Chapter 1

Jake had to admit he enjoyed days like this. The late morning Saturday had rolled in muggy and overcast, imitating the beginnings of winter. Hitting Colorado Springs rather hard, the April showers, had flooded out the roads making it impossible to make it into town. The red clay roads snaked about slick and soggy as a bog. Hanging thick overhead gray storm clouds huddled and spread threatening more rain. Jake inhaled the perfumed air, which was scented with a combination of moist soil and rainwater.

Holding his metal mug of coffee up to his nose, he let the curling tendrils of steam coil up about his face warming it. He sat complacent under the front terrace with his elbows resting on the white wrought iron table. Nudging his toe against the filigreed foot of the table, he began to anxiously await the appearances of his companions. Placing his mug down he raked his long white fingers through his auburn hair with a yawn.

"Today would have been a good day for sleeping in, I think," her voice was smooth as velvet.

Teresa's light fingers caressed the nape of his neck as she passed behind him on her way to the empty chair at his side. She was wearing her burgundy gingham housedress which had a modest v-shaped collar and open bell sleeves. Jake smiled warmly at her as he reached out and ran his fingers through her loose black tresses. Though she had pinned up the top half, the loose bottom cascaded down over her slender shoulders resting at the small of her back in heavy waves.

"What, and miss this?" he grinned crookedly sweeping his hand towards the end of the terrace that wrapped around the other side of the house.

Teresa cocked an eyebrow, slightly puzzled at his meaning. Just then the small clomping footfalls of Lucy's boots darted out, as she ran and jumped feet first off the stairs into a huge puddle of mud. Jake laughed heartily at the look of irritation on Teresa's face as she survey the mud splattered all over the white stairs and up along the golden framing of the terrace fence. Picking up Jake's coffee, she gently blew at the tendrils of steam causing them to fall over the cliff's side of the mug. She took a sip and grimaced at the bitter taste.

"Are we goin into town today?" Lucy asked smacking her mud caked boots into the cobblestone walk before the stairs. She rubbed her small fingers under her nose feeling a minor tenderness.

"Is your nose botherin you?" Jake asked extending his arm to her.

Lucy curled herself into the crook of his arm, taking comfort in the warmth there. She shook her head as he pulled her up onto his lap. Resting her head on his chest, she sighed dreamily as he took to twisting a thick black ringlet around his finger.

"What is on the table for today?" Teresa asked secretly studying Lucy's face for any cause of alarm.

"Guess there's not much we can do," Jake replied observing that the flooding had them trapped in their own house. He too had begun to cast worried glances down at Lucy as she continued to rub at her ever-reddening nose.

Here and there large bellied droplets of rain smacked down on the sloping roof of the house. Jake and Teresa sighed with a growing anxiety as the frequency of the single drops developed into a chorus of rainfall. The curtain of rain became thick sheets of showers that began to blow sideways onto the porch. It hit with such sudden force that the splatters of mud were soon nonexistent. Jake quickly rose with Lucy in his arms as he followed Teresa into the warmth and safety of the house.

The freak storm thundered angrily causing the walls to vibrate. Lucy in a rush of excitement plastered her face to the front windows as flash after flash of rapid fire lightening struck in the distance. Teresa placed her hands protectively on Lucy's shoulders.

"I have never seen lightening do that," she turned casting a worried glance at Jake.

Determined not to cause a stir, Jake bent on one knee before the brownstone fireplace and removed the black iron grate. With the fire poker in hand, he prodded at the orange glowing embers, stoking the sizzling flames. Replacing the iron grate, he pressed his thumb into his cheek as he took stock of the waist high pile of firewood, on the side mantle. It would last through to night, he told himself as another crack of lightening struck the weather vane out in the middle of Teresa's herb garden.

Teresa herded a reluctant Lucy away from the danger of the window. She watched Jake, as he stood focused on the fire with his hands resting on his narrow hips. With Lucy already halfway up the stairs, Teresa silently padded up behind Jake. She slid her arms around his waist resting her head on his back. He pressed the palms of her hands up against his stomach enjoying the feel of her.

"We can't go on like this Jake," she said into his back.

"I know," he twisted around to face her without breaking her embrace.

"The bottom isn't going to fall out," she peered into his intense slate colored eyes. "Dr. Quinn got it all out."

A loud thud emanated from upstairs as Lucy shut the door to her bedroom. Jake smiled down at his wife, as he slid his hands from her shoulders to her swan like neck. He ran his thumb across her plump bow shaped lips before leaning down and kissing her deeply. His hands slid once more, but this time down the corset of her ribs, resting at the cinch of her waist.

"It's rainin'," he whispered his voice guttural against her mouth.

"Jake!" she blushed before surrendering to his advance.