Author: Dancing Star
Pairing: Connor / Lindsay
Category: Romance, AU
CAUTION: If you like the Lindsay/ Marc constellation, just don´t read this! Who does it anyway, it´s not my fault!
Note: Summer is over but I wish you all a nice and pleasant autumn. By the way this story is dedicated to Edinburgh.
Summary: Two people meet again after a long time.
Endless headaches plagued Connor since the afternoon, when his life completely fell apart and received a new order yet.
She was dead, he had never seen her body but he believed it and tried to numb all his grief somehow. Maybe he would get drunk properly at the first opportunity or hit the first tree he could find with a car. Toronto was against him. He lost everything. What was wrong? Where did start to make mistakes? While he was thinking, his headache worsened, his head was getting heavier, until he finally closed his eyes.
"Sir," a voice woke him from his Connor minutes of sleep. "Sir, your daughter." The blurry figure was transformed into a woman in a blue uniform. "Your daughter, Sir," the stewardess repeated and Connor realized the crying baby in the seat next to him, "She's crying for quite a while. May I refill your cup?"
"Can I have another coffee?"
"Sure… How is your daughter´s name?"
"I haven´t thought about."
"The name Galina, which means silence, wouldn´t fit", the stewardess took a look at the baby while she refilled the coffee, "It seems like your daughter cries a lot. I hope she isn´t doing that all the time."
"Judging by the dark circles under my eyes, she loves it," Connor tried to sound friendly but not annoyed.
"I´m convinced her mother is happy to care of her for a while, when she is back from the plane's toilet", the lady in uniform admitted and put the coffee pot back in her trolley.
"Her mother is dead."
"Excuse me, Sir, I didn´t know. I... I..."
"It's all right."
"I´m so very sorry", the stewardess disappeared and Connors eyes stopped on the baby. It wasn´t her fault her mother was dead, at least he tried to convince himself. In the hospital he had spoken to a doctor, who confirmed that she had a heart attack after birth. For him, the child was the trigger. "How unfair," he suddenly thought. She was just two days old and he already hated her. This made the future relationship between father and daughter even more difficult. The little girl with the dark hair didn´t deserve that. During the conversation the doctor at the hospital had told him he had to care for the baby. Finally, he was the father and with the death of the mother he had all the responsibility. He didn´t want it, neither the responsibility, nor the child.
Furious, he almost hammered down the hospital. Today, he had calmed down a bit, but he couldn´t stand another minute in Toronto. On the same day he could pick up his daughter from hospital, he packed all things and entered a plane to Edinburgh. There wasn´t a reason why he had chosen Edinburgh as a refuge. Maybe there he could rest of the pain caused by the loss of a love. The child was all that had survived. They were alone...
In the Hebrew language Emma meant "God is with us." So he chose the name Emma. He would take care of all other formalities, when they arrived in Edinburgh.
He felt so alone, except for the child. The Clock was heading toward midnight. Soon it was over: the worst day of his life.
Three years and two weeks later
It was raining in Edinburgh, when she arrived at the airport and sat in a taxi. "Can you take me to this address?", she asked the driver and handed him the paper with a scribbled address. In a way it was the fault of Peter's new girlfriend that she was there: They had met by chance in a bar and Peter and his girlfriend had invited Lindsay to the housewarming party. There she discovered the vital clue and she had almost killed Peter when he didn´t want to tell her Connors new address. "Why was he writing this card? And where is he?", she had shouted at him.
After what had happened in the hospital, Lindsay had never wondered that Connor didn´t talk a word to her and had just walked away, but a postcard in Peter's apartment, had made her suspicious. The postcard was written four years ago in October and "The kid" was mentioned. About one month after birth.
Since that moment she couldn´t stay longer in Toronto, she wanted to know what was going on. She told her longtime boyfriend Marc she was on a business trip, so she sat in the plane to Scotland on a Thursday afternoon. The flight nearly lasted eight hours.
After thirty minutes of travel time the taxi driver finally stopped in front of a small house in the suburbs. The little building was mad with stone and had huge windows. A Scottish flag was attached near the garage door. The garden was surrounded by a crumbling wall. She paid the driver and got out with her bag. The area was very peaceful, very rural and the nearest neighbor was about 50 feet away. Somewhere in the distance a dog barked, but no one was to be seen. She opened a gate and followed the path to the door. When she rang, she noticed she was quite excited. No one opened and she walked to the garage. This was still open, but the garage was empty. In there was no door that led directly to the adjacent house. Frustrated, she went back to the front door and pulled a lock pick out of her jacket. With this, she managed discreetly to break the lock.
Inside it was dark. She hoped someone was at home, she said a quiet "hello". No one answered.
Her footsteps were shuffling across the wooden floor, while she looked at the interior of the house. The living room wasn´t very nicely, more rustic. Nowhere were the photos of people who lived here.
In the kitchen, the sink was full of dishes and on the table was a half-full bowl of soggy cornflakes beside a nearly completed Simpsons- puzzle. Probably someone had been in a hurry.
A narrow dark-lit staircase was leading her upstairs. Through a small window she saw a little light and she could see the outlines of three doors. Lindsay fumbled for the light switch and froze. She discovered a door on which a pink name tag was attached. It was labeled with "Emma Lindsay" and her heart sank a few floors below, the bag slipped out of her hand carelessly. Lindsay turned around and rushed down the dark staircase. On the last stage she slipped and landed hard on the cold stone floor of the hallway. Almost in a trance her hand reached for the doorknob and opened it. She rushed across the garden, down the street to a bus stop, which she had discovered during her journey.
In the bus station, she sat on the bench and tried to calm down. It was alive. Her baby actually lived. She wanted so much that the baby hadn´t died after giving birth and her wish had been actually come true. Now Lindsay almost regretted she had run away and hadn´t looked at her daughter's room. Similarly, she asked herself the question of why no one told her the child was living in Edinburgh. What made Connor to deny her the girl?
She remained seated until it dawned and watched how several cars drove past her. Suddenly she remembered she had left her suitcase in the house.
Lindsay got up and walked to the house with the number eight. If she was lucky, the house was still empty and she could pick up her bag unnoticed. Meanwhile, a black car parked in the open garage and in the window beside the front door light was on. With soft knees, she rang the bell.
Perhaps she was wrong. Perhaps was the girl who lived here, just named Lindsay. Maybe...
The door opened and shortly afterwards a glass fell to the ground. Connor couldn´t say more than a hoarse "Lindsay".
"Yes, it´s me," she certainly was surprised, although she shouldn´t be. He was actually here.
Her knees were shaking even more and only now she realized she was completely soaked by the rain. "May I come in?", she asked softly and Connor stepped aside. He took her wet raincoat and hung it next to the fireplace in the living room with an unusual attention.
There was silence in the room, except for the crackling fire.
"You don´t say anything," Lindsay stated, "Aren´t you happy to see me?"
With a sigh, he passed his hand over his face and turned to her. "That you're standing here in front of me is unbelievable. Of course I am happy... Then you were the mysterious intruder."
"That's probably your bag."
She followed his gaze to a black bag, which was now also in the living room.
"You have dropped it on the upper floor."
Lindsay nodded. He had noticed. "And?", she asked, "Where is she?"
"She´s in her room. In five minutes we´ll have dinner. "A bubbling noise on the stove confirmed this. Lindsay couldn´t believe it: Connor Doyle cooked pasta with tomato sauce for his daughter.
"What brings you to Edinburgh?", he asked, "A business trip?"
"A postcard, o be precise, this here." She showed him the picture postcard of Edinburgh. He recognized the picture and the text once again. "Edinburgh is beautiful, the kid and I are fine under the circumstances. Connor "
The old piece of paper like a downfall to her. But he could never know that Peter pinned the card to the fridge and Lindsay's death was a lie.
"Why did you never talk to me?"
"They told me you were dead so I went to Edinburgh with Emma."
"Who told you this?"
"A doctor at the hospital. His name was Dr. Tanner and he told me you had a heart attack and after birth..."
Lindsay was dizzy and Connor helped her quickly to sit down on one of the chairs.
"Are you okay?"
"Yes, I...", she gulped, "I know that Doctor Tanner." She looked at him. "This is a friend of Marc, he regularly visits us and..." In her mind a memory surfaced. Two months after birth, she found a horrendous withdrawal to the private account of William Tanner on one of the bank statements. She asked Marc what it was and he had responded with "debt". What type of debt it was she had never asked him, but now it dawned on her. Similarly, Tanner's face appeared in her mind, his cold face when he lied, her baby would have died during birth and Connor was so angry that he left the hospital. She now wondered why Marc had done this and the answer was clear: jealousy.
"Her name is Emma?", Lindsay asked.
"Emma Lindsay, I named her after you." When he said this they heard a rumbling over their heads and then two little feet rushed down the stairs. Lindsay jumped up.
"I suppose you want to stay for dinner," he guessed and she nodded, without taking her eyes off him. In recent years he hadn´t changed. She wondered if she should hug him, but a movement from the corner of her eye made her looking at the door. A little girl with long dark hair tumbled in, greeted her with a shy "Hello" and climbed on her chair.
"Emma, that's Lindsay. Don´t be shy."
Connor prepared the table for three persons while Lindsay was watching him. She didn´t dare to sit beside the girl at the dining table.
"My middle name is Lindsay, too," the girl suddenly said and tore the adult Lindsay out of her mind. "Are you Daddy's girlfriend?", she asked and Lindsay's gaze went to Connor scared.
"Emma," her father warned her and he put the Pasta on a cork mat. He sat on a chair and also asked Lindsay to sit down. She felt like an intruder in this scene. It was her child who was sitting here.
"How long will you stay?", Connor asked after some time. Since Emma was here, Lindsay didn´t speak a word. Connor hated that awkward silence.
"So far until next Friday. I didn´t expect to find you so quickly. I thought my search would take much longer", she said this without looking up from her plate.
"Where are you staying?"
"I don´t know yet. I hope you have nice hotels in town. I couldn´t book a room when I was in Toronto otherwise Marc would have found out."
"This means your husband doesn´t know why you're in Scotland."
"No, he isn´t my husband," Lindsay replied. Connor really thought she was married.
"He thinks I'm in America. I first flew to New York, from there to here", Lindsay stated and looked up. Their eyes met and a tingling sensation flowed through Lindsay's body. God, how much she had missed him. She hated herself she hadn´t looked for him earlier.
"Looks like you have to find another place to stay," he said, Lindsay thought it was a joke, "The only bridge to this suburb is completely flooded. Buses and taxis can´t pass it. I was one of the last people who were allowed to cross the bridge."
"Is there a hotel nearby?"
"No, not in this district. You can stay here. I mean, if you want." His mouth twitched.
"Do I have to share my room with her then?", Emma asked. Her dad laughed and pushed one of her pigtails over her shoulder. Lindsay could hardly stop looking at her sweet daughter. Emma looked like a little mini version of her.
After dinner, she helped Connor to clear the table, he sent Emma upstairs to brush her teeth.
"I don´t know what to say," she admitted, "Emma is an amazing child. She is incredibly sweet."
"Yes, she is."
Again there was silence. "When will you tell her I'm her mother?", she finally asked. So far Connor hadn´t thought about this. Until an hour ago he had believed his daughter had no mother.
"That's exactly the point," he began, "I don´t know she will react. Finally, we were never in the situation that I've introduced a person to her person as her mother."
Lindsay sighed inwardly with relief. That probably meant he hadn´t particularly serious relationships in the recent years.
"But I am her mother," she replied and a voice from the top floor shouted down to them: "I'm ready for bed, Daddy!"
Connor put away the dishes and was on his way to the stairs, as Lindsay held his wrist. "Please let me do this... Let me take my daughter to bed only one time."
He didn´t reply, but watched her as she walked past him and then up the narrow stairs. Emma already sat with new pigtails in bed and was surprised when Lindsay came into her room. The room of her daughter was exactly as she had been dreaming of: the walls were pink and above Emma's bed hung a purple canopy. Very nice and very princesses- like. "Hey, you've cute pigtails," Lindsay stated and Emma reached for her bed blanket. "Good night, honey."
"You have to read something for me," Emma said, pointing to a bookcase. Lindsay let Emma choose a book and opened the first page. "The fairy tale of Cinderella," she said. She read the entire story and registered pleased how the little girl snuggled up to her while she read. After the story, she crept quietly out of Emma's room and returned to the living room. "She's asleep," she told Connor.
"Thank you... I have to show you something, maybe you want to have that." He took a brown leather book from the cabinet. Lindsay identified the paper as Emma's birth certificate. She studied the document, when Connor presented her an in foil-wrapped certificate.
"That's...", she gasped for air. That was a death certificate with her name on it! In another foil there was a medical certificate, signed by none other than Doctor William Tanner. "I guess you own similar documents relating to Emma," Connor suggested and it didn´t surprise him when she nodded. The death certificate she had wasn´t labeled with a name (Doctor Tanner considered she´d processed the shock if the baby wouldn´t have a name).
"It´s funny people from the registry office in Toronto didn´t notice. Someone should have noticed when a death certificate was issued a few days later with my name… I was in the office on 29 September, three days after birth, because of Emma's death certificate. When were you?"
"I was in the office for your death certificate on 29 September, too, but here in Edinburgh... Here´s the city arms."
"That's why it was never noticed... Even the cause of death is the same. Heart attack", she sank back, "That's just too much for me. It's late... I should... Please call me a cab, okay?"
"The bridge is under water, remember? You can sleep on the couch", with these words he handed her blanket and pillow.
That night, Emma was the only person who was sleeping peacefully. Her mother and father had to think about a lot of things. Today's meeting got both mixed up.
The next day was a Saturday and when Lindsay woke up, she took a moment to realize where she was. Then she remembered she had flown Edinburgh the previous day to and she had found Connor without a major search operation. The book with the documents, which he showed her yesterday, was spread in front of her on the coffee table.
She discovered another book on the shelf. It had a red cover and was labeled with "Precious Moments". She pulled the book out of the shelf and flipped through it. It was full of baby photos. Most of the pictures showed Emma asleep, in one photo she lively crawled across the floor and in one photo she was sitting in her chair with a slice of sausage on her nose.
"What are you doing?", a voice suddenly asked beside her and she looked up.
Emma was standing in front of her, her teddy bear in her arms and looked at her intently.
"I found your baby pictures," she said, "Come sit with me, we look at them together." For Emma she back flipped, because Lindsay had reached a section of the book, which was titled with "Emma's second birthday" .
"What's that?", the little girl asked, pointing to a black and white image. It showed the profile of a person and Lindsay identified this as a clear outline of Emma's nose. Connor had actually collected the ultrasound images.
"This is a photo where you can see the baby in its mother's belly... There are no pictures of your Mommy in the album. You've noticed that?", she could ask Emma this because Connor wouldn´t hear it: Before Emma got up, she already heard him working behind the house.
"Yes," Emma replied, "Daddy says there's no picture of my Mommy, because she died when I was very small."
"I´m sorry. Do you sometimes miss your Mommy?"
"Yes, but not very often. I don´t even know her." Emma hopped off the couch and went to the kitchen. "Can you help me with my cornflakes?", she asked and yanked Lindsay out of her trance. Emma barely missed her mother. But who wondered, because as she said, she didn´t know her.
She was looking for Emma's cornflakes and tried to find a bowl. Then she heard the front door slamming and the noise of someone's shoes.
"The garden has been transformed into a moor," Connor told, when he hung up his rain jacket, "It isn´t a good day for gardening."
"Daddy," Emma cried and stretched out her arms to him, "We have to tell something to Lindsay."
He seemed to consider and had registered her watchful eye of course.
"What do you mean?... Oh, yes right", he nodded," Emma and I have decided we will show you the city."
Together they drove to the city in the afternoon and had no idea what they wanted to do first. Edinburgh was one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and there were many attractions. Emma wanted to see the zoo, her father replied they could do that another time, too. The zoo wouldn´t run away.
When Lindsay saw the tears in the eyes of the little girl, she suggested going to the zoo tomorrow and a visit to Edinburgh Castle and the Gallery of Modern Art today.
"How far is it to Loch Ness?", Lindsay suddenly asked.
"Almost four hours, you don´t want to go there?", Connor was hoping she wasn´t serious. Then she smiled. "Maybe next summer."
The mood during the trip was good, Emma was happy they´d visit the zoo tomorrow.
Before they reached the gallery, they stopped at the Princes Street Mall for a stroll. Lindsay bought a jacket just for Emma ("That's not necessary!", Connor complained and Lindsay replied softly: "But finally she´s my daughter, too. Can´t I buy my daughter a new coat?") and she wanted a dress. So she first tried on a little black dress, which was followed by a few clothes. When Connor had almost run out of patience, she found a strapless dress. "I suppose this is nice," she announced, "Eva Longoria wore a similar one recently."
Then they had pizza for lunch they went to the Gallery of Modern Arts, but Emma wasn´t very interested and so she began to cry, she wanted to see the castle. They stayed for an hour.
It was dusk when she received a balloon from the lady who held the tour at Edinburgh Castle. The lady told them each year the Edinburgh Military Tattoo took place, marching groups and musicians from all over the country were expected. They also passed some cannons and the guide told they were never fired. The cannons where there because Queen Victoria once said that a castle without cannons didn´t look nice.
When the tour ended after more than two hours, Emma fell asleep on Connor's arm. The day was pretty exhausting.
His arms were getting tired: Emma was incredibly heavily.
"Come on, I can carry her," Lindsay offered and took her daughter on her arm. She slowed her pace to admire the views of the city. "You see the lights back there?", Connor asked Lindsay, "This is the port of Leith. There lies the royal yacht Britannia. Sine one year people tell of weird characters that haunt the ship at night. The older generations even speaks of Druids."
"And is that true?", she looked at him and noticed how cold it was suddenly. She shivered.
"I don´t know," he grinned, "OSIR Edinburgh tries to find out since 11 months, but so far no one figured out something."
A cold wind swept round them and Lindsay was shaking even more. "I thank you for taking care of our daughter in the recent years," she whispered because she didn´t want to wake Emma.
"On the day when Emma was discharged from the hospital...", he remembered, "When I first saw her, I knew I had to make a decision. Either she or..."
Lindsay thought it was noble, he had chose Emma. What was the alternative? Leaving this little baby on the threshold of a church?
"Then I sat on the plane and had to leave Toronto. I've lost everything that day."
"Me too," she said, holding out her hand to him, "But now I'm here."
"It's cold, we should go home."
She nodded and they put the still-sleeping Emma back to her seat. They drove home. Fountains rose on the side of their car when they drove over the little bridge near the house.
It has been a nice day. Lindsay was sleeping well, even though the couch was incredibly uncomfortable.
Sunday the weather was better. In the morning the sun was shining and Lindsay watched Emma when she walked through the garden in rubber boots, pajamas and raincoat and watered the plants with a can.
"Emma," her father said, "The plants don´t need water. In the recent days it has been raining non-stop."
Emma wanted to water the plants until they´d visit the zoo. Lindsay was sitting on the terrace with a cup of tea and took care Emma wouldn´t plop into the pond. At the other end of the garden, a brown, dirty pony stretched its head over the fence. She saw how Emma walked to the pony, was patting the animal's head and then she continued watering the flowers on her side of the fence.
As the horse whinnied, Emma reached into her jacket for a bit of sugar and handed it to the brown pony.
"Connor?", Lindsay yelled at him and got up. They met at the door, "Isn´t Emma afraid of the horse?"
"Why should she? It´s hers."
"She´s a very spoiled brat."
He shrugged his shoulders helplessly.
"Lindsay!", Emma yelled from a distance, "Come and look at my pony!",
Lindsay sighed and put down her cup on the windowsill, slipped in her shoes and waded through the wet grass. "But it´s pretty dirty," she remarked. Everywhere at the pony stuck mud lumps. Emma wanted to be lifted up to pet the pony better. Lindsay helped her and put her on the fence. From there, she fed her Scottish Highland Pony with lump sugar.
"Emma", it came out of the house, this time angrily, "Don´t give her so much sugar! Otherwise she´ll get bad teeth!"
"Just a few pieces!", Emma replied.
"No, Come on now! You wanted to go to the zoo today. Do you want to go there in rubber boots and pajamas?"
Lindsay lifted Emma from the fence. "Let´s go in," she said to the girl and took her hand. They made their way into the house, Emma put on her new jacket and then they finally went to the zoo.
"Here you are," Connor stated in the late night. Lindsay was on the terrace to look at the stars. A cold wind whirled her hair. They had arrived home about an hour ago and Lindsay had left it to Connor to take the exhausted Emma to bed.
"Are you okay?", he asked and sat down beside her on the small stone staircase leading to the garden. She stifled a sob.
"You're crying. Is everything okay?"
"Don´t get me wrong," Lindsay replied, "Emma is a wonderful child and after I saw the postcard from you to Peter, I've wished so much I´d find her here with you. For four years I thought my baby was dead I didn´t even know if it was a girl or a boy. Maybe I wasn´t prepared enough when I found her still alive."
"Let's say," he began, "You would have come to Scotland and wouldn´t have found us. How would you have reacted then?"
"I would be very disappointed," she wiped a tear from her face, "You're right. It's just that I've painted so many things when I was pregnant. I wanted to call my baby Rowan or Rosi. And when the doctor then told me...", she choked back a tear," Anyway, it shocks me that Marc could do something terrible like this."
Connor couldn´t judge this because he had never met Marc. Of course he was angry about what had happened, but he couldn´t change what happened. And Lindsay couldn´t undo the past as well.
"Let me take Emma to Toronto," she said quietly, looking at him. She was curious to see how he would react.
"No, you can´t", was the prompt answer.
"Emma hardly knows you and how would Marc react if my child is suddenly standing in front of him?", a pause, "And I love Emma. She´s the best thing that ever happened in my life. She changed me completely."
"We're talking about a person, Lindsay. I can´t do this."
"I understand," she gave in after all, "I'm sorry. Emma is a great girl. You did a great job, Connor." Now she began to giggle softly and then she was quiet again.
"You really wanted to call her Rosi?", he asked for and she laughed softly.
"Yes, but Emma is a nice name, too." She leaned against him and felt when he put his arm around her shoulders. What both didn´t know was that Emma was watching them from her bedroom window. She wasn´t asleep yet. She couldn´t hear what the two talked but when her father took Lindsay into his arms, it told her everything.
On Tuesday, Lindsay picked up her daughter from kindergarten for the first time in their lives. She was delighted and went off even an hour earlier to buy a few nice things for the house. She immediately wanted to buy a new couch because Connors old one was so uncomfortable, but it didn´t fit into the car. So she left it at a new tablecloth for the kitchen, some new pillows for the couch and a bucket of white paint. Probably Connor took over the ugly green wall color in the living room by the previous owner of the house. And Connor would have to take care of the garden. In front of the house, it looked pretty nice, but the Back Yard was like a wild flower meadow.
Lindsay found Emma´s kindergarten right away and the little girl was waiting for her: she was sitting on a small bench, already wearing her street shoes and tapped her feet impatiently. When the girl saw Lindsay, she put on her jacket quickly.
"Hi Emma, are you ready?", Lindsay asked and reached out to her hand.
"Yes!", Emma happily jumped up. Together they wanted to go to the door, when a woman stopped them. "Excuse me," she began, "I've never seen you before. Would you tell me where you want to go with this child?"
"I pick up Emma."
"No doubt. Who are you?"
"Lindsay Donner, I know the girl."
"They all do, sweetheart... Let the girl go, or I'll call the police."
Lindsay took a step to the kindergarten teacher. "Listen, I'm her mother, but she doesn´t know," she whispered to her. The teacher immediately sensed something.
"I know Mr. Doyle has no wife, he is a single father. You can´t be Emma's mother. So let her go, or I'll call the police!"
"No!... Please, no police!"
"I've almost thought that!"
"You don´t understand!" The last thing Lindsay needed now was the police. Then it wouldn´t take long until everyone in Toronto knew of this action. And Marc thought she was in New York. "Let the little girl go!", it came again from the kindergarten teacher.
Lindsay threw a sidelong glance at Emma. She didn´t move, but watched them intently.
"Please call Emma´s father, he can tell you everything."
"I will", the kindergarten teacher reached for Emma's wrist and pulled her into her office. There Emma sat on a chair while the teacher was on the phone. After two minutes, she hung up the phone and told her that Connor would come immediately.
"This is not surprising," Lindsay thought to herself, "If you would tell me someone wanted to kidnap my child, I would be here soon, too."
They had to wait another five minutes until Connor had finally arrived and solved the misunderstanding. Emma listened intently when he taught the kindergarten teacher that Lindsay was really her mother. He told the woman the whole story, there had been a terrible mistake (as he called it) after the birth in a hospital in Toronto and Lindsay showed up only a few days in front of his door.
As they sat in the car and drove home together, there was silence. No one dared to say a word. When Connor finally parked the car in the garage and entered the house, Lindsay freed Emma from her seat and she was very surprised when the girl wrapped her arms around her.
"Emma, what´s wrong?"
"I knew you're my Mommy," she sobbed, "I've seen a picture of you in Daddy's room. But please don´t tell him."
"I won´t," she promised, "Come, we go inside." When she carried her to the door, she thought about how hard it was probably for the little girl. Emma was really an intelligent child.
"May I call you Mommy now?", Emma asked on the doorstep.
"Yes, you can," she said to her and gave her a kiss on the cheek.
"I'm glad you're my Mommy."
"Me too, honey. Me too."
"May I ask you something, Daddy?", while Connor shaved, Emma sat on the edge of the bathtub and peppered him with all sorts of questions.
"Whatever you want."
Emma took a breath. "Are you mad at Mommy?"
"No, how did you get that?" He put down the razor.
"Because Mommy needs to sleep on the couch. Kate's Mommy doesn´t have to sleep on the couch."
Connor was looking for an answer, while the razor scraped on his face. Emma wouldn´t understand why Lindsay didn´t sleep in the same room as he did. The circumstances were just too complicated.
"Don´t you love Mommy?"
"You are very naughty," he noted, dried his face and took her to her room. He didn´t notice Lindsay was sitting on the stairs and had heard their conversation. She got up and came to them in Emma's room.
"Why don´t you marry Mommy?", Emma asked more indignant. The fact that Lindsay now heard all dimensions of their conversation worried him. How could he explain to Emma why her parents wouldn´t get married? Finally, he had no intention to hurt Lindsay.
"Because your mother..."
Lindsay interrupted him: "...isn´t ready yet. We talk some other time, okay, honey?"
"Okay," Emma agreed and Connor was visibly relieved.
"Good night, Emma. See you tomorrow morning."
They were almost out of the door when Emma´s face brightened at once. "Kiss!", she cried.
"What?", her father thought he was misunderstanding. Before he knew it, Lindsay had already placed a kiss on his cheek.
"Not like this," Emma pouted, "Right!"
Connor already knew what was going. She would talk about nothing else until he did what she wanted. So she had twisted him many times around the little finger.
He moved to Lindsay, she didn´t know what hit her when she felt his lips on hers. Ecstatic, she threw her arms around his neck, enjoying the sweet moment. She thought she had almost forgotten how good it tasted. And what feelings he could wake in her. He had previously done that.
The moment was over when he broke away from her. Connor first left the room with Lindsay. He quietly closed the door behind him and looked into her face. She was confused.
"Connor, I...", she couldn´t say more because he had pulled her into his arms and kissed her. She held her breath as his hands slipped from her shoulders over her décolleté and then to her waist. The heat between them made Lindsay losing ground under her feet. In the darkness he reached for the doorknob to his room, without letting her go. Lindsay was looking forward to his bedroom. Since she was here, she had neither seen nor entered it. The moment of passion ended in a disappointed sigh as the door to Emma´s room was opened by a small figure in pink Hello Kitty nightgown. With her teddy in her arms Emma looked at them. "I have to use the potty, Mommy," she announced.
That should have come to her mind earlier! Lindsay somehow broke away from Connor and helped her daughter. Five minutes later Connor was still standing outside his door and waited for her. "I think we shouldn´t rush into this," she began to explain. She was surprised he was nodding. So they said good night to each other and returned to bed alone.
When Lindsay woke up the next morning, she was home alone. In the kitchen she found a residual hot coffee. She sat down at the table and waited for a black car which parked outside. It was Connor. They would have to talk about what had happened last night.
"Good morning", he told her.
"Good morning," she gasped. Since yesterday evening, he suddenly looked so different, "Where is Emma?"
"In kindergarten. Meanwhile, I would like to show you something. Put this on", he handed her a heavy, green rain jacket. They went outside again and marched through the muddy grass in the garden. "Where are we going?", Lindsay asked, but Connor didn´t want to answer her. He only told it was something she had probably never seen before and what she could see only here in this city: "You will like him and don´t worry: He just looks terrible, but he´s very friendly, as long as you feed him with carrots."
She had no idea who he was talking about, but she didn´t care. "We urgently need to talk about some things without Emma," Lindsay began instead, when she was walking next to him, "Let´s go to the previous day."
"What about yesterday?", he opened a large wooden gate.
"You kissed me," she continued, "Normally we don´t do this if a person doesn´t mean anything."
"I have never said this," he stuck his hands in his jacket pocket, "Because it´s not true."
"What?", she stopped and registered only from the corner of her eye, how Emma's pony joined them.
"Of course you mean something to me, after all you're the mother of my daughter," for a moment he looked at her tenderly, but then he looked scared, "Buttercup, out!"
"Oh," Lindsay's eyes widened in horror as she saw Emma's pony reared wild behind her with its front legs. She felt how Connor pulled her aside and they both ended up in a huge puddle of water. The pony whinnied and trotted away. "What a monster!", Lindsay noted.
"Normally she isn´t so. Something must have scared her." He watched how the animal was walking around them. On the left shoulder of the pony was a blood stain. A mosquito had stung it. Together they got up and found that they were just as wet as the horse. Now they had to postpone their trip.
They wanted to go back quickly, before anyone else caught a cold. Finally, in September Scotland wasn´t ruled by tropical conditions.
"Connor, I have never said how much I've missed you in the last few years," she said and Connor stopped. He was just about to open the front door. "I've almost forgotten how much I love you. I've probably never stopped. But last night..."
"Come on," he took her hand and pulled her with him into the house, "I thought you never come to senses."
No sooner he had the door closed behind them, she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him impetuously. "When does Emma come back?", she whispered, her hands slid through his wet hair.
"In the evening," he lifted her up and she took the opportunity to wrap her legs around his hips. "Great," she murmured smiling. Her back was leaning against the wall and she felt how Connor freed her from her shirt. He carried her to the couch, where they got rid of their clothes. Lindsay smiled pleased, when she sank into the soft cushions and Connor followed her. He placed kisses on her neck and his touches left a trail of fire on her body. A silent scream escaped her when they fell off the couch and continued kissing.
Breathing heavily, Lindsay cuddled up to him and put her arms around his. This was the way it should be. It was never her attention to let Connor down. She had believed for so long it was a lost love but it wasn´t, finally Connor had been told she was dead.
"What comes next?", he wanted to know and placed kisses on her shoulder in the glow of the fire. Immediately, he felt, how she reacted to his touch.
"I'm not going back to Toronto." It sounded as if she knew this long ago. To be precise, she had already made her decision, when she saw her daughter for the first time. She hadn´t only missed her but also Connor in the recent years so she now, when they were reconnected again, she found out she couldn´t imagine a life without him and her. "Of course I stay only if you want," she continued, her breathing became quieter. He smiled. Of course he wanted her to stay. Just as she had stayed with him on that past rainy Friday.
"I let you go four years ago, I don´t make the same mistake again."
She was relieved. She hated child-parent relationships in which the child spoke only on holidays or birthday with the missing parent, or five minutes on the phone and she had thought what to do if he sent her away again. She probably would take Emma with her, because she hated the thought the ocean was separating them from each other, but that would be quite unfair. After all, Connor had raised her alone and the bond between Emma and her father was much closer than that to her mother. Lindsay hardly knew Emma. Marc never met Emma. After what had happened, Lindsay didn´t believe he could like her.
Maybe it was better for her if she had played from the start with an open hand. When Lindsay found out she was pregnant, she hid from Marc from the date on which you could see because she was afraid he would judge her too hard. She told him she was sent in the field for a long time. In truth, she stayed in the OSIR headquarters. Marc learned of her condition only by his pal, Dr. Tanner. Lindsay suggested Marc knew Emma wasn´t his child. Why else would they haven´t seen each other for five months? This was probably the reason why Marc had "eliminated" Emma.
The rest of the afternoon they spent on the couch and caught up the last few years, as Lindsay said. Finally it was time to pick up Emma and Connor was seeking for his clothes. Lindsay watched him tense. "I'll be right back," he promised her and kissed her goodbye.
When Connor came home with Emma, she noticed the difference immediately. Although she was a child, she wasn´t stupid and she finally noticed how her mother and father exchanged glances during dinner.
When Emma was finally in bed, Lindsay felt how tired she was. The whole day was exhausting. "You're not going to sleep on the couch now," Connor said to her, when she yawned, "I can´t let that happen." He took her hand and turned off the television.
His room was how she had imagined: a desk was full of books and there was another shelf, which was crammed to the ceiling with books.
While he turned off the light in the hallway, she discovered a photo of herself on the desk. That was the picture Emma was talking about. "You found it," Connor said, as he saw her holding the picture frame in her hands.
"Does Emma know of this picture?"
"No, she has never seen it. She never entered my room. I have forbidden it."
"Therefore", he came to her and took one of the devices from the table, "These are things found by OSIR Edinburgh", he noticed her face expression, "Yes, meanwhile there are some OSIR teams in Europe… Most of these devices are damaged. This one, for example, was found in the river. The technique is very sensitive."
"What is it?"
"I don´t know yet but it isn´t a gadget we know... So you see, I have good a reason to ban Emma from this room. She doesn´t need to see these things and she doesn´t have to know about the OSIR. She wouldn´t understand."
"I don´t think so," she began suddenly serious, "Emma is very smart for her age. She knows this picture of me. And because she isn´t stupid, she recognized me. She knew me from the beginning."
"That's what I almost thought," he grinned, "Emma is usually quite shy. She really liked you right away." What a tragedy when Emma wouldn´t like mother during childhood!
"Fortunately," she put the machine back to the desk, "How was Emma as a baby?"
Only when the light had gone out into the room, he answered her: "Raising her alone wasn´t easy… She was a cry baby, day and night. When she was six months old, she suffered from colic regularly, so we've got nearly friendship an off at the pediatrician. The milk, which she has received, she vomited and it took months before I found out how I could feed her, without getting puked from top to bottom..."
She laughed softly and felt the weariness rising within her. So she fell asleep and dreamed...
Lindsay dreamed about the day when her daughter was born. It was a sunny September morning. Immediately after getting up the amniotic sac had burst and Connor took her to the hospital. Both owed an alien substance they had lost control nine months earlier. The substance nestled like a virus in their bloodstream, it fortified various hormones. Later they could say they were lucky, that the substance didn´t spread further in the country (although the birth rate has risen rapidly in September in Canada), but this didn´t change the fact that the act of procreation wasn´t one of the most romantic. Anton Hendricks later told them proudly he had managed to find an antidote to this hormone booster. No one had listened to him, because Lindsay wasn´t interested anyway. She didn´t talk to Connor after that incident, the relationship between was only better, as she realized she was pregnant. They knew from the beginning they had to keep the pregnancy as a secret and Lindsay wouldn´t tell her boyfriend, Marc. So she lied to him she was sent in the field for a long time. From then on she lived almost in the office. But the better she got along with Connor, the more she forgot Marc. Lindsay realized this when Connor started to spend the nights with her from the seventh month of pregnancy and she no longer talked to Marc on the phone. From that time she had begun to love Connor beyond words. Said never told him and she had never asked if he felt the same.
Back to September morning: in the hospital she had been separated from Connor by a doctor with thick horn-rimmed glasses. He was told there were complications and therefore he shouldn´t be with her. She screamed in pain, she had never had such pain before. After two hours of long labor, the baby was finally here. The doctor put the baby into his arms and Lindsay could swear to remember the baby was crying, when it was taken away.
"I'm sorry... Heart attack... Here is the death certificate."
Lindsay woke up sweaty and needed a moment to realize where she was. Her baby wasn´t dead. It was in the room next door. She hadn´t left Connor, at least not voluntarily.
Relieved, she sank back into the pillow. She knew she had to do something. In the Lindsay and Marc-constellation they could never be a family with Emma.
The next Friday Lindsay brought her daughter to kindergarten and teased Connor because of his bad taste in interior design ("You have to buy a new couch necessarily.") Finally he had painted the wall in the living room this morning and she was glad about this. In the evening she cooked a meal.
Around 6 p.m. her cell phone began to ring incessantly. Of course she knew Marc was calling. In recent days she had thought, how she wanted to tell him she wouldn´t return to Toronto. He´d find her quickly in Edinburgh if she was sending a letter. A phone call could be traced and he could use her phone, for locating her. Maybe the police was also searching for her. In the television reports and the photo of the missing woman of Toronto would show up, the message in every show around the world and when it reached Scotland it was only a matter of time until she was recognized.
Therefore, it was her cell phone, which landed in the trash first.
Lindsay had even considered whether she should go to Glasgow and write one last email from there. She decided this was probably the best.
When Connor was asleep at night, she slipped away and got into his car. Up to Glasgow it was a ride of one hour and four minutes. She would sleep a little longer the next morning. In an internet café she wrote the e-mail within five minutes. She wrote to him it wasn´t important to know where she was, only she had come to the conclusion she wouldn´t return to Toronto. After two hours and 10 minutes, the black van parked in the garage at home in Edinburgh and an exhausted Lindsay fell into bed a short time later.
Next morning she overslept and only woke up when Emma jumped into her bed. "Mommy, wake up!", she cried, and pulled her blanket. Lindsay felt how someone sat down beside her. "Yes, get up, breakfast is served," Connor agreed.
"Let me sleep for half an hour."
"Where have you been last night?", he asked coolly. All of a sudden Lindsay was wide awake.
"You know that?"
"If my new car has suddenly 90 miles more on the tachometer, I should know about it."
"I´ve been to Glasgow," she said, "From where I've written a last e-mail to Marc. I wrote I´d never come back." She refused to the" You kept my child away from me."- insults.
"Well, It´s over ... No more Toronto... wow..."
"Does that mean you stay with us forever?", Emma asked and her mother nodded.
"Whew!", She hugged her Mom a kissed her cheek, "See you, Mommy! I go and meet Kate, now!" Emma jumped out of bed and rushed out the door.
"Change your pajama before, okay?", her father yelled after her.
"Who is this Kate?", Lindsay asked Connor when in the next room Emma rumbled around while she sought her boots.
"Her best friend. You'll meet her when it´s Emma´s birthday in one week. You must know we have a party every year: All of her friends come along and their mothers bring cakes. "
"The other mothers?", she asked skeptically, "Is there something I should know about?"
"There was only one woman in my life in the recent years," Connor replied honestly, "She has the sweetest smile and the most beautiful eyes in the world", when he saw her horrified face, he added: "I'm talking about Emma."
Now, Lindsay smiled. "Do you think the other mothers will like me?"
"They will love you, I do it, too." He got up.
"What? Would you please repeat that again?", Lindsay's voice trembled.
"Everyone brings a cake, then I don´t have to take care about this."
"I mean what you said afterwards." She smiled and melted away, when he just smiled and kissed her.
Emma suddenly appeared in the doorway. "Now I know what I want for birthday," she trumpeted.
"What?", Connor couldn´t imagine she had a wish. Her room was the land of 1000 dolls and outside in the garden was a fat-fed pony mare.
But instead, she yelled at her parents loudly: "A little sister".
"Go now," Connor said to her and Lindsay threw a slanting glance at him when the front door was shut and locked. "God, you really have a naughty, spoiled daughter," she noted.
"You forget she´s your daughter, too."
Amused, he watched how she grimaced, "I don´t know if this is the right moment to propose you something."
She looked at him curiously, "It´s not Emma's desire... But at least it´s the summer prom on the Britannia. I have tickets. Do you want to come with me?"
In the evening, Connor asked Emma which dress she wanted to wear. She had the choice between a pink and ocean blue dress with a white bow on the back. Emma had received something to eat before, so she wasn´t hungry at the Britannia (Lindsay remembered the noodle massacre on her arrival day and Connor had discreetly pointed out he was tired about this tonight) .
"I want the pink dress."
So Connor helped her in her dress.
Meanwhile, Lindsay was already busy in the bathroom. "I hope I'm not going seasick on the Britannia," she joked, "It's been a while that I was on a ship."
"It's still just a prom and the ship is in the harbor..."
"I hope so," she entered Emma's room and Connor and their daughter escaped a surprised, "Wow!"
Lindsay wore a floor-length purple dress and her blonde hair was pinned up to a pretty hairstyle. "Isn´t it too overdressed?"
"No," Connor assured her, "You look incredible. I´ll be busy all evening with keeping away the other guys from you." But she had followed his advice and she was really dressed up.
It would be a wonderful evening.
Oh, Maybe we were just too young
hangin' out, havin' fun on the mainstreet.
Living like we would live forever.
But you got away like a runaway train
want you to know that I miss you like crazy.
Oh, Maybe we were just too young
We were just too young. ("Too Young" by Queensberry)
To be continued