March 15th, 2006
Home of the ‘6 Musketeers’
do realize it’s the middle of the night for you,” Billy smiled while sitting
down next to Sara on the back porch.
“You do realize I work at night,” Sara countered before leaning her head on his shoulder, his arm automatically wrapping around her waist. “By the Goddess, I’ve missed this place…”
“I know,” Billy smiled, gently placing a kiss on her temple. “How are you doing this morning?”
“Better lover,” Sara smiled softly. “I know I was over reacting…logic says I was…but at the same time, I have been facing the question of what happens now since I learned I was pregnant two weeks ago. He doesn’t know about Avalon, doesn’t know our ways. Even if Gil wanted children…”
“How do you get him to accept the fact that your eldest child, if you are gifted with two, is promised to the House of Maidens or Druids in Avalon,” Billy continued gently.
“Exactly,” she sighed. “He’s a Scientist, logical, so many things…I often can’t help but wonder, think about how much he would have made a true Druid…”
“From what I’ve heard of him, you’re right,” he agreed.
“Yeah,” Sara sighed once more. “I remember the first time I met him, I just felt that the Goddess had led me to him…he was so smart, he knows so very much, and it’s not just in one subject like each of us. If he had only been born to Avalon, or introduced to Avalon before he was old enough to be cynical…then he could very well have one day been the Merlin himself…”
“He very well might have,” Billy smiled softly. “But he wasn’t…”
“I know,” she sighed once more. I thought the Goddess had other plans for me you know, that my gift in life was to help those who can’t speak for themselves…but now…I just don’t know. These last few years, it’s been harder and harder to do the work. Sure I do it, and I was happy for the most part…but seeing those people every day, and then the dreams and memories when I slept...”
“People always imagine being able to see the future, the past, anything at all is an amazing gift; many would kill for it even. But the Sight isn’t as much a gift as a curse,” he countered softly.
“The greatest gift in life, to some a curse, to others a blessing…whichever it is, each who bears it must live with it as they must. And use it as they will,” Sara repeated, a quote she had learned when she began her training under Elaine. “I know what my choice must be, away from there, even such a short time away. Being here, being with all of you, being away from Vegas and back near nature…I can feel Her more, hear Her call. All these years I believed my gifts were to be used to help those who couldn’t speak for themselves, now I know…I can’t live that way any longer. I need to live for me, to do as she wishes me, not for the sake of the world, but for the sake of myself first…I’m not going back to Vegas,” She finished, looking up at him.
“No, I mean I’ll go back to pack up and take care of finalizing things there, but it won’t be permanent…”
“You sure about this?” Billy asked concerned. “I’m the last to say you aren’t hearing the voice of the Mother, even I have heard it at times during my life as a Druid. And we both know you and Betsy are both greater blessed in terms of being able to hear her, and you even more than her. But are you sure? This isn’t just because you are freaking out and are upset?”
“I’m positive,” she smiled softly. “When Elaine comes, I plan to seek her council and in turn if the need arises, seek the council of the Chief Priestess of the local tribe…but I truly believe this was a sign…”
“Well then, welcome home.”
Sara laughed before looking up as a raindrop hit the ground near their feet. “You know, I’ve missed the rain.”
“You get rain in Vegas,” Billy shot back with a grin.
“Yeah, once in a blue moon and when it did rain…it was intense.”
“You miss the nice showers,” he smiled before she stood and pulled him up.
“Dance with me for a few, before it gets too bad.”
“Come on…” she begged lightly pulling on his arm to get him to walk forward, she now facing him.
“You realize we’re not in our twenties anymore right?” he asked with a chuckle, letting her pull him further out into the center of the patio, before she let go of his hands to spin around.
“Of course I do, but you’re never too old to enjoy a dance in the rain,” she teased, stopping when she faced him once more. “Dance with me?”
Taking the hand she held out, he spun her around, before wrapping his other arm around her waist and leading her into a waltz. “Are we dancing? Are we really here? Is this feeling something real or will it disappear? Are we dancing? Does the music soar? Was this lovely song I hear ever heard before?” he sang with a smile.
“Are your eyes confessing things I alone can see or is my imagination flying away with me?” Sara countered with a laugh, “Are we dancing? Please say we really are then I’ll know that I reached into the sky. I reached into the sky and touched a star.”
“Is this feeling something real or will it disappear? Was this lovely song I hear ever heard before?” Sara asked before he spun her out. “Are your eyes confessing things I alone can see or is my imagination flying away with me?” he countered as he brought her back before she joined him, “Are we dancing? Please say we really are…”
“Then I’ll know that I…” Billy began.
“I’ll know that I…” she echoed.
“Reached into the sky…”
“Reached to the sky…”she echoed once more before he joined her, spinning her around one last time. “I reached into the sky and touched a star.”
“We’re nuts,” Sara giggled; looking up at him, reaching up she brushed the raindrops off her eyelashes.
“We’re us,” he countered with a smile, taking her hand and spinning her around once more. “Marry me?”
“You’re kidding,” she stopped mid-step, looking up at him. “You’re not kidding…”
“Sar, of course I’m not,’ he countered gently. “This is us, once upon a time we were lovers, though I’ve loved you forever. You were Virgin Huntress at my King Stag ceremony. So many of the most important moments of our lives have been together. You know me better than anyone else…”
“You know what my one wish in life is, and now it looks…” he continued, ignoring her until she placed both hands on his cheeks, cupping his face.
“I know, lover, I know,” she whispered, smiling sadly.
“When we found out I was sick, you know I went and had my sperm frozen, just in case.”
“I know, you asked me if I thought any woman would marry you, love you, with the possibility of only having children through A.I.”
“And you told me if they didn’t, then they didn’t deserve me.”
“I still stand by that,” she agreed.
“I have to start chemo, but even with chemo and radiation, it’s just buying time…”
“How long have you known?” she asked with a frown, though she knew that fear was in her eyes as well.
“A week, I was waiting to call when I had a more specific number, my next appointment is this afternoon actually.”
Sara nodded, lowering her hands to rest against his chest, feeling his heartbeat for a moment. “What are you asking Billy?” softly she asked, looking up from her hands to his eyes.
“Marry me; let me spend my last months taking care of you; watch you blossom with motherhood. Let me love these babies as my own; and when I die, you can, if you wish, have all legal right…”
“To your soldiers,” she smirked slightly.
“Yeah,” he sheepishly smiled.
“You’re really serious about this…”
“Really!” he stressed, before chuckling. “Maybe it’s the will of the Goddess, you’re here, and escaping the life you’ve had. I’m here, the life I had about to end…”
“Maybe,” Sara agreed softly. “Love me unconditionally every day; hold me every night; go with me to doctors and look at baby stuff online…let me be there for you; talk to me each moment…don’t block me out…”
“Always and never,” he promised.
“Then yes, of course I’ll marry you,” she smiled, before laughing at the shocked look on his face.
“Really! You’re the one that asked!’ she teased before finding herself off the ground by a few inches. He wasn’t as strong as he had once been, the cancer taking its toll over the years, but he still had enough to be able to lift her up in a bear hug.
“Thank you,” he whispered once she was back on the ground, his arms still around her waist, hers resting along his arms. “I do love you…”
“I know,” she smiled softly, letting her forehead rest against his. “I’ve always loved you, we just thought it was better to end things when you went to MIT and I went to Berkley.”
“Then you met him…”
“Maybe this has all been part of a greater plan, you taught me to trust again, you showed me that sex could be a good thing…”
“We learned together.”
“You were my first love, and I yours, but perhaps I was meant to meet Gil. He could have been the greatest Druid of our time, and now I’m blessed with his child.”
“Maybe it is Her will,” he agreed. “But we’re both getting soaked Sar…”
“Come on, we need to get in before you get a cold,” she agreed before they made their way into the house, hunting down towels so they could dry off.
They sat and watched a movie, falling asleep on the couch only to be woken when Rebecca came stumbling down the stairs in search of coffee and complaining about her stupid phone going off at eight a.m. even though it was only five back in California. Shaking their heads, they rose, turned off the TV, and Sara sent him up to take a shower while she headed towards the kitchen. After making a single cup of coffee for Rebecca, Sara kicked her out of the kitchen and raided the fridge, setting out to make something for breakfast. By the time she finished making pancakes, eggs, hash browns and did up bowls of fresh fruit and cream on the side, everyone else had crawled out of bed and Rebecca had been back for three more cups of coffee now that Sara had actually made a pot.
“Why do you have a seventh plate set up?” Rebecca asked once they were all seated.
“I had a feeling,” she shrugged just before the doorbell rang, and Elizabeth grinned.
“Elaine,” everyone chorused while Elizabeth and Sara rushed through the house to get to the front door. By the time the other four had caught up, all they could see of Elaine was a pair of arms, one around each of the younger women’s shoulders as they shared a three-way hug.
“Hallo Rebecca,” Elaine greeted after they had finally separated by the door. “Forgot I was coming did ye?”
“More like hoped…you still scare the bejeebers out of me,” Rebecca shuddered.
“Rebecca darlin’, it’s been twenty years, time for ya to let it go and accept me,” Elaine countered with a smirk. Her Irish accent was more pronounced now, having been back in Ireland and England for a decade. Her five-eight frame hadn’t changed much over the years, she was still tall and lean, though her hair was now pure white, brushing her shoulders, and the lines around her eyes and mouth showed her age…but at sixty-six she still had many years to come, and was far from ‘old’ contrary to the belief of many of her students over the years.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Rebecca rolled her eyes before stepping into a hug with Elaine. Once they had stepped apart, Elaine moved on to hug Juli, Jasmine and finally Billly.
“Little one, ye are not well,” Elaine sighed when she stepped back from him. “But ya are radiating happiness, as it should be. Have ya told them yet?”
“Told us what?” Elizabeth asked with a frown.
Elaine clucked her tongue against the roof of her mouth, “Not wise little one, we both know the women of the six musketeers can be very scary…”
“Elaine, are you trying to get him in trouble?” Sara asked with a small laugh. “Come on, everyone back in the dining room, all my hard work is quickly getting cold and I at least need sustenance.”
“Ye need ta start eating meat again little one,” Elaine spoke up, following after her as Sara groaned.
“That is a discussion I want no part of,” Juli whispered to Jasmine.
“You and me both girlfriend. But we’re the doctors; we’re the ones who are going to get called by Elaine to support her position…”
“Do we have to?” Juli groaned.
“I’m so glad I’m not a doctor or a member of Avalon,” Rebecca grinned. “I can get out of this one…have fun yooze tree,” she winked before skipping off towards the dining room.
“Anyone else have the urge to kick her bloody arse?”
“I want first kick,” Jasmine agreed, Juli nodding her own agreement.
“Come on, let’s go see what this news is… and if it’s good or bad,” Elizabeth sighed towards the end. Jasmine and Juli shared a glance before each linking an arm with her’s and the three made their way into the dining room, the other four were already seated and Sara was eating her eggs, and rolling her eyes as Elaine tried to explain the reasoning for why she needed to eat meat.
“Aha, see here we have two who can help prove my point,” Elaine began the moment she saw them. “And Betsy can help with pointing out the traditional aspects from our culture.”
“I’m not eating liver. No way, no how…”
“Ohhhh that’s just wrong,” Rebecca groaned.
“My point exactly,” Sara shuddered.
“Okay, new topic ladies,” Billy spoke up. “I have enough reason to be in the bathroom visiting the Porcelain God each day…I don’t need that one.”
“He’s got a point,” Juli smirked. “So…what haven’t you told us? Do we have to hog tie you to get the information cause you know I’d do it…and Beccs would help me.”
“Heck yeah, Billy boy!”
“Which first?” Billy asked glancing at Sara.
“Bad news or good news guys?” she asked with a small sigh.
“Bad, then we have happy news to look forward to.”
“Yooze heard the Brit,” Rebecca agreed.
“I saw my Oncologist…I have to go on chemo,” he explained softly.
“Shit…” Jasmine whispered.
“How bad?” Juli continued with a frown.
“Just buying time now…it’s too far spread…”
“Damn it,” Rebecca hissed while Elizabeth remained quiet, reaching over to grab Sara’s hand under the table.
“How long?” Elaine asked with a sad smile.
“Don’t know, supposed to see my doctor today to find out…”
“Okay…” the others nodded slowly. “I vote Jazzy or Jules go with you so the rest of us can understand,” Rebecca continued.
“Beccs,” Sara scolded lightly.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” she sighed. “Okay, what is the good news, we so need it.”
“Billy asked me to marry him...”
“What! Yooze shittin’ me…”
“I think they’re serious, Beccs,” Juli countered shaking her head lightly. “Shoot! You two aren’t wasting any time. Not that I’m not excited and happy…” she continued quickly.
“I know what you mean,” Sara chuckled.
“You two sure about this?” Jasmine asked carefully.
“Yeah,” Sara began glancing up at Billy. “Yeah…whatever time She gives us…”
“Then congratulations,” Jasmine continued with a smile before rising and walking around to hug Billy then Sara.
“Bets?” Sara asked glancing at the woman next to her.
“I’m so happy for you Cassie,” Elizabeth smiled, “Both of you…”
Sara grinned before reaching over to hug her closest friend in the group.
“Avalon approves little ones,” Elaine spoke up softly. “It was meant ta be.”
“Thank you,” Sara whispered.
“Okay, we need to do something to celebrate…” Rebecca spoke up.
“Road trip?” Billy suggested before the women looked at him like he lost his mind. “What? I don’t mean leave now, we leave in the morning…”
“Well, he would be able to get his appointment done first…” Juli nodded.
“Only if your doctor gives the go ahead,” Sara ordered.
“You guys wanna stick around another two weeks?” Billy asked after nodding.
“Why not, besides I imagine we have a wedding to prepare for…” Jasmine shrugged.
“Exactly,” Sara smiled.
“About time we had a wedding in this family,” Rebecca rubbed her hands together gleefully before standing up and disappearing.
“Suddenly I’m very, very, afraid…” Sara glanced at the others before looking towards the empty doorway.
“You and me both sister,” Jasmine agreed.
“Maybe you shouldn’t have told her,” Juli laughed just as Rebecca appeared with a stack of books. “Holy cow!”
“I’ve been saving these things since college…hopeful I know,” she shrugged, setting the books down on the table – a number of wedding planning books, bridal magazines…invitation catalogs…
“Its official Beccs…you’re obsessed,” Elizabeth shook her head.
“Ye are just now realizing that?” Elaine chuckled.
“We were hopeful that it might be curable…” Billy shrugged.
“Hey!” Rebecca pouted. “Enough picking on me and start planning!”
“Yes ma’am,” Billy saluted her before she tossed a napkin at him. The others shared a glance that said ‘God/Goddess help us’ before grabbing a book.
March 15th, 2006
Home of the ‘6 Musketeers’
hours after Billy first found Sara on the patio, Sara collapsed on the
loveseat, mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted. They had spent hours
looking through Rebecca’s stockpile, then resorted to heading upstairs to their
separate rooms where computers waited, each of them having one at their own
home, one here. Eventually everyone ended up on Pogo while Elaine took a nap,
until it was time for Billy’s appointment, which Sara went to with him. They
had already done the tests; they just needed the results…
She had called the others, had them meet at their favorite restaurant for dinner, not wanting to deal with the results just yet. Over dinner they plotted their road trip, ignoring the figurative elephant in the room, and when they got home, Billy already exhausted crashed in ten minutes flat. And she finally came downstairs to find everyone sitting around the living room; various drinks provided by Rebecca, their very own bartender.
“Virgin Margarita…only fair,” she winked handing Sara her drink while Jasmine raised her own Strawberry Margarita.”
“What’s going on?” Elizabeth asked softly.
“Stage four B.E.N.S. Hodgkin’s,” she sighed heavily. “Progressive.”
“Jesus,” Jasmine whispered.
“That’s bad, right?” Rebecca asked with a frown.
“About as bad as it gets,” Juli answered.
“It’s spread to his kidneys, bone marrow… They’re going to try chemo and radiation but it’s just time… Prognosis is dialysis in a matter of months, kidneys will shut down regardless of if they manage to catch it and slow it down by now. Six months… maybe a year.”
“Goddess have mercy,” Elaine whispered. “I’m so sorry…”
Sara smiled slightly, before nodding. “Look, we’re going to just…he’s dying you know…and there’s no way around it. But he wants to live, not wait for death, so…we’re not supposed to coddle him, no treating him any different than we always have.”
“Sara…” Juli began with a frown.
“I know,” Sara smiled sadly. “I know, we wouldn’t anyway…but he…he just wants to make sure we know that he’s okay with this. As much as he can be…you know how Billy is.”
“Yeah,” Jasmine agreed, “Well…so when do we leave for this trip of ours?”
“Early morning the eighteenth, leave before traffic starts up,” Elizabeth shrugged.
“Sounds good to me,” Rebecca agreed. “But… how are we all going to get there?”
March 17th, 2006
Home of the ‘6 Musketeers’
my God!” Jasmine shrieked. “I did not need to know he wears a thong…”
“You? I didn’t need to see the mental image that brings…” Juli groaned
“Oh yeah that’s a job for me!” Rebecca laughed. On TV they were watching the TLC special, What Not to Under Wear… bad enough they learned the male host wore a thong, but Rebecca found her new job in life when the first woman proceeded to help the hosts tear a top from her co-worker and second ‘ahem’ victim’s arms.
“Oh man I can see Beccs doing that…” Elizabeth chuckled when the first woman, who was on the height deficient side decided to go after the third woman who was holding a piece of her clothing above her head…the third woman towering over the first one by a few feet.
“Hey! Stop picking on me, damn it.”
“You know we love you,” Sara smirked. “So stop complaining, if we didn’t pick on you, who would?”
“True…” Rebecca agreed before turning her attention back to the show.
Billy and Elaine were already out cold, Elaine offering to drive first when they left. When the show was over, Jasmine flipped the TV off; much to Rebecca’s annoyance until they pointed out they did have to be up at one to start driving…
“Alright, alright,” she grumbled, standing from the couch. “I still want to know how we’re all going to get there…”