Gillian awoke in the dim light of the morning with her husband's warm body spooning against her. She shifted onto her back, stretching with a low groan and angled her face toward him, eyes settling on his sleeping face. He sighed in response, still curled against her but didn't awaken. Smiling, she watched over him, observing him at his most peaceful. Lines had deepened over the last 12 years, there was a lot more gray in his silky but full head of hair but it was also laced through the red-gold beard that he'd grown out. She teased that he looked a little like a sea captain but she liked it. He looked distinguished. At sixty, he'd mellowed a bit but he still had his moments. Moments that reminded her of the same intense passion that had fueled her love for him. Looking back, she could see now that it could have only gone two ways. She would have to have fallen in love with him or killed him. It had worked out for the best.

"Hey." His hazel eyes were now open and staring at her, bemused.

"Hey sleepy head."

Cal frowned. "What time is it? Weekend isn't it?"

"Um, 6:20 and yes."

"Is everythin' okay?" Meaning: Why the hell are you awake so early on Saturday?

"Fine." She turned on her side to face him, scooting closer.

His eyes combed over her face before settling into a smile. She always loved that he could smile with only his eyes. It was a gift.

Moving forward, he tenderly kissed her lips before pulling back ever so slightly. "Need help gettin' back to sleep?" One brow quirked upward.

"Don't think I'll be going back to sleep."

"Oh really?" He moved close again, running his lips down her jaw line to her neck, pleased when he felt her pulse quicken. One hand made its way around to the small of her back, fingers barely dipping into the back of her pajama bottoms.

After all this time, his touch continued to excite her. He knew exactly what made her tick, hum, sweat, giggle, gasp and occasionally scream. Immediately her body began to respond as always, her eyes sliding shut, mouth barely parted open. His lips worked down to her collarbone before planting warm kisses to her chest as the fingers of one hand dexterously unbuttoned her jammie top. His mouth was at the swell of her right breast when the breathless words tumbled from her lips, causing him to freeze.

"You do realize the twins are here?"

The pause was exceptionally long before he spoke, his beautiful lilt muffled against her flesh. "Door locked?"



"Cal!" The reprimand was not with humor.

"Hold that thought darlin'." He leaned over, gave her a quick but passionate kiss that curled her toes before slipping out from under the covers and checking the door. As suspected, it wasn't locked. He quickly remedied the situation before playfully bouncing back on the bed and landed squarely on top of Gillian. Staring down into her eyes, he kissed her on the nose. "How much time do you think we have?"

"Half an hour, hour if we're really lucky."

"Hmmm…well anything left unfinished we can pick up tonight after the kids are wiped."

"Only problem is that we'll most likely be wiped too."

Five-year-olds were like car batteries. The more they ran, the more energy they seemed to have.

Cal continued to stare down at her. "Well, waste not, want not." Leaning down, he kissed her again as her arms quickly wrapped around him, securing him to her.



"Nah, you must have me confused with some other old guy."

Giggles filled the air as two children bounced toward him. The girl was dark haired and dark eyed like Emily and her husband, while the boy held Cal's coloring, including his chameleon-like hazel eyes. Ah, genetics.

When Gillian had gone into the shower, Cal had unlocked the door, having heard the whispers of movement from the hallway. The timing had happily worked out.

"Are we going to the zoo?"

Maddie looked up at her grandfather expectantly while Jason bounced around on the bed like a wildebeest. She looked so much like Emily that he felt his heart clench. "I seem to remember possibly maybe sayin' somethin' 'bout that at one time or another…"

"Uh huh. You said today."

"Did I?"

"Uh huh." The little girl climbed into Cal's lap, completely ignoring her brother whom she considered a barbarian.

"Are you sure?"




He grinned, his fingers finding tickle spots as the girl screamed with laughter.

Not to be left out, Jason was suddenly on Cal's back, wrapping his little arms around his neck, who naturally feigned being choked. "Arrgh. No strangling your granddad! Your mum would frown on it!" The boy laughed, high and delighted.

Gillian stood quietly in the doorway, taking advantage of the moment, wishing she had time to grab her camera, but knowing she didn't. Emily and Josh were taking a long overdue weekend together and she and Cal had agreed to take the children. As much as Cal groused and complained, she knew that it was just an act. Those kids meant the world to him and it always warmed her to watch him with them. As cut throat as he could still be in the cube, he was a complete push over when it came to his grandchildren.

"Gramma Gilly!" Maddie wriggled away from Cal's tickling fingers and skipped over and threw her arms around Gillian's waist. She looked up, grinning large. "Grandpa's trying to get out of taking us to the zoo!"

Jason had wormed into the spot previously taken by his sister and was combing his fingers through his grandfather's short beard, his expression completely enamored. Cal pressed a kiss against the boy's forehead before looking up at his wife and granddaughter. "Now, would I do that?" His voice was slightly indignant.

"Yeah Cal. You probably would." Gillian smirked at him, as she hugged the little girl to her.

"Huh. So much for loyalty."

"We're still going, right?" Jason looked up at him, suddenly concerned.

"Course we're gonna go ya little nut." Cal stood, careful not to dump the boy on the floor. "Now beasties, I need you to head on downstairs. We'll be down in just a second."

"Can we have pancakes?" Both kids questioned in unison before looking at one another and bursting into giggles again.

"If that's what you want."

"With smiley faces?"

He narrowed his eyes at them, wincing as they screamed in laughter and scurried out of the room.

Gillian stepped close to him and wrapped her arms around his waist. "Ready for some lions and tigers and bears?"

"Not gonna do it. Not gonna say 'oh my.'"

"Too late."

He smiled and hugged her to him fiercely for a moment before pulling away and allowing his hands to wander up to cup her face. She'd changed very little over the years. Maybe a few more fine lines but not much more than that. She was still the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen. "Thank you."

Startled, she tilted her head. "For what?"

"For bein' with me, stayin' with me." Cal kissed her softly. "You're everythin' to me and I love you."

Blinking, she felt her eyes shimmer slightly. She wasn't positive what brought this on at this particular moment, but she never tired of hearing it. Lightly brushing her fingers through his hair, she kissed him back. "I love you too." Kissing him again, she smiled against his lips. "Now we'd better get down there and make breakfast for your grandchildren before they start chewing on the furniture."

"Probably a wise idea darlin'."

Hope y'all enjoyed this fiction. Time to noodle on some new ones… ;-)