A/N1: I posted the Alphabet Prompt meme from which geekgrrllurking chose the prompt “Wed Me” and the pairing Dana/Jess.
A/N2: Special thanks to my betas: jazwriter, cherokee62, and shesgottaread.
Dana kicked at the covers as she once again tossed around in the too large bed. She punched her pillow a couple of times and let out a heavy sigh. She was exhausted, but sleep was eluding her. Despite the demands of their jobs and their respective talents which sometimes seemed to require them to work separately as often as they worked together, Dana simply did not sleep well when Jess was absent. She looked at the clock on the nightstand.
Letting out another heavy sigh, Dana sat up. Who was she kidding? She wasn’t going to get any more sleep no matter how long she tossed and turned in bed. She didn’t know if it was a good thing or not that it was the weekend and she didn’t have to go to work. At least at work she could divert her thoughts for a few hours.
She got up, slipping on her robe, before heading to the kitchen. After starting the coffeemaker, Dana returned to the bedroom and got dressed for a run. It was obviously still dark out, but the running path she and Jess liked to use was lit and used almost exclusively by law enforcement personnel. It was one of the safest places to be regardless of the time of day or night.
After filling her travel mug with fresh coffee, she headed out.
The run had felt good. So did the hot shower afterward. Dana dried off and took a moment to inspect herself in the full length mirror, head to toe. Not bad for forty. Workouts, running, and eating right certainly went a long way toward keeping her fit. Of course an active sex life with a half-vampire lover had a noticeably positive effect on her as well. With a smirk she tossed her towel into the hamper and stepped into the bedroom.
She put on some shorts and a t-shirt before moving to the kitchen. After a light breakfast of fresh fruit and a bagel, Dana settled in the living room, turning on the TV. She was bored.
Jess had been gone for six weeks. She was undercover on a case being worked by a joint task force comprised of the FBI, ICE, and RCMP. Jess was somewhere bouncing around among the cities of Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo, Toronto, and Ottawa. Dana missed Jess terribly and had no way to contact her. She had no choice but to simply wait it out, trusting in Jess’s skill and experience, and hope that she was safe.
Dana jerked awake before the first ring of the phone ended. She snatched her cell phone off of the nightstand.
That one word, softly spoken, made her heart skip a beat. “Jess! It’s so good to hear your voice. I miss you.”
“It’s over, Dana. We got them,” Jess replied quietly.
Dana sat upright. Despite the good news, she knew without a doubt that something was very wrong; she felt it. “Jess? What’s wrong?”
“I’m just tired… so very tired.”
“When are you coming home?”
“I-I’m not sure.”
Jess’s hesitant answer worried Dana even more. “Where are you, Jess? I’ll come there.” She was already working through the logistics in her mind; calling in to get time off, packing, booking a flight.
Jess sighed almost inaudibly. “I’m in Toronto, but only until morning. I’ve got a flight out first thing.”
If she had a flight out but didn’t know when she was coming home, then where was she going? “I know something’s wrong, Jess. What is it?”
“I’m not…” Jess trailed off. Dana could hear the strain in her lover’s voice when she spoke again. “I’m okay. I’m just not very good company right now. I’m going to spend a few days at the cabin up here in Ontario before I come home.”
She had no idea what cabin Jess was talking about, but that didn’t matter. “Then I’ll come to the cabin. Tell me where it is.”
“That’s not necessary. I’m okay, Dana; I’m not hurt or anything. I’m just not good company right now.”
If Jess didn’t tell her where this cabin was, Dana would eventually find her way there anyway because of the bond they shared. The same indefinable bond that was telling Dana that Jess was not okay and needed her. “I don’t care if you’re good company or not, Jess. Just tell me where the cabin is.”
“Moosonee,” she said with sigh. “It’s outside Moosonee on James Bay.”
Dana was surprised to find someone holding a sign with her name on it when she landed in Toronto. She walked up to him.
“I’m Dana Scully.”
“Hello, ma’am. I’m Luc Bravard. If you’ll come with me, I’ll take you to the plane for your flight to Moosonee.”
“I don’t understand. I was told there are only two flights a day to Moosonee and that the next one wouldn’t be until tomorrow morning.”
“Ms. Morgan has made other arrangements for you.”
With a nod, she silently followed him. Once she boarded the chartered plane that was waiting for her, Dana was informed it would be about a two-hour flight. It was only a few minutes until they were taxiing down the runway.
There was an older man waiting for Dana when she disembarked from the plane in Moosonee.
“I’m Joe Sackaney. Jessica asked me to take you to the cabin.”
It wasn’t that she was ungrateful, but after enduring more than sixteen hours of a deep, distressful feeling that something was wrong with Jess, Dana’s nerves were shot. “That won’t be necessary. If you can just give me directions and then tell me where I can rent a car, I can drive myself to the cabin.”
“I’d be happy to if I could, but I don’t think you understand. The cabin is about twelve miles out of town on the other side of the river, and there are no roads out of town. The only way to get there this time of year is to hire a water taxi to take you across the river and then hoof it. Or,” he jerked his thumb over his shoulder, “you can let me take you in my helicopter.”
Dana closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and let it out. She opened her eyes and gave Mr. Sackaney a small smile. “Then by all means, let’s take your helicopter.”
He helped her into the helicopter and started his pre-flight check. “So, are you an FBI agent, too?”
“Have you known her long?”
“A few years. Why?”
He flipped a switch and the engine turned on, starting the rotor. He handed her headphones with a mic to put on. They blocked most of the noise and let them talk. “Did you work Jessica’s last case with her?”
“No. Why do you ask?”
He made a face as the helicopter lifted up off the tarmac. “When she arrived earlier today she looked like she had the weight of the whole darn world on her shoulders.” He sighed. “But then I haven’t seen Jessica in many years; I could be wrong.”
Dana wondered how fast the helicopter could cover the twelve miles to the cabin.
It took only a few short minutes. Joe set the helicopter down in a clearing near the cabin, and Dana quickly exited with her duffle bag, ducking until she had cleared the rotor blades. She barely spared Joe and the helicopter another look as he immediately took off again to presumably return to the Moosonee airport. Dana walked through several yards of trees to the small cabin and knocked on the door.
She wasn’t quite prepared for what she saw when Jess opened the door. She’d seen Jess angry, upset, and sleep-deprived during a case, but she had never seen Jess in the state she found her. Jess looked like she hadn’t slept in weeks; she had dark circles under her eyes, and it looked like she’d lost weight she couldn’t afford to lose. The dull, haunted look in Jess’s normally sparkling, grey eyes was like a physical blow.
“Oh, Jess.” Dana immediately dropped her bag and wrapped her arms around Jess, pulling her close.
Jess weakly returned the hug. “Come on in,” she said quietly.
Dana grabbed her bag and went inside as Jess stepped aside. She quickly took in the single room that made up the interior of the cabin.
Jess gestured to a door adjacent to the bed in the far corner. “The bathroom’s over there. Are you hungry?”
“Not right now,” Dana replied as she set her belongings by the foot of the bed. She turned back to look at where Jess was sitting on the couch, just staring at nothing. She walked over and sat directly in front of her on the small, roughhewn coffee table. “Jess, honey, talk to me,” she said as she took her lover’s hands in her own.
Jess’s eyes finally focused on her as she took a deep breath. “I told you I wasn’t very good company right now.”
“I understand that, but don’t shut me out. I’m here for you; talk to me.” Dana saw sorrow pass behind her grey eyes.
“I…” Jess closed her eyes, then a couple of tears escaped and rolled down her cheeks.
Dana reached up and gently wiped them away as she moved to sit next to Jess on the couch. She pulled her into her arms, resting Jess’s head on her chest. “Oh, Jess, it’s okay… let it out.” She dropped a kiss on the top of her head. “I’m here… let it go… let it go…”
Jess’s body was soon shaking with her soft sobs. Dana gently rocked her and continued whispering quiet assurances. After a little while, Jess cried herself asleep. Dana’s heart ached for the woman she loved. She didn’t know what had happened, but whatever it was, she knew she’d do anything to help Jess.
When Jess woke up about half an hour later, she excused herself to go to the bathroom. When she came back and sat down, Dana put her arm around her shoulders.
It really wasn’t cold in the cabin, but Dana went through the motions of throwing some more wood onto the fire that Jess had started before her arrival. Replacing the screen, she stood up. She really did not like the way Jess’s shivering was getting worse so she came up with a plan. Dana pushed the small coffee table aside and then walked over to the bed in the corner. She flipped the bedding on the side up so she could get a good grip on the mattress, and then she gave it a hard tug, effectively pulling the mattress off the frame so she could drag it to a spot between the couch and the fireplace. Dana added pillows and some extra bedding to make it more comfortable. Even though it was July 2nd, it could still drop down into the 40’s and sometimes even the 30’s at night.
She kicked her shoes off, then reached down and took Jess’s hands in her own. “Come here.” Jess stood and Dana started unbuttoning Jess’s shirt. “Let’s get you undressed and under the covers.”
Jess was passively compliant, as if on autopilot. Once she undressed Jess, Dana quickly removed her own clothing and got them both under the covers facing the fireplace. Dana spooned Jess from behind and held her close, making sure she was well tucked in.
“I’ve got you, Jess. I’m right here.”
It seemed to take quite a while for Jess to stop shivering. Eventually, Jess’s breathing evened out and her body relaxed as she fell asleep in Dana’s embrace.
Closing her eyes, Dana couldn’t help but wonder what had occurred to make Jess seem so despondent. At least Jess was safe and sound in her arms, and the constant feeling of trepidation that had dogged Dana since Jess’s middle of the night call finally abated. Dana knew that whatever had happened they could handle it together, as they had everything else during the past few years. With that last thought she, too, succumbed to sleep’s call.
Dana was the first to wake up a couple of hours later. She found that Jess had shifted in her sleep to face her, head on her shoulder and arm over her waist. She placed a soft kiss on Jess’s forehead. “I love you,” she whispered.
“I love you, too,” Jess replied just as quietly. She drew in a deep breath as she stretched a little bit before snuggling even closer against Dana.
Dana tightened her arms around Jess and kissed her forehead again. “Are you okay?”
“As okay as I can be right now.”
Instead of pushing for more information, Dana simply reached up and gently carded her fingers through Jess’s silky hair. After a few moments she felt a tear land on her bare skin. “I’m right here, Jess.”
Jess swallowed and then took a deep breath, slowly letting it out. “You know it was a human trafficking task force.”
“We’ve all seen it; young women sold into the sex industry.”
“It wasn’t that hard to infiltrate the group, or to find the girls they had in the pipeline. What I didn’t expect was to be invited into their inner circle.”
“I don’t understand.”
“After the first few of the ones responsible were rounded up, I was contacted. There was another layer, an inner circle, a group that was untouched by the arrests because they were insulated, protected.”
“And they’re the ones who contacted you?”
“Yes. They were apparently impressed with my work and my ability to keep a cool head in a crisis.” She took a slow breath. “We obviously couldn’t pass up the opportunity.”
“No, you couldn’t.” Dana gave Jess a squeeze.
“They pulled me from the trafficking operation before the rest were busted to protect me. They took me in, gave me a new identity, and offered…” Jess trailed off.
“They offered me my choice of donors.”
She pulled back, trying to look Jess in the eyes. “You mean—”
Jess met her eyes. “Yes.”
Dana was surprised about the offer. It meant that these people realized what Jess was and were maybe even like Jess. Either way, she didn’t understand the tears that were welling in Jess’s eyes. She gently cupped her cheek, lightly caressing her soft skin with her thumb. “What is it, Jess?”
“They were children, Dana… little kids.” She broke down crying. Through her tears Jess told Dana about the inner circle members, about how each of them used children as donors, and how they trafficked in children and their blood. “I was sick, Dana, absolutely sick. I’ve never been so ashamed… ashamed of what I am…”
“Oh, Jess, no! No! You can’t possibly think you’re anything like them. I know you, sweetheart. I know you better than I know myself. You have nothing to be ashamed of! You went you whole life without taking human blood until I made you take mine, and even then you didn’t take as much as you really should have, even though you almost died. You would never take blood from another human much less a child.”
As Jess cried, Dana felt helpless. She could do little more than hold her and tell her she loved her.
The next time Dana woke up it was decidedly colder in the cabin and obviously dark outside. She carefully eased her arms from around Jess to keep from waking her. Being careful not let cold air under the covers, she slid out from under them, grabbed clothes from her bag, and very quickly dressed in sweatpants, a sweater, and thick socks. She put some more wood on the coals in the fireplace and stoked the fire before retreating to the bathroom.
After freshening up, Dana fixed something for them to eat. Carefully, she brought their food to the bed she’d made on the floor in front of the fireplace and sat down. Dana stroked Jess’s hair gently to wake her up.
“Jess, honey, I’ve got some hot soup for you.”
Jess sat up while grabbing her shirt and slipped it on. She took the bowl Dana offered her with a quietly uttered, “Thank you.” Before she even took her first bite her stomach growled, loudly. She met Dana’s eyes, and they both smiled.
When they were done, Dana put the bowls in the sink, quickly rinsing them. They both shed their clothes and slipped back under the blankets, curling up together, facing the fireplace. Sleep soon claimed them both again.
When Dana woke up in the morning she found herself curled up alone, but she heard Jess in the kitchen area. Joining Jess, Dana slipped her arms around her waist from behind and dropped a kiss onto her shoulder.
“We’re having Spaghetti-O’s for brunch?” Dana asked with a smile.
“Yeah. Sorry. There’s not much here to eat. I didn’t really plan on coming here so I didn’t make any arrangements for provisions,” Jess said as she divided the contents of the pot into two bowls.
“It’s okay,” Dana said as she reached for her portion.
“I’ll make it up to you. I already radioed Joe about having some supplies brought out later today. We can also go into town for dinner if you want to.”
They sat down on the couch and started eating.
“I didn’t know you had a cabin up here.”
“I haven’t been here since before my grandfather died. He brought me here once. He supposedly won it in a card game. Joe has kept an eye on it all these years, making sure things are kept in working order, and in return he gets to use it whenever he wants to.”
They ate in companionable silence, and Dana was glad that she had made the trip.
After finishing their meal, Dana and Jess decided to go for a hike.
Dana took in the magnificent scenery as they walked in silence. After a few minutes, she felt Jess’s hand tighten its hold on hers; then Jess slowed her pace as she started to talk. Jess talked about everything the last several weeks had made her think and feel, holding nothing back.
When Jess finished talking, Dana guided her to a log that lay along the riverbank they were walking on. Dana remained standing once Jess sat down and ran her fingers through Jess’s silky hair as she gazed down into her eyes. She felt a wellspring of relief and happiness flow through her as sparkling, grey eyes once again gazed back. Gone was the dull, flat grey that had concerned her so much. Her instincts to come up here rather than to let Jess remain alone had been right.
Dana brought her other hand up and slid them both back along Jess’s jawline until she was cupping the base of her head. Without hesitation, Dana lowered her lips capturing Jess’s with a deep, languorous, emotion-filled kiss. She had to gasp for air when they finally broke the kiss. She rested her forehead against Jess’s, eyes closed.
“I love you, Jess, so much more than I know how I to tell you.”
She felt the feather touch of Jess’s fingertips wiping away the single tear that was trailing down her own cheek.
“Why the tears, Dana?”
She opened her eyes and smiled. “Because when you called Thursday night you weren’t okay, and you weren’t okay when I got here yesterday, and you still weren’t really okay this morning.” Dana paused and kissed her forehead. “But looking into your eyes now I know that you are.”
Jess gave her a small smile and nodded. “Yeah, I am – thanks to you.”
They heard a helicopter approach.
“That’ll be Joe with the provisions I asked him to get,” said Jess.
They kissed once more before deciding to head back to the cabin, walking hand-in-hand.
Joe was gone by the time they got back, but he had clearly delivered the promised provisions. The pantry was practically overflowing, as was the small refrigerator.
“How long does Joe think we’re staying?” Dana asked with amusement as she took in the amount of supplies.
“I don’t know, but I’m sure he’ll use whatever we don’t,” Jess said with a smile. “So what do you want to do for dinner? Stay here or go into town?”
“How can we go into town since Joe has already left?”
“There’s an ATV out back that is now topped off with a full tank of gas, and we could radio for a water taxi to meet us at the river.”
Dana didn’t particularly feel like going into town, but after everything Jess had been through over the past weeks she felt Jess deserved to choose what she wanted to do for the evening. “What do you want to do for dinner?” she asked.
Jess glanced at the small refrigerator. “If you don’t have a preference, I wouldn’t mind staying in. Joe gave us some fresh walleye fillets that look like they were swimming less than an hour ago,” she said with a smile.
Dana returned her smile. “Sounds good to me.”
Dinner was delicious. As Jess finished cleaning up, Dana put some wood on the coals banked in the fireplace and got a fire going.
“You know, it still surprises me how much the temperature drops at night here.”
“Yeah, the sun just set.” Jess dried her hands and then glanced at her watch as she sat down on the couch. “It’s 9:45.”
“Really? It doesn’t feel that late.” Dana stood up and turned to look at Jess.
“I know what you mean.”
“So you’re not tired either?” she asked as she moved to stand directly in front of Jess.
“Nope,” she replied, looking up at her.
Dana sat on Jess’s lap, straddling her legs and settling her knees on either side of Jess’s hips. She smiled as she slipped her arms around her neck. “Good.”
As they kissed she felt Jess’s hands slide along her thighs to her hips where they pulled her pelvis tight against her. She let out a soft sigh as Jess’s lips and tongue blazed a trail down her neck to the pulse point at the base of her throat. She sunk her fingers in silken hair as she pulled her head back so that she could kiss Jess. Dana felt her heart skip a beat when she saw that Jess’s eyes had already changed and were as dark as obsidian. They kissed deeply and passionately.
Dana felt Jess’s hands firmly grasp her ass just before she stood up. She simply deepened their kiss and wrapped her legs around Jess’s waist while Jess took the couple of steps necessary to reach the mattress that was still on the floor from the night before. Jess knelt down on it as she slid her hands up, grabbed the bottom edge of Dana’s shirt, and pulled. Dana quickly helped her remove it, tossing the superfluous item onto the couch. Her bra quickly followed, also landing on the couch.
Jess laid Dana on the mattress and immediately took one of her nipples into her mouth, sucking and teasing it with her tongue. Letting out a hiss, Dana arched up into Jess. After a few moments, Dana felt Jess switch to her other breast, while knowing hands caressed her beasts, arms, stomach, anywhere and everywhere her skin was exposed. After six weeks without Jess in their bed, Dana was suddenly feeling an overwhelming urgency to be close to her. She needed Jess, and she needed her now.
Dana couldn’t move fast enough when she felt Jess’s hands unzip and unsnap her jeans. She had to get them off. She kicked her jeans and panties off to the side and ran her fingers through Jess’s hair as she kissed her way from Dana’s breast down her abdomen and settled between her thighs. Her whole body trembled with anticipation as she felt Jess’s warm breath on her center.
She lifted her head and met Jess’s eyes. She felt captivated by her lover’s gaze, her body taut with pent-up sexual energy, her heart pounding loudly in her ears. Still holding her gaze, Jess licked her. Dana slammed her head back into the pillow, fisted her fingers in Jess’s hair, and let out a moan. God, she wasn’t going to last long. Then Jess pushed two fingers inside her and sent her over the edge. Her body bowed and she came with a loud groan. Finally, she dropped back onto the mattress, gasping for air and trying to slow her pounding heart.
Jess kissed her way up her body; Dana smiled up at her as she felt her lover’s welcome weight settle on top her and they kissed. “Mmm, I’ve missed you, Jess.”
“I’ve missed you, too.”
Dana slipped her hands under Jess’s shirt. “I think you’re a little overdressed.”
As they continued to kiss, four hands worked to remove Jess’s clothes. Dana revelled in the sensation of Jess’s naked body on top of her own. She slowly ran her hands down Jess’s back, enjoying the feel of lean muscle beneath smooth skin, until she cupped and squeezed Jess’s ass. Feeling Jess moan into their kiss, Dana pushed up against her and twisted, rolling her onto her back. It had been too long since she’d been able to make love to Jess; her mouth watered in anticipation. She wanted to take her time and savour Jess, but Jess’s hands urged her downward. Dana knew Jess’s need had to be at least as urgent as her own had been; she wasn’t going to be cruel and make Jess wait. After only a few seconds Jess came in her mouth.
Dana kissed her way back up Jess’s body until she claimed her lips in a languorous kiss. She smiled down at her. “Better?”
“Mmm, better… for now,” Jess replied with an indolent smile.
They shifted to lie on their sides, and Dana slid her arm under Jess’s neck as they entwined their legs. Now that they’d appeased their most urgent needs, they could go slower and be more attentive. They enjoyed long, languid kisses and soft, warm caresses. As Dana caressed Jess’s body, she couldn’t help but note her ribs were a little too pronounced. The weeks Jess was away had obviously been hard on Jess physically as well as emotionally. While nothing could put the weight back on Jess overnight, Dana did know what would make her feel a hundred times better. Jess needed to feed.
Over the years, Dana had observed that Jess’s fangs extended to different lengths depending on the circumstances. They appeared shorter during sexual arousal, longer when she prepared to feed, and longer still when she was enraged or in survival situations. Dana surmised that there were different enzymes active in Jess’s saliva in each situation, creating her physical reactions.
Similarly, Jess had more than one kind of bite. The bite Jess used when she fed, the bite where her fangs pierced Dana’s vein and allowed Jess to drink her blood, caused Dana to feel pleasure. She experienced peace and arousal as she felt their hearts beating in time while Jess fed. Even thinking about it was enough to quicken her pulse.
Then there was Jess’s sex bite. According to Jess she had never felt the urge to bite during sex before Dana. However, with Dana’s encouragement Jess had given into the urge, and together they’d discovered how it could enhance sex for both of them. When biting Dana during sex, Jess did not pierce her vein, but Jess described the experience as “tasting Dana’s soul.” And as for Dana, it immediately caused her to climax.
Dana deepened their kiss and slipped a couple of fingers into Jess. Jess broke the kiss as her body arched into Dana’s, her low moan sending shivers down Dana’s spine. As she moved her fingers in and out of Jess, she nibbled on her earlobe. When Jess neared her climax Dana stilled her fingers, waiting until Jess’s breathing evened out somewhat before she started moving them again.
After Dana finally allowed Jess to come, she was pushed onto her back. Dana wrapped her arms around Jess as she bent her knee, pressing her thigh tightly against Dana’s hot center. As Jess nuzzled her neck Dana sank her fingers into Jess’s damp hair. Dana’s hips were moving of their own accord, thrusting against Jess’s well-muscled thigh; she was so close. Once in a great while, she and Jess blurred the line between feeding and sex, and that’s what she had in mind at that moment.
“Bite me, Jess,” she quietly rasped. She let out a loud gasp and her muscles spasmed when Jess granted her request. She fisted her hand in Jess’s hair, and even before the tremors of her orgasm subsided she huffed, “Now feed.”
Jess let out a soft moan, and Dana felt her fangs sink in deeper. Both of their bodies quaked with powerful orgasms as their hearts beat in time with each other. Dana struggled to maintain consciousness, wanting the rapture to last as long as possible. It was a futile battle.
Dana was cradled in Jess’s arms when she became conscious sometime later. Her head was resting on Jess’s chest, Jess’s strong, steady heartbeat beneath her ear. She didn’t know how long she’d been out, but based on their past experiences, it must have been at least an hour.
“We haven’t done that in a long time,” Jess said quietly.
“You needed to feed.”
Jess gently ran her fingers through Dana’s hair. “Yes, but it could have waited until morning.”
“Are you complaining?”
“Of course not,” she said. “But sometimes I do worry I’ll take too much when we do it like that.”
Dana snuggled tighter into Jess as she yawned. “I don’t. I know you, Jess; you’d sooner cut your own arm off than do anything harmful to me.” She felt Jess’s arms tighten around her as she began drifting asleep.
“You’re right about that,” Jess whispered.
Dana woke up to the smells and sounds of breakfast (or was it lunch?) being cooked. She rolled over and saw Jess, who looked up at her and smiled, in the kitchen area frying something up in a pan.
“Good morn—” she glanced as her watch, “afternoon, Sleepyhead. I was beginning to wonder if you were going to sleep all day.”
Lunch it was. “How long have you been up?”
“Only about half an hour. It seems we both needed to sleep in.”
Dana stretched and let out a sigh. “I’m not surprised. I don’t think either of us have slept especially well for the past few weeks.”
Jess nodded. “Hope you’re hungry.”
She smiled. “Mmm, I don’t know what that is, but it definitely smells good,” said Dana.
“It’ll be ready in about three minutes.”
“Okay. That’s my cue to get up.”
She got out from under the covers, grabbed some clothes, and went into the bathroom. Jess was just plating the food when she came back out.
“Here you go.”
Dana took the proffered plate of steak and eggs and went to sit down. Jess quickly joined her. Dana hummed appreciatively after taking her first bite. “Mmm, this is wonderful, Jess. What kind of meat is this?”
“Good for you, too; high in both protein and iron and low in fat. It’s been marinating since yesterday.”
“What kind of marinade did you use?”
“I don’t know; Joe’s daughter made it,” Jess said with a smile.
After the dishes were washed, Dana joined Jess on the couch. Jess slipped her arm around Dana’s shoulders.
“Thank you,” Jess said quietly.
“Washing the dishes was the least I could do after you cooked that wonderful meal.”
“No, not for that; for coming up here. I should have known that having you here with me was better than hiding out here alone. Thank you for being here for me.”
Dana brought her hand up and caressed Jess’s cheek as she gazed into her eyes. “I’ll always be here for you, Jess, no matter what. I love you.”
She leaned in and they kissed. Their kisses were slow and languid, an expression of their deep love and connection rather than a start of anything sexual. When they finally parted, Jess pulled back just far enough to gaze into her eyes. Dana could tell there was something on Jess’s mind; she could see it in her eyes.
“What is it?” Dana asked gently.
She kissed Jess again and smiled as she rested her forehead against Jess’s. “If only we could get married.”
“We can. Here in Ontario it’s legal for us to get married.”
“But it wouldn’t be legal back home.”
“No, it won’t. I believe one day it will be, but I don’t want to wait until ‘one day.’ Marry me, Dana, here, today.”
Her eyes watered and brimmed as she realized just how earnest Jess was. She already knew in her heart that she’d spend the rest of her life with Jess; she didn’t need a ceremony to make it official. On the other hand, the thought of actually marrying Jess was making her heart race.
She smiled as she nodded. “All right, let’s get married.”
Jess’s joyful grin made her chuckle. Jess kissed her then quickly jumped up and walked over to the radio.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m going to radio Joe so we can go into town.”
“Wait a minute; today’s Sunday. We won’t be able to get a marriage license today.”
Jess just smiled. “Trust me, where there’s a will…”
Jess had been right; where there was a will, there was a way. Jess, with the help of Joe, talked the mayor of Moosonee, who happened to be Joe’s daughter, Sandra, into opening the town office so that they could obtain a marriage license. Sandra issued it personally. The mayor then called Judge Linklater and asked him, as a personal favor to her, to come to her office.
At 5:00 Sunday afternoon on July 4th, 2004, Dana and Jess were married by Judge Linklater and witnessed by Joe Sackaney and Mayor Sandra Sackaney. It was a perfunctory ceremony, but it had no less impact on the way Dana’s heart raced as she held Jess’s hands and gazed into her grey eyes as they pledged themselves to each other for the rest of their lives. She may not have needed a ceremony to make it official, but damn if it didn’t feel wonderful!
After the ceremony, Dana and Jess treated Joe and Sarah to dinner at the Sky Ranch Restaurant. They enjoyed a wonderful meal before Joe treated them to a scenic air tour of the southern James Bay area. It was a perfect end to a special day.
Even though it was still about an hour until sunset, the temperature had started to drop by the time they got back to the cabin. Dana stirred the coals and added some wood to take the chill out of the cabin. She was still kneeling in front of the fireplace moving around coals when she felt a gentle hand on her shoulder. She turned to see Jess offering her a mug. Putting the poker away and the screen back in front of the fire, she took the mug as she stood up. The sweet taste of hot chocolate made her smile.
“You’re welcome,” Jess said as she settled into the corner of the couch.
Dana leaned against her, tucking into her side and resting her head on Jess’s shoulder. She couldn’t seem to stop smiling. “It’s hard to believe we’re really married.”
Jess tightened her arm around Dana’s shoulders. “I know.” She paused for a beat. “Do you remember the first time we sat in front of a fire and drank hot chocolate?”
Her smile widened at the memory. “Of course. It was my 35th birthday. We’d spent the day together, went ice skating at the National Gallery, went out to dinner, and then got into a snowball fight. It was the best birthday I’d had in a long time.”
“And you didn’t even tell me it was your birthday until much later,” Dana teased.
“No, but it was still a wonderful birthday. Who would have thought five and a half years later we’d be here, an old, married couple.”
“Old?!” Dana sat up straight, turned, and looked at her smirking wife. “Speak for yourself, woman.”
Jess just laughed.
“I’ll show you old,” she declared. Dana reached across Jess and set her mug on the coffee table, then took Jess’s mug out of her hand and set it on the table as well. She climbed onto Jess’s lap, took her face between her hands, and kissed her, passionately.
It was a couple of hours later while lying on the mattress catching their breath, when Dana nudged Jess with her elbow. “Now what did you say about old?”
Jess chuckled. “All right, I take it back. You do realize I was thinking more about the married part of ‘old married couple,’ right?”
Dana rolled her head toward Jess and met her gaze. “I know,” she said smiling. “But it was a convenient reason to seduce my wife.”
Jess’s eyes sparkled as her smile widened. “I like the sound of that.” She leaned in and gave Dana a quick kiss on the lips. “I’ll be right back.”
Jess got up and quickly scampered into the bathroom. When she came back out she started getting dressed instead of getting back under the covers.
“What are you doing?” Dana asked.
“I want to do something. Come on; get dressed,” Jess said with a smile.
She didn’t have a clue what Jess was up to, but Dana got up to get dressed anyway.
“Now what?” Dana asked.
Jess handed Dana her coat. “Put that on, and come here.” Jess moved to the door and waited. “Now close your eyes.” Before opening the door, Jess put her left hand over Dana’s eyes. “No peeking.”
“What are you up to, Jess?”
“Trust me.” Jess guided Dana outside and several yards away from the cabin. Dana could feel her moving to stand behind her. “Ready?”
Jess moved her hand. “Look,” she breathed in Dana’s ear.
Dana opened her eyes and simply stared in wonder at the light show playing in the sky. The crystal clear night sky was alive with the dancing color of the aurora borealis. “It’s so beautiful,” she finally whispered.
“There are obviously no Fourth of July fireworks here, but I thought this display of the northern lights would do for a nice celebration of our marriage,” Jess said as she slipped her arms around Dana from behind.
“Oh yes, this will definitely do!” She turned her head and kissed Jess. “And I think you more than delivered on the fireworks earlier,” she added mischievously.
They stood in silence as they watched the light dance across the sky until the aurora faded.
Dana broke the silence. “It’s back to the real world tomorrow.”
Jess let go of Dana and moved to stand in front of her. Slipping her arms around Dana’s waist, she nodded. “We’re both expected back to work Tuesday morning, so yeah. But it’s only a three-hour flight back to Dulles, so we’ll be home early. Then we can go to the jewelry store and pick out our rings.” She paused for a beat. “It wasn’t a fancy, well-planned wedding, and this hasn’t been much of a honeymoon, I know, but we can put in for some vacation time, and then we can go anywhere you want to.”
She smiled. “I have no complaints, Jess, none whatsoever. A honeymoon would be nice, but what’s most important is our marriage and the fact that we have the rest of our lives together.”
“That we do.”
They kissed before turning to walk arm-in-arm back to the cabin… and into their future as a married couple.