Title:  Waves of Change

By:  tayryn

Rating:  FRAO  (c’mon… this is me <grin>)

Pairing:  Nathan and Kristin romance

Archive:  my site & NKAdult

Disclaimer:  seaQuest and her crew belong to Amblin.  I’m just having a little fun with them.

Summary:  a painful anniversary brings with it a stunning revelation.

 

Notes & thank yous:  I can honestly say I stole the basic idea for this story from the last two weeks of the now defunct, but albeit wonderful soap opera, ‘Another World’, who, in their ultimate wisdom, reunited the wonderful and charismatic couple of Carl and Rachel.  (Man, I miss this show too!!) 

 

This takes place after the sinking of the first seaQuest.

 

Extra special thanks go out to Calea… for sticking with me from the beginning of this little odyssey, for her incredible help with all the medical info and for beta’ing!!  Thank you SO much my friend!!

 

Thanks also to Jana, the other ½ of ESB², for her encouragement, for sharing in all the blushing and giggles incurred while writing this monster and for providing a second pair of eyes in the beta’ing department.  Bugs, dear!!!

 

Hugs to both of you!!  I know this was a lot to stare at, and I appreciate you both doing so for me!!

 

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

Lucas stepped out of the house onto the porch and glanced around.  He sighed deeply as he spotted the object of his search standing alone at the end of the dock.  Releasing another deep sigh, he stepped off the porch and made his way down to the dock.  It wouldn’t hurt to ask her one more time, he reasoned.

 

“Well, everything is set in the house,” he said, coming to stand beside her, lowering his bag to the dock.  “I’ve put the food in the fridge, checked the waterline and made sure the vid-phone is working.  I even left a few other items in the storage locker, just in case.”  Lucas paused and followed her gaze out on the water.  “Anything else you need?”

 

She shook her head.

 

“Are you sure I can’t stay with you?”

 

She nodded.

 

“What about the twins?”

 

“Cynthia is with them and will look after them until I get back.”

 

“I wish you’d let me stay.”  Lucas told her, turning to look at her, seeing her shake her head. 

 

“We’ve already discussed this, Lucas.”

 

“Yeah, I know.  But I don’t have to like it.”

 

“No, you don’t.  I’ll be fine, Lucas.  I’m not a little girl.  I can look after myself.”

 

“And I still can’t talk you out of it?”

 

“I’m afraid not.”

 

Lucas sighed, his disappointment obvious.

 

She lowered her voice and took his hand in hers.  “I’m sorry, Lucas.  But I can’t deal with what the UEO has planned for tomorrow.”

 

“They’re doing it to honour him.”

 

“I know they are,” she told him.  “But I… I can’t face that right now.  Especially if Noyce is going to be there.”

 

“Fine, I can understand that part, but why here?  Why the island?  And why alone?”

 

Kristin held up her free hand to stop the boy’s questions.

 

“I know you don’t completely understand, Lucas.  I’m not sure I do either.”  Kristin said with the tiniest of smiles as she turned to face him fully.  “I just… I need this time alone.  Here.”

 

“And what about tomorrow?  Are you sure you want to be alone for that?”  He was pushing harder than he should have been and he knew it but he couldn’t seem to help himself.  Lucas watched as she closed her eyes and took a deep breath.  “Doc?”

 

She opened her eyes slowly and shook her head as she reached out and laid her hand on his arm. 

 

“Don’t worry.  I’ll be fine.”

 

Lucas frowned and shook his head sadly.  “Just promise me you’ll be careful.  I…” he paused as his eyes misted over.  “I don’t want to lose you too.”

 

“You won’t lose me.”  Kristin pulled the younger man into her arms, hugging him tightly.  “I promise.”

 

“I’m holding you to that.”  Lucas said, returning her embrace.

 

“Time to go, Lucas.”

 

The two separated at the sound of Ford’s voice.

 

“Right, Captain.”  Lucas said, giving Kristin another quick hug.  “I’m coming.”

“Thank you for doing this, Jonathan.”  Kristin said, watching Lucas head for the launch as Ford stepped over to her.

 

“Not a problem,” Ford said.  “I understand why you don’t want to be there.”

 

Kristin gave him a small smile.  “I’m glad someone does.”

 

Jonathan returned the smile, placing his hand on her shoulder.  “The Captain was never one for that kind of fuss and hoopla but he wouldn’t have wanted this either.”

 

“No.  You’re right,” Kristin agreed quietly.  “Nathan wouldn’t have wanted this.”

 

“I can’t believe it’s been a year…”

 

Kristin heard his voice trail off but didn’t say anything, continuing to look out at the water.

 

“We’ll be back in a week,” Ford told her quietly a few minutes later.

 

“Thank you, Jonathan.”

 

“Take care of yourself, Kristin.”

 

“I will.”

 

Jonathan nodded briefly, squeezed her shoulder, and then headed for the launch.  Kristin remained on the dock, watching the launch as it slowly slipped beneath the water.  She let her gaze drift out over the water, to finally resting on the setting sun in the horizon, a wave of memories rolling over her.

 

 

“Beautiful, isn’t it?”

 

Kristin leaned back against Nathan, lacing her fingers with his where they rested on her gravid stomach.  “Oh, Nathan, it’s gorgeous.  Thank you for bringing me here.  I needed this.”

 

“You’re welcome,” Nathan smiled against her shoulder.  “You know I’d do anything for you, honey.”  He patted her belly gently.  “You and our munchkins.”

 

Kristin turned her head and smiled at him, reaching up to cup his cheek.  “I love you, Nathan Bridger.”

 

“I love you too, Kristin Bridger.”  Nathan replied leaning in and covering her mouth with his own.

 

 

Kristin’s eyes opened and she released a shuddering breath as she reached up to wipe the tears from her cheeks.  Turning away, she headed for the house.  She paused before entering to look back at the water and then with a shake of her head she went inside, never noticing the shadowed figure peering at her from the end of the porch.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

He was dreaming again.

 

“I love you, baby,” he said softly, his hands sliding up her back to slip into her hair.

 

“I love you too,” she replied as his lips covered hers for a long, sweet kiss.  When they parted several minutes later, she reached up and brushed her fingers over his lips.  “Hurry back.”

 

“Will do.”  He said, brushing another quick kiss against her lips before untangling himself from her and moving into the launch.

 

 

His eyes opened and he looked up at the moon hanging in the night sky.  He focused on trying to hold on to the dream, to make sense of it, even as it slowly faded away. 

 

She’d been in his dream, the woman who’d come to the island.  He was certain of it.  The more he focused on his dream, the more rapidly it faded; leaving him frustrated and just as confused as he always was when he woke from them.

 

Frustrated, confused, and needing answers… he was all these things.

 

Answers. 

 

Now, more than ever, he felt he was close to the answers he so desperately sought.

 

He pushed aside the sleeping bag and sat up, his gaze drifting back towards the house.  There was something about her.  Something he couldn’t quite put his finger on.  He could feel it.

 

Knowing she was close, he found it impossible to fall back to sleep.  He slowly climbed to his feet and began to pace before deciding to head down to the beach for a long walk.

 

~ Make that a very long walk. ~ He thought ruefully. 

 

A sudden sound caused him to stop in mid stride.

 

Before he realized what he was doing, he took off into the direction of the house.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

“Nathan!”

 

Kristin bolted up in bed, his name a dying scream on her lips as she broke through the remaining layers of her nightmare.

 

“Oh, Nathan,” she clutched the sheets as she drew in uneven breaths.  Willing her breathing to slow, she loosened her grip on the sheets and glanced over at the bedside clock.

 

02:00 a.m.

 

Kristin gazed out the patio doors, watching the moonlight dance across the ocean before sighing and climbing out of the bed, knowing it was pointless to remain there.  She wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep no matter how hard she tried.  Kristin grabbed her robe and pulled it on as she left her bedroom, opting to go for a walk along the beach.

 

She slipped out of the house and stepped off the porch onto the cool sand.  Heading for the water’s edge, she let her mind wander, unaware of the eyes watching her every step along the beach.

 

 

“Nathan, maybe you should call Bill and tell him you can’t make it to this conference.”

 

“Kris, I’m fine.  A little tired maybe, but fine.”  Nathan told his wife as he slipped his arms about her waist and pulled her close.  “Besides, if I do this, Bill will owe me…”

 

“I don’t care about that.”  Kristin said, reaching up to run the back of her fingers over his cheek.  “Nathan, you look terrible.”

 

“Gee, thanks,” he smiled softly at her.

 

“I’m serious, Nathan,” she gave him a concerned look.  “You haven’t been sleeping.  You’re barely eating and you’ve been irritable, not just with your engineering crew, but with me and the babies as well.”  She stopped when Nathan lowered his eyes.  “I’m worried about you, honey.  I’m afraid that you’re overworking yourself.”

 

“I know.  I’m sorry,” Nathan said softly.  “And I wish I could call Bill and cancel…”

 

“Then do it.”

 

“I can’t, Kris.  You know that.”

 

“I know nothing of the sort!”  Kristin retorted.  “If it’s so damned important to have someone from seaQuest at this conference, then send Jonathan.”

 

Both Nathan and Kristin turned at the sound of someone clearing their throat, to see a young man in uniform standing at attention.

 

“Yes, Martins?”  Nathan asked.

 

The young man swallowed hard, seeming to shrink into himself under the sharp look Kristin was giving him.  He cleared his throat again before continuing.

 

“The launch is ready to depart, sir.”

 

“Thank you, Martins.”  Bridger replied, nodding to the young man that he could leave.  “I’ll be right there.”

 

“Yes, sir.  Very good, Captain.”  Martins said as he saluted smartly and hastily retreated to the launch.

 

Nathan looked back at his wife, pulling her closer.  “I don’t want to leave like this.”

 

Kristin nodded knowingly and leaned forward, resting her forehead against his chest, speaking softly.  “I’m worried about you, Nathan.”

 

“I promise you, Kris… as soon as I get back on Sunday, you, me and the twins will steal away to the island for some much needed R & R.”

 

Kristin lifted her head and met his eyes.

 

“I promise,” he told her.  “And when have I ever broken a promise to you?”

 

“Never.” 

 

“And I never will.”

 

Kristin sighed and slowly nodded.

 

“I love you, baby.”  Nathan said softly, his hands sliding up her back to slip into her hair.

 

“I love you too.”  Kristin replied as his lips covered hers for a long, sweet kiss.  When they parted several minutes later, Kristin reached up and brushed her fingers over his lips.  “Hurry back.”

 

“Will do,” he said, brushing another quick kiss against her lips before untangling himself from her and moving into the launch.

 

“And please, be careful.”  Kristin whispered as she watched him disappear.

 

 

The cool water suddenly splashing up over her feet, pulled Kristin out of her reverie as she stepped back from the waves and made her way over to the dock.  Walking to the end, she sat down on the bench.  Listening to the waves roll in, Kristin’s mind wandered to the past yet again.

 

 

“Kristin, could I have a word with you?”

 

In her lab at UEO headquarters, Kristin looked up from her microscope at the sound of Joshua Levin’s voice.  She smiled at the younger man.  “Sure.  What’s up?”

 

Joshua seemed to hesitate.

 

“What it is, Joshua?”  Kristin asked, straightening up.  It was then that she noticed that he was holding a large envelope in his hands.  “What are those?”

 

“These…” Joshua took a deep breath, as he handed the envelope over to her and watched her open it.  “These are the results of Nathan’s CT scan.”

 

Kristin looked up from the films in her hands.  “What CT scan?”

 

“The one I performed Friday,” he answered quietly.  “Just before he left for Rio.”

 

“He didn’t mention anything to me about having one.”

 

“Nathan didn’t want to worry you.”

 

“Then why are you…” her voice trailed off as looked down at the results.  She gasped, a hand coming to her mouth.  “Oh my God.”

 

“I’m sorry, Kristin.”

 

“Are you sure these are Nathan’s?”  Kristin asked in a quiet voice.

 

“I’m afraid so.”  Joshua answered sadly.  “It explains a lot of the changes we’ve been seeing in him over the last few months.”

 

Kristin nodded, tears welling in her eyes as she leaned back against her desk.  ~ A tumor.  Oh God, Nathan. ~   She swallowed back the lump that had formed in her throat and met Joshua’s eyes, asking the question she feared the she already knew the answer to.  “Can it… can it be removed… without killing him?”

 

“I honestly don’t know.”  Joshua answered.  “I’ve got a call into Doctor Coleman.”

 

“He’s one of the best neurosurgeons in the world.”  Kristin said quietly.

 

“Yes, and he’s also a friend of the family.”  Joshua told her.  “I’ve already sent him copies of the tests and I’m just waiting for him to get back to me.”  He placed a comforting hand on her shoulder and waited till she met his eyes.  “Don’t worry, Kristin.  All indications are that we caught this in time.”

 

Kristin glanced down at the scans again and was about to comment when Lucas burst into the room, calling her name.  She was about to scold him for failing to knock, but something on his face held her back.  “What’s wrong?”

 

“The launch…” he struggled to get the words out as he tried to catch his breath.  “The cap’s launch.”

 

“What about it?”  Kristin asked him, not sure she really wanted to know.

 

“There’s a problem.  They’re sending out an S.O.S.”  Lucas told her, finally getting his breathing under control.

 

“What kind of problem?”  She asked.

 

“I don’t know,” Lucas responded.  “I was scanning through the frequencies…”

 

“Which you’ve been told before you’re not to do.”  Kristin scolded.

 

“Yeah, I know…” he waved her comment away.  “But as I was getting ready to turn the scanner off, that’s when I heard it.  The S.O.S from the cap’s launch.”

 

“Lucas, are you sure it was Captain Bridger’s launch?”  Joshua asked incredulously.

 

Lucas simply nodded, his wide eyes full of worry as he continued to look at Kristin.  “I know it was his launch, doc.  I swear I heard his voice in the background.”

 

“I believe you, Lucas.”  Kristin said, feeling far from calm herself.  Dropping the scans on her desk, she placed a calming hand on his arm and gestured to the door.  “Come on, we’ll go over to the communications building right now.  I’m sure Bill will be able to tell us what’s going on.”

 

“I’ll come with you.”  Joshua said, as he followed them out the door.

 

 

Kristin blinked and turned her gaze up to the moon, remembering the frantic run across the compound from her lab to the UEO Communications Centre; the whole time trying to convince herself that it was all a misunderstanding, some garbled signal coming across Lucas’ scanner; that Nathan was safely on his way home to her.

 

She’d been wrong.

 

 

Kristin burst into the UEO main communications room, Lucas and Joshua right on her heels. 

 

“Bill,” she moved immediately to Noyce’s side.  “What’s going on?  Lucas said something about trouble with Nathan’s launch?”

 

Noyce shook his head, an anxious, concerned look on his face.  “We don’t know for sure, Kristin.  All we’ve able to determine is that Nathan’s launch left Rio on schedule, and fifteen minutes ago they began to broadcast a wideband S.O.S.”

 

“Why…”

 

“We don’t know,” Bill said, meeting her eyes.  “There’s some kind of interference with the signal.  We’re trying to clean it up now.”  Bill turned to the young man sitting next to him.  “Well?”

 

“It’s the same as before, sir.  We’ve not been able to clean up the inter…” The technician replied as he brought his hand up to his earpiece.  “Wait a minute…”

 

“What?  What is it?”  Noyce asked anxiously.

 

“We’re getting a voice message now.”

 

“Nathan?”  Kristin leaned forward on the console.  “Is it Nathan?”

 

“No, ma’am.  I’m sorry… it’s not Captain Bridger.”  The man replied.  “It’s Ensign Martins.”

 

“On speakers.”  Noyce ordered.

 

“Speakers, sir.”  The tech replied as he flipped a switch.  “But I warn you… it’s garbled.”

 

“Martins!  Noyce here.  What’s happening, son?  Where’s Captain Bridger?”

 

“Accident… mini…” Came the jumbled response.  “…acks… ming in… ass.

 

“Can’t you clear that up?”  Noyce asked the tech.

 

“I’m sorry, sir.  It’s like this at the source.”  The tech apologized.

 

“Martins, what’s your position?”

 

“…miles off coa… leza…”

 

“What about Nathan?”  Kristin asked, worry lacing her voice.

 

“…tain Bridg… ed.”

 

“Repeat that last message, Martins.  Where’s Captain Bridger?”

 

“Cap… oh…”

 

The sound of shattering glass and rushing water burst over the speakers, drowning out Martins’ screams; followed by the piercing scream of metal twisting violently was the last thing they heard before the signal suddenly died.

 

“Oh my God… Nathan!?”  Kristin gasped, gripping tightly to the console before her.

 

Joshua reached out and placed a comforting hand on Lucas’ shoulder as a stunned Noyce began issuing orders.

 

“Were we able to get a fix on their position?”  He asked.

 

“No, sir.”

 

“Dammit!”  Noyce swore.  “I want all available ships out there searching for survivors.  Have them start at the Rio facility and work their way up the coast.  Both above and below the water.”  He turned to Kristin, reaching out a hand and placing it on her arm.  “We’re going to find him, Kristin.  I promise you we won’t rest until we…”

 

“This is all your fault!”  Kristin suddenly yanked her arm away as she whirled around to face him, her brown eyes blazing angrily.  “You just had to send him to that bloody conference!  You couldn’t send someone else, nooo… it just had to be Nathan.  Never mind that he barely has enough time to spend with me and the twins while he works on that bloody new boat.  You just had to add to his schedule…”

 

“Kristin… I…”

 

“No!  Don’t even start!  I don’t want to hear it!  All I want is for my husband to be found!”  She gave him a hard look.  “And you find him, Bill or I will never forgive you.  Never.”

 

With that, Kristin turned and stormed out of the room, Lucas quickly following after her.

 

 

 

Kristin released a shuddering breath as the sound of the launch imploding echoed in her mind and reached up to wipe away the tears that fell to her cheeks.

 

“Oh, Nathan,” she sighed.  “Oh, I miss you so much.”

 

Suddenly she felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand up, the feeling that she was being watched washing over her.  She shook her head, dismissing the feeling.  ~ How could anyone be watching you when you’re alone on the island? ~

 

 

He watched her, his eyes never leaving her silhouetted form.  He could feel that he knew her; he’d felt it from the moment she’d arrived on the island.  He was certain that she held the answers to all his questions, but how to approach her?  He was terrified that if he made the wrong move now, he’d never get the answers he so desperately needed.

 

 

Kristin sighed.  Stretching slowly, she stood, deciding to head back to the house to try and catch a few more hours of sleep.  And if that failed, she’d take a shower, make some breakfast, and go for another walk.

 

 

~ Now or never. ~  He thought as he watched her turn and walk down the dock towards the house.  As she stepped off the dock onto the sand, he slowly moved out of the trees and into her line of vision.

 

 

Kristin stopped cold in her tracks, her breath catching in her throat.  Her eyes grew wide as she took in the figure some twenty feet in front of her.

 

“Do you know me?”  He asked in a quiet voice, knowing he’d startled her.

 

“Oh my God!”

 

“Please,” he took a hesitant step towards her, noting that she was rooted to the ground, her eyes wide with disbelief.  “Please… do you know me?”

 

“Na… Nathan?”  Kristin whispered not believing what she was seeing.

 

He remained standing where he was not uttering a word as she took a couple shaky steps towards him, her eyes still wide with disbelief.

 

“Nathan?  Are you… are you real?”  Kristin shook her head in disbelief while staring at his face illuminated by the light of the nearly full moon.  Her body started to tremble as he walked slowly towards her, closing the distance between them, stopping within arms reach.  “No… no… you’re… you can’t be.” 

 

He held perfectly still, not wanting to frighten her anymore than he had, as she slowly reached out a shaking hand until her fingers touched his cheek.  He watched her eyes fill with tears.

 

“Oh, God… you’re real!”  Kristin gasped.  “You’re… you’re real!”

 

“Then you do know me?”  Nathan asked, taking another step closer to her, his eyes filled with a hopeful relief.

 

“Yes…”

 

“Really?”

 

“Yes.”  Kristin nodded; reaching out and grabbing his hand, feeling the familiar electric jolt run through her at the feel of him.  She swallowed back her tears as she squeezed his hand tighter, feeling him return the gentle pressure.  “Oh… I’m not dreaming.  You’re really here!”

 

“Yes.  I’m here.  But I don’t know where here is exactly.”  Nathan told her, looking down at their entwined hands, before slowly bringing his gaze up to hers.  “For the past nine months I’ve seen your face and I know, I know,” he repeated for emphasis.  “I’ve been here before; been in that house.”  He glanced back behind him at the house then turned back to her, meeting her eyes.  “My past is a blank… a jumble of feelings and impressions.  But throughout it all… the constant image in my mind has been your face.”

 

“A blank?  You mean…”

 

“I can’t remember my past.”

 

“But you… you remembered me?”  Kristin asked him.  “You do remember me?”

 

“Yes… yes I do,” Nathan nodded.

 

A small smile touched Kristin’s lips.  ~ He’s here.  He’s really here.  And he remembers me. ~

 

Nathan reached up with his free hand and touched her hair,  “Tell me… tell me who you are.  How do I know you?”  He paused before continuing softly.  “Tell me who I am.”

 

“Your name is Nathan.  Nathan Hale Bridger.  I… I’m Kristin Elissa Bridger, your wife.”

 

Nathan ran the names through his mind, mouthing them to himself and slowly nodded, a soft smile forming on his lips.  He cupped Kristin’s cheek.

 

“Kristin… I believe I love you.”

 

“Oh…” Kristin pulled in a sharp breath, turning her face into his caress, tears slipping down her cheeks.  “And I love you.”

 

They stood staring at each other for a few moments.

 

“Nathan, what happened?  Where… where have you been?”

 

“In a clinic…”

 

“A clinic… where?  Why?”  She asked, a sob catching in her throat.  “Why didn’t you contact me?  Send word?”

 

“I couldn’t…”

 

“Do you know the agony I’ve been in?”

 

“I’ve been in agony too,” his hands slid up her arms and he felt her tremble.  “You’re trembling.  Let me help you.”

 

“It doesn’t matter.”  Kristin shook her head.  “Nothing matters.  You’re here and you’ve come back to me,” she paused and stepped closer to him.  “You’re alive.”

 

“Yes.  Yes I am.”  Nathan replied, a feeling of warmth suffusing through him as Kristin slipped her arms about his waist and held tight to him.  “I’m alive.  For the first time in months, I’m alive.”

 

“I’ve prayed for this.”  Kristin murmured against his shoulder, feeling his arms slowly move about her.  “I prayed and my prayers were answered.”

 

They stood holding each other for a bit before Kristin extricated herself from his arms.  “I could use a cup of tea, how about you?”  She met and held his gaze for a moment before reaching for his hand and quietly leading him towards the house. 

 

“That would be nice,” he answered as they entered the house.  “Thank you.” 

 

Kristin smiled and released his hand.  “I’ll be right back.” 

 

Nathan nodded.  He gave a low whistle when she stepped into the kitchen.  ~ My wife. ~ He thought to himself, a smile forming on his lips.  ~ I can’t believe that gorgeous woman is my wife! ~

 

Nathan turned slowly, looking around the room he found himself alone in, his mind going over everything that had just happened.  He made his way back to the open patio doors and leaned up against the frame, gazing out at the water while he waited for Kristin to return with the tea.

 

 

With shaking hands, Kristin pulled two cups from the cupboard and placed them on the counter, tossing in a couple teabags as she waited for the water to boil.  ~ He’s home. ~ She thought, still in shock, but with no doubts whatsoever that it was really him.  She could feel it in her heart.  ~ He’s really home. ~

 

“I’ve got to call Lucas and Jonathan,” she said to herself and walked over to the vid-phone.  “Let them know he’s back.”

 

Her hand hovered over the button and then she slowly lowered her hand, letting her arm fall to her side.

 

“On second thought, I don’t want to share him with anyone just yet.” 

 

Kristin walked back to the now boiling kettle of water and finished preparing the tea.  Several minutes later, tea in hand, Kristin paused in the kitchen doorway when she saw him standing in the patio door lost in thought, framed in the moonlight. 

 

She had all sorts of questions for him.  Where had he been?  What had happened to him?  What had he gone through?  Why had he waited so long to come home?  These and so many others ran through her mind, as she straightened up and slowly walked across the room towards him, ready to listen and help him return completely to her.

 

Sensing her near, Nathan turned his head as she stepped up beside him, taking the cup she offered.  “Thanks.”

 

Kristin nodded and took a sip, turning her gaze out onto the water.  “You said you were in a clinic,” she said quietly a few moments later.  “Can you tell me what happened, how you ended up in that clinic?”

 

“I’ll tell you everything I know.”  Nathan replied, taking a sip of the tea.  “From what I was told, I was found on a beach, barely alive, by a couple of swimmers.  They took me to a nearby clinic where I was treated for some wounds I’d sustained.  But after a week, I’d still not gained consciousness, so the doctor there did some scans and found…”

 

“That you had a brain tumor.”

 

Nathan nodded.

 

“And the doctor decided to operate?”

 

“Yes.  They operated,” Nathan said, reaching up to run his hand through his hair.  “And I came through it.  Doctor Correia said it was a miracle I survived… that it was a great success, with or without a memory.”

 

“Celina Correia?”  Kristin asked and he nodded.  “I’m assuming you also went through some physiotherapy.”

 

“Yes.  Took me a few months, but I did learn to walk and talk again,” Nathan answered and then sighed softly.  “But they don’t know how to give you back your memory,” he paused, taking another sip of his tea.  “I’ve had some flashes… but nothing I can really grasp.”

 

“Tell me what you do remember,” she encouraged gently.

 

Nathan inhaled deeply, his gaze drifting out onto the ocean. 

 

“Robert.”  He said suddenly and looked at her.  “Why’d I say Robert?”

 

He turned all of a sudden and moved back into the house.  Kristin turned, watching him pace around as he tried to remember.

 

“Darwin.  Who’s Darwin?”  Nathan continued.  “I remember… Lucas.  Uhm… seaQuest,” he walked back over and stood in front of her.  “And I see you.  You’re dressed up… your hair is curled and brushed away from your face and your eyes…” he reached up and traced around her eyes with his fingers.  “Your eyes are the colour of fine, dark whiskey and…” his voice trailed off as he dropped his hand to his side and then lifted again to grasp the empty air.  “But I can’t quite grasp it.  I don’t know if it’s real or if it’s an illusion.”

 

“It’s not an illusion.  It’s real,” Kristin grasped his hand.  “It’s all real, Nathan.”

 

“And you?”

 

“I’m real too.”  Kristin replied, squeezing his hand.  “And I will be here to help you any way I can.”

 

Nathan smiled and returned the pressure of her hand, before letting go to move about the room again.  He gestured at her.  “Names, tell me some more names.  Places… maybe it will jog something.”

 

“Okay.”  Kristin nodded as she walked towards the couch.  “New Cape Quest.  Jonathan, Ben… Katie.”  Kristin paused to take a breath, still standing.  “Uhm… Bill…”

 

“Bill…” Nathan interrupted.  “Bill…William.  Bill Noyce.” 

 

Kristin smiled and nodded. 

 

“Kailey.”  Nathan stopped his pacing, turning to look at her.  “Why is that name so important to me?  And Wil?  Why?”

 

“They’re our children.”

 

“Our… our children?”  Nathan repeated.  His eyes grew wide.  “Our twins.”

 

Kristin nodded and watched as he moved to stand next to the hallway that led to the bedrooms and gestured down the hall. 

 

“And they… they were born here.  In this house, in our bedroom.”

 

“Yes.”  Kristin walked over to him.  “What else do you remember from that night?”

 

After a few minutes of thinking, Nathan shook his head.  “Nothing.  I’m sorry.”

 

“Don’t apologize.”  Kristin told him.

 

“It’s just… so frustrating.”  Nathan said.  “I’ve always felt that I had this… this full, wonderful life just waiting for me.”

 

“And you do.”

 

“I know that now.  That life does exist,” he leaned back against the wall and sighed.  “But to just get a small glimpse of that life, to have it just in my grasp, and then have it yanked away...” Nathan pushed off the wall and walked back into the living room. 

 

“It will happen, Nathan.”  Kristin said.  “You’ve got to give it time.  Have some patience.”

 

“I don’t want to wait any longer.”  Nathan growled, pounding his fist on the fireplace mantel, the movement knocking over one of the pictures.  “I’ve waited months now.  I want to remember now,” he turned to look at her, meeting her eyes from across the room.  “I want to remember us.”

 

Kristin smiled softly as he walked back over to her, stopping in front of her.

 

“I want to remember the first day I fell in love with you, seeing you storm down the companionway to tear into Ford,” he reached out to brush his fingers over her cheek, not stopping to realize what he’d just said.  “I want to remember our first date, our first kiss, the first time we made love.”

 

“You will,” she reached out and laid her hand on his chest.  “We’re together now and I will do everything in my power to help you remember.”

 

“Thank you.”

 

“There is nothing I wouldn’t do for you, Nathan.”  Kristin told him, moving her hand on his chest so that it now lay over his heart, her eyes meeting his.  “I love you.”

 

Nathan brought his hand up to cup her cheek, feeling her shiver as he ran his thumb softly over her lips.  “May I kiss you, Doctor?”

 

“Of course, Captain.”  Kristin whispered in a tremulous voice, looking deep into his eyes, the hint of a smile on her lips.

 

Nathan gently pulled her closer, brushing the softest of kisses against her lips, hesitating for just an instant when he heard her sharp intake of breath, before fully pressing his lips to hers.  After several moments, their lips parted to seeking tongues and the kiss deepened.

 

Kristin moaned softly as she felt his hand slip into her hair, the other sliding down her side to rest on the small of her back pulling her closer.  She slid her hands up Nathan’s chest and wound them about his neck, threading her fingers in his hair holding his mouth captive to hers.  Little by little, the kiss came to an end.  Neither one spoke for a few moments as they rested their foreheads together, both trying to catch their breath.

 

“I’ve asked you that before.”  Nathan said quietly; part question, part statement.  “And you answered the same way.”

 

“Yes,” Kristin responded breathlessly. 

 

Nathan smiled and then raised his head.  “The prelude to our first real kiss?”

 

Kristin nodded, a small smile touching her lips.

 

“It wasn’t an illusion,” he said, his eyes growing wide.  “It really was a memory.  And a pleasant one at that.”

 

Kristin laughed at the grin that came to his face.  “Yes, it certainly is that.”

 

“You were so beautiful that night,” Nathan told her, his hand slipping out of her hair to caress her cheek.  “So beautiful.  Then and now.”

 

Kristin reached up and covered his hand with hers as they held each other’s gaze.  Suddenly Kristin yawned.

 

“Oh, my.  I’m sorry,” she said as she stifled another one.

 

“Don’t be,” Nathan said, stepping back.  “It’s late.  You should get some rest.”

 

Kristin nodded.  “We both should.” 

 

“Uh… Kristin…” Nathan began as she reached for his hand, leading him down the hall towards the bedroom.  “I don’t think…”

 

“Don’t worry, Nathan,” Kristin said as she opened the door to their room and pulled him inside.  She turned to him meeting his eyes in the semi-darkness.  “It’s too soon for either of us, I know that.  But I’ve had to sleep without your arms around me for so long…” she paused, blinking back the sudden tears that formed unbidden in her eyes.  “And I’ve missed it so much.”

 

Nathan reached up and wiped the tears from her eyes, smiling softly at her.  “I would like very much to hold you while you sleep.”

 

Kristin returned his soft smile and nodded.  “You’ll find your pajamas in the dresser over there.”  She pointed to the far side of the room as she began to walk towards the bathroom.  “I’ll be right out.”

 

“Take your time.”  Nathan told her as the door shut, walking over to his dresser.  He shook his head, talking to himself as he pulled his t-shirt over his head.  “Since when do I sleep in pajamas?”

 

Not giving it anymore thought, he opened the drawer, pulled out a pair of black, silk boxers, and changed into them.  He’d just finished folding back the blankets when the bathroom door opened and Kristin stepped out.

 

“It’s all yours,” she said, walking over to the bed and sitting on the edge.

 

“Thanks.”

 

Kristin watched with an appreciative smile, her gaze moving over his firm, tan body clad only in the black boxers she loved so much.  And yet, even as the woman in her appreciated his body, the doctor in her couldn’t help but look him over with a critical eye as well.  She kept her eyes on him until he disappeared into the bathroom, shutting the door behind him.  Kristin stood and walked over to the patio doors on the other side of the room and opened them fully to allow the warm, ocean breeze to blow about the room.

 

Nathan opened the bathroom door and shut off the light; stopping in the doorway to watch as Kristin made her way back to the bed.  He felt a pull in his groin as he watched her removed her robe, revealing a simple lavender coloured silk slip that stopped just above her knees.  He watched her slide into the bed under the sheet.  Steeling himself against the sudden nervousness he felt, Nathan slowly made his way back across the room and slipped into the bed beside her.

 

Kristin turned off the bedside lamp, leaving only the moonlight bathing the room in a soft, ethereal glow as she turned towards him.  “Nathan, if this is too much or too soon for you right now…”

 

“No, Kris, it’s fine,” Nathan said, rolling slightly towards her.  “I’ll admit… I’m a little nervous,” he said with a hint of a smile in his voice.

 

She smiled back.  “I am too,” she responded softly.

 

“Glad I’m not the only one.”  Nathan reached out to gently caress her cheek.  “I meant what I said earlier.  I would love for you to fall asleep in my arms.”  He tucked a lock of hair behind her ear.  “So, what do you say you scoot over here and we get some sleep?"

 

Kristin smiled and nodded, shifting closer to him.  As he lay back against his pillows, she moved into his arms, snuggling up against him, her head resting on his chest over his heart.  She released a soft sigh and felt her body relax as his arms slipped about her and drew her closer.

 

Nathan closed his eyes as he pulled her close and, despite his memory loss, felt a sense of peace pass over him as her body molded to his and he heard her sigh.  He trailed his hand along her arm, over her shoulder and into her hair, stroking his fingers through her thick mane.

 

“I love you, Nathan,” Kristin said softly, her hand gently rubbing his chest.

 

“I love you too, Kristin,” Nathan replied, grasping her hand and bringing it to his lips.  “I may not remember it in my head, but my heart remembers.”

 

Kristin smiled against his chest, turning her head slightly to press a soft kiss against his skin.  “I know.”

 

Nathan smiled softly as he pulled her closer and very soon, both were sound asleep.

 

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

Nathan glanced around and then quickly took a bite, then another of the cheeseburger before stuffing it in the refuse and moving down the corridor, towards the other destination he had in mind.

 

A short while later, he leaned up against the hatchway of her office with a smile on his face.  He took a step inside and closed the door quietly.

 

“So, what does a guy have to do to get a proper welcome home around here?”

 

Kristin whirled around at the sound of his voice, a smile on her face as she stood and moved into his outstretched arms; wrapping hers tightly around him, resting her head on his shoulder.

 

Nathan held her tightly, relishing the feel of her in his arms.  Yes, he’d missed Lucas and the seaQuest.  But he’d especially missed Kristin.

 

“Welcome home, Nathan,” Kristin whispered against his ear before lifting her head to smile at him.  “I’m glad you’re back.  I missed you.”

 

“I missed you too,” Nathan replied, leaning down to brush a soft, chaste kiss against her lips, much like he had before he’d left the sub.  “More than you know.”

 

They shared a tender smile before Kristin laid her head back on his shoulder, burying her face in the crook of his neck.  Their arms tightened around each other as they continued to hold each other.

 

 

Nathan’s dream slowly faded away as he moved towards consciousness.  His eyes remained closed as he lay still, relishing the feel of the warm body next to his.

 

His wife’s body.

 

His wife’s body.

 

He was both amazed and grateful.

 

~ I have a wife… and children.  And I’m loved. ~  He thought to himself.  He felt his heart suddenly skip a beat.  ~ And I was missed. ~

 

Feeling a sudden urge to see her, Nathan opened his eyes in the hopes of being able to watch her as she slept in his embrace.  What he saw broke his heart.  She was watching him, crying silently, her eyes brimming with unshed tears.

 

“Kris?”

 

Kristin swallowed hard and lowered her gaze.  That was the second time Nathan had called her Kris since their reunion on the beach.  No one but he ever called her that and hearing it again, from his lips, overwhelmed what little control she had over her emotions, causing fresh tears to form in her eyes and begin to spill down her cheeks.

 

“Kristin?  What’s wrong?”

 

Kristin sniffled and shook her head, unable to find the words to express what she was feeling.

 

When she didn’t answer, Nathan slipped his fingers under her chin and tilted her head back up so that she was looking up at him.  The emotions he saw swimming in her whiskey-hued eyes cut at his heart; emotions he understood completely, despite his memory loss.

 

“Oh, Kris…”

 

She shook her head again and then buried her face in the crook of his neck and began to cry.  Kristin felt Nathan’s arms tighten around her as her tears coursed down her cheeks.  All the fear, anguish and heartache of the last year living without him left her body in sobs that he felt in the core of his being; every tear she shed feeling like a dagger in his heart.

 

“It’s all right, baby,” Nathan said softly, pulling her closer and stroking her hair as his own tears fell silently down his cheeks.  “Let it out.”

 

Kristin clutched at him, her fingers digging painfully into his flesh as she began to cry in earnest.  Nathan winced slightly but ignored the pain, concentrating instead on comforting the woman who lay sobbing in his arms, mumbling incoherent words against his chest.

 

After what felt like hours since he’d woken to find her crying, Kristin finally quieted, nestling further into Nathan’s gentle, comforting embrace.  “I’m sorry,” she murmured softly.

 

“Nothing to be sorry for.”  Nathan told her, still stroking her hair and absently rubbing her back. 

 

“I shouldn’t have…” Kristin sniffled.

 

“It’s okay.”

 

“No,” she shook her head.  “I shouldn’t have…”

 

“You needed to get it out.”

 

Kristin lifted her head from his chest to look down at him.  Her eyes widened slightly when she noticed that he’d been crying too.  She reached up and brushed her fingers through the damp hair at his temple.  “It wasn’t fair of me…

 

Nathan reached up and placed his finger against her lips, stilling her words as he shook his head.  “Don’t.  You had every right.”

 

“But…”

 

“But nothing,” Nathan interrupted.  “For the last year you’ve thought I was dead and suddenly I appear out of nowhere.  I’d be worried if you didn’t react like this.”  He paused and traced his finger over her lips, along her cheekbone and into her hair.  “You’ve never been one to hold back your feelings and I don’t want you starting now.”

 

Kristin smiled softly, despite her tears.  “For someone with no memory, you know me pretty well.”

 

Nathan returned her smile as he realized he’d unknowingly remembered a facet of his wife’s personality.  “I try.”

 

Kristin chuckled and shifted her body up slightly to bring her face up level to his.  She brushed her lips against his.  “Thank you.”

 

Nathan’s smile grew soft as he nodded gently, reaching up to wipe the remaining tears from her cheeks.  They shared another kiss before Kristin shifted again and settled back into his arms, nestling her head into the crook of his neck.  “Do you think you’ll be able to get back to sleep?”

 

Kristin smiled against his chest and nodded.  “Yes, thanks to you.”

 

“Anytime.”

 

“Good night, Nathan,” Kristin whispered against his skin.

 

“Sleep well, my heart.”  

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

Kristin stretched slowly in her sleep before rolling over to curl into the arms of her husband.  She sighed happily when she felt his arms slip around her and pull her closer.

 

Nathan smiled and looked down at the sleeping woman in his arms.  He’d been awake and watching her for the last twenty minutes, letting his thoughts drift with the hopes that he would remember more about his life with her. 

 

A few stray memories, and he was positive that they were memories, of times spent in her company, flashed through his mind as he’d watched her sleep.  Some of the images had been highly erotic, stealing the breath from his lungs at the intensity of the emotion they’d invoked, while other images had been downright playful, bringing a smile to his face and a feeling of joy to his heart.

 

Nathan turned from his thoughts when he felt Kristin stir in his arms, watching as she worked her way towards consciousness.  His smile grew as she stretched in his arms, her body pressing tightly against his. 

 

“Good morning,” Nathan said softly as she opened her eyes.

 

“Mmm… morning,” Kristin replied sleepily.  A soft smile slowly formed on her lips.  “It’s real,” she whispered, her eyes bright.  “You’re really here.  I didn’t dream it.”

 

“You didn’t dream it.”  Nathan told her.  “I’m here.”

 

Kristin’s smile grew as she shifted closer, bringing her gaze level with his.  “I can’t tell you how happy that makes me.”

 

“You don’t have to.”  He said, his hand rubbing her back softly.  “I can see it in your eyes.”

 

Their gazes held and without conscious thought, they drifted closer until their mouths met in a gentle kiss.  A soft moan sounded, as little by little, the kiss grew more passionate.  Kristin’s hands slid up his chest to grip his shoulders, moaning into his mouth as his hands moved in sensuous circles down her back to cup her rear and pull her closer.

 

Slowly, the kiss came to an end; their gazes meeting again as they tried to catch their breath.

 

“As much as I’ve missed that,” Kristin smiled, still trying to catch her breath.  “I don’t think…”

 

“That either one of us is ready for more just yet.”  Nathan finished.

 

Kristin nodded.  “I’m sor…”

 

“Don’t apologize,” Nathan placed his finger against her lips.  “I understand.  And when we make love again… for the first time…” a small smile touched both their lips,  “I want to be able to do so with the full knowledge of what you like and don’t like.  I want to remember loving you before I love you again.”

 

Kristin’s eyes filled with tears.  “Oh… you are an incredible man.  With or without a memory,” she said softly.  “I love you so.”

 

Nathan smiled, reaching up to swipe the tears from her lashes before they could fall.  “I love you too.”

 

Kristin leaned closer and brushed a quick kiss over his lips.  “I’m going to take a quick shower,” she said as she rolled away from him and slipped from the bed.  “So feel free to fall back asleep.”

 

Nathan nodded, watching as the slip she was wearing, slid down over her hips from where it’d bunched up through the night.  He swallowed hard and pushed back the beginnings of desire he felt spread throughout his body at the sight.

 

“And when I get out of the shower, I’ll make us some breakfast.”  Kristin stopped in the bathroom doorway and turned to look at him.  The desire she saw in his eyes sent a shiver of want through her body.  She swallowed hard.  “Sound okay to you?”

 

“Yeah, sounds good.”  Nathan replied, seeing the desire rise in her eyes. 

 

Kristin nodded and then slipped into the bathroom.

 

Nathan lay back on the bed and released the breath he didn’t realize he’d been holding.  “Oh, God please, let me get my memory back soon,” he prayed softly.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

The first thing Kristin noticed upon stepping out of the bathroom was the smell of coffee drifting into the room.  The second thing she noticed was that Nathan was no longer in bed.  She walked over to the bed, grabbed her robe; slipped it on and made her way out of the bedroom and down the hall.

 

Kristin leaned up against the doorjamb, watching as an apron-clad Nathan busied himself over the kitchen stove.  A few minutes later, as if sensing her watching him, Nathan looked up and smiled at her.

 

“Have a nice shower?”

 

“Yes,” Kristin nodded as she moved into the kitchen.  “Anything I can help you with?”

 

“Nope.  Got everything under control.”  Nathan replied.  “Just grab a seat.  It’ll be done in a moment.”

 

“Mmm… smells good.”  Kristin said as she hopped up onto the stool at the island in the middle of the kitchen.  She reached across the counter, grabbed a stray piece of green pepper, and popped it in her mouth just as Nathan slid a plate in front of her.  “Looks good too.”

 

“One omelette with finely chopped bell peppers, red onions and cheese,” he said, placing a cup of coffee next to her plate.  Moments later, he sat on the stool next to her with his own plate and cup.  “How is it?”

 

“Wonderful,” she said, taking another bite.  “Thank you.”

 

“You’re welcome.”

 

They fell into a comfortable silence as they ate, and then moved out onto the porch to finish their coffee.

 

“I like to cook, don’t I?”

 

“Very much.”  Kristin replied.  “Worst part is… you’re terrific at it.”

 

Nathan chuckled at the mock scowl on her face.

 

“Nathan?” 

 

“I’m sorry, didn’t mean to drift away on you.”  He said after a moment or two of silence.  “I was just watching the dolphin play in the water.”

 

“What dolph…” her voice trailed off as she saw the gray form shoot out of the water and slip smoothly back in.  “I’ll be damned, he hasn’t been here since…”

 

“Since I disappeared.”  Nathan finished quietly as she nodded.

 

“I wonder…” Kristin put her coffee cup down, stood, and without a word, walked away.

 

“Kris?”  He watched and then followed as she stepped off the porch and headed down the dock.  She was a woman on a mission it seemed.

 

“Oh please be here.”  She knelt beside the bench on the end of the dock and opened the box under it, pushing aside the towels stored there.  “Oh, yes!  Thank you, Lucas!”

 

“What’s that?”  Nathan asked, seeing the yellow contraption she held in her hands.

 

“This…” Kristin told him as she stood.  “This marvelous piece of technology is called a vo-corder.”

 

“Vo-corder.  What’s it do?”

 

“Watch.”  She said with a smile as she flipped a switch and then turned towards the water.  “Darwin.”

 

“Who’s…”

 

“Darwin come home.  Bridger come home.”

 

Nathan’s eyes grew wide.  “Oh, wow.  Did he?”  He looked up and met her eyes.  “Did he just…  did that dolphin just speak?”

 

“Mmhmm.”  Kristin nodded, a smile forming at Darwin’s next words.

 

“Bridger come home to Kristin, but still lost.”

 

Nathan kneeled down on the dock and reached out to run his hand over Darwin’s melon.  “Hey, Darwin boy.”

 

“Bridger still lost.”  Darwin repeated.

 

“Yeah, I’m still a little lost, pal.  But I’m on the right road for finding my way.”

 

“Doctor Kristin help.”  Darwin chattered.  “Darwin help too.”

 

Nathan smiled and looked over at Kristin as she knelt beside him and handed him the vo-corder.  He turned it over in his hands, running his fingers over it.  “Incredible,” he murmured.  “This thing actually lets us understand his clicks and whistles.”

 

“Mmhmm.”

 

“Lucas designed it.”  Nathan said suddenly.  “Right?”

 

“Well, he designed the original.”

 

“This isn’t the original?”  Kristin shook her head.  “What happened to it?”

 

“Bridger, Kristin swim!”  Interrupted the musically electronic voice, followed by a spray of water. 

 

They looked down at Darwin, who looked for all the world like he was smiling at them.

 

“Why don’t you go for a swim with him.”  Kristin suggested.  “Would probably do you good… do you both some good to spend some time together.”

 

“What about you?”

 

“I’ll join you both after I clean the breakfast dishes.”

 

“No, Kris.  I’ll do that.”

 

“You cooked, I clean.”  Kristin said, laying her hand on his arm.

 

“I don’t have a suit.”

 

“No suit.  Skin.”

 

Kristin laughed.  “Guess you’ve been told.”

 

“Looks that way.”

 

“Go on, Nathan,” she told him.  “I won’t be too long.”

 

She gave his arm a gentle squeeze and Nathan watched with a smile as she headed back to the house.

 

“Bridger swim and play with Darwin.”

 

Nathan reluctantly pulled his gaze away from Kristin’s retreating form and looked down at the dolphin.  “Okay, Darwin.  I’m coming.”

 

 

Kristin watched from the porch as Nathan slipped off his black silk boxers; she sighed deeply as his body was revealed in all its glory before her eyes.  She kept her eyes on him as he kicked the shorts over onto the bench before executing a perfect dive into the water.

 

Seconds later, he surfaced and began to swim away from the dock with Darwin right at his side, still chattering away.  His laughter drifted back to her as he got into a splashing match with Darwin.  She released a longing sigh, then turned and entered the house.

 

 

Nathan swam back to the dock, climbed out of the water, and sat on the edge.  He reached for the vo-corder.

 

“Darwin, how’d we meet?”  Nathan asked.

 

“Darwin hurt, Bridger help.”  Darwin answered. 

 

Nathan looked down at him thoughtfully for a moment.  When he spoke again it was in a quiet voice.  “A fisherman’s net.  You were cut up.”

 

Darwin seemed to nod as Nathan continued.

 

“I found you in the lagoon and tended to your wounds.”  Nathan closed his eyes briefly.

 

“And you’ve been inseparable ever since.”

 

Nathan opened his eyes, turning to see Kristin standing next to the bench, his boxers in her hands.  His eyes traveled slowly down her body, taking in the emerald one-piece bathing suit she wore and felt his body respond to the sight of her.

 

“Kristin swim now.”  Darwin called out.

 

“Soon, Darwin.”  Kristin told him, folding Nathan’s shorts and placing them down on the bench before sitting down beside Nathan, letting her legs hang off the end of the dock.  “Did you two have a good swim?”

 

“Yeah.  It was fun.”  Nathan admitted.  “There were times I swear he knew exactly what I was thinking.”

 

“He probably did.”  Kristin said.  “For as long as I’ve known you, you and Darwin have had this… this connection.  This ability to read each other.”

 

“Darwin and Bridger friends.” 

 

Kristin and Nathan smiled at the bobbing gray face.

 

“Darwin help Kristin.  Darwin help Bridger.  Help Bridger find way.”

 

Kristin responded with a warm smile.  “Thank you, Darwin.”

 

Darwin repeated his earlier sentiments and then sprayed them with water.  “Swim now.”

 

Nathan and Kristin laughed. 

 

“Oh, we’re starting that again are we?!”  Nathan said, still laughing, shifting his position on the edge of the dock, and planting his hands beside him.  “Prepare for battle, pal!” 

 

Before Kristin knew what was happening, Nathan was pushing himself into the water and engaging in a splash and chase game with Darwin.  She watched with an affectionate smile as if by mutual agreement, the splashing stopped and Nathan grasped onto Darwin’s dorsal fin and the two of them swam further out into the water.

 

Kristin’s smile grew as she stood slowly and then dove into the water.  She surfaced moments later, smoothing the hair out of her face only to be covered in a wave of water.

 

“Hey!”  She wiped the water out of her face to see Nathan and Darwin smiling innocently at her from a few feet away.  A slow grin came to her face.  “You realize this means war, don’t you?”

 

“Give it your best shot, babe.”  Nathan countered before a spray of water caught him in the face.  He grinned at her.  “Oh, you asked for it.”

 

He splashed her back and before long, a full-fledged water fight began.

 

“Okay… okay… no more!  Time out!”  Kristin called out, holding her hands in front of her face to block the water.

 

Nathan stopped splashing her, moving slowly closer.  “What?  You okay?”

 

Suddenly, Kristin lunged at him and pushed him under the water.  He surfaced seconds later, sputtering, only to see her laughing and swimming towards the shore.

 

“Oh, woman, you are so going to get it!”  He called out, taking off after her.

 

“Gotta catch me first!”  She called back, glancing back to see him swimming after her.

 

Kristin gave a sudden shriek when she felt his hand brush her foot and attempted to swim out of his reach.

 

“Oh no you don’t!”  Nathan said, reaching out and grasping her ankle.  “Got you!”

 

“That’s what you think.”  She said, laughing and kicking her legs to try and shake him loose.

 

“That’s what I know.”  He said.  Seeing how close they were to the shore, Nathan stood up in the chest-high water and began to pull Kristin towards him, despite her continuing to struggle to break free of his grasp.  “Give it up, Kris.”

 

“Never!”  Kristin exclaimed and then broke away from him when she felt his grip on her ankle slip.  Seeing this as her chance to make her escape, Kristin laughed and pushed away from him.

 

“Oh no you don’t.”  Nathan laughed, catching her around the waist and pulling her back against him as she struggled playfully to get away again.  He turned her around to face him, smiling at the relaxed, happy look on her face. 

 

“So, now that you’ve caught me,” Kristin began, placing her hands on his chest.  “What are you going to do with me?”

 

“Well, turnabout is fair play.”

 

“You don’t want to dunk me.”  Kristin told him, smiling sweetly.

 

Nathan laughed.  “Can you give me one good reason why I shouldn’t?”

 

“Because you love me.”

 

Nathan smiled and nodded slowly.  “Well, yes, that certainly is a very good reason.  And I do love you, very much.”  A slow grin spread across his face.  “But fair is fair.”

 

“Nathan, please…” Kristin felt his hands tightening on her waist and began to fidget in his grasp, sliding her hands around his neck and pressing closer to him.  “If I go down, I’m taking you with me, buster.”

 

Nathan just laughed and before Kristin could utter another word, Nathan slipped beneath the water, taking her down with him.  Several seconds later, he surfaced, followed by a sputtering Kristin.  He couldn’t help but laugh again as she pushed her hair out of her face, giving him an evil look.

 

“Paybacks are a bitch, aren’t they?”  He chuckled.

 

Kristin’s eyes twinkled mischievously as she nodded.  “Yes they are.”

 

Before he knew what was happening, Nathan found himself being pushed, once again, beneath the water.  He surfaced to the sound of Kristin’s delighted laughter.

 

“You should have seen your face.”  She managed between peals of laughter.

 

Nathan reached out to grasp Kristin’s waist, pulling her close to keep her from sinking below the water as she continued to laugh. 

 

“Oh… I haven’t had a laugh like this in ages.”  She said, her head falling to his shoulder as she tried to catch her breath.  “Thank you.”

 

“You’re welcome,” Nathan chuckled and then drew in a deep breath when Kristin’s hands came to rest on his shoulders and he felt her body float closer to his.  He tightened his grip on her waist as the gentle roll of the waves caused her to bob up and down against him.

 

Kristin raised her head to meet his eyes, but before she could say a word a large wave washed over them, knocking them into the water.  They laughed as they resurfaced, their arms still around each other and before either of them realized what was happening, they were locked in a heated kiss.  Kristin moaned into his mouth and wrapped her legs around his hips, pressing herself closer to him as the kiss deepened.

 

Nathan groaned at the feeling of Kristin wrapped around him and the warm water surrounding them, their mouths and tongues hungrily devouring each other.  He felt his body begin to respond to the close press of hers and pulled her even closer, their kiss intensifying.

 

Kristin moaned his name into his mouth and tightened her legs around him.  The feel of his aroused body pressing so intimately against hers was making her dizzy with desire.  Her hands trailed up and down the firm skin of his back, trying to draw him even closer when suddenly, what a looked like a gray torpedo shot out of the water and flew over their heads; startling them. 

 

They looked at each other breathlessly.  Just a couple hours earlier, they’d agreed that it was too early for them to make love, but at this moment, Kristin didn’t care.  She wanted him.  Wanted him bad.  The desire… the ache she’d felt for him had never ceased, never waned over the last year and right now, that ache was over-ruling her common sense.

 

“Nathan…”

 

“Kris…”

 

They smiled softly at each other as Darwin swam circles around them, jabbering noisily.

 

“I feel like a teenager who’s been caught necking by his parents.”  Nathan told her with a grin.

 

Kristin chuckled and nodded.  “Me too.”

 

Nathan’s grin slowly faded, his eyes once again growing dark with desire.  “I want you, Kris,” he slid his hands slowly down her back to caress her rear before moving them back up to slip into her hair.  “I want you badly.”

 

Kristin ran a finger down along his jaw before moving up to trace his lips.  “I want you too, Nathan.”

 

 

“Kristin, are you sure about this?”

 

“Yes, I’m sure.”  Kristin smiled and nodded as she stepped closer to him, sliding her arms around his neck.  “I’ve wanted to be with you for a long time now.”

 

“And I you.”  Nathan smiled softly and slipped his arms about her waist, drawing her closer.  “I just don’t want there to be any regrets between us.  You mean too much to me for that to happen.”

 

 

“Nathan?”

 

“Hmm?”  Nathan shook his head.  “Sorry…”

 

“Where were you just now?”

 

“I’m not sure.”  Nathan admitted.  “It was you and me.  We were…” He shook his head and told her about where his mind had traveled.  “I… it felt like…”

 

Kristin watched his face as realization dawned.  She brushed a lock of damp hair from his face.

 

“That was the night we made love for the first time.”

 

Kristin nodded, a tender smile on her face.

 

“But I can’t remember anymore than that.”  He said with a sigh.

 

“Don’t push it, Nathan.”  Kristin caressed his cheek.  “You’ve remembered so much already.”

 

“But…”

 

Kristin placed her fingers against his lips, stopping him.  “No buts.  You’ll remember everything when you’re supposed to and not before.”  She smiled at him.  “And I will be here with you every step of the way.”

 

Nathan smiled, grasping her hand and holding her fingers against his lips and kissing the tips.  “I love you.”

 

“I love you too.”

 

Their lips slowly came together just as a spray of water hit them.  They broke apart to see Darwin floating beside them, grinning at them.

 

“I think someone wants to play some more.”  Kristin chuckled, slowly unwrapping her legs from around him and standing in front of him.

 

“I think you’re right.”  Nathan chuckled as well and splashed the dolphin.

 

 

An hour or so later, Nathan hung onto the ladder, watching with an admiring smile as Kristin climbed out of the water before him.

 

“Like what you see, Sailor?”

 

Nathan looked up into his wife’s amused face and simply grinned as he hauled himself up the ladder.  “Oh, yeah!  You are one sexy lady, Mrs. Bridger.”

 

“You’re not too shabby yourself.”  Kristin grinned back, running her eyes up and down his naked body before tossing him a towel and reaching for one herself.  After toweling her hair, she wrapped it around her waist and stepped up to him.  “Hungry?”

 

“Yeah.”  Nathan nodded, dragging the towel over his chest.

 

“Well then, I’ll go fix us up something to eat.”

 

“I’ll help.”  Nathan said, stepping over to the bench and grabbing his boxers.  He slipped them on as Kristin picked up the vo-corder.

 

“Go find some lunch, Darwin.”  Kristin told him.  “We’ll play some more later.”

 

Darwin nodded and swam away.

 

Kristin returned the vo-corder to it’s spot in the box under the bench and then stood to see Nathan watching her again.  She smiled as she walked over to him and slipped her arm through his.

 

“Come on, Sailor, let’s go get that lunch.”

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

Nathan stepped out onto the porch, spotting Kristin at the far end staring out at the water.  He quietly made his way over to her.

 

Sensing he was near, Kristin tilted her head slightly just before his arms slid about her waist and drew her back against his firm chest.

 

“So when are you going to tell me what’s bothering you?”  Nathan asked quietly, following her gaze out to the water.  “And don’t tell me it’s nothing.  You barely said two words through dinner.”  He brushed a kiss into her hair, hearing her sigh deeply.  “Talk to me.”

 

Kristin was quiet for moment or two before stepping out of his arms and reaching for his hand.  “Let’s walk, hmm?”

 

“You’re being evasive, Kris.”

 

“No… I’ll tell you,” she replied, pulling him with her as she moved towards the steps.  “I just want to walk along the beach, okay?”

 

Nathan nodded and let her lead him off the porch onto the warm sand.  Hand in hand, they walked in silence along the water’s edge in the direction of the setting sun.

 

“A year.”  Kristin said quietly, finally breaking the silence.  “It was a year ago today that you… disappeared.”

 

Nathan glanced at her as she continued, her gaze locked straight ahead.

 

“I heard the launch…” she swallowed the tears that suddenly threatened at the memory of that day.

 

“Implode.”  Nathan finished quietly and stopped.  “There was an accident.”

 

Kristin turned to face him but didn’t say anything when she saw the distant look on his face; he was remembering what had happened.

 

“I was in the launch with Ensign Martins.  We’d left the Rio complex and Martins was telling me about his weekend.”  His voice took on a faraway quality as he related the images in his head.  “About forty-five minutes into the trip, there was…” his voice grew quiet.  “We hit something.”

 

 

Nathan turned to Martins as the launch lurched and vibrated from the sudden impact.

 

“What the hell was that?”

 

“We were just hit head-on by a one-man mini-sub, sir.”  Martins answered and then swallowed.  “And that is the least of our problem.”

 

“What do you m…” Nathan began and then let his voice trail off as he followed Martins’ eyes to the forward window.  “Oh God!”

 

 

“There was a crack in the glass.”  Nathan said, his voice still quiet; his gaze focused inwardly.  “The impact of the mini-sub had actually cracked the glass.  And the crack was growing,” he paused a moment before continuing.  “Martins immediately issued an S.O.S and then we both put on our life-vests.”

 

Kristin continued to stare at him, not saying a word.  She could see that he wasn’t really in this moment with her.  He was back on that launch; reliving the accident that had taken him from her for an entire year.

 

 

“We’ve got to get off this launch.”  Nathan told Martins.  “Now!”

 

“You won’t hear me arguing, sir.”  Martins replied.  “However, one of us needs to stay here as long as possible…”

 

“You’ve already issued your S.O.S., so let’s go.”  Nathan said, gripping Martins’ shoulder.  “The escape hatch.  Now, Ensign.”

 

“Yes, sir.  Right behind you, sir.”  Martins replied as he watched Bridger make his way out of the cockpit.

 

 

“I thought he was right behind me.  I could have sworn I heard him following me.”  Nathan told her, shaking his head sadly.  “When I got to the escape hatch… he wasn’t with me.”  Nathan, his grip on her hand tightening, slowly sank to his knees on the sand; his eyes glassy with unshed tears.  “I turned to go back upfront and get him, but he overrode the hatch controls and shut the door before I could.  He… he…” his voice faltered and he closed his eyes. “I remember the outer hatch opening and being sucked out into the water and then the implosion… and then…”

 

Kristin sank down beside him, her free hand gripping his shoulder; her eyes filled with tears at the anguish she heard in his voice.

 

“The next thing I remember is waking up in the clinic after the surgery.”  Nathan opened his eyes and turned to face her, no longer able to stop his tears.  “Oh God, Kris… Martins.  He… he…”

 

“Yes, he saved your life.”  Kristin nodded, her tears spilling down her cheeks as Nathan moved into her arms, collapsing against her as his sobs began to wrack his body.  She held him tightly, stroking his hair and whispering comforting words against his ear much as he had comforted her.  “That’s right, my love… let it out.  Let it all out.”

 

Some time later, no longer feeling the warmth of the sun, Nathan raised his head from where he had buried it against her breasts, noting that the sun had set, leaving him and Kristin bathed in the light of the rising moon.  He gazed at her in the silvery light and reached up to trace the tear tracks on her cheeks, knowing for every tear he’d shed, she’d shed one as well.

 

Kristin held his gaze, smiling softly as she reached up to cover his hand with hers; holding it against her cheek and kissing his palm.

 

“I can still feel the rush of the water,” Nathan said quietly, his gaze leaving hers to drift out over the water.  “Everything else is blurry.”

 

“Understandable.”

 

“I… I heard voices.”  He said suddenly, turning back to her.

 

“What?”

 

“I heard voices, just as the hatch door closed.”  Nathan repeated.  “I don’t know whose they were…”

 

“Mine and Bill’s.”  She said softly with realization.  At Nathan’s questioning gaze, she elaborated.  “We… Bill and I, were in the communications room when…”

 

Nathan placed his finger on her lips, nodding with understanding when he saw fresh tears well in her eyes with the memory.  “Sssh, no more tears,” he said softly, his finger moving from her lips to gently brush the tears from her lashes.  “Okay?”

 

Kristin nodded slowly.

 

“Besides, remembering this is good, isn’t it?”

 

“Yes,” she replied quietly.  “It’s a very big step.”

 

Nathan smiled and then sat up, pulling her across his lap and into his arms.  He laid his cheek against the top of her head where she laid it on his shoulder and felt her arm slide around his back as she sighed.

 

They held each other close and sat quietly watching the water lap at the shore.

 

“I broke my promise.” 

 

Kristin lifted her head and looked at him.  “What?”

 

“I broke my promise.”

 

“What promise?”  She looked confused.

 

“The one I made you before I left for Rio.”

 

 

“I promise you, Kris… as soon as I get back on Sunday, you, me and the twins will steal away to the island for some much needed R & R.”

 

Kristin lifted her head and met his eyes.

 

“I promise.”  He told her.  “And when I have I ever broken a promise to you?”

 

“Never.” 

 

“And I never will.”

 

 

“I’ve never broken a promise to you,” he said in a choked voice, lowering his eyes.  “Until now.”

 

“Oh, Nathan.”  Kristin reached up and stroked his cheek with her fingers.  “It wasn’t your fault.”

 

“But I promised you, Kris.  I promised you I’d be back and I…”

 

“Took a little longer than normal.”  Nathan looked up at her and she smiled at him.  “Oh, Nathan… for the last year, I’ve been through hell believing that you were dead.  And to have you here now is a dream come true.” 

 

“So, my being a little late in keeping my promise…” he began, watching her smile grow despite the tears in her eyes.

 

“Is perfectly okay with me.”  Kristin finished, her smile matching the one on his face.

 

Nathan cupped her face with his hands and leaned closer, covering her mouth with his in a loving kiss.  “I love you,” he whispered against her lips before kissing her again.

 

“I love you too,” she replied breathlessly as the kiss ended.

 

They shared a tender smile before Kristin laid her head back on his shoulder, snuggling tighter against him as they continued to watch the water and gaze at the stars.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

“Tell me…” Nathan began the following morning as they walked along the beach.  “Tell me how we met?”

 

“We met on seaQuest…”

 

“seaQuest?  A submarine?”

 

“Mmhmm.”  Kristin murmured and then smiled.  “You’d been shanghaied by Bill Noyce.”

 

“Noyce?”  He interrupted and then looked thoughtful.  “Bill.  My oldest friend?”

 

Kristin merely nodded and then continued with her story.

 

“You really threatened him?”  Nathan chuckled as she finished.

 

“Yes.”

 

Nathan smiled.

 

 

Nathan looked up from the leafy plants as Jonathan Ford appeared before him.

 

“I just received this message for you, it’s from Admiral Noyce.”  The younger man said, handing Bridger a piece of paper and taking the leaf Bridger had been holding.

 

“Rhabarbarum.”

 

“What?”  Ford looked confused.

 

“Rhubarb.”  Bridger replied, reading the paper.  “The Admiral’s wondering if while I’m aboard I might take a look at the main drive propulsion units.  Seems there’s some glitches in the aqua return jets.”

 

“This mean the Captain won’t be returning to the mainland as scheduled?”

 

Bridger grinned slightly.  “Can’t wait to get me off this boat, can you?”

 

“No, sir.”

 

Nathan’s grin turned to a sympathetic smile.  “All right, Commander.  I assure you, I understand.  I’m not here to snake your command.”

 

“Snake, sir?”

 

“Well, are you telling me you don’t deserve the command?”

 

Jonathan squared his shoulders, standing straighter.  “No sir, I’m not saying that at all.  But the fact is that those decisions are out of my control.”

 

“I suppose they are.  But whatever the Admiral has in mind, it’s not going to work, ‘cause I’m not interested in the job.”

 

“Sir, does that mean the Captain is ready to leave the seaQuest?”

 

Nathan stopped in the small companionway, sticking his head back out to look at Ford and half-shrugged.  Well, I’m here, might as well look around.  What the hell.”

 

He straightened up and began to walk away, hearing Ford begin to follow him when a loud, richly accented voice rang through the air; sending a warm shiver down his back.

 

“Commander Ford!  Let’s get something clear, shall we?”  Nathan stepped back, waiting to see the owner of the voice.  He smiled, not disappointed at the lovely figure of a woman that stepped into his view, standing toe to toe with Ford.  “My people will not be treated as so much cargo.  We are scientists, we are not mindless military drones.”

 

Ford crossed his arms, and glared down at the smaller woman.  “Your point, Doctor?”

 

“Your people have occupied areas clearly marked as science research labs.  I want them removed immediately.”

 

“May I remind you, that you are aboard a military vessel.”

 

“This is a research and exploration vessel.”  She crossed her arms over her chest and gave him a defiant smile.  “Besides, we outnumber you one hundred twenty-four to eighty-eight.”

 

Ford’s scowl deepened.  “That sounds like a threat, Doctor.”

 

“At least you have a grasp for the obvious.”

 

Nathan laughed softly.  ~ She’s got spunk. ~  He thought with amusement.

 

Ford stepped closer, raising his hand.  “Now you understand this…”

 

“Don’t you point your finger at me!”  She glared at him and then stopped when she heard laughter coming from somewhere to her right.  She turned her glare on him.

 

“Ooops!”  Nathan covered his mouth with his fingers, still chuckling.

 

“You find this amusing?”

 

“Yes, as a matter of fact, I do.”

 

“And what are you, some kind of stowaway?”  She asked, re-crossing her arms as he stepped away from the wall and moved towards her.

 

“Something like that.  The name’s Bridger.”  He smiled.

 

“Nathan Bridger?”  Kristin asked with surprise.

 

Nathan glanced down at the badge he was sporting.  “Last time I looked.”

 

“I know your work.  Topography, thermal range variances...  I tried to contact you once.  They said you were… unreachable.”  Kristin paused.  “I’m sorry, Kristin Westphalen,” she removed the glove she was wearing and offered him her hand which he took.  “Medical doctor, physical oceanographer, and head of the science team aboard this ship.”

 

“Doctor.”  Nathan nodded, shaking her hand.  ~ Beautiful eyes. ~

 

Kristin shook her head and slowly extracted her hand.  “Well, I’m late for a staff meeting.  Uhm, it’s nice meeting you.”  She smiled at him and then turned to Ford.  I’m not finished with this, Commander, not by a long shot.”

 

Nathan watched her walk down the hall then looked at Ford.  “She seems very committed.”

 

“She ought to be committed.”  Ford said and then turned and walked in the opposite direction Westphalen had gone in.

 

Nathan chuckled softly, his gaze darting down the way Kristin had walked.

 

 

“Did Jonathan really say that?”  Kristin asked as Nathan repeated Ford’s comments.

 

“Oh yeah.”  Nathan laughed.

 

Their eyes met and they smiled.

 

“I just…” his smile grew as Kristin nodded.

 

“You keep this up, and you’ll have your memory back by the time we leave the island.”

 

“I certainly wouldn’t object to that.”  Nathan told her, squeezing her hand affectionately and then after a few more steps, he suddenly stopped and moved to stand before her.

 

Kristin watched quietly as Nathan leisurely swept his gaze over her, lingering longer on her face.  She drew in a deep breath as he brought his hand up and caressed her cheek.

 

“The instant I heard your voice, I knew that the body attached to it would be gorgeous,” Nathan told her quietly.  “And I was right.  You were a knock out,” he continued to stroke her cheek.  “And the first thing I noticed about you were your eyes.”

 

“My eyes?”

 

“Mmhmm.  I remember thinking that I had never seen such beautiful eyes before.”  He said in a hushed voice reaching up with his other hand and lightly tracing his fingers over her eyebrows and circled them around her eyes.  “Flashing with an intensity I’d never seen and the colour of fine whiskey.”  Nathan smiled at her.  “I didn’t realize it right away, but that is when I fell in love with you.”

 

Kristin returned his smile.  “And I with you.”

 

Nathan cupped her cheek and leaned closer, pressing his lips to hers in a gentle kiss as their bodies slowly molded together.  He raised his head and smiled softly at her, before kissing her again… long, deep and slow until both were breathless.

 

They gradually broke off the kiss, smiled and then grasping each other’s hands, they continued walking along the water.

 

After some time walking in a companionable silence, Kristin suddenly turned to him.  “Nathan, when did you get to the island?”

 

Nathan looked her as he answered.  “Two days before you.”

 

“Two days?”  She shook her head.  “How did you know to come here?  And where did you sleep?”

 

“I can’t explain it.  I was sitting on the beach down a ways from the clinic, my first day alone and near the water since the accident.  I’d sat down on the sand and just watched the water for a while.”  He told her.  “The whole time though, I kept seeing your face in my mind and before I knew it, an hour or so had passed.  So I stood and walked closer to the water.  When the first wave came in over my feet, I knew that I wasn’t supposed to be there.  That there was somewhere else I needed to be.”  Nathan glanced at her and shrugged his shoulders slightly.  “So I went back to the clinic, packed a small bag; told the doctor I was leaving and left.”

 

“You make it sound so simple.”  Kristin said, squeezing his hand.  “But I can tell by your voice that it wasn’t.”

 

“No.  It wasn’t.”  Nathan agreed.  “I had no clue who I was.  No money.  No idea where it was I was heading and how I was gonna get there.”  He paused and gave her a crooked smile.  “And do you know how hard it is to rent a boat when all you can give to the captain as a location is a feeling?”

 

Kristin chuckled.  “I can imagine.”

 

“So, Doctor Correia gave me some money and I found a boat that was willing to take me…” he gestured around.  “Here.  It took about a week or so to find the island, but the moment I spotted it, I knew this was where I was supposed to be.”

 

“The house was locked when I got here and didn’t show any signs that anyone had been in it.  Where did you stay?”

 

“There’s a little spot not too far from here with a lagoon…”

 

“The grotto.”  Kristin nodded, an almost wistful smile on her face.

 

Nathan saw the look on her face.  “I take it we…”

 

“Mmhmm.”  Kristin sighed happily.  “Oh yes, we had some very pleasant times in that lagoon.”  She squeezed his hand gently at the look on his face, reaching up with her other hand to lay it on his arm.  “You’ll remember, Nathan.”

 

Nathan smiled and nodded.

 

“So, you stayed in the grotto?”

 

“Yes.  I’d brought a sleeping bag with me and slept by the water.”  He told her.  “I found the sound of the waterfall to be very soothing.”

 

“You always have.”  Kristin said, and at the curious look on his face, she continued.  “We’ve spent many nights curled up in each other’s arms, wrapped in a blanket on the edge of that lagoon.”

 

 

Nathan gazed down at her; her face grasped gently between his hands, seeing the desire pool in her sable eyes.  He stroked her cheeks with his thumbs.  “Happy, my heart?”

 

“Delirious.”  Kristin whispered; her hands trailing lightly up his back to grip his shoulders.

 

“I love you, Kris.”  Nathan told her in a quiet, passionate voice.

 

“I love you too, Nathan.”

 

 

Nathan stepped in front of Kristin and reached up, threading his hands in her hair, stroking her cheeks with his thumbs.  He smiled softly.  “After making love for hours under the stars.”

 

Kristin nodded and returned his smile.  “You…”

 

“Remembered a little more?”  He nodded.  “Yes.”

 

Kristin smiled and stepped closer, rising up on her toes to give him a quick kiss.  “I told you you’d remember.”  She flashed him another smile and grabbed his hand.

 

“Little by little it’s all coming back to me,” he squeezed her hand.  “And it’s all because of you.”

 

Kristin shook her head.

 

“I’m serious, Kris.  Until I got here with you, all I was getting were vague flashes.  Now,” Nathan couldn’t help but grin.  “Now, I’m getting memories.  Actual memories.  And it’s because I am here with you.”

 

“I’m seeing what my life was and what it could be again.”  He continued.  “I have a gorgeous wife, who’s not only gorgeous; she’s smart and witty too.”  He smiled as she blushed.  “She’s given me two beautiful children.  Brought endless amounts of joy and passion to my life and I want all of that back.  All of it.”  Nathan’s hand released hers and slipped about her waist.  “And being here with you… I know I’ll get it.”

 

Kristin smiled as he pulled her closer so that their bodies brushed against each other as they began to make their way back to the house.  “I know you will too.”

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

Kristin emerged from the bathroom into the darkened bedroom to see Nathan already in bed, propped up against the pillows.  She shut off the bathroom light and made her way over to the bed, slipped off her robe and slid under the sheet beside him.

 

Nathan smiled as she shifted over and curled up against him, resting her head on his chest.  He moved his arm around her, his fingers finding their way into her hair to stroke the silken strands.

 

“Kris?”

 

“Yes?”

 

“Who’s Carol?”

 

Kristin closed her eyes briefly.  She’d known eventually he’d ask about Carol and his life before she was in it.  Kristin lifted her head and met his eyes.

 

“All afternoon I’ve been having these images flash in my mind of a blonde woman.”  He told her.  “And the name Carol keeps coming to mind.  Who is she?  Something keeps telling me that she’s important to me somehow.”

 

“Carol was your wife.”

 

Nathan’s eyes grew wide.  “My wife?” 

 

Kristin nodded.  “You and she had been married for nearly thirty years.”

 

“We had a son.”  Nathan said in a quiet voice.  “Robert.  He…” Nathan’s eyes suddenly filled with tears.  “He was killed in action.  I… I left the seaQuest when she was being built because of his death.”  He looked at Kristin for confirmation of his memory to see her nodding, her eyes glassy with unshed tears.  “Bobby… he followed in my footsteps and joined the navy and then… then…”

 

Kristin shifted up on the bed and pulled him into her arms as the memory of his son’s death overwhelmed him.  She stroked his hair and back, feeling his tears through the satin of her nightgown.  It was several long minutes before he lifted his head and looked at her through tear-filled eyes.

 

“He was killed in action.”  Nathan said in a soft voice.  “The ship he was on… it was hit by a torpedo.  All hands were lost.”

 

Kristin nodded slowly as Nathan once again buried his face against her.

 

“Carol.”  He murmured against her.  “She was a small, quiet woman with blonde hair.  We’d been married for twenty-seven years when she died.”  He fell silent and after a few minutes he raised his head again and met her eyes, frustration evident in his.  “I can see flashes of my life with her but I can’t remember how she died.”  He closed his eyes briefly before continuing.  “Do you know how…”

 

“I don’t know all the details.”  Kristin began.  “All I know is that she was in some sort of accident.”

 

Nathan nodded slowly, but Kristin could see in his eyes that he was still frustrated at not being able to remember more.

 

“Remember what I told you, Nathan.”

 

“I know.  I know.  But it’s just so…”

 

“Frustrating.”  Kristin finished for him, nodding her head.

 

“And forcing it won’t help matters.”

 

“Exactly.”

 

Nathan sighed and settled back on the bed, his gaze on the ceiling.  “You’re right.”  He said moments later, turning his gaze onto her.  “I’m sorry.”

 

“Whatever for?”  Kristin asked, slightly confused.  “You didn’t…”

 

“For this… talking about Bobby and Carol…”

 

Kristin shook her head and waved away his apology.  “It’s okay.”

 

“It can’t be easy for you, Kris.”

 

Kristin rolled over onto her side, looked down at him, placing her fingers on his lips to stop him, and shook her head.  “It’s not as hard as you think it is.”  Her fingers moved from his lips to caress his cheek as she continued.  “We have both been married and have had relationships with other people before we got together.  It’s part of who we are.”  She paused.  “Nathan, you and Carol were married for over twenty years.  You had a child together.  There’s a history there that is so much a part of who you are, a part of the man you are today.”  A soft smile came to her lips.  “A man I love with all my heart.  It has never bothered me to listen to you talk about your life with her, and it never will because I know that you love me and are committed to our life together.”

 

“You are an incredible woman, Kristin Bridger.”  Nathan gazed up at her, then reached out, and gently pulled her into his embrace.  He brushed his lips against the top of her hair.  “And I am incredibly lucky man.”

 

“We’re both lucky.”  Kristin said, pressing a kiss to his chest as she snuggled closer to him, a small yawn escaping her.

 

“Yeah, we both are.”  Nathan agreed, his arms tightening around her a little more, nuzzling his face into her hair, and inhaling the soft scent of her shampoo.  “I love you, Kristin.”

 

“I love you too, Nathan.”  Kristin replied with a smile on her face as she once again yawned.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

“No!  Oh God noooo!”

 

The plaintive cry and restless shifting next to her woke Kristin up.  She rolled onto her side and reached out to lay her hand on his chest as she called to him softly.

 

“Carol!”  Nathan sat up as the cry died out on his lips.  He buried his face in his hands and exhaled deeply.

 

“Nathan?”

 

“I remember,” he said quietly into his hands.  “I remember everything that happened.”

 

Kristin sat up, placed her hand on his knee and waited, knowing he would tell her when he was ready.

 

Ten minutes later, after pulling his legs in so that he was sitting crossed-legged and releasing another deep breath, Nathan began to tell her.

 

“We’d gone into the city, for what exactly now, I can’t remember.”  Nathan spoke in a quiet voice, his eyes focused on some far spot across the room.  “We’d decided to split up, get all that we needed and meet at our favourite restaurant for lunch before heading back home.”  

 

“I’d just stepped out of the hardware store and was making my way down the street to the restaurant when I heard it…” he pulled in a deep breath.  “…screeching tires and… and the most soul-wrenching scream I’ve ever heard.”

 

“I… I don’t know how I knew it was Carol… but I just knew.  So I took off, running the rest of the way and pushing my way through the crowd that had gathered and then I stopped.”

 

Kristin squeezed his leg gently, her eyes filling with tears.

 

“Oh God, Kris… the blood.  There was so much blood,” Nathan turned and met her eyes; his own filled with tears.  “I… I moved to her side but I… didn’t know what to do… I knew I shouldn’t move her, but I… I couldn’t help myself, I had to hold her; something telling me, as much as I was ignoring it, that we didn’t have that much time left.”

 

He stopped and Kristin leaned back to the Kleenex off her night table, handing some to him and keeping the rest for herself.  He wiped his eyes and blew his nose, tossing the used tissues towards the wastebasket.

 

“Some time later… after what seemed like hours, the ambulance finally arrived…” his voice cracked and fresh tears began to spill down his cheeks.  “They were too late.  She was already gone.” 

 

Kristin’s tears flowed freely down her cheeks as Nathan slipped his hand under hers on his leg, entwining their fingers.

 

“Just before the paramedics got there, she woke up briefly and told me she loved me.”  Nathan finally turned to look at her and went willingly into her outstretched arms, burying his face against her chest.  “We… we shared a kiss and then…”

 

Kristin held him tightly, her heart aching for him as he relived the moment of losing Carol.  She stroked his hair and back as his tears once again soaked the satin of her nightgown; her arms tightening even more at the whispered words, “Oh God, Kris… it hurts.”

 

“I know.  I know,” Kristin murmured against his hair, her hands still soothing over him as she rocked him gently in her arms.  “Let it out.  Let it all out.  I’m here.”

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

Kristin rolled over, immediately reaching out for Nathan and sat up when she didn’t feel him beside her.

 

“Nathan?”

 

“Good morning, sleepyhead.”

 

“Morning.”  Kristin smiled as she watched Nathan enter their bedroom carrying a tray.  “What’s all this?”

 

“Breakfast in bed for my lady.”  Nathan smiled as he lowered the tray onto the bed at her feet and then gently sat down beside her.  He leaned closer and brushed a soft kiss over her lips.  “I hope you’re hungry.”

 

Kristin’s smile grew as she nodded, her hand moving to stroke his thigh.

 

“For food, Kris.”  Nathan responded to the twinkle in her eyes and covered her hand on his leg.

 

Kristin laughed, pulling her hand from under his to cup his cheek as she leaned in and gave him a deep kiss before turning to look at the food he’d brought in.  “How long have you been awake?”

 

“About an hour or so.”  Nathan replied, reaching out for a piece of melon and popping it into his mouth.  “Thought I’d treat you.  My way of saying thank you for last night.”

 

“Mmm, thank you,” she smiled at him as she sat up, pulling the tray closer and reaching out for a piece of toast and began to eat.  “But you know…”

 

“I know.”  He returned her smile.

 

A short time later, having finished eating everything Nathan had prepared, Kristin watched as he moved the tray, placing it on the nightstand before settling back on the bed; resting his back against the headboard.

 

“So, what plans have we for today?”  He asked, wrapping his arm around her as she snuggled up against him.

 

“Nothing.”  She answered, her hand tracing idle patterns on his chest.

 

Nathan smiled and pulled her closer.  “I think I can handle that.”

 

Kristin chuckled and pressed a gentle kiss to his chest.  “Thought you might.”

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

Swinging lazily in his hammock, Nathan thought back over the last couple of days since remembering Carol and Bobbie.  In between frolicking in the ocean and long walks along the shore, more and more of Nathan’s memory returned.

 

Sometimes it would be a single memory and other times it would be a whole series of memories, images, sensations, and feelings that would overwhelm him, literally stopping him dead in his tracks as he allowed them to wash over him.

 

But despite all the progress he’d been making in regaining his memory, Nathan was frustrated that he hadn’t yet remembered anything beyond the few earlier snippets of his life with Kristin.  He’d remembered his childhood, Robert’s childhood, his military life and everything else in between up until the time he took command of the seaQuest for the first time.  But that was it.

 

And the more he tried to remember, the harder it was to remember.  As a result, he was getting irritable which in turn was slowly starting to play on Kristin’s nerves.  When she’d had enough of his grumping, she’d told him to go lie in the hammock, take a nap and give her an hour’s peace.

 

Nathan sighed and continued to swing in the hammock, fighting to keep his eyes open as he gazed out on the waves crashing up on the beach.  Before long, the steady beat of the surf lulled him into a restful sleep.

 

 

“We are gathered here today in the sight of God and angels, and the presence of friends and loved ones, to celebrate one of life’s greatest moments, to give recognition to the worth and beauty of love, and to add our best wishes and blessings to the words which shall unite Nathan and Kristin in holy matrimony.”

 

Nathan tried to keep his eyes focused on the minister and what he was saying, but found the sight of his bride to be much more appealing.  ~ God, she’s beautiful. ~ He thought, a smile touching his lips as he gazed at her, his eyes taking in every feature.

 

Kristin’s hair was down, loose and flowing about her shoulders with just the sides clipped back.  Her dress was a simple, off-white number with a form-fitting bodice and flared cocktail length skirt.  Her shoulders bare except for the thin straps holding her dress up and to Nathan, she had never looked more radiant.

 

He pulled his gaze away from Kristin as he heard Lucas respond to the minister’s question of who was giving Kristin away.  Nathan smiled at the young man as he placed Kristin’s hand in his before stepping back and moving to sit in the pew.

 

“Nathan and Kristin,” the minister continued.  “Life is given to each of us as individuals, and yet we must learn to live together.  Love is given to us by our family and friends.  We learn to love by being loved.  Learning to love and living together is one of life’s greatest challenges and is the shared goal of a married life.”

 

Nathan’s gaze once again drifted to the woman beside him as the minister continued to speak.  The smile on his face grew when Kristin turned to look at him, her sable eyes bright with unshed tears.

 

“Today truly is a glorious day the Lord hath made, as today both of you are blessed with God’s greatest of all gifts,” Kristin smiled at Nathan then turned back to listen to the minister.  “The gift of abiding love and devotion between a man and a woman.  All present here today and those here in heart wish both of you all the joy, happiness and success the world has to offer.”

 

The minister paused as he let his gaze drift out on the congregation before turning back to look at Nathan and Kristin.  “As you travel through life together, I caution you that the true measure of success, the true avenue to joy and peace, is to be found within the love you hold in your hearts.”  He smiled.  “I would ask that you hold the key to your heart very tightly.”

 

Nathan and Kristin shared a quick smile.

 

“Within the Bible, nothing is of more importance than love.  We are told the crystalline and beautiful truth: “God is Love”.  We are assured that “Love conquers all”.  It is love, which brings you here today, the union of two hearts and two spirits.  As your lives continue to interweave as one pattern, remember that it was love that brought you here today, it is love that will make this a glorious union, and it is love which will cause this union to endure.”  The minister paused and looked at them.  “Would you please face each other and join hands.”

 

Kristin handed her bouquet to Cynthia and then turned to face Nathan, placing her hands in his, returning the small squeeze she felt him give her.

 

“Nathan, do you take Kristin to be your wife?  Do you promise to love, honour, cherish and protect her, forsaking all others and hold only to her forevermore?”

 

Nathan smiled, his eyes gazing deeply into Kristin’s as he responded.  “I do.”

 

The minister nodded and turned to Kristin.

 

“Kristin, do you take Nathan to be your husband?  Do you promise to love, honour, cherish and protect him, forsaking all others and hold only to him forevermore?”

 

Kristin returned Nathan’s smile as she held his eyes and answered.  “I do.”

 

“A marriage ceremony represents one of life’s greatest commitments, but also is a declaration of love.”

 

As the minister continued to speak, reading from the book of Corinthians, Nathan and Kristin continued to gaze into each other’s eyes.  Before either of them knew it, they heard the minister call their names as the soft chuckles of their friends reached their ears.  They broke away from each other’s gazes to look at the minister questioningly.

 

“Your vows?”

 

“Oh, right.”  Nathan grinned at the older man.

 

The minister laughed and then continued.  “Repeat after me.”

 

“I, Nathan take thee Kristin to be my wife.  To have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, and I promise my love to you forevermore.”  Nathan repeated the words that would bind him to Kristin from this moment on, until the end of time, his eyes welling with tears as they once again held hers.

 

The minister nodded and then turned to Kristin.  “Kristin, repeat after me.”

 

“I, Kristin take thee Nathan to be my husband.  To have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer,” Kristin paused and took a calming breath; her tears flowing freely down her cheeks.  She smiled at him as she continued.  “And I promise to love you forevermore.”

 

Nathan squeezed her hands as the minister turned to Jonathan and then Katie in turn, holding out his Bible for the rings.

 

“Wedding rings are an outward and visible sign of an inward, spiritual grace, signifying to all the uniting of this man and this woman in marriage.”  He turned to Nathan, gesturing for him to take Kristin’s ring.  “Place this ring on Kristin’s left hand and repeat after me.”

 

Nathan lifted Kristin’s hand, holding her gaze as he slowly slid the gold band onto her finger.  “With this ring, I thee wed.”

 

The minister turned to Kristin, holding out the Bible for her to take Nathan’s ring.  “Place this ring on Nathan’s left hand and repeat after me.”

 

Kristin grasped Nathan’s hand in hers, her eyes locked with his and with a trembling hand, she slid the matching gold band onto his finger.  “With this ring, I thee wed.”

 

They shared a smile, squeezing each other’s hands as the minister began to speak.

 

“Nathan and Kristin, as the two of you come into this marriage uniting you as husband and wife, and as you this day affirm your faith and love for one another, I would ask that you always remember to cherish each other as special and unique individuals, that you respect the thoughts, ideas and suggestions of one another.  Be able to forgive, do not hold grudges, and live each day that you may share it together, as from this day forward you shall be each other’s home, comfort and refuge, your marriage strengthened by your love and respect.”

 

The minister continued with a prayer, followed by the signing of the wedding license.  When Nathan and Kristin were once again standing before their friends and family, their hands clasped tightly together; Katie and Jonathan beside them, the minister once again continued.

 

“Nathan and Kristin, in so much as the two of you have agreed to live together in Matrimony, have promised your love for each other by these vows with the giving and receiving of rings and the joining of hands, I now pronounce you to be husband and wife.”  He paused and lifted his hands for the benediction.  “May the Lord bless you and keep you.  May the Lord make his face shine on you, and be gracious unto you.  May the Lord lift up his countenance unto you, and give you peace.”

 

Nathan and Kristin looked up at the minister as he paused dramatically, a slow smile coming to his face as he looked at Nathan.

 

“Congratulations, you may kiss your bride.”

 

Nathan didn’t have to be told twice as he took Kristin in his arms, her arms winding about his neck as they kissed passionately.  The kiss lasted several minutes, and it wasn’t until the cheers and whistles of their friends and family broke through to them that they broke apart.

 

“Friends and family,” the minister grinned.  “I present to you, Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Bridger.  What the Lord has joined together let no one put asunder.”

 

Everyone in the small chapel stood, clapping and cheering as Nathan and Kristin kissed again and then began to make their way back down the aisle.

 

 

Nathan woke up with a smile on his face.  He blinked several times, clearing his head from its sleep induced haze before swinging his legs over the side of the hammock and sitting there.  His smile grew as he suddenly stood up and hurried into the house.

 

“Nathan?”  Kristin gave him a strange look as he rushed into the room, heading straight for her, an unreadable look on his face.  “What is it?”

 

Nathan didn’t say a word, simply stopped in front of her, reached out, and pulled her to her feet and into a passionate kiss.  Kristin moaned softly, her arms sliding up around his neck as the kiss deepened.

 

“What was that for?”  Kristin asked breathlessly several minutes later.

 

“April twenty-fifth,” Nathan whispered against her forehead.

 

Kristin pulled back to look at him, her eyes wide and hopeful.  “Nathan?”

 

“You were utterly gorgeous that day,” Nathan said with a smile, bringing his hands up to rest on her shoulders.  His smile grew at the tears that came to her eyes.  “It was all I could do to remember to breathe when I saw you coming down the aisle.”

 

Kristin felt her knees grow weak and clung to him, still looking at him questioningly.  “Has your memory…”

 

“Not entirely.”  Nathan shook his head.  “But I remember our wedding day,” he stepped away from her to sit on the couch, pulling her into his lap.  He brushed his fingers over her cheek and into her hair.  “God you were stunning.”

 

Kristin blushed.  “You weren’t too shabby looking yourself, Sailor.”

 

Nathan grinned as he continued.  “I remember Lucas walking you down the aisle and thinking that my heart was going to explode,” his fingers continued to stroke her cheek.  “I couldn’t get over how beautiful you looked and more than that, I couldn’t believe that you were actually marrying me.”

 

“I felt the same way,” Kristin admitted.  “What else do you remember?”

 

“Believe it or not, our entire wedding ceremony, our reception and dancing with you in my arms; the first time as my wife.”

 

Kristin felt a warm rush pass over her at the tender look in his eyes and before she knew what was happening, he was standing them up and she was watching him dash across the room.  She watched with curious eyes as he flipped through their various CDs and then with a grin and a flourish, he pulled one out and placed it in the player.

 

After pressing play, Nathan turned and slowly made his way back to her.  Keeping his eyes locked on hers, he watched fresh tears spring to her eyes as the music began.  He stopped in front of her and extended his hand.  “Dance with me, Mrs. Bridger?”

 

“I would love to, Mr. Bridger.”  Kristin replied softly, placing her hand in his and allowing him to pull her into his embrace.  She buried her face in his neck and wrapped her free arm around him as they slowly swayed to the music.  Her voice was a gentle breath against his throat as she spoke.  “You remembered our wedding song.”

 

“I can’t help falling in love with you.”  Nathan smiled against the top of her head as he sang the line with the King.  “It was perfect that day and is still perfect now.”

 

Kristin pressed a kiss against his neck and then raised her head to look at him.

 

“I was helpless but to fall in love with you, Kris.”  Nathan said, pulling her closer, holding her hand tight against his chest.  “That first moment I saw you in that corridor, giving Jonathan what for, I knew I’d found the other half of my soul.”  He released her hand against his chest, bringing his hand up to stroke his fingers across her cheek.  He smiled.  “I was helpless.”

 

Kristin smiled up at him as she reached up to capture his hand, pressing soft kisses to his fingers.  “I was just as helpless, my love.”

 

They leaned closer, their lips coming together in a loving but passionate kiss as they continued to dance to their song.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

Sitting on the end of the dock, listening to the soft music filter down from the house, Kristin sipped her wine as she gazed across the water at the setting sun; a smile touching her face as the events of the afternoon filtered through her mind.

 

As she and Nathan had danced, the memories of their life together aboard the seaQuest had begun to surface.

 

He’d remembered seeing her with Darwin, stroking his melon lovingly after defeating Stark; holding her in his arms after discovering Zeller aboard the boat; her worry and concern for the welfare of the children from the Landau Munitions Depository.

 

He told her of his fear when she, Lucas, Ford and Krieg were caught in that hurricane; his relief and pride in her for her handling the situation with the undersea volcano that threatened the lives of the half-dozen people trapped on Monito Island.

 

He also, somewhat reluctantly, admitted that he had been jealous of the time she’d been spending with Malcolm on his island; a fact which elicited a grin from her and an, “I knew it.”

 

Kristin took another sip of her wine.  She was thrilled with the progress he’d made.

 

She sighed.

 

~ So why am I feeling… ~

 

She sighed again.

 

She knew what was bothering her.

 

She took another sip of wine, glancing back at the house and then back at the water.

 

She was disappointed that he hadn’t remembered the more intimate details of their life together beyond the vague flashes he’d had since being on the island.

 

Their first time making love; learning of her pregnancy and the discovery that they were having twins, as well as their birth.

 

That’s what she wanted him to remember.

 

Them.

 

Kristin sighed again; almost angry with herself for being disappointed with his progress so far.  She kept telling herself that what he’d remembered to this point was a start.  A very good start.  And before she knew it, Nathan would be remembering everything.

 

~ Oh God, please. ~ She prayed silently.  ~ Please let him get the rest of his memory back. ~

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

Inside the house, oblivious to his wife’s internal musings, Nathan moved about the kitchen, cleaning up from dinner.

 

He was very excited about all he’d remembered today, more than he had in the last few days put together.  And all the memories were memories that involved Kristin.

 

“And yes, I was jealous of all the time you suddenly seemed to be spending with Malcolm.”  Nathan admitted in a quiet voice.

 

“I knew it!”  Kristin grinned, playfully hitting him on the arm.

 

He shook his head and smiled as he finished up washing the dishes, leaving them in the rack to dry.  He turned and surveyed the kitchen to be sure he hadn’t missed anything.  Satisfied that he’d gotten everything, he moved to the fridge to get the wine just as the CD in the stereo changed.

 

Nathan stopped dead in his tracks as another memory suddenly washed over him.

 

 

Nathan stepped out onto the porch and glanced around.  He smiled when he spotted her, sitting on the end of the dock with her feet dangling in the water.  He stood watching her for a moment longer and then with a growing grin, he turned and slipped back inside the house.

 

Ten minutes later, soft music following him, Nathan made his way slowly down the dock towards her, two glasses of wine in hand.  Just as he reached her, she turned and flashed him a big smile.

 

“I was wondering when you’d come and join me.”  Kristin said, accepting the glass of wine he offered her and taking a small sip as he sat on the edge of the dock beside her.  She held up her glass to him.  “Cheers.”

 

“Cheers.”  Nathan echoed, touching his glass to hers and taking a sip.  He set the glass down beside him and leaned back on his hands, his gaze drifting out over the water.

 

They sat together; sipping their wine and talking quietly while watching the sun slowly begin to slip out of view, the soft music still playing in the background.  When the sun was halfway down, Nathan suddenly stood.

 

“Nathan?”  Kristin gave him a quizzical look, which quickly changed to a smile as he held his hand out to her.

 

“Dance with me?”

 

“I would love to,” Kristin said, placing her hand in his, allowing him to help her to her feet and pull her into his arms.

 

They shared a soft kiss as they moved together to the old love song that reached out and enveloped them from the house.

 

“Thank you, Nathan.”  Kristin said after a few minutes.  “For bringing me here.”

 

“My pleasure,” Nathan smiled.  “I’m glad you agreed to come.”

 

“We really haven’t had much time together since the accident, have we?”

 

Nathan shook his head.  “No, we haven’t and for that I’m sorry.”

 

“Don’t apologize,” Kristin said, giving his shoulder a gentle squeeze.  “We’ve both been busy with the inquest.  I know that.” 

 

Nathan frowned slightly and nodded. 

 

“But that’s all over now,” she said, her fingers brushing his neck.  “And now it’s time to get on with our lives.”

 

“I like the sound of that,” Nathan agreed, his hand moving lazily up and down her back.  “And I know just where to begin.”

 

“Mmm… and where is that?”  Kristin asked, her eyes sparkling in the light of the setting sun.

 

“Right here,” Nathan said, his hand moving up to cup her cheek as he leaned close, brushing his lips softly against hers.

 

“Good place to start,” Kristin murmured against his lips, her hand cupping the back of his head and drawing his mouth back to hers for a passionate kiss that left them breathless when they parted.

 

“Mmm…”Kristin sighed against his lips.  “I’d say this vacation is off to a perfect start.”

 

“I couldn’t agree more.”  Nathan said, sliding his hands down her back as they once again began to sway to the music, sharing kisses and losing themselves in each other; the soft instrumental music weaving a warm cocoon around them.

 

Some time later, the sun having slipped below the horizon; Kristin slowly broke off the kiss and stepped out of his arms, reaching for his hands.

 

“Kris?”

 

Kristin simply gave him a sensuous smile as she slowly walked backwards, pulling him with her towards the house.  Nathan returned her smile as he allowed her to continue to lead him inside.  They paused before the stereo and Nathan reached out to lower the volume.

 

“Kristin, are you sure about this?”

 

“Yes, I’m sure,” Kristin smiled and nodded as she stepped closer to him, sliding her arms around his neck.  “I’ve wanted to be with you for a long time now.”

 

“And I you,” Nathan smiled softly and slipped his arms about her waist, drawing her closer.  “I just don’t want there to be any regrets between us.  You mean too much to me for that to happen.”

 

“The only thing I regret, is that we didn’t turn off the vid-link in your cabin last month.”

 

Nathan chuckled and nodded his agreement.  “I just want you to be sure” his hands caressed her back.  “I don’t what us to rush into anything.”

 

“I am sure.”  Kristin told him.  “Nathan, if anything good has come out of the accident with the seaQuest, it’s that I’ve realized life is too short.  That you have to embrace each moment of it and live it as if it were your last.”

 

Nathan’s smile grew as she moved closer, pressing her body against his, her hand sliding up to cup his cheek as her smile grew softer.

 

“I love you, Nathan.”  Kristin told him in her richly accented voice.  “And I don’t want to wait any longer to be with you.”

 

“I love you too, Kristin.”  Nathan said in a quiet voice.  “I have from the moment I saw you tear into Ford,” he brought his hand up, tracing her features with his fingers.  “And I don’t want to wait any longer to make love with you either.”

 

“Then let’s not waste any more time.”  Kristin murmured as she threaded her fingers into his hair and pulled his lips down to hers.

 

Nathan responded, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her closer, as he returned her passionate kiss; their tongues dancing in each other’s mouths, foreshadowing the dance their bodies would soon be sharing.

 

After several long minutes, he broke off the kiss, bent slightly to lift Kristin effortlessly into his arms and carried her down the hall and into his bedroom.  He let her down slowly at the foot of his bed, her body sliding against his as she stood before him.

 

With the sultry, erotic strains of Barbieri’s Europa playing in the background, they slowly began to remove each other’s clothes, each taking turns to undo buttons, pausing between each article of clothing that fell to steal a kiss or to caress each new area of exposed flesh, until they were both standing gloriously naked before each other.

 

“You are so beautiful,” Nathan whispered in a husky voice, reaching out to tuck a stray lock of hair behind her ear and then trailing his finger down the smooth column of her neck to her shoulder.  “Even more so than in my dreams.”

 

“You’re not so bad yourself.”  Kristin smiled as she placed her hands on his chest, relishing the feel of the soft hair as her fingers followed the trail that arrowed down across his firm stomach.  “Not so bad,” she repeated, her fingers walking back up until her hands were resting on his shoulders and drew him closer, pressing her body against his.

 

Their lips came together again in a fiery kiss as Nathan guided her body down onto the bed; rolling so that Kristin was on top.  She broke off the kiss and smiled down at him as he ran his hands up and down her back.  Kristin looked deep into his blue eyes, feeling a shiver of anticipation run through her at the way they’d grown dark and intense with desire.

 

Nathan reached up, threading his hands in her thick auburn tresses; stroking her cheeks with his thumbs.  He smiled up at her, losing himself in the whiskey hue of her eyes before drawing her lips back down to his and rolling them over so that his body covered hers.

 

Kristin moaned as Nathan broke off the kiss and began raining soft kisses along her throat in a leisurely exploration, using his lips and hands to touch and caress every inch of her that he could reach.

 

“Nathan.”  It came out a breathy gasp as his hot mouth closed around her nipple, teasing and whirling the rosy tip with his tongue; his fingers tracing circles around her other breast until he moved and took that nipple in his mouth too, applying the same sweet torture.

 

Her hands gripped his shoulders as he moved lower, pressing a series of open mouthed kisses in a sensuous trail down her body, pausing to outline her navel with his tongue, which caused Kristin to giggle and shift under him.  Nathan raised his head and met her eyes, flashing her a smile before continuing on his erotic journey.

 

Kristin watched through lidded eyes as Nathan caressed, kissed and licked his way down her legs; grasping her ankle and pressing soft kisses to each of her toes, while gently massaging the soles.  When he finished with her feet, he leisurely made his way back up her legs in the same manner, his hands and lips caressing her now highly sensitized flesh.

 

When he came to the patch of glistening auburn curls at the juncture of her thighs, Nathan raised his head to meet her eyes, noting that they’d grown even darker with desire.  He smiled at her before lowering his head again and pressing his mouth against her.

 

“Nathan!” 

 

Nathan smiled inwardly as she cried out his name again, feeling her reach out and thread her fingers in his hair, holding him to her, as he loved her with his mouth.

 

“Oh God…” Kristin moaned again, arching her body against him as he slid first one finger inside her and then another.  “…Nath… an!”

 

Nathan continued to move his fingers inside her, his mouth and tongue swirling and teasing the sensitive bundle of nerves, until he felt her body begin to tremble, her inner muscles beginning to spasm around his thrusting fingers.

 

“Nathan?”  Kristin suddenly gasped and lifted her head off the pillow as his mouth ceased its pleasurable ministrations to her swollen flesh. 

 

Nathan simply smiled, raising his head slightly as he reached out with his free hand, his right hand still moving slowly within her body, and clasped hers from where it was clenching the blankets, entwining their fingers.

 

Kristin returned his smile as he gave her hand a gentle squeeze and then moaned as he once again lowered his head, his mouth resuming its earlier pleasurable torture.

 

“Mmm… Nath…” she moaned loudly, pressing herself against him as he intensified the pressure of his mouth against her; increasing the speed of his fingers within her.  “Oh… God… Nathan!”  Kristin suddenly cried out his name as her body tensed and arched off the bed; a tidal wave of pleasure washing over her; leaving her drowning in a sea of sensations.

 

With a last loving kiss against her, Nathan slowly withdrew his fingers and began to once again kiss his way up her trembling body; raining kisses over her breasts and trailing his lips up her throat to cover her mouth with his in a deep, burning kiss as he settled his body against hers.

 

As they kissed, Nathan slipped his free hand between their bodies, wrapped it around his throbbing member, and brought it to her waiting entrance, stroking the head along her sex, coating his length with her juices.  He broke off the kiss, locking his eyes with hers and with a slowness that belied the urgency he was feeling, Nathan sank into her welcoming warmth, her raised knees cradling his hips.

 

They moaned together as their bodies were finally joined as one.  Nathan smiled down at her, the love he felt for her, shining in his deep, blue eyes.  With a gentle squeeze of their still entwined hands, Nathan lowered his mouth for a loving kiss.

 

Kristin slid her free hand up over his shoulder and around his neck, pulling him closer, wanting to feel his body completely against hers.  She moaned softly at the feel of his firm chest against her breasts, the soft hairs tickling and caressing the sensitive flesh.

 

Nathan raised and rested their entwined hands on the mattress above their heads, his other hand slipping beneath her body to grasp her shoulder as he began to slowly thrust his hips against her.

 

“Nathan…” Kristin breathed against his lips at his gentle movements.

 

At her soft utterance of his name, Nathan raised his head and felt as if he was going to drown in the desire and love he saw swimming in her dark, passion-filled eyes.  “Kris…” he moaned softly as she moved beneath him, meeting his gentle thrusts.

 

Slowly, they began to move together, establishing a leisurely rhythm; both content to love each other slowly, savouring the sensations of this first joining of their bodies.  Their eyes remained locked; communicating far more than mere words ever could, sharing the whisperings of their souls.

 

Kristin’s hand moved up and down Nathan’s back, her fingers trailing along his spine as she arched into him, wanting more as the feelings and sensations flowing through her body began to grow.  “Nathan…”

 

Nathan smiled and lowered his lips to hers, kissing her softly but with growing passion as he altered their rhythm, rolling his hips against hers before beginning to thrust more fully against her.

 

Breaking away from the kiss with a gasp, Kristin moaned her approval and arched beneath him, matching his new rhythm with ease.  She gazed up at him, and felt her heart skip a beat as her eyes locked with his, the passion, desire, the want and need, but most especially the love shining in his cerulean depths, reaching out and enveloping her soul.

 

Nathan gazed deeply into Kristin’s eyes as he continued to stroke deep within her, the emotions blazing in her dark, sable depths humbling him to his very core.  The desire and passion he knew was mirrored in his own eyes, as well as his want and his need for her.  But it was the trust.  The trust and love shining bright in her eyes that captured his heart, wrapping him in a warmth unlike any he’d felt before.

 

“Kris…” her name was a breathless moan as he felt his control begin to slip; the slow, steady pace he’d been keeping becoming too much and too hard to maintain.  “Kris… I…”

 

“I know.”  She replied in an equally breathless voice, shifting beneath him.

 

Nathan moaned as she wrapped her legs around his waist, the change in the angle of her hips allowing him to move deeper within her.  “God, Kris,” he groaned again, burying his face in her neck as she tightened her legs and pulled him closer while arching beneath him and thrusting her hips up against him.

 

Kristin felt a shudder pass through his body and responded in kind when he released her hand, sliding his between their bodies, his fingers unerringly finding and stroking the small, sensitive bundle that would take her over the edge.

 

“Nath…” she cried out as he continued stroking her with his fingers, keeping time with the now frantic thrusting of his hips.  “Oh… oh… God!”  Kristin gasped, the coil of arousal being wound beneath his busy fingers letting go and spiraling out of control.  “Nathan!”

 

Nathan lifted his head, holding himself still, deep within her, as her orgasm washed over her; his fingers still dancing over her sensitive flesh, drawing out her release as her body quivered beneath his.  He watched as she flew apart, his name a mantra on her lips, and then slowly came back together in his arms.

 

Kristin opened her eyes, not realizing she’d closed them, to see Nathan gazing down at her, an expression of awe and utter love on his face.  “Nathan,” she smiled up at him, and then feeling the strain in his body as he held back his release, she ran her hands down his back and tightened her legs around him.  “Let go, Nathan.”

 

With her words, Nathan slipped his arms beneath her and grasped her shoulders, burying his face in her neck as he began to move heavily against her, driving himself deep into her welcoming body.  It wasn’t long before he felt the telltale signs of his release tingling down his spine, the tightening low in his stomach that told him he was close.  With a hoarse cry that was her name, his hips jerked convulsively against her and then he was lost in the tidal wave of his orgasm.

 

Kristin sighed happily, her arms tightening around Nathan as he sank bonelessly into her embrace; his panting breath warm against her skin.  She eased her legs from around his waist, sliding them down along his legs.

 

“I love you.”

 

Kristin smiled, turning her head to brush a kiss against his temple at his murmured words.  “I love you too.”

 

They lay, still entwined for several long minutes, in a comfortable silence as their hearts and their breathing slowly returned to normal.

 

Nathan leisurely kissed a trail up along her throat to her mouth, covering her lips in a sweet, loving kiss.  Breaking off the kiss, he gazed down at her, losing himself in her luminous gaze.

 

“Marry me.”

 

Kristin’s eyes grew wide and filled with tears.

 

“Yes.”

 

It was uttered softly, but he’d heard it as if she’d shouted it.

 

The smile that broke out on Nathan’s face told Kristin that he’d heard her answer; the kiss he gave her seconds later left her with no doubts that he’d definitely heard her answer.

 

 

“Nathan?”

 

Nathan shook his head, turning to see Kristin standing in the kitchen doorway, a concerned look on her face.

 

“Nathan, are you all right?”

 

“Huh?”

 

“Are you okay?”  Kristin asked, walking over to him.  She placed her hand on his arm and looked into his face.  “You…” she paused, feeling the sudden rapid beating of her heart as she met his eyes.  “Oh my God… you remember, don’t you?”

 

Nathan nodded, a somewhat bewildered look on his face, as if he didn’t believe it.  “Yeah.  I remember.”

 

“Oh… oh God…” Kristin gasped, her eyes welling with tears as Nathan suddenly pulled her into his arms, enveloping her tightly in his embrace.

 

“I remember everything,” Nathan spoke against her ear as he held her.  “I remember our first night together; making love to you and asking you to marry me.  I remember finding out you were pregnant and then the twins.  I remember the night they were born and how wonderfully hectic our lives got afterwards.”  His hands stroked up and down her back before sliding into her hair and pulling her head back so that he could look into her eyes.  “I remember, Kris.”

 

“Oh thank God.”  Kristin released the breath she’d been holding and then buried her face in his chest, tears of relief given free reign.

 

Nathan tightened his arms around her, burying his face in her hair; his own tears disappearing into her auburn locks.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

“So,” Kristin said, sighing happily as she shifted in her husband’s arms, angling her head back so she could see his face.  “Tell me about the night our children were born.”

 

Nathan chuckled.  “You really are bent on testing me, aren’t you?”

 

“Oh yes,” Kristin said with a smile as she turned her head back to gaze out the window, feeling his arms tighten around her and pull her back against his chest.  “It’s not that I don’t believe you…”

 

“You just want to be sure.”  Nathan stated as she nodded.  “Okay,” he shifted, resting his chin in the crook of her neck before continuing.  “It was a dark and stormy night…  ouch!”

 

Kristin smirked as she pulled her arm back.

 

“What was that for?”

 

“Be serious.”

 

“I was,” she turned her head slightly to glance back at him and was rewarded with a quick kiss.  “Now, where was I?”  He asked with a grin.  “Ah, yes… a dark and stormy night…”

 

 

“Nathan.  Nathan, wake up!”

 

“G’back to sleep, Kris.”  Nathan murmured as he rolled over and spooned up behind her, slipping his arm about her waist, his hand resting on her swollen belly as a flash of lightning lit up their room.  “It’s just a small storm.”

 

“I don’t care about the storm, you dolt.”  Kristin elbowed him in the chest.  “It’s time!”

 

“Time?  Time for what?”  Nathan muttered sleepily.  “Now!?”  Nathan asked, snapping awake and sitting up.  “But… but it’s early still.”  He shook his head, trying to clear the fog.  “You’re not due for another four weeks.”

 

“Well tell that to your children.”  Kristin told him curtly as she slowly sat up, the sound of distant thunder rumbling outside.  “But only after you’ve called for an emergency evac chopper.”

 

“A chopper?”  He asked as he scrambled out of the bed, grabbing his shorts and tugging them on.  “What’s wrong with the boat?”

 

“Two things,” Kristin said, shifting so that she was sitting on the edge of the bed.  “One.  I don’t want your attention being divided between me and the boat.  And two,” she groaned softly as a contraction rolled over her.

 

 Nathan was at her side in a heartbeat, his hands moving soothingly over her belly.  “And two?”

 

“Two.  I don’t want your attention divided between me and the boat.”  She said, exhaling deeply as the contraction passed.

 

“I thought that was the first reason.”

 

“It’s the only reason,” Kristin said, standing and making her way towards the bathroom.  She paused in the doorway and turned to look at him.  “I want you with me, Nathan.  I want you there holding my hand, coaching me.  I need…”

 

“I know, honey,” Nathan nodded, smiling reassuringly.  He gave her shoulder a gentle squeeze and kissed her quickly.  “I’ll go call the chopper.”

 

Kristin watched him leave the room and then entered the bathroom.  She emerged ten minutes later just as Nathan was returning.  “What?”  She asked, not liking the look on his face.  “Nathan, what’s wrong?”

 

A clap of thunder delayed his answer as he moved to her side and led her over to their bed. 

 

“How long till the chopper gets here?”  She asked, easing down on the edge of the bed.

 

“Slight problem.”  Nathan said.  “Storm’s too strong, chopper’s grounded.”

 

“What!?  It can’t be.”  Kristin looked over to the patio doors.  “It doesn’t look that bad out there.”

 

“Not here.”  Nathan said.  “Visibility is very bad, according to the coast guard, and getting worse,” he told her.  “And there is a very distinct possibility that it’s heading this way.”

 

Kristin blanched.

 

“How far apart are the contractions?”

 

“About fifteen minutes,” she answered and then grimaced as another contraction hit, her hands bunching in the blankets.  “Mmm…oooh… I’d forgotten how much that hurts.”

 

“What can I do to help?”

 

“Get me to a hospital.”

 

“Would if I could, darlin’.”

 

Kristin closed her eyes, and taking a deep breath, slowly opened them again.  “I know.  I’m sorry.”

 

“I’ve called seaQuest,” he told her.  “They’re not that far out, so I’ve had Jonathan send a launch.”

 

“A launch?  In this storm?”

 

Nathan nodded.  “Levin’s with them.   Apparently he thought this might happen and had half of med bay packed up days ago.” he gave her a wry grin.  “And you know Jonathan… always prepared.  They should be here in an hour.”

 

Kristin’s eyes filled with tears.  “I hope so too.”

 

Nathan reached out and brushed the tears from her eyes as he moved closer, sitting on the edge of the bed with her, once again smoothing his hands over her stomach.  “What can I do for you?”

 

“Run me a bath.  A nice hot bath.”  She told him as the contraction eased.

 

Nathan gave her a strange look.  “A bath?  Now?”

 

Kristin merely smiled and nodded.  “It’ll help.  Trust me.  I am a doctor, you know.”  She paused and reached a hand up to cup his cheek.  “There is no need to panic, Nathan.  Women have been having babies since the beginning of time.  And it’s not like you haven’t been through this before.”

 

“Well, actually,” Nathan began, turning his face into her hand and kissing her palm.  “I was out at sea when Bobby was born.”

 

“You were…”

 

“Out at sea.”  Nathan finished and nodded.  “Yes.”

 

“Then this…”

 

“Will be a whole new experience for me,” he met her eyes, brushing another kiss against her palm.  “And I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

 

“…Nathan…” she whispered his name, her eyes bright with tears.

 

“But, I have read all those books you wanted me to, and watched the videos you brought home.”

 

“And you do have basic medical training.”  She pointed out and he nodded.

 

“So,” he took a deep, calming breath.  “Stay calm.  No panicking and everything’ll be fine.  And before we know it, we’ll be holding our babies.”

 

Kristin nodded.  “Oh, I can’t wait for that.”

 

“Me either, honey.”  Nathan said, leaning forward to brush a quick kiss over her lips before climbing off the bed.  “One relaxing bath coming up.”

 

Kristin watched him disappear into the bathroom with a soft smile on her face and then closed her eyes, as the sounds of the storm seemed to grow louder.  The smile slowly faded from her face.

 

“Why the somber look?”

 

Kristin opened her eyes to see Nathan standing beside the bed, gazing down at her.

 

“We shouldn’t have come.”  She said softly.  “There is so much that could go wrong…”

 

Nathan sat down on the bed and reached out to caress her cheek.  “Nothing is going to go wrong, Kris.”

 

“But the storm…”

 

“Is outside.  We’re not.”  He told her.  “I promise you, Kris, nothing will happen.”

 

Kristin looked doubtful.

 

“And when have I ever broken a promise to you?”

 

A soft smile began to form on her face.  “Never.”

 

“That’s right.  And I never will.”

 

Kristin smiled, reaching up to cover his hand where it rested on her cheek.  “Thank you.”

 

“Feel better?”

 

“Mmhmm.”

 

“Good.”  He said standing and then bent to lift her into his arms.  “So, while you’re soaking in here,” he carried her into the bathroom.  “What else do you want and need me to get?”

 

“My bag,” she began and prattled off a list as he helped lower her into the now-filled bathtub.  “Mmm…” she sighed happily as the warm water enveloped her.  “Oh, I love this tub.”

 

Nathan smiled affectionately as he rolled up a towel and placed it behind her head.  He knelt beside the tub, surprising her as his hands slipped beneath the water to rub her stomach then moved up along her arms in a gentle massage, before returning to her stomach, all the while talking with her and the twins. 

 

“Are you sure you’re going to be okay in here alone?”  He asked her sometime later, knowing he should take of gathering those items she’d listed.

 

Smiling at his concern, Kristin nodded.  “Yes, Nathan.  I’ll be fine.”

 

Taking the hint when she closed her eyes and sighed, Nathan stood and went about hunting up the various items Kristin had named.

 

 

Kristin sighed and opened her eyes to find Nathan kneeling beside the tub, a soft smile on his lips.  “I thought you were going to get everything?”

 

“Been there, done that.  Just waiting for the launch to get here,” he answered, reaching out to lay his hand on her belly.  “And for these two make their appearance.”

 

“No.”  She said, disbelief in her voice.  “You can’t have… I’ve not been in here that long, have I?”

 

“Thirty minutes, give or take.”  Nathan replied.  “Am gathering it helped with the contractions.”

 

“Mmm, a little.”  She nodded and then chuckled.  “Thirty minutes.”  She laughed again.  “I was wondering why the water was starting to feel a little cool.”

 

“That would be a good reason,” Nathan joined in her laughter and then reached over, unstopped the tub to drain away some of the water and then added some more hot water.  “How’s that?”

 

“Better.  Thanks.”

 

Nathan settled back down beside her as she sighed and closed her eyes, resting his chin on his arms as he crossed them on the edge of the tub.

 

“What are you looking at?”

 

At her softly voiced question, Nathan tore himself away from his leisurely perusal of her body to meet her eyes.  He smiled and answered simply.  “You.”

 

“Why?”

 

“Because you are without a doubt the most beautiful woman I know.”  He said with total sincerity, reaching out to take her hand in his, entwining their fingers.

 

Kristin raised her eyebrows at him and then grimaced; her hand tightening on his and gripped the side of the tub with her other hand as a contraction made its way through her body.  “Beautiful, huh?”  She asked him once the contraction had passed.

 

Nathan nodded.  “Yes.  Beautiful,” he repeated.  “And amazing, incredible, and…” he shook his head, at a loss for words.  “I can’t tell you what it means to me, to know that nestled here,” he reached out with his free hand, splaying it over her stomach.  “Are two lives that we created.  For the last eight months, you’ve carried them safe within you and very soon, you’re going to give birth to them.  And I find that not only awe-inspiring,” he swallowed.  “I also find it scary as hell.”

 

Kristin laughed, despite the tears in her eyes at his warm words, reaching out her free hand to caress his cheek.

 

“But even still, I can’t wait for these two to get here.”  He continued with a grin.  “To be here to see them enter this world…” he voice trailed off as he let his gaze once again drift over her body.  “But I must admit,” he met her eyes again.  “I am going to miss seeing you pregnant.”

 

“Are you really?”  She asked surprised.

 

“You really have no idea how… utterly gorgeous you are, do you?  And what a turn on it is seeing you pregnant; knowing that it is my children you’re carrying.”  Nathan shifted to his knees and leaned in closer to her, the hand on her stomach, gliding up to cup one of her breasts; his thumb gently circling her nipple, causing her to gasp softly and lean into his caress.  “And if I could make love to you right now, I would be doing just that.”

 

Kristin smiled at the look of utter love and desire on his face.  “Technically, we still can,” she couldn’t help but chuckle as his eyes widened.  “My water hasn’t broken yet,” she answered his unvoiced question.  “But I think I would much rather you simply join me in here and hold me.”

 

Nathan closed the distance between them, capturing her lips in a slow, loving and yet still passionate kiss.  Ending as slowly as it started, Nathan pulled away, stood, slipped off his boxers and climbed into the tub, settling in behind her.

 

“Mmm…” Kristin sighed happily as his arms slid around her, resting on her stomach.  “Thank you.”

 

“Anytime, my heart.”  Nathan brushed a kiss against her temple.  “Anytime.”

 

“You know,” Kristin said several minutes and a contraction later.  “We still haven’t decided on names for these two.”

 

“You’re right, we haven’t.”  He said.  “Any suggestions?”

 

“Well…” Kristin began and before long they were tossing various names for both boys and girls; each of them pointing out what they liked and didn’t like about each name.

 

“How come we didn’t do this earlier?”  Nathan asked, chuckling over Kristin’s last suggestion, said in exasperation at their inability to think of names they both liked and could agree on.  Oscar Horatio Bridger.  He shook his head and chuckled again.

 

“We did,” she answered.  “But we couldn’t narrow it down to four we liked.”

 

“And it appears we still can’t.”

 

Kristin was about to reply when she was cut off by a call from the other room.

 

“Kristin?  Captain?”

 

“We’re in here, Joshua.”  Kristin called out to the younger doctor, but before she could tell him that they’d be right out, Joshua walked in and stopped. 

 

“Warm bath.  Good idea.”  He said and then pointed to towards the door.   “I’ll wait in there.”

 

“Thanks, Joshua.”  Kristin smiled at him, amusement evident in her voice, as Nathan’s arms had immediately moved up to cover her breasts the moment the doctor walked into the bathroom.  “We’ll be right there.”

 

Levin nodded and left.

 

“Well, sailor, how ‘bout you help me out of here?”  Kristin said, angling her head back to look at him and chuckling at the look on his face.

 

“It’s not funny, Kris.”

 

“Oh yes it is.”  Kristin replied.  “Besides, it’s not like he hasn’t seen it all before.  He was my doctor on the seaQuest you know.”

 

“I know,” he said and then simply shrugged his shoulders.  “Come on, let’s get you out of here.”

 

Kristin smiled and shifted forward to let Nathan climb out of the tub.

 

Once he was out, he grabbed a towel and wrapping it around his waist, he reached over, unstopped the tub and then helped Kristin to her feet.  “Now just wait there a moment while I grab you a towel.”

 

He’d only just turned his back when he heard a loud gasp.  He spun back around to see Kristin staring down at the tub and followed her gaze.

 

“My water just broke.”  She said.

 

“I see that.”  He replied, watching as it seeped down her legs and rushed down the drain with the bathwater.  He grabbed the larger towel off the towel bar and draped it around her shoulders and then surprised her by grabbing the washcloth, wetting it under the tap, kneeling in front of her and wiping her legs.

 

“Nathan…”

 

He looked up at her and shrugged again.  “Yeah, I know…” he finished and then stood and helped her step out of the tub.  He quickly toweled her off and then spotting his robe hanging behind the door, he grabbed it and helped her slip it on, brushing a soft kiss against her lips before quickly pulling his boxers back on and leading her out of the bathroom.

 

“So, how far apart are they?”  Joshua asked, standing next to the bed, going through Kristin’s med-kit.  He watched as Nathan helped Kristin sit on the edge of the bed.

 

“About fifteen…”

 

“Fifteen…”

 

They stopped as they spoke at the same time, and at the look on Kristin’s face, Nathan indicated that she should finish.

 

“Fifteen minutes, give or take,” Kristin told Joshua as Nathan sat next to her, keeping her hand in his.  “And my water broke as we were getting out of the tub.”

 

Joshua simply nodded, acknowledging the information.

 

“Nath… ooh…” Kristin suddenly groaned, her grip tightening on his hand.

 

As Nathan dropped to his knees in front of her, Joshua moved closer.  “Have they all been as strong as this?”

 

“No.”  Nathan answered, his eyes never leaving Kristin’s face; watching as her eyes closed and she concentrated on her breathing.  He moved his free hand over her stomach, feeling the contraction move through her, as she reached out with her free hand to grip his shoulder.  “This one is the strongest yet,” he said as he felt the pressure in her grip increase slightly.

 

When the contraction finally eased, so did Kristin’s hold on Nathan’s hand and shoulder.

 

She sat back with a deep sigh, shaking her head slightly and opened her eyes; chuckling softly.  “Well, I don’t think either of our children like the name Oscar.”

 

Nathan laughed, squeezed her hand gently and moved to sit back beside her.  “Yeah, I think you’re right.”

 

“Kristin,” Joshua moved to the spot Nathan just vacated, kneeling in front of her.  “Did the bath help?”

 

“Very much.”

 

“Glad to hear it.”  Joshua smiled, reaching out to squeeze her hand.  “Now, it’s time for all the usual questions, okay?”

 

Kristin nodded and answered each question as he asked them.

 

Feeling like he should be doing something while Joshua questioned Kristin and checked her pulse and blood pressure, Nathan stood, walked around to the other side of the bed, and began gathering all the pillows together, piling them against the headboard.

 

“Well,” Joshua said.  “So far, everything looks good.  No fever and pulse is normal.”  He paused and slowly stood.  “And now, why don’t you lie back and we’ll check a few more things.”

 

Kristin nodded and before she realized it, Nathan was back at her side, helping her to turn and slide back on the bed so that she was resting against the pile of pillows.

 

“Comfy?”  He asked as he knelt beside her on the bed.

 

“As I can be.”  She smiled at him.

 

As they talked, Joshua returned to Kristin’s side, sitting on the edge of the bed.  As Joshua began pulling up the blanket on the bed, Kristin began to untie the belt of the robe.

 

“This is quite normal, Captain.”  Joshua told him, catching the questioning look on Nathan’s face as he parted the robe over Kristin’s stomach and began to move his hands slowly over her.  “I’m just checking out the position of your children.”

 

Nathan glanced at Kristin, who gave him a small nod and then looked back at Joshua expectantly.

 

“Oh, that’s a head here,” he said before moving his hands again.  “And this would be baby number two’s bottom.”

 

“Could’ve told you that.”  Kristin quipped.  “Been kicking me in the ribs for the last little while now.”

 

Joshua grinned and continued.  “Another bottom and the head just where we want it,” he paused, glancing up to see a befuddled look on Nathan’s face.  “Low in the pelvis, the head down for delivery.”  He reached for the gadget he’d placed on the nightstand beside the bed.

 

“So, ready to have a listen to your babies’ heartbeats?”  At their nod, Joshua began to move the device over her stomach, listening for the babies’ heart tones.

 

Hearing his babies, or to be more precise, one of his baby’s heartbeat over the small speaker in Joshua’s hand made Nathan smile.  He leaned closer to Kristin and reached for her hand, giving it a gentle squeeze, which she unexpectedly returned full force.

 

“Oh!”

 

“Another one?”

 

Kristin nodded.

 

“Breathe, baby.”  Nathan urged her, his free hand finding its way to her shoulder and rubbing down her back.  “That’s it.”

 

While Nathan dutifully doted on and encouraged Kristin, Joshua kept the Doppler against her stomach, moving it around to monitor the babies closely throughout the contraction.

 

As the contraction eased, Kristin relaxed back against the pillows and exhaled deeply, smiling as Nathan reached out to brush her hair back off her face; his fingers caressing her cheek as he drew them back.

 

The smile on her face faded slightly when there was a bright flash of lightning, followed very quickly by a loud crash of thunder.

 

“The storm’s getting worse.”  She said, her earlier worries returning, hearing the wind picking up as well.  “Nathan?”

 

“Everything’ll be fine, Kris.”  Nathan reassured her.  He slipped his fingers under her chin, gently turning her gaze away from the patio doors and back to him.  “I promised you, honey,” he cupped her cheek, his thumb softly stroking back and forth over her skin.  “And…”

 

“And you always keep your promises.”  She finished, a smile starting to form on her lips.

 

“Exactly.”  Nathan said, feeling her relax slightly.

 

“I hate to interrupt,” they turned to see Joshua standing beside the bed, a small smile on his face, as if knowing that both of them seemed to have forgotten he was there.  “But I think we should check on just how badly these kids want to make their entrance into the world.”

 

Kristin nodded and drew her knees up as he sat beside her again, watching as he pulled on a glove and added some lubricant.  She turned her head at the touch of his hand on her knee, and gazed at Nathan as she let her legs fall open to the sides.  Losing herself in the deep blue of Nathan’s eyes, Kristin was barely aware of Joshua lowering the sheet, and slipping his hand beneath her robe to measure the dilation of her cervix; a slight wince her only indication that she’d felt anything.

 

“You’re around three to four centimeters,” Joshua told her, pulling the sheet back up around her, patting her gently on the knee.  “And about ninety percent effaced.”

 

Kristin breathed a sigh of relief as Nathan looked at Joshua.  “So, how long till they’re born?”

 

Joshua shrugged.  “Depends on how anxious your kids are to get here.”  He pulled off the glove.  “The first baby is at zero station, but with her cervix effaced to the degree it is…”

 

“It means our babies aren’t going to dawdle about too long.”  Kristin finished, running her hand down over her stomach and turning to look at Nathan.

 

“Glad to hear it.”  He said, slipping a hand under hers.  “I…” he stopped when he felt the muscles beneath his hand begin to tighten. 

 

“Oh… oh God!”  Kristin groaned drawing her knees up as she felt Nathan move closer, taking her hand in his while sliding his other hand to her back.

 

“Breathe, honey.  It’ll be over before you know it.”

 

When the contraction finally eased, Kristin laid back, a soft moan escaping her lips.  “And let’s hope they really don’t dawdle.  I don’t know how much of that I can take.”

 

“This will help.”  Joshua said, standing over her, holding up a syringe.

 

“What is it?”  Kristin asked.

 

“Stadol.”  Joshua answered.  “Where do you want it?”

 

Kristin smiled gratefully and rolled onto her side, patting her hip.

 

“What is that?”  Nathan asked as Joshua pulled down the sheet and raised her robe to expose her hip and thigh.

 

Joshua answered as he leaned over and swabbed a small area.  “It’ll help her relax and take the edge off the pain of the contractions.”

 

Nathan nodded and then averted his eyes as Joshua brought the needle down to Kristin’s leg.  A short while later, Nathan heard Kristin sigh and looked down to see that her eyes were focused on him.  He smiled and reached out to stroke her cheek.  “How you feeling?”

 

“All things considered, pretty good.”  She answered, covering his hand with hers and turning her cheek into his palm.  “But I think I would like to get up and move around.  I’m getting a little restless here in the bed.”

 

“Are you sure that’s a good idea?”

 

“Actually, it’s a very good idea.”  Joshua answered before Kristin could respond.  “The walking will help.”

 

“Okay.”  Nathan said, climbing off the bed, moving around to the other side to help Kristin up.  “Easy does it,” he said, grasping her hands, pulling her gently to her feet.  “All right?”

 

“Yep.”  Kristin nodded, straightening her robe and retying the sash, before slipping her arm through his.  “Lead the way.”

 

Joshua grinned and watched as Nathan and Kristin slowly made their way out of their bedroom and down the hall.

 

Moments later, they entered the living room, just as the front door blew open, followed by a windblown Crocker carrying a fairly large box, which he carefully lowered to the floor before turning and shutting the door.

 

“You moving in, Gator?”

 

Crocker turned at the sound of Nathan’s voice and smiled when he saw both him and Kristin walking leisurely towards him.  “Sure looks that way, doesn’t it?”  Crocker chuckled glancing at the boxes piled up just inside the door.  “I think Doc. Levin brought the whole med bay with him.”

 

“You won’t hear me complaining.”  Kristin said with a grin.  “I’m beginning to think they have the right idea on Star Trek with beaming the baby out.  No fuss, no muss.  And the best part, no pain.”

 

The two men laughed and then Nathan turned to face her.  “You know if I could have them for you, I would.”

 

Kristin smiled and nodded.  “Yes I know,” she cupped his face in her hands, pulling him closer.  “And I love you for it.”

 

Nathan returned her smile and allowed her to pull him down for a loving kiss.  Nathan’s arms slid around his wife’s waist as the kiss continued, totally forgetting that they weren’t alone in the room.

 

“Hey, Chief!”

 

They broke apart at Joshua’s call from the hallway, smiling almost sheepishly at each other.

 

“Sorry, Gator.”  Nathan glanced at his security chief.

 

“Nothing to be sorry for, Cap.”  Crocker said and then turned to Levin as he approached.

 

“I’m going to go get a drink of water,” Kristin said, moving out of Nathan’s arms.  “I’ll be fine,” she said, seeing the look on his face.  “If I need you, I’ll call you.”

 

“Okay,” Nathan agreed, seeing the determined look on her face and knowing he had no choice.  As he watched her walk across the living room, he couldn’t keep the affectionate smile off his lips, nor could he resist calling out, “Wanna bring me back a glass while you’re at it?”

 

He chuckled as he watched her shake her head in amusement and then turned to the other two men in the room.  “What’s the latest on the storm?”

 

Crocker shook his head.  “There’s a tropical depression heading this way, with estimated gusts of up to ninety kilometers an hour.”

 

“Well, the house was built to withstand these storms,” he paused and glanced towards the kitchen at the sound of Kristin’s laughter and then turned back.  “But I don’t know.  Wouldn’t it just be better if we took the launch back to seaQuest before the storm really intensifies?”

 

Joshua shook his head.  “It’d be an awfully rough trip, Captain.  Both on Kristin and the twins.”  He paused, gesturing to the boxes on the floor.  “And I’ve brought along everything I’ll need to deliver your children and keep your wife happy.”

 

Nathan chuckled at that.  “Glad to hear it.”

 

“Glad to hear what?”

 

Nathan turned at the sound of his wife’s voice to see her emerging from the kitchen, glass of water in her hand, and trailing behind her, looking slightly shell-shocked, “Lucas?”

 

“Hi, Cap.”  The youth smiled.

 

“Chief,” Joshua turned to Crocker. “Give me a hand getting these into the bedroom?”

 

“Sure thing, doc.”  Crocker said.

 

As the two men began moving the boxes, Nathan walked across the room and embraced the youth.

 

“What are you doing here?”  Nathan asked as he released him and accepted the glass of water from Kristin with a smile.

 

“I asked Commander Ford if I could come along and help and he said yes.”  Lucas replied and then grinned.  “He probably thought it’d be a lot easier on him if I was here than pestering him for news on the sub.”

 

“Probably.”  Nathan agreed, watching as Kristin began to walk around the room.  He looked back at Lucas.  “So what was with the stunned look on your face when you came out of the kitchen?”

 

Lucas looked down at his shoes, peeking up at Nathan through his hair.  “Well… uhm…”

 

“Lucas.”

 

Lucas looked up to see Kristin on the far side of the room and took a step closer to Nathan.  “She had a contraction in there.”

 

“She what?”

 

“She had a con…”

 

“Yeah, I got that,” Nathan said.

 

“But she said it was okay,” Lucas said quickly.  “She told me what to do and I did it.”

 

“Which was?”

 

“Hold her hand till the contraction passed and,” he blushed.  “Rub her lower back for her.  And I know she’s let me feel the babies kick before, but this time…”

 

Nathan couldn’t help the grin that tugged at the corner of his lips at the young man’s obvious embarrassment.

 

“It was so cool.”  Lucas said, his embarrassment giving way to his excitement.  “I could feel the babies moving and the way her stomach got real tight like that,” he met Nathan’s eyes.  “Wow!”

 

“I totally agree with you.  Wow!”  Nathan said, and then reached out and ruffled his hair.  “I’m glad you were in there with her.”

 

Lucas smiled.  “Yeah, so am I.”

 

They stood together in silence, both of them watching Kristin move slowly about the room, her hands in constant motion over her stomach.

 

“How long till they decide to make their entrance?”  Lucas asked.

 

“When they’re ready and not a moment before.”  Nathan answered, his eyes never leaving his wife.

 

“You’re not nervous about being a dad again are you?”  Lucas asked him a few minutes later, noting the way the captain kept drumming his fingers against his thigh.

 

“A little.”  Nathan admitted reluctantly.

 

“I wouldn’t be if I were you.”  Lucas told him.

 

“Why’s that?”

 

“Because you’re going to be a great dad.”

 

“And you know this…”

 

“Because you’ve been a great dad to me.”  Lucas told him quietly.

 

“Thank you, Lucas.”  Nathan smiled and pulled the young man into a hug.  “That means a lot.”

 

Lucas smiled.  “I…”

 

“Na… oooh… Nathan!”

 

Nathan was at Kristin’s side in a heartbeat, one hand on her arm, the other supporting her back as a powerful contraction moved through her.

 

“Mmm…” she groaned loudly, her hands finding and gripping tightly, almost to the point of pain, to his shoulders as she concentrated on her breathing.

 

“That’s it, Kris.”  Nathan coached, totally focused on Kristin and not hearing Levin and Crocker rush into the room.

 

“Mmm… oooh…” Kristin moaned between breaths.  “Oh, Nathan…”

 

“I know, honey.  I know.”

 

A very long minute later, the contraction finally eased and Kristin sank against Nathan, her forehead resting against his chest as his hands rubbed soothingly up and down her back.

 

“Come on,” he said quietly, slowly leading her back towards their bedroom.  “I think we could both use a nap.  How’s that sound to you?”

 

“Like just what the doctor ordered.”  She answered with a tired smile as Nathan chuckled softly, and tightened his hold around her slightly.

 

A few moments later, they entered their bedroom.

 

“Nathan?”  Kristin questioned when he paused in the doorway.  “What are you…” she smiled as he dimmed the lights.  “Oh.”

 

Nathan led Kristin over to the bed, guiding her as she slowly sat on the edge.  “Hold on a second,” he told her as she began to ease back further on the bed, and in a move that totally surprised her, Nathan climbed in behind her.  He leaned back on the pillows with a leg on either side of her and then gently pulled her back so that she was reclining against him.

 

“Mmm,” Kristin sighed, shifting slightly and then relaxing as his arms slid around her to rest on her belly.  “This is nice.”

 

“Try to get some rest, Kris.”  Nathan told her softly.  “I know it won’t be easy, but try.”

 

Kristin nodded and then glanced around the room.  She chuckled.

 

“What?”

 

“It really does look like Joshua brought the whole med-bay with him.”

 

“Yes it does.”  Nathan grinned and then nuzzled his lips against her temple.  “Come on, honey, try to get some rest.”

 

“Yes, **Captain**.”  She quipped, shifting against him again before closing her eyes.  “What about you?”  She asked over a yawn.

 

“I’m going to relax and simply enjoy holding my beautiful wife in my arms.”  He answered.  “And maybe close my eyes as well and try to catch a few winks.”

 

“Sounds good to me…” Nathan felt her tense in his arms.  “Ooh… oh God.”

 

~ Here we go again. ~ Nathan thought as he coached his wife through the contraction.  ~ So much for getting some rest. ~

 

Kristin fell back against Nathan’s chest as the contraction finally passed.  “Know the scariest part?”  She asked him quietly, trying to catch her breath.

 

“What?”

 

“They’re going to get worse.”

 

“I know.”   Nathan replied softly, wiping her brow with the corner of one of the blankets on the bed.  He dropped the blanket when he was finished and settled back against the pillows, pulling her gently with him.

 

They lay quietly together, watching the lightning flash, listening to the thunder and the wind howl outside.

 

“William.”

 

“Hmm?”  Nathan nuzzled the top of her head.

 

“What do you think of the name William?”  Kristin asked.

 

“I like it.”  He said.  “But if we name one of them William, Bill will think the kid’s named after him.”

 

“Well, that is who I was thinking of.”

 

“Really?”

 

“Mmhmm.”  Kristin nodded and then shifted slightly so that she could tilt her head back to see him.  “If Bill hadn’t’ve shanghaied you off this island…”

 

“We never would have met.”  Nathan grinned and then tightened his arms around her slightly.  “I like it.”

 

Kristin smiled and then grimaced; her hands gripping tightly to his thighs as another contraction began.

 

“Again?”

 

“Yes… ooh God!”  Kristin groaned loudly.

 

“Joshua!” 

 

The young doctor came running into the room, Lucas and Crocker on his heels, as Kristin let loose with a string of words that had even Crocker blushing.

 

“They’re getting closer together.”  Nathan said, glancing up and gesturing in the general direction of all the medical supplies Levin had brought with him.  “Isn’t there anything in all that stuff you brought that can make this easier on her?”

 

“I did bring a complete surgical kit for…” Joshua began, stepping up beside the bed, only to be interrupted by Kristin’s hand shooting out and grasping his arm.  He winced.

 

“How complete?”  She ground out through clenched teeth.

 

“I made sure to include two epidural kits.”  Joshua answered.

 

“Bless you, Joshua.”  Kristin exhaled, sinking back against Nathan, the contraction passing.

 

Joshua smiled at her.  “I’ll get it set up.”

 

Kristin returned his smile and nodded.

 

“What can I do to help?”  Lucas asked from the doorway.

 

“Turn up the lights and then come over here and help us pick some names for these two.”  Nathan called out.

 

Lucas grinned and bounded over to sit on the floor beside them and began tossing out names as Crocker moved over to assist Levin.

 

“Oh no.”  Kristin laughed as she rocked gently in Nathan’s arms.  “Definitely not that one.”

 

“Why not?”  Lucas asked.  “What’s wrong with Morton?”

 

“You’re not serious?”

 

Before Lucas could answer, Kristin moaned as another contraction rolled over her.  He watched as Nathan soothed her; rubbing his hands up and down her arms and back while talking calmly to her.  He couldn’t help but smile.

 

A minute later, both Bridgers relaxed and began to, once again, slowly rock back and forth.

 

“How much longer, Joshua?”

 

“Whenever you’re ready.”  Joshua answered.  “You’ll need to remove your robe or at least bare your back for me.”

 

Kristin nodded as Nathan slipped out from behind her.

 

“I… uh, think I’m going to,” Lucas got to his feet and gestured towards the door as he made his way across the room.  “Uh… yeah.  I’ll be out there.”

 

“I’ll join you, Lucas.”  Crocker said as he followed a fast retreating Lucas.

 

Kristin and Nathan shared an amused look as they watched the two men leave the room.

 

“I’ve got an idea.”  Nathan said as he stood next to the bed.  He reached for the tie of her robe and began to loosen the knot.  Kristin gave him a questioning look as he slowly opened her robe, slipped it from her shoulders and after a little maneuvering, held it up in front of her.  “A terry-cloth johnny-shirt.”

 

Kristin couldn’t help but smile at the grin on his face and shook her head as she slipped her arms into the robe, and then with his help, she shifted onto her side, closer to the edge of the bed.

 

“Ready when you are, Joshua.”  Kristin said as Nathan crawled back onto the bed, shifting so that he was lying face to face with her and then reached for her hands.

 

“Okay, just going to give you a little something to numb the area.”  Joshua told her.  “This is gonna sting a little, Kristin,” he waited for her nod of understanding before beginning.

 

Kristin gripped tightly to Nathan’s hands and winced as Joshua injected the medicine into her back.

 

“Let’s give that a minute to take effect.”  Joshua said, moving to her side.  “Then we’ll get the epidural going.  But first, let’s get an I.V. in you.”

 

Kristin nodded, maneuvering so that she was sitting up facing the middle of the bed.

 

“What exactly are you going to be doing, Joshua?”  Nathan asked, shifting and sitting back on his haunches facing his wife, watching as Levin hooked Kristin up to an I.V while explaining what the epidural was and how it worked.  “Ouch,” Nathan said when he was finished.

 

“Well, that’s why we numbed the injection site first,” Joshua told him.  “And it’s not painful if it’s done properly.”

 

“And it’ll keep me from ripping your head off while your children are making their entrance.”  Kristin told him with a smile.

 

“By all means… epidural away.”  Nathan said with a grin aimed at his wife.

 

“I think we can begin.”  Joshua began, walking around to stand behind Kristin.

 

“Not just yet.”  Kristin said in a tight voice.

 

“Another contraction?”

 

“Oh yeah…” she groaned and tightened her grip on his hands.  “Bloody hell!” 

 

Nathan rose up on his knees, taking her weight against him and rubbed her bare back as the contraction moved through her.  “You are **SO** getting fixed when this is all over!”  He heard her groan in his ear as he urged her to breathe.

 

After a minute, Kristin sagged against him, breathing heavily.  “Oh, I hope these two hurry up.”

 

“You ready now, Kristin?”  Joshua asked.

 

“Yes, Joshua.”  Kristin nodded.

 

“And don’t forget to let me know when you feel a contraction coming on.”  Joshua reminded her as he moved closer. 

 

“Okay.”

 

“Nathan, you okay there?”  Joshua asked.

 

“Yeah, I’m fine, Joshua.”  Nathan said

 

Joshua nodded and got into position.  “Okay, Kristin, you’re going to feel some pressure, but you’ve got to remain perfectly still.”

 

As Joshua worked on inserting the epidural into her back, Nathan spoke softly to her, his warm breath brushing over her cheek and ear; telling her in whispers how much he loved her and all the things he was going to do for her once the babies arrived and they were back on the mainland.

 

“There,” Joshua said a short time later.  “All finished.  You should be feeling the effects very soon.”  He stood and moved around to stand before them.  “And then, you can scoot over and get some rest until those kids are ready to make their entrance.”

 

“Thank you, Joshua.”  Kristin murmured; her face buried against Nathan’s shoulder.

 

“You’re welcome.”  Levin replied.

 

“Thanks, Joshua.”  Nathan said and then focused his attention back on his wife.  “Tell me when you’re ready, baby.”

 

Kristin nodded against him.

 

Not even a minute later, Nathan heard and felt Kristin sigh deeply.  “You okay, honey?”

 

“Mmhmm,” she murmured.  “Much better.”

 

Nathan smiled and helped her recline back against the pillows.

 

“Before you get too comfortable,” Joshua stepped over to them.  “Why don’t we check how much you’ve progressed?”

 

Kristin nodded drowsily and closed her eyes while Joshua checked to see how much further she’d dilated.

 

“You’re dilated to eight centimeters now,” Joshua told her as he stood and removed his glove.  “Baby’s at zero station and you’re one hundred percent effaced.”

 

Kristin opened her eyes and nodded, before letting them drift shut again.

 

“Why don’t you join her, Captain?”  Joshua turned to Bridger.  “You’re going to need it.”

 

Nathan nodded then walked around to the other side of the bed and crawled in beside Kristin, whose hand instinctively sought out his and entwined their fingers together.  He lay on his side, and with her hand clutched to his chest, he drifted off to sleep.

 

He woke up to voices speaking softly around him and then sat up quickly.  “Kris?!”

 

“I’m okay, Nathan.”  Kristin said, squeezing his hand, which she still held.  “Joshua’s just come in to check on me.”

 

Nathan scrubbed his free hand over his face and through his hair.  “How long were we asleep?”

 

“About an hour.”

 

“Really?”  Joshua nodded.  “Hmm… so how is she?”

 

“About the same.”  Joshua answered.

 

Nathan turned to Kristin.  “How are you feeling?  How’re the contractions?”

 

“I’m fine and the epidural is working.  I can’t feel the contractions.”

 

“Good.”

 

“Get some more sleep you two.”

 

Nathan nodded, his eyes still on Kristin as he brought her hand up to his lips and placed a soft kiss to her palm.  They shared a tender smile as Nathan settled back on the bed and once again drifted off to sleep.

 

“Unh… Nathan.”

 

Nathan’s eyes snapped opened and he sat up.  “Kris?’

 

“Mmm… I… think it’s time.”  Kristin told him.

 

“Really?”  He asked as she nodded.  “Joshua!”

 

“Ooh, want to push.”  Kristin said, meeting Nathan’s eyes as Joshua ran into the room, followed seconds later by Crocker and Lucas.  “I really want to push.”

 

Joshua glanced at Lucas and Crocker.  “You two!  Go wash.”  As they headed for the bathroom, Joshua pulled on a pair of gloves and stepped over to Kristin.  “Let’s just have a look and see,” he said and then smiled.  “Oh yeah, looks like baby Bridger one is ready to make his entrance into the world.”

 

“I told you that.”  Kristin said between breaths.

 

“Captain,” Joshua said, moving to gather together the items he would need.  “You might want to move around to the other side.”

 

“Good idea.”  Nathan said and quickly climbed off and ran around the bed.

 

“How’re you holding up, Kristin?  Any pain?”

 

“No… pressure.” Kristin answered, taking a deep breath.  “I just want to push.”

 

At that point, Crocker and Lucas emerged from the bathroom and took up positions on the far side of the bed.

 

“You okay with us being here, doc?”  Lucas asked suddenly, feeling very nervous about being in the room while she was giving birth.

 

Kristin simply nodded and looked pointedly at Joshua.

 

“Okay, okay.”  Joshua smiled and nodded as he got into position.  He looked up at her.  “With the next contraction, I want you to push.”

 

Kristin nodded and then reached out, one hand around her thigh, the other clenching Nathan’s hand as the contraction began and she started to push.  When it was over, she relaxed back against the pillows.

 

“You’re doing great, Kristin.”  Joshua said.  “A couple more good pushes like that and the baby should be here.”

 

Kristin merely nodded, took a deep breath and began to push with the next contraction.

 

“That’s it, baby.”  Nathan encouraged her.  “Push.”

 

“I am pushing dammit!”

 

“Stop pushing now, Kristin.  Pant.”  Joshua told her.  “The head’s almost… got it!”

 

Kristin slumped back against the pillows, drawing in shallow breaths.

 

“One gentle push, Kristin.”  Joshua glanced up at her.  “ And then your first child will be here.”

 

Kristin glanced up at Nathan and the two shared a smile.  She squeezed his hand.  “Here comes another one…”

 

“That’s it,” Joshua told her as the small child slipped free of her body.  “You have your first baby.”

 

“Joshua?”

 

Moments later, their eyes brimmed with tears as they heard the strong cries of their first child.

 

He grinned up at them.  “Do you want to cut the cord, Captain?”

 

Nathan shook his head and Kristin couldn’t help but giggle softly at the look on his face as she released a deep breath and leaned back against his arms as they waited anxiously.

 

“I’d say it’s the year of the princess.” Joshua said with a smile, holding up the still squalling child before placing her on Kristin’s chest.  Adding a blanket for warmth, he paused to watch the new parents before returning to his pediatric and obstetric duties.

 

“A girl?”  Kristin smiled through her tears and looked up at Nathan.  “We have a daughter.”

 

“I see that.”  Nathan returned her smile, leaning closer to brush a gentle kiss across her lips.

 

“Oh, Nathan, look at her.”  Kristin brushed her finger over her daughter’s cheek.

 

“I am, honey.”  Nathan said, his finger brushing gently over his daughter’s other cheek.  “She’s beautiful,” he brought his eyes up to Kristin’s, reaching out to brush a lock of hair out of her face.  “Just like her mother.”

 

Kristin smiled up at him again before turning back to her daughter.  “Hello, little one.  Been waiting for you.”

 

At that moment, Joshua moved in to dry and more closely examine the settling infant.  He moved with amazing swiftness to swaddle the precious bundle and then as quickly as he stepped in, he stepped away, removing himself from the family.

 

Out of the corner of his eye, Nathan saw Joshua move around to the other side of the bed and talk quietly with Crocker and Lucas, but then his attention was drawn back to his wife and daughter.

 

“What are we going to call her?”

 

“Kailey.”  Nathan said softly a few moments later.

 

“Kailey?”  Kristin glanced up at him then back at the little body in her arms before nodding slowly.  “I like it.  Kailey Bridger.”

 

“Kailey Elissa Bridger.”  Nathan said, reaching out to finger his daughter’s tiny hand as Kristin’s head snapped up.  “I like your middle name.  But we don’t have to keep it if you…”

 

“I like it.”  Kristin said.  “I just…” she shook her and reached up with and cupped his cheek.  “You’re an amazing man, my love.”

 

“What’d I do?”

 

Kristin merely smiled at him and drew his face closer, giving him a loving kiss.  “I love the name,” she whispered against his lips and kissed him again.

 

Releasing him from the kiss, Kristin rested back against the pillows and the two of them gazed down at their daughter, talking quietly, totally oblivious to Joshua’s ministrations as he prepared for Kailey’s twin to make his or her entrance.

 

“Mmnn…” Kristin moaned quietly several minutes later.

 

“Kris?”

 

She turned to meet his questioning gaze and nodded.  “I think number two is on the move.”  As if emphasizing her point, she moaned again.

 

Joshua stepped up to the bed.  “Sounds like you’re ready to deliver the next one.”

 

“Mmm… yes, I think you’re right.”  Kristin said, moaning again.

 

“Here, doc,” Lucas said.  “I’ll take Kailey.”

 

Kristin pressed a quick kiss to Kailey’s head, while Nathan brushed his fingers over her cheek.  “Here you go, little one,” Kristin said, placing the baby into Lucas’ waiting arms.  “You go see Uncle Lucas.”

 

Nathan watched as Lucas slowly edged his way off the bed, carefully cradling Kailey in his arms and then focused his attention back on his wife and the birth of their second child.

 

“Okay, Kristin,” Joshua said, taking up his position at the end of the bed.  “We’ll do it just like we did before.  On the next contraction, I want you to push.”

 

Kristin nodded as she growled.  “I know that.  You don’t have to remind me.”

 

“You’re doing fine, baby.”  Nathan told her, reaching up to wipe her brow as she sagged back against him for the third time.

 

“This one is stubborn.”  Kristin commented, turning her face and nestling into Nathan’s palm.

 

“Getting tired?”

 

Kristin nodded and then tensed.  “Here it comes.”

 

“Okay, Kristin, the head’s out,” Joshua said, glancing up at her with a smile.  “One more push should do it.”

 

“Oh good…”

 

“Okay, Kristin, a nice gentle push!”  Joshua told her.

 

Kristin groaned softly and feeling Nathan supporting her back, she pushed, working to expel her third child’s body from her own.

 

“Kristin,” Joshua urged.  “Almost… shoulder’s out and whoa,” Joshua grinned.  “Here comes baby!”

 

Nathan slipped his arm around Kristin’s shoulders and wiped her brow again, as she sank back against him, exhaling deeply.

 

“I am assuming you don’t want to cut the cord, right, Captain?”  Joshua asked, grinning without looking up.

 

Nathan’s response was drowned out by the healthy cries of their second child.

 

“Don’t keep us in suspense, Joshua.”  Kristin said, panting tiredly.

 

Joshua looked up and smiled.  “You have a very healthy baby boy.”

 

“A boy?”  Nathan repeated, a grin breaking out over his face.  “Kris, we have a son.”

 

“I heard.”  Kristin smiled as Nathan leaned closer, kissing her gently, only to stop at the sound of someone clearing their throat.  “Make some room for baby.”  He looked up to see Joshua standing before him, holding his son.

 

“Here you go, Kristin.”  Joshua said and placed him gently on her chest.

 

“Oh, Nathan,” Kristin said, running her finger over her son’s cheek, much as she had with Kailey.  “Oh Nathan, look at him.”

 

“I am, honey.”  Nathan replied, reaching out with his finger to touch his son’s hand.  “I am.”

 

“He’s perfect.”  She said.  “Just like his sister.”

 

“Hello, William.”  Nathan said softly, gently turning his finger around in his son’s hand.  “I’m your dad.  And this beautiful woman holding you, this is your mom.”

 

“Welcome to the world, William.”  Kristin spoke quietly.  “We’ve been waiting for you.”

 

Nathan smiled as he watched his wife cradle their son in her arms, his smile growing as he looked over to see Lucas safely holding his daughter and suddenly found his eyes filled with tears, which he blinked back furiously.

 

“Here, daddy,” Kristin pulled Nathan out of his musings.  “Hold your son.”

 

Nathan felt his smile turn into a huge grin as Kristin gently eased William into his arms.

 

“Hello, sailorman.”  Nathan whispered to his son, running his fingers gently over the tufts of soft, dark hair on William’s head.  He glanced over to see Kristin watching him with a teary smile on her face.

 

“Hey, doc,” Lucas called softly to her.  “I think someone wants her mother.”

 

Kristin turned, smiling at Lucas as she took her daughter from his arms.  “Thank you, Lucas,” she murmured, focusing all her attention on the fussing child in her arms.  “Hello, little one.”

 

 

Six hours later, Nathan entered the bedroom, and smiled at the sight of his wife lying peacefully in their bed, their children sleeping contentedly in their bassinets beside her.  Quietly shutting the door behind him, he slowly made his way across the room, trying not to wake her.

 

“I’m awake.”

 

Nathan’s smile grew as he drew closer to the bed and knelt down beside her.  “Hey,” he spoke softly, reaching out to caress her cheek.  “How you doing?”

 

“Tired.  Sore.”  A tired smile graced her face.  “Very happy.  You?”

 

“Awed.”  He answered.  “That was the most incredible experience of my life.”  His free hand entwined with hers, as his other continued to stroke her cheek.  “And you… you were amazing.”

 

Kristin’s smile grew as she reached out and stroked his cheek.

 

“How are the legs?”  He asked a moment later.

 

“I can feel them again if that’s what you want to know.”  Kristin answered.

 

“Feel up to taking a quick shower then?”

 

“I don’t know…”

 

“What if I told you, you’d have some company in there with you?”

 

Kristin chuckled softly as he waggled his eyebrows suggestively at her.  “I’d say, get Joshua in here to watch the twins and then help me up, Sailor.”

 

Nathan stood and moved quickly to the door, calling for the other doctor.

 

“What is it, Captain?”  Joshua asked as he entered the room.

 

“Can you watch the twins for us?”  Nathan asked.  “I’m going to take Kristin for that shower you suggested earlier.”

 

“Sure, not a problem.”  Levin nodded.

 

“Thanks, Joshua.”  Nathan said as he moved back to the bed and helped Kristin to her feet.  “Okay?”  He asked, wrapping his arm about her waist.

 

“Mmhmm,” she murmured and slipped her arm up along his back, resting her hand on his shoulder.  “Just go slow.”

 

Several minutes later, Kristin released a happy sigh as she stood beneath the hot spray of water, leaning back against Nathan; his arms a comforting support around her.

 

“Time to get you washed up.”  Nathan said a few moments later, stepping back, his hands on her shoulders, keeping her steady.  “Okay?”

 

She nodded and moments later the scent of lavender filled the air as he began to work his fingers through her auburn tresses.

 

“Mmm… Nathan that feels wonderful.”

 

“It’s supposed to.” He said before easing her under the spray to rinse away the shampoo.  When he was finished rinsing her hair, he reached for the poof, and after pouring some shower gel on it, began to scrub it gently over her back.  Finishing her back, he placed his hands on her shoulders.  “Turn around,” he urged her, turning her so that her back was to the spray and began to wash the rest of her.  When he was finished washing Kristin, Nathan quickly ran the poof over his own body.

 

He then turned off the water, helped her out and toweled her off.

 

“Here you go, honey.”  He handed her one of her nightgowns, which she slipped on, before he lead her back into their bedroom.

 

“How are you feeling, Kristin?”  Joshua asked as he watched Nathan help her into the bed.

 

“Sore.  But the shower helped.  And I’m tired.”

 

“Good,” Joshua nodded.  “Get some rest and I’ll come back in a little while to check on you.”

 

Once Joshua had left the room, Nathan turned back to his wife.  He couldn’t help the smile that came to his lips, or the way his heart began to race at the sight of her.

 

“Nathan?”

 

“Hmm?”  Nathan shook his head, realizing that he’d drifted off.  “What?”

 

“You zoned out on me.”  Kristin said with a tired smile.  “What were you thinking of just now?”

 

“You.”

 

“Oh really.”

 

“Oh yes.”  He said, walking over to the bed, once again kneeling beside her.

 

“Nathan?”  Kristin gasped softly as his hands began to move softly over her; sliding up along her hips and around her waist, before he leaned over her to press a series of kisses against her now smaller stomach.

 

“I really am going to miss seeing you pregnant.”  He said between kisses.

 

Kristin simply smiled and shook her head.  “Nathan?”

 

“Yes, m’love?”  He turned his head and met her eyes.

 

“I’ve been thinking about a middle name for William.”

 

“Have you come up with something?”

 

“Yes… I believe I have.”

 

“What is it?”

 

“Robert.”  It came out as a whisper.

 

“Robert?”  Nathan repeated quietly.  “I…” he shook his head as his eyes filled with tears.

 

“I’m sorry, we don’t have to…”

 

“I love it.”  He said in a soft voice, interrupting her.

 

“Really?”  She asked, biting on her bottom lip.

 

“Yes, really.”  Nathan nodded.  “And I think Bobby would be thrilled to know his little brother is named after him.”

 

Kristin smiled as he laid his head against her stomach.

 

“Thank you.”  He whispered against her skin, before moving up to cover her lips in a loving kiss.  “Thank you,” he whispered again, pulling back just far enough to gaze into her eyes.  “Thank you for giving me these two beautiful children, for being my wife and more than anything else, thank you for loving me.”

 

Kristin smiled and reached out her hand, threading it in his hair.  “I will always love you, Nathan.  Always.”  She told him, pulling his mouth back to hers.  “Always.”

 

 

“Next to marrying you,” Nathan spoke softly against her ear.  “That night was the most incredible experience of my life.”

 

Kristin turned in his arms and gazed into his eyes, smiling at once again at the recognition she saw in his deep blue depths.  “Marrying you and giving birth to your children was a dream come true,” she reached up and caressed his cheek.  “I love you so much.”

 

“I love you too, my heart.”  Nathan said softly, pulling her closer.  “Always,” he whispered as their lips came together in a slow, deep kiss.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

Kristin hummed softly to herself as she stepped into the shower and under the warm spray of water.  After thoroughly wetting her hair, she reached for the shampoo and began to wash the auburn tresses.

 

A cool breeze picked up in the shower and she smiled as two arms snaked about her waist and drew her back against a hard, warm body.

 

“Good morning, beautiful.”  Nathan’s voice was low and husky in her ear.

 

“Mmm… morning.”  Kristin replied as his lips trailed down to kiss along her shoulder and slowly back up to her ear.

 

“Let me,” he said against her ear, his hands trailing up her sides, and along her arms to cover her hands.

 

Kristin lowered her arms and relaxed against him as he began to massage her scalp, his fingers working through her long hair; eliciting soft moans from her.  She closed her eyes and leaned back more fully against him.

 

“Mmm… Nathan,” she murmured softly a few moments later.  “That’s not my hair.”

 

“I know,” he growled softly in her ear as he gently squeezed her breasts, which were lovingly cupped in his hands.

 

Kristin felt a shudder of desire pass through her at the feel of his hot breath against her ear and moaned when his fingers began to circle her nipples, tugging gently at the hardening peaks.  She arched her back, pressing herself into his hands as he continued to tease her breasts.

 

Nathan heard her soft mewl of protest when he released her breasts, bringing his hands back up to her hair.  “Easy, baby,” he murmured, turning her around and easing her under the water to gently rinse the shampoo from her hair.  When he was sure the soap had been rinsed completely away, Nathan joined her beneath the spray of the water, his hands once again finding their way to her breasts.

 

Her eyes opened and she smiled at the look of pure want in his eyes.  She reached up to cup his cheek and drew his head down to hers; bringing their mouths together in a slow, deep kiss that quickly grew hot and passionate.

 

“Kris…” Nathan groaned into her mouth when he felt her hands slip down to grasp his butt and pull him tight against her.  “God, Kris…” he moaned and turned them, crowding her against the shower wall before lifting her into the air, smiling against her lips as her legs wrapped tightly around him.

 

“Nathan…” Kristin tugged on his lower lip with her teeth as she arched into him, rubbing herself against his burgeoning erection, her arms winding about his neck, her fingers threading in his hair to hold his mouth captive to hers.  “…I want you…”

 

“I want you too…” he replied breathlessly, breaking off the kiss and leaning his forehead against hers.  “But not like this…”

 

“Nathan?”

 

“I don’t want our first time to be a quickie in the shower,” he explained, lifting his head to meet her eyes.  “I want us to love each other slowly.”  A slow smile formed on his lips as he continued.  “I want to get to know you again, to reacquaint myself with each and every inch of your body; your taste, your scent.  I want relearn what you like, what turns you on.”

 

“Oh… Nathan…” Kristin whispered.  “I want that too…”

 

Nathan smiled.  “Good,” he took a step back and let her legs lower to the floor of the shower.  “Why don’t we finish up here and get something to eat?”

 

“Sounds good.”  She agreed as they set about finishing their shower.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

Cradling her cup of tea, Kristin made her way down the dock, smiling when she saw Darwin jump out of the water.  She quickly took out the vo-corder and sat down on the edge of the dock as Darwin talked excitedly at her.

 

“Kristin happy!”  Darwin’s electronic voice sounded as soon as she turned it on.  “Bridger not lost.”

 

Kristin smiled, not even wondering how Darwin knew that Nathan’s memory had returned.  She simply nodded.  “Yes, Nathan’s memory has returned.”

 

“Darwin happy.”

 

“So am I.”  Kristin smiled.  “So am I.”

 

She sighed happily, her mind drifting inward to a few hours earlier, as Darwin continued to float in the water at her feet.

 

The air between them after their shower had been highly charged with sexual tension; the flame of desire that had been ignited in the shower changing into a low burning ember that was fueled by stolen caresses while dressing, and quick little kisses while cooking.  When they finally sat down to eat, Nathan had grabbed her hand and pulled her into his lap, where they proceeded to feed each other between long, loving kisses, which kept the tension simmering between them.

 

After breakfast, Nathan had disappeared, telling her only that he was planning a surprise and that he would come get her when he was ready.

 

“Kristin and Bridger stay?”

 

Darwin’s question broke into her thoughts.  “What?  Only for a couple more days, Darwin, and then seaQuest will be here to pick us up.”

 

“Lucas-man!”

 

Kristin chuckled.  “He’s going to be thrilled to see you too.  He’s missed you.”

 

“Darwin miss Lucas too.”  The mechanical voice said.  “But lost with Bridger.”

 

“I know, Darwin.  And Lucas understands that too.”

 

Darwin seemed to nod in the water before chattering away excitedly again.  “Bridger!  Bridger!”

 

Kristin turned when she heard the dock creak and smiled as she saw her husband approaching.

 

“Hey, Darwin m’boy.”  Nathan called out to his friend as he kneeled down beside his wife.  He ran his hand down her arm, smiling at the shudder that passed through her.  “Hello, gorgeous,” he leaned closer and caught her lips in a gentle kiss.

 

“Mmm, hello.”  Kristin murmured against his lips.

 

“Ready for your surprise?”  Nathan asked her.

 

She smiled and nodded.  “Oh yes.”

 

Nathan returned her smile, climbed to his feet and then helped Kristin to stand, slipping his arm about her waist.

 

“Catch you later, Darwin.”  Nathan called out as he placed the vo-corder back in the box and then led Kristin off the dock, heading further inland.

 

They walked in silence, both extremely aware of the arousal that was still humming between them.

 

Kristin gasped as they entered the grotto.

 

“You like?”

 

All Kristin could do was nod as she let her gaze wander.  A dozen or so paper lanterns were spread out throughout the lush green hideaway.  A blanket lay spread out on the grass a few feet away from the small lagoon, complete with a picnic lunch and a bottle of wine.

 

“Oh Nathan, it’s beautiful.”  She turned to smile at him.  “How?   Where… where did you get all this?”

 

“The boat house.”  He answered, leading her over to the blanket.  At her confused look he explained further.  “I… well, I was planning on doing something like this with you for our anniversary but…”

 

Kristin squeezed his hand and nodded understandingly.  “So, what have you packed us for lunch?”

 

Nathan returned the pressure of her hand and then shrugged his shoulders as he pulled her towards the blanket.   “Nothing fancy, I’m afraid.  Just some meat, cheese, bread and wine.”

 

“Sounds perfect to me.”  Kristin told him as she sat down on the blanket, tugging on his hand and pulling him down beside her.

 

“Not hungry?”  Nathan asked a short while later as he watched her nibble on the same piece of bread for five minutes and stare down at her plate.

 

“Oh, I’m hungry,” she lifted her eyes to meet his.  “Just not for food.”

 

Nathan couldn’t help the grin that came to his face at her huskily spoken words.  “Well then,” he began to gather up their lunch, putting everything back in the cooler.  “This should keep until later.”

 

Kristin watched with a bemused smile as he finished putting everything away and then got to his feet, moving to stand before her and holding out his hand.

 

“Dance with me.”

 

“Nathan, you didn’t bring a player.”  She told him, even as she placed her hand in his, allowing him to pull her to her feet and into his arms

 

“Who needs a player when we can dance to the music in our hearts.”  He stopped suddenly, closed his eyes and let out a low groan.  “Jesus, that was corny.”

 

“Yes, it was.”  Kristin laughed, burying her face in his neck.

 

“I can’t believe I just said that.”

 

Kristin pulled back to look into his face, smiling as she reached up to cup his cheek.  “As corny as that was, the sentiment behind it was beautiful.”

 

Nathan returned her smile and pulled her closer, lowering his lips to hers in a soft, loving kiss as he slowly began to sway them to a quiet tune, only they could hear. 

 

Kristin shifted in his arms, pressing herself closer to him, running her hands over his shoulders, trailing them down his back and over his rear before moving back up and doing it all over again.

 

“I love you,” Nathan whispered against her hair, moving his hands in slow, sensuous circles up and down her back.  “So very much.”

 

Kristin raised her head from his shoulder and smiled.  “I love you too.”

 

“Let me show you,” he asked, brushing the back of his fingers over her cheek.  At her slow nod, Nathan smiled and brought his hands up to rest on her shoulders.  He leaned closer, brushing soft, breathy kisses all over her face as his hands slipped the thin straps of her sundress off her shoulders.

 

Nathan straightened up and with a gentle tug, he pulled the dress, letting it slide down her body to pool on the ground at her feet, leaving her gloriously naked before him.  “God, you’re beautiful,” his voice was low and husky as he reached out and traced the swell of her breasts with his fingers; smiling as he watched the blush spread up her body.  He let his eyes rove completely over her.  “So very beautiful.”

 

Kristin’s hands moved to his shirt and began to undo the buttons, only to be stopped by his hands grasping her wrists.  “Nathan?”

 

“Not yet, baby.”  Nathan told her quietly.  “Let me love you.”

 

Kristin smiled tenderly at him and nodded.

 

Nathan grinned, and steered her back over to the blanket, easing her down onto to it.  He knelt beside her, and sitting back on his haunches, he caressed her with his eyes, taking in every inch of her body.

 

Kristin watched him watching her, feeling her pulse quicken and her arousal flare into life again and he’d barely touched her.  She could see that his eyes had darkened from their normal brilliant blue to a deep indigo, blazing with desire.

 

Nathan moved so that he was kneeling at her feet and reached for her left foot.  Holding it firmly, he moved his fingers in the gentlest of touches down the sole of her foot, along her calf to her knee, trailing them back over her shin, down to her toes.

 

Kristin squirmed as he repeated the same actions several times to both legs before shifting to kneel between her legs.  “Mmm…” she moaned softly as his hands moved softly over her thighs, in and out, stroking and caressing her supple flesh.  She arched her hips, seeking his touch and whimpered in frustration as his fingers barely brushed against her curls.  “Nathan…”

 

“Easy, love…” Nathan told her quietly, his hands gliding in small circles over her belly, circling her navel with his fingers.  Continuing their journey, his hands moved leisurely over her abdomen, stopping just beneath her breasts before gliding down along her sides and repeating the process again and again; each time stopping before making contact with her breasts.

 

Kristin shifted beneath his hands, moaning softly as Nathan’s fingers finally made contact with her breasts.  “Don’t tease…” she breathed as his fingers moved in ever-smaller growing circles, stopping short of making contact with her taut nipples.

 

Nathan watched her as he continued to tease her breasts, smiling at her gasp as his fingers at last touched and began to tug gently on her aching nipples.

 

“Nath… an…”

 

He shifted closer, his hands leaving her breasts, trailing over her chest, along the smooth column of her throat to her jaw.  “You have the softest skin,” he murmured, caressing her cheek.  “I love touching you,” his fingers traced over her lips and up along her nose.  “Not a moment goes by that I don’t want to touch you,” he circled her eyes and smoothed his fingers over her forehead.  “Or be touched by you.”

 

Kristin’s eyes filled with tears as he continued to caress her face, his fingers combing through her hair.

 

“I dreamt about you while I was gone,” he told her quietly, tracing her ears.  “I would dream about doing exactly what I’m doing now,” his hands swept down her body, and back up in an intimate caress.  “Feeling you… feeling your skin.  Making love to you…”

 

“Nathan…”

 

Nathan crouched over her, his hands on either side of her head as his lips replaced his fingers, dropping soft, breathy kisses all over her face before capturing her lips in a passionate kiss.

 

Kristin opened her mouth to his seeking tongue, moaning at the taste of him as he kissed her thoroughly, his tongue sweeping possessively within her mouth.  She groaned in protest when he tore his mouth away from hers.

 

“I’m going to make love to you now,” he told her in a low, husky voice.  “Slowly, passionately.  All afternoon and all night.”

 

“Mmm, sounds heavenly to me,” she replied quietly as he lowered his lips back down to hers.  She murmured his name softly as he broke off the kiss and began trailing his lips down along her throat on his way to her breasts.  Expecting him to tease her as he had earlier, she gasped in surprise when his mouth closed over her, pulling her nipple deep into his hot mouth.  “Mmm…”

 

Nathan suckled her breasts lovingly, moving back and forth between each one; alternating between laving each peak with his tongue, and nipping gently with his teeth to sucking hard, and taking as much of her breast into his mouth as he could.

 

“I love your breasts,” he grinned at her, pressing a last kiss to each.  “They’re perfect,” he told her before beginning to kiss his way down over her stomach.  “You’re perfect,” he murmured, running his tongue around her navel before moving lower.

 

Kristin groaned as Nathan pressed an almost chaste kiss against her curls as he continued down her legs to her feet.  After nibbling on her toes for a few minutes, he once again kissed his way along her legs.  Kristin held her breath in anticipation, locking her eyes with his as he settled himself between her legs.

 

With a glint in his eyes, Nathan lowered his mouth to her center, kissing her deeply, his tongue making contact with her highly aroused flesh.

 

“Oh… God…” she moaned as his lips closed around her clitoris and sucked hard; her hips lifting off the blanket as his tongue still stroked the highly sensitized bundle.  She moaned again as he draped a heavy arm over her hips, holding her in place as he pressed a long finger inside her.  “Nathan!”

 

Nathan smiled against her as he slid a second finger into her, moving both digits slowly in and out of her as his mouth continued to love her.

 

Kristin’s hands clenched at the blanket, her hips moving in time to the thrusting of his fingers, despite the weight of his arm over her.  She could feel it growing in the pit of her stomach; the slow and steady build up of pleasure that would soon lead to her release.  “Nathan…” she called to him.  “Oh God, please… I can’t…”

 

Hearing the almost desperate need in her voice, Nathan increased the pressure of his mouth against her even as he increased the speed of his fingers moving within her.  At the feel of her inner walls beginning to spasm, Nathan pulled his fingers from within her, replacing them with his tongue, his fingers moving to vigorously rub her swollen flesh.

 

Nathan felt her orgasm when it hit; the fierce clenching of her inner muscles and the frantic thrusting of her hips as the sensations coursed through her body.  He continued to stroke his fingers against her tender bud; his mouth pressing against her, his tongue working in and out of her, licking away her juices as she cried out his name, over and over.

 

“Oh God…” Kristin moaned softly as another shudder passed through her and opened her eyes to find herself cradled in her husband’s strong arms and gazing deeply into his deep blue eyes.

 

“Welcome back,” Nathan whispered softly.

 

“Mmm… thank you,” Kristin murmured happily, turning to press a kiss to his chest.  She pulled back slightly and glanced down, noticing for the first time that he was now as naked as she was.  She ran her hand down his chest.  “When did you…”

 

“When you were,”

 

“Soaring high above my body on a cloud of sexual bliss?”  Kristin finished for him, giggling softly at the smug smile on his face.

 

“Something like that, yes.”

 

Kristin shifted closer, sliding her hand down between the close press of their bodies to wrap her slender fingers around the very prominent erection pressing against her thigh.  “Time to return the favour.”

 

“Kris…” Nathan hissed with pleasure as she stroked his length.

 

“Trust me, love.”  Kristin told him huskily, pulling her hand from his length to push firmly on his shoulders until he was lying on his back.  She straddled his hips and smiled down at him.  She walked her fingers up his chest, playing with the soft gray hairs.  “I love touching you too,” she told him.  “Feeling the strength of your body under me, under my hands…” she flattened her hands on his chest, smiling at the feel of his heart beating rapidly beneath her palm.

 

Nathan moaned when Kristin shifted above him, rubbing her sex against his pulsing erection.  “And I especially love the feel of you inside me; hard and throbbing.”  She shifted against him again, smiling as he groaned her name.  “Our bodies joined as intimately as two bodies can be.”

 

“Kris…” Nathan moaned her name again as she shifted back slightly, her hand once again wrapped around him, stroking him gently as she guided him to her waiting entrance.

 

“Watch…” Kristin commanded softly.

 

Nathan raised his head from the blanket and watched in rapt fascination as Kristin began to slowly sink down on him.  He groaned at the sight of his rigid flesh disappearing inch by inch into her welcoming body.  A shudder ran through his body.  “Kris…” he moaned as she sank down fully on him, completely sheathing him within her body.  His head fell back on the blanket and he gazed up at her, delighting in the rapturous grimace on her face as he felt her inner muscles striving to accommodate his presence inside her.

 

Kristin opened her eyes, not realizing that she’d closed them, when she felt Nathan’s hands glide up her thighs to grip her hips.  She smiled as she met his eyes, and placing her hands on his chest, she leaned forward, her auburn hair spilling about them.  “Welcome home, my love,” she whispered just before she lowered her lips to his.

 

Nathan’s hands slid over her back to thread his fingers in her hair as he returned her gentle, yet passionate kiss.

 

Kristin broke off the kiss and straightened back up; trailing her hands down along his chest before reaching for his hands and guiding them back to her hips.  Holding his gaze, she began to slowly undulate her hips against him.

 

They moaned softly together at the first flickering of sensations shooting through their bodies.

 

“Now, sailor,” she flashed him a sensual smile, still moving slowly above him.  “Make love to me.”

 

“Yes, ma’am.  With pleasure, ma’am!”  Nathan grinned up at her as he thrust his hips up against her.

 

Kristin’s smile grew and she dropped her hands to his chest, moving with him, raising and lowering herself on him in time with his thrusts as Nathan held tightly to her hips, guiding her movements.

 

They quickly found and fell into a familiar rhythm, their bodies moving fluidly together as if the year apart had never happened.  The sounds of their lovemaking drifted through the grotto, soft moans and sighs of pleasure as they continued to move with and against each other.

 

Nathan kept his eyes locked on his wife as she moved above him.  He took in every detail; the sway of her breasts, the almost wild look in her dark, smoky eyes, the sound of her breathing as she panted for breath. 

 

“Kris…” he moaned at the feel of her hands on his chest, her fingers flexing and tugging on the hairs beneath her palms; the clenching of her inner muscles as he continued to move inside her.

 

His eyes fell to her breasts again and he slid his hands up her sides to cup the full mounds, running his thumbs over her still erect nipples.  Feeling a sudden urge to taste her, Nathan sat up and latched on to her right nipple, suckling hard.

 

“Mmm…” Kristin moaned her approval as she arched against him, pushing herself hard against him and deeper into his mouth.  Her arms wrapped around his head, her fingers threading in his hair, holding him to her breast.

 

“You… God I love the taste of you,” Nathan growled as he nibbled his way over to her other breast, pulling the rosy peak between his lips.  “So sweet,” he mumbled against her skin.

 

“Nathan…” Kristin moaned, shifting in his lap, pressing closer to him, wanting him to continue, but needing more.  “Nathan, please…”

 

Nathan pulled his mouth from her breast and raised his head to meet her eyes.  She reached for his hands and guided them to her hips.  

 

“Hold on,” she told him softly as she placed her hands on either side of his legs and then leaned back, moaning as the change in angle forced him deeper inside her.  “God, Nathan!”

 

With Nathan holding tight to her hips, Kristin began to rock on him, moving him in and out of her body; grinding her pelvis against him with each downward stroke.

 

Sensing she was close, Nathan slid one of his hands around her so that it rested on the small of her back, helping to keep her steady as his other hand glided over her belly to where their bodies were joined; his fingers searching through her curls to find and stroke the one spot that would push her over the edge.

 

“Nathan!”  Kristin gasped and ground herself against him as his fingers made contact with her clit.  “Oh yes… right there…” she moaned as he circled his fingers firmly over her sensitive flesh.  “Nathan… please…”

 

He could feel the contractions of her inner muscles around his aching flesh and at her urging he worked his fingers faster against her.  He shifted slightly, barely lifting his hips off the blanket, but it was enough. 

 

“Nathan!” 

 

Nathan pulled her tight against him as she cried out his name.  Kristin clung tightly to him, her arms wrapped around his neck, her body convulsing as her orgasm flowed in relentless waves from where their bodies were joined, suffusing her with intense pleasure.

 

“Oh…” Kristin moaned softly, her head dropping to his shoulder several minutes later as another small tremor passed through her.  “Oh God…” She felt Nathan’s arms tighten around her.

 

“Hold on, baby,” his voice was hoarse in her ear and suddenly, she found herself on her back with Nathan above her; their bodies still joined.  She moaned as he shifted against her and wound her legs about his hips.

 

Nathan covered her mouth with his, kissing her hard, his tongue plunging deep into her mouth, mating and tangling with hers.  As they kissed, Nathan shifted again, sliding his arms beneath her and gripping tight to her shoulders as he began to drive himself into her; striving for his own release.

 

He pulled his lips from hers, gasping her name when he felt the telltale tightening low in his belly.  “Kris… oh God, baby…” he groaned and buried his face in the curve of her neck, his hips jerking uncontrollably, his orgasm washing over and consuming him as he emptied himself into her silky depths.

 

Kristin’s arms tightened around him as he nestled further into her embrace; running her hands up and down his sweaty back.  She’d missed this part.  Missed the way he’d snuggle deep into her embrace, their bodies still intimately joined, the feel of his breath panting across her skin, his heart pounding against her chest.

 

Nathan slowly nuzzled his lips up over her throat, along her jaw to her lips, covering them in a loving kiss as she loosened her legs from around his waist, easing them down so that they were resting on the backs of his legs.  He heard her whimper softly as he slipped out of her and rolled onto his side, pulling her back against his chest.

 

“You okay?”  He spoke softly against her ear long minutes later, his hand softly stroking the smooth skin of her belly.

 

“Mmhmm…” she purred, covering his hands with hers where they rested against her belly.  “How can I not be?  I’m lying in my husband’s arms,” she snuggled back against him.  “After having just made love to him again for the first time in over a year.”

 

Nathan pulled her closer.  “I love you,” he whispered against her hair.

 

Kristin tilted her head back to look at him.  “I love you too.”

 

Nathan smiled and lowered his lips to hers, kissing her gently.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

“I’ve been wondering something.”

 

Floating in the cool lagoon water, trapped willingly within the circle of her husband’s arms, Kristin leaned her head back against his shoulder and met his eyes.

 

“Not that I’m not thrilled to have found you here, but what are you doing on the island?  Especially all alone?”

 

Kristin sighed and entwined her one hand with his where it lay on her stomach.  “I had to get away from what the UEO brass had planned.”

 

“What did they have planned?”

 

Kristin closed her eyes and spoke in a quiet voice.  “A memorial for you.”  She felt his arms tighten around her and smiled softly.  “I couldn’t face it,” her voice still low as she continued.  “While I’d finally convinced my head that you were gone, my heart was another story, and I just couldn’t do it.”  She began to absently stroke his arm with her free hand.  “So, I called Jonathan and the rest you know.”

 

“What about the twins?  Where are they?”

 

“They’re with Cynny.”  She answered.  “I… they’ve seen enough of their mother crying.  And as much as I love them, I needed this time to myself.”

 

Nathan pulled her closer.  “I can understand that,” he rested his head on her shoulder, his cheek pressing against hers.  “I would have done the same in your shoes.  Then again, if I’d lost you…”

 

Kristin felt him shudder and knew it had nothing to do with the cool water.  She turned around to face him, and wrapped herself around him, her fingers twining through his hair as she leaned her forehead against his.

 

Nathan closed his eyes and tightened his arms around her even more; willingly taking the comfort she was giving.  Long moments later, he sighed when he felt her lips brush softly against his over and over.

 

“Kris,” he murmured between kisses.

 

“Mmm?”

 

“When is,” her lips brushed over his again.  “seaQuest coming to pick you up?”

 

“Tomorrow,” she replied, moaning into his mouth as his hands slid down her back to cup her rear and draw her closer.

 

“How do you want to do this?”  Nathan asked, nibbling along her jaw to her ear.

 

“Up against the edge of the lagoon,” Kristin answered as she lowered her head and sought out that sensitive spot on his neck.

 

“That’s not what I meant,” he chuckled softly, pulling her earlobe between his teeth.  “And you know it.”

 

“Yes, I know.”  She replied, laving her tongue over the sensitive spot, smiling when she heard his sharp intake of breath.  “But right now…” she raised her head and met his eyes.  “I don’t want to talk.”

 

Nathan grinned as he slowly walked them over to the lagoon’s edge, lifting her so that she was sitting on the grassy edge with him standing between her legs.  Placing his hands on either side of her, Nathan leaned closer, capturing one of her nipples between his lips, suckling hungrily on the rosy tip.

 

Kristin moaned softly, her hands leaving his hair to trail down his back to grasp his backside and pull him closer.  She smiled at his low groan as she rubbed herself against his erection.

 

“Kris…” he moaned against her breast when he felt her wrap a cool hand around his rigid member and begin stroking him. 

 

Several long minutes later, unable to take much more, Nathan released her nipple from his mouth and covered her hand with his as he met her eyes.  Kristin simply smiled and with her free hand, she drew his head closer, capturing his lips with hers in a passionate kiss, their hands moving in tandem up and down his length.

 

They moaned and then sighed into each other’s mouths as together they guided his now throbbing erection into her welcoming warmth.

 

“God, what you do to me.”  Nathan murmured against her lips as he grasped her hips and began to move within her; sliding in and out of her in long, slow strokes.  “Please don’t ever stop…”

 

“…Never…” Kristin’s whispered reply ended in a gasp as he slid a hand down between their bodies, his fingers making contact with her sensitive flesh.  She leaned back on her hands, moaning loudly as his fingers stroked her in time with his thrusts.

 

Knowing he was close, Nathan altered the rhythm and pressure of his fingers against her and was rewarded with a throaty cry of his name.

 

“Nath… oh!”  Kristin cried out again as with each caress of his fingers against her clit and each plunging thrust of his length inside her, wave after wave of almost unbearable pleasure washed through and over her body.  “Oh, Nathan!”

 

Assured of his wife’s pleasure, Nathan stilled his movements and moved his hand from between their bodies.  “Lie back,” he told her.

 

Still reeling from her orgasm, Kristin did as he asked, lowering herself to the cool grass, feeling him grasp her hips and pull her closer.  She watched through lidded eyes as he gently pulled her legs from around his hips, hooking them over his arms as he leaned over her.  “Nathan…” she moaned his name softly as the change in angle allowed him to press deeper inside her.

 

At her soft moan, Nathan began to move against her again; his eyes closing as he drove himself deeper and faster into her, seeking his own release.  His eyes snapped open when he felt her hands clasp onto his wrists.  He looked down and his eyes locked with hers, drowning in the love he saw swimming in her whiskey-hued depths.

 

“Nathan…”

 

Her soft murmur of his name was his undoing.

 

“Kristin!”  Nathan roared her name, as his orgasm tore out of him, his seed spilling deep within her welcoming body.  He continued to thrust against her, thrilling at the small shudder he felt course through her body, his name another moan on her lips.  He felt her grip on his wrists relax as he gently lowered her legs and heard her whimper softly as he slowly withdrew from her body.

 

Taking a step to the side, Nathan lethargically pulled himself out of the lagoon and stretched out beside her.  He smiled when Kristin rolled over and snuggled up against him, laying her head on his chest and sliding a leg across his.

 

“I love this lagoon,” Kristin sighed happily, dropping a kiss on his chest.

 

“So do I,” Nathan chuckled, pulling her closer.  “So do I.”

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

“So…” Nathan murmured against her hair as he pulled her back against his chest, resting his hand on her hip.  “seaQuest will be here tomorrow.”

 

“Mmhmm…”

 

“How do we want to handle this, Kris?”

 

Kristin sighed as she shrugged.  “I don’t know.”

 

They both fell silent as they stared out across the moonlit grotto.

 

“Well,” Kristin began, reaching a hand behind them to stroke his rear.  “The minute they see you, it’s going to be pretty obvious that you’re not dead.”

 

“True.”  Nathan agreed.  “And then there’ll be all the questions…”

 

“Which is only natural.”

 

“I know,” he nodded against her hair.  “Kris…”

 

“Yes?”  She tilted her back a little.

 

“What about the kids?  How are we… I mean, do you think they’ll…” his voice trailed off.

 

Kristin turned so that she was facing him, her legs twining with his as her hand came up to stroke his cheek.  “Your children have not forgotten you, Nathan.  I wouldn’t let them.”  She smiled as he closed his eyes in relief. 

 

“Thank you,” he whispered and then opened his eyes, giving her a brilliant smile.

 

“You’ve nothing to thank me for,” she told him.  “There is no way I could let your children grow up not knowing who you were… are.”  She corrected and then smiled.  “Oh, Nathan, wait till you see them.  Wil looks so much like you, it’s scary.  And Kailey… she may have my hair, but she’s got your eyes.  And smart…” Kristin grinned.  “They are incredibly smart.  And I’m not just saying that cause I’m their mother.”

 

“I can’t wait to see them again.”  Nathan grinned.  “Tell me about them…”

 

Kristin grinned, and after snuggling closer, began regaling him with stories about the twins from the last year.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

Nathan slowly moved towards consciousness with the feeling that someone was watching him.  He slowly opened his eyes and found himself looking up into his wife’s smiling face.  “Good morning,” he smiled, loving the way the morning sun shone on her auburn tresses, making her hair look like it was on fire.

 

“Morning,” she smiled and then shifted so that she was lying on top of him, her arms folded across his chest, resting her chin on her arms and gazing at him.

 

“Sleep well?”  Nathan asked, his hands running slowly up and down her bare back.

 

“Sleep?  Did we do any of that?”  She grinned saucily at him as she gently tugged on his chest hair.

 

“We got at least two hours.”  Nathan grinned at her as his hands slipped down to caress her backside.

 

Kristin laughed and then moaned softly as he pulled her closer against him, feeling his morning erection poking her in the stomach.

 

“Feel up to some morning callisthenics?”  Nathan waggled his eyebrows at her as he thrust his hips up at her.

 

“I know you’re ‘up’ for it,” she said, rubbing herself against him; smiling at his low moan of approval.

 

“Do you have any idea what time they’re supposed to be here?”  Nathan asked, grasping her hips, shifting her body so that his length could nudge through her folds.

 

“None whatsoever,” Kristin gasped when she felt the head of his erection press inside her.  “And at this moment,” she shifted her hips, moaning as she took him completely inside her.  “I don’t care.”

 

“I love the way you think, Mrs. Bridger.”  Nathan groaned as she began to move her hips against him.   “God, I love the way you think.”

 

Kristin merely smiled as she lowered her mouth to his, kissing him passionately.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

“She’s not there, and the bed hasn’t been slept in.”

 

“Calm down, Lucas.”  Ford told the young man.  “I’m sure she’s around here somewhere.”

 

“What if she’s hurt?  Or she fell off the dock.  Or…”

 

“Lucas!”  Ford’s voice rose.  He waited for the teen to look at him before he continued.  “Now, you know this island better than the rest of us.  Is there someplace she might go…”

 

“The grotto!”  Lucas said suddenly, taking off towards the center of the island.

 

“Lucas!”  Krieg called out the youth as he raced past him.

 

“Come on, Ben.”  Jonathan said, running after Lucas.  “Lucas, hold up!”

 

Lucas slowed and allowed the other two guys to catch up with him and then together the three men entered the grotto and came to a complete stop.

 

Before them, beneath a large blanket, was the distinct movement of two people having sex.  The loud moans and gasps drifting over the small meadow confirmed what was happening in front of them.

 

All three men’s eyes suddenly grew wide as the blanket seemed to rise up and then slide down a smooth, creamy back, allowing just a hint of the more than obviously female backside to show.

 

And if the tousled mane of auburn hair didn’t give away who they were looking at, the distinctive voice, huskier than normal that reached their ears did.

 

“Oh yes… just like that…”

 

“Oh boy!”

 

Three sets of eyes watched in stunned silence as the woman before them turned her head, her glazed eyes growing wide before she scrambled to grab the blanket behind her and pull it up.

 

“J… Jonathan!?”  Kristin gasped, trying to catch her breath.

 

“We’ll be…” Ford pointed back over his shoulder.  “We’ll wait for you at the house.”

 

“Thank you.”

 

The three men backed away, all but Lucas trying to catch a glimpse of the man still lying beneath her.

 

Turning away from the grotto, Jonathan caught the look of disgust on Lucas’ young face.  “Lucas?”  He reached out a hand to the teen’s shoulder.

 

Lucas shrugged off the hand and stalked his way to the house, Jonathan and Ben following.

 

 

As the men left the grotto, Kristin looked down at her husband to see him trying to smother a chuckle.  “Don’t you dare say a word,” she told him, trying her best to hide her own mirth.

 

Nathan held his hands up in surrender.  “I wasn’t going to say a thing.”

 

“Sure.”  Kristin smiled and then moaned when Nathan shifted beneath her.  She looked at him through lidded eyes.  “Nathan… we really should…” another soft moan.  “Go… we should go, Nathan.  They’re waiting…”

 

“So let them wait,” Nathan said, sitting up beneath his wife, his lips immediately seeking out and latching onto a rosy nipple.  “Besides,” he murmured around her breast.  “They already know what we’re doing.”

 

“You’re terrible,” she moaned, her body arching against his, her smile growing at his low groan.  She leaned down to nibble on his ear, whispering hotly, “We can’t be long…”

 

Nathan growled his approval and with a delighted squeal from his wife, he rolled her over onto her back.  “Whatever you say,” he replied, covering her mouth with his as he began to strongly thrust his hips against her.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

“She said she wanted to be alone.”

 

“Lucas?”  Ford looked over at the teen as they stood on the porch, staring out over the water.  Lucas had not spoken since they’d left the grotto.  He’d just stared out at the water, a pained look on his face; so his softly uttered words were almost missed.

 

“She said she wanted to be alone.  That is why she wanted to be here on the island.”  Lucas repeated and continued.  “She was upset about the whole memorial thing and didn’t want to attend.”  There was an angry pause.  “She said she couldn’t handle it, that it would be too painful.  She lied.  Lied just so she could come here and screw around with some… some bastard.”

 

“Lucas…”

 

“No!  Don’t try and defend her.  How could she do it, Captain?  And here on the island of all places?”  Lucas asked, anger and confusion lacing his voice.  “Captain Bridger was supposed to be the love of her life.”

 

“I’d like to hope I still am.”

 

Three heads turned at the familiar voice, their eyes wide with disbelief and their mouths hanging open as they watched Kristin approaching them arm in arm with a man.  A man, who for all accounts, was dead.

 

“You know, Ben,” Nathan grinned.  “I think that’s the first time I’ve ever seen you speechless.  Looks good on you.”

 

Lucas took a hesitant step forward.  “Cap?”

 

“Hey, kiddo.”

 

“Is it really you?”  Lucas asked, stumbling down the stairs onto the sand.  “I mean… is it really…” his eyes went from Nathan to Kristin, and at her nod, they went back to Nathan as he moved closer.  “Captain?”

 

Before he knew it, Lucas found himself in the familiar embrace of the man who had been like a father to him, being hugged as if his life depended on it.

 

“I missed you.”  Lucas whispered, unable to keep the tears from spilling down his cheeks as he returned Nathan’s hug.

 

“I missed you too, kid.”  Nathan replied as he slowly stepped back and smiled warmly at him before stepping over to Jonathan and Ben.

 

“Captain?!  How?   You’re… how is this possible?”  Ford’s questions tumbled out as he looked back and forth between Nathan and Kristin.  “You’re dead.  I… I don’t understand.”

 

Kristin stepped forward, placing her hand on Nathan’s arm before he could answer.  “Why don’t we go inside?  I’ll make us some lemonade and all will be explained.”

 

“Good idea.”  Nathan smiled at his wife and then led the way into the house.

 

Noticing Lucas dawdling behind, Kristin stopped and waited for him to catch up.  “Lucas, are you okay?”

 

“Not really,” he mumbled.

 

“What is it?”

 

“I… I’m sorry, doc.”

 

“Whatever for?”

 

“I said some really awful things to Captain Ford while we were waiting here for you.”  Lucas explained.  “Things I didn’t really mean, I was just upset.”

 

“Like what?”  She asked and then listened as he repeated what he’d said to Ford.  Kristin reached out and pulled Lucas into her arms, hugging him tightly.  “It’s okay, Lucas.”

 

“You’re not angry with me?”  Lucas mumbled against her shoulder.

 

“No,” Kristin pulled back and smiled at him.  “I’m not angry with you.  You were upset.  And I probably would have felt the same way had I been in your shoes.”

 

Lucas smiled.  “Thanks, doc.  You’re the best.”

 

“And don’t you ever forget it.”  Kristin grinned as she slipped her arm through his.  “Now come on.  I know you’re anxious to find out what happened.”

 

“Oh yeah!”

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

“And then I found my way to the island.  Kristin showed up and for the last week we’ve been working on getting my memory back.”

 

“And when did that happen?”

 

“Little bits and pieces from the moment I approached her on the beach,” Nathan answered Jonathan’s question.  “But it wasn’t until yesterday evening that I finally remembered everything.”

 

“That’s incredible, Captain.”  Lucas said, taking a sip of his lemonade.

 

Ford and Krieg nodded their agreement.

 

“So… does anyone know you’re…”

 

“No longer a corpse?”  Ben finished for Ford; having the grace to look a little sheepish at the glare Kristin shot his way.  “Sorry, doc.”

 

Kristin rolled her eyes and nodded slightly in his direction before turning her attention to Jonathan.  “I was going to call you the night he arrived,” she told him.  “But with his memory loss…” her voice trailed off as she shifted on the arm of the chair Nathan was sitting in, leaning closer to him.  “Truth be told, I didn’t want to share him.”

 

“I understand, Kristin.”  Jonathan nodded.  “So, once we get back to the seaQuest, how do you want to handle things?”

 

Kristin and Nathan looked at each other, holding a silent conversation with their eyes before turning back to face them.  “Other than getting home to New Cape Quest and seeing my kids,” Nathan simply smiled and gently squeezed his wife.  “We haven’t a clue.”

 

“Well, I suppose we can figure it out once we’re on the seaQuest.”  Jonathan said.  “How long till you’re ready to depart?”

 

“Just have to close up the house.”  Nathan answered.  “Which means emptying the fridge, turning off the generator, closing up the shutters and grabbing whatever clothes we need to take with us.”

 

“Well, why don’t you and Kristin take care of everything in here, while Ben, Lucas and I take care of all the outside stuff?”

 

“Sounds good to us,” Nathan agreed, watching as the three moved towards the front door.

 

“Oh, Lucas!”  Kristin called out.  “You might want to take a walk down on the dock.”

 

“Why?”

 

“Trust us.”  Nathan called back, grinning up at his wife when Lucas’ delighted cry of “Darwin!” reached their ears.

 

Moments later, alone, Kristin looked down at her husband to see a pensive look on his face.  She slid into his lap and cupped his cheek.  “What’s on your mind, sailor?”

 

“The kids,” he admitted, staring across the room.  “I can’t wait to see them.  See how they’ve grown.”  He paused, and met her eyes.  “They’re walking now, aren’t they?”

 

Kristin nodded.

 

“And Cynthia,” Nathan continued.  “How is she doing?”

 

Kristin smiled as she answered.  “She’s engaged.”

 

“To that Malique fella?”  Nathan asked, smiling when Kristin nodded.  “Oh good.  I liked him from the moment I met him.”

 

“I did too,” Kristin agreed, moving off his lap and extending her hands to him.  “Come on, my love.  Let’s pack up, go home and see our wonderful children.”

 

Nathan grinned and allowed her to pull him to the bedroom.  Once inside the room, Nathan pulled her into his arms and nuzzled her neck from behind.  “So,” his lips trailed up to her ear and nibbled on the lobe.  “Wanna grab a quickie before we leave?”

 

Kristin couldn’t help but giggle as his fingers danced over her ribs.  “Do I want to?  Oh yeah!”  She turned in his arms, wrapping her arms around his neck, molding her body to his and grinned up at him.  “But we can’t.”

 

“Yeah, I know,” Nathan sighed dramatically and then grinned at her.  “Feel up to trying to sneak into the moon pool when we get on the seaQuest?”

 

Kristin laughed and after placing a loving kiss on his lips, moved out of his arms to start gathering their belongings.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

Feeling her husband tense as the sea-launch settled in the docking bay of the seaQuest, Kristin lifted her head from his shoulder to look at him.  “Nathan?”

 

“Just a little nervous,” he smiled at her, squeezing her hand reassuringly.

 

“I understand,” she returned his smile.  “Everything will be fine.”

 

Nathan leaned closer and brushed his lips over hers in a quick kiss.  “Yes it is.”

 

Before anything else could be said, Jonathan left the cockpit and led them out of the launch.  Less than fifteen minutes later, they stood in the reception area of the docking bay.

 

“Captain, Doctor, if you’ll follow me,” Jonathan said with a smile.  “We’ll get you settled in your quarters.”

 

The Bridgers smiled and nodded; following quietly out into the corridor.

 

“Nathan?!”  Kristin called to her husband as he suddenly stopped, his head whipping around.

 

“You!”  He pointed to a dark haired woman straggling behind the group.  “What are you doing in my head?”

 

“I…”

 

“Wendy?”  Kristin stepped closer to her husband as she turned to face the woman Nathan was glaring at.  “What’s going on?”

 

“She’s trying to get into my head.”  Nathan said, annoyance clearly written on his face.

 

“I’m sorry, Captain Bridger, Kristin.  I was just…”

 

“Doing an unauthorized mind read.”  Kristin interrupted, the anger evident in her voice.  “You know better than to do that.  What on Earth possessed you to…”

 

“I did.”  Ford said, stepping forward.  “I ordered Doctor Smith to scan him.”

 

Kristin turned on him, her eyes flashing.  “You what?  Why would you do that, Jonathan?”

 

“I had to be sure it was really him.”  Jonathan answered calmly, crossing his arms over his chest.

 

Kristin’s hands clenched at her sides as she glared at the young submarine captain.  “You had to be sure?”  She asked, sounding incredulous.  “What?  You don’t trust that I would know my own husband?”

 

“Trust has nothing to do with it, Kristin.”  Jonathan told her.  “I have no doubt whatsoever that you truly believe him.  That in your mind, this is Nathan.”

 

“In my mind?”  Kristin echoed loudly.

 

“But it’s been a year since the accident,” Jonathan continued, talking over her.  “And then there was the memorial, which I know upset you…”

 

“So because I was upset about the blasted memorial that makes me unable to determine…” she trailed off when she felt Nathan’s hand clasp her arm and with a disgusted look on her face, she stormed off down the corridor.

 

“Kris…” Nathan called after her and moved to follow but was stopped by Ford.

 

“Let me, sir.”  Jonathan said and at Nathan’s nod, he went after her.

 

Watching Ford take off after his wife, Nathan turned back to the group and winking at Lucas, he smiled at the seaQuest’s CMO.  “So, am I me?”

 

 

“I’m sorry, Kristin.”  Ford said in a quiet voice as he approached her.  “I never believed you were crazy or mentally unstable… I just…”

 

Kristin remained standing with her back to him.  “Just what?”  She asked quietly, staring into the water of the aqua tube.

 

“I believe it’s him too,” he admitted quietly.  “I really do.  But I had to know… I need to know, one hundred percent, that it’s him.”  He paused for a moment.  “Because if it isn’t…” his voice trailed off as Kristin finally turned to look at him.  “It was hard enough losing him the first time.  And I’m just his friend…”

 

“I understand that, Jonathan.  But to have her read his mind.  And without his knowing about it.”

 

“I’m sorry.  I really am.”  Jonathan told her emphatically.  “But that was the fastest way I knew how to prove it was really him and I also knew that the scan would satisfy the UEO.”

 

“The UEO knows?  Damn it, Jonathan!  You could have waited a bit.”

 

“Not yet,” Jonathan answered.  “But when I tell them, I want to minimize the hassles.  I thought it best to have some proof before that conversation.  Save us all a lot of unnecessary grief.”

 

Kristin nodded slowly.  “I just wish you would have told me.”

 

“And you would have told the Captain, and…” he let his voice trail off as he met her eyes.

 

“I understand, Jonathan.  Really, I do.”

 

“So, does this mean we’re friends again?”

 

A slow smile came to Kristin’s lips.  “Yes.”

 

“Glad to hear it.”  Jonathan returned her smile.  “Come on, let’s get back to your husband and get you guys settled.”

 

“Sounds good.”

 

Moments later, they joined the small group still waiting in the corridor outside the docking bay.  As Kristin moved to Nathan’s side, Wendy stepped over to her.

 

“I am sorry, Kristin.”  She said sincerely.

 

“I know, Wendy,” Kristin said.  “And I know you were only following orders.”  She paused and glanced up at her husband.  “But I’m not the one you should be apologizing too.”

 

“I’ve already apologized to the Captain.”  Wendy told her.

 

“So,” Kristin began.  “Did you detect any duplicity in my husband?”

 

“None at all.”  Wendy smiled.

 

Kristin looked over at Jonathan who smiled and nodded his head slightly in her direction.

 

“Thank you, Doctor Smith.”  Ford said to his chief medical officer and then turned to Nathan and Kristin.  “Follow me, we’ll get you settled and then see about getting you home to your family.”

 

Nathan grasped his wife’s hand and looked up at Jonathan.  “Lead the way.”

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

Stepping out of the bathroom in the quarters assigned to them, Kristin paused and leaned back against the doorframe when she saw Nathan sitting in front of the room’s vid-screen, just as the image of a petite, dark-haired woman appeared.

 

“Bom dia, João!” said the woman on the screen with a smile.  “Como o senhor tem passado?”

 

“Muito bem, obrigado.”  Nathan replied with an answering smile.  “And it’s Nathan.”

 

“So, you found your life!?”  The woman continued in English, her smile growing bigger.  “That’s wonderful.”

 

“Yes, I found my life.”

 

“So, tell me all about it.  What’s your last name?  Do you have a wife?  A family?”

 

“My full name is Nathan Hale Bridger…”

 

“Bridger?”  The woman’s eyes grew large.  “Captain Bridger?  Of the seaQuest?”

 

Kristin smiled as she watched Nathan admit to being the one and the same with an almost shy smile on his face, knowing he’d never been overly comfortable with all the fame that came with being the captain of the UEO flagship.  She startled when she felt his hand grab hers and pull her to him.

 

“And this is my wife,” he was saying with more than obvious pride in his voice.  “Kristin Bridger.”

 

“Olá, Kristin.”

 

“Kris, this is Celina Correia.”

 

“Doctor Correia,” Kristin’s smile grew.  “I am very happy to meet you.”

 

“Likewise,” Celina replied and then paused.  “Forgive me, but have we met before?  Your face is very familiar.”

 

“Yes, we did meet, several years ago at a symposium in England.”  Kristin told her.  “My maiden name is Westphalen.”

 

“Ah, yes!  Now I remember.”  Celina looked over at Nathan.  “You are indeed a very lucky man, Nathan.”

 

Nathan smiled and looked at his wife, his smile growing.  “Yes I am.”

 

The three talked for a little while longer, Kristin thanking the other doctor profusely for removing the tumor and saving Nathan’s life and Celina promising to send Kristin all the information and medical files she had on Nathan from the surgery.

 

They ended their conversation, with Nathan and Kristin promising to come out for a visit just as soon as they could.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

“Nathan.”

 

Nathan rolled towards the soft voice calling his name.

 

“Nathan, wake up.”

 

“Mmm… wha…”

 

“Wake up, Nathan.”  The voice persisted.

 

Nathan cracked open an eye.  “Kris?  Wha…” he shifted closer, nuzzling into her neck.  “Wazwrng?”

 

“I can’t sleep.”

 

“How can you not be tired?”  Nathan asked, running his hand down her side to rest on her hip.  “You certainly wore me out.”

 

Kristin chuckled softly and shrugged her shoulders.   “I just am,” she sighed and reached out, combing her fingers through his chest hair.  “I was thinking…”

 

“Mmm… about?”  He asked sleepily.

 

“The moon pool.”

 

“What about it?”  He yawned.

 

“I was thinking about you and I in it.”

 

The hand on her hip stopped moving.

 

“And it’s your fault this image is in my head,” she told him softly.

 

“Is it now?”

 

“Yes it is,” she replied, tugging gently on his chest hair.

 

“And what image would you have in that beautiful head of yours?”

 

Kristin shifted closer to her husband, wrapping a leg over his, guiding it between her own as she moved her lips along his cheek to his ear.  “You buried deep inside me, pressing me up against the glass,” she smiled at his low groan.  “My body wrapped all around yours as you thrust into me, over and over…”

 

“God, Kris…” Nathan moaned, lifting his head to meet her eyes.

 

She smiled at the desire she saw clouding his cerulean eyes.  “You asked.”

 

“Mmhmm, I did.”  He agreed, his hand sliding over her hip to caress her backside.  “And…”

 

“And now, I’m horny again.”  She told him.  “And since it’s all your fault, I think you should be the one to…” she grinned at him.  “Alleviate the problem.”

 

“Is that so?”

 

“It is.”  Her tongue snaked out to wet her lips as she shifted away from him to lie on her back.  She watched his eyes cloud even further as she ran her hand down over her breast, along her stomach to her inner thigh.  “Or, I could just take care of it myself.”

 

Nathan’s hand shot out and grasped hers.  “What have you got in mind?”

 

“Making that fantasy into a reality.”

 

His eyes grew wide.  “You mean you wanna…”

 

“Mmhmm.” She smiled, her free hand trailing down his chest to wrap around his burgeoning erection.  “And you know you want to too.”

 

Nathan groaned and wrapped his hand around hers.  He rolled closer, covering her lips with his in a passionate, but brief kiss.  He pulled away and rolled off the bunk, reaching for his pants.  He glanced back to see her still lying on the bed with an amused smile on her face.  “Well, come on,” he stood, pulling up his pants.  “We have a moon pool to make love in.”

 

Kristin laughed and scrambled off the bed.

 

 

Fifteen minutes later, hand in hand, they exited the maglev and much to Kristin’s amusement, crept stealthily down the corridor on sea-deck, towards the moon pool.

 

“Nathan?”  She asked in a stage whisper, trying not to laugh as he stopped to peer around the corner.  “Why are we sneaking around?”

 

“Because,” he answered in the same loud whisper, glancing back to give her a big, little boy grin before pulling her around the corner with him.  “It’s fun.”

 

Kristin giggled and shook her head as she followed him down the corridor.  Moments later, they slipped into the room, closing the door behind them.  She watched, both amused and very touched by Nathan’s willingness to actually go through with this.

 

Making her way over to the moon pool, she waited, dipping her fingers into the cool water as Nathan moved around the room, securing the only other entrance to the room and dimming the lights.

 

“Now,” Nathan murmured, his arms sliding around her; one hand splayed over her stomach, the other cupping a breast.  “Where did we leave off?”

 

“About here,” she reached back between their bodies to cup his arousal through his pants.  She smiled at his moan of pleasure, echoing him with one of her own as he squeezed her breast, teasing her nipple with his fingers though the material of her sundress.

 

“Oh yes,” Nathan spoke in a low voice, as the hand on her stomach slowly gathered up her skirt, before slipping under it and between her legs to cup her warm flesh.  His lips closed around her earlobe.  “And something about me being buried deep inside you,” his fingers began to gently stroke through her curls as he urged her closer to the cool glass of the moon pool.  “You pressed up against the side as I thrust,” he slid a finger inside her.  “Into you.  Over and over,” he moved his finger in and out of her.  “And over…”

 

“Nathan!”  She growled his name in frustration when he stopped, pulling his hand away from her.

 

“Easy, baby,” he murmured against her neck.

 

Kristin let her head fall back against his shoulder as she watched him bring his hand up to his mouth, moaning softly as he cleaned her juices from his finger with his tongue; her hand still pressed between their bodies, caressing the large bulge in response.

 

“Mmm,” Nathan hummed.  “Oh yes, I most definitely love the taste of you, my heart.”

 

Kristin smiled, remembering his words from the grotto the night before.  “Now…” she heard him continue as she felt his hands begin pushing the straps of her dress over her shoulder and down her arms, letting it pool on the floor at their feet.

 

She turned in his arms, and pressed a passionate kiss against his lips before moving out of his arms and slipping into the moon pool, diving beneath the cool water.  She surfaced moments later and smiled at him.  “Now… we play in the water.”

 

Nathan grinned and began to strip, his eyes focused on his wife as she began to float back in the water, her breasts rising above the water, the hard, rosy tips glistening in the low light.

 

“Shit!”

 

Kristin straightened up in the water at Nathan’s cry and swam over to the edge of the pool and started giggling.

 

From his spot in a tangled heap on the floor, Nathan looked up at his now laughing wife.  “It’s not funny.”

 

“Oh yes it is!”  She managed between breaths as she continued to laugh, hanging onto the side to stop from falling under the water.  “If you’d been concentrating…”

 

“I was concentrating…”

 

“On getting your clothes off and not on my chest,” she continued.

 

“Well, honey, your chest is rather distracting.”  Nathan grinned at her as he got to his feet and finished pulling his pants off.

 

Kristin merely smiled at her husband, watching him as he kicked his pants over to join his shirt and her dress on the floor and then move to climb into the pool.  “Watch it, the edge is…”

 

Nathan fell head first into the water.

 

“…slippery,” she finished as he surfaced, starting to laugh all over again.

 

“Thanks.”  He said, wiping the water out of his eyes, unable to keep the annoyed look on his face.

 

Kristin swam closer to him and slipped her arms about his neck, her body floating gently against his.  “You’re welcome.”

 

“So, where were we?”  Nathan asked, his hands finding their way to her waist, drawing her body closer.

 

Kristin allowed her legs to float up loosely around him as her hands trailed up into his wet hair, brushing her lips over his.  “I think we were right about… here.”  She finished, slipping out of his arms and pushing him under the water.

 

Nathan surfaced to the sound of his wife laughing once again.  He favoured her with an almost predatory grin as his arms shot out and grabbed her, pulling her against him.  “Remember what happened on the beach?”

 

“Oh yes,” she replied with a coy smile, her arms and legs wrapping themselves around his body.  She rubbed herself against his hard member, smiling at his low moan.  “We got interrupted by your dolphin.”

 

“Well, he’s not here now…” Nathan growled softly, his hands gripping her hips as he pressed himself against her.

 

“No he’s not,” Kristin moaned softly as she felt his hard length nudging through her folds, seeking entrance.  “…Nathan…” she purred.

 

Nathan met her eyes as he slowly walked them over to the edge of the moon pool, hearing her sharp intake of breath as he pressed her up against the cool glass.  He leaned closer, capturing her lips with his and mating his tongue with hers.

 

They kissed passionately as Kristin slipped a hand between them, wrapping her cool fingers around his silky shaft and guided him to her tender opening.  Nathan’s hands tightened on her hips, as he pressed forward, sinking into her slowly until he was sheathed completely inside her.

 

“If Darwin or anyone shows up now,” Kristin gasped as Nathan shifted, urging her legs up higher around him.  “I swear…” she gasped again as he began to move within her.  “I will fire them out a torpedo tube!”

 

“You and me both, baby.”  Nathan replied in a tight voice, his hips starting to move faster against her.  “You and me both.”

 

Their lips found each other’s again as their bodies moved in tandem, the cool water of the moon pool surrounding them and lapping at their heated bodies.

 

“Dammit!”  Nathan grunted in frustration as his foot slipped yet again on the pool’s floor, causing their rhythm to falter and the two of them to almost sink below the water.  “This isn’t working.”

 

“Nathan?”  Kristin questioned as he shifted, pressing her closer to the side of the pool.

 

“Hold on tight, baby.”  He told her in a hoarse voice, his hands leaving her body to grip the edge of the pool as he shifted his feet on the bottom.  He groaned his approval and once again began to thrust into her when he felt her arms and legs tighten around him.  “Much better.”

 

“Oh…” she moaned happily.  “Yes, much better.”

 

He grinned and then holding her gaze, continued to thrust heavily into her, bringing them both closer to release.  Nathan could feel her inner muscles beginning to clench around him, as her soft moans of pleasure grew louder with every thrust of his hips against her. 

 

“Nathan…” she shifted against him, grinding herself against him.  “Oh God… please…”

 

Nathan could feel her starting shudder in his arms and began to thrust quicker as her legs tightened even more, her nails biting into his shoulder as she gripped him harder, both internally and externally.

 

“Nath… an…” Kristin moaned again, arching into him.  “Oh please… so close…”

 

“Me too, baby.  Me too!”  He grunted, his hips moving faster, his strokes growing shorter, but deeper.  “Come with me, Kris!”

 

Moments later, their cries intermingled as they rushed over the edge together, consumed by their mutual orgasms.

 

“Oh… God…” Kristin murmured, her head falling back against the edge of the pool as Nathan crowded closer, pressing her hard against the glass as his arms hung over the edge.

 

“Lord, that was incredible.”  He spoke against her neck, trying to catch his breath.

 

“Glad you decided to humour me?”  Kristin asked with a smile as she let her legs float loose around him.

 

“Oh yeah,” he nodded, dropping a kiss to her shoulder before lifting his head, to smile at her.  He shifted slightly, bringing a hand up to cup her cheek.  “Have I told you yet today, how very much I love you?”

 

Kristin’s smile grew.  “Technically,” she glanced over at the clock on the far wall.  “No you haven’t.”

 

Nathan chuckled and slid his hand behind her head.  “I love you, Kristin.  Very much.”

 

“I love you too.”  She replied as he covered her lips.

 

They kissed until they felt themselves beginning to slip beneath the water.

 

“I think we should get out of here…” Kristin began, easing away from him.

 

“And continue in our quarters.”  Nathan finished, nibbling at her lips as he slipped out of her body.

 

“Ooh… somebody’s feeling ambitious.”  Kristin cooed with a sensuous smile as she moved back to the edge of the pool and lifted herself out of the water.

 

“Well, darlin’, with inspiration like that,” his eyes moved up and down her glistening body perched on the edge of the moon pool.

 

Kristin laughed, and slipped down onto the floor, picking up her dress as Nathan swam over and climbed out after her.  “You’re not so bad yourself, my love.”

 

“We forgot to bring towels,” Nathan said, as he pulled his shorts on, scowling slightly as the material stuck to his skin.  His scowl turned into a soft grin as he pulled on his shirt.

 

“What?”  She asked, catching the smirk on his face.

 

“I really hope we don’t run into anyone on our way back,” he stepped closer at her curious look, his hand reaching out to circle her nipple where it was showing through her damp dress.  “They’d get an eyeful.”

 

Kristin glanced down and blushed.

 

“We’ll move fast,” Nathan told her as he led her to the door.  “Just keep your arms crossed.”

 

The sound of Kristin’s amused laughter echoed down the corridor as they made a mad dash for the maglev.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

Rolling over in her sleep, Kristin woke up when she didn’t feel Nathan beside her.  She opened her eyes to see him sitting in the chair in the corner of the room, staring out the small window.  She watched him for a few moments before slipping out of the bed.  Quietly padding across the room, she startled him by pushing on his knee to uncross his legs then dropped softly onto his lap and curled up against his chest.  She sighed contentedly when his arms went around her.

 

“Can’t sleep?”

 

“Nope.”

 

“Everything’s going to be fine,” she told him softly.

 

“Yeah, I know,” he nodded, his hand absently running up and down her bare hip.

 

Kristin leaned her head back and looked up at him, her fingers playing with the soft hairs on his chest.  “Nervous?”

 

“Yeah,” his hands slipped down over her rear, his fingers tracing small circles on the firm flesh.  He met her eyes, and seeing the question in them, he continued.  “Not about seeing the kids… but about everyone else.”

 

Kristin nodded understandingly.  “You’ll be fine.”

 

“Yes I will,” he smiled, the hand supporting her back, sliding up into her hair.  “Because you’ll be with me.”

 

“Right by your side.”  She agreed just as his lips covered hers in a loving kiss.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

Jonathan stood patiently in the docking bay, waiting and watching as Secretary General Noyce gestured for the lovely, dark haired woman to precede him down the stairs as he looked around.

 

“Mr. Secretary.  Mrs. Noyce.”  Jonathan smiled at them as they stopped in front of him.

 

“Hello, Jonathan.”  Janet smiled and hugged the young captain.

 

“Captain.”  Bill said, shaking the man’s hand.  “Where is he?”

 

“In his quarters with Kristin.”  Jonathan said, leading the Noyces out of the docking bay.

 

“So, is it really him?”  Bill asked anxiously once they were seated on the maglev.

 

“Yes.  Doctor Smith’s scan verified it.”  Jonathan answered.  “We’ve taken DNA and blood samples as well and I got the results just before you and Mrs. Noyce arrived.”

 

“Did he tell you what happened?”  Bill asked.

 

“Yes.  But,” Jonathan held up his hand as Bill went to continue.  “I will let him tell you.”

 

“How is Kristin doing?”  Janet asked.

 

Jonathan smiled.  “She’s doing great.  In fact, I haven’t seen her this happy in a year.”

 

“I’m glad to hear that.”

 

The maglev came to a stop and the three exited into the corridor.

 

“I’m telling you,” said a passing crewman to his companion.  “There were two sets of wet footprints leading away from the moon pool.”

 

“Okay fine,” said the other.  “But who’d have the guts to sneak into the moon pool that late?”

 

Bill, Janet and Jonathan all shared amused glances as the crewman continued on down the corridor.

 

“I bet I know who the footprints belong to,” Janet said with a large grin, followed by a soft chuckle.

 

“I won’t take that bet.”  Her husband chuckled as well, looking over at Jonathan to see a grin on the younger man’s face.  “That alone would convince me that it’s Nathan.  He and Kristin always were…”

 

“Adventurous.”  Janet finished with an almost wistful sigh.

 

Seeing the look on his wife’s face, Bill reached out and squeezed her hand, giving her a tender smile.  Janet smiled back.

 

“These are Captain Bridger’s quarters,” Ford said as he knocked on the door before him.

 

After several minutes, where upon the rustling of clothes could be heard, a voice called out for them to enter.  They entered the room to see the occupants of the room, standing in front of a very rumpled bed.  The three exchanged amused glances.

 

“Okay,” Bill said without preamble.  “I know what the blood work says, and the DNA and the mind scan,” he looked Nathan straight in the eye.  “But I need to know for myself that you’re you.”

 

“And how would you like to do that?”  Nathan asked with a grin, having expected something like this from his oldest friend.

 

Bill braced his hands on the desk in front of him as he leaned forward and regarded the man before him.  “I want you to tell me something.  Something only the two of us would know.”

 

Their eyes met and Bill watched as Nathan considered what to say.  He swallowed when he saw the grin form on Nathan’s face, knowing in that moment that the man before him was indeed his friend.  And not only that, he knew exactly what Nathan was going to say.

 

“Late eighties and a tattoo, do I need to say more?”

 

Bill shook his head, looking decidedly uncomfortable.  “Uh, no… that’s okay.”

 

Nathan grinned.

 

“Glad you’re back, old friend.”  Bill said, coming around the table to pull him into a manly hug.

 

“So am I, Bill.  So am I.”

 

As Jonathan joined the two men, Kristin moved across the room to Janet’s side.

 

“Do you know what they’re talking about?”  Kristin asked.

 

“Sort of.”  Janet answered.

 

“Well…”

 

“Well, Bill does have a tattoo.”  Janet smiled.

 

“And?”

 

“So, how long were you two alone on the island, and when did he get his memory back?”

 

Kristin shook her head and chuckled, knowing she wasn’t going to be getting anything more out of her friend.  “Well, I was there for a week, Janet, you know that.”

 

“Krisssstin!”  Janet hissed softly as she grabbed Kristin’s arm.  “You have to tell me.”

 

“Tell you what?”  Kristin asked with an angelic look on her face.

 

“Why you…” Janet began.  “Have the look of a woman who has been well and truly bedded.” 

 

“Janet!”  Kristin gasped, feeling her cheeks grow warm.

 

“Oh please,” Janet said.  “You and Nathan can’t keep your hands off each other and everyone knows it.”

 

Kristin grinned at that and glanced over at her husband who was still talking with Noyce and Jonathan.  Her smile grew when Nathan glanced up and their eyes locked for a moment.  She sighed as he broke the connection and turned back to Janet.  “Well, look at him, Janet.  Can you blame me?”

 

Janet chuckled.  “You’re asking the wrong woman.  Nathan is like a little brother to me.  The fact that he has a great ass is irrelevant.”

 

“Not to me it isn’t.”  Kristin laughed.

 

Janet laughed as she watched Kristin’s eyes trail down to the anatomy in question and saw the glimmer of desire spark in her friend’s eyes.  Her laughter slowed when she saw Nathan once again turn to look at his wife, as if sensing her eyes on him.  Janet watched as their eyes met and saw Kristin’s desire echoed in his blue eyes.  She smiled, her heart warmed at the sight of her friends back together.

 

“That look… the one he’s giving you now,” Janet leaned towards Kristin, speaking in a quiet voice.  “That alone tells me that it’s Nathan.”

 

Kristin turned to smile at her friend, when Nathan turned his attention back to Bill and Jonathan.

 

 

“That’s quite a story, Nathan.”  Bill said, shaking his head in amazement.

 

“I know.”  Nathan nodded, his eyes darting back to his wife, smiling as he watched her talk softly with Janet.  He turned back to see Bill watching them as well.

 

“It’s good to see Kristin looking so happy again.”  Bill said in a quiet voice.

 

“Speaking of Kristin…”

 

“Yeah, I know.”  Bill said returning his attention to his friend.  “I’ve apologized to her, Nathan.  Done everything I can…  I understand why she was… is upset with me.”  He paused and shook his head sadly.  “If I could go back… I…”

 

“But you can’t, Bill.”

 

“I know.  But because of me, you lost a year of your life not only with Kristin, but with the kids as well.”

 

“It was a freak accident, Bill.”  Nathan told him.  “It wasn’t your fault.  And if it hadn’t been me, it would have been someone else.”

 

“He’s right, Admiral.”  Ford said.  “And you did everything you could afterwards as well.”

 

“I…”

 

“No more guilt, Bill.”  Nathan told his friend.  “Things happen the way they are meant to happen.”

 

“So, what are your plans now that you’re home, Nathan?”  Janet’s voice called out, preventing Bill from saying anymore, as she and Kristin made their way across the room.

 

“Nothing beyond taking this gorgeous woman back home,” Nathan wrapped his arm around his wife’s waist as she moved to stand beside him.  “And seeing my kids.”

 

Janet smiled.  “Sounds like wonderful plans to me.”

 

“Me too.”  Nathan and Kristin said simultaneously. 

 

They grinned at each other and shared a quick kiss as the others looked on with affection.

 

“Whenever you’re ready, Captain.”  Jonathan said with a smile.  “We can head up world.”

 

Nathan nodded to his former second in command and then turned to Kristin.  “Ready to go home, honey?”

 

“More than ready.”  Kristin smiled.

 

Nathan turned back to Jonathan and gestured towards the door.  “Lead the way, Captain Ford.”

 

Ford smiled and walked out of the room, followed by Nathan and then Kristin who paused in the doorway, her gaze falling on Bill.  With a slight nod of her head, Kristin turned and followed her husband.

 

Bill closed his eyes and released a deep breath.  With the look Kristin had given him, Bill knew that she’d just forgiven him.  She’d never forget, and neither would he.  But she’d forgiven him and he was grateful.

 

He opened his eyes moments later when he felt Janet’s arm slide around his waist and give him a gentle squeeze.  He looked down at her and smiled.

 

Janet nodded and returned his smile.  “Come on, dear.  Let’s go.”

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

The sound of children’s laughter floated down the beach, bringing a smile to the faces of the two adults standing on the sand a small ways back.

 

“You ready?”

 

Nathan looked down at his wife and shook his head.  “Not really.”

 

“They’re your children, Nathan.”  Kristin said, her gaze drifting back down the beach to where their children played with Cynthia at the water’s edge.  “And they love you.”

 

“But I’ve been gone for a year…”

 

“It doesn’t matter.”  Kristin interrupted.  “Besides, I’ve already told you,” she turned back to meet his eyes.  “Your children have been told all about you.”

 

“I know… I…” he looked down the beach to watch them.  “I’m scared, Kris,” he admitted quietly.  “I’m so scared that they won’t know me… won’t want anything to do with me…”

 

Kristin turned and wrapped her arms about his waist, squeezing him affectionately.  “I know you’re not sure about this, but trust me when I tell you, you have nothing to fear.”

 

Nathan smiled at her and pulled her closer, brushing a loving kiss against her lips.  “Okay.”

 

Kristin moved out of his arms, grasped his hand and tugged.  “Come on, sailor.  Let’s go see our kids.”

 

 

“Mama!  Mama!”

 

Cynthia looked up at her little brother’s squeal, and watched as he and his twin struggled to their feet, moving as quickly as their little legs could carry them across the sand.  She looked down the beach to see her mother walking towards her and the twins.  Her eyes widened at the sight of the man walking beside her.  She shook her head.  ~ It can’t be. ~

 

 

Nathan took a step back as the two toddlers rushed towards him and Kristin.  Just as they reached Kristin, the twins stopped, seemingly as one, and look up at him.  They stared at him for a moment or two and then suddenly launched themselves at him.

 

“Dada!”

 

Nathan dropped to his knees in the sand and caught his children up in his arms, crushing them to his chest as they wrapped their small arms around his neck.  Tears streamed down his cheeks as he looked up at his wife.

 

“Mummy…” Cynthia called out breathlessly as she ran over.  She gasped.  “Is it really…”

 

“Yes.  It’s really Nathan.”  Kristin answered, her own cheeks wet with tears as she held Nathan’s gaze.

 

“How?”

 

“It’s a long story,” Kristin told her, smiling as the twins began to rain kisses all over their father’s face.  “We’ll tell you later.”

 

Cynthia nodded and then smiled as she watched her mother crouch down, only to be knocked over as Wil propelled himself out of his father’s arms and into hers.

 

“Mama!”

 

Kristin laughed as she sat up, cradling her son in her lap as she tickled him and blew raspberries against his cheeks.  “Hello, my little man.”  Kristin said, laughing as Wil reached out and grabbed a handful of her hair.  “Have you been a good boy for your big sister?”

 

Cynthia watched Wil smile and laugh as their mother continued to tickle him.  Her eyes then fell on Nathan, who was sitting next to them, with Kailey standing on his legs, her hands on his shoulders, simply staring at him.  Suddenly feeling like a fifth wheel, Cynthia quietly stepped back and made her way to the house.

 

 

Unaware of Cynthia’s departure, Nathan’s attention continued to focus on his daughter as she began to trace his features with her tiny fingers.  Several minutes later, she clasped his face in her hands. 

 

“Dada.”  Kailey smiled at him, before grabbing his nose and squeezing.

 

Nathan’s heart melted.

 

“Nose.  Dada you nose.”  Kailey told him, squeezing again, laughing in delight when Nathan made a honking sound.

 

Wanting to get in on the fun, Wil squirmed out of his mother’s arms and climbed into Nathan’s lap with his sister.

 

Kristin leaned back on her hands and watched as both kids continued to explore their father’s features with their tiny fingers and talk animatedly with him.  She grinned when both twins squealed in delight as Nathan’s fingers attacked their ribs.  She’d known the kids would take immediately to their father; the bond he’d formed with them before his accident was too strong to break.

 

“Mama!”

 

Kristin blinked out of her musings to see three sets of blue eyes staring at her.  Her smile grew.

 

“The twins and I have decided,” Nathan began.  “That we would like to go back to the house for some ice cream.”

 

“Ice ceam!”

 

Kristin chuckled as she got to her feet and stood before them.  “Is that so?”

 

“Yes it is.”  Nathan told her as he slowly got to his feet, still holding both kids in his arms.  “We’d also like to find out where their big sister disappeared to.”

 

“Where did she…” Kristin glanced around.  “When did she leave?”

 

“I dunno.”  Nathan shrugged and shifted his children around so that he held each one securely in his arms.  “What do you say we go find her?”

 

Kristin smiled and nodded, stepping closer as they made their way towards the house.

 

 

“There you are.”  Kristin called out as they entered the kitchen.

 

Cynthia looked up from her seat at the island table where she was eating a bowl of ice cream.

 

“Why did you leave?”  Kristin asked as she headed straight for the ice cream and bowls, while Nathan got the twins settled in their booster seats.

 

“I didn’t want to be in the way.”  Cynthia answered as she took a bite of ice cream.

 

“You could never be in the way,” Nathan said as he finished securing his son in his booster seat.

 

“Thank you, Captain.”  Cynthia said, putting her spoon down.  “But it was a family moment and…”

 

“You are family.”  Nathan said, moving to stand beside her.  He put his hand on her shoulder.  “You may not be my daughter by blood but that doesn’t mean I don’t love you and wasn’t as anxious to see you as I was the twins.”  Nathan paused and smiled at her.  “And how many times have I told you, call me Nathan.”

 

Cynthia smiled and leaned into him, wrapping her arms around him and giving him a hug.  “I’m glad you’re home, Ca… Nathan.”

 

“I am too, Cynny,” Nathan said, returning her hug.  “I missed you.”

 

Kristin watched as Cynthia leaned back in her stepfather’s arms, her eyes glistening.  “I missed you too.”

 

“Ice ceam!”

 

The three adults turned to look at the twins and grinned as they both called out for the cold treat once again, banging their chubby hands on the table.

 

“Mama.  Want ice ceam now.”  Kailey repeated.

 

“Two bowls of ice cream, coming right up.”  Kristin said, turning back to the cupboard, surreptitiously wiping the tears from her eyes.

 

Nathan patted Cynthia on the shoulder before moving over to help his wife get the ice cream for their kids.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

Stepping out of the bathroom, Kristin smiled when she saw that Nathan wasn’t in their bedroom.  Knowing exactly where her husband was, she left their room and made her way down the hall towards the twins’ bedroom.

 

“Knew I’d find you here,” she said quietly, laying her head on his shoulder as she slipped her arms around him from behind.

 

“They’re beautiful.”  Nathan spoke in a soft voice, his hands coming up to rest over hers.  “They’ve grown so much and I’ve missed it all.  Kailey was just starting to walk, and Wil here,” he paused, reaching out to rub Wil’s back as the little boy fidgeted in his sleep.  “Wasn’t too far behind and now look at them.  They’re running all over the place and getting into all sorts of things.  And talking… I can’t get over how much they’re talking.”

 

Kristin’s hands moved softly over his bare chest.  “It wasn’t your fault,” she told him softly.

 

“I know that,” he replied.  “But I can’t help but feel like I should have done more; worked harder to get my memory back sooner in order to get home to you and the kids.”

 

“Oh, Nathan…” Kristin exhaled and pressed a kiss to his shoulder.  “You were in a submarine accident for crying out loud and then in a coma.  On top of which, you had brain surgery that left you without a memory.”  She paused and tightened her arms around him.  “You could have been gone a lot longer, if not forever, so all things considered, I think a year is pretty good.”

 

“But…”

 

Kristin unwrapped her arms from around him, grabbed his hand and pulled him out of the twins’ room, leading him down the hall into their bedroom.  She shut the door and then turned to face him.

 

“If you are going to insist on arguing about this, please know that I am going to win.”  She told him, fixing him with a look.  “What happened was not your fault, Nathan.”

 

“I know that, Kris…” Nathan began.

 

“Something in your voice tells me you don’t.”  She said.  “We’ve already discussed this on the island.  You are not responsible for what happened.”  She paused, reaching out a hand and laying it on his chest.  “It was a freak accident.  You’re back now and that is all that matters.”

 

She led him over to the bed and urged him to sit.

 

“So, no more guilt.  You have absolutely nothing to feel guilty for.”

 

“But what about the kids?”  Nathan asked as Kristin sat beside him.  “I missed a whole year of their lives.”

 

“I won’t lie to you, Nathan.  They did notice your absence,” she told him.  “But I made sure it wasn’t a gaping hole; made sure they knew all about you.  Pictures, stories… videos; I did not want them forgetting you.  And as you saw on the beach, they haven’t forgotten you and,” Kristin smiled, her hand reaching out to stroke his cheek.  “They both adore you.”

 

A smile formed on Nathan’s face.  “Yeah, they were kinda excited to see me.”

 

Kristin laughed.  “Kinda?”  She moved off the bed and draped her arms over his shoulders as she straddled his lap.

 

“Okay, so kinda was a bad choice of words.”

 

Kristin grinned and nodded.  “You think?”

 

“Mmhmm,” Nathan murmured as he smoothed his hands down her sides, over her rear and up her back.  “You did a wonderful job with them, Kris,” he said in a soft voice.  “They are great kids.”

 

“Thank you.”  Kristin shivered as his fingers danced over her shoulders, toying with the straps of her nightgown.  “…Nathan…”

 

“Yes, love?”

 

“What are you doing?”  She asked as he slipped the straps off her shoulders, the soft, silky material gliding down over her breasts to bunch at her hips.

 

“What does it look like I’m doing?”  He replied, smiling at her gasp as his hands moved to cup her breasts, his thumbs rubbing softly over her hardening nipples.

 

“It looks,” she gasped as his fingers gently pulled at her aching nipples.  “And feels like you’re trying to seduce me.’

 

“I always knew you were a smart woman.”  Nathan told her as he dipped his head to nuzzle her neck.

 

“And a very lucky one,” she murmured, arching against him, feeling his hardened length pressing against her core.

 

Nathan nipped her neck, laving his tongue over the same spot as he moved, flipping them so that he lay over Kristin, his body pressing hers into the mattress.

 

“Oh yes,” Kristin moaned, wrapping her legs around his waist and holding him tight against her.  “A very lucky woman.”

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

“So, how is everything?”  Janet asked as Kristin poured them each a cup of tea.  “Nathan settling in all right?”

 

“Everything is good.”  Kristin replied, handing Janet her cup before grabbing her own and sitting back in her chair.  “And Nathan is settling in fine,” Kristin told her with a smile.  “It’s almost as if he was never gone.”

 

“Really?”  Janet asked with raised eyebrows.  “The twins aren’t finding it strange to suddenly have their father back in the house?  You’re not finding it odd to have him back… both in your life and in your bed?”

 

“Honestly?”  Kristin asked.

 

“Honestly.”  Janet repeated, watching as her friend gazed out the window.  She watched as a soft smile began to form on Kristin’s lips.

 

“The odd thing was ‘not’ having him in my life, Janet.  And in my bed.”  Kristin answered in a quiet voice.  “The whole time Nathan was gone, there was a huge part of me… of my soul missing.  I felt so lost without him, almost as if I were the one with amnesia.”  She turned back to Janet.  “There was a part of me that always knew he was still alive.  That I hadn’t lost him.”

 

Janet nodded.  She remembered the day Kristin had confided those feelings to her, her belief that her husband was still alive.  Lost and most likely hurt, but very much alive.

 

“And now he’s home, Janet.”  Kristin said, tears springing unbidden in her eyes.  “Yes, there have been a few adjustments this last month and a half, but all in all, everything is wonderful.”

 

“What else?”

 

“What do you mean, what else?  There is no what else.  Everything is wonderful.”

 

“Bull.”

 

“Excuse me?”

 

“You heard me.”  Janet said, putting her cup down and reaching for one of the finger sandwiches.  “I know you too well, Kristin.  And I know there is something bothering you.  Now spill it.”

 

Kristin sighed and took a sip of her tea.

 

“Kristin?”

 

“It’s the UEO.”  Kristin finally said in a tight voice.  “Or rather, the military end of it.”

 

“What are they doing?”

 

“Ever since Nathan got back, they’ve been pushing him to take command of another sub.  And they won’t take no for an answer.  They just keep pushing and pushing and they won’t stop.”  Kristin paused.  “General Thomas even went so far as to tell him they’d remove Jonathan as captain of the seaQuest and give Nathan command if that’ll get him back.”

 

“He didn’t!”

 

“He did.”  Kristin said, a note of disgust in her voice.

 

“Oh my good Lord.  How low can that man get?”  Janet shook her head.

 

“Nathan has told them over and over again that he’s not interested, that he would be quite happy with a desk job.”

 

“So that he’s not away from you and the kids.”

 

“Exactly.”  Kristin said.  “But they just won’t listen.  They keep offering him more money, more perks, better benefits.”  She paused, shaking her head as she grinned.  “I think they forget that we don’t need the money.”

 

“You can say that again.”  Janet grinned back at her friend, well aware of how well off she and Nathan really were.  “So, what are you two going to do to get them off your backs?”

 

Kristin sighed.  “I don’t know.”

 

“Maybe Bill could…”

 

“He’s already tried.”  Kristin said.  “But Thomas and the others just keep hounding him.  Not as overtly as they were, but they’re still doing it.”

 

“I wish I knew what to tell you, Kristin.”  Janet said.

 

“I wish you did too.”  Kristin said quietly, her gaze drifting back out the window to the water.  “We are this close,” she held up her one hand, her thumb and index finger not even an inch apart.  “To packing everything up and moving to the island.”

 

“It’s that bad?”

 

Kristin nodded.  “He wasn’t even home two weeks before they were hounding him to come back.”

 

“Some people just won’t take no for an answer.”

 

“Nope.”

 

The two women shared a small smile.

 

“So, where are Nathan and the kids?”

 

“They went for a walk down the beach.”  Kristin answered.  “It’s become a morning ritual for the three of them.”

 

“You don’t join them?”

 

“Some mornings.  But mostly, it’s just the three of them.”  Kristin said, smiling as she looked out the window once again.  “Father, children bonding time.”

 

Janet followed her friend’s gaze, a smile forming on her face as well at the sight that greeted her.

 

Nathan was lying in the sand while the twins were covering his legs with sand, laughing happily every time Nathan reached out to try and tickle them.  She watched as one of the twins would approach slowly, bucket of sand in hand and slyly dump the sand on Nathan’s legs, all the while keeping an eye on Nathan.  The moment Wil or Kailey looked away, Nathan would reach out, pull the giggling child in his lap and tickle them.  He’d then let them go and the game would start all over again.

 

“I take it this is a ritual as well?”  Janet asked, laughing as Wil squirmed out of his father’s arms.

 

“Oh, the little sneak.”  Kristin laughed softly.  “Watch this, Janet.”

 

“What?”

 

Suddenly, both Janet and Kristin burst out laughing as Kailey dumped a bucket of water over Nathan’s head as he tickled her twin.

 

“If I didn’t know better, I would swear they planned that.”  Janet said.

 

“They did.”  Kristin replied, her eyes still on her family.

 

“I’ll be…” Janet watched as Wil and Kailey approached their father in total concert.  “It’s because they’re twins isn’t it?”

 

“That’s part of it.”  Kristin answered.  “We’re also thinking they inherited their father’s high PSI abilities.”

 

“Nothing from their mother?”  Janet asked, raising an eyebrow as she glanced at Kristin and saw her shrug her shoulders.

 

“Not that we’re aware of.”  Kristin answered and then laughed as Nathan finally had enough of being covered in sand; breaking free and giving chase to the kids.

 

“He’s a big kid himself, isn’t he?”

 

“Yes he is.”  Kristin smiled.  “And they couldn’t be in better hands.”

 

“I couldn’t agree more.”  Janet said, watching as Nathan scooped both of his kids up in his arms, tossing them both over his shoulder.  “He really is great with them.”

 

Kristin didn’t respond.

 

Janet looked over at Kristin a moment later when she still hadn’t responded.  “Kristin?”  She smiled at the dreamy look on her friend’s face.  “Earth to Kristin.”

 

“What?”  Kristin shook her head, a blush slowly working its way across her cheeks.

 

“What were you just thinking about?”  She watched Kristin’s blush deepen and grinned, suddenly having a pretty good idea of where the redhead’s thoughts had wandered.  “Okay, share.”

 

Kristin laughed.  “What makes you think there’s anything to share?”

 

“The fact that you’re turning as red as your hair.”  Janet said pointedly.  “And knowing that you and Nathan have quite the active sex life, it must be something really good to make you blush like that.”

 

Kristin inhaled deeply, her eyes drifting out the window again, this time to focus solely on her husband.  “The comment about Nathan’s hands got me thinking about how he woke me up this morning.”  She smiled wistfully, remembering.  “Tell me, Janet,” her eyes never left her husband.  “Have you ever woken up in the throes of an orgasm before?”

 

“No.”  Janet answered.  “But judging by that satisfied look on your face, I’d say you have.”

 

“Mmhmm.”  Kristin murmured.  “Just this morning.  It’s a wonderful way to wake up, I highly suggest trying it.”

 

“I’ll pass your recommendation on to Bill.”  Janet said with a laugh.  “So…”

 

“Yes?”

 

“How’d he… I mean…”

 

Kristin’s grin grew as she watched her friend stammer out her question.  She took pity on her.  “How’d he get me off?”  Kristin asked bluntly.

 

Janet blushed.  “Well, I wasn’t going phrase it like that, but yes.”

 

Kristin laughed softly.  “Let’s just say, that my husband is very talented with both his hands and mouth.”

 

Janet opened her mouth to reply, but stopped when she saw Nathan walk through the patio doors, his kids still slung over his shoulders.

 

“Hello, ladies.”  Nathan said as he put his children down.

 

“Mama!”  They both squealed as they ran over to Kristin and climbed onto her lap.

 

“Did you two have fun with daddy?”

 

“Yes.  We sanded him.”  Wil said with a smile identical to his father’s.

 

“I saw that.”  Kristin told him.  “Both Auntie Janet and I were watching you.”

 

Kailey slipped down off her mother’s lap and climbed into Janet’s.  “I wetted daddy, Aunie Jan.”

 

“I know you did, honey.  And a good job you did too.”

 

Kailey beamed.

 

“So what would you two like for lunch?”  Kristin asked.

 

“Pizza!”  The twins chorused.

 

“Again?”

 

Kailey and Wil nodded enthusiastically and climbed down off the laps they were sitting in.

 

Kristin smiled as she shook her head.  She looked over at her husband.  “This is all your doing.”

 

“Yep.”  Nathan grinned and then turned to Janet.  “You gonna stay?”

 

“I could never turn down pizza.”  Janet said, standing up.

 

Nathan smiled, and then looked at the kids.  “Okay, you two, in the kitchen!”

 

The twins squealed and ran off towards the kitchen.  The adults shook their heads in amusement and followed in the kids’ wake.  Just before they entered the kitchen, Nathan reached out and grabbed Kristin’s hand.

 

“Nathan?”  Kristin asked quietly, as he pulled her gently towards him and into his arms.

 

Nathan merely smiled and lowered his lips to hers, his arms tightening around her when she moaned softly and responded to his loving kiss.

 

“What was that for?”  Kristin asked breathlessly against his lips as the kiss came to an end.

 

“No other reason than I love you and wanted to kiss you.”

 

Kristin pulled back and flashed him a brilliant smile before leaning back in and kissing him again.

 

“Don’t you two ever stop?”

 

Kristin pulled out of the kiss and moved out of her husband’s arms.  She simply smiled at her friend and moved into the kitchen to take care of her children’s lunch.

 

Janet glanced over at Nathan to see him leaning in the doorway, his eyes following Kristin around the kitchen before landing on his kids.  The love he felt for them more than evident in his blue eyes.

 

~ Thomas, you haven’t a chance in hell of taking this man away from here. ~  Janet thought as she made her way to her seat.  ~ Not a chance. ~

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

Walking out onto the porch, after having put the twins down for their nap, Nathan stopped.  A smile formed on his face at the sight of his wife; sitting on the porch swing, her chin against her chest, fast asleep.

 

“How long has she been asleep?”  He asked Janet quietly.

 

“Not too long.”  Janet replied as Nathan resumed his journey and eased down beside Kristin.  She stirred, her eyes fluttering open to look up sleepily at him.  “Go back to sleep, baby,” he told her quietly, reaching out to caress her cheek.

 

Kristin smiled, snuggled against him and fell back asleep with her head on his shoulder; his name a soft murmur on her lips.

 

“Has she been ill?”

 

“No.”  Nathan replied, stroking Kristin’s hair.  “Why do you ask?”

 

“Nathan,” Janet began.  “Look at her.  It’s the middle of the afternoon and she’s sound asleep.”

 

“She’s tired.”  Nathan said.  “What’s the big deal?”

 

“Does she do this everyday?”

 

“No…  well except for the last few days.”  Nathan admitted.  “But I’m just putting it to the last six weeks catching up to her.  That’s all.  Next week, she’ll be back to her old self.”

 

“You sure that’s all it is?”

 

“Quite positive.”  Nathan said and then gave Janet a small smile.  “Besides, don’t you think I’d notice if she was sick?”

 

Janet nodded as she conceded Nathan’s point.  He would most certainly notice if Kristin wasn’t feeling up to par.  “I know you would.  I was just…”

 

“Being the wonderful concerned friend we know and love.”

 

Janet smiled, blushing slightly.

 

“I never really did thank you and Bill, did I?”

 

“For what?”  Janet asked, looking puzzled.

 

“For all you did last year; looking out for Kristin and the twins and being there for her throughout everything…” Nathan paused, his gaze dropping down to the woman sleeping against his side.  He drew his fingers softly over her cheek as he continued in a quiet voice.  “Thank you for keeping the heart of my heart safe.”

 

Janet blinked back the tears that formed at the emotion she heard in Nathan’s voice.  “You’re welcome,” she told him softly, smiling at him when he finally looked back up.  “You, Kristin and the twins are family.”

 

Nathan smiled as Janet ended her explanation right there.  He nodded, knowing no more words were needed.

 

“Well,” Janet said a few moments later.  “I should get going.”

 

Nathan nodded and then shifted slightly.

 

“No.”  Janet reached out a hand, placing it on his arm.  “Don’t get up, unless you plan on carrying her into the bedroom.”  She grinned at the flicker of desire she saw flash in Nathan’s eyes at the thought and shook her head.  “Don’t you even think of waking her up for…”

 

“A little afternoon delight?”  Nathan finished for her, a broad grin on his face.

 

“Yes.  That.”  Janet chuckled softly.  “I swear, you two are worse than a couple of teenagers.”

 

Nathan’s grin grew.  “Thank you.”

 

Janet just shook her head again as she leaned over and gave him a kiss on the cheek.  “Tell, Kristin I’ll call her later.”

 

“I will.”  Nathan said.  “Drive safe.”

 

“Always.”  Janet replied as she turned and began to walk away.

 

“And give my regards to Bill.”

 

“Not all I’m gonna give him,” Nathan heard her mumble under her breath.  “Hands and mouth indeed.”

 

“Hands and…” Nathan shook his head.  “Probably something I don’t want to know.”

 

“You already know, but you’re probably right.  You don’t want to know anymore.”

 

At the sound of his wife’s husky voice, Nathan’s gaze dropped and he found himself staring into her warm, brown, sleepy eyes.  “I thought you were sleeping?”

 

“I was.”  She said, snuggling closer.

 

“Sorry.  Didn’t mean to wake you.”

 

“You didn’t really.”  Kristin told him, her hand slipping inside his shirt to play with his chest hair.

 

“So, how much of our conversation did you actually hear?”

 

“Enough to know, that I want nothing more than for you to carry me into our bedroom,” Kristin began softly, raising her head from his shoulder.  “So that I can show the heart of ‘my’ heart, how very much I love him.”

 

Nathan smiled and dipped his head, brushing his lips against hers.  “With pleasure,” he whispered into her mouth, before pulling her into his arms, standing up and carrying her into the house.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

Nathan lay propped up on his elbow, a deep satisfied smile on his face as he watched Kristin sleeping curled up against him.  He reached out and gently brushed a lock of auburn hair off her face, his fingers tracing the gentle slope of her jaw to her lips; lips that were still pleasantly swollen from his kisses.

 

Hearing her release a soft sigh, Nathan’s smile grew as he let his thoughts drift back over the events of the last two hours spent in their bed, making love.  Upon entering the room, their lovemaking had been tender and loving, their hands caressing and touching every inch of each other’s bodies with almost reverent intent.

 

Their second bout of lovemaking had been the total opposite.  Frenzied and intense, they’d come together in a rush, their bodies moving wildly with and against each other; hands almost clawing as they frantically strove to pull each other closer, crying out loudly as their souls finally merged with the shared release of their bodies.

 

~ Afternoon delight indeed. ~ Nathan thought, his fingers now tracing a path down Kristin’s arms.  She stirred and Nathan found himself holding his breath as he waited for her to open her eyes and look at him.  Seconds later, he got his wish.

 

“Hello, beautiful.”  He murmured, his fingers coming up to cup her cheek.

 

Kristin smiled up at him and then suddenly bolted from the bed.

 

“Kristin?”  Nathan called after her as she dove into the bathroom.  He quickly climbed out of the bed and followed her.  He found her kneeling on the floor in front of the toilet, retching.  He dropped down beside her, gathering her hair in his hand and rubbing her back. 

 

When she was finished, he quickly got to his feet and got her a glass of water to rinse her mouth.

 

“Thanks,” she muttered as she took a sip and rinsed her mouth.  Handing him the glass, she sat back on the floor with a deep sigh.

 

“What do you think brought that on, baby?”  Nathan asked, slipping down to sit beside her and taking her hand.

 

“I don’t know.  Probably the pizza.”  Kristin answered and then turned worried eyes on him.  “The twins.”

 

“I’ll keep an eye on them.”  He told her and then stood, helping her to get to her feet as well before lifting her into his arms and carrying her into their bedroom.  “I want you to rest.”

 

He laid her down on the bed.

 

“…Nathan…”

 

“Shh…” he said, pulling the sheet up over her body.  “Just relax.  Let me take care of you and the kids, okay?”

 

Kristin smiled softly at him and nodded.

 

“Good.”  He leaned over and brushed a soft kiss to her lips.  “Get some rest while I go check on the kids.”

 

“All right.”  Kristin said, watching as he left the room and then closed her eyes.  Several moments later, she opened them again and sat up, unable to sleep.  She sighed and knowing it was pointless to stay in bed, she swung her legs over the edge.  After verifying that her stomach wasn’t going to rebel, she grabbed her robe, stood and went in search of her husband.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

A soft knock at her office door pulled Kristin out of her thoughts. 

 

“Come in,” she called out, trying once again to focus on the work she was supposed to be doing.

 

She heard the door open, but after several minutes she’d not heard anyone enter, she looked up and over at the door and sighed.

 

“Nathan.”  She whispered as she stood and slowly approached the slightly open door and the hand peaking through holding a long-stemmed yellow rose.  She reached out and fingered the soft petals, before sliding her hand down to cover the hand holding the flower and pulling its owner into her office.

 

Nathan moved quietly inside, shutting the door behind him and leaning back against it as she took the rose from his hand and walked back over to her desk.  He watched as she leaned back against it and brought the rose to her face, inhaling its sweet scent.

 

“I’m sorry, Kris.”  He said in a hushed voice.  “It wasn’t my intention to upset you.”

 

“I know,” she nodded.  “I… I’m sorry too.  I shouldn’t have bit your head off.  It wasn’t your fault and I don’t know why I acted that way.”

 

Nathan took a step closer.  “Does this mean we can…”

 

“Kiss and make up?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

Kristin smiled and nodded as she closed the distance between them, stepping into his outstretched arms.  After a series of breathy kisses that quickly gave way to a long, loving kiss, she buried her face in his neck and wrapped her arms around him.

 

“So…”

 

“So?”  She nuzzled the skin of his neck.

 

“How do you feel about having lunch with this old sailor?”

 

Kristin leaned back in his arms and smiled.  “I would love it.”

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

“Mmm…” Kristin sighed as she stretched languidly and then turned to look at her husband.  “When you said lunch, I didn’t know that I was on the menu.”

 

“Is that a complaint?”  Nathan asked, his hand trailing down along her hip.

 

“Not at all.”  She smiled, her fingers walking through the soft hairs on his chest.  “But as much as I’ve enjoyed and am enjoying this,” her hand moved up to cup his cheek.  “I really should get back to work.”

 

“Ah, Kris…”

 

“And so should you.”

 

Nathan sighed and nodded.  “Yes, I know.”

 

“I’m sorry, m’love.”  Kristin leaned in and gave him a loving kiss before moving out of his arms and sitting up.  “But we both really need to get back to work before someone walks in here.”

 

“No chance,” he said reaching for her as she stood up; his fingers just skimming down her back.  He grinned up at her when she turned to look at him.  “I locked the door to your office.”

 

Kristin laughed and turned; reaching for her dress hanging on the door in the small anteroom they were in as Nathan climbed out of the small bed.

 

“…Kris…”

 

Kristin opened her eyes to find herself lying once more on the bed with Nathan leaning over her, concern etched deeply in the lines of his face.

 

“Honey, look at me.”

 

“Wha… what happened?”

 

“You passed out,” he told her, reaching out to stroke her hair.

 

“I did no such thing.”  Kristin said as she slowly sat up, noticing that her dress was lying in a puddle on the floor.  “Did I really?”

 

“I’m afraid so.”

 

“Well, that’s what I get for skipping meals.”

 

“Kris…” Nathan said in a stern tone.

 

“Nathan, there is nothing wrong with me.”  She told him, climbing out of the bed and picking her dress up off the floor.  She gave it a good shake before slipping it over her head, letting the soft material slide down her lithe body.  Kristin turned to meet his concerned gaze as she smoothed down the wrinkles.  “Honestly, Nathan, I’m okay.”

 

“This is the second time today you’ve fainted, Kristin.”  He said as she stood and walked over to her, placing his hands on her shoulders.  “And that worries me.”

 

Kristin sighed.  “You’re going to ask me to go see Joshua again, aren’t you?”

 

“Yes, I am.”  Nathan nodded.

 

Kristin sighed again, her head dropping to his chest.  “I’m fine,” she mumbled into his shirt.

 

“Humour me?”  His hands stroked softly up and down her back.  “Please.”

 

She leaned back and raised her head to look at him.  “You really are a pain in the ass.”

 

“I believe we established that this morning.”  Nathan said, smiling wryly as he made reference to their argument earlier in the day.  He reached up and stroked her cheek.  “So will you go see him?”

 

“Yes.  I will go see him.”

 

“Thank you.”  Nathan smiled.  “When?”

 

“Is after work soon enough for you?”

 

“Yes.”  He pulled her closer, resting his forehead against hers.  “Thank you, honey.”

 

Kristin’s hands slid up his arms, over his shoulders and into his hair.  She tilted her head and brushed her lips against his.  “You’re welcome.”

 

They shared another loving kiss before Kristin moved out of his arms.

 

“Now, you’d better get back to work,” she said, walking out of the anteroom and into her office.  “Or everyone is going to know what we’ve been up to in here.”

 

“They already know.”  Nathan said with a grin as he followed her, tucking in his shirt.  “You did know these walls aren’t soundproof, right?”  He laughed at her stricken expression.  “I’m kidding, Kris.  I’m kidding.”

 

She swatted his arm.  “You’re terrible.”

 

“Yeah,” Nathan laughed.  “But you love me anyway.”

 

A brilliant smile spread across her face as she moved into his arms.  “Yes I do.”

 

“I love you.”  Nathan whispered against her lips as he kissed her passionately.

 

A knock at the door stopped the kiss before it could spiral out of control.  They broke apart with a mutual sigh.

 

“Do you want me to wait for you after work?”

 

Kristin shook her head.  “With my going to see Joshua, you’ll have to pick up the kids.”

 

“Good point,” he said, pulling her with him as he unlocked and opened the door.  “Lucas!”

 

“Hey, cap.  I was told I would find you here.”  The young man smiled.  “Hi, doc.”

 

“Hello, Lucas.”

 

“What’s up, Lucas?”

 

“I was sent to warn you that General Thomas is looking for you.”

 

Nathan and Kristin groaned.

 

“Thanks, kiddo.”  Nathan said.  He turned to Kristin, leaning down to brush a soft kiss over her lips as he drew his hand up her side in a loving caress.  “See you at home, beautiful.”

 

Kristin smiled and nodded.

 

“Come on, Lucas,” Nathan said, putting his hand on his shoulder.  “Let’s see if we can avoid Thomas.”

 

Shaking her head in amusement, Kristin watched them disappear down the hall before moving back into her office and closing the door.  She walked over to her desk and sat down, reaching for the phone.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

“Oh… oooh… God!”

 

Nathan held tightly to his wife’s hips as she climaxed above him.  Seconds later, crying out her name, he followed her over the edge.

 

Kristin collapsed onto his chest and buried her face in his neck as they continued to shudder against each other.  Several long minutes later, she felt Nathan shift beneath her and raised her head slightly.  “Want me to…”

 

“No… no.”  Nathan shook his head, his hands splaying out and pressing against her back.  “You’re okay.”

 

Kristin smiled and stretched out her legs, taking care to keep him sheathed within her body.  She sighed happily as his hands began to gently stroke her back and snuggled closer, resting her head on his chest under his chin.

 

“So,” Nathan began softly a short time later.  “What did Joshua say?”

 

“That other than looking like I could use some rest, that I was fine and in perfect health.”  She told him and then shifted up onto her elbow so she could meet his eyes.  “And then he drew some blood and sent it to the lab for some tests, just to be on the safe side and told me to come back tomorrow afternoon.”

 

“Why tomorrow afternoon?”

 

“Because the lab was already closed.”

 

“Oh,” he said.  “Makes sense.”

 

“So tomorrow, when I get the results back,” she began as she laid her head back on his chest.  “You’ll see that there is nothing wrong with me, and you’ll quit worrying, right?”

 

“Never stop doing that, honey.”  Nathan said, giving her a gentle squeeze.  “But I have a question.”

 

“Shoot.”

 

“Would they automatically do a pregnancy test, or do you…”

 

“A what?!”  Kristin pushed herself up on her arms and looked down at him.

 

“A pregnancy test.”

 

“Why on earth… oh no…” Kristin shook her head.

 

“Think about it, Kris.”  Nathan said.  “You’ve been tossing your cookies every chance you get.  You’re getting dizzy and passing out.”

 

“Nathan, just because I’ve gotten sick a few times…”

 

“Everyday for the last two weeks.”

 

“And gotten a little dizzy…”

 

“You were spinning like a top.”

 

“That doesn’t mean I’m pregnant.”

 

“And then there’s… hold on.”  Nathan began before gently grasping her thighs and slowly beginning to sit up.  “Wrap your legs around me, baby.”

 

Kristin gave him a look at his chosen term of endearment, but did as he asked; sliding her legs around him while once again keeping their bodies intimately joined.

 

“Now, where was I?  Oh yes,” Nathan said.  “I know that nausea, dizziness and fainting are symptoms that can cover a host of things, but there are a few other things I’ve noticed about you the last little bit.”

 

“Like…”

 

“Like this,” he reached out and cupped her breasts, eliciting a sharp gasp from her.  “I noticed this just the other day,” he moved his thumb, barely touching her nipple and smiled as she gasped again, this time arching into his touch.  “Your breasts have gotten more sensitive.”

 

He lowered his eyes, gazing at the luscious mounds cupped lovingly in his large hands and then looked back up at her.

 

“They’ve also gotten bigger…”

 

“No they haven’t.”  Kristin protested, looking down.

 

“Oh yes they have, trust me.”  Nathan said, lowering his head to brush soft kisses over the swell of both breasts.  “I pay very close attention to your breasts, my love.”

 

“Yes, I know you do.”  Kristin couldn’t help but grin and nod.  “But Nathan… that still doesn’t mean…”

 

“What else could it be?”

 

“I am getting close to starting my period, and you know my breasts…”

 

“Get sore,” he nodded.  “But your breasts aren’t sore,” his thumbs moved across her nipples again and she gasped.  “Your reaction alone tells me that.”

 

Kristin closed her eyes, moaning softly and sighing at the same time.  “Nathan…”

 

“It’s a possibility, Kris.  Why won’t you at least consider it?”

 

“Because it’s such a remote possibility, and at my age…”

 

“It’s not impossible.”

 

“No.  No it’s not impossible.”  She said.  “Just not very likely.”

 

Nathan didn’t respond right away, his hands continuing to cradle the heavy weight of her chest.  “I tell you what.”

 

“What?”

 

“Why don’t we wait for tomorrow and the results of your blood work and go from there?”

 

“Sounds good to me.”  Kristin said and then gave him a coy smile.  “So, any suggestions on what we could do now?”  Even as she asked the question, she could feel him beginning to grow hard within her.  Her smile grew as she slowly began to undulate her hips against him, causing him to moan.  “Mmm… I see you do.”

 

“Kris…” it came out sounding like a low growl.

 

“What?”  She asked, running her hands over his shoulders.  “Didn’t like that?”

 

“Didn’t say that.”  He grinned, dipping his head once again and taking one of her nipples between his lips.

 

Kristin moaned and arched into him, forcing more of her breast into his mouth, which he happily and greedily accepted.  As he continued to suckle her, she once again began to gyrate her hips against him, clenching and releasing her inner muscles as she moved. 

 

Without warning, Kristin found herself on her back, crying out softly when she felt him leave her body.  Her cry soon turned into a moan as she felt Nathan’s lips searing a trail of hot, open-mouthed kisses across her breasts and down her abdomen.

 

“Oh God… Nathan!”  It came out as a husky breath when Nathan buried his face in her soft curls, his lips searching through her slick folds until they found their treasure and closed around it, sucking hard.  “Nathan…”

 

Smiling against his wife’s moist flesh, Nathan released the swollen nubbin as he slowly and with great care, began to explore every centimeter of Kristin’s lower lips; not leaving one spot untouched with his lips and tongue.  Before long, his fingers joined in the exploration; probing gently at her opening as his lips moved up to once again close around and tease her clitoris.

 

“Mmm… Nath…” Kristin moaned, one of her hands resting on the top of his head as she arched into him.  She closed her eyes, allowing the sensations Nathan’s expert touch was creating to wash over her.  “Oh yes…”

 

Nathan could tell she was close, could feel it in the tensing of her inner muscles around his probing fingers and with a low growl against her heated flesh he increased his attentions; smiling against her when she arched off the bed.

 

“Na…than…” Kristin moaned his name, her fingers tightening in his hair as she arched off the bed, pressing herself against his questing tongue and probing fingers.  “Oh… I’m so…  oh God!”

 

Nathan grinned and replacing his tongue with his thumb, he watched as her orgasm overwhelmed her; the hand on his head clenching almost painfully as she thrashed on the bed and cried out his name over and over.  As she continued to ride out her release, Nathan buried his face back between her legs, replacing his fingers with his lips and tongue; drinking from her as if he were a man dying of thirst.

 

Kristin moaned softly as Nathan’s gentle touch eased her down from the high of her intense orgasm.  A small shudder passed through her as with a final, long lick, Nathan pulled his face and hands away from her curls and began to slowly kiss his way back up her body.

 

“Mmm…” she breathed happily when he covered her body with his; his lips trailing up over her neck, along her jaw line till he reached her mouth.

 

Nathan kissed her passionately, his tongue probing deep into her willing mouth, dueling with her tongue before pulling back and giving her a series of breathless, soft kisses only to return to kissing her with all the passion in his being.

 

“I love you,” she sighed against his lips as he ended their oral connection with another series of breathy kisses.

 

“I love you too.”  He told her, framing her face with his hands, brushing his thumbs over her flushed cheeks.  “So very much.”

 

Suddenly, Nathan found himself lying on his back with Kristin straddling his hips, her hands resting on his chest.  “Kris?”  He moaned the question as she shifted against him, pressing herself against his hard length.

 

“Your turn…” she purred, brushing a soft kiss over his chin.

 

Nathan moaned again as she then proceeded to lick and nip her way down his chest, pausing to play with his nipples, before moving lower, following the trail of hair down past his navel to his groin.

 

Pausing over him, Kristin licked her lips before lowering her head and tracing a line down the length of his arousal, smiling at his low groan of appreciation.

 

“…Kris…” Nathan exhaled the breath he didn’t know he was holding and fought to keep his hips on the bed when her lips enveloped the head of his erection, pulling him into the hot heat of her mouth.

 

“God…” he moaned, his hand finding its way into her hair, clenching softly as her cool fingers wrapped around his length; stroking him slowly up and down.  His hips lifted slightly off the bed as she took him deeper in her mouth, moving her lips up and down in the same rhythm as her hand.  “Oh… God…” his moans grew louder as her attention to his arousal increased; her free hand moving in and caressing his sacs.

 

Kristin smiled around him, pulling back and swirling her tongue around the engorged head and tracing a line down his length and back up to once again take him into her mouth.

 

“Sweet Jesus, Kris!”  Nathan called out, arching off the bed when she suddenly started humming, her mouth continuing to move up and down his erection, the vibration shooting right through his body.  “Kris… I’m…” his hand tightened in her hair, tugging on her head till she looked up at him.  He shook his head.  “I need to be inside you…”

 

Kristin nodded and with one final lick to his manhood, she slowly crawled back up his body, straddling his hips and trapping his erection between their bodies as their lips came together in a hot, lustful kiss.

 

“Kris…”

 

Hearing the need in his voice, Kristin sat up.  Raising herself onto her knees, she felt his hand brush against her thigh as he reached between their bodies and grasped his erection.

 

“…Kris…”

 

She smiled at him and wrapped her hand around his so that together they guided him to her waiting entrance.  With their eyes locked, Kristin slowly began to sink down him, taking him inch by inch into her welcoming warmth.

 

“Mmm… Nathan.”  Kristin moaned low in her throat as with a gentle thrust of his hips, Nathan pushed himself completely inside her.  She braced her hands on his chest as she savoured the feel of him sheathed, once again, within her.  She smiled sensuously down at him.  “I do so love the feel of having you inside me.”

 

At her husky confession, Nathan felt himself lengthen and grow harder in the confines of her silken trap.  “And I love being here, my heart.”

 

Kristin smiled and leaned down over him; brushing her lips across his.  “Make love to me now, sailor.”

 

“For as long as I am able,” Nathan replied, sliding his hand into her hair and pulling her down for a deep, amorous kiss.  When he released her lips, she straightened back up on him.  “What is your pleasure?”

 

“Slowly… let it build.”  She answered as she began to leisurely rotate her hips against him.

 

“Your wish is my command.”  Nathan smiled, reaching out to grasp her hips; matching the motion of his hips to hers.

 

“Oh yes… just like that.”  Kristin nodded, keeping the gentle pace.  “That’s perfect.”

 

“Yes it is.”  Nathan agreed, sliding his hands up to fondle her breasts; teasing the rosy peaks with his fingers.  Leaving her breasts, he trailed his fingers down till he cradled her belly.

 

“…Nathan…” Kristin murmured as he caressed her still flat belly softly, seeing in his eyes his hope that he was right.  He smiled up at her and she found herself covering his hands with hers, whispering softly.  “I hope you’re right… daddy.”

 

Nathan grinned up at her before moving his hands back to her hips and thrusting up more fully against her.  Hearing her moan his name, he repeated the movement again, and then again, each time a little harder, enjoying the pull of her inner muscles as her release built.

 

“Nath… an…” his name was a breathless gasp as his right hand slid down off her hip and moved between the close press of their bodies, his fingers lightly stroking her clitoris.  “God, you have wonderful fingers.”

 

Nathan chuckled softly and increased the pressure against her sensitive flesh.  “Glad you approve.”

 

“Oh yes,” she breathed out and began to raise and lower her hips with greater speed.  She closed her eyes and let her head fall back as the sensations shooting through her body steadily grew in intensity.  “Nathan…  oh, Nathan!”

 

“I know, baby.  I know.”  Nathan told her, his fingers moving in firm circles over her swollen flesh, thrusting his hips harder up against her.  “Let go, baby… I won’t let you fall.”

 

“Nath…”

 

“That’s it,” he held her hip tightly with his one hand, his other hand still busy between their bodies.  “Come for me, baby… come for me.”

 

“Oh… oh God!”  Kristin’s breath caught in her throat as she sank down on him one last time; trembling violently as her orgasm rolled over her in giant waves.  She collapsed onto his chest, murmuring his name over and over into his neck.

 

Wrapping his arms tightly around her quivering form, Nathan rolled them over, pressing her into the mattress.  He slid his hands down and clasped her behind the knees, urging her legs up around his back.  “Wrap your legs around me,” he told her in a strained voice.

 

Kristin did as he commanded, moaning softly as he sank deeper inside her.  She felt his arms slide beneath her and grip her shoulders before he began to thrust heavily into her, driving for his own release.  She tightened her legs around him, her hands caressing up and down his back, doing all she could to help him reach his orgasm.

 

“Kris… oh God…” he groaned against the skin of her neck.  “I’m going to…”

 

“Come, love…” Kristin murmured against his ear, reaching down to cup his backside, squeezing the firm flesh.  “Let go… I won’t let you fall.”

 

He moaned at her echo of his earlier words and thrust powerfully into her a few more times before letting go; his orgasm rushing over him in a tempestuous wave.  “KRIS!”  He roared her name into her neck, his seed a hot splash against her womb, his hips jerking erratically against hers.

 

Kristin held him tightly as he sank heavily against her, nestling further into her embrace as sporadic shudders wracked his body.

 

Several minutes later, Nathan raised his head and smiled down at her.  “You are incredible.”

 

“So are you.”  Kristin murmured dreamily.

 

Nathan’s smile grew as he shifted, rolling off her and pulling her into his arms.

 

Kristin snuggled against him, sighing happily.  “I suppose I’d better enjoy this while I can.”

 

“What?”

 

“Cuddling into you like this.”  She said, indicating their current position; her legs entwined with his, her arms wrapped around him with her head resting on his chest.  “After all, in a few more months, I’ll be too big.”

 

Nathan grinned and pulled her closer.  “Yes you will.  And I can’t wait.”

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

Nathan sat at the drafting table, staring at the papers but not really seeing them.  His mind was elsewhere… with his wife to be exact.  He glanced at his watch and sighed for the umpteenth time.

 

~I should be with her now.~ He thought to himself.

 

He’d planned on going with her, but an emergency on the current building site had pulled him away from her side and he’d missed the appointment.

 

“Damn!”  He dropped his fist down on the table in frustration.

 

“Feel better?”

 

Nathan turned, a smile forming on his face at the sight of his wife leaning against the doorjamb.  “Hey,” he called out, turning on his chair to face her as she walked further into his office.  “So, what did Joshua say?”

 

Kristin didn’t answer as she moved closer, coming to stand between his legs.  She smiled softly as she reached out and grabbed his hands, bringing them to rest on her stomach.

 

“I was right?”  He asked softly, caressing her belly.

 

“You were right.”  She told him and then covered his hands with hers.  “Meet your baby girl, daddy.”

 

“A girl?”  He asked.  “Isn’t it too soon to tell?”

 

“Yes, it is.”  She answered. “But I just have a feeling.”

 

Nathan grinned, tears glistening in his eyes as he moved his hands gently over her stomach.  “We’re having a baby,” he whispered.  “We’re really having another baby.”

 

Kristin smiled.  “Yes, we are.”

 

“I love you,” Nathan said, his hands moving up to cup her face.  “I love you so much.”

 

“I love you too.”  She whispered in reply as he lowered his lips to hers in a soft kiss.  Her hands found their way to his shoulders as the gentle kiss soon escalated into one that was intense and passionate.

 

At the sound of a throat being cleared, they pulled apart slightly, turning to see Bill and General Thomas standing in the door; one was grinning, the other was scowling.

 

“Bill, what can I do for you?”  Nathan asked, pointedly ignoring the general.

 

“We’re here to check on the progress of the new sub.”  Thomas answered before Bill could say a word.  “So if you’re finished making out like a couple of teenagers…”

 

Nathan glared at the man before turning back to Kristin.  He spoke softy, “We’ll continue this later?”

 

“Of course.”  Kristin said.  “That way we can have a proper celebration.”

 

Nathan grinned and swooped down to brush a soft, quick kiss against her lips.  “I’m looking forward to it.”

 

He stood then and moved around his wife, gesturing for the two men to proceed.  He glanced back at Kristin as Bill and the general left and flashed her a big smile.  “See you at home, beautiful.”

 

Kristin nodded, returning his smile, her eyes falling on his backside as he left his office.  She grinned to herself then before leaving the room as well.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

Standing in the doorway, Nathan gazed at his wife, taking in her profile as she leaned against the porch railing, watching their children play in the surf with Bill, Janet and their youngest grandchild.

 

~God, she’s beautiful.~ He thought, his eyes roaming over her form.

 

At five months, Kristin’s pregnancy was showing, and just as she had with the twins; she was positively glowing.  He smiled when he saw her absently rubbing her hand over her swollen belly, dipping her head and whispering softly to the child within her womb.

 

Unable to stay away from her any longer, he stepped onto the porch and padded quietly over to her.

 

“I was wondering how long you were going to stand there and stare at me.”  She spoke softly as he slid his arms around her from behind.

 

Nathan smiled as he dropped a kiss to her bare shoulder.  “I was just admiring the view.”  He told her as his hands moved under hers over her belly.  “Do you know how amazingly beautiful you are?”

 

He felt her skin flush as she shook her head.  “Nathan…”

 

“You are, you know.”  He skimmed his lips up along the smooth column of her throat, along her jaw till he reached her ear and pulled the lobe between his lips.  “And you have no idea how very much I would love to scoop you up into my arms, carry you into our bedroom and make love to you for the rest of the afternoon.”

 

“Mmm… sounds wonderful,” Kristin murmured, gasping his name when he slid a hand up into the top of her sundress and cupped one of her breasts.  “But we have company.”

 

“We could always tell them we’re tired… I’m sure they’d understand.”  Nathan told her, gently kneading the luscious mound, smiling against her skin when he felt her nipple harden in response; piercing his palm.  “Or we could just slip down behind the railing and…”

 

Kristin moaned softly as Nathan described in vivid detail what he wanted to do with her, the whole time continuing to massage her breast.  “Nathan…” she moaned his name again as he pulled her back against him and she felt his arousal pressing into her.

 

She suddenly became aware of the fact that he was leading her away from the railing and along the porch.  “Nathan?”

 

“Trust me, Kris…” he murmured against her ear.

 

Moments later he stopped, stepped away from her and sat in the large rocking chair behind him.  He grabbed her hands, turned her around and pulled her down so that she was straddling his lap.

 

Kristin smiled as she slid her hands up his chest to rest on his shoulders, pressing herself against him while she lowered her lips to his; kissing him softly but with growing passion.  Suddenly, she pulled out of the kiss.

 

“Kris?”  Nathan asked breathlessly.

 

She grabbed for his hands, pulling them beneath her dress and placed them on her stomach.  “Wait for it,” she whispered, staring into his eyes.  She grinned and knew he’d felt it when she saw his eyes grow large in wonder and drop to her belly.

 

“Oh wow!”  He whispered, genuinely moved at feeling his child move for the first time.  It wasn’t much more than a soft ripple beneath his hands, but it was his baby.  Nathan leaned closer, caressing the swell that nestled their child.  “Hello, Sophie.”

 

Nathan’s eyes moved up to meet his wife’s.  He pulled one of his hands out from under her dress and cupped her cheek.  “Thank you,” he murmured, his eyes bright with unshed tears.  “Thank you for carrying my child…” the hand still beneath her dress caressed her warm skin again.  “Our child.”

 

Kristin smiled softly at him, leaned closer and brushed her lips over his.  “You can thank me later with a demonstration if you’re up to it.”

 

“I’m up to it right now,” he grinned, lifting his hips beneath her.  “What about you?”

 

“Nathan…” she moaned softly as he pressed his arousal against her and then gasped when she felt his hand slide between them.

 

“Why, Mrs. Bridger, I do believe you’re not wearing any panties.”  Nathan’s grin grew as he stroked his fingers through her curls.  “And,” he leaned closer, pressing his lips against her ear.  “You’re as aroused as I am.”

 

“Yes I am.”  She admitted, moaning as he pressed a finger inside her.  “But I can wait…” she gasped and moaned again when he rubbed his thumb over her clitoris.  “Till later.  I can wait till later.”

 

“You sure?”  Nathan asked, slipping another finger inside her and stroking the pair slowly in and out of her, his thumb massaging her swollen flesh.  “We could do it right here.  Right now.  Just think, Kris…” Nathan continued to stroke her.  “Our bodies joined… rocking together… while our friends are on the beach… with our children…”

 

“Nath…”

 

Nathan slipped his free hand up into her hair, guiding her mouth to his and kissed her passionately as he began to stroke her with more intent.

 

“Now, Nathan…” Kristin broke off the kiss, reaching between them to work the button on his shorts.  “I want you in me now.”

 

Nathan gasped when she freed him from the confines of his shorts and shifted closer, raising herself slightly as she guided him to her center.  He moaned when he felt the first touch of her moist heat against the head of his shaft.  “Kris…”

 

And then they knew nothing but the bliss of being joined together.  They moaned simultaneously as Kristin shifted closer and took him completely within her moist heat.

 

“Mmm… oh yes!”  Kristin moaned, sliding her hands up his chest as he began to rock them slowly.

 

 

“Are they…” Bill turned to his wife and gestured to Nathan and Kristin on the porch.  “They wouldn’t.  Not on the porch like that?”

 

“Oh yeah.”  Janet nodded with a smile.

 

“Geez… don’t they ever stop?”

 

“She’s five months pregnant, dear.  You tell me.”

 

Bill shook his head.  “Suppose we should keep the kids occupied for a little while longer.”

 

“Good idea.”  Janet nodded, giving her friends one last glance, smiling as she saw Nathan pull his wife closer and their lips mold together.

 

 

“Nathan…” Kristin gasped into his mouth as they continued to rock against each other, the sensations building and spreading throughout her body with each rocking of the chair.  “Mmm… oh, Nathan…”

 

Nathan smiled against her lips as with each thrust of her hips, she ground her pelvis against him, striving to release the pressure building within her.  He pulled her closer, arching his hips into her, even as he continued to rock them in the chair. 

 

“Oh… oh God…” Kristin gasped, her hands bunching in his shirt.  “Nath…”

 

“That’s it, baby… give in to it.”  Nathan urged; leaning in to press open mouth kisses to her neck.  He trailed his tongue up to her ear.  “Come for me, Kris… come…”

 

“Na… Nathan…” Kristin cried out softly, her body beginning to thrash above his.

 

“Let it go, Kris.”  Nathan entreated her, his hands on her hips, thrusting into her as he felt his own release grow closer.

 

Kristin shook her head, even as she began to shudder above him.  “Together… I want us to be together…”

 

“We will be…” Nathan groaned, feeling her inner walls clenching around his thrusting member and knowing his orgasm was imminent.  “Oh… God… yes…”

 

Their mouths came together in a fierce kiss, smothering the cries of each other’s names as their releases rushed up over them; consuming them in an inferno of sensations that left them both feeling euphoric and satiated.

 

Kristin broke off the kiss, resting her forehead against Nathan’s as they both panted for breath.  “Mmm… oh God…” she moaned softly as another small tremor passed through her.  “I can’t believe we just…”

 

“Made love for all the world to see?”

 

“Mmhmm.”

 

“Fun, wasn’t it?”

 

Kristin raised her head and met his eyes, her eyes bright and twinkling as she nodded.  “Yes.  It was.”

 

“As fun as our tryst in the moon pool?”

 

Kristin laughed softly and shook her head.  “You’re crazy, Nathan.”

 

“Only about you, my heart.  Only about you.”

 

They leaned closer; their lips joining in a loving kiss.

 

“As much as I would love to stay like this with you all day,” Kristin began.  “I don’t think my legs would appreciate it very much.”

 

Nathan’s hands dropped from her waist to caress her bended legs.  He winced.  “Ooh, oh, baby, how are your legs?”

 

“They’re okay.”  She told him.  “But they won’t be if I stay like this too much longer.”

 

Nathan nodded and moved his hands back up to her waist, lifting her slightly, pausing when he heard her whimper softly.  “Kris?”

 

She shook her head and gave him a soft smile.  “I’m okay.  It’s just… when you…”

 

Nathan nodded in understanding; remembering when she’d told him about the sense of loss she felt when he withdrew from her.  He reached up and caressed her cheek, tracing her lower lip with his thumb.  “I know…”

 

Kristin leaned into his hand, turning to brush a kiss against his palm before looking at him.  She reached down, grasping his now flaccid member in her hand.  “Let’s get you tucked back in,” she said, smiling as he reached down to help her.

 

“I’m amazed one of the kids hasn’t broken away from Bill and Janet yet.”  Nathan said as he zipped up his shorts.

 

“Mommy!  Daddy!”

 

Nathan and Kristin grinned at each other as Nathan moved to help Kristin off his lap.  He reached out and grabbed her arms, preventing her from walking away.

 

“Nathan?”  She looked at him questioningly and then followed his gaze down.  She stifled a giggle.  “Oh…”

 

“Oh, is right.”  He said.  “How am I gonna…”

 

Kristin grabbed his hands and began to walk towards the door, making sure to stay right in front of him.  “Stay behind me.  And when we reach the door, you can duck inside and change.”

 

“Good idea.”  Nathan said; staying close to his wife, watching as Kailey ran towards them, followed by her twin and Bill, Janet and their granddaughter Sam.  “Can we move just a little quicker?”

 

“It wasn’t my idea to have sex on the porch.”  Kristin spoke over her shoulder.

 

“I didn’t see you complaining a few minutes ago,” Nathan said, leaning closer so that his warm breath moved across her neck.  “In fact, I do believe you were crying out my name in obvious pleasure.”

 

Kristin laughed.  “Touché.”

 

“Nathan!”

 

“Oh oh,” Nathan intoned as he noticed Bill was only a couple feet from the porch.

 

“Go.  Now.”  Kristin said softly, as Bill reached the first step.

 

Nathan opened the screen door and quickly ducked into the house, ignoring Bill’s repeated call of his name.

 

“Where’s he going?”  Bill asked Kristin as he stepped up on the porch, followed by his wife and the kids.

 

“He’s going to change.”  Kristin answered.  “He… spilled his drink.”

 

Bill and Janet exchanged knowing looks and simply nodded.  Kristin was saved any further explanation as her children converged on her.

 

“Look what we found.”  They spoke simultaneously, holding up their hands.

 

“Oh my, what pretty shells.”  Kristin smiled at her children, reaching out to finger the small shells in their hands.  “Did you find them yourselves?”

 

“Sammie and Unca Bill and Aun Janet helped too.”  Wil answered.

 

At that moment Nathan reappeared on the porch.  “Sorry about ducking out on you there,” he said, moving to stand beside his wife and draping an arm around her shoulders.  “But I…”

 

“Spilled your drink.  Yes,” Bill smirked.  “Kristin told us.  I hope it was a cold one at least.”

 

Nathan chuckled as he glanced at his wife, noticing the flush creeping up her cheeks.  “Actually, it was hot.  Very hot.”

 

Janet choked on her drink as she went to take a sip.  Bill reached over and patted her gently on the back.

 

“You okay, dear?”

 

“Yes.  Yes.”  Janet nodded, coughing slightly to clear her throat.  “Just went down the wrong hole, that’s all.”

 

“You sure you’re okay, Janet?”  Kristin asked, stepping closer to her friend.

 

Janet nodded and took a small sip of her drink.

 

“Bill, what do you say we go get the steaks on the barbeque?”  Nathan asked his friend.

 

“Sounds good to me.”  Bill said with an amused grin on his face.  “Cause I don’t know about you, but I’ve certainly worked up an appetite.”

 

Nathan glanced at Kristin, giving her shoulders a gentle squeeze.  They shared a meaningful glance and a soft kiss before Nathan stepped away from her and headed towards the barbeque without saying a word.

 

Bill gave his wife a quick kiss on the cheek and then went after his friend.

 

“So…” Janet began.  “You going to share?”

 

Kristin blushed and turned to the children.  “Why don’t you three go play on the swings until supper is ready.”

 

“Yes, mommy.”

 

“Yes, Aunnie Kris.”

 

Once the children were out of earshot, Janet turned to Kristin.  “Well…”

 

“What?”

 

“Are you going to tell me how your husband convinced you to have sex on the porch in the middle of the afternoon?”

 

“What makes you think it was Nathan?”  Kristin asked with a small grin.

 

Janet stared at her, smiled and shook her head.  “So… Nathan was feeling frisky… and one thing led to another and you couldn’t make it to your bedroom?”

 

“Something like that.”  Kristin chuckled.  “We’d kissed and then when he led me to the rocker…”

 

“And his lap.”

 

Kristin smiled.  “And his lap.  And while we were kissing, Sophie kicked.”  She turned to look at her friend.  “This was the first time Nathan was able to feel her kicking.”

 

“And knowing Nathan, he was profoundly affected by it.”

 

“Yes, he was.”  Kristin replied, her gaze drifting over to her husband.  “And then, one thing led to another…” her gaze returned to Janet.  “And the rest you know.”

 

The two women shared a smile.

 

“I still can’t believe we did that.”  Kristin said softly.  “I mean… on the porch like that.”

 

“It’s not like it was the first time.”  Janet reminded her, remembering one of the many occurrences Kristin had told her about, albeit not in specific detail.

 

“No,” Kristin nodded.  “It wasn’t the first time we’ve made love on the porch, but we’ve always been careful to make sure no one was around.”

 

Janet smiled and reached out a hand to pat Kristin’s arm.  “Don’t worry, Kristin.  To anyone else, it would have just looked like the two of you were kissing and rocking in the rocking chair.”

 

“Really?”

 

“Yes.”  Janet nodded.  “And if you’re worrying about the children, Bill and I kept them well occupied.”

 

Kristin smiled.  “Thank you.”  After a several moments of comfortable silence, Kristin turned to Janet.  “Now, is it just my heightened libido, or have you and Bill been giving each other the eye all day?”

 

Janet felt herself blush as Kristin turned to look at her, a curious smile on her face.  “Well…” she flushed deeper but continued.  “Do you remember that conversation we had a couple months back?”

 

“Which one?”  Kristin asked with a smile, having a fair idea what Janet was referring to.

 

“When you told me how Nathan… how he used…” Janet stammered, blushing furiously.  “How you woke up having an orgasm.”

 

Kristin grinned.  “Mmm… oh yes.”

 

“Your words kept running through my head for days afterwards, and well, one morning I figured I’d… get the ball rolling so to speak, and I…” Janet’s voice trailed off.

 

“You gave him a blow job!?”

 

Janet reddened even more as she nodded.

 

“Bet he was surprised.”

 

“Oh yes.”  Janet said.  “He was surprised.”

 

“And did he reciprocate?”

 

“A couple days later… yes.”

 

“And?”

 

Janet grinned.  “You were right.  It is a hell of a way to wake up.”

 

Kristin laughed.

 

 

Nathan looked up as the sound of his wife’s laughter reached his ears.  He smiled at the sight of her, hand on her belly, eyes sparkling as she continued to laugh.  “Wonder they’re laughing about.”

 

“I bet I have a pretty good idea.”  Bill said, noticing how red his wife was.

 

“You gonna share?”  Nathan asked, flipping the steaks.

 

Bill stepped closer to the barbeque.  “A few months ago, our wives were talking and yours mentioned to mine about an interesting way you’d woken her up.”

 

A grin slowly formed on Nathan’s face.

 

“I see you know what I’m talking about.”

 

“Oh yeah.”  Nathan’s grin grew.  He loved waking Kristin up that way; knowing her first conscious thoughts and feelings were highly pleasurable ones.

 

“Anyway,” Bill continued.  “I woke up one morning to Janet giving me…” his voice trailed off.  “A… well, you know.”

 

“A blow job?”

 

“Yeah.”  Bill nodded, turning slightly red.

 

“And you naturally reciprocated.”  Nathan said.

 

“Yes.”

 

“Bet Janet liked that.”

 

Bill grinned.  “Yeah.”

 

Nathan laughed.

 

 

“And since then,” Kristin’s gaze drifted back to her husband when she heard him laugh as Janet continued speaking.  “We’ve taken to trying some new things.”

 

“Such as?”  Kristin turned back to her friend.

 

Janet shook her head.  “Just some different things.”

 

“Different?  Like whips and chains different or…”

 

“Kristin!”  Janet exclaimed.  “Oh my, no!”

 

Kristin laughed.

 

 

“Massage oils.”  Nathan repeated.  “The flavoured ones or the heated ones?”

 

“Both.”  Bill answered.  “Although, I am kinda partial to the banana flavoured one.”

 

“Have you tried the glow in the dark one yet?”

 

Bill shook his head.

 

“You can have a lot of fun with that one.”

 

“I’ll bet.”

 

 

“Silk scarves?”

 

“Mmhmm.”  Kristin nodded.

 

“Sounds like it could be interesting.”  Janet said thoughtfully.

 

“Oh, it is.”

 

Kristin was stopped from saying anything further by the sound of little voices approaching.

 

“Momma, I’m hungry.”  Wil said, climbing up onto the porch.

 

“I know, sweetie.”  Kristin said, reaching out and ruffling his hair.  She looked up and called out.  “Nathan?”

 

Nathan looked over at his wife when she called.

 

“How much longer?”

 

Nathan glanced at the steaks and then turned back towards the porch.  “As soon as you get the table set.”

 

Kristin nodded and turned back to the children.  “Come on, let’s get you three washed up and the table set.”

 

The children scampered into the house as Janet and Kristin followed.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

“Thank you for a wonderful evening.”  Janet said, hugging Kristin as the four adults stood on the porch, a sleeping Sam cradled in her grandfather’s arms.

 

“Anytime.”  Nathan said, clapping Bill on the shoulder.

 

“You know, you guys can spend the night.”  Kristin said.  “It is late and a long drive.”

 

“We know.”  Bill said.  “And thanks for the offer, but we’ll be fine.”

 

“You sure?”

 

Bill nodded and then he and Janet turned and headed for their car.

 

Nathan wrapped his arms around Kristin as they watched their friends get into their car and drive away.  They stayed on the porch until the taillights of the Noyce’s car disappeared.

 

Kristin turned in his arms, slipping her arms about his waist as she nuzzled his neck.  “You about ready to go to bed?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Tired?”

 

“Nope.”

 

Kristin pulled out of his arms and flashed him a sensuous smile.  “Good.”

 

Nathan grinned as he watched her walk back into the house and quickly followed her.  “I’ll lock up.”

 

“Don’t be long, Sailor.”  Kristin called back over her shoulder as she moved down the hall to their bedroom.

 

Nathan watched her until she disappeared, still grinning happily.  “Yep,” he said to himself as he locked the front door and walked around the rest of the house, turning off lights and checking to make sure all was locked.  “Love it when she’s pregnant.”

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

“Now hold still.”  Nathan told her.  “Otherwise, this is going to get messy.”

 

“…Nathan…” Kristin squirmed on the bed.

 

“Kris… hold still or this is gonna get everywhere.”

 

“Think you can do it a little quicker?”

 

Nathan lifted his head and met her eyes, his own twinkling merrily.  “Do you want me to do this or not?”

 

“Oh… yes…”

 

“Then hold still.”

 

“Yes, lover.” 

 

Nathan gave her an indulgent smile as Kristin returned his smile and lay back against the pillows as he continued.  She sighed happily.

 

Kristin’s toes curled.

 

“Kris…”

 

“Sorry.  It’s just that…” she giggled and curled her toes again.

 

“Just what?”  He asked, trying to concentrate on what he was trying to do.

 

“It’s so… red.”

 

Nathan looked up at her and grinned.  “I thought you liked it.”

 

“Oh I do.  I love it.”  Kristin smiled.

 

Nathan turned his attention back to what he was doing, just as Kristin’s toes curled again.  “Kris… would you stop that?”

 

“Sorry.  Your chest hair is tickling me.”

 

“I could stop if you like?”

 

“No!  No!”  Kristin exclaimed.  “I’m really enjoying this.”

 

“You’re sure?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Okay.”

 

Kristin settled back against the pillows once again and watched as Nathan carefully applied the nail polish to her toenails; taking care to not get the coloured lacquer on her skin.  Her eyes slowly drifted shut as she thought back on the last couple of hours.

 

Cynthia had taken the twins out for a day at the park, leaving her and Nathan all alone in the house.

 

The moment Cynthia’s car had disappeared from view; Nathan had taken it upon himself to spoil her.  He’d led her into their bathroom where he’d filled the tub with warm lavender water, then helped her out of her clothes and into the water. 

 

And then he left her to luxuriate.

 

Twenty minutes later, he’d returned and with a tender smile, reached for the bath poof.  After pouring a generous amount of the lavender body wash on it, he began, with her feet, to lovingly wash her entire body.

 

After her bath, he’d led her into their bedroom and with the ocean breeze blowing in through the patio doors he made slow, passionate love to her; leaving her breathless and extremely satisfied.

 

And then, to her utter amusement, Nathan had whipped out a bottle of what could only be described as ‘Happy Hooker Red’ nail polish.

 

“I’m going to paint your toenails for you.”  He’d told her as he piled up the pillows behind her and then crawled to the foot of the bed.  He’d grabbed one pillow, placed it behind him and then reached for her feet.  Placing one foot in his lap and holding the other against his chest, he’d started to paint her nails.

 

“There.  How’s that?”

 

Kristin opened her eyes at Nathan’s softly uttered question.  She smiled and nodded.  “Perfect.”

 

Nathan smiled and lifted her foot, resting it on his left thigh and then reached for her left foot and guided it to his chest, where he began to paint her toes.

 

“I’ve been thinking,” Kristin said, smoothing her hands over the sheet that covered her gravid belly.  “We’ve not yet discussed a middle name for this little one.”

 

“No we haven’t.”  He said, dipping the brush back in the bottle and moving to paint her middle toe.  “Any ideas?”

 

“I have one.”  She told him.

 

“What is it?”

 

“Celina.”

 

Nathan paused in his painting and looked up at her.  “Sophie Celina Bridger.”  He tried it out and then, putting the brush in the bottle; he reached out and placed his hand on her belly.  “What do you think, baby girl?  Do you like the middle name Celina?”

 

In response he received a soft kick against his hand.

 

Kristin laughed.  “I think that’s a yes.”

 

“So do I.”  Nathan agreed, sitting back and resuming his task.  “I like it.  After all, if it weren’t for Celina…”

 

Kristin nodded and smiled.  “I’m glad.”

 

“Kris…” Nathan glanced up at her as she shifted.

 

“Sorry.”

 

Nathan merely winked at her and continued doing her nails.

 

“So,” Kristin began, in a low, husky voice as she softly stroked her right foot against his thigh.  “What else have you got planned for us to do before our children return.”

 

“Well, once your nails are dry, I plan on making love to you again.”  He put the finishing touches on her big toe and then sealed the bottle and tossed it aside.  “And then, I am going to massage every inch of your body…”

 

“Are you planning on feeding me?”

 

“Of course.”  Nathan said.  “I’ve not forgotten that you’re eating for two.”

 

Kristin smiled at him.  “Have I told you lately, Captain Bridger, how very much I love you?”

 

Nathan gave her a cocky grin.  “Yes, about an hour ago when I made you scream my name.”

 

“Nathan!”

 

“But you can tell me again.”

 

“I don’t know if I should now.”  She smiled coyly at him and then moaned softly as she felt him shift closer and run his hands along her legs under the sheet to her inner thighs.  “…You’re not playing fair…”

 

“Nope…” he murmured softly, his fingers just barely brushing against her curls.  “And you’re loving every minute of it.”

 

“Oh… God… Nathan…” his name was a low moan as his fingers began to stroke her slick folds.  “Oh… I love you…” she moaned again as his fingers found and began to leisurely circle her clitoris with just enough pressure to slowly build her arousal.  “You and your hands.”

 

Nathan smiled.  “I love you too, my heart.  More than you know.”

 

Their eyes met just as Nathan slipped two of his fingers inside her.

 

“…Nathan…”

 

“You are the most beautiful woman I have ever known,” he told her, beginning to move his fingers in a lingering caress in and out of her body.  “Especially now…”

 

“I’m not beautiful right now.  I’m…”

 

“You’re not fat!”  He cut her off.  “You are gloriously pregnant with my child.”  He continued to stroke his fingers within her.  “And we’ve had this discussion before.”

 

“Care to refresh my memory?”  She asked with a smile, whimpering softly as he pulled his fingers out of her and then moaned softly as his now moist fingers once again circled her clit.

 

“With pleasure,” Nathan smiled up at her as he shifted closer.  His free hand tugged at the sheet covering her, exposing her swollen belly and heavy breasts to his hungry eyes.  Once the sheet was pushed aside, his hand reached out and caressed her taut skin.  “You have the softest skin… soft as silk.  It’s part of the reason I love touching you so much.”

 

He shifted closer, his legs bent on either side of her, taking care to keep her legs lying over his thighs.  He heard her soft cry as he removed his fingers from her swollen folds, and reached out to caress her breasts.  He carefully traced the fingers that were still coated with her juices around one tightening nipple, his other hand cupping the other luscious mound.

 

“Your breasts,” he gave her a heated look.  “Oh, baby, how I love your breasts.  I love to feel the weight of them in my hands, feel your nipples grow tight as I play my fingers over them.”  He emphasized his point by pulling and gently pinching her nipples again.  “And more than that,” he shifted closer still.  “I love to suckle you.  Love to pull your breast into my mouth, run my tongue over and around your nipples.”

 

“…Nathan!”  She gasped when he leaned over her and took the nipple coated in her juices into his mouth.  Her hands flew to his head and held him there as his lips and tongue worked against her breast.

 

“Pregnant or not,” Nathan spoke around her nipple.  “I love your breasts.”

 

He kissed his way over to her other breast, bestowing the same sweet torture with his mouth upon the succulent mound before stopping and sitting up.  His hands resumed caressing her body as he continued with his oration.

 

“And these,” his hands glided down to her legs, his fingers dancing over her thighs.  “I love looking at your legs.  They’re long.  They’re limber.  And they feel luxurious when they’re wrapped around me.”

 

Kristin smiled lovingly at him, her eyes telling him to continue.

 

“Your hands, your arms… I love it when you hold me close.  Even when we’ve not made love.  I just love to be held by you.  To feel your heart beating so close to mine.”  He reached out then and caressed her cheek, sliding his thumb down to trace her lips.  “Your lips are luscious and seem to be always begging for me to kiss you.  And oh, I love to kiss you.”  He grinned.  “To taste the sweetness that is you.  It is a taste I crave.  A taste I need.  Much like the juices I coax from your body,” his hand returned to its place between her thighs to once again stroke her slick folds.  “From here,” he pressed his fingers into her.  “A place I also love to kiss.”

 

“…Nathan…”

 

“And then there is this,” he pulled his hand away from her again, placing both on her pregnant stomach.  “I love seeing your belly swollen with my child.  I can’t tell you how much of a turn on that is.  Knowing that together, we created this little miracle.”

 

A loving, tender smile formed on Kristin’s lips as Nathan leaned down and kissed her stomach; whispering softly to the babe in her womb.

 

“Now, Sophie,” she heard Nathan say quietly.  “You be a good, quiet little girl, while daddy shows mommy just how very much he loves her.”

 

With a final kiss to her belly, Nathan straightened up and shifted closer.  Moaning in concert with Kristin at the feel of his erection brushing against her curls, Nathan met her eyes, needing to be sure she was ready.  “You okay…”

 

“No…” she shook her head.

 

“Kris?”

 

“I need you inside me.”  She told him breathlessly, trailing her hands up along his legs and grasping his thighs; trying to pull him closer.

 

“And I need to be inside you too, love.”  He told her, reaching between them to grasp his erection.  Slowly, with teasing strokes he drew the head of his manhood up and down her slick folds, spreading her arousal over his hardened flesh before placing himself at her waiting entrance.  He brought his eyes up to lock with hers.  “I love you,” he told her in a quiet voice as, inch by inch, he slid deep inside her.

 

“I love you too,” she moaned in reply as he filled her completely.

 

Neither one moved; both allowing the contentment of being joined so intimately to wash over them.  After several long minutes, at Kristin’s soft urging, Nathan began to leisurely rotate his hips against her and at her soft moan, he began to thrust gently into her.

 

They moved together in a gentle rhythm, Nathan’s hands caressing her stomach as he moved himself in and out of her hot, wet sheath; allowing their arousal to build slowly once again.

 

“Tell me what you want…” Nathan spoke softly.  “Tell me how you want it.”

 

“Just like this,” Kristin purred.  “Slow… long and deep…”

 

“Whatever you say, baby.”  Nathan nodded, continuing to move his body in the gentle rhythm they’d established.

 

“Oh yes…” she cried out softly, when his hands reached up to cup her breasts, his fingers circling and tugging on her already hard nipples, making them ache even more.

 

“You like that?”

 

Kristin nodded, her hands leaving the mattress to cover his, her fingers moving with his as they continued to play with her breasts.  Suddenly, as if a switch had been flipped, Kristin found herself needing and wanting more.  She grasped his one hand tightly with hers and guided it down over her stomach to where they were joined.

 

Nathan’s nostrils flared as their combined fingers made contact with her moist, swollen flesh and immediately began stroking the hard bundle of nerves.  He moaned when he felt her inner muscles clench tightly around him in response to the extra stimulation.

 

Needing to move more, but not being able to get the proper leverage in this position, Nathan suddenly withdrew his length from her heat and moved off the bed.

 

“Nathan!?”  Kristin cried out, her body reeling from the abrupt loss of him within her.

 

“Trust me, baby.”  He told her in a husky voice as he reached for his discarded pillow.  He placed it on the floor and then reached for her.  “Scoot over this way.”

 

“Nathan?”

 

“Please, Kris… trust me.”

 

Kristin held his eyes, then smiled and nodded when she realized his intent.  With his help, she shifted on the bed, turning her body so that her legs were hanging off the side, her backside right at the edge of the mattress; a pillow supporting her head.  “Like this?”

 

“Yes.”  Nathan nodded, dropping to his knees before her; growling low in his throat as she parted her legs for him.  At the sight of her glistening flesh, he felt himself grow almost painfully harder.  “Oh God, yes.”

 

“Nathan…”

 

At the sound of her accented voice filled with her need and the scent of her arousal washing over him, Nathan had the sudden urge to taste her and without hesitation, buried his face against her curls.

 

“Nathan!”  Kristin cried out when she felt his lips close around her clitoris and give a hard suck to the sensitive flesh.  “Oh… God…”

 

Nathan felt the tremor pass through her body and brought his fingers into play; circling her clit as his mouth moved lower.  His tongue moved in and out of her body, lapping at her juices; grinning when he felt the involuntary tightening of her inner muscles.

 

“Nathan!  Oh please…”

 

With a last loving taste, Nathan raised his head, met her eyes over her gravid stomach and nodded, seeing the almost desperate need in her eyes.  He straightened up and grasping his member, he shifted closer and in one thrust buried himself deep within her.

 

“Oh God!”  Kristin cried out, a small but intense orgasm flowing over her as she took him completely within her.  “Nathan!”

 

Nathan held still for a moment, enjoying the feel of her contracting deliciously around his stiff arousal.  He watched her intently and when her glassy, whiskey-hued eyes met his, he began to move, thrusting steadily into her.

 

“Faster… oh please, Nathan…” Kristin begged, wrapping her legs around him and urging him to increase his pace.

 

“You sure?”  He asked, wanting nothing more than to do just that, but not wanting to hurt her.

 

“Oh yes!  Faster, my love…” Kristin tightened her legs around him in approval.  “Make me come!”

 

Nathan growled and then gripping her hips tightly, he began to thrust heavily into her with short, fast strokes, straining to drive them both over the edge.  After several thrusts, he felt her inner muscles beginning to clutch at his thrusting member and slipped a hand between their bodies, finding and stroking her sensitive clit.

 

“Ooh… God… Nathan…”

 

“That’s it, come for me, Kris…” he continued to thrust and stroke.  “Come for me now…”

 

“OhGodohGodohGodoohGOOOD!!  NATHAN!!”

 

Nathan smiled triumphantly as Kristin shattered before him, her orgasm washing over her in a white-hot flash of sensations; leaving her trembling on the bed.  At the insistent, quivering pull of her inner muscles, Nathan thrust twice more before exploding with his own release, his seed spilling deep within her body.

 

“Oh God… Kris.”  He moaned and held himself still inside her, enjoying the residual tremors of her inner walls around him.  When he could no longer hold himself up, he withdrew from her body and collapsed on the bed beside her, rolling onto his side to face her.  He reached out and caressed her cheek when she turned her head towards him.

 

“I love you.”

 

Smiles formed on their lips at the simultaneously whispered words.

 

Kristin rolled onto her side so that she was now lying face to face with him as they moved up further onto the bed, pressing her belly against his.  “Not that I’m complaining,” she began, reaching out to run her fingers through his chest hair.  “But what brought all this on?”

 

“All what?”

 

“This,” she gestured around with her hand.  “Cynny taking the twins.  The bath, the lovemaking, the pedicure.”

 

“What?  A husband isn’t allowed to treat his wife?”

 

“Nathan.”

 

“All right,” he grinned at her and trailed his hand from her cheek, along her throat, over her shoulder and down her side to rest on her hip.  “It’s just, the last couple of days, I’ve noticed that you’ve been kinda down, and I wanted to do something to cheer you up.”

 

Kristin smiled at him, tears misting her eyes.  “Oh… you are a wonderful man.”

 

“I try.”

 

“You succeed.”  She moved her hand from his chest to his cheek and drew him closer, brushing a soft kiss over his mouth; pulling apart moments later, laughing, as Sophie kicked.

 

Nathan reached out and caressed her belly, soothing the kicking child within.  “Not too much longer, Sophie.  Be patient.”

 

Kristin sighed happily as their daughter seemed to quiet at her father’s touch and sound of his voice.  “I still can’t get over how she does that for you.”

 

“What?”  He asked distractedly, his hands still gliding gently over her bare belly, smiling as Sophie seemed to follow his hands.

 

“That.”  She said.  “She follows your hands.  Quiets at the sound of your voice… as if she knows it’s you.”

 

“That’s because you do know it’s daddy, don’t you, Sophie?”  Nathan said with a grin, holding his hands in one spot; his grin growing as Sophie kicked beneath his hands in response.

 

Kristin just smiled and covered his hands with hers.  “So…”

 

Nathan looked up at her.  “Yes?”

 

“When are you going to feed me?”

 

Nathan fell back on his back and laughed.  He quickly rolled back onto his side and leaned in.  “Right now,” he kissed her briefly but passionately, moved off the bed and dashed out of the room.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

“So, did you have a good day today?”

 

Kristin looked up from her chair to see Janet standing before her.

 

“Mmm… yes I did.”

 

“So, what exactly did that husband of yours do to put that smile on your face?  Or do I even have to ask?”  Janet Noyce asked, taking in the contented, satisfied smile on her friend’s face as she sat down.

 

Kristin grinned.  “He bathed me, made love to me, painted my toenails…” she took a sip of her tea.  “Made love to me.  Fed me, and then after a wonderful full body massage, he made love to me again.”

 

“You’re eight and a half months pregnant, for crying out loud!”

 

“And your point is?”

 

Janet shook her head.  “You better slow it down, otherwise when this little one is born, she’s going to walk up to Nathan, knock on his head and ask him how he likes it.”

 

Taking another sip of her tea, Kristin snorted and then burst out laughing, Janet joining her.

 

“Couldn’t you just picture Nathan’s face if she did that?”  Kristin asked, still laughing.

 

“Oh yes!”  Janet laughed.  “That would be priceless.”

 

“Yes it would.”

 

They looked at each other and began laughing again.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

“So, what were you and Janet laughing about earlier?”  Nathan asked as he and Kristin danced slowly.

 

“Oh,” Kristin giggled and shook her head.  “Just Janet being her usual nosey self about our sex life.”

 

“And of course you told her…”

 

“That we made love all afternoon.”

 

“Of course.”  Kristin grinned at him.

 

Nathan chuckled.  “So, what was it that had you two in stitches?”

 

Kristin hesitated, and then amidst much giggling, she told him.  He reacted just as she knew he would, throwing his head back and laughing.

 

“Oh… that would be a sight.”

 

They laughed softly as they continued dancing.

 

“This isn’t working.”  Nathan said suddenly and stopped dancing.

 

“What isn’t?”

 

“This.”  He gestured between them and around the dance floor.  “You’re not close enough,” he covered her belly with his hands and smiled.  “Sophie is getting in the way.  And I want to hold you close right now.”

 

“So what do you propose?”

 

Nathan merely smiled and gently urged her to turn around.  Once her back was to him, Nathan stepped closer and wrapped his arms around her, his hands resting on her swollen stomach and his cheek resting against the side of her head.

 

“How’s this?”  He murmured in her ear.

 

“Just perfect.”  She sighed, covering his hands with hers as they resumed swaying to the soft music.

 

“Oh yeah,” Nathan murmured again, nuzzling her neck; dropping soft kisses on her bare shoulder.  “Perfect.”

 

After dancing through a few songs, Nathan pulled her tight against his chest and moved his lips back to her ear.  “Having a good time?”

 

“Mmhmm,” Kristin nodded and tilted her head back so she could see him.  “This has been a wonderful day all around.”

 

Nathan grinned and leaned closer, brushing a soft kiss over her lips.  “Happy anniversary, my heart.”

 

“Happy anniversary, my love.”  She echoed with a tender smile before he covered her lips with his in a loving kiss.

 

After several minutes, they parted breathlessly and smiled adoringly at each other.

 

“I still can’t believe I forgot our anniversary,” Kristin murmured as he kissed her again.

 

“It’s the pregnancy,” he told her.

 

“Mmm…” she nodded slowly.

 

“You want to sit down?”

 

“Not yet,” she shook her head and leaned back against him, pulling his arms tighter around her.  “I’m enjoying this.”

 

Nathan grinned and brushed another kiss against her lips.  “I am too.  But promise me you’ll tell me when you start to get tired.”

 

“I will.”

 

Sharing another loving kiss, they resumed swaying to the quiet love song that was now playing.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

“They look really good together, don’t they?”

 

Janet turned at the soft voice behind her and smiled.  “Nathan and Kristin?”

 

“Mmhmm.”

 

“Yes they do.”  Janet agreed.

 

“Did you know there was a pool going on the seaQuest on how long it would take them to get together?”

 

“Yes,” Janet nodded and then scowled.  “I lost by a week.  What about you?”

 

“Missed it by a month.”

 

They laughed.

 

“Sit down, Katie.”  Janet said, indicating the empty chair next to her.

 

“Wonder if they knew about the pool.”  Katie mused as she sat.

 

“They knew.”  Janet grinned.  “At least Kristin did.”

 

“Really?”

 

Katherine glanced across the dance floor to where the woman in question was still swaying in her husband’s arms.  She smiled as she watched the Captain’s hands move lovingly over Kristin’s swollen stomach.

 

“Yes.”  Janet said and then grinned.  “Besides, who do you think won the pool?”

 

“No way!”

 

Janet nodded.

 

“But… how?  Ben had all the names…” Katie began and then nodded as it came to her.  “But some were done anonymously.”  She grinned and turned her attention back on Kristin and Nathan.  “What a sneak.”

 

Janet merely smiled, her gaze following Katie’s.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

Kristin sighed and leaned back against Nathan.

 

“So, how long before you tell me you’re in labour?”

 

Kristin turned her head at his softly uttered question.  “Nathan?”

 

“I can feel it, honey.”  For emphasis, he spread his fingers out over her belly.  “You’ve had two contractions in the time we’ve been up here.”

 

Unable to deny it, Kristin simply flashed him a big smile.  “I was going to tell you when they got closer together.  I just didn’t want to worry you needlessly.”

 

“I figured that.”  Nathan kissed her cheek.  “So, how long do you figure, doctor, before our Sophie makes her appearance?”

 

“Oh, a few more hours at least.”

 

“You sure?”

 

“Mmhmm.”

 

“Good.”  Nathan said, nuzzling her neck.  “So, more dancing or…”

 

“Or.”  She answered.  “As much as I’m loving being in your arms, my back thinks it’s time for a rest.”

 

“Okay.” Nathan said, moving to stand behind her, his arm wrapped around her waist.  “Wanna sit with Janet and Katie?”

 

“Sure.”

 

They made their way to the ladies’ table.  Nathan pulled out a chair for Kristin and leaned over her when she was seated.

 

“Would you like some water or something?”

 

“Some tea would be nice.”

 

“One tea, coming up.”  Nathan said, dropping a kiss to her shoulder before straightening up.  He looked at Janet and Katie.  “Ladies?”

 

“I’m fine.  Thank you, Captain.”  Katie responded.

 

“Likewise.”  Janet told him.  “Thank you.”

 

Nathan nodded and squeezed Kristin’s shoulders gently.  “Be right back, love.”

 

Kristin smiled and watched him walk away before turning to her friends.  “How’s married life treating you, Katie?”

 

“Pretty good, actually.”  Katie answered.  “I can’t believe how much better this marriage was compared to my first.”

 

“Well, Ben has matured a lot since then.”  Kristin said and then grinned.  “And you’ve loosened up a lot too.”

 

Katie laughed.  “True.”

 

Kristin regarded her young friend for a moment before speaking.  “There’s something different about you since the last time I saw you.”

 

Katie merely smiled and waited for Kristin to figure it out.  Her smile grew as she watched Kristin’s eyes grow wide.

 

“Oh my God, Katie… you’re pregnant.”

 

Katie’s smile grew at Kristin’s squeal of delight and nodded her head.  “We just found out this morning.”

 

“Oh, that’s wonderful!”  Kristin pushed levered herself out of her chair and moved closer to her friend, embracing her.  “I bet Ben is just thrilled.”

 

“Oh, he is.”  Katie nodded, turning to accept Janet’s hug and congratulations as well.  “Actually, he passed out when I told him.”

 

Kristin and Janet laughed.

 

“And speak of the devil…” Kristin smiled, seeing her husband walking towards them with Ben and Bill. 

 

Nathan handed Kristin her tea, along with a quick kiss before turning to Katie and giving her a warm hug.  “Congratulations, Katie,” he told her softly.

 

“Thank you, sir.”  Katherine smiled up at him as he released her and stepped back into the circle of her husband’s arms.

 

“Yes, congratulations, Captain Krieg.  You too, Commander.”  Bill said nodding at Katie and Ben in turn.

 

“Thank you, Mr. Secretary.”  Ben and Katie replied in unison.

 

As the three couples moved to sit down, Nathan leaned close to Kristin and whispered in her ear, “How you doing?”

 

“Okay.  They’re still few and far between.”  She whispered back and gave him a reassuring smile.

 

Nathan smiled back and slipped his arm around her shoulders as the six of them began discussing children.

 

An hour later, Kristin excused herself to go to the ladies room; Janet and Katie followed.

 

“Kristin, are you all right?”  Janet asked her friend as they entered the washroom.  “You look… a little anxious.”

 

“I’m fine, Janet.”  Kristin told her friend.  “Honest.”

 

“You’re sure.”

 

“Yes.”  Kristin nodded before moving into one of the stalls.

 

Katie waited till the stall door closed and turned to Janet, asking in a quiet voice.  “Do you believe her?”

 

“Not really.”  Janet admitted.  “There’s something not quite right.”

 

“Labour?”

 

“No…” Janet began but stopped, looking thoughtful.  “Well, she is due soon…”

 

Her voice trailed off as the door to stall opened, and Kristin walked out.  Janet and Katie exchanged glances as Kristin walked over to the sink to wash her hands.  They both rushed to her side, when moments after drying her hands, Kristin gasped and reached out to use the wall for support.

 

“Kristin?!”

 

“Ooh, boy… that was a big one.”

 

“We were right.”  Katie said, a supporting hand on Kristin’s back.  “You are in labour.”

 

Kristin nodded as she breathed through the contraction.

 

“How long?”  Janet asked.

 

“The last couple of hours.”  Kristin answered, taking a deep breath as the contraction eased.

 

“Does Nathan know?”

 

“Yes.”  Kristin told her as she glanced in the mirror and ran her fingers through her hair before heading towards the door.  “He figured it out while we were dancing.”

 

Janet and Katie exchanged amused glances and followed her back to their table.

 

Nathan looked up as the women joined them and smiled at his wife as she eased down in her chair beside him.  He leaned in close, his hand moving to rest on her knee.  “You still okay?”

 

“Mmhmm.”  She murmured.

 

“So, how bad was it?”  Nathan met and held her eyes.

 

“The worst one so far.”  She answered honestly.

 

“Should we…”

 

“We still have time.”  Kristin told him.

 

“You sure?”

 

“Yes.”  Kristin nodded.  “In fact, I think I would like it if you would dance with me again.”  She winked at him.  “And yes, I’m sure.”

 

Nathan chuckled softly and stood, offering his hands and helping her to her feet.  He turned to their friends.  “Excuse us.”

 

The others watched with affectionate smiles as Nathan led Kristin onto the dance floor, moved behind her and slipped his arms around her, his cheek resting against the side of her head as they swayed to the music.

 

Leaning closer to his wife, Ben spoke softly in her ear.  “I can’t wait to see you like that.  Swollen with our child, glowing and looking even more beautiful than you are right now.”

 

Katie turned, smiled at him and leaned closer to brush a soft kiss against his lips.  “You’re sweet.”

 

 

Sighing happily, Kristin snuggled back against her husband as they continued to move to the music and suddenly tensed as a contraction rolled over her.  “Mmm…”

 

Nathan’s arms tightened around her, supporting her as he talked her through the contraction.  “Breathe, baby.  It’ll be over in a minute.”

 

“Oh God… Nathan…” Kristin cried his name softly and clutched his hands.  “My water…”

 

Nathan looked down to see a small puddle forming at their feet.  “Time to get you to a hospital, my love.”

 

“I’m not going to argue.”  Kristin said as the contraction finally passed.

 

“Good.”  Nathan replied and beckoned over to Bill, who quickly joined him, along with Janet, Ben and Katie.  “I’m taking Kristin to the hospital.  Her water just broke and she’s in labour.”

 

Janet and Katie moved immediately to Kristin’s side.

 

“You okay, Kristin?”  Janet asked.  “How close are they?”

 

“Close enough.”  Kristin answered and then smiled at her friends.  “We have enough time to make it to the hospital.”

 

“Anything you want us to do, Nathan?”  Bill asked as the group made their way to the door.

 

“Yeah, would you explain to everyone and thank them for us.”

 

“Sure thing.”

 

“The twins!”

 

“I’ll get them, mom.”  Cynthia said, having joined the group moving towards the door; knowing immediately what was happening.

 

“Thank you, Cynny.”

 

The group made their way to the front of the hall, where Ben, having run ahead, pulled up with the Bridger’s car.

 

“We’ll meet you at the hospital.”  Bill told them as Nathan helped Kristin into the car and then rushed around to the driver’s side.

 

“Thanks, Bill.”

 

The group stepped back, grins all around as the blue blazer pulled out of the parking lot and sped towards the hospital.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

“That’s it, Kris… push!”

 

“Unh… oh God…” Kristin groaned as she strained to push their daughter from her body.  She fell back against Nathan’s arms as the contraction passed.  “Oh, God… I don’t remember the twins’ delivery being this painful.”

 

“That’s because with the twins you had time to have an epidural.”  Nathan told her, wiping her brow.  “Sophie seems to be in an awful rush to enter this world.”

 

“I’ll say,” Joshua said, looking up at them.  “She’s crowning already.”

 

“Already?”

 

“Yep.  Daddy’s right.  This little one is anxious to meet her parents.”  Joshua smiled and glanced at the monitors.  “Okay, Kristin, there’s another one coming up.  When it comes, I want you to push.”

 

Kristin nodded and then groaned as the contraction hit.  She bore down, pushing with all her might.

 

“That’s it.  Keep pushing,” Joshua urged her.  “Almost there… and her head’s out.”

 

Kristin relaxed back against the bed as Nathan brushed the hair out of her eyes and wiped her brow.

 

“You’re doing great, baby.”  Nathan told her, caressing her cheek lovingly.

 

She smiled tiredly up at him as Joshua patted her knee.

 

“One more push, Kristin.”  He told her.  “A nice gentle one…”

 

Kristin groaned softly again and with Nathan supporting her back, she pushed.

 

“That’s it, keep pushing.  Shoulder’s out and… here’s Sophie.”  Joshua grinned as he quickly cleaned the baby’s nose and mouth and then placed the squalling child on Kristin’s chest and then with a twinkle in his eyes, he glanced up at Nathan.  “Did you want to cut the cord, Captain?”

 

“Would love to.”

 

Joshua did a double take and then grinned.  He clamped the cord and then handed Nathan the scissors.  “Cut between the clamps, sir,” Joshua told him and watched as Nathan carefully did as instructed.  “Very good, sir.”

 

Kristin reached out and stroked her newest daughter’s cheek.  “Nathan…”

 

“I know.”  He replied softly, sitting on the edge of the bed.  He reached out a hand to finger the matted russet hair on his daughter’s head, his smile growing as she stopped crying.  “She’s beautiful, Kris.”

 

At that moment, Joshua reached out and lifted Sophie from her mother’s chest and handed her to one of the nurses.  “Time to clean her off and check her over.”  He told them.  “Captain, why don’t you go out and give everyone the good news.  And while you’re gone, we’ll get Kristin cleaned up and moved to a room.”

 

Nathan nodded and leaned closer to Kristin.  He stroked her hair and caressed her cheek before leaning in and brushing his lips over hers.  “Thank you, my heart.”

 

“You’re welcome,” she returned the breathy kiss.  “And thank you.”

 

They shared a loving kiss and then with another caress of her cheek, Nathan stood and left the room.

 

 

Bill was the first to notice the new father walking down the hall.  He stood.  “Well?”

 

Nathan grinned and scooped up his other children as they ran to him.  “Hey, kids!”  His smile grew as the twins wrapped their arms around his neck.

 

“Come on, Nathan,” Janet urged.  “Don’t keep us in suspense.”

 

Nathan chuckled, and after kissing both his children, he looked at his friends.  “Both Kristin and Sophie are doing fine.”

 

A soft cheer went up.

 

“Congratulations, Nathan.”  Bill said, slapping him on the back.

 

“Thanks, Bill.”  Nathan said, smiling and thanking everyone else as they offered their congratulations.

 

“So, when can we see mom and my new little sister?”  Cynthia asked.

 

“Soon.  Joshua’s cleaning her up and then is moving her to a private room.”  Nathan told her.

 

“Bet she’s happy to be in a hospital this time.”  Janet said with a grin, the other ladies nodding their agreement.

 

“I don’t know,” Nathan said.  “At least with the twins, she had a epidural.”

 

“She didn’t this time?  Why on earth not?”  Janet asked.

 

“Because Sophie was too impatient.”  Nathan explained.  “Her labour progressed very fast on the drive here.”

 

“Oh my.”  Janet murmured.  “She’s going to be extremely sore.”

 

“Yes, I know.”  Nathan nodded.

 

“Captain Bridger?”

 

Nathan turned to see a nurse approaching.  “Yes?”

 

“Your wife is all settled into her room and Doctor Levin says you can see her now.  All of you, but you can’t stay too long.”  She paused and turned to head back down the hall.  “If you’ll follow me.”

 

“Ready to meet your baby sister?”  Nathan asked the children in his arms.

 

“Yeah!”  They chorused together and clapped their hands.

 

Nathan grinned and followed the nurse, the others trailing behind him.

 

 

“Oh, Kristin… she’s beautiful.”  Janet cooed several minutes later, gazing down at the tiny girl cradled in her mother’s arms.

 

“Thank you.”  Kristin smiled.

 

“Good thing she looks like her mother.”  Bill quipped, looking over his wife’s shoulder.

 

“I thought the same thing.”  Nathan replied with a laugh.

 

“What do you think of your baby sister?”  Kristin asked her children as they sat beside her.

 

“Pretty.  Like my baby doll.”  Kailey said, reaching out and touching Sophie’s hand with her finger.

 

Kristin smiled at her, and then looked at her son.  “What about you, Wil?”

 

“She’s wrinkly.”  He said, screwing up his face.

 

“So were you, sailor-man.”  Nathan laughed.

 

“Okay, everyone,” Joshua stepped into the room.  “I hate to break this up, but Kristin needs to get some rest.”

 

Everyone nodded and, saying their goodbyes, began filtering out of the room until just Cynthia and the twins remained.

 

“I’ll look after them.”  Cynthia told Nathan and then leaned over to hug her mother.  “She really is beautiful, mom.”  She told Kristin and then reached out to stroke her sister’s face.  “Welcome to the family, Sophie.”

 

Kristin smiled at her oldest child, reaching out with her free hand to stroke her cheek, much like Cynthia was doing to Sophie.  “I love you, Cynny.”

 

“I love you too, mom.”

 

They shared a smile and then handing Sophie to her father, Kristin gathered her other two children into a big hug.  After kissing each of their cheeks, she smiled at them.  “You be good for your sister now, understand?”

 

“Yes, mama.”  They chorused, nodding effusively.

 

“I love you, my angels.”  She told them softly, kissing each of them again.

 

“Love you too.”  They grinned at her and hugged her tightly.

 

Kristin looked over at Nathan and smiled.  “Trade you?”

 

Nathan grinned and placed Sophie back in her arms and scooped Kailey and Wil into his.  The twins laughed in delight, wrapping their arms around his neck and kissing his cheeks.

 

“You two do what your big sister tells you,” Nathan told them, hugging them close.

 

“Yes, daddy.”  Kailey said, pulling back and smiling at him with his eyes.

 

He grinned at her and then looked at his son.  “And you, sailor-man, no fussing.  You go right to bed.”

 

“‘Kay, daddy.”  Wil said, nodding his head.

 

“That’s my boy.”  Nathan smiled and hugged them both tightly again before setting them down on their feet.

 

Cynthia walked over to him and gave him a hug.  “Congratulations, Nathan.”

 

“Thanks, Cynny.”  Nathan replied, returning her hug.  “And thank you for looking after these,” the twins grinned up at him as they swung on his arms.  “Two monsters.”

 

“Not a problem.”  Cynthia said and then held her hands out to her siblings.  “Come on guys, let’s go home.”

 

The twins let go of their father and grabbed their sister’s hands and left the room.

 

Nathan watched them leave and then turned back to look at Kristin who was gazing down at their newborn daughter.  He felt his heart swell and he smiled, not yet moving, happy to just watch Kristin as she once again began counting each of Sophie’s toes and then her fingers.

 

“Oh, Nathan…” Kristin murmured, not pulling her gaze from their daughter.  “She’s so perfect.”

 

“Just like her mother.”  Nathan replied as he quietly moved across the room, coming to a stop at the side of the bed.

 

“Lay here with me.”  She asked him, shifting over and making room.

 

Nathan kicked off his shoes and spooned up behind her.  He reached over her, sliding his finger into his daughter’s hand.  “She’s going to be the spitting image of you,” Nathan said matter of factly.  “And I pray she has your fire… your spirit.  Because if she has even half the passion in her that you have, she will make some man very happy; as happy as you’ve made me.”

 

Kristin looked up suddenly when she heard Nathan chuckle.  “What?”

 

“I was just thinking…”

 

“I gathered that.  What were you thinking?”

 

“That she may make some man very happy one day, but that man will get to her over my dead body, as I am going to lock both her and her sister in their rooms until they’re thirty.”

 

Kristin laughed and then sighed as Nathan dropped a kiss to her neck.  “Do you want to hold her?”

 

“I’d love to.”

 

Kristin shifted away from him and then turned slowly to face him.  She placed their daughter in his arms.  “Here you go, daddy.”

 

Nathan cradled his daughter against his chest.  “Hello, Sophie.”  He stroked her cheeks and her hair before moving to count her fingers and toes.  “My little girl…” he looked up and met Kristin’s eyes.  “I know I said this already, but thank you.  Thank you for this precious bundle.  Thank you for our twins.  And most of all… thank you for loving me.”

 

“You’re welcome, my darling.”  Kristin gave him a teary smile.  Sophie starting to fuss in her father’s arms prevented Kristin from saying anymore.  “I think somebody’s hungry.”

 

Nathan nodded.  “I think you’re right.”

 

“Okay, give me a moment here,” Kristin said, sitting up and loosening her top, revealing her heavy breast.  She held her arms out and smiled as Nathan handed Sophie back to her.  She gasped softly when she felt Nathan’s hand cup her breast as she guided Sophie’s mouth to her nipple.

 

They fell into a comfortable silence; the only sound the furious suckling of their daughter.  Nathan reached out and stroked her cheek and let his fingers caress up along Kristin’s breast before cupping her cheek.

 

“I’ve missed watching you feed our children.”  He told her softly, smiling at her.

 

“I honestly never thought I would be doing this again.”  She replied, pulling Sophie from her breast when she stopped nursing.

 

“Let me,” Nathan said, taking the baby and holding her to his shoulder, patting her gently on the back till she burped.  “I never thought we’d be doing this again either,” he gazed down at the little bundle in his arms and a soft smile touched his lips.  “But I am so glad we are.”

 

“So am I.”  Kristin said as she finished pulling up her top and settled back against her pillows.

 

Nathan shifted onto his side, motioning with his eyes at Kristin to do the same and then laid Sophie down on the mattress between them.  The new parents gazed down at their baby girl, one stroking her hair, the other rubbing her belly.

 

Nathan’s eyes traveled up from his daughter to his wife and he felt his heart skip a beat at the sight of her.  Feeling a sudden urge to touch her, he reached out with the hand of the arm he was laying his head on and stroked her hair.  She looked up at him and smiled.

 

“Good work, mommy.”  He told her in a quiet voice.

 

“Thank you, daddy.”  She replied.

 

They leaned closer and shared a soft, tender kiss over their sleeping daughter.

 

“I love you.”  They whispered and shared another kiss before settling back on the bed to watch their daughter sleep.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

“Nathan.”

 

Nathan groaned as he felt a hand pushing at his shoulder.  “Wha…”

 

“Sophie’s crying.”

 

“Okay… okay.”  He mumbled.

 

“Don’t you dare fall back asleep!”  Kristin pushed on his back until he moved and slipped out of the bed.

 

“Don’t know why I have to do this,” he mumbled under his breath as he pulled on his robe and headed to the nursery.  “It’s not like I’m setup for milk dispensing.”

 

He moved quietly into his daughter’s room, turning on the small lamp and walked over to the crib.  He leaned over and lifted her out of the crib.  “Easy, Sophie.  Daddy’s got you and is gonna get you squared away.”

 

He continued to talk quietly to his month old daughter as he carried her into his bedroom, smiling at the sight of Kristin propped up against the pillows, the sheet bunched at her waist, her milk heavy breasts bared to his hungry eyes.

 

He sat on the edge of the bed beside her and placed Sophie in Kristin’s arms and then reached out to cup her breast, guiding her nipple to Sophie’s eager mouth.  He watched with satisfaction as Sophie latched on and began to suckle hungrily and grinned when he heard Kristin sigh with relief.

 

“I envy our daughter.”  Nathan told her quietly, reaching out to stroke her other breast lightly.

 

“Only a couple more weeks, Nathan.”  Kristin gasped as his fingers circled her nipple, causing the dusky tip to pebble.  She met his eyes, her pulse quickening at the desire and just plain lust in his cerulean eyes.  She reached up and cupped his cheek, letting him see her own desire to be with him.  “I want you too.”

 

Just then, Sophie pulled away, having finished eating.  She gazed up at her parents with her mother’s eyes until Nathan took her from Kristin’s arms, and placing her on his shoulder, began patting her back until she burped.

 

“That’s my girl.”  Nathan grinned as he lifted her from his shoulder to cradle her in his arms, rocking her gently till she fell back asleep.  He slowly stood.  “I’m going to go put this little munchkin back to bed, and then will be right back to cuddle with her mommy.”

 

“Mmm… sounds wonderful to me.”  She said with a smile, watching his rob-clad rear as he left their bedroom, murmuring softly to their daughter.  She shifted back against the pillows and closed her eyes, listening to the sound of the waves crashing onto the beach while she waited for Nathan to return.

 

“Everyone still sound asleep?”  She asked quietly, hearing him re-enter the room. 

 

“Yep.  All three of them.”

 

“Good.”  She opened her eyes slowly, a soft smile forming on her lips as she watched him drop his robe; revealing his naked body to her hungry eyes.

 

Nathan grinned at her as he slipped into the bed, knowing she was checking him out.  He rolled onto his side to face her, his smile growing as she turned and snuggled up against him, her legs twining with his; her hands slipping through his chest hair as she laid her head on his pillow.

 

“Hello, beautiful.”  He murmured softly.

 

“Hello.”  She replied, her voice just as soft.

 

They smiled at each other as they leaned closer and shared a loving kiss before cuddling under the cool sheet.

 

“Soon…” Nathan began, his hands drawing nonsensical patterns on her back.  “Within the next few months, I’m going to take you to the island.  Just the two of us.”

 

“No kids?”

 

“No kids.”  He said.  “I want their mommy all to myself for a few days.”  His hand slipped down to caress her rear.  “I want to be able to make love to her at any given moment and not worry about being interrupted.”

 

Kristin laughed.  Since Nathan had been home, the twins had interrupted them more times than they could count.  “That’d be nice.”

 

“Mmhmm… you and me, no clothes, endless beach.”  Nathan grinned.

 

“You know,” Kristin shifted and leaned back slightly to gaze into his eyes.  “There’s one place on the island I’ve always wanted to make love.”

 

“Where’s that?”

 

“On the dock.”

 

“We haven’t made love there yet?”

 

“Nope.”

 

“You sure?”

 

“Yep.”

 

“Wow.”  Nathan said, counting with his fingers against her back, all the places they’d made love on the island.  “You’re sure we haven’t?”

 

“Quite sure.”

 

“Well, we’ll definitely have to correct that oversight.”

 

Kristin grinned.  “Mmm… good.”

 

They talked for a little while longer and then cuddled closer together; falling asleep nestled securely in each other’s arms.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

At the sound of his office door opening, Nathan raised his head slightly but didn’t turn around.  He released an annoyed breath and called out to his assistant as he continued to work on the blueprints in front of him.  “I told you I didn’t want to be disturbed, Justin.”

 

“Not even by me?”

 

Nathan dropped his pen and whirled around to see his wife leaning against the closed office door.  “Well… for you, I’ll gladly make an exception.”

 

“Oh, I’m glad to hear that.”  She smiled.

 

Nathan swallowed when he heard the lock turn and watched, as Kristin slowly seemed to slink towards him.  “Where’s Sophie?”

 

“Off with her Aunt Janet to go see her Uncle Bill,” Kristin answered as she moved to stand between his legs, her hands gliding up his thighs and over his chest; slowly working the buttons.

 

“I thought you had an appointment with Joshua.”

 

“Oh, I did.  Just got back from it as a matter of fact.”  She told him, slowly unbuttoning the shirt.

 

“And…”

 

“And everything is all right.  With Sophie,” she smiled as she finished with the buttons and pushed the shirt open, running her fingers through his chest hair.  “And with Sophie’s mommy.”

 

“As in…” a hopeful smile began to form on Nathan’s lips.

 

“Mmhmm,” Kristin nodded, leaning closer to lick at his nipples.  “And, honey,” she lifted her head and met his eyes.  “I don’t want to wait.  I want you here.  And I want you now.”

 

“Kris… Janet…”

 

“Knows what I’m planning and will keep Sophie entertained accordingly.”  She told him, sliding her hands down to his belt and loosening it.

 

“Janet knows?”

 

“Of course.”  Kristin chuckled at the look on his face.  “I asked her to watch Sophie so I could come and attack you.”

 

“You didn’t phrase it like that did you?”  Nathan asked, his hands moving to cup her chest though her light blouse before starting to work on undoing her buttons as well.

 

“As a matter of fact…”

 

“Kris!”

 

Kristin laughed, her fingers releasing the button on his khakis and sliding the zipper down.  “Oh, Nathan.  Janet knows we’ve been itching to make love for the last few weeks and is amazed we’ve waited this long.”

 

His hands slipped into her top, releasing the front clasp of her bra and cupping her bare breasts as he chuckled.  “But did you have to phrase it like that?”

 

“Actually,” she slipped her hand into his pants, grasping his erect manhood and stroking him slowly.  “I believe my exact words were, ‘Can you please watch Sophie while I go jump her father?’”

 

“Oh… well, if you phrased it like that,” he said as he stood, grasping her hips and shuffling them around so that her back was against his drafting table.  He reached out and pushed his blueprints aside before raising her skirt to her waist and lifting her onto the table.  “I can’t argue.”

 

Kristin laughed, sliding her legs up along his.  “Enough talking, sailor,” she told him, pulling him closer, her hand still stroking his length.

 

“Yes, ma’am!”  He snapped off a quick salute before shifting closer.  He reached down and covered her hand with his, stopping her stroking.  “Kris… you sure you’re ready?”

 

Kristin pulled her hand out from under his and gripped his wrist, pulling his hand to her center.  “Does it feel like I’m ready to you?”  She asked in a throaty voice, moaning softly as his fingers slipped inside her.

 

“Oh yes,” Nathan nodded, pulling his fingers out of her and quickly placing them in his mouth, moaning at the taste of her.  “You are very ready.”

 

“I’ve been thinking of nothing but this since I left Joshua’s office.”  She told him with a grin.  “So, no more talking…”

 

“No more talking.”  Nathan agreed, slipping his hand back down between their bodies to grasp his manhood.  He ran the head of his shaft up and down her slick folds, coating himself with her arousal before sliding into her in one deep stroke.

 

“Oh, yes!”  Kristin groaned, her legs moving up and tightening around his waist, holding him against her.  “God, I’ve missed you!”

 

“I’ve missed you too,” Nathan grinned, moving his hips gently from side to side before starting to thrust gently into her.

 

“Faster… move faster.”  Kristin told him, gripping tightly to his shoulders, moaning loudly as he complied.  “Mmm… yes.  And harder… oh, that’s it!”

 

Nathan grinned and gripped her hips tightly as he drove himself deep within her willing body, her cries and moans of pleasure spurring him on.  It didn’t take long before he felt his release nearing.  He slipped a hand between the close press of their bodies, his fingers finding and expertly stroking her sensitive bundle of nerves.

 

“Nathan!  Oh God… oh yes!”  She cried out, her body starting to shudder from the duel onslaught.  “That’s what I need… oh yes, baby!  Oh… so close… so…”

 

Nathan thrust harder and faster, his fingers matching the pace of his hips as he felt his release grow closer.  “Come for me, baby…” he urged her, moving furiously against her.  “Come for me now…”

 

“Oh God, Nathan!”  Kristin screamed his name as she came hard, feeling Nathan come with her, her name a hoarse cry on his lips; his hot seed spilling deep within her body.

 

They shuddered endlessly against each other, falling back against the drafting table until they lay quiescent on the hard surface; their breathing slowly returning to normal.

 

Nathan raised his head from where it was pillowed on her breasts and smiled at her before shifting to cover her lips with his, kissing her lovingly.

 

“Oh… wow…” Kristin breathed against his lips.

 

“You took the words out of my mouth.”  He grinned down at her, smiling as she laughed and gently pushed at his chest.  He straightened up and slowly withdrew from the warmth of her body; immediately gathering her into his arms at the sound of her soft whimper.  “Tonight,” he spoke softly against her hair.  “After the kids are in bed, it will be your pleasure.  Whatever you want.”

 

“Mmm… that sounds good.”  She wrapped her arms around him and raised her lips to his for a deep, loving kiss. 

 

They parted several minutes later and quickly straightened their clothes.

 

“You’re not going to be late getting home are you?”  Kristin asked, moving to his office door.

 

“Nope.”

 

“Good.”  She unlocked the door and opened it.  She brushed a quick kiss over his lips and moved out the door.  “See you tonight, lover.”

 

“You can count on it.”  Nathan told her, smiling as he watched her walk down the hall, knowing she was throwing an extra sway in her hips just for his benefit.  “Tease!”  He called out affectionately, his smile growing into a grin as her amused laughter echoed down the hall.

 

Nathan turned back into his office, closed and leaned back against the door.  He groaned when his eyes fell onto his drafting table, and images of what had just taken place flashed through his mind.  He groaned again.

 

“And just how am I supposed to get back to work now?”

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

Kristin awoke to the sound of her youngest child crying.  She reached out to nudge Nathan, her eyes opening when her hand encountered nothing but cool sheets.  She sat up and looked around.

 

“Nathan?”  She called, frowning when she received no answer other than her daughter’s cries growing louder.  “Hang on, baby,” she called out to the squalling child as she climbed out of bed.  “Mommy’s coming.”

 

Pulling on her robe and rushing for the door, she didn’t see the pants on the floor and tripped, just catching herself before falling.

 

“Bloody hell!”  She swore, kicking at the offending clothing; sending it flying across the room before stalking out of the room to attend to her daughter.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

“You’re awfully quiet,” Nathan commented, looking up from his work.  “Everything okay?”

 

“Everything’s fine.”

 

Nathan’s eyes narrowed slightly at her clipped tone as warning bells went off in his head.  ~She’s pissed at me for something.~ He thought, his mind going over everything he’d done that day and what he could have possibly done to upset her.  Nothing came to mind.

 

“You sure?”

 

“Yes.”

 

Nathan closed his eyes and shook his head, sighing deeply.  It was going to be a long afternoon.  He could just feel it.  He opened his eyes and looked at her.  He knew he needed to find out what was bothering her, but wasn’t in the mood to fight with her.

 

He sighed again, knowing what the results of his next move would be; whether he wanted it or not.

 

“Okay, Kris…” he began several minutes later.  “What’s wrong?”

 

“Nothing.”

 

“Honey…” he watched her body tense and winced internally, knowing he should have left it till she was ready to confront him with whatever it was he’d done to upset her.

 

“I’m fine.”

 

“Fine, whatever you say.”  Nathan said, going back to his plans.

 

Several chilling moments later, he watched as she stood and with a noise of disgust, left the living room.  Nathan pinched the bridge of his nose as he shook his head slowly.

 

“I knew I shouldn’t have said anything.”  He said to himself and then sighed yet again, knowing he’d better go after her and try to get this, whatever it was, straightened out.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

Kristin stood at the kitchen counter, her hands clenched tightly; her eyes closed as she counted quietly to herself, trying to calm down before she really lost her temper.

 

“Kristin?”

 

Her fists clenched tighter.

 

“Not now, Nathan.”

 

“If not now, then when?”  He asked, leaning up against the doorjamb, crossing his arms over his chest.  “You’ve been acting this way… giving me the cold shoulder, since I got back with the kids and I want to know why.”

 

“Well, if you don’t know, then I’m certainly not going to tell you.”

 

“Oh, now we’re getting somewhere,” he said sarcastically.

 

“Don’t use that tone with me.”

 

“Well then talk to me!”

 

“Keep your voice down!  The children are sleeping.”  She whirled around to face him and stopped whatever she was going to say at the sight of the children in question standing sleepily in the doorway.  “Hey, what are you two doing up already?”

 

“Can’t sleep.”  Kailey answered, rubbing at her eyes. 

 

“You an’ daddy not fight.”  Wil said, rubbing at his eyes as well.

 

“Daddy and I aren’t fighting,” Kristin told her children, glaring at Nathan before crouching down in front of them.  “We’re just talking.”

 

Wil’s lower lip quivered as he looked back and forth between his parents, doubt clearly etched on his young face.

 

“Hey, sailor-man, how about some ice cream?”  Nathan reached down to ruffle his son’s hair, hoping to distract him and his sister.  “What say you, Kailey-bug?  You want some ice cream too?”

 

The two children nodded enthusiastically.

 

“Well, go sit down and mommy and daddy will get it for you,” he told them and then met his wife’s eyes and smiled sweetly at her.  “Won’t we, mommy?”

 

“Of course we will.”  Kristin replied as she stood.  She glared at him over their children’s heads as she ushered them to the table.

 

Nathan sighed and headed for the freezer.  ~Yep.~ he thought.  ~Going to be a long afternoon.~

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

Walking through the house, Cynthia took a step into the kitchen and stopped; the tension in the air hitting her like a brick wall.  She briefly wondered if she could slip out before being seen.

 

“Cynny!”

 

~So much for escape.~ she thought to herself as she took a deep breath, put a smile on her face and walked into the kitchen.

 

“Hey, guys,” she walked over to her siblings, ruffling the hair on each of their heads.  “Whatcha got?”

 

“Ice cream!”  They replied together around the spoons in their mouths.

 

“Mmm… looks good.”  She said, studiously ignoring her mother and Nathan, and yet very aware of the dirty looks being shot across the kitchen.  She looked at the twins and realized that they could sense it too.

 

“Bite.”  Kailey said, holding out a spoonful of melting ice cream for Cynthia.

 

“Mmm, thank you.”  Cynthia said, guiding her sister’s hand and eating the ice cream before straightening up.  She looked over at her mother and Nathan.  “Is it okay if I take these two swimming?”

 

“Sure.”

 

“No.”

 

Nathan and Kristin scowled at each other before Kristin shook her head.  “Fine… go ahead.”

 

“You heard your mother,” Nathan smiled at the twins.  “Go get your suits on and Cynthia will take you swimming,” he turned to his step-daughter as the twins scampered out of the kitchen and gave her a grateful smile, knowing what she was trying to do.

 

“I’ll grab Sophie too, and bring her out with us.”

 

“Thank you.”  Nathan smiled at her.

 

Cynthia gave him small smile and nodded before following after her siblings.

 

Nathan watched her leave, took a deep breath and then turned to face his wife.  “So, where were we?”

 

“You were being an impossible ass.”  She told him, gathering up the bowls and putting them in the sink.

 

“Me?”  Nathan asked incredulously.  “What did I do?  I was sitting there quietly working on a sketch.  You were the one whose panties got all twisted in a knot.”

 

Kristin dropped the silverware into the sink with loud clang and then stormed past him to the kitchen door.  “I’d have to be wearing panties for that to happen,” she hissed as she yanked the door open and stepped out, slamming the door behind her.

 

Nathan swore and then took off after her.  He caught up with her just as she reached the boathouse.  He grabbed her arm and spun her around to face him. 

 

“Let me go!”  She squirmed against his grip.

 

“Not until you tell me what’s eating you.”  He told her, backing her up against the boathouse wall.  “I’m tired of this silent treatment shit.  Now, tell me what it was I’ve done that pissed you off, so that I can apologize…”

 

“You didn’t say good bye to me this morning!”

 

Nathan’s hands dropped from her arms and he looked at her in confusion.  “What are you talking about?”

 

“When you left to go for your run with the kids,” she explained, her voice still holding icy undertones.  “You didn’t say good bye.”

 

“Yes I did.”  He told her.  “I woke you, told you we were heading out and even kissed you.”

 

“You…”

 

“Woke you, said good bye and kissed you.”  He repeated.

 

“And then you left your blue pants in the middle of the bedroom floor.  I tripped and almost took a header into the carpet.”  She told him, still angry.

 

“Blue pants?  What blue pants?”  Nathan asked her.  “I don’t own any blue pants?” 

 

“Yes you…” she stopped as she suddenly realized he was right.  The pants in question were hers.  But even still…  “You could have picked them up this morning and put them in the hamper.”

 

Nathan suddenly started laughing.  He dropped his hands from her arms and took a step back, still laughing.

 

“What on earth is so funny?!”

 

“You’ve been pissed at me all day because of that?”

 

Kristin watched as Nathan doubled over, simultaneously laughing and trying to catch his breath.  And while she could understand why he found the situation humorous, she didn’t think it was as funny as he was making it out to be and found herself getting pissed at him again.

 

“It’s not ‘that’ funny, Nathan.”  She said tersely, crossing her arms over her chest.

 

Nathan straightened up, his laughter dying down as he took in her defensive posture.  He inhaled sharply.  There was just something about his wife when she was all riled up that he found extremely arousing.

 

~God, she’s gorgeous!~ he thought, raking his eyes over and taking in all of her.  From the flare of her nostrils to her flashing eyes and red, full, slightly parted lips to her skin, still flushed from her brisk walk from the house.

 

Kristin watched and felt his eyes move over her and despite telling her body not to, she felt herself responding to the blatant look of arousal in his deep blue eyes.  She unconsciously licked her lips and her eyes widened slightly when she heard a low growl sound from deep in his throat.

 

The sight of her tongue darting out to moisten her lips sent shockwaves straight to Nathan’s groin and he growled softly, his eyes locking with hers.

 

“I’m sorry.”  Nathan said quietly.

 

Kristin nodded.  “I’m sorry too.  I don’t know…”

 

“Doesn’t matter,” Nathan waved away her explanation, his eyes sliding down and up her body again.  “Does this mean we can make up now?”

 

The husky quality of his voice sent shivers through her body.  “…Nathan…”

 

“I don’t know about you, Kris…” he began, slowly moving towards her.  “But I am so turned on right now, that all I want to do is bury myself deep inside you and make love to you until we’re both unconscious.”

 

Kristin felt her heart start to beat faster as he closed the distance between them and pressed his hard body tight against hers.  She moaned when she felt his arousal pressing against her center as he forced her back up against the boathouse wall.

 

“Nathan…” she moaned as his hands slowly slid up over her hips, his thumbs brushing the sides of her breasts as he lowered his mouth to her neck, nibbling his way up to her ear.

 

“Now,” he whispered against her ear, his hands sliding back down her sides to her hips.  “I want to find out if you were telling the truth earlier.”

 

“What?”  She asked, confusion lacing her voice as his fingers slowly gathered the skirt of her dress up.

 

“I want to find out if you’re wearing panties or not.”  He replied.

 

“Oh…” she gasped when his right hand slipped between her thighs and his low growl of approval sounded right in her ear.

 

“I love it when you don’t wear panties…” he told her, sliding his right leg between hers and opening her to his seeking fingers.  “Makes it so much easier to,” he thrust two fingers into her.

 

“Nathan!”  She cried out as his fingers immediately began moving inside her, his thumb finding and rubbing against her clit.  Her hands clutched at his shoulders as she thrust herself against his hand.  “Oh God…”

 

“That’s it, baby… let go!”  Nathan urged, his left hand dropping its hold on her skirt to move up into the top of her dress and cup her breast.  “Come for me, Kris…” he stroked her faster.  “Come for me!”

 

“Oh… oh God…” Kristin panted, feeling herself spiral out of control; her body writhing against his as her orgasm hit her suddenly.  “NATH… AN!!”

 

Nathan grinned against her throat as she screamed out his name, and he felt her juices coat his hand.  “Beautiful… just beautiful…” he murmured, pulling back to watch her face before capturing her lips in a hungry kiss.

 

Concentrating on kissing her, Nathan was unaware of her hands moving between them and releasing his fly until he felt her cool fingers wrapping around his hard length.  He groaned into her mouth and broke off the kiss as her other hand pushed his shorts off his hips.

 

“Kris…” he gasped as she stroked him.

 

“Glad to see I’m not the only one going commando,” she purred, tugging gently on his shaft to pull him closer.  “Want you… in me now…”

 

“Yes, ma’am!”  Nathan grinned and pulled his fingers out of her body.  He grasped her hips in his hands, lifted her and in one swift move pulled her down onto his throbbing arousal.

 

They moaned together as they became one and Nathan immediately began to thrust against her.

 

“Oh yes…” Kristin groaned and then whimpered when the sound of voices reached her ears.  “No… oh God… no.”

 

“Wrap your legs around me and hold on tight,” he told her, gripping her hips tightly as she did as he told her.  He stepped away from the wall and slipping one foot out of his shorts, he began walking towards the door only a couple feet away.

 

Kristin buried her face in his neck as each step he took sent fissures of sensations shooting through her body.

 

“Kris… the door.”

 

Kristin raised her head and quickly opened the door.  Nathan hurried inside and kicked the door shut.  Spinning around, he pushed her up against the wall right next to the door, his mouth crashing down on hers as they immediately began moving against each other.

 

Kristin gasped as Nathan broke off the kiss long moments later, trailing his lips down her throat as he continued to thrust into her, over and over in long, deep strokes.  She moaned and let her head fall back against the wall as she clung to him.

 

She smiled.

 

Nathan raised his head to look at her when he felt her hands caress up his back and then leave his body.  He growled in approval when he saw that she’d reached up and wrapped her hands around the two large hooks that were in the wall just above her head.

 

With Kristin helping to support some of her weight, Nathan grasped her hips tightly and with her encouragement, he began to slam his hips against hers.

 

“Oh God… yes… just like that… Nathanyes…” Kristin cried out, the sensations suddenly overwhelming her.  Her legs tightened around his hips and held him securely against her as her orgasm washed over her. 

 

Nathan listened to her moan his name over and over as he started to once again thrust into her, his thrusts short and fast as he strained to reach his own release.  “Kris… oh… God… so close… I…” he felt her inner muscles clamp down hard on his thrusting member and her name ripped out of his throat in a hoarse cry as his orgasm consumed him.  “KRIS!”

 

He collapsed into her, pushing her hard against the wall as their bodies continued to shudder.

 

“Oh God…” he groaned several minutes later and slowly raised his head to smile at her.  “That was…”

 

“The best make up sex we’ve ever had,” Kristin finished with a grin as she slowly unwrapped her legs from around his waist.

 

They both moaned softly as he pulled out of her and Nathan immediately gathered her in his arms and nuzzled her hair.  “I love you,” he murmured into the auburn tresses.

 

Kristin lifted her head from his shoulder and smiled at him.  “I love you too.”

 

Their lips came together in a slow, loving kiss, which grew more intense with each passing second, hands wandering beneath clothing; re-igniting their arousal.

 

“I want you again,” Nathan told her, sliding the straps of her sundress off her shoulders, revealing her breasts to his hungry gaze.  He cupped the succulent mounds in his hands, his thumbs rubbing over the tender peaks.

 

“I want you again too,” Kristin moaned softly, feeling her nipples tighten once again beneath his touch.  “But the kids…”

 

“Are being watched by Cynthia,” Nathan finished, dipping his head down to pull a rosy nipple between his lips.  “God, I love your breasts,” he murmured, releasing the one nipple to take the other one in his mouth, bestowing the same sweet torture before slowly kissing and licking his way down over her stomach, pushing her dress down as he went.

 

“…Nathan…” she sighed happily, watching him move lower until he was kneeling between her legs.  She leaned back against the wall and hooked a leg over his shoulder, crying out softly as he buried his face in her curls.  “Mmm…”

 

Nathan smiled at her soft moan as he pulled her clitoris between his lips, circling the hard nub with his tongue.

 

“Cynthia said she saw them head this way.”

 

Kristin groaned as Bill’s voice reached them through the wall of the boathouse.

 

“Are you sure?”  Janet’s voice followed.  “I don’t see them anywhere.”

 

“They’re probably in the boathouse.”

 

Reluctantly, knowing he’d better move or else Bill and Janet would get one hell of a show, Nathan pulled his mouth away from his wife’s sex and stood.  “I’m going to kill him,” he muttered, pulling up his shorts as he moved towards the door and leaned his back against it.

 

“Get in line,” Kristin retorted as she pulled her dress back up her body.  She smoothed down her hair and then turned to him.  “How do I look?”

 

“Gorgeous as always,” he grinned and then moved his eyes up and down.  “And you know they’re gonna know what we were up to in here anyway.”

 

“You’re right,” Kristin nodded and then grinned wickedly.  “I just had a thought…”

 

Nathan held her gaze and then his grin matched hers.  “I love it,” he said, knowing exactly what she was thinking.  “Where?”

 

Kristin pointed and moved towards the pile of old drop sheets in the corner.

 

“Perfect,” Nathan said, rushing across the room.  He quickly sat down onto the sheets and held his hands out to her, helping her as she straddled his lap.  “I do so love it when you’re devious, Mrs. Bridger.”

 

“Thank you, Mr. Bridger,” she grinned, shifting in his lap and quickly arranging the skirt of her dress so that you couldn’t see his shorts.  She’d just finished that when they heard the door of the boathouse start to open.  “One last thing…”

 

“Wha… oh yeah!”  Nathan moaned appreciatively as Kristin pulled the top of her dress down.  “Perfect,” he agreed and buried his face in her chest just as the door opened.

 

“Nath… oh shit!”  Bill stuttered to a stop at the sight of Kristin straddling Nathan’s lap, her hips rocking rhythmically.  And even though all he could see was Kristin’s bare back, he could tell that Nathan’s face was immersed in his wife’s bountiful chest.  “Uhm…”

 

“What’s the mat… oh!”  Janet said and then laughed at the shocked look on her husband’s face.  “Knock it off you two.  We all know you’re not doing anything, cause you’re too damn quiet.”

 

Kristin and Nathan burst out in laughter, and after quickly pulling her top back up, she climbed off her husband’s lap.

 

“You two are terrible for doing that to him,” Janet admonished them but still laughing.

 

Nathan grinned as he stood up, slipping his arm about Kristin’s shoulders.  “Do what?  He’s the one who walked in on us.”  He turned to Bill, noting that his friend was still pink and chuckled softly.  “So, did you bring the steaks?”

 

“Oh yeah.  Beef tenderloin, as requested.”  Bill replied.  “Nice, thick, juicy ones at that.”

 

“Good.”  Nathan said, and then turned to Kristin.  “I have a couple things I need to discuss with Bill about the new sub plans and as soon as I finish showing the sketches, I’ll see to the steaks.  Okay?”

 

“Okay,” Kristin smiled at him.

 

Nathan leaned down and brushed his lips over hers, moving them against her ear to whisper a soft, “I love you”.

 

“Come on, Bill,” Nathan said, clapping his friend on the back and heading out of the boathouse.

 

“I am so glad I walked in on you guys before anything happened.”  Kristin heard Bill tell Nathan as he followed him out the door.

 

“Then be even happier you didn’t walk in five minutes before that.”

 

Janet looked over at Kristin at hearing Nathan’s response.  “Anything you’d care to share?”

 

Kristin merely smiled and headed for the door.

 

“Kristin…” Janet squealed and took off after her friend, catching up with her a moment later.  “So, you two seemed awfully cozy.  I take it you two worked out…” Janet gestured about with her hand.  “Whatever it was that you had to work out.”

 

Kristin flushed and nodded.  “Yes we did.”

 

“Good.  Cynthia was concerned.”

 

“I know,” Kristin said and then chuckled softly.  “The worst part… it was over something so stupid.”

 

“It usually is,” Janet said.  “But am glad you worked it out before it got too bad.”

 

“So am I.”  Kristin admitted and then flashed her friend a sheepish smile.  “Although, if it weren’t for Nathan not giving up and wanting to talk, I’d probably still be pissed at him.”

 

They fell into a friendly silence as they continued to make their way along the beach towards Cynthia and the kids.

 

“So…” Janet began.  “Are you gonna tell me…”

 

“Tell you what?”

 

Janet gave her a pointed look.

 

Kristin smiled.  “Hard and fast, up against the boathouse wall,” she said and then strode off, leaving an open mouthed Janet standing on the beach.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

“They look good,” Bill said, running his hand over the sketches.  “Damn good.”

 

“Thanks.”  Nathan smiled, leaning back in his chair as Bill continued to look over his newest sub sketches.  “And if we do things right, they shouldn’t cost too much too build, and yet still meet all the standards, if not surpass them.”

 

“I really like these,” Bill said, straightening up and looking at his friend.  “And I think the others will as well.  When you’re ready to present them, let me know.”

 

“Will do.”

 

“So…” Bill began slowly, fiddling with the label on his beer bottle.  “What was up with you and Kristin?  When we got here, Cynthia said you two’d been fighting.”

 

“We weren’t fighting so much as not talking,” Nathan corrected, taking a swig of his beer.

 

“About what?”

 

“Nothing important,” Nathan said, licking his lips and then grinned.  “But we got it all straightened out.”

 

“I just bet you did,” Bill quipped, seeing the grin on his friend’s face.  “So, five minutes earlier and I would have gotten a show, huh?”

 

Nathan’s grin grew.  “Oh yeah.”

 

Bill shook his head and rolled his eyes.  “You two never quit, do you?”

 

Nathan merely shook his head and then suddenly sat up.  “Oh yeah, I just remembered.  There’s something I’ve been wanting to ask you.  A favour.”

 

“Lay it on me.”

 

“Would you and Janet be willing to watch the kids for about a week next month?”

 

“I’m sure it wouldn’t be a problem,” Bill answered.  “Why?”

 

“I want to take Kristin to the island,” Nathan told him.  “I think she could do with a break, and we need a little alone time.”

 

Bill snorted.  “Like you don’t get enough time alone together now.”

 

“Actually, we don’t,” Nathan said.  “Sophie’s only sleeping the odd night through and the twins, well, they’re being typical two year olds…”

 

“Say no more,” Bill held up his hand.  “Let me check with Janet, but I’m sure it won’t be a problem.  We both adore the kids, you know that.”

 

Nathan smiled and stood.  “Thanks, Bill.”

 

“Anytime, my friend,” Bill smiled back.  “Now, what do you say we get those steaks cooking?”

 

“Lead the way.”

 

~*~*~*~

 

“So, what’s so special about next month that you’re going to the island?”  Janet asked as she handed Kristin a plate to be loaded in the dishwasher.

 

Kristin stopped and looked at her friend.  “What are you talking about?”

 

“You and Nathan… going to your island.  No kids,” Janet said.  “Any of this sounding familiar?”

 

“No… Nathan hasn’t said anything about us going to the island.”

 

“Uh oh,” Janet clasped a hand over her mouth.  “I probably shouldn’t have said anything.”

 

“Don’t worry about it, Janet,” Kristin laughed softly.

 

“Don’t worry about what?”

 

The two women whirled around to see their husbands standing in the kitchen doorway.

 

Kristin smiled at Nathan as she continued loading the dishwasher.  “Oh, Janet was telling me about our trip to the island that I knew nothing about.”

 

“Sorry, Nathan,” Janet piped up, handing Kristin yet another plate.

 

“It’s okay, Janet.  I was going to discuss it with her tonight anyway.”  Nathan told her.  “So, are you guys okay for watching our brood for a week?”

 

“Absolutely,” Janet smiled, glancing at Bill and seeing his answering nod.

 

“Great,” Nathan said and then looked at his wife.  “So, gorgeous, wanna go play in the jungle with me?”

 

“Only if you promise to wear the loin cloth,” Kristin grinned at him.

 

“Which one?”  Nathan asked, winking at her.  “The leopard print or the tiger print?”

 

“Tiger.”  Kristin flashed him a big smile.  “Definitely the tiger.”

 

Nathan growled softly at her as he reached out and grabbed her butt.

 

Bill held up his hands in mock surrender.  “I don’t want to know, do I?”

 

Kristin and Nathan burst out laughing.

 

“Probably not, dear.”  Janet laughed softly, gently shoving Kristin out of the way to put the utensils into the dishwasher.

 

“It’s okay, Bill,” Kristin said, trailing her hand down her husband’s chest as she stepped away from him to finish cleaning up.  “He won’t be in it long.”

 

Bill buried his face in his hands and shook his head.

 

~*~*~*~*~

 

“I can’t believe it’s been a year…” Kristin’s voice trailed off as she turned around to face her husband who was standing in the doorway of their island home, their bags in his hands.  “Oh… oh my.  That’s why you brought me here.”

 

Nathan smiled, nodding as he carried the bags into the house and headed down the hall to their bedroom; Kristin followed.  He dropped the bags and whirled around to pull her into his arms.

 

“That’s part of it,” he told her.  “I thought you could use a break.”  He put his fingers to her lips.  “I know you love the kids, I do too, but you look tired and I thought a week here on the island, just the two of us, would be just what the doctor ordered.”

 

“Well, this doctor certainly won’t argue.”  Kristin smiled, her hands drifting down his back to cup his rear.  “This just means that we can be as noisy as we want…

 

“And not worry about waking the kids,” Nathan finished with a grin.

 

Kristin laughed and slid a hand up into his hair to pull his lips down to hers.  “Exactly!”

 

Their mouths came together in a slow, loving kiss that quickly threatened to become more.  Kristin broke off the kiss with a gasp, planting her hands on his chest.

 

“Kris…”

 

“Later, lover,” she told him, her eyes sparkling with promise.  “Right now, we have food to bring in, a generator to get started and a well to get pumping.”

 

Nathan simply smiled, tightening his arms around her as he slowly walked her backwards toward the wall.

 

“Nathan…”

 

He ignored her and continued with his slow movements until he had her pressed up against the bedroom wall.

 

“Nathan… mmm…” she moaned softly as his lips trailed down her throat.  “The food…”

 

“Mmhmm…” he hummed against her as his fingers made quick work of the buttons of her blouse.

 

“Oh… yes…” Kristin moaned as he drew her taut nipple in his mouth.  “Oh no…” she pushed half-heartedly against his shoulders.  “Nathan… we… can’t…”

 

She whimpered when he released her breast and stood, taking a step back.  “You’re right,” he nodded.  “We really should get that food in the fridge.”  He leaned closer and pressed a quick kiss against her lips, his fingers brushing over her wet nipple before he slipped out the door.  “Come on, woman.  Daylight’s a’wasting.”

 

Kristin chuckled at the laughter she heard in his voice, and buttoning her blouse back up, she followed after him.  “You are so going to get it, Bridger!”  She called out to him.

 

“That’s the plan, baby!”

 

“Is that so?”  Kristin asked, entering the living room to see him standing at the front door waiting for her.

 

“Oh yeah,” he grinned at her.

 

“Well, in that case,” she sauntered over to him and pressed her body up against his, forcing him back against the doorjamb.  She leaned in and nipped at that one spot on his neck that she knew drove him wild, smiling when he moaned and brought his hands to her waist.  “Two can play at this game,” Kristin pulled back and stepped away.  “Let’s go get that food.”

 

Nathan laughed and watched her walk away, his eyes locked on the sway of her hips.  “Damn good form, Mrs. Bridger!”  He called out, following her when she flashed him a brilliant smile.  He caught up with her at the dock where she was unloading the boxes containing their food from the boat.  “Here, let me help you with that…”

 

Kristin closed her eyes at his low voice murmuring right in her ear.  He was bent over her, pressing his hips tightly to her backside, his arousal very evident as he reached around her to help her lift the box.  She moaned softly and at his light chuckle, she circled her rear against him.

 

Nathan groaned as Kristin straightened up, forcing him to stand as well.  She leaned back against him momentarily as she hefted the box in her arms onto her hip.  “Thank you,” Kristin murmured in a husky voice, rubbing against him again before stepping away from him and heading back to the house.

 

Nathan grinned and kept his eyes trained on Kristin’s butt, reaching down absently to adjust himself, trying to find a more comfortable position for his erection, knowing the most comfortable position would be buried deep within his wife’s willing body.  His arousal jumped at the image and he found himself adjusting his member again.

 

Still grinning, Nathan picked up another box and carried it into the house.  “Where do you want it?”

 

“I told you… on the dock.”  She gave him a heated look and then grinned as she pointed at the counter beside the fridge.  “Over there, please.”

 

Nathan chuckled as he walked over to the kitchen counter and put the box down.  Before he could move, Nathan felt her hands moving over his jean-clad rear, cupping and squeezing gently.

 

“Thank you,” Kristin said, squeezing the firm flesh again.

 

“You’re welcome,” he replied, slowly turning around to face her.  He moaned and closed his eyes when her hands cupped his erection.

 

Kristin smiled up at him as she gently stroked him through his jeans.  She leaned closer and brushed a quick kiss over his lips.  “Come… on, Bridger,” she whispered.  “We still have work to do.”

 

Nathan groaned at the loss of her hands on him.  He opened his eyes to see her standing in the doorway, a playful grin on her face.  “Oh… you are so gonna get it, woman!”

 

“I’m counting on it,” she retorted, stepping out onto the porch.  “Why don’t you go get that motor running and I’ll bring in the rest of the supplies?”

 

“My motor’s already running,” he quipped as he stepped out of the house.  “But I will see what I can do for the generator.”

 

Kristin just laughed and headed down the dock.

 

Nathan watched her for a moment longer then went off to take care of the generator.  Twenty minutes later, he was making his way back towards the front of the house, intending to help Kristin with whatever she needed help with. 

 

~Face it,~ he told himself.  ~You just want to hurry up and get everything finished so you can jump her.~

 

The thought brought a smile to his face.  They’d been flirting from the moment they’d left for the island and it’d grown increasingly more outrageous the moment they arrived.

 

He walked up the side steps of the porch, making his way across the large porch.  He slowed down when he saw what looked to be Kristin’s blouse hanging on the railing.  “She wouldn’t,” he said quietly and then smiled.  “Yes she would.”

 

Nathan walked over to the railing and picked the blouse up, holding the soft material to his nose; deeply inhaling her scent, he murmured her name as a wave of desire washed over him.  His hands fell to his sides, still clutching her top tightly as he looked around for her.

 

He grinned then when he saw her crouched down on her hands and knees at the end of the dock, not naked as he’d hoped, but in a little black string bikini.  Nathan groaned at the sight, his arousal flaring back to life in an instant.  Even after giving birth to four children, she still had a killer body; the sight of which still sent his heart racing.

 

Nathan’s grin grew as he dropped her blouse back onto the railing.  He pulled his shirt off, placing it on hers and then stripped off his shorts.  He stepped off the porch, naked, and quietly made his way down the dock, his eyes never leaving his wife’s body.

 

Kristin sensed his approach and smiled softly, dropping the thermometer that was tied to the end of the dock back into the water.  She straightened up, sitting back on her haunches as she waited for him to join her.  Tilting her head slightly as he drew closer, her smile grew.

 

Nathan slipped in behind her with his knees on either side of her body, wrapping his arms around her and pulling back against his chest.

 

“Hello, sailor,” she purred softly as he nuzzled her neck.

 

“Hey, baby…” he murmured against her soft skin, one hand moving in small circles against her belly, the other trailing down to stroke her thigh.  “When did you buy this?”  He ran his fingers down over her spandex covered center.

 

“Do you like?”  She gasped as one of his fingers slipped beneath the cloth to tease her with fleeting touches before moving back to stroke her thigh.

 

“Oh, yes.  I like.”  Nathan replied, his hand on her stomach moving up to cup her left breast as he pressed himself tight against her.  “Can’t you feel how much I like it?”

 

Kristin chuckled softly, rubbing back against him.  “Mmm… yes, I can,” her hands moved to caress his thighs.  She moaned suddenly when felt she his hand move beneath the covering on her breast, his fingers teasing the nipple to erection.

 

Nathan smiled against her neck as Kristin’s hands tightened on his legs and trailed his lips over to the tie of her swim top, pulling the bow apart with his teeth, the straps sliding down her body and uncovering her breasts.  He reached between them with his free hand and untied the bow at the middle of her back, pulling the scrap of material away and tossing it over his shoulder on to the deck.

 

Kristin gasped as both his hands covered her breasts, kneading the full mounds slowly.  She arched her back, her backside pressing against his erection as she forced more of her chest into his large hands.

 

“Nathan…” he heard her moan when his right hand left her breast, drifting down over her stomach, his fingers ringing her navel before slipping between her thighs and covering her mound.  He flexed his fingers against her and she moaned again.  Nathan grinned and pressed his lips to her ear, whispering in a low voice.  “Are you wet, baby?”

 

“…Nathan…” Kristin whimpered when he moved his hand away, only to moan in encouragement when his fingers began undoing the bows at her hips.  “Oh… God…” his name was a loud gasp on her lips as Nathan slowly pulled the panties off of her, sliding the material up along her center in a teasing caress.

 

Nathan smiled as her lower body arched, instinctively following the direction of the panties as he slid them up and like the bikini top tossed it over his shoulder, his hand immediately returning to her sex; his fingers searching through her folds.  “Oh… yes.  You’re very wet.”

 

“Only for you… only ever for you,” Kristin replied in a husky voice, moaning low in her throat as he slid two long fingers inside her.  “Mmm… oh God, Nathan…”

 

Her hands clenched on his thighs, her nails biting into his skin as he moved his fingers in and out of her; his thumb finding and rubbing her clit.  Kristin leaned back against him, shifting and opening herself to his touch.

 

Nathan shifted behind her, sliding his legs around her so that they were hanging off the edge and then laid back on the dock, pulling Kristin with him so that she lay on top of him; the whole while continuing his caressing and stroking of her body.

 

Kristin’s head fell back against his shoulder, her hands immediately bracing against the warm wood as her body continued to respond to his fervent touch.  She lifted her legs and hooked them over his, opening herself even further to him and moaned as he responded to her silent invitation; his fingers thrusting deeper inside her while his thumb stroked her swollen bundle harder.

 

“Oh… God…” she moaned, arching into his hand, her inner muscles clenching around his fingers as the first tendrils of her orgasm began to course through her.  “Nathan… yes.”

 

Nathan smiled and stroked her deeper, turning his lips to her ear.  “Come for me, Kris…” he murmured, his fingers probing deeper, his thumb circling harder.  “Come, baby…”

 

“Oh… oh… God, Nathan!”  Kristin screamed his name, her right hand flying up to grip the wrist of his thrusting hand as her orgasm flowed over her, her body trembling against his.  Her hand slid down to cover and stop his, as her body finally stilled.

 

“You’re beautiful when you come,” Nathan whispered against her ear.  “Just utterly beautiful.”

 

Kristin whimpered softly when she felt him slowly ease his fingers out of her and grasped his wrist, holding his hand against her.

 

“Kris… honey, I need to taste you,” Nathan implored quietly, his lips closing around her earlobe.  “Please…”

 

Kristin smiled, and keeping a tight grip on his hand, she turned her body on top of his so that she was lying face to face with him.  A slow, sensuous smile formed on her lips as she brought his hand up close to his mouth, his fingers glistening with her juices.

 

Nathan groaned as the scent of her wafted up into his nostrils.  “Don’t tease,” he growled softly, watching as she brought his fingers closer to her mouth, her tongue darting out to flick against the tip of his middle finger.  “Kris!”

 

Kristin laughed, letting him pull his hand out of her grip and slide his fingers into his mouth.  She smiled at his low moan of delight and dipped her head to nuzzle his neck, her lips moving down to nibble at his collarbone.

 

Pulling his fingers from his mouth, Nathan moved his hands to her hips, holding her close as he thrust up against her.  “Ready for more,” he asked in a playful voice.

 

“Oh yes,” Kristin replied, moving up to capture his mouth in a searing kiss before straightening up and straddling him.  She rose up on her knees and grasped his erection, stroking him gently as she positioned him at her waiting entrance.

 

“God you feel good,” Nathan moaned as Kristin slowly lowered herself on him until he was sheathed completely inside her moist heat.  He reached out and grasped her hips as she immediately began to undulate against him.  “Kris… tin…”

 

Kristin smiled, her hands gliding up over his belly to his chest, her fingers playing with his nipples as Nathan began to thrust up into her.  She moaned in approval, her head falling back as she gasped for breath.

 

Unable to resist the lure of her breasts, which were thrust out and bobbed with every thrust of their bodies, Nathan sat up and caught a rosy nipple in his mouth.  He teased the turgid peak with his tongue before sucking hard.  He wasn’t surprised when in the midst of his suckling; he felt a warm gush spurt against his tongue.  He pulled back to meet her eyes, a question in his.

 

“It’s okay,” she told him, smiling as he grinned and returned his mouth to her breast.  As Nathan continued to suckle, Kristin wrapped her legs around his waist, moaning as the change in position allowed him to press deeper inside her.  She closed her eyes, dropping her head to his shoulder as she began to rock against him.

 

“Kris…” he moaned against her breast and thrust up as much as he could against her.

 

Kristin smiled, raising her head as Nathan released her breast to gaze into her eyes.

 

“I love you,” they whispered together, their smiles growing.

 

“Love me…” Kristin told him, circling her hips against him.  “Love me slow… and long…”

 

“And deep…” Nathan finished, planting his hands on the dock and lifting his hips beneath her.

 

Kristin groaned.  “Mmm… yes… deep is good too.”

 

Nathan chuckled and continued to rise up into her, his lips moving over her shoulders, nipping and licking her skin.  He paused suddenly and sat up a little straighter.

 

“Nathan?”  Kristin pulled back from her own oral exploration of his shoulders, sensing his sudden distraction.  “What is it?”

 

“The sunset…” he moved to look at her.  “Honey, you have to see it.”

 

“Now!?”

 

Nathan chuckled at the desperation in her voice and nodded.  “Yes now.”

 

Kristin gave him a look.  “You want to stop this,” she rocked her hips against him and squeezed her inner muscles around him.  “To watch the sun set?”

 

“I didn’t say anything about stopping this,” he thrust up into her.

 

“Then… how??”  She smiled as Nathan lay back on the dock, grinning up at her as he gripped her waist.  “Oh.”

 

Kristin carefully rose up onto her knees, whimpering just slightly as he slipped out of her body, and with his hands guiding her, she carefully turned around so that she was facing the water, her back to him.