This is a short one, but hope you like it.

Mother & Daughter Talk
By Vonnie (sissy@svs.net)

The night was warm, with just a hint of a breeze blowing. It was late, the kids had all gone to bed hours ago, and with Walker not getting home till early morning, she had decided to sit outside in the swing knowing that she wouldn't be able to sleep with him being gone.

Listening to the night sounds had a calming effect on her, with an occasional nicker coming from the barn, and a hoot from an owl in the tree at the side of the house. She relaxed against the cushions of the swing and shut her eyes just as she hears the faint sound of the screen door opening.

She opens her eyes and sits up to see Jessica coming out the door. "Jessie, honey, you ought to be in bed. Are you all right?"

"Yes, Mom, I'm fine. I knew you wouldn't be sleeping, you never do when Dad is going to be late like this, and … I thought maybe we could talk?"

Alex looks at her for several seconds and realizes that she has seen this pensive look on Jessie's face for the past week. "Come here, Jessie, sit down and tell me what's wrong."

Jessie sits down on the swing next to Alex, sees the look of concern on her mother's face, "Nothing's wrong, Mom, really." She picks up Alex's hands and holds them in hers, "You know I'll be leaving this fall for college."

"Yes, I know, I'm gonna miss you very much."

"You … also know that's where Wade is going, too, don't you?"

"Yes. Are you having a problem with that?"

"Yes … No … I don't know."

Jessie turns to look out into the dark, not sure how to say what's on her mind. Alex sees the hesitation and pulls Jessie back into her arms, and waits for her speak.

"Mom … how did you know you were in love with Dad?"

Alex had an idea where this was going because Jessie and Wade had known each other most of their lives. "I think I knew the first time I saw him that he was going to be someone special in my life. But how did I know … when I began waking up thinking about him and going to bed with him on my mind. Going into a near panic whenever he got hurt. When I realized I didn't want to live without him."

"Dad feels the same way about you. You can see it in his face, whenever he sees you, whenever someone says your name. The same look I've seen on your face. I've always prayed for a love like that."

She hugs Jessie, "Love has a tendency to creep up on you when you least expect it. Be patient."

"I think I've found it with Wade, Mom," she turns to look at her mother, "sometimes … I don't think I can stand it if I can't see him every day or at least talk to him. And he feels the same way."

"Are you sure it's not just because you've grown up together, … maybe…"

"We thought about that, too, so we decided to try going out with other people, staying away from each other. And we did, we really tried for two months. Every guy I went out with I ended up comparing him to Wade. I'd wonder what he was doing, how he was feeling and I would get scared that he'd find someone he liked better than me, I was miserable."

"So that's what was wrong with you. Just after graduation right?"

"Yes. I was so miserable, Mom." She leans back against Alex, "When he came over at the end of the two months and told me he didn't want anyone else, just me, I cried like a baby I was so happy."

"I remember that, too. Your dad had made a comment, wondering how come Wade hadn't been around. Then after that night he said he reckoned you two had made up."

Jessie relaxes in her mother's arms, sighs deeply. "Mom … you and Dad were in love a long time before you got married, how did you keep from … I mean … did you…?"

"How did we keep from making love before we were married?"

"Yes. I mean…"

"It's wasn't easy, but your father had some very strong principals. He kept me on the straight and narrow." Alex laughs at all the times she had tried to seduce Walker but he always managed to walk away, except for one time. She smiles thinking about that time in the barn 18 years ago.

"Mom?"

"Umm … Oh, yes, well it's not easy. But, you know, your father and I were already well established in our careers when we met, so we were responsible adults."

"Mom, does that mean you didn't wait?"

"Jessie, what I'm trying to tell you is that it's really up to you to decide when you're ready. And be willing to accept the results from that choice. You and Wade are both adults, you're making your own decisions about your careers and you have to decide between yourselves if you're ready to take that step." She pauses, "I take it you haven't yet or we wouldn't be having this discussion."

"No, we haven't. But it's getting awfully hard not to. I love him something fierce, Mom, and I know he loves me, too."

"Then why not get married?"

"We've thought about it, but we would really like to wait till we're out of college. Trying to juggle studies and marriage could really be rough. We're afraid one or both would suffer. We're really struggling with this, Mom."

Alex hears the sobs in her voice and pulls her back into her arms again. "Growing up is always a struggle, honey. Something worthwhile is worth fighting for … or waiting for."

"Sniff … sniff … What do you mean, Mom?"

"Well, I know it would be hard on both of you but have you two thought of one of you going to a different college? Take temptation out of your hands?"

Jessie sits quietly thinking about what her Mom has just told her and finally says, "I think Wade and I need to do some serious talking." She stands and Alex rises with her, pulling her into an embrace. "Thanks, Mom for letting me talk this out. I love you."

"I love you too, sweetheart, I hope I was able to help a little."

"You've helped a lot, Mom. I guess I'd better get to bed, tomorrow's…"

"Your Dad's coming." Jessie quickly looks up into her Mom's face and sees the faraway look in her eyes, then looks around but doesn't see any vehicle or even headlights, but she's seen her mom's intuition at work before.

"I'm going up to bed, Mom, tell Dad I said goodnight." She isn't sure her mom hears her but when Alex turns to look out towards the driveway, Jessie slips silently into the house. Letting the door shut silently behind her, she hears her dad's truck pull into the drive. She watches from the shadows as her dad gets out of the truck and walk up the steps to the porch, hears a soft "Hi, Cowboy" and a murmured "Hi" in response as her dad and mom come together in a tight embrace. Jessie smiles then and turns to go upstairs to bed.

*****

A week later when Alex is just arriving home from Court, Jessie meets her as she opens the door and follows her upstairs. "Have you got a minute, Mom?"

"I've always got time for you, Jessie, you know that." She starts into her bedroom, "Come on in, talk to me while I change."

Jessie follows her in and sits on the bed watching her mom change out of her dress clothes. As she looks at her standing with just her bra and panties on, Jessie comments, "Mom, you're amazing, you know that?"

"Amazing! Why, what do you mean?"

"I mean you've had four children and you still have the body of a woman in her twenties. You're beautiful!"

"Jessie, aren't you just a little bit prejudice? Really, a twenty year old! I think not." Slipping on jeans and a tank top.

"Well, I agree with Jessie," they turn to see Walker standing in the doorway. "You're just as slim and beautiful as the day we got married." He strides across the room and takes her in his arms, kissing her softly. Jessie stands to leave, "No, don't go Jessie, I just came up to let your Mom know that I was home." He kisses Alex again then starts for the door, "I promised Chrissy I'd go with her to look at this horse she's wanting to buy." His hand resting on the doorknob, he turns back to look at Alex, "See you later?"

"Count on it, Cowboy." She flashes a smile at him as he closes the door. She turns to see Jessie sitting on the bed and asks, "Now, what was it you wanted to talk about."

"Wade and I had a long talk the other day and we've decided that you had the right idea."

"Which was?"

"Wade has transferred to Purdue University in Indiana. It has one of the best veterinary schools in the states. We may have huge telephone bills, but we'll be together on holidays, with marriage to come after we graduate."

Alex watches as Jessie's eyes fill with tears, and sits down next to her wrapping her arms around her, letting her cry. "It's hard baby, I know."

"What if he finds someone else, Mom, I couldn't stand that."

"I bet he's thinking the same thing, but if your love is strong, you'll make it." She leans back and brushes the tears from Jessie's eyes. "And your love will be stronger for it."

The End
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Wade graduates from Purdue University in the top 10 of his class, and Jessie joins the DPD after her graduation. Wade MacPearson and Jessica Walker were married two months later. Six years later Jessie is accepted into the Texas Rangers. One daughter, Amye Alexandra, is born to the couple one year after the passing of her father and mother, with a son, Nathan William, arriving two years later.