Disclaimer: Not mine. If they were… we’d have had more Laura in it.
Summary: He’s home.
Laura stood in the doorway of their bedroom, watching Charles watch the snow as it fell outside the window. But even as he looked out the window, Laura could see that Charles was not really paying attention to the floating flakes, that his gaze was turned inward.
He’d been that way all day.
She doubted anyone else had noticed, but she had.
Oh, he’d smiled and conversed with her mother; and he’d laughed and played with Mary as they’d trimmed the Christmas tree… but Laura could tell that something was not quite right with her husband. His mind had been, and still was, elsewhere, and Laura felt her heart sink with what she feared it might be.
Taking a deep breath, she stepped further into the room, and closed the door. She walked quietly over to him, slipped her arms around him from behind, and laid her head against his back.
“You’re homesick,” she whispered, a touch of sadness in her voice as she rubbed her cheek against him.
“No. Not really. Not in the way you’re thinking,” Charles replied as he covered her hands with his. “This is home, Laura. You and Mary… this time… this is home. But you’re right, I was thinking about Kristen and Al. I was just wondering how they were doing, and hoping that they’re okay… and happy.”
“I’m sure they are, Charles,” Laura told him. “From all you’ve told me about them… I am sure they are fine.”
Charles nodded. “You’re probably right…”
“But you can’t help but wonder?”
Laura tightened her arms around him but didn’t respond.
“I apologize for worrying you,” Charles apologized.
“I was afraid…” her voice trailed off as her breath hitched in her throat.
Charles grasped her arm and tugged her around so that she was standing between him and the window. He slipped his fingers under her chin, lifting her head so that he could look into her eyes. “I know, and I’m sorry that I made you feel that way,” Charles said as he slid his hand up to cup her cheek, caressing her with his thumb. “I love you, Laura. Never doubt that. And never doubt that his is where I want to be… where I was meant to be.”
Laura smiled, her eyes bright with unshed tears, and the love she felt for him. “I love you,” her voice was soft, “so very much.”
Charles lowered his head and pressed his lips to hers; caressing her mouth more than kissing it, and felt her tremble in his arms. Ending the kiss, he pulled her into his embrace, wrapped his arms around her, and held her close.
Laura released a contented sigh as she laid her head on Charles’ chest and snuggled deeper into his embrace.
They simply held each other, swaying gently to the gentle beats of their hearts, and watched the snow continue to fall outside the window. After several long minutes, Charles dropped a kiss to the top of her head and tightened his arms around her.
“I want to make love with you,” he whispered into her hair.
Laura rubbed her cheek against his chest before lifting her head to meet his eyes. She gave him a loving smile, the beginnings of desire in her green eyes. “I would like that very much.”
Charles smiled as he kissed the tip of her nose, then her eyes and finally her mouth. A slow, drugging kiss that had her moaning his name as want and desire settled in her flesh.
With infinite care, they removed their nightclothes, and slipped beneath the quilts on their bed. Charles’ hands and mouth moved over her body, touching, caressing, kissing… building her arousal steadily until she was writhing under him, and begging him to be with her. Unable to deny her, or himself; his arousal having grown in time with hers, Charles joined his body to hers.
Their hearts leading the way, their bodies locked in a lover’s embrace, both Charles and Laura quickly succumbed to the emotion and the pleasure, crying out each other’s names in joyous rapture as their shared release washed over them.
She stared out the window, the sounds of the party going on strong behind her, watching the snow fall. So lost in her thoughts; she did not hear the man approach until she felt an arm wrap around her shoulders.
She turned to look at him and smiled. “Hey.”
“Hey,” he replied then ventured a question. “Thinking about him again?”
She nodded and returned her gaze to the falling snow. “Yes. I’m just wondering, yet again, if he made it back in time to save her… and if he did, how he’s doing.”
“He made it.”
“How do you know that?” She met his gaze in the window then glanced down when he held up a large, hardcover book. A smile formed on her lips. “I’d forgotten about the book.”
He chuckled. “Yeah, so did I until we were packing up the den the other day. I found it under a stack of those old newspapers he liked to collect,” he told her then opened it to a page he’d obviously marked. He held it out for her to see. “He made it.”
She smiled as she began to read, “Mr. and Mrs. C. Lattimer, owners of the Somerville Gazette, introduced the first small town humour and sports page.” She smiled up at him. “Thank you, Al.”
“You’re welcome, Kristen.” Al replied.
“He looks so happy,” Kristen said as their gazes returned to the picture in the book. “They both do.”
“Yeah, they do,” Al commented. “Charlie really did go back in time, didn’t he?”
Kristen nodded. “He did. He went back to where he was meant to be.”
“You really believe that?” Al asked.
“Yes, I do,” Kristen told him. “He was never truly happy here… back there,” she tapped the book, “back in that time, with her… he’s happy.”
Al closed the book. “Charlie would want you to be happy, too, Kristen.”
Kristen turned to him and laid her hand on his chest. “I am happy,” she smiled then rose up on her toes to kiss him.
Al returned her kiss then pulled her into his arms, turning them so that they could both stare out the window at the snow.
“Merry Christmas, Charlie…” Kristen whispered as she settled into Al’s embrace.
“Merry Christmas, Kristen…” Charles whispered as he turned his head to look out the window at the still falling snow, his thoughts once more turning to Kristen as his wife shifted in his arms, snuggling closer.
“I do hope she was able to find someone to share her life with,” Laura said quietly, rubbing her hand absently over his bare chest. “I would hate to think that she’s all alone in her time.”
“The more I think about it, the more I have a feeling that she has. Found someone, I mean,” a small smile touched Charles’ lips. “And that he’s exactly what she needed… someone who shares the same goals, the same outlook on life that she does.”
“You think she’s with Al, don’t you?” Laura asked, lifting her head to look at him.
Charles nodded. “Yeah, I do.”
“Does it bother you?”
He shook his head.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes,” Charles answered. “I told you earlier… I am where I am supposed to be… and with who I am meant to be with,” he reached up to cup her cheek. “You. You are my heart… and my home, Laura.”
Laura smiled then lowered her mouth to his, kissing him gently before settling back into his arms. Laying her head on his shoulder, she reached out to lace her fingers with his, resting them on his chest.
“Merry Christmas, Charles…” she murmured softly as she drifted off to sleep.
Charles tightened his embrace, and pressed his lips into her hair. “Merry Christmas, Laura…”