CHAPTER 3

As Jim stopped the SUV at the end of the Manor House driveway to check for traffic, Trixie suggested, "Let's go to Ten Acres for a while. We can talk about us, your school, kiss and cuddle. You know all our favorite topics."

"OK by me," Jim agreed with a waggle of his eyebrows. "Especially the kiss and cuddle parts."

Turning left onto Glen Road, Jim drove less than thirty feet before turning onto the driveway to his future home and school. Parking the car, Jim undid his seat belt before reaching for Trixie's. Tapping his hands and shooing them away, Trixie undid her own seat belt and turned to face him.

Leaning over she gave him a swift kiss on the lips before retreating backwards. A small smile touched her face as she shyly looked at Jim. Trixie toed off her boots and tucked her legs underneath her. She turned to face Jim.

"Jim, I want you to know how much I love you," Trixie said nervously; fidgeting with the hem of her sweater. She looked at him and noticed his worried green eyes. Grabbing his hand gently in hers, she rushed to say, "Oh, no, sweetie, this isn't bad at all. I just need to tell you how I want to be with you forever and that
I worry about things. How I can be stupid." Dropping her eyes to look at their joined hands, she licked her lips and then chewed on the soft inside of her lower lip.

Jim saw how anxious Trixie was acting and attempted to ease her worry. "Trixie, I love you with all my heart and with every breath I take. Just tell me what has you so worried, so we can work on it together," he said gently as he lifted her hand to kiss her palm. He slowly reached out and lifted her chin to see her cloudy blue eyes. "Talk to me, sweetheart. Please."

"When we met here before Christmas, you know that I thought you and Sally were engaged. What I didn't tell you was I felt like she was the type of woman that you should be with instead of me. She is absolutely beautiful, tall, part of the social set that can support you with all the school functions you'll have." Trixie looked at Jim with tear-filled eyes. "Then at my apartment, you kissed me and told me you loved me and I felt so special. You need to know that I still have moments when I feel like I'm not what you need as a partner for life and your school, but I will do everything I can to be that person and partner for you."

Jim cupped her face with his hands and kissed her, expressing all the love and longing he had felt for the past eleven years. Pulling back but still holding her face, Jim said fiercely, "Trixie, I have always been and always will be totally and deeply in love with you. You are my life, my everything." Wiping away the tears from her cheeks, he continued, "You know my life has not been perfect. Jonesy saw to that. He beat me, degraded me, and made me feel totally worthless."

Looking down briefly and clenching his jaw, his eyes flashed back up to hers. "That part of my life was horrible, but it didn't make me who I am." His face softened as he looked at her. "The love and support of my real parents, my adoptive parents, you, Honey, and even the other Bob-Whites are who made me who I am today. A man who can love, be happy and smile; a man who has a wonderful woman that he loves more than his own life by his side -- a man who wants to never let you go." Searching her eyes and conveying his love, he continued. "I want you by my side always. If all the social events get to you, we can work something out, that's what partners do. Work through the give and take of a relationship."

Caressing her cheek softly with his thumb, he smiled that crooked grin she so loved. Gently he lifted her up and pulled her across the console into his arms. Holding her tightly, Jim kissed her with all the love and desire he felt for her. Nibbling at her lips, he moved back just enough to see her sapphire blue eyes. "I love you with every fiber of my being. Never, ever doubt my love for you, Beatrix."

Taking her lips again with his, Jim deepened the kiss and ran his hand along her side. Coming up for air, Trixie nibbled on his bottom lip. "Jim, tell me about your plans…" she stopped talking and sat up to wipe the condensation off the inside of the windshield. "Jim, did you see that?"

Jim was nibbling on her neck, still dazed by that last kiss and running his hand along the bare skin of her back where her sweater had pulled up. He wasn't paying attention to what she was saying. Trixie pinched him on the leg. "Ow!! What'd you do that for?"

"Over there, by the side foundation. Something is there, it's moving. Jim, we've got to go look." Trixie scooted over Jim and opened the driver's side door. She readjusted her sweater and smoothed down her skirt. Trixie was across the across the driveway before Jim had even exited the SUV. He quickly grabbed their coats.

"Trixie! Slow down and wait for me," Jim whispered harshly, pushing his arms into his coat as quickly as possible. He caught up to her, handed her coat to her, and grabbed her hand. "What are we looking for?"

"I saw something move over by the foundation. We need to see what it is," Trixie explained, putting her coat on. As they got closer to the foundation, they could hear a soft whimpering. Trixie stepped carefully over the loose rocks until she was standing on the old foundation. "Where did it go? I don't see anything anymore."

Jim turned his head, listening carefully. "Stand still. Hush. Wait, right over…there," Jim pointed to the western corner. He and Trixie moved as silently as possible. Jim bent down as they got closer and started to speak nonsense words very softly. He reached down and picked up a small dark bundle.

"What is it, Jim?" Trixie was standing on tiptoe trying to see what was cradled in his arms.

"It's a puppy. He's really cold. We need to get him someplace warm," Jim explained. He looked down at Trixie and noticed the gleam in her eyes reflecting the moonlight. "You do love a mystery, don't you? Here you go, take the little guy and we'll get out of here." He handed Trixie the puppy and finally noticed she was barefoot. "Where are your shoes?" he demanded. "You are going to freeze to death." He swung Trixie up in his arms and carried her and the puppy to the waiting SUV.

"Jim, I can walk you know, it's a hundred yards. I promise I won't freeze to death. AND point of fact Mr. Frayne, I'm not the one who was playing with my feet again. It's not my fault I was barefoot when I saw 'Gibbs'."

"'Gibbs'?"Jim asked as he set Trixie down and opened the passenger side door.

"Just trying names out; see which one fits him," Trixie explained, climbing in with the puppy. Jim reached into the back seat and got a blanket to wrap the puppy in. "Thanks, 'Grisom' is feeling warmer already. He's not shivering as much." Jim grabbed the seat belt and reached across Trixie to secure it.

"Let me get in and turn the heat on. We'll check 'Holmes' out." Jim closed Trixie's door and walked around the SUV to climb in the driver's side. He started the engine and the puppy let out a scared whimper. "It's OK, 'Cosmo'," Jim said, petting the puppy in Trixie's lap. Trixie turned and looked at Jim through narrowed eyes.

"We are not naming our puppy, 'Cosmo'," Trixie said with a smirk. Jim turned the cabin light on and they got their first good look at the puppy. It was dark brown, with tan markings. He had long floppy ears and sad brown eyes. "What kind of dog do you think 'Booth' is?" Trixie asked.

"Looks to me like a mix of beagle and maybe some shepherd. The ears say beagle, but the muzzle looks shepherd. I don't know, Trix. Let me see him." Jim reached over and took the puppy from Trixie's lap. He held the puppy up in the light and gave him a good look. "Um, sweetheart, we've got a small problem here. You can't call the dog Gibbs, Grisom, or Booth."

"Why not?" Trixie complained, until Jim turned the puppy toward her. "Oh, not a boy." Trixie chuckled. "OK, um, what about 'Ziva' - no, 'Olivia' - no?" Trixie continued to list female detectives, Jim continued to shake his head no. "Oh, I've got it. It's perfect - 'Lucy'!" Trixie's curls bounced in enthusiasm.

"What was it you said? Oh, yeah, 'We're not naming our puppy 'Lucy'," Jim taunted, cuddling the puppy in his lap. "What about 'Sherlock'? Isn't she one of the characters in those FBI books you like? Do you like that name, Sherlock?" The puppy looked up at Jim when he asked the question. Jim and Trixie burst out laughing. "Guess we've been told. Sherlock it is. Let's take our baby home." Jim handed the puppy back to Trixie and fastened his seat belt. He put the SUV in reverse and turned around. He drove down the drive and headed across town to Trixie's apartment.

~~~

Jim and Trixie stood at the counter of her kitchen and watched the puppy eating her dinner. Trixie leaned against Jim and he put his arm around her waist. She looked up at him and said, "Thanks for taking us to PetSmart. I don't think she's going to stop eating."

"That's why we just gave her a little of the puppy food. We can always give her some more later," Jim said. He let out a chuckle as Sherlock reached the bottom of her dish and her short little puppy legs seemed to give out. The puppy plopped out on her rump and looked up at the young couple. The puppy scratched at her new collar with her hind leg. "She doesn't seem to like her new jewelry."

"Well, I love mine," Trixie said touching the dainty gold necklace she wore. "Maybe it's the color she objects to? Explain to me again why we had to get her a pink collar?"

"She's a girl," Jim said simply, squeezing her. "The hospital will put our daughters in pink blankets, you'd better get used to it." Jim turned to look at Trixie. She was standing, staring up at him. Her mouth hung open and her eyes were wide with surprise.

"Our daughters?" Trixie asked, raising her eyebrows. "You've thought about our daughters have you?"

Jim turned Trixie so they were face to face. "Trix, I've thought about our everything." He leaned down and kissed her passionately. Trixie wrapped her arms around his neck and stood on tip-toe, pressing herself against Jim. The kiss would have continued, except Sherlock chose that moment to relieve her tiny puppy bladder. "Guess we're going to have to get used to having a little one around. Make you a deal, which would you rather do, clean-up or walk the puppy?"

"I'd rather change out of this outfit. But, if you walk her, I'll clean-up and then change," Trixie said with a smile, picking the puppy up. "You forget how much work a puppy is. I suppose we'll have to get on a schedule," Trixie said nose to nose with the puppy. Sherlock licked Trixie on the nose and let out a small yip, like she was agreeing with Trixie. "Here you go." Trixie handed the wiggling puppy to Jim. "You two have fun. Don't stay out too long, it's cold out there."

After changing out of her skirt and putting jeans on, she was about to change her sweater, but thought about it. It's soft. I love the color and even better, Jim couldn't keep his hands off of it. She smiled to herself and put some lip-gloss on. After cleaning up after the puppy, she picked up the food bowl and rinsed it out. Trixie made sure the water bowl was filled and secure on its lipped container. She walked to the living room and ignited the gas fireplace.

Walking to the front picture window, she watched the tall redhead playing with the puppy in the light from her porch. Sherlock was wriggling her hind end in anticipation of the small stick that Jim was throwing. Jim tossed the stick and Sherlock bounded after it, charging face first into a snowdrift. Jim threw his head back as he laughed at the antics of the puppy. He turned to look at the apartment and saw Trixie standing in the window. Jim waved at her and blew a kiss. Trixie saw Jim call to the puppy and pick her up.

Trixie opened the front door and stood with her arms wrapped around herself. "Come on, children, time to come in," Trixie called in a sing-song voice.

Jim trooped up the front steps, stomping the snow off his boots. "We were playing," he said, kissing Trixie's upturned face. "Sherlock learned to fetch. She's incredibly gifted."

"Of course she is, her father's a doctor," Trixie said taking the puppy and unhooking her leash. She hung the pink lead on a hook by the door. The puppy walked around the edge of the living room, sniffing everything, and found the small furry dog toy Trixie had tossed in there earlier. Sherlock jumped on the toy and clamped it in her teeth. Proud of her conquest, she carried her prey and dropped it at Trixie's feet. "Good dog, Sherlock!" Trixie picked the puppy up and snuggled the dog in the crook of her arm. She settled down on the couch and patted the cushion next to her.

Jim chuckled at Trixie and Sherlock. The puppy let out a huge yawn and curled up in Trixie's lap. "Come here," he said and pulled Trixie against him. He settled her next to him and wrapped his arms around her. He started running his fingers through her curls and gently massaged her scalp and shoulders.

Trixie sighed and relaxed against Jim's muscular chest. She leaned her head back. Jim took advantage of the delicate skin of her exposed neck. He kissed the side of her neck, nipping gently. He continued upwards toward her tiny earlobe. Trixie turned in his arms, sitting sideways so she wouldn't dump the puppy on the floor. She leaned into the kiss. Twisted up like a pretzel, Trixie started to giggle. "You find my kisses funny, Shamus?" Jim asked with a raised brow.

"Not at all, I find them intoxicating. However, our puppy takes after you," Trixie whispered. "She snores." Trixie leaned her forehead against Jim's shoulder, giggling.

"Well, by all means, let me take care of this." Jim extracted himself from the couch. He reached down and placed his hands under the puppy to lift her off Trixie's lap. When he realized exactly where his hands were, he froze and stopped breathing. He looked up at Trixie as she was licking her bottom lip. She sucked in her breath as Jim inadvertently caressed her thighs as he picked up the puppy. Jim placed the puppy in the fluffy round dog bed next to the fireplace.

Jim walked back to the sofa and reached down to take Trixie's hands. He pulled her up into his embrace. He stroked her back and hugged her tightly. Resting his hand on her backside, with his other hand he brushed her cheek. He looked into her passion-filled blue eyes, rubbing his thumb across her pink lips. Trixie opened her mouth and gently sucked and nibbled Jim's thumb. He threaded his fingers in her curls and drew her lips to him. Jim kissed her with a relentless passion that he was having a hard time controlling. He did his best to tamp down his libido. "Trix," he said breathlessly. "I think it's best if I go, while I still can."

"Now where have I heard that before?" Trixie sighed, pursing her lips into a bow. She held tightly to Jim's waist, not wanting to break contact yet. "Soon?" she asked, not sure if she was asking Jim or herself.

"Trixie, that's up to you, I think. Do you want to wait? We waited to date. Do you think we should wait to make love?" Jim asked starting to sway in a slow dance, wanting the answer to be yes and no all at the same time.

A deep sigh came from Trixie. "Always honorable. I love you. How about we take this one day at a time? Not today but maybe tomorrow?" She asked with raised brows.

"Are you trying to kill me?" Jim chuckled ruefully. "This is a big deal to both of us. You know I didn't have a serious relationship while I was in school. My parents taught me that a physical love was the most important kind of love. A love that you wait for, one that's worth waiting for. I've waited for you."

She looked up into serious emerald eyes. "Jim, I've waited too. You're the only one I've ever dreamed of being with. The only one I ever want to be with."

"Well then, I think we've made our decision." Jim smiled and dipped Trixie. "We've waited this long. We're going to wait some more. Let's try and avoid temptation as much as possible," he said, still dipping Trixie.

"Let me up, you goof, all the blood is rushing to my head." Trixie squirmed. Jim brought her back up and spun her out. "Jim, there's no music."

"There's music in my heart," he explained and continued to sway, holding Trixie close.

~~~

HoneyBee: She is so cute, Trixie. I love the pictures! So glad the vet said she's ok.

SGShamus: I know. I was worried. Sherlock slept so much the first day; I was worried she was sick. Dr. Chang said it's to be expected. She had a big shock and change to her system. He guesses she was dropped off earlier that day. He thinks she wouldn't have made it through the night.

HoneyBee: It's a good thing you and Jim were up "checking out" Ten Acres. ::snort::

SGShamus: Honey! I am shocked at your implication. We were talking. You told me we needed to talk.

HoneyBee: You are so right. I did. You never told me, did you have fun dancing?

SGShamus: Like you didn't know. I think my brothers are a bad influence on you and Di. "wear your sexy skirt, Trixie. Wear the pretty sweater." BaHa! You are developing an evil streak.

HoneyBee: Me? ::batting eyelashes:: I didn't know anything. So, dying to know what were days 10 and 11?

SGShamus: 10 lords leaps, I got a wonderful bucket of Tiddly Frogs.

HoneyBee: ??

SGShamus: You remember the game tiddly winks from grade school? Same thing, but with frogs. I am getting to be quiet the pro at Tiddly Frogs. Won $10 bucks off Jim last night! Sherlock loves to chase them. It's too funny to watch!
 

HoneyBee: ROTFL! I can see the next Bob-White game night, so long darts, hello Tiddly Frogs! I can see Dan now!


SGShamus: ROFLMAO!!! Oh, and yesterday I received a collection of pipes.

HoneyBee: ?? pipes, you don't smoke?

SGShamus: AND I don't plan on starting.
 It's a collection of bubble pipes, including a meerschaum bubble pipe like Sherlock Holmes'. I still don't know if he had it before we found Sherlock or if he searched for it afterward. We can have a bubble party when you come home.

HoneyBee: No thank you. I never did get the hang of blowing out. I always made a mistake a sucked in, yuck! Makes me queasy just thinking about it.
 

SGShamus: Poor Honey!
 No bubble pipe for you. So, how's school?

HoneyBee: UGH! Don't get me started. The graduate assistant in my Advocacy class is a pain. He thinks he is God's Gift to women. I don't need a study partner already for like the fifth time!

SGShamus: Oh he sounds annoying. Tell your professor if he keeps bothering you!

HoneyBee: I promise to mace him if I have to! Towanda the Avenger!!

SGShamus: ROTFLMAO!! Oh, too funny! I can see you now! Hope he's not around when you're behind the wheel.
 

HoneyBee: Trix, I've got to go. I do have a study group tonight. So I have to get dinner first. Have fun tonight. Tell my DB I said Hi!

SGShamus: Will do! Be good and chat soon! {hugs}

HoneyBee: {hugs} TTL

HoneyBee has signed off.

"Well Sherlock, let's get ready for your daddy. He should be here in an hour," Trixie said, petting the puppy that was asleep in her lap. "Gotta put the baked potatoes in the oven, and I'm going to let Romeo grill the steak." She stood up and put the puppy on the floor. On her way out of the office, she turned around. "Come on Sherlock."

As the puppy tripped over her dangling ears, Trixie laughed out loud. "Great! Incredibly gifted like your father and klutzy like me. Poor dog," Trixie sighed, smiling and shaking her head.

~~~

After dinner and the dishes, Trixie and Jim sat on the couch laughing as they watched Sherlock trying to drag her rawhide bone across the rug.

"She trips and falls just like her mom," Jim said, chuckling as Sherlock fell on the bone. "But she's not near as cute."

Trixie smacked Jim on the arm that he had placed around her. "Very funny, I think she is very cute. We can't all be as handsome, smart, and coordinated as Sherlock's daddy."

Hearing her name, Sherlock ran over and put her paws up on Jim's knees. He reached down and picked up the puppy to place her in his lap.

"My two best girls," Jim sighed as he pulled Trixie close to him.

"Jim, the orchids are beautiful. They smell heavenly but they must have cost a fortune. I can't believe the florist had a miniature drum vase. Why did you get me so many?" Trixie asked as she snuggled closer to Jim.

"Shamus, to finish up the Twelve Days of Christmas and celebrate our twelfth year together, I wanted to mark the beginning of our new life as a couple with something as special as our love for each other," Jim said earnestly. Holding her face in his palm, he continued softly, "Beatrix Belden, you are more important to me than anything else. I love you and I always will."

Jim kissed Trixie with a fierce passion. She moaned in response, running her hands over his muscled chest.

Breaking the kiss briefly, she stated, "James Winthrop Frayne, I will love you until I take my last breath."

"We had a wonderful Christmas season, Shamus. I know this is just the first of many we will share together," Jim told her with a squeeze.

"I'm sure of it, too," Trixie agreed smiling. "We'll always be together, Jim," Trixie said just as Sherlock yipped.

"Yes, and you, too, Sherlock," Trixie laughed.

The End

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Author's Notes

Part 3: 3,931 words

Smush Sisters notes:

Thanks to our editors, Pam, Donnis, WendyM, and BonnieH. Any typos, runs, hits or errors are all by the Smush Sisters and not these lovely ladies who try to save us from ourselves. We are comma illiterate. We apologize for ahead of time for using them incorrectly.

Love and hugs for BonnieH.  She took us in and gave us a home until we were ready to be on our own.  We are eternally grateful.

Story Stuff:

These things are fact:

PetSmart is a pet supply chain that sells all kinds of cool stuff for your critter.

Tiddly Frogs is a fun game that we saw on the internet.

Detective names we have borrowed with affection from some of our favorite TV shows: Gibbs and Ziva are from NCIS, Grisom is from CSI, Booth is from Bones, and Olivia is from Law and Order SVU.

Sherlock Holmes is the inspiration for the puppy's name and a character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He was borrowed by Catherine Coulter for her character, Lacey Sherlock in her FBI series. We borrowed them both!

Towanda the Avenger comes from Fried Green Tomatoes.

Background tile is from Hellas Multimedia.