Disclaimer: I do not own the characters from Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. The rights to those characters and to the show belong to the creators of the show, to CBS, The Sullivan Company and to A&E.

Warning: This short story contains a graphic sexual encounter between two consenting, engaged adults. If pre-marital sex offends you, please turn back now.

Halfway There

By, Ashley J.

Written November 16, 2005 - November 18, 2005

They sat side by side on the train, just a few miles out of St. Louis. Brian and Matthew were playing a card game in their compartment, and Colleen was reading away in hers. Sully and Michaela were seated in her compartment, staring out at the sunny landscape. They had been on the train for two days now, and they were going to switch trains, which meant they were leaving the sleeper car behind. They would be staying overnight in a hotel, and in the morning, they would board another train for Denver. They were halfway home, and nerves were already building up inside each of them.

Michaela smiled, when Sully squeezed her hand, and she sighed softly to herself. She felt the coolness of the wedding band against her chest. Sully had laced a chain through it, and Michaela swore to wear it until it was time to put it on her finger. They didn't know when they'd be married, but it seemed as if they had all the time in the world.

His other hand gently caressed her knee, shooting those familiar feelings to all parts of her body. She sighed, relaxing against the seat, her heart beating strongly. The thought of being caught at any moment was terrifying and thrilling at the same time. Michaela couldn't believe herself, and when her warm, hazel and olive eyes flashed into his crystal blue ones, he grinned mischievously. She placed her free hand over his, and he gently squeezed her fingers, moving his hand up her thigh every-so-slowly.

She bit her lip, apprehensively keeping her eye on the small corridor outside, as his lips gently touched the side of her neck, sending shivers down her spine and to her very core. She closed her eyes for a mere second, relishing the feeling of his warm breath against her skin. He whispered something that made her blush, and she knew that if she didn't stop this soon, they could be in for some trouble. When his lips moved from her neck to her ear to her cheek, she shuddered slightly, turning her face toward his. Their eyes met for a tender moment, before their lips met in an earth-shattering yet heartfelt kiss. She softly moaned into his mouth, forgetting everything, until the train jerked, and Colleen let out a yelp in her compartment.

"Ma?" Michaela broke her attention away from the feelings that were charging through her system like a stampede of wild horses, and she glanced into the hall of the sleeper car. It was Colleen.

"Colleen? What is it?"

"It's Brian. He just got sick," she said with the careful tone of a doting big sister. Michaela sighed softly, quickly standing to go to her son. Sully promptly let go of her hand and stood to see if Michaela needed his help.

Matthew was already cleaning up the small mess, and Brian was leaning back in his seat with his hand on his stomach. An empty container of candy lay at his side.

"I told him not to eat it all this mornin'," Matthew said with a sigh, shaking his head. Michaela sighed to herself.

"Sully? Will you hand me my medical bag?" Sully nodded, and he disappeared into her sleeping quarters. A moment later, he handed her the smooth black leather bag, and she dug into it. Finally, she found something to help his stomach. He drank it down, tasting the bitterness. He felt even worse now, but Michaela assured him that he'd feel much better soon.

The train began to screech to a halt, and Sully looked up.

"We're here," he said pointedly. "We best get to the hotel and let him rest."

"I'm fine," Brian said quickly. "Can't we go explorin'?"

"No, young man. You need to rest and let your stomach settle." Brian groaned, and Colleen rolled her eyes.

"Why don't boys ever learn their lessons?"

"I do so!" Brian protested, feeling a wave of nausea again.

"Colleen, don't taunt your brother," Michaela said with exasperation. "Let's get to the hotel. I'm sure we'll all feel better after a hot meal and a change of clothes." Though Brian loved food, the mere mention of it made his stomach turn.

When they departed the train, Brian began to feel worse again, and Michaela knew it was from all of that traveling. Her own stomach was rather unsettled. So, Sully picked the boy up and carried him to the nearby hotel, following Michaela and the children inside, while Matthew, Michaela and Colleen handled the luggage. The walk there was fine, but things fell apart as soon as they arrived.

"We need three rooms, please," Michaela said, finding her money pouch amongst the mountain of trunks. The clerk looked her over, which made Sully want to throttle him, but with a groaning Brian in his arms, he figured he would ignore it for now.

"I'm sorry, Miss, but we only have two rooms available," the clerk behind the counter said, studying the man in buckskins for a moment. Sully sighed heavily, and Brian wriggled out of his arms. His face was pale, and Michaela felt his forehead. No fever, but he looked worn out.

"My little boy is ill, and I want him to rest, so we'll make due with two rooms." She looked at Sully, sensing the disappointment in his eyes. She felt the same, but it was only for a night. She looked at the children, turning her frown into a smile. "We'll share, and Sully can have his own room." The clerk cleared his throat.

"The rooms are on different floors, Miss. Perhaps you'd like to share with your husband…" Michaela and Sully both looked at one another, as Colleen giggled to herself, turning toward Matthew. Instead of arguing, Michaela shook her head.

"Our arrangements are fine."

"Sir, I'll have someone assist you to your room."

"That's fine," Sully replied. Michaela paid the man, and two bellhops came to escort them to their rooms. Sully went in one direction, while Michaela and the children went in another. They both gazed back at one another before disappearing around separate corners. Michaela sighed softly, slowly bringing her hand to her chest and feeling the wedding band lying there securely underneath her blouse.

"I ain't sleepin' in the same bed as him if he's gonna be getting' sick all night," Matthew complained. "I'd rather sleep on the floor."

"Colleen and I will share," Michaela pointed out. "Matthew, I'll have room service bring in a cot for you." Matthew nodded his thanks, and they continued on toward their room.

A while later, Matthew was situated in his cot, resting with his hat over his eyes, thankful for something slightly more comfortable than the bunk he'd slept in on the train. He had more room to stretch out his long legs, and he was thankful for that. Colleen was brushing out her long, blonde hair, while Brian was ordered straight to bed, and his nausea came and went throughout the evening. Michaela hadn't heard from Sully since they'd left the lobby of the hospital, and she was slightly disappointed. But, she kept focused on making sure Brian was comfortable, and though he was feeling better, she wanted him to be still for a while longer.

Around eight o'clock, they ordered dinner, of which Brian ate very little of, and room service filled the copper tub with hot water, because Michaela wanted to take a relaxing, hot bath. While the children read and relaxed, Michaela slipped into the washing room, ready to undress and submerge herself into the hot water and wash away the tiring train ride. She removed her shoes and stockings, and as she was going to remove the rest of her clothes, Colleen came running in. Michaela turned around in surprise.


"Sorry, Dr. Mike, but somebody's lookin' for ya. Says it's an emergency!" Immediately, Michaela rushed out of the wash room and grabbed her medical bag. "Want me to come with ya?"

"No, you stay here and help Matthew look after Brian. You should all get to sleep soon. It's been a long day." Colleen nodded, and the children watched their mother hurry out into the hallway. One of the bellhops perked up. "What's the emergency?"

"A man in one of our rooms is complaining of chest pains. I remember seeing your medical bag, so I figured…"

"Yes, I'm a doctor," Michaela said with a nod. "Take me to him."

"Right this way, Miss," he replied. Michaela followed him, her bare feet padding along the carpeted hallway, up the stairs and down a long corridor to a room at the end of the hall. "He's in here." The bellhop opened the door, letting her in first, and Michaela looked around. She saw nobody, and she didn't notice someone slipping a few coins to the bellhop or the bellhop quickly making his exit. Michaela jumped, when she heard the door close and lock behind her. When she turned around, she saw Sully with his back pressed against the closed door. She breathed a sigh of relief, and she shook her head. She wasn't sure whether to kiss him or kill him for making her panic like that.

"Sully! Are you crazy!" She tossed her medical bag down on the nearest table, and she placed her hands on her hips. "I can't believe you…" He grinned guiltily and moved toward her. She put her hand on his chest, pretending to push him away, but he covered her hand with his, pressing in harder against him, so she could feel his heartbeat.

"Bein' in love makes ya crazy sometimes," he replied, feeling her hand relax against him.

"I honestly thought someone needed me."

"Chest pains?" he asked.

"Yes," Michaela replied, her eyes glaring into his, but softening at the curve that spread across his lips. "Your heart is certainly working well enough." She shook her head. "Do me a favor, and never scare me like that again."

"It was nice seein' ya so all fired ready to jump into action, though," he replied with a chuckle. Again, she wanted to slap him, but he was so darned sweet. "'Sides, I guess our plans for tonight kinda backfired."

"I suppose they did," she replied, her cheeks reddening as usual.

"I had to distract ya, and I knew ya'd want Colleen and Matthew to stay with Brian."

"You are using my son's illness to get me alone?" she asked, her heart pumping harder and louder.

"He's just got a stomach ache from eatin' so much candy," Sully said, defending himself. Michaela rolled her eyes. She knew he was right. "Colleen can take care of him, can't she?"

"Yes, she can, and the nausea is passing, but…"

"I know. It won't happen again," he replied, snaking his arms around her waist. "Since you're here…" Michaela laughed against him, as he captured her lips with his own. This man was insatiable, though she secretly admitted to herself that she could never get enough of him. Each day that passed made the bond between them stronger. She had never known that such a strong bond could form before marriage, but this had made them so strong. They could be anything with one another and still love each other more and more each day. They didn't expect married life to be much different.

She thought he was going to move in to kiss her, but he surprised her by pulling away, taking her hand in his and leading her toward the washroom.

"I have a surprise for ya." Michaela bit her bottom lip nervously, as they walked into the washroom. The faint scent of roses clung in the foggy air, as candles surrounded the dimly lit room. Michaela sighed softly, when she saw a copper tub, identical to the one in her room, steaming with fresh, hot water filled with bubbles. Suddenly, Michaela felt very self-conscious. Yes, she'd allowed herself to be free with him, but for some reason, the thought of bathing in front of him frightened her. It was a private experience, something she usually did alone, and she was beginning to realize that someday, alone would be a word she used on only rare occasions.

"Sully…" His lips were already moving over hers, and she smiled against his mouth, as his hands worked eagerly with the back of her dress. She giggled, as his hands slipped over the buttons, and she kissed his neck, gently running her tongue along the flesh, as he worked, making him almost growl with frustration. When he unfastened the first few buttons, he ran his hand over the exposed flesh of her back, making her tremble. Then, his hands began to un-tuck her blouse from her skirt, causing her to close her eyes, wriggling free of the garment. As soon as enough buttons were loose, he pulled the shirt over her head and tossed it onto an empty chair. Immediately, his hands began working on the camisole, as he rocked her body with his, gently pushing her back. She leaned against a hard object, probably a bureau, as he worked with the hooks. Her slender hands gripped the object behind her, and his mouth pressed hot, melting kisses on her collarbone, making her sensitive flesh react to his touch.

She gasped softly, as he ran a hand up her camisole and gently caressed a breast with his hand. She closed her eyes, as his hand worked magic on her sensitive, aroused skin. Her hands began to work with the buttons on his shirt, not wanting to waste any time. His beads and shirt went fluttering to the ground a moment later, and Sully's hand gave up on the camisole long enough to strip her of her skirt. She moaned, as his hand moved over her bare thigh, and she swallowed hard, loving the feel of his buckskins against her legs. Somewhere along the line, his moccasins and buckskins joined the pile, and he was slipping the camisole off of her body and sliding the pins out of her hair, leaving her wearing nothing but the wedding ring that was strung around her neck. He pressed into her, letting her feel his strength, and she moaned under his kisses, her hands grazing over his hips. She groaned into his mouth and felt his hand slide down her back, cupping her and lifting a leg over his hip, draping her over him. She giggled, as his lips placed feather-like kisses upon her chest, and the laughter stopped when he took a nipple into his mouth, gently grasping at it with his teeth. She gasped, taking in the feel of his tongue, as it stimulated her and made her cry out from the back of her throat.

Without warning, he scooped her up into his arms and placed her down in the hot water. She nearly screamed out at the feel of the hot water against her already stimulated flesh. She swallowed hard, feeling the nerves bundle up inside of her, as he walked around behind the tub, placing his dark hands against her pale shoulders. She adjusted to the feel of the water around her, as his hands began to knead the tension out of her body. She leaned her head back, letting the water soak to her scalp, and she briefly opened her eyes, staring up into the bright blue ones that shined just for her.

He leaned down, capturing her lips in his again, and she turned around, snaking her arms around his neck, standing up on her knees, pulling her wet body against his. Suddenly, taking a bath sounded even more heavenly than usual.

"I can leave ya to take a bath by yourself if ya want," he teased, feeling her tremble in his arms. The glazed over look in her eyes told him that was the last thing she wanted, and she leaned up to kiss him, kissing his lips and his chin and boldly kissing his chest. "I don't want ya to hold back with me." Michaela didn't respond, but she pulled away and moved back in the tub, letting her body submerge in the water, under the cover of the soapy white bubbles. When he stepped into the steaming water, her eyes bashfully washed over his body, taking in all of him, a smile tugging at the corners of her mouth at the thought of the things he could make her feel when they were together.

He settled down into the water, his bare legs brushing against hers. He took the sponge and a bar of soap into his hands and lathered it, until it was coated and soaked in soap and water. Michaela watched him, her hands gently touching his legs, her body shaking with excitement.

"Turn around," he said softly, his voice rich with anticipation. Michaela obeyed, her mind wandering and her worries melting away, as he ran the sponge over her shoulders and down her back. His bare hand rinsed where the soap had been, and by the time she turned around, his own body needed the feel of her touch. But, he controlled himself, and he began to wash her front, softly trailing the sponge down her chest, over the wedding band, between her breasts and down, down, down. He gently touched her, as the sponge cleaned the rest of her body. The feeling of him washing her made her melt, and she bit her lip, as he took his time with her, finally finishing by trailing the sponge down her legs and to her feet.

He handed her the sponge silently, and her face filled with blood, tingling with near embarrassment.

"Ya don't have to if ya don't want to," he said with a smile, reaching for the sponge. But, she pulled her hands away, taking it between her fingers, lathering it up with soap. He watched her, and her eyes never broke off of his. He saw how nervous she was, but it was endearing how much she wanted to completely let go and not be afraid to do anything with him.

Slowly, she began to wash his chest, her eyes burning into his, sealing their love forever. She smiled, as his hands fit around her waist under the water, and she closed her eyes, feeling him under the water, heavy across her thigh. She swallowed hard, bringing the sponge lower, almost afraid to touch him. But, his hands gently guided hers, and she wasn't afraid. She washed him, feeling him in her hand, shaking at the feeling of such power, feeling liberated once again. She knew she was pleasing him with such a simple touch, when he leaned his head back, and his breaths became ragged. As she touched him, his hand grazed up her thigh, touching her, causing her hips to buck under the water. She tossed the sponge aside and held onto the side of the tub with her free hand, drawing in deep, dizzy-making breaths. She nearly came over the edge at the mere feeling of him pulsating against her, and she felt as if she was burning all over. Those proper Boston manners were trying to break their way back in, but she wouldn't let them. Not when it felt this good.

She finally released him, moving to the other side of the tub to catch her breath. She swallowed hard, closing her eyes, feeling herself throbbing and crying out for him.

Their hands met under the water, and he slid across, taking her into his arms. She wrapped her legs around his waist, sitting in his lap. Her wet hair clung to her back and floated in the water, brushing against his chest. Sweat dripped down their faces, mixing with the soapy water, as they joined together, filling one another completely with love, need and a fueled passion that would never burn out. Michaela leaned her head back, moaning in pleasure, as he filled her, and she dug her nails into his shoulders, causing him to moan into her neck, kissing the most sensitive spots, causing her body to tremble and threaten to shatter like crystal.

"Michaela," he breathed into her ear, nipping at it slightly, feeling the water sloshing out of the tub behind them. Michaela arched her back, burying her face in his shoulder, crying out as she peaked over the edge. He was holding onto her hips for dear life, as she moved over him, and when he let go for only a moment, he toppled back, submerging himself in the water. Michaela gasped, when the man she loved came up sputtering for breath, but he held her close and leaned her against the back of the tub, touching her, making love to her and letting her cry out her needs to him.

She gasped, closing her eyes tightly and clenching her toes, as she soared again, holding onto him, waiting for him to reach his pinnacle. When he collapsed against her, his head rested against her breasts, listening to her rapid heartbeat, as his own heart nearly pounded out of his chest. Michaela's legs were still wrapped around him, and she was cradling him, gently running her fingers through his soft hair, caressing him, loving him, coming down with him.

By the time the water started to cool, Sully felt his body stirring against Michaela's again, feeling her breasts against his skin, feeling her legs still secured around his. But, he pulled away from her, standing up and finding a robe. He wrapped it around himself, and he took Michaela's hand. She stood without a word, and he wrapped her in a matching robe. Michaela grinned, finding that it was about two sizes too big, and with it closed, the tops of her breasts still showed.

"Let's get you warm," he said in a tone that made her heart go pitter-patter. He led her into the bedroom, where a fire was blazing, and he helped her down onto the large rug, drawing her into his arms. He leaned against the back of a chair, and she sat in his lap, leaning her back against his chest. His chin rested on her shoulder, and she rubbed his arms, as they wrapped around her.

"What time do you think it is?" she asked softly, staring into the flames.

"I don't wanna talk about time," he replied, kissing the damp skin on her neck. She grinned at his answer, and she turned in his arms, pressing her body against his. She kissed him right on the nose, and then she found his lips.

"I suppose I could stay a little while longer," she replied, kissing him shamelessly. "His hands ran through her tangled, damp hair, and he chuckled.

"We gotta get ya dry at least," he replied. She laughed, collapsing against him, as his hands untied her robe. She pulled back to look into his eyes, unconsciously straddling his waist. Her hands tentatively explored the exposed V of flesh, until she boldly pulled at the opening of the robe, letting it fall to his side, adjusting herself, so she could slip it down his arms. She bit her lip, curiosity and coyness beaming in her eyes. His hands moved through the robe that still clung loosely to Michaela's body, and he found her smooth hips and gently began to massage them. Her hips rocked toward his, and she could feel his readiness once again.

"Sully," she whispered, taking the wedding band into her hand and looking down at it, watching the reflection of the fire flicker in its luster.

"Hmm?" he breathed, focusing on the way her body moved against him, knowing she was ready. But, he held back.

"Tell me what you want to say on the day you put this on my finger," she whispered against his lips, feeling bolder than ever. Sully smiled, slipping the chain off of her head, gently untangling it from the few hairs it got stuck in. He wasn't sure he could think, let alone speak, but he kissed her softly, slipping the ring onto her finger.

"Michaela, I vow to you, on this day, that I'm gonna love you for the rest of my life. I'll be a good husband to you and a good father to our children. I'll take care of you when ya need me. I'll hold your hand when ya need a friend. I'll hold ya in my arms the rest of my life, and I'll never let you go." Tears welled in Michaela's eyes, and when he went to speak again, she shushed him with a kiss. It could hold until their wedding day. A part of her was sad that she wouldn't get the chance to experience this rush of discovery on her wedding night, but another part of her was glad that there would be no surprises. She couldn't wait to promise herself to him and not have to hide. Hiding from the world was the last thing she wanted. She looked into his eyes, smiling with all of the love a wife could have for a husband, and she kissed his forehead.

"And I vow myself to you forever. I love you so much." Her hips continued to grind against his, and she closed her eyes, shuddering and pressing her hands against his chest, as he slowly joined with her, and she took him in completely, gasping as if it were the first time all over again. She opened her eyes, the initial sparks of passion firing up once again.

Then, she was falling. She was falling back onto the carpeted floor, and her hair spilled out behind her, haloing her and causing her to glow in the firelight. He looked down at her, seeing the smile creep across her face, as the breath raced in and out of her lungs. Her hands moved along his sides, tickling and loving him at the same time, as he began to move inside of her again, pulling and pushing and straining, as she pulled him down onto her, his chest brushing over her firm, milky breasts, feeling her nipples graze against the hairs on his chest. She moaned, as he circled her most sensitive flesh with his thumb, driving her wild with desire.

"Sully," she moaned, and he closed his mouth over hers. She groaned, meeting his thrusts with her own, bringing him as far as she could, and she arched her back, planting her feet firmly on the floor, squeezing her toes into the carpet.

The way she looked up into his eyes during her most vulnerable moment made Sully nearly come over the edge. His hand cupped her cheek, and he kissed her forehead, feeling her eyelashes fluttering against his chin. Their lips met once more, and their tongues danced to the rhythm of their bodies. The fire seemed to reach out and envelop them in its fiery embrace, as they quickly reached their highs together, feeling each other reacting to the movements their bodies had fallen in synch to.

"Mi…Michaela…" he panted, as their bodies wrapped around one another so tightly. He looked into her eyes again, and her hand, the one that still held the chained ring around her finger, stroked through his hair and merged her soul with his as the white hot passion of life surged through their veins, melting them together once again.

And in the end, they collapsed side by side on the floor, and she curled against him, their bodies glistening in the afterglow of their love. His arms held her protectively, and Michaela had a feeling deep inside of her that it would be like this forever. A newborn hope filled her soul, and she looked into his tired but crystal eyes, and she smiled.

"I can't wait to be your wife," she whispered. "It feels like we're already married." Sully nodded.

"Sometimes I forget we ain't." Michaela nodded, closing her eyes, hearing the sounds of his body and feeling the warmth of him.

"A year from now, we'll be saying those vows."

"A year?" Sully wondered. Michaela grinned.

"Give or take a few months."

"Why a year?"

"You want to build a new house. We'll have to wait…" Sully gently squeezed her shoulder.

"What if I told ya…I already started buildin' it?" Michaela sat up quickly, her bare body exposed to his wandering eyes. She reached out to touch his cheek, and he took her hand in his, kissing it softly.

"You what?"

"I did," he said with a laugh.

"When!" she asked with wide eyes.

"'Bout a month before ya left for Boston," he replied thoughtfully. "I guess I had wishful thinkin'." Her eyes were wide with surprise, and her jaw had dropped. She couldn't believe what she was hearing. "If the snow holds 'til next month, I think I can get a good part of it built. I'm thinkin'…it might be finished by May."

"May!" she asked, disbelief coating her voice. "That's six months from now." Sully nodded.

"It is. If that's fine with you, I mean."

"It's more than fine, Sully," she breathed. "I can't believe you…"

"I left the plans with Robert E. He said he'd look after 'em 'til I came back with ya. He knew," Sully said with a sheepish grin. Michaela shook her head.

"You never cease to amaze me, Byron Sully." She wrapped her arms around him and showered his face with kisses.

"Well, I'll try to surprise ya at least once a day if I'm gonna get a reaction like that." She laughed, and she noticed the time on the clock. She sighed heavily.

"I should get back downstairs," she whispered. Sully pulled her closer.

"I wish ya could stay here with me all night."

"So do I," she said with a grin, happy to know that they wouldn't have to sneak around for an entire year. Their wedding was coming sooner than she'd thought. Six more months. They were halfway there. This time next year, she'd be a happily married woman.

She slowly pulled herself up and collected her clothes. Sully watched her, and he smiled curiously as she tried to fasten each garment. Finally, he stood and moved behind her, helping her with everything, and he couldn't resist kissing the side of her neck from time to time. "Mr. Sully, I suggest you stop, or I'll never get out of here." Sully chuckled.

"Then maybe I ought to keep doin' it." Michaela laughed, turning in his arms and kissing him softly.


"Depends on what ya mean," he replied. She glared up at him teasingly, and she shook her head. After she'd pulled herself into the rest of her clothes, sans the stockings and shoes she'd left back in her room, she kissed him again, and he walked her to the door.

"I love you," she breathed, inhaling the scent of him, not wanting the moment to end.

"I love you," he replied, gently stroking her back. "I'll see ya tomorrow."

"Bright and early," she nodded. "Good night."

"Night," he answered, watching her disappear down the hall before closing the door after her. He wasn't sure he'd ever be able to get to sleep now. Michaela, however, was exhausted. As she opened the door to her hotel room, it was dark, and she felt her way to the bed that Brian hadn't occupied earlier. She could see the forms of her sleeping children, and she was at ease. She pulled herself out of her clothes, which seemed to be difficult now, and after she pulled on her gown, she slipped under the covers and closed her eyes, hoping to dream a sweet dream about the man she loved.

When morning came, Michaela found Brian jumping on his bed, Colleen glaring at him with annoyance and Matthew putting his hat atop his head.

"Brian! Get down from there before you hurt yourself," Michaela scolded, throwing back her covers and sitting up on the side of the bed. "You must be feeling much better this morning." Brian stopped in mid jump and plopped down into the center of the bed. He sighed heavily, and Colleen tossed a pillow at him. "Colleen!"

"I've been tellin' him to stop for the last five minutes." Michaela realized she must have been sleeping heavily.

"You ain't my ma," Brian replied, jutting his chin out at her. Michaela sighed heavily and moved toward her trunk. She tossed in last night's clothes and pulled out a fresh dress.

"I'll be right back. Please try to get along for a few minutes," Michaela said quietly.

"Wonder if Sully'll come by 'fore we leave?" Brian asked. Michaela tensed at the question, and she turned toward her son. Then she got an idea. She was going to pay him back for the fake emergency.

"Why don't you go wake him up?"

"Think he'll mind?"

"Tell him I sent you," Michaela said with a wink.

"Okay," Brian replied.

"I think it's room 214," Michaela said with a sneaky grin. She tried not to laugh, as Brian hurried out the door. She sighed happily to herself, knowing Sully would get her back for it later. She felt like a childish school girl, but she liked the feeling of being young and free.

"Was everything ok last night, Dr. Mike?" Matthew asked, tossing a few things into his trunk. Michaela's mind froze.

"Last night?"

"The emergency…" Colleen trailed off

"Oh. That. It was a false alarm," Michaela said, looking toward the washroom door.

"Ya were gone an awful long time for a false alarm." Michaela sighed. These kids were too smart. They were going to figure something out eventually, and that made her uneasy.

"I wanted to stay for a little while and make sure it was a false alarm, which it was, so I came back."

"How'd ya know Sully's room number?" Matthew asked, his eyes flashing with an almost secretive knowledge.

"I ran into him…" she said, hating fibbing to the children. Colleen seemed to accept that answer, though Matthew's face told another story. But, he dropped it, removing his hat, running his fingers through his hair like he did when he was uncomfortable, and he replaced the hat back on top of his head. Michaela noticed this, and she escaped into the washroom, leaning her back against the door. She closed her eyes. It was only a matter of time before they knew. She could feel it, and the mere though made her a little dizzy. She couldn't believe how uncomfortable it made her. She felt guilty for keeping such secrets, and she felt as if she was shaming her relationship with Sully at the same time. Six more months.

She dressed quietly, and she put her hair up with trembling hands. By the time she walked out of the washroom, a very groggy but dressed Sully was standing there. Brian looked pleased as punch.

"Good morning," she said with a coy grin. He stared at her, knowing Brian's wake up call had been payback.

"Mornin'," he replied, trying to choke back a laugh. Matthew noticed the tension between them right away, and he saw the blush forming on Michaela's pale cheeks.

"Let's go check out," Matthew said, ushering Colleen and Brian out of the room.

"Thank you," Michaela called to him. "We'll be down in a couple of minutes."

"Take your time," he replied. Suddenly, he felt uncomfortable, and Sully noticed Michaela's shoulders grow rigid. "I…I uh…we'll see ya in the lobby." As soon as the door shut, Michaela nearly collapsed. Her entire form fell, and Sully moved toward her.

"Ya okay?"

"No. I'm not okay," she said, shaking her head. "The children are becoming suspicious. At least Matthew is. I hate lying. I hate sneaking around," she said quietly. She looked up into his eyes, and he took her into his arms. "I think that…"

"Yeah?" He swallowed hard, waiting for her response.

"Six months…you're sure?"

"Pretty sure," Sully said with a nod. "What're ya sayin'?"

"I'm saying that…perhaps we should wait until then. It's going to be difficult with the children around, and I don't want…I don't want…" She was trembling now, and he pulled her into his arms.

"It's all right, Michaela."

"Don't try to pretend like you understand. I'm being completely unreasonable."
"No ya ain't," he said with a grin, kissing her cheek.

"Sully, listen to me," she began, her voice quivering. She didn't know how to say it, but she had to find a way. "When I'm with you, I feel like…like I could stay in your arms forever. I'm completely consumed with you when we're together, and I love the feeling of knowing what I have to look forward to with you for the rest of our lives." She swallowed hard, shaking her head. Her eyes stayed on his, as he placed his hands on her shoulders. "I don't want the children the children to know, because they won't understand the reasons for our decisions. Do you understand that?" Sully nodded.

"'Course I do."

"I'm not ashamed of what we have. I love you so much, and I don't want to hide, but I keep thinking about the children, and that's what I need to do. They need me, Sully, and if I'm running off to 'emergencies' every night, they're going to know what's going on. I need their trust."

"I know. I know, Michaela. Ya don't gotta explain yourself to me."

"Yes I do." She reached out and gently stroked his cheek. He held her hand there, feeling the warmth of her touch. "I'm the one who wanted to be free."

"There's nothin' wrong with that," he replied softly, his voice straining. "Michaela…"

"You aren't angry?"

"Why would I be?"

"Well, we've been so close lately, and to just keep our distance for so long…well, I don't want that to put a wedge between us." Sully smiled a little, kissing her softly.

"No matter what, I ain't goin' away. I love ya too much to ever push ya away or let you push me away." He sensed her nerves, and he realized how that had sounded. He swallowed hard. "Six months…it ain't gonna be easy, but I waited over a year to tell ya how I felt. Waitin' six more months to be with ya is better than never havin' ya in my arms again." He paused shortly. "Things are gonna be real different from now on. Knowin' we got somethin' to look forward to…it'll make our weddin' night even more special. We'll know exactly what we got to look forward to, ya know?" Michaela nodded. "I love you, Michaela. I'll always love you, and if I gotta wait six months to be with ya, I'll do it. You're worth the wait." Michaela hugged him close, thankful that he was so understanding.

"Perhaps we'll find a way to have privacy, but I don't think…" He shook his head, squeezing her lovingly and pulling back to look into her eyes.

"If it happens, it happens. If it don't, we'll have the rest of our lives after the weddin'." He kissed her softly, feeling her relaxing against him. When he pulled away, he reached for her hand. "We're halfway there, Michaela. Let's go home."

The End…or is it?