

“Then you can't wear those pants anymore.”

“Uugh!”

“So what about Melanie?”

“She and the doc had a great time. So great that she wants to come back”

Addy stopped short. “They had hot sex, didn't they?”

Karen smiled. “Yes and apparently so good that it's made Mel loose her wits!” Karen laughed. By the way, she told me not to tell you this part, but then she said that you and I don't keep things from each other, so I guess that means that it's okay for me to tell you, but that you should keep this very confidential.”

Addy rolled her eyes. “What? You don't that the next time I see the doctor I'm just going to walk up to her and say ‘hey I heard you had good sex with Mel' right?”

Karen smiled and held her.

“Ugh! You are awful! Don't worry. I will never do such a thing. I'm not that acquainted with Vic. I can't promise the same thing when I see Mel, though.” Addy walked around still gathering stuff to give away.

Karen chuckled.

“Do you think this is serious? I mean if she said she wants to come back and all?”

“She sounded pretty excited and said the doctor is too.”

“Okay, let's hope for the best.”

**

The doctor continued to treat Alejandro. One morning she was making her round when Addy stopped by the stables. They talked about Alejandro's progress and about how much Alex knew about the horse and about horses in general.

“I think that with me around here, she may turn out to be a vet! I mean, you should see the way she asks questions. She's insatiable!”

“Yes, I know how she could be when something interests her. She's like Karen in that regard. If she becomes annoying, call Marshal and tell her to bring her home.”

“Oh no! Addy, I love her inquisitive nature. I think it's very healthy. I enjoy having her around.”

“Well, thank you. Have you talked to Mel lately?”

“Yes. We actually talk almost every night. We've become very good friends.” Victoria didn't volunteer more, but Addy felt good knowing that the flame was still going.

However, two weeks later, Karen came across the doctor in an odd situation. Karen had been looking for Dr. Naylor. Through Mr. Stetson, she had discovered that the ninth member of the school board was Dr. Naylor and she wanted to thank him personally for his vote. She went to his office and was told that he had already left for the day and that he would most likely stop at the pub before heading home.

Her heart sunk when upon entering the pub she found Victoria in a very animated conversation with another woman. They two appeared to be very comfortable with each other. Victoria was sitting such that she found herself face to face with Karen with only a few feet of distance between them. Karen, who was the master of the poker face, as Addy always said, greeted her with a nod and proceeded towards where Dr. Naylor was sitting with other town's people. Karen was invited to sit down and when the waiter came she asked for a beer.

The look Karen gave Victoria when she came in lacked any emotion. That was precisely why Victoria was surprised. A few minutes later, Karen looked to her side and found Victoria and the other woman standing next to her. “Karen, I would like you to meet my sister, Jane. She lives in Edinburgh and is here visiting on her school break. She is a teacher.”

Karen immediately got up and shook Jane's hand. “Please to meet you.” She looked at Victoria with a semi-smiley face which Victoria immediately picked up.

Victoria smiled back. “I'll tell Melanie I saw you when I talk to her tonight.”

“In that case, make sure and tell her that Addy knows I'm here. I don't want her to get the wrong idea.” Karen threw in the innuendo of her own mistake.

“I think both Addy and Mel know you enough not to get the wrong idea.”

“Listen, would you like to join us for a little bit?”

“No, we are on our way out already, but thanks. Say hello to Addy for me.”

“Sure, I will.” She thanked Dr. Naylor, drank half her beer and went home.

**

Addy had just arrived from Alex's karate class. It had been her turn to take her.

“I had a scare this evening.”

“What happened? Are you okay?”

“Yes.” Karen told her about the encounter with Victoria at the pub.

“It was lucky it was you! I don't know what I would have done!”

“Well, let's learn from my wrong assumption then.”

**

As soon as Alejandro felt better, Victoria gave the okay for his training to continue. She was coming every day in the morning to make sure he was alright.

“You really like Alejandro, don't you?”

“Alex, I consider it a privilege to be his doctor.”

Alex gave her a very pleased smile.

“He is a magnificent horse. A truly outstanding specimen of his kind.”

“He likes you.”

Karen approached the pair, who were watching Alejandro run. “Little girl, we have to go. You don't want to be late.”

Alex got down from the fence. “Alejandro said he never hurt after you gave him medicine. He said that injection you gave him hurt and that he was afraid when you put that thing down his throat. But he said that you were worried about him and that he likes you because you care for him. Thanks for curing him. Bye!” She ran to the car.

Victoria looked at Karen. “Karen? How did she know about the endoscopy and the injection?”

“I don't know. I didn't even know you had done that until now.”

“Hum, interesting. I'll ask Marshal if she said anything to her.”

“By the way, Victoria . The other night at the pub, I –.”

“I gave you the wrong impression.” She paused and smiled. “You and Melanie are old friends and you care for her. Karen, I'm sure she told you about us. I care for her too. I'd like you to know that I'm not going to hurt her. I've been hurt myself and will never do that to anyone. We've talked about our past. I hope she can come so that we can have more time together and find out what we both want.”

“Good enough for me. You are both grown women and as far as I know there's no commitment of any kind. So, please don't feel like you can't—. I just don't want to see Melanie getting hurt. She's too good a person.”

“I know. I won't, but if I had the wild urge and wanted to be with anyone, I would go far away from here to do that. I talk to you frankly because I feel that I can and that you understand.”

Karen chuckled. “We are cool, Victoria . Have a good day.”

“You too.”

“Hey, you are not contemplating the possibility that Alex and Alejandro do talk to each other, are you?” Karen asked as she was on her way to her car.

Victoria shrugged and chuckled. “She's got a job with me for the summer if she can talk to horses!” Victoria yelled and Karen chuckled and waved her hands in the air.

It was a mystery how Alex found out about Alejandro's endoscopy and treatment.

A few weeks later, Addy, Karen, and Alex met Victoria at the stables. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon and the family was enjoying watching Alejandro grazing in the field.

“He is beautiful, isn't he? Is he ready to run?” Alex asked.

Victoria was surprised with the question. “Do you want him to run?”

“Is not so much what I want. Is what he wants. He knows he is a racing horse. I've pretty much told him that all his life and he's always wanted to run and win. Since he's been sick, he's been wondering whether he will be able to race and has been sad thinking that maybe he won't be able to.”

The moms were listening to Alex's questions to Victoria . Somehow all of them thought that Alex was expressing her feelings as if they were Alejandro's feelings.

“Well, Alex, he is healthy already. I've been coming around mainly because I love to see him train, but not because he needs medical care anymore. So, yes, if you would like to sign him up to race, you may do that.”

Alex immediately looked at the moms and at Marshal. “Let's do it. Let him be what he is – the best horse in all of Scotland !”

The women chuckled. Karen and Marshal looked worried. Addy was nervous and Alex was excited. The adults knew that once he began racing, Alejandro's life would change. It would also be costly and would take a lot of work if he was going to win. That night they talked to Alex about how Alejandro's life could change.

Karen began. “Alex before we sign up Alejandro for any race, we need to talk. You see, if your numbers are right and Alejandro does win races, he might become famous. And that is an overall good thing for us because he will bring a lot of money and fame to our stables, but the other side of that, it will require many sacrifices. For example, he will most likely be invited to many races, if he continues to win, and he will have to travel. You know how it is. Everyone always wants to beat the champ.”

“Who's going to take him? I have to go to school!” Alex had her wrinkled nose face.

The women smiled. She spoke as if she could drive Alejandro's trailer and stay in far-away places overnight, except for the tragedy that she was only eight years old and in third grade at school.

“Well, I think that Marshal, Carol and Gyro would be doing that part and Victoria would probably follow him around as well to take care of him, or at least would go wherever if she was needed.”

“Good. I wouldn't want to let him go with just anyone. I'd let him go anywhere with Ms. Marshal and Ms. Carol, they love him. And I would like Victoria to take care of him always. He likes her and she is a very good doctor. Marshal and Carol will give him a lot of love and Gyro will never hurt him because he never has. Alejandro tells me everything. He'll be fine with them.”

“So you don't mind that he would have to go away to race and would be gone for weeks?” Addy was the one speaking to her now.

“I would like to go see him race on the day of the race. Are we going to be able to do that?”

“Of course. He is your horse. You should be there to see him race. But again, Alex, we need to know if you are going to be okay with him not being here at the stables.”

“M'Addy, you told me once that we are who we are and that we must be proud of who we are. Alejandro is a race horse. Running is what he was born to do. He knows who he is and he likes to run. If I kept him from doing what he loves and wants to do, it wouldn't be fair to him. I love him and that's why he has to go and be who he is and do what he wants to do.”

Addy covered her mouth and began to cry. Karen's eyes became pools of water also.

“What did I say? Why are you crying?”

Addy hugged Alex. “Oh, baby! We are so proud of you! You are so grown up! We love you!”

Karen came over and joined in the hug. Karen kissed her, combed her hair back. “You make us proud, little girl.” Alex smiled and hugged them. “I can't believe how softy you guys are!” She nodded and smiled, planting a kiss on both their cheeks, first Addy and then Karen.

Karen got up from the sofa. “So be it! Alejandro runs! I'll call everyone and set up an all hands meeting for tomorrow. We need to know who's on board and who can we count on and for what!”

“Oh no! Alex, we have awakened the organizational monster in your mother! Lord have mercy! Before long we are all going to be wearing shirts with Alejandro's colors.”

Karen opened her eyes. “Colors! Alex, start thinking colors. Do a search! See what colors have not been taken. Addy—.'

“Oh no! I should have run while I could!”

Alex laughed. Karen smirked.

“You are going to find out about races and deadlines. Everybody, get busy now!”

She clapped her hands as if to get everyone going.

“Where are you going to do mommy?”

“I'm going to call Marshal.”

The wheels got going and before long, Alejandro was already registered to run his first race.

**

As predicted by Alex, Alejandro won several minor races. He was already making a name for himself. Shortly after six months of having begun his professional racing, everyone knew about him and looked for him as a favorite to win.

Carol and Marshal were touring with him and Karen, Addy and Alex would show up the day before the race to watch Alejandro race and win, consistently until now.

“Karen, may I have a word with you?”

“Sure, Marshal what is going on?”

“Look, I'm a little concerned. Alejandro is getting to be very popular and is already and is considered a top competitor. I'm afraid that the competition might want to harm or cause some trouble for him. I've been keeping guard at the stables, but Carol is getting mad at me because I haven't been sleeping in the hotel room with her and well, I was wondering if we could—.”

“Marshal, please, you shouldn't have done that!”

“It's Alex's horse, Karen. How could I ever tell her that something happened to him on my watch when I know that she has full confidence and trust in me?”

“I'm calling the PI I contracted after the fire. The safety of Alejandro will no longer be a concern for you. I'll ask him to send a detail where ever you are. They'll have a copy of Alejandro's racing schedule and will be there when you arrive. I don't want you sleeping in the stable anymore, is that clear? You have to keep things good between you and Carol.”

“Yes, and thanks.”

The next race was going to be big. The Racing Post Trophy was the race that would determine the next move. This was the race that would showcase the best horses in the entire region, and would determine which ones were Triple Crown candidates. Like in the U.S. , the British Triple Crown consists of three races known as the Two Thousand Guineas, the Derby , and the Saint Leger. The British trio of races takes place over a longer span of time, four months as compared with four to five weeks in the U.S. and the distances are larger than the races in the U.S. , 1 mile for the Two Thousand Guineas, 1.5 miles for the Derby , and 1.75 miles for the Saint Leger.

**

Two weeks before the Racing Post Trophy race, Melanie called. “Karen, I'm just calling to let you know that I've arranged a sabbatical in Edinburgh . I'm going to be doing research to publish and working part time at the hospital.”

“When are you coming? For how long?” Karen sounded excited. Addy immediately looked to see what was going on. Karen waved her to come closer.

“Well, it's a six month sabbatical, which can be extended for another six months. I'm going to take a couple of weeks off before starting, but it looks like I will be there for Alejandro's showcase race. I'm really excited!”

“I suppose the doc already knows, right?”

“Yes, she's expecting me.”

Addy took the phone. “Are you staying with us or have you moved to greener pastures?”

Melanie laughed, Karen rolled her eyes. “Addy, I have to be frank, you guys are my back up plan. I have been invited to greener pastures, so if you see me at your place with my bags, it's because the pastures are no longer green, and that would not be a good thing.” She laughed.

“I don't know, something tells me those pastures are very green and that there's plenty of pasture there.”

Melanie was again laughing. “From your lips to God's ears!”

“Oh! Give me that phone! I can't take this anymore!” Karen took the phone from her hand. Addy laughed.

Melanie was also laughing at the other end. “You guys will never change, I love both of you! Tell Alex I can't wait to see her.”

“Just remember to bring a present. You got her used to it and now she expects it.”

“And she should! Aunt Mel would never fail her. So, I'll see you soon.”

“If you need a ride from the airport—.”

“Nope don't worry about that, I'm being picked up!”

“Yes, looks like you really have been picked up!”

“Bye devil woman!”

“Bye!”

Addy was still listening and watching Karen.

“I hope everything works out for her. She sounds so happy!”

“Yeah. I hope so too.” Karen took Addy's hands and kissed them.

To be continued in Part 7.

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