Disclaimer: Welcome to another original story by this lunatic. This is a series of one-shots that act as a follow up to New Cuts, Old Wounds and Heavy Metal Poisoning. The story and the characters are mine. Do not use them without my permission. Also, any and all characters, events, and situations found in these stories are fictional. If there are any similarities between these things and real people, events, and situations, it is purely a coincidence.

I'm sure you know there will be a sexual relationship between two women, but if you don't know this is me warning you. There will be a sexual relationship between two women in this story.

Many thanks to my beta, Rleef.

A/N: this one-shot takes place before the story Heavy Metal Poisoning. The one-shots in this story will be of varying length, some very long and some very short. This one is sort of in between.

1: Stitches

"Okay, so I should be back for them by six," Adam Wolfe informed Nicole Cardell. Even though he was speaking to her, his dark brown eyes were focused on his children, Luke and Thomas. They were standing in Nicole's living room with their aunt, Dane, who was hyping them up about the day that they were going to have.

"We could easily bring them to your house," Nicole replied, her emerald gaze drifting toward her girlfriend and the little boys.

The sight caused a bright smile to light up Nicole's olive-toned features. They look so small and adorable, standing next to Danny the giant. She would like to give her lover as much time as possible with boys. Danny loved her nephews, but did not spend as much time as she liked because their mother did not trust or like Danny.

"No, I'll still be out, so I'll just come get them,'' Adam stated, anxiety cutting into his voice.

Nicole, though a very talented lawyer, decided not to argue with him because she knew that he would not yield. While Adam had no problem with Danny spending time with the boys, his wife was another matter. He did not want to risk Danny running into his wife, Sharon, especially with the boys around. Nicole was not sure what Adam thought would happen between the two. Danny ignored most insults and all Sharon did was snipe, and she did not do that to Danny's face. It was not like they would have a fistfight if they occupied the same space at the same time.

"Fine," Nicole conceded with a small shrug. "Well, we should get going then," she announced.

"Let me say goodbye to my little guys," Adam said. "Hey, guys!"

Luke and Thomas did not bother to turn around. They were enamored with Haydn, Nicole and Danny's white shepherd puppy. Adam had to go to them and he grabbed them up into a single hug for both boys. They squealed and Haydn let out a surprise bark, circling around Adam's feet as if trying to figure out where to attack.

"Haydn, come," Danny ordered, standing a couple of feet away from the guys. Haydn made another noise and continued circling until Danny repeated the command.

"Those obedience classes seem to be paying off," Nicole noted as she stepped over to her girlfriend. While Adam bid his sons farewell, Nicole decided to check on her lover. "Are you sure you're up to this?"

Danny ran her hand through her short, onyx locks. "I watch the boys enough to take them to your grandparents for a simple cookout, right?" she countered.

"Yes, you do, but that's not what I meant, baby. Technically, you're still healing. Are you up to hanging out with my family?" Nicole asked for possibly the hundredth time. She had been asking since the beginning of the week when her grandparents invited them to an "end of summer" barbeque. The spontaneous cookout was thanks to the nice, warm weather lasting to the end of September.

"Chem, I'm fine. Stop worrying," Dane replied with a smile. A car had hit her some months earlier. Her ribs were healed over a month ago, but the cast on her right leg had only been off for a few weeks.

Green eye rolled and Nicole shook her head. "You know I can't," she replied with a bright smile.

A warm smile spread across the musician's face again. "I know. I appreciate the concern."

The girlfriends turned their attention back to the males in their home as the goodbyes were finished between the anxious father and eager sons. Luke and Thomas quickly returned to cooing over the puppy. Adam gazed at his sons, almost as if he was scared that they would forget him. Danny did not bother to glance at her older brother once the boys were back over to her, but Nicole at least walked him to the door.

"It'll be fine. We're just going to my grandparents' house. There'll be other children for them to play with and everything," she assured him for quite possibly the tenth time. He clearly did not spend a lot of time away far his children. She found his separation anxiety to be sweet.

"Okay. Call me if anything happens," Adam said with a pleading look in his eyes.

"We will if anything happens, but it'll be fine. It's just a small, family barbeque. Nothing more than that," she replied.

Adam nodded and she finally ushered him out of the door. She breathed a sigh of relief as she shut the door. She turned her attention to Danny and her nephews and smiled again.

"Are you guys ready to go?" Nicole asked with a sparkle in her emerald eyes.

"Yeah!" the boys cheered and the happy noise made Haydn yelp.

"All right, let's get moving. Everybody have everything they need?" Nicole inquired.

Danny grabbed her guitar, which was resting by the couch, and took Luke by the hand. Nicole attached Haydn's leash to his collar and took Thomas' hand. The group exited the house into the warm afternoon and went to Nicole's car. The guitar was laid in the trunk while the boys were buckled up in the backseat. Danny held onto the pup in the front seat while Nicole got behind the wheel.

"Okay, are we sure we have everything?" Nicole asked again just to sure. She knew small children needed every chance possible to remember anything that they might need.

"Yeah!" Luke answered for them both. He was hugging the backpack that he came with. His little brother had one, too, but Thomas had just dumped his bag on the floor.

"Then let's go have fun and eat hotdogs!" Nicole cheered. The boys shouted their approval, which made Haydn yelp and Danny smile.

-8-8-8-8-

Nicole's family was in the backyard of her grandparents' house. The barbeque was already in full swing with everyone there, including Nicole's parents. Nicole looked around and Dane could have sworn her girlfriend looked embarrassed. For just a second, Nicole's cheeks were almost as red as her hair.

"Hey, everybody," Nicole greeted her family, waving at the yard in general.

"Nikki, we was scared you weren't going to show up," Raymond said, as he moved away from the card game that he was playing. The other players included Nicole's aunts, Kimber and Katrina, and Kimber's son, Philip. He went to embrace his daughter, smiling at Nicole as he grabbed her into a hug.

Nicole smiled and returned her father's hug. "We had to wait for Luke and Thomas. Danny thought they'd have fun here," she explained, feeling Thomas grip her hand a little tighter as if to remind her that he was there.

Raymond turned his attention to the towheaded boys. He was familiar with them after meeting them at Danny's birthday party a couple of months ago. Nicole also talked of them often enough; she needed to tell someone that her lover was good with children. He offered the boys his hand, which they both shook like little men. One of the things that Nicole thought was cute about them was the way that they showed signs of being around adults often and mimicked the behavior that they saw. Of course, the fact that they were dressed in khaki shorts and white polo shirts

"Good to see you two again. Have a good time, okay?" Raymond said sincerely. He smiled down at the boys and they seemed to almost puff out their chests because of the attention.

"We will!" Luke proclaimed while Thomas grinned and nodded. Haydn yelped again.

"You brought your dog, too? Is he ready to be out around people or another dog?" Raymond asked while nodding toward the other dog in the yard. Katrina's family also had a dog.

"We'll find out," Nicole replied with a smile.

Raymond nodded. "Be careful," he cautioned them and patted Danny on the shoulder as a greeting. She smiled at him before turning her attention elsewhere.

Danny looked at Katrina's dog. The last that she heard the dog's name was "Puppy," but Nicole assured her that it had been changed. Neither was sure what the dog was called, though. They did know the dog was friendly and Haydn was pretty friendly. In fact, Haydn had yet to meet a person that he did not like while with Nicole and Dane.

Dane decided to see sooner rather than later by letting Haydn off of his leash. He charged off to investigate his new environment – the large backyard of Nicole's grandparents' rather average house. Luke and Thomas took off after him and Dane followed them. Nicole's smaller cousins, Katrina's kids, Eddie and Sabrina, came over almost immediately with their dog. Haydn eased back, settling next to Dane.

"Hey, Danny! Who are they?" Eddie asked with a bluntness that Dane knew would get him in trouble in a few years. But, of course, his cherubic features of deep dimples and slightly wavy dark, chocolate locks would get him right out trouble … well, with most girls and adults anyway.

"These are my nephews and my dog. Luke, Thomas, meet Nicole's cousins, Eddie and Sabrina," Dane introduced the duos. She hoped that they would get along, even though her nephews were younger than Nicole's cousins.

"You don't look anything like Danny," Sabrina noted, as if amazed.

It was quite true that they did not appear related in the slightest. Luke and Thomas were blonds with creamy complexions while Dane had a caramel skin tone and black hair with blond highlights. Luke had brown eyes like his father and Thomas had blue like his mother; Dane had grey eyes. They shared almost nothing in common with Dane, except maybe chubby cheeks.

"You don't look like Nick," Luke countered. He and his brother had taken to calling Nicole by the nickname Dane used. Much like Nicole's family called Dane "Danny" because that was what Nicole called her.

"I'm not Nikki," Sabrina said with a shrug as if that was the most logical response.

"We're not Dane," Thomas countered.

Luke could not argue Sabrina's statement, so he did not try. "Dane's puppy's name is Haydn. It's a weird name. What's your dog's name?" he asked curiously.

"Beanie," Eddie answered with a grin. "Beanie can do tricks."

The brother and sister then went into showing them what the dog could do. As Beanie went through his tricks, Haydn moved to check him out. Beanie was older than the shepherd pup, but he was not much bigger. Beanie was a mixed breed that Katrina saved from being put to sleep as a puppy. Eddie and Sabrina loved the dog and Dane understood why before she even had Haydn because Beanie was sweet and loving.

"Beanie is cool!" Thomas declared as Haydn nudged Beanie with his nose as the older dog stood on his hind legs.

Dane only laughed as her nephews marveled over the other pooch. She suspected they would go home, demanding a dog of their own again. They had done so when they first met Haydn. She also suspected that they would spend a lot of time trying to teach Haydn tricks.

Dane stuck close to her boys, but waved to everyone at the cookout. Nicole's family seemed to accept that by waving back and then going on about their business and letting Dane go about hers. The only one that gave Dane more than a nod and wave was Jarred, Kimber's husband. He was working the large grill and nodded toward the food that he had already finished cooking. She shook her to decline the offer for now.

"Does Haydn know any tricks?" Eddie asked once Beanie had gone through all of his little doggie tricks.

"Only if you count whining and jumping on things he shouldn't," Dane replied with a smile as she reached down and petted the rambunctious pup. Haydn yelped and he licked her fingers.

"Sabrina does those tricks, too," Eddie laughed.

Sabrina did not seem to get the joke, which was for the best, Dane was certain. They moved on from dog tricks to chasing the dogs. Dane moved around with them, but could not run with them. Even without just healing from her car accident injuries, she would not have been able to keep up with them because of her lame leg. Still, they called for her participation, so she did what she could.

-8-8-8-8-

Nicole settled down next to her grandmother, Alicia, who was sitting at the small picnic table that was slowly being covered in food. Nicole's mother, Kate, was sitting there, too. Nicole kissed both of their cheeks as greetings and smiled at them.

"Hi, sweet-pea. I was worried when your mom beat you here," Alicia commented with a smile of her own.

Nicole laughed. While she was hardly the first person to arrive at a family function, her mother was always the last one. But, her mother did not have two small kids and their worried father to get out of the door.

"Luke and Thomas came late and their dad wouldn't leave once he showed up. So, that's why we're the last to show," Nicole explained.

Alicia nodded. "The little angels are related to Danny?"

"I know Mommy already told you those are Danny's nephews. They're her eldest brother's sons. They love her," Nicole replied in a delighted tone.

Alicia glanced over at the group. "She looks really good with them. How often do they go places with you?"

"Not often because Danny doesn't go places often. They come over the house every weekend now for a couple of hours. She always makes sure she has stuff to do with them. They play video games or go to the park or just walk the dog. They're very nice boys," Nicole said.

Her grandmother made an odd noise. "I'm sure they are. So, Danny's good with kids and I see there's a ring on your finger …" Her eyes drifted down to Nicole's ring finger. The gold band with a small row of diamonds that probably bankrupted her lover was sitting pretty on her left hand, letting the world know that she was taken.

The words "ring" and "finger" seemed to be a gathering call for the other women, except for Danny. Nicole's aunts and teenage cousin Jody practically flew over to the table to see the simple ring. Jody went as far as to grab Nicole's hand for a closer inspection.

"I expected better from Danny," Jody declared while Kate glared at the piece of jewelry.

"It's not an engagement ring, just so we're clear. It's a promise ring. So, you can all get pictures of my wedding out of your heads," Nicole informed all of them. Her mother was the only one that did not look disappointed.

"Sweet-pea, your grandma is an old woman," Alicia sighed dramatically and made sure to look extremely pitiful. "You want to give me great grandchildren, don't you?" she asked with a sniffle.

Nicole gave her grandmother a playful swat. "Not just yet, no."

"She needs to find the right guy first," Kate chimed in.

Kimber rolled her eyes. "Kate, don't start. Danny's a wonderful person and so in love with Nikki that she probably can't see straight, which I guess suits her since she's gay. She's put up with your attitude toward her and she's still there. She only wants the best for Nikki and she's willing to go through Hell for it, apparently. You'd think you of all people would recognize that."

Katrina chimed in. "Seriously, how often did Raymond's family try to run you off?"

Kate glared at her younger sisters, which was enough to silence them on the subject. Nicole was aware that her father's family were not fans of her mother, but she did not know real details. Her aunts sometime let things slip, so she knew that Kate was resented for what the Cardell family viewed as her transforming Raymond from a carefree, fun-loving guy who had a completely BS major to a serious student determined to become a lawyer. Nicole thought that was crazy and could not help noting the irony in her mother's feelings toward Danny.

"Nikki, you hold onto to Danny if she's the person you love. You marry her when you feel the time is right. You have babies with her when you feel the time's right,'' Alicia stated soundly.

"Mom!" Kate objected, but she did not dare to glower at her mother.

"What? I told you the same thing when you complained about Raymond's family trying to chase you off. I told Kimber the same thing when your father was trying to run Jarred out of here because he wasn't Christian," Alicia pointed out.

"I was the only one that didn't require this little pep talk?" Katrina chuckled.

"Just remember it when Eddie, Sabrina, and Wayne start dating," Alicia pled. Katrina laughed again as she nodded.

"Where is Wayne, anyway?" Nicole asked, hoping to get off the subject of her ring.

"He's been asleep for about an hour now," Katrina replied. "This is his usual nap time, so that's good. I don't have to worry about him staying up extra late tonight as long as I don't let him take another nap after he wakes from this one."

"So, you're not engaged?" Jody asked to be sure her cousin, taking it back to the topic that Nicole was trying hard to get away from.

"Nope, not engaged. Engaged to be engaged maybe," Nicole remarked with a smile. With luck, that would be the end of the matter.

-8-8-8-8-

"What's going on over there?" Dane asked Philip, Eduardo, and Benito, nodding toward the picnic table across the yard. She was sitting by them at the now abandoned card game. Raymond had gone over to help Jarred clear the grill of the prepared food. Dane's knee was throbbing a bit from playing around with the kids and the dogs, which were still going.

Eduardo, Katrina's husband, chuckled. "I guess you're the guy in your relationship if you missed the female version of the Bat signal," he replied. Dane only arched an eyebrow.

"Somebody said the word ring, so we're guessing you bought Nikki a ring," Benito, Nicole's grandfather, explained.

"Whoa, you're engaged to Nikki?" Philip asked in shock.

Dane shook her head. "No. Not an engagement ring. It was a promise ring."

"That explains why they haven't come over here to talk to you," Benito figured. "They will be bugging you about marrying her," he warned.

She nodded. "I will one day. I just need to mature some more. I have to get to a better place."

"You'll know when the time's right," he assured her. She nodded, believing that he was totally right. "And don't let anyone try to talk you into doing it before you're ready. Nikki's a special girl and she deserves the best," he added.

"Yes, sir," Dane completely agreed.

"Hey, Danny, you brought your guitar, right?" Philip suddenly inquired. There was another nod and he grinned. "Cool, I got mine, too. We can jam and you can see how my lessons are going."

"Okay, but just to warn you, once those boys see me with that guitar, they're gonna want in on the action," she told him, pointing over at her nephews.

Philip just shrugged before going off to get his guitar. Dane groaned as she climbed to her feet to fetch her own instrument. She had barely had her hand on her guitar case before her nephews were in her face.

"Are you playing? We'll play, too!" Luke declared.

"Yeah, I'll play the drums!" Thomas insisted.

"And I'll be the lead singer and play the guitar!" the elder blond said.

Dane smiled. "Okay, but I gotta play the guitar, too and so does my friend Philip."

Luke nodded in agreement and Philip found himself the member of a band by the time he returned. He was a good sport, even though he did not know he was part if a game that Dane often played with her nephews. Of course, she usually did not really play her guitar with their "band."

"1, 2, 3, 4," Thomas said, banging together drum sticks that he traveled with. Dane was sure that he would end up an actual drummer as he got older. He then played his pretend drums while Philip played his real guitar and Dane followed his lead.

Luke watched the pair playing the guitars with a slightly confused expression. For a moment, Dane thought the small blond was going to object because he did not know the song. Instead, he did not try to sing, but played his air guitar with them. Dane laughed a little, glad Luke was so cool about things.

-8-8-8-8-

"What are they doing?" Kimber asked curiously, nodding toward the playing "band."

Nicole smiled as she noticed the scene. "Oh, that's their band. The boys love music as much as Danny, so she plays this little game with them like they're a band. They seem to love it."

"Indeed they do if the little one carrying his own drum sticks mean anything. I'm glad Philip is getting the chance to play with Danny. I don't know who this guy is that gives him lessons, but every time Philip comes home, he has some crazy story about Danny in high school," Kimber said.

"Dane actually went to high school?" Kate sneered.

"Be nice," Katrina scolded her older sister.

"Is his guitar tutor an old high school buddy?" Kimber asked Nicole.

The redhead shook her head. "He's someone she knew while she was in high school, but he didn't go to school with her."

Danny went to an alternative high school and was a loner even there. She did not know or interact with many of her classmates. All of her "friends" during that time were older musicians that respected her musical ability and vice versa. The person that she referred Philip to knew not to tell him about any of her wilder exploits as a teen, but was free and clear to tell whatever embarrassing tale came to mind.

"So, what type of stories does Philip come home with?" Kate inquired, undoubtedly hunting for ammo to use against the musician.

"Oh, just like she knocked herself out stage diving once. She somehow managed to completely miss the crowd," Kimber told them, earning a laugh from the ladies, except her eldest niece.

Nicole could not laugh. She knew the likely reason for Danny missing an entire crowd, probably quite sizable for one of her performances, was because she was high. She had been so impaired that she could not hit a single person in a crowd. Sighing, green eyes went to her lover and she decided that she did not want to hear any more unintentionally sad stories involving her love.

"You should see Danny and Luke freestyle. He's adorable," Nicole said.

"Oh, god. Can you get him to do it, please?" Katrina requested.

"He's a huge ham. All you have to do is ask. There's not a shy bone in that kid's body," Nicole informed them with a fond smile.

Sure enough, right after the band finished playing, Nicole called Luke over for him to do a freestyle rap. His face lit up and he called Dane over to do it with him. Nicole noticed that her grandmother, aunts, and cousin all gave Luke an odd look as he referred to Danny as "Dane" and did not attach "aunt" or any variation of the title. He barely got started before Haydn charged over, yapping at Danny.

"Oops. Time to feed the pup," Danny realized and then she checked her watch. "Time for you little guys to eat, too." She ruffled the top of Luke's golden head.

Haydn got his first taste of people food that day, sharing some hotdogs and burgers with Beanie. Nicole made a plate of food for Thomas while Danny took care of Luke. They also sat to eat with the boys and Haydn curled up at their feet when he was done. The boys, however, were off as soon as they was done and pulling Danny with them. Nicole tried to ignore the looks as she cleared their plates.

"You really need to have some babies," Alicia stated with a sparkle in her brown eyes.

"Danny is really good with then, so you'd both make good parents," Kimber concurred. There were nods and even Kate could not disagree.

"We're not going to have kids anytime soon, so just stop, Grandma," Nicole implored.

Alicia smiled and shook her head. "I can't do it. I really think you'd enjoy having a family. I'll let it go for now, though."

"Why do Danny's nephews call her Dane?" Katrina asked curiously.

"That is how she was introduced to them by her brother. It's complicated," Nicole answered. "The important thing is that they like her and she likes them, not what they call her. It's good they want to be around her."

"Sure you don't want kids now?" Kimber inquired with a teasing smile.

"How's school going?" her grandmother asked to save her eldest grandchild.

Nicole's mother could not take it anymore and got up from the table. The redhead followed her mother with her eyes momentarily, but she did not say anything to Kate. Her mother disliked her partner and the fact that she was going to school for a chemistry degree, but she was not going to change either of those things. So, her mother was just going to have to stay upset or get over it. Nicole was done kowtowing to her parents, as she had done her whole life.

"School is fine. I just started two new classes. I've got twelve credits already," Nicole answered her grandmother's question about school. "Jody, how's school for you?"

Jody sighed. "It's harder then you told me it would be, Nikki," she complained dramatically. The adults chuckled, knowing that Jody was not serious.

Jody was a freshman at a local university. She was not sure what she was going to major in, but they all knew it would end up being something with computers. Jody was into computers like Nicole was into chemistry. The thing that Jody had on her side was that her mother was more laid back than Nicole's mother. Jody would not be pressured to follow in Kimber's footsteps.

-8-8-8-8-

Dane found herself inside, watching football with the guys. She did not know much about football, but Benito had taken it upon himself to educate her on his favorite sport. Philip was his assistant in that regard as he also enjoyed football and he wanted Dane to like it, too. It the sport of choice for all family gatherings, so Danny figured that she needed to learn it if she wanted to be accepted.

"So, who are we rooting for again?" Dane asked with a chuckle to let them know that she was joking. She earned a playful swat from Benito.

"Just pay attention," Benito told her.

Dane laughed, but obeyed. She had plenty of serious questions that were handled by every guy there, including Eddie when he wandered by every now and then. Part way through the second quarter, Thomas staggered in and fell asleep on her lap. Not too long after that, Nicole came in. She took a picture of the scene with her phone before she said anything.

"Danny, it's time to go, so we're not late," the redhead told her girlfriend.

Danny frowned and checked her watch to see that her lover was right. Her frown deepened. She was having a good time and she wished that they could stay a little longer. Her desire must have been written all over her face because green eyes softened.

"We'll come back soon, sweetheart," Nicole promised.

Dane sighed, but did not argue. She rose to her feet, careful of Thomas. She had to give the boy to Nicole because there was no way that the lawyer would allow her to carry him. Goodbyes were said as they collected Luke and Haydn. Eddie and Sabrina were near tears that their playmates were leaving.

"Luke and Thomas will come back soon, okay?" Nicole assured her cousins.

That did not work and Katrina had to go save her niece from her children. With Katrina's help, Nicole and Dane were able to escape, even though it was hard to get Luke to leave. By the time pulled up to the house, Adam was already there and it was not even six yet.

"You're early," Dane pointed out with a frown as they unloaded from the car.

Adam looked sheepish, but that did not move his younger sister. She hated when he loomed, as if she could not be trusted with the boys. Of course, she was not alone with them, so it was like he did not trust her or Nicole.

Ever the diplomat, Nicole chimed in as she gently pulled the still sleeping Thomas from the car. "You missed your boys, didn't you?"

He smiled. "I did." He turned his attention to Luke. "Hey, buddy, ready to go home?"

"No, I wanna go back and play with Eddie, Sabrina, and Beanie again!" Luke objected.

Nicole smiled softly. "He was having a lot of fun with my little cousins and their dog," she explained as she handed Thomas over to Adam.

Adam nodded while Dane stayed back. She was tempted to say something nasty to her brother for showing up early, but she did not want to curse him out in front of her nephews. So, instead, she gave Luke a hug farewell and ruffled his hair.

"See you next weekend, guitar hero," Dane said to the little boy. Luke was clearly unhappy, but he nodded in agreement.

Adam said his own goodbyes before taking his sons to his car. He and Luke waved as he pulled off. They were gone before Nicole and Dane got to the front porch.

-8-8-8-8-

"You okay?" Nicole asked Danny. They were cuddled up on the couch, watching a movie. The musician was uncharacteristically quiet during the very cheesy horror movie.

Danny thought about it for a moment. "Yeah, I'm fine. I was just thinking about how much fun today was. Hanging out with the boys and with your family is so normal. I love it."

Nicole smiled. "I'm glad you like being around my family. They like you a lot."

"I can tell and I like them. Your grandfather is great. I've never really had a grandfather, so having him like me is really cool. I just really enjoyed today."

Nicole wrapped her arms around her lover and pulled her closer. "That's great. So, we'll go to Sunday dinners more often, okay?"

"Okay. No problem. It'll be a new thing for me."

Nicole sighed. She hated that so many things she took for granted – loving family, grandparents, and family dinners – were novelties for her girlfriend. She wanted Danny to experience as many "normal" things as possible.

"Hey, did your grandma and aunts think your ring was an engagement ring?" Danny asked curiously.

"They did. You saw them mob me?" the redhead inquired.

"Yeah, and the men folk had to explain me what was going on," the younger woman replied.

"I explained that it's not an engagement ring, but they want us married with kids like now," Nicole answered with a grin.

Danny laughed. "Kids? I only just got qualified to take care of a dog and that's only because you're here."

Nicole rested her head on Danny's shoulder. "Do you want kids?"

"Never thought about it. Do you?"

"I do. I want at least two. But, I'm not in a rush and we can talk about it seriously later on when you've had time to think about it. I already told you, I want to get married before I have kids."

Danny nodded. "Sounds good. Right now, I just want to hang out with you, Haydn, and the boys every now and then."

A smile settled onto Nicole's face. She felt the same for the moment. She also wanted to help her girlfriend experience a few more normal things in life before anything else. Danny needed some of life's simple pleasures and Nicole consciously decided right then and there to make that happen as soon as possible.

-8-8-8-8-

Next time: they do something normal with the boys and go to the zoo.