Chapter 20: Home
The whoosh… whoosh of the power door opening and closing brought my eyes up from the screen; I looked across the large room as Buffy stepped through the inner lock door a moment later. She glided across our living room and sat lightly on the couch next to me. I turned and kissed her as she wrapped her arms around me; after we finished with the kiss she pulled back a little and looked into my eyes. I returned her gaze; she was still beautiful even after all these years. The fine lines that covered her skin did nothing to mar the features and her eyes were still bright and clear. Her silver hair framed her fine features, I smiled at her.
“How's the leg, Barb?”
The old war wound had come back to haunt me in my later years, the dull ache almost constant but at times increasing to the point where I could barely walk. It had acted up for the last couple of days but it was settling down now, “It’s doing okay today.”
She smiled at me, “That’s good, better when you’re up for some activity.”
She started nuzzling my neck and I held her loosely, gazing over her shoulder and out the large picture window that formed most of one wall of our living room. The window looked out over the crater, our home was dug into the wall of the crater fifty feet below the rim. The window was recessed so we never got direct sun through it, now the sun was within a couple of days of setting so black shadows stretched most of the way across the desolate crater but left the far wall brilliantly lit. Even after all these years I found the stark moonscape beautiful to gaze at, but I tore my attention away from it to concentrate on the woman in my arms, my wife for all these years. After a few minutes of enjoying her attention I felt her draw back. I opened my eyes and looked into hers; she smiled and leaned forward until our lips were together. She softly caressed my lips with hers and then her tongue started to demand entrance, I opened my mouth and our kiss deepened.
Eventually Buffy drew back from me and I was looking into her eyes again, “Care to retire to a more comfortable place where we can continue this?”
“I’d love to, but Janet and the kids are coming over, they’ll be here soon.”
“Shoot!” Buffy stuck her lip out in her trademark pout.
I leaned forward and nipped it gently, “Later, Slayer.”
I could see the sadness in her eyes, “How are they dealing?”
Janet was one of our six grand children and the only one up here with us. She’d been especially close to her grandfather Ben. I’d left the army after the war; six years had been enough for me. Besides, I’d decided to try Buffy’s proposal but any relationship we could have was going to have to be very well hidden, the military may have accepted women but they were a long way from accepting any homosexuality. As the highest ranking female officer in the new US Air Force and the CO of the 22nd Air Force at the end of the war she was often in the limelight.
I married Ben Franklin two years later, after Buffy and I had worked out our relationship and then shocked the hell out of him. Buffy had gotten him assigned as her chief of staff when she was given command of the nascent Air Force Space Command after the war. The two of them had driven it for the next seventeen years until the permanent space station was well established and the first mining center on the moon was up and running and lobbing buckets of moon rock out into space to provide the building materials for the communications and power satellites and eventually the complexes at the Lagrange points.
During her command of Space Command Buffy had taken one year off to complete her MBA and to have Sarah, our other child along with Tommy. No one knew at that time that Ben was the father, she had refused to say who the father was and that secret remained until we finally came out twenty years later. The kids knew, we had told them as soon as they were old enough to understand the secret. But to the outside world Buffy was just our good friend, and as a high powered career woman and a single mom she was extremely fortunate to have us to help take care of her child, or so the outside world thought.
I had been uncomfortable with the solution Buffy had come up with, even after days of discussions with Ben and his enthusiastic endorsement of the plan. How on earth could the three of us form a stable relationship? I loved Buffy, of that I was sure. I liked Ben, but could I stand making love with him? Could I stand him making love with Buffy? I should have known Buffy would not let us have a normal life together. I’d wanted kids and she decided she did to, and rather than have some surreptitious relationships she dragged both of us into her bed, me literally, and the three of us found a way to make it work.
I ended up falling in love with Ben also and once they retired from the military and started Summers Space Industries we stopped trying to hide our relationship. We didn’t flaunt it, but when Buffy needed a companion for a public appearance it was me as often as it was Ben and sometimes both of us. She told Barbara Walters in her interview when she retired as CEO of SSI, ’Stuff it, if they don’t like my husband or wife then that’s their problem.’
After twenty years in hiding we’d had twenty five good years in the open, over fifty years counting the time we’d been together during the war. And then Ben had to go and die on us. The kids had come back, Tommy from L-5 where he now ran SSI and Sarah and her husband up from earth. Janet and four of the other grand kids had also made it, only Frank who was on a deep space mission wasn’t there. A lot of great grand kids, too many to count had also been able to come. We’d gotten promises from lots of them to come and spend time with us, I didn’t know how many of them would actually make it but they knew they were welcome. It’d been two months now and we had pretty much adjusted to the loss now.
Janet and her wife, Samantha, and their three kids were the only ones on the moon. I didn’t know if I was completely comfortable with them raising their kids on the moon, we still weren’t sure what the long term health effects of growing up in a low-G environment were going to be. But we did know that they were not going to be able to go back to earth unless there was some kind of medical breakthrough, their bodies would not adjust to the high gravity. But then as Janet and Sam often said, who the hell would want to live in that gravity hole?
“I think they’re mostly okay. The kids are having the hardest time, I think they’re scared of losing us.”
“We’ll just have to reassure them, we aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.”
I nodded, another thing we didn’t know, how long the human body would last in a low-G environment. Buffy and I were doing fine, my leg acting up was just a pain, and we could easily pass for twenty or thirty years younger than we really were. Ben had been fine also, it had been an undiagnosed brain aneurysm that had gotten him. We’d also discussed moving to a zero-G habitat in one of the colonies if physical problems started to arise. But for now I loved where we were, I liked the weight of Buffy on me as we slept together, and she never got too heavy now.
She smiled at me and settled into the couch beside me, “What were you doing?”
“Playing with my new toy, thank-you Buffy, I’m really going to enjoy it.”
“You got the link working?”
“Yeah, it wasn’t bad, just took coordination from both ends. It will automatically correct any shifting now so the only time we should get an interruption of service is if there’s a major shaker.”
Buffy had gotten me a new laser communications base station for my birthday and the workers had completed the installation the day before. I had gotten it aligned on the complex at L-5 so we now had our own link to the systanet and were no longer subject to the very limited bandwidth available to private users of the complex link. L-5 was fully integrated so there were no bandwidth problems to anywhere. Now we could access any site on systanet with only the inherent distance delay slowing any response.
I leaned forward and tapped the mouse pad on the lap top and the screen woke back up, showing the picture I’d been looking at when she came in. She looked at it and started, “Where’d you find that old thing?”
I clicked back from the full screen shot of the picture to the article it was embedded in, “It’s in this article.”
I scrolled up until the top of the page appeared with the title, ‘101st Fighter Group – The Witches of the West’.
Buffy read it, “Where is that from?”
“It’s a knew thing that’s been put together over the last couple of years on the net called Wikipedia, sort of an encyclopedia but anybody can add articles to it or add to existing articles.”
“What keeps someone from putting junk in it?”
“Oh, there are millions of people looking at everything that gets posted. Put something wrong or a lie out there and it gets commented on pretty quickly.”
She nodded in understanding; I scrolled back down to the picture, it was a photograph of her standing in front of a P-38. “Are you going to fix that?”
I read the caption under the picture, ‘Lt. Col. Buffy Summers, first CO of the 101st Fighter Group, Toynton Station, Horncastle, England. January 1943, shortly after the group was activated.’
“What’s wrong with it?”
“It wasn’t January, it was December 28th, the day we activated, three days early, remember?”
I smiled at her, “Yeah, I remember.”