Paradise Ranch | 9 years after | Christmas Day, 6 AM
Hillary rubbed her cheek against the pillow. She sighed as she felt a hand feathering on the back of her thigh. “Wake up, darlin’, Santa is here,” Bill teased, his voice husky.
Hillary smiled while keeping her eyes closed. She felt Bill on her back hovering above her.
“I never knew Santa is a randy man,” Hillary responded saucily.
Bill laughed. “You should have known that before you married me.” He leaned to nuzzle her nape. “But let me guess, Mrs. Santa might be wet for me this morning.” He said before he allowed his hand to cup her from behind.
She purred. Jutting her backside to give him more access.
“I love it when you make that sound,” Bill whispered, his breath hot against her skin.
“Honey,” Hillary moaned. Bill slid his finger into her slit touching her when she suddenly heard rapid footsteps near their bedroom. She jerked back, the back of her head hitting his nose. Bill rolled to the side groaning.
“Mama! Papa! It's Christmas!” Their daughter Chelsea announced opening their door.
“Y-yes! Sweetheart!” Hillary stammered feeling her heart thunder in her chest. She quickly reached the comforter to cover Bill.
“Close the door, Sweetheart! Your dad and I will follow.”
“Okay, mama!” Chelsea said then closed the door with a bang while she started to sing Christmas song on top of her lungs. Then they heard a quiet knock.
It was William. He was quiet as a mouse.
"We'll follow, William," Hillary told him. William just nodded and quietly closed the door.
Bill was still groaning while gripping his nose. Hillary turned to him.
“Oh, my God, are you okay?” She asked pulling his hand so she could check.
“Ahh, I don't think I broke a cartilage, can you confirm?” He asked tipping his head as Hillary straddled his hips to get a good look at his nose.
She checked, “Not bleeding.”
“Oh good,” Bill commented, his hands gripping her hips.
“I think you are in a good position right now. Did William lock the door?” He asked trying to look at their door.
“Yes! Yes!” Hillary responded leaning towards him.
“Give Mrs. Santa that kiss now.” She whispered before kissing him.
“Can we open our gifts now, mama?” William asked quietly while Hillary was preparing their meal. If Chelsea was hyperactive, William was quiet. Initially, Bill and Hillary got worried when he couldn't say a word when he reached three years of age. When he needed something from them, he would go to her or to Bill and hold their hand. They found out that William had a delayed speech, but his pediatrician told them that in spite of his delayed speech, he was incredibly smart and perceptive for his age. William enjoys reading, and had the tendency to immerse in himself in his own world. Bill and Hillary encourage William's preference of reading, that Bill had dedicated one whole shelf for him. He also had given William his own small study table next to his.
“Wait for your dad to arrive. Willy.”
"Okay, Mama," He responded. "Where is he?" He added.
“He followed your sister to the stables.”
Lilly, Hillary’s daughter to her first marriage, jumped from her mare, Andromeda, when she saw her father approaching her. Lilly took off her helmet, allowing her wild blonde hair to fly behind her. Even from afar no one would miss her striking green eyes and golden hair.
Lilly also carried a commanding aura in spite of her lithe body. Her back straight, and she walks with her head held up high. At her fourteen years of age, she had accomplished a lot of things: she held a position in Student Council, helped her father in dealing with business, and competes as equestrian, and as a fencer. Bill and Hillary were so proud of her.
She used to have a speech deficiency when she was a kid but through her continuous training, it got corrected.
“Merry Christmas, Papa,” she said happily when she reached Bill.
“Merry Christmas, Sweetheart.” Bill greeted back planting a kiss on her cheek.
“Are you done? Let’s go back at the house, your mom made a breakfast. We also have a great news for you,” Bill said as he wrapped his arm around her back.
Lilly turned to him with a frown. “Please, don’t tell me that mom is pregnant again.”
Bill laughed out loud. “Oh, God, no.”
“In that case, I’m excited to know.”
They walked side-by-side arms around each other’s back. “How was your ride?” Bill asked.
Bill cocked his head to the side. “Why is that?”
“I still couldn't control Andro. We need to work hard with her cantering around the poles. She gets too excited, I get too fidgety.”
Bill rubbed his hand on her arm. “It will take time. But if you want, I can help you train Andro."
Lilly nodded then she squinted at a distance seeing their mansion from afar.
Bill noticed that she was awfully quiet for the past few days. “I have to say this, but you have been really quiet for the past few days. What’s bothering you?”
Lilly smiled, though it didn't quite reach her eyes. “Nothing.”
Bill playfully rolled his eyes at her. “Come on, what is it?”
Lilly took a deep breath, “Pop?”
“I like someone.”
Lilly felt that Bill stiffened beside her, which prompted her to snicker. “I knew this is a bad idea.”
Bill blinked. “No, it’s okay. I was just caught off guard.” Geez, my knight is in love with someone! He thought.
“Tell me who’s the lucky guy?” Bill teased after a minute.
Lilly sighed. “It’s a girl dad.”
Bill stopped, and Lilly turned to him. Bill cocked his head to the side thinking. While Lilly had a very strong personality, and a little rough with the way she move, it never occurred to Bill that she was a lesbian. But as he stared at her, he could see that little defiance in her eyes. He understood that she was ready to fight for what she truly was if he would not accept her. Lilly, in every sense, was very much like her mother: a fighter.
Bill smiled and pulled her into an embrace. “I would very much like to meet her someday.”
He heard Lilly heaved a sigh of relief. “Thanks, Papa. I was so afraid you might not like it.”
Bill smiled and cupped her chin. “You are my daughter. I love you even when you couldn't complete your sentences without lisping. I love you as you are my own, Lilly.”
Lilly sniffed and pressed her face to her father’s chest. “Thank you, Papa. I love you so much too. Do you think mom would be okay if she finds out?"
Bill smiled gently, "Your mother is the most loving, and understanding person I have ever met. You should tell her."
"That's hardly an assurance, Pop."
"I don't really want to disappoint her."
Bill stopped and turned to her, "Here's what I want you to always remember: Do not under estimate what love can do."
When Bill and Lilly reached the house, they entered from the kitchen and found Hillary making cookies while Piper and Tyler, their six months old fraternal twins sat on the floor beside Buddy eating cookies.
“What the…?” Bill said horrified seeing his twins and Buddy eating the same looking cookies.
“Merry Christmas, Mama!” Lilly greeted embracing her mother ignoring her father's outburst.
“Merry Christmas, Sweetheart. Join your sister in the family room. I’ll bring the breakfast there.”
“Alright,” Lilly nodded leaving Bill and Hillary alone with her little siblings.
Bill crouched and took a bite of the cookies that Piper and Tyler were eating.
“What the…?” Bill commented in disgust holding the piece of cookie. “Why are my children eating a dog’s food?” He asked in disbelief.
Hillary giggled. “That’s not a dog’s food! That’s cookies.”
“Remind me again of your cooking skills,” Bill pulled the cookies from Tyler’s hands. “But this is this a dog food?”
“No! That’s made of oats, banana, flour, and eggs. It’s hard. They are teething it’s helping them.”
“Oh, my God, I swear if my babies start barking, I’ll blame their mother.”
Hillary laughed. “You are overreacting.”
Bill carried his twins and had them sitting on the counter taking the cookies off their hands. He wiped the tears from Piper’s eyes.
“Are you still in pain, Sweetheart?” Bill asked while he reached to wiped Tyler’s drool.
Piper just pouted, and Bill gave her a smack on the lips, giving Tyler one too.
Hillary went to them embracing Bill from behind kissing his nape. “They have been crying in pain.”
“And giving them a dog food will relieve them?” He asked, making Hillary laugh. She reached for the oat cookies.
“It’s not a dog's food,” she told him, then to prove her point, she broke a piece and ate them.
Bill chuckled, then leaned to kiss her but was stopped when Tyler leaned to push his face. Bill turned to his son. “Getting possessive with your mother, eh?”
Hillary laughed taking Tyler and carrying him, while Bill carried Piper. When they arrived in the family room William and Chelsea was watching some cartoons while Lilly sat quietly on the side. Bill’s eyes landed on his stepdaughter and then he leaned to whisper to Hillary’s ears.
“I think you need to talk to Lilly.”
Hillary turned to look at him, alarmed by his tone, “What’s wrong?”
Bill smiled. “Nothing is wrong, she’ll tell you something.”
“Mama, can I start opening the presents now?” Chelsea asked when she went to stand in front of her.
"Alright, Sweetheart," then Hillary turned to Bill,“I believe Father Martin will be with us today.”
Lilly looked at her mother, surprised. Lilly had grown closer to Father Martin when she was young. He was the Jesuit parish priest near their ranch. He was very close to their family. Father Martin was Lilly’s second father. In fact, he was the first one whom Lilly had told about her sexuality. But two year ago he had to say goodbye because he would be flying to Africa as a Missionary. Lilly was really emotional thinking that it would take a long time for them to see each other again.
“When did he arrive?” She asked.
Hillary looked at her daughter, “I’m not sure when, but Anthony told me about it last two days ago,” she said as she sat down still holding Piper.
Lilly nodded. “I really miss him. I hope Anthony can bring him here.”
“I already told Anthony to get Father Martin before they go here,” Bill said sitting next to Hillary, Tyler was still in his arms. "Come sit here, Lilly," he told her tapping the space beside him.
Lilly went to sit next to him. “Thank you, Papa,” she said leaning her head on his shoulder.
Hillary stood up and deposited Piper to Bill’s lap. “I'll get our breakfast.”
“Why don’t you help your mom, Lilly?” Bill suggested moving his free arm to wrap around Piper’s back who was starting to climb on his chest shoving her drool coated fist on his mouth.
“Okay, Pop,” Lilly responded moving away from Bill.
When Lilly joined her mother, Tyler tipped his head up looking at his father giggling.
“You find this funny young man?” Bill asked as he continued to dodge Piper’s small fist.
Lilly followed her mother quietly. She smiled remembering how she used to follow her with her sword tucked into her shorts when she was a kid. She used to imagine that she was guarding her mother against monsters—from her biological father.
Although she was protective of her, she had relieved herself from being her mother’s protector ever since her mother married her stepfather. It gave Lilly a peace of mind that finally, someone was looking after her mother.
To say, her stepfather really did well as their protector because of how in love he was with her mother. She had caught them many times kissing, cuddling, or laughing. And the way her stepfather looked at her mother tells her that they were in good hands. Over time, her stepfather proved his worth as their new protector by taking good care of them and making them happy.
“You can get the baked macaroni in the oven,” she heard her mother say.
“So how was your morning exercise?” Hillary asked as she started to marinate the chicken for their lunch.
“It's Average, but Papa told me that he would help train Andro. I think she will be ready before April next year.”
“Well, that’s good. I believe in you, and whatever you need, you know that your dad and I will always be here for you.”
Lilly took a deep breath and sighed which did not escape Hillary’s ears. She chuckled. “What’s the sigh all about?”
“Ma, did Papa tell you something?”
Hillary continued to work on the chicken, “No, he didn't tell me anything.”
Lilly returned to her task of portioning the baked macaroni, she heard the tap water on and saw in her peripheral that her mother was washing her hands. When her mother finished, her mother went to her, “What is it?”
Lilly turned to her, “Ma, I’m…” Hillary looked at her with all the encouragement in her eyes. Lilly remembered the same scenario when her mother would look at her with all the patience and encouragement when she was having a difficulty getting the words out from her mouth.
Hillary rubbed her hand on Lilly’s back, "You know you can tell me anything, right?"
Lilly nodded, then she took a deep breath and confessed, “I’m lesbian, Ma.”
Hillary smiled and leaned to press a kiss to her cheek. She embraced her daughter, holding her tight. “Is that what you are keeping from me?”
Lilly nodded. “I was afraid to disappoint you.”
Hillary shook her head and framed her face with her hands, “You did not disappoint me. In fact, I am proud that you came out to me. I want you to remember that I love you, alright?"
"I guess your papa already know?”
She nodded. “I just told him earlier. I’ve been telling myself that setting myself free will be my gift for myself this time.”
Hillary nodded, “and I am glad that you finally did it. I want you to know that you don’t have to hide anything from me or from us.”
“Thank you, Mama. Sorry, it took me awhile to find the courage to say it to you.”
Hillary dropped a kiss on her forehead. “It’s okay, sometimes having the courage to do something that scares you takes time, what is important is that you’ve overcome it.”
Bill watched from afar seeing the loves of his life, his two blonde girls who had been through a lot together. Seeing Lilly share one of the pivotal moments in her life to Hillary, and Hillary giving her all-out support and acceptance made Bill love them more.
He approached them quietly and went to embrace both of them. “I love you, Sweethearts,” he said giving each of them a kiss on their crowns.
When they went back to the family room, Hillary and Bill sat on the couch while watching their children open their gifts. His arm draped over her shoulder while he had Tyler on his lap. Piper was sitting on Hillary’s. They kept on cooing their twins as the twins continue to fidget.
Hillary gave the twins their cookies that made Bill frown, but when the twins stopped fidgeting, he finally let the cookie issue go.
The Rodericks’ and Father Martin arrived just in time for lunch. Lilly went to Father Martin and embraced him.
“I miss you, Father!” She greeted prompting the priest to drop a chaste kiss on her crown.
“I miss you too. I have a gift for you.” He said giving her his gift.
When Lilly opened it, it contained Catholic rosary beads with a small pamphlet. “It was made by the abused women who resides with us in Nigeria. I want you to remember those women who made that beads. They did it with all the love and hope. I want you to read the story in the pamphlet whenever you feel hopeless and fearful. I want you to remember their story, okay?”
Lilly nodded, giving the priest another hug. “Thank you for reminding me about hope and courage. Until when will you stay?”
“I am afraid I cannot stay long. I have to fly back to Nigeria after the holidays.”
“Please, always take care, Father.”
When they finished their lunch, they listened to Anthony sing while Chelsea danced. The house was surrounded with laughter, cheers, and applause.
When they were already exchanging gifts, Bill took something from his bedroom and stood in the middle.
“Hillary and I have a very special gift for our daughter, Lilly,” Bill said, prompting Lilly to grin at him. “Come here, baby.”
Lilly went to him and took the box that Bill was handing to her.
“Thank you, Papa,” she said embracing him.
“Open it,” he encouraged.
Lilly tore the wrapper and opened the box, and found that it was papers. Bill gently took the papers from her hands and got down on one knee so he could stare at her evenly.
“Do you know what these papers mean, Sweetheart?” He whispered.
Lilly shook her head, for some reason her eyes started to collect with tears.
“It's the adoption papers, and it's already finalized.You are a Clinton now. My daughter.”
Lilly broke into a sob and threw her arms around Bill.
“Papa!” She sobbed, while he smoothed his hand on her back. When she pulled back she dropped a kiss on her father’s cheek. “I love you, Papa. This is the best Christmas gift ever!”
Bill nodded looking at Hillary who was sitting with her hands on her lips. She was crying too. Bill extended his hand inviting her, and she came to them embracing her husband and daughter.
There were applauses from Father Martin, and the Rodericks while William and Chelsea went to them asking what was happening making Bill and Hillary giggle.
They spent the time together—all of them—the Rodericks, Father Martin, Bill, Hillary, their children and Buddy having fun, celebrating Christmas time in their own Paradise.