"Mommy, Mommy, look!"
Tara looked up from her laptop into her daughter's grinning face. "What is it, Mackenzie?" she asked.
The little girl's grin widened. "I have a loose tooth!" she exclaimed, then reached up to wiggle the tooth as proof.
Tara reached out for Mackenzie, pulling her onto her lap. "Oooo, my girl is getting older," she sing-songed. "How long do you think it'll take to fall out?"
"Well it's really wiggly," Mackenzie said in a serious tone. "And when Ashley's tooth got wiggly, it fell out in a week. But that's 'cuz her brothers sat on her an' ripped it out. I think two weeks. Unless I eat apples lots. Can I have a apple, Mommy?"
Smothering her chuckle, Tara answered, "Sure, sweetie. But don't tell Momma I said you could, okay? It's almost bed time."
"Thank you, Mommy!" Mackenzie exclaimed, throwing her arms around Tara's neck before wiggling off her lap and running into the kitchen.
"Isn't it a little late for a snack?"
Tara glanced over at the direction of the voice, grinning when she saw her wife. "She's going for fruit, it's not that bad."
Sue rolled her eyes. "Uh-huh."
"Hey, they say that eating an apple is just like brushing your teeth."
Sue gave Tara a disbelieving look.
"'Course," Tara continued. "They also stopped saying that four years ago when they found that it wasn't, but..."
"You're hopeless," Sue said cheerfully, walking over and seating herself on Tara's lap.
Tara let out a whoosh of air. "Hon... You stay there much longer, I won't be able to feel my legs," she gasped.
Mouth opening in an expression of righteous indignation, Sue lightly slapped Tara's arm. "You're the one who did this to me," she said in mock-anger.
"I did not!" Tara exclaimed. "My brother did." She paused. "Wow, that sounded bad."
Sue started laughing. "Yes it did," she agreed. "But either way, it's still your side of the family that made me pregnant."
Tara wrapped her arms around Sue's middle. "And I love you like this. And all other ways you come. But my legs are still going numb and tingly."
"All right, all right." Sue rolls her eyes again, standing up. She eyed Tara warningly as she leaned forward with a sigh. Tara stopped just short of briskly rubbing her thighs and smiled up endearingly at her wife.
"Momma!" Mackenzie exclaimed, waving her arm wildly.
Sue looked over at the girl. "Time for bed?" she asked.
Mackenzie pouted, took a bite of her apple, and headed up the stairs.
"I'll go with her, make sure she actually brushes her teeth," Tara said with a grin, knowing that their daughter had a tendency to do no more than swish water around her mouth.
Sue nodded and sat down on the couch, picking up her book that she had left there.
Tara grinned again at her wife, then followed Mackenzie up the stairs. When she peeked into the girl's bedroom to check on her progress preparing for bed, Tara couldn't stifle the laugh that burst forth.
"Mommyyyy," Mackenzie whined, wiggling her arms and getting more tangled up in her nightgown.
After helping the tiny blonde get her nightgown on properly, Tara lifted her up. "Oof," she groaned. "You're getting heavy!" The truth was that Mackenzie was no bigger than a four year old, although she had turned six more than three months earlier.
Mackenzie giggled. "I'm growing, Mommy," she informed Tara, content to let her mommy carry her to the bathroom to finish getting ready for bed. "Do I have to brush my teeth?" she asked once they were there.
"I'm afraid you do, sweetie," Tara answered with a smile as she set Mackenzie down on the counter.
Mackenzie grumbled, but picked up her toothbrush and toothpaste, brushing quickly while Tara watched. "Done, Mommy," Mackenzie announced after rinsing her mouth.
"I'll let you go to the bathroom, then I'll read you your story, okay?"
"Story!" Mackenzie exclaimed happily, grinning at Tara even as she closed the door behind her, allowing the little girl some privacy.
When Mackenzie came out, she grabbed Tara's hand, and together they walked into Mackenzie's room, a dreamscape with purple sky, blue clouds and pink grass painted on the ceiling and walls. Mackenzie picked out a book and crawled into bed. Making sure that Mackenzie had her teddy and was securely tucked in, Tara set the book down on the bed, signing the story as she read it. By the time she was finished, the little girl was fast asleep.
"Sleep tight, baby girl," Tara whispered, leaning forward to softly kiss her daughter before silently leaving the room.
On her way downstairs, Tara took a moment to check on Austin. The two year old boy was sleeping soundly in his crib, oblivious to his mother standing over him and the light kiss she whispered across the top of his head. Back downstairs, Tara immediately went to her wife, who had put down her book when she saw her.
Tara carefully climbed onto the couch behind Sue, wrapping her arms around her, soothed by the gentle and not-so-gentle acrobatics of the baby within.
"What's wrong?" Sue asked, leaning her head back to rest on Tara's shoulder.
~Nothing~ Tara signed in front of Sue.
Poking Tara's thigh next to her, Sue said slightly sternly, "Don't lie to me, darling. Something's bothering you."
Tara sighed, and rested her chin on Sue's shoulder. Her fingers drawing random shapes and swirls on Sue's belly, she finally signed ~Can life really be this perfect?~
"I'll remind you that you said that tomorrow morning, when you try to get Mackenzie out of bed for school." Sue could feel Tara's laugh against her back and neck in the movement of her breasts and the puffs of air against her skin.
Becoming uncomfortable with the limitations of signing in front of Sue from behind, Tara shifted to sit beside Sue. ~I'm serious,~ she signed. ~I just put the most beautiful little girl to bed, read her a story and kissed her goodnight, then checked on the most beautiful little boy, kissing him goodnight... Then come down here to the most beautiful woman, my wife, who is pregnant with our third child... It is amazing, Sue.~
Sue leaned forward and kissed Tara. "Thank you," she whispered against the other woman's lips. "You mean the world to me."
Wrapping her arms around Sue, Tara pulled her closer, deepening the kiss. Finally pulling back, she said, "You are my world, Sue. You, and Mackenzie and Austin and the little one inside you right now. You're my whole world. I love you," the last was said in a whisper, and although Sue couldn't hear the emotion in Tara's voice, she saw it in her eyes, and it brought tears to the surface.
"I love you," Sue said back softly, melting into Tara once more.