A/N: A huge thanks to everyone who has stuck with me throughout this fic, which happens to be my first. I love ya'll!
10 years later…
The sunlight filtering in through our window blinds signalled another new day at the de Silva household. Jesse, who had never gotten over the habit of rising with the sun, shifted beside me.
"Mmm, morning, querida," he murmured sleepily.
I didn't answer, cuddling into his bare chest. He tightened his arm around my waist, continuing to whisper Spanish words into my hair. I let the rich sound of his voice flow over me, gently prodding me to consciousness. The soft thudding of his heart provided a rhythmic beat to his murmurs.
When I was suitably awake, Jesse got up. "Get up, querida," he said, poking my foot underneath the duvet.
"Mmm, Jesse! That tickles! Stop it!" I grumbled. I reached a still half-dead arm for his pillow and threw it at him. His deep laughter reached my ear as he deftly caught it and threw it back with more force at my head.
"Susannah, it's eight already. Look outside, the sun is already high. Wake up," he continued in his silky voice.
"Nobody wakes up at eight on a Sunday morning, Jesse," I whined, my eyes still stuck closed.
I heard him mutter something about modern people in Spanish. Then he said, "Susannah, the sun's up. What's the use of staying in bed? Everybody is – or should – be up by now," he stated firmly.
"Freak," I muttered under my breath. His chuckle told me that he'd heard it.
This was an argument that had taken place every weekend morning for the last four years. Or something along these lines, anyway. It never got old. With Jesse, nothing ever got old, really. Ha. Talk about ironic.
Half an hour later, we were downstairs in the kitchen. I was popping the bread into the toaster and Jesse was preparing the eggs with one hand and holding the newspaper he was reading with the other. The ancient radio that he had insisted on purchasing – much to my chagrin. I mean, it totally destroyed the woody elegant look I was going for – blared on in the corner. I rolled my eyes. Really, why couldn't he just switch on the TV like a normal person?
The sound of childish laughter floated in from the living room. I couldn't help but smile at the sound. Our son, Rick, had the most infectious laugh I'd ever heard. Or maybe that was just me being his mom.
I walked into the living room and planted a kiss on my son's forehead. I would never have done that around a decade ago. But that was a decade ago when I was Suze Simon. Now I was Susannah de Silva, a mother, wife and psychiatrist. I was more mature now, not to mention…womanly. So the kiss was nothing out of the ordinary.
Rick pointed delightedly towards the TV. "Look, Mommy, Jerry hit Tom with…with…" he trailed off, not finding the word in his four-year-old vocabulary.
"A washboard?" I prompted. He nodded distractedly, already absorbed in another one of Tom and Jerry's stunts.
Suddenly, I giggled. Washboard. The word made several memories float into my mind. How many times had I day-dreamed of Jesse's washboard abs when I was sixteen? And now, I had those exact washboard abs at my disposal…
Feeling suddenly playful, I sashayed into the kitchen and wrapped my arms around Jesse's waist. "Hey, handsome," I whispered, a grin on my face. It was going to be one fun, lazy Sunday.
Jesse turned around in my embrace, an eyebrow raised amusedly. "Yes, Susannah?" he said.
"Wanna play?" I asked, leaning on my tip toes to reach his lips.
He grinned, slipping out of my arms. I pouted. "What's the matter?" I asked, frowning.
"Nothing. I just have to make a few calls," he said, grinning even more widely and walking to the living room, greeting Rick loudly. The jerk.
Though, seeing as it was Jesse, he'd never leave my wish unfulfilled. We'd see at night…
Sighing happily, I went and sat down at the desk beside the sliding doors which led out to the backyard. Gazing out into emerald grass, I was suddenly reminded of a certain place. A place somewhere in the volumes of my special memories.
It was Jesse's ranch, I realized with a start. The huge oak in our backyard made the setting seem even more like Mrs. de Silva's little garden back in 1850. I blinked slowly. Neither Jesse nor I had spoken of that experience for a very long time. I hadn't even thought of it in forever.
Tears of gratefulness came into my eyes as I thought of the day we had shifted back to the present. It wasn't like me to cry at a thought. But this particular memory was so painfully happy that I couldn't help but cry. Even now, after ten years, my heart sped up dangerously at the thought of what would have happened if I hadn't grabbed Jesse's hand in that last second in 1850 when Paul was shifting us. I shuddered.
Moving forward, the smile came back onto my face. Father Dominic had helped us tremendously. He'd used his special privileges to get Jesse started in this world as a legal citizen. He'd provided the correct education for Jesse to become the expert surgeon he was now. And he'd been the father-figure that Andy couldn't be for Jesse.
My thoughts drifted to Paul. We'd patched up at the winter formal a week after our arrival back home. After graduation, he had gone on to Harvard Law School and graduated from there with flying colors. He was now a criminal lawyer in Los Angeles with a wife and a three-year-old daughter. Now, to my utter surprise, he and Jesse sported a strong friendship. We visited them every time we drove over to LA.
Turning my head, I surveyed the little shelf built on top of the desk. I reached out and touched the weathered leather spine over there. It had been a long time since I'd read Josefina's diary too. My gaze turned down. We had never gone back to the past again. That day in 1850 when I was sixteen had been the last day Jesse had met his family.
The guilt had never completely faded. I still felt a little guilty for separating Jesse from his family whom he so dearly loved. And he hadn't gotten to say goodbye either. It had been a horrifying experience for me when Jesse had first read Jo's diary. Even against his strong will, a tear had spilled over. I had never ever seen Jesse cry before or after that day. And it had been his first and last time to read his sister's journal.
From that day onwards, he had broken all the ties that bound him to his previous life. My feelings on that were ambivalent. I didn't know whether to be happy or guilty.
"Mommy?" Rick's voice broke my thoughts.
"Yes, honey?" I asked, turning around and picking him up and setting him on my lap.
He didn't say anything, just snuggled his head into my neck. We'd had a late night; he must have been sleepy still. I looked at him as he started playing absently with my necklace. It was clear that he was Jesse's son. He had the same olive skin tone, the same ebony hair, and sharp features. But his eyes were like mine, green. I was glad he'd gotten my best feature from me.
After Rick was sleeping, I carried him over to the couch and set him there. I lifted his head and sat there then placed it back on my lap. Rolling my head back, I listened to the chirping of the birds outside and the neighbors' noisy truck driving down the road. Suddenly, I felt a large warm hand slip around my shoulders and nudge me to the side to make space for him.
I smiled and carefully moved to the side, not jostling Rick too much. Jesse slipped in beside me, cradling Rick's head in his lap.
"Finished with your calls?" I asked him, raising my eyebrows.
He smiled. "All done. I'm yours for the rest of the day, ma'am," he said.
Playing along, I pulled him closer by the collar and whispered, "Excuse me? For the rest of the day? You're mine for the rest of eternity."
His laughter rumbled through my body as he skimmed his mouth along my neck. "Whatever you say, querida," he said.
I smiled and sighed peacefully into his kiss. With the three of us here in each other's arms, I was home at last.