All the King's Horses
Part I: Chapter 25

“You know,” she muttered against his shoulder, trying to keep her laughter from her voice. “You could give a girl a complex the way you keep laughing at me.”

Rafe tightened his arms around her slightly. “I’m not laughing at you.”

“Yes, you are!” she shrieked, burying her face more into his shoulder so he couldn’t see her smile.

“No, no, really, I’m not!” he chuckled.

Pulling away, Alison crossed her arms under her breasts and pouted playfully. She was surprising herself with how easily she was handling this. “Are all angels this bad at lying, or is it just another special thing about you?”

“I’m not lying,” the angel tried. “And I’m not even bad at lying when I am!”

“Yes, you are.”

“No, I’m not.”




“I am not,” Rafe laughed. “But I’m also not going to argue this point with you.”

“Stop laughing at me then,” Alison huffed, unable to keep from smiling.

“Now why would you think I was laughing at you?” he asked, somehow making it sound like he really didn’t know the answer. Ok, she could handle sincere. But he was just so darn cute while doing it.

Jerk. “Oh, jeez, I dunno, Rafe. Because I basically just blurted out that I want you and you act like it’s funny?” Ok, so maybe she was just a little hurt. And maybe it wasn’t so funny anymore.

“I knew what you meant, Alison,” he murmured, all humor draining from his voice. “I didn’t mean to make you think I was laughing at you.” And dammit, there was that caring again. “I was just thinking about what Lucy and Livvie would have done if they heard you say that. They’d have taken it the wrong way. I’m sorry.”

No. They would have taken it the right way. So why couldn’t he see that? And why was he impossible to get or stay mad at? “Yeah, I know, Rafe. I was just playing.” Alison looked away when he raised his eyebrows in silent question. “Ok, so I wasn’t exactly playing. But still! It’s not like you were trying to insult me or anything. Maybe I just need more sleep.”

“Or maybe you’ve had too much sleep.”

“You’re like so not going to give up on that are you?” she asked, returning to the lighter mood from before. “I really have to get out of bed?”

“Yup.” Rafe tucked her loose hair back once more. “I thought you said you wanted to go and see that little girl at the hospital again before she was released.”

“Right! I did. I almost forgot about that. I was too busy hiding.”

“See?” he smiled. “There you have a confession and a good reason to get out of bed.”

Alison nodded absently. “So… You really didn’t mind hanging out with me over there yesterday? Because, I mean, I know that there are probably, like, millions of other things you could have done than humor me and play with some kids in the hospital.”

“Alison,” Rafe sighed, catching her eyes with his before continuing. “I don’t think I’m every going to mind hanging out with you, no matter what. Got it?”

“Got it,” she laughed. “And back at ya.” Alison wet her lips. “You were really good with them, you know.”

“Yeah?” He shrugged his shoulders and smiled almost shyly. “I’ve been told that it’s because I'm just an overgrown kid.”

Laughing, Alison leaned forward, catching his lips briefly. “Yeah,” she muttered, sitting back again. “But that’s fine with me. In fact, I think it’s cute. That one little boy… What was his name? Justin? He adored you. It was so sweet!”

“Yeah, Justin. You know that was your little girl’s brother, right?”

“Really? I didn’t know that! So Justin and Destiny are… twins? They looked about the same age.”

“That’s what he told me.” Rafe got up from the bed and held his hand out to her again. “But you can’t sidetrack me into letting you hide out some more.”

Sighing, she took his hand and swung her legs over the side of the bed. “I really wasn’t hiding,” Alison confessed, making no move to stand. “I was just having this dream that I didn’t want to leave or wake up from. About that little girl… Destiny. And her brother too, actually. They were my kids, in my dream. Maybe it was because of the picture, you think? I love that picture that she gave me. I hung it up on the refrigerator.”

“I know. I was here, remember?”

“Yeah… Yeah, I know you were here. Destiny is a pretty name, don’t you think? I think that would be a perfect name for… my first daughter. What do you think?”

“It’s a pretty name, Alison.”

“Maybe destiny can be a pretty thing. Unexpected too, sometimes, right?” She shrugged her shoulders. “Anyway, it was a good dream.” Reaching out, she captured her other hand in his as well. Alison waited a minute before speaking again. “Aren’t you going to ask what it was about?”

“I think that if you want me to know you’ll tell me,” Rafe smiled in response.

“It was a good dream. That’s why I stayed in bed for so long. I just… I really just wanted to stay in my dream, you know? I wasn’t hiding. Just dreaming. It was a good dream.”

“I believe you.”

“It’s just…” Alison focused her attention on their hands. “I never really thought about having kids before you told me that I was going to make a great mother someday. I mean, I did. I did think about it, but it didn’t really go beyond, yeah I want them. So, like, all of a sudden, I’m being just… rushed with all these things. Like the fact that Destiny and Justin both looked so familiar somehow.”

“Some kids are just like that, Alison. Maybe they just had those kinds of faces.”

“No! No… these two were different. I mean, I didn’t even know that they were brother and sister… They reminded me of someone.” She bit down on her lip for a moment in thought and then tilted her head up to look at him with a grin. She had a feeling he knew she was going to change the subject. “Do twins run in families?”

“They run in mine.” He watched in wonder as she seemed to light up at that fact. “My mom’s side actually. Everyone in that side of the family that had kids had twins first. Ela has twin girls.”

“I love babies. I love kids… I want tons of them. I just… It could be so wonderful… But the whole dressing alike thing would be mean wouldn’t it?”

“Very,” he laughed. “And the whole naming thing is tricky too.”

“It still sounds like fun… To have twins, I mean. Or I guess to just be a mother in general. It would be great.”

His eyes roamed her face, taking in every little sparkle in her eyes at the thought. The slight smile that played on her lips as he studied her and she studied him let him know that somehow they’d both slipped onto the same track. And watching her, Rafe couldn’t help but get caught up in the thought. “They’d have your smile,” he murmured softly, releasing one of her hands to trace the outline of her smiling bottom lip with his thumb. “They’d have to have your smile - your beautiful smile. You’re gonna have beautiful babies, Alison…”

“I want twins.”

He nodded. “Yeah… I can see it. You’re gonna be a perfect mother to perfect children. And I know that for sure, even though I can’t see into your future. I know that you’re going to be so amazing as a mother, with kids running around with your smile.” God help him, he was hopelessly lost in those big eyes of hers, spouting off without knowing what he was saying. That same lock of hair he always seemed to touch had somehow twined itself around his index finger. “And you’re hair… They’d have to have your hair.”

“Maybe,” she said softly, “that’s why I had that dream about Destiny being our little girl. The picture, and the fact that we had the same color of hair. Her brother too. But I didn’t know he was her brother.” Sighing contently, Alison couldn’t help but smile at him. “Why do you like my hair so much?”

“I don’t know. Maybe because it’s so soft…” But then that rebel hand of his wasn’t in her hair anymore. No, his thumb had found a new obsession. Her bottom lip. “You’re so soft.”

“Mmm hmmm…” Unconsciously, she wet her lips, smiling shyly when her tongue met his thumb. But he didn’t draw away, and for that she was glad. Instead he kept up that dizzyingly slow pace of stroking her bottom lip. Ok, had they not gone over the whole magic thing before, she might have to seriously wonder what kind of spell he could cast over her with a look. That look he was giving her now, the one that made her feel beautiful, powerful, and fascinating. The one that made her weak in the knees and left her incapable of doing anything but locking her eyes with his. Yeah, she’d have to think about that later. When she had regained the ability to form coherent thoughts. What were they talking about again? Oh. Right. Kids. “Lots and lots of kids. With my smile, and my hair… And your eyes. They’d have to have your eyes.”

“In my dream,” Alison continued thickly. She cleared her throat, trying not to sound so… dreamy. “They had your eyes,” she finally confessed. “I guess I’m just going crazy or something, you know? I just must be losing my mind… But in my dream… Destiny had your eyes.”

Blinking in surprise, he took a step back. They were way, way too close.

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