The Redheads of Mmm...Doctor!

Title: Perfect Stranger
Author: Elizabeth

If the Alex is laughing at something Kim just said and the way they both look at Kerry tells me it's something about her. I'm talking to Chloe and Susie is sleeping on my lap while Kris sleeps on the couch next to me. We are talking about her going into rehab and how much Carter has helped. I'm glad she is planning on going to the Atlanta place even though it usually specializes in doctors. I look over at Alex again and notice she seems very tired. The only people left now are Kim, Kerry Elizabeth, Carol, Chloe and Jill. And the kids of course. I decide it wouldn't be rude to put Alex to bed while everyone is here and make to get up, excusing myself from Chloe and giving her Susie. I go over to Alex and say, "Honey? I think you should go to bed. You look really tired."

Alex nods and lets me pick her up and take her upstairs after saying goodnight to everyone and thanking them for coming. She rests her head on my shoulder on the way up. When we get to her room I strip her and help her into her night gown. I push her hair out of her face; it's getting long and very thin, but it still looks good. She snuggles in and goes to sleep almost immediately. I kiss her and whisper, "I'll be up when everyone leaves." To which she answers "Okay."

I go back downstairs to see everyone starting to pack up. Kerry explains they want to leave Alex and me alone for a while. I smile and thank them, give out hugs, then watch them all leave. Kerry and Kim are last and I am happy to note that they are holding hands and Kim has opened the door for Kerry and planted a small kiss on her cheek before helping her in. They look so cute together. I smile and then close the door. I can feel my ring on my finger almost like it is burning it. I look down at it and feel so much love just by looking.

I go upstairs and get changed into my pj's. I crawl into bed with Alex, who is sound asleep. I wrap my arms around her and she instinctively rolls over and snuggles into me. This is bar none the best Christmas I've had, and it's not even over yet. Tomorrow will be Santa and the family over for the Christmas dinner that Carol is going to make. And then there's chemo in the afternoon. But the other stuff sounds like fun.

I wake up the next morning and find to my surprise Alex is not next to me. In a rush of panic I jump out of bed and make my way downstairs in record time calling, "Honey?"

Alex meets me at the bottom of the stairs wearing a beautiful silk robe over her night gown and puts her hands on my chest to stop me. The motion turns me on right away. Alex stares at me for a moment and then kisses me. "I'm making you breakfast in bed."

"Oh. I didn't know."

"It's okay but you have to go back upstairs and act like you're asleep again."

I smile and make my way back upstairs and into bed. A few minutes later Alex is back up with our breakfast: blueberry pancakes, orange juice and coffee. She put some holly in the middle to make it look extra festive. By the time we are finished I hear a knock at the door. Alex kisses me again and we go down together to answer it. It's Chloe, Joe and Susie bearing presents. We decided that "Santa" would come to our house this year. When Susie ran into the tree it was to find presents with her name on them from Santa. "He came! Can I open them now?"

I smile, "No Pumpkin you have to wait for everyone to get here." Alex cuts in and says, "But while you're waiting there're some really good pancakes in the kitchen."

"Who made them?" Asks Susie looking suspicious.

"I did" Says Alex.

"Okay I'll have some then; Aunt Susan doesn't know how to make good pancakes." I sigh at this. One bad batch and Susie will never eat my pancakes again. She follows Alex into the kitchen and is almost finished when the doorbell rings again, followed by a "Hello!"

I go out to the hall to see Jill, Kris and Alex's parents and brother coming in. Kris makes for the table to have some pancakes and I help Jill bring in the presents. As we're setting them up I ask, "Where's Bob?" Jill sighs and shakes her head, "He went home. I told Kris he had to work, but we're separating. Actually that's something I'd like to talk to you and Alex about. I thought I might move to Chicago with Kris."

"Of course. You're more than welcome here. We have lots of room." Jill smiles but I see tears in her eyes. I give her a quick hug before everyone else comes barreling into the room. Susie and Kris dive for the presents. I sit on the floor against the sofa and Alex sits next to me. I pick up a present and pass it to Alex and she gives one to me. I open mine to find a beautiful sweater I'm about to thank Alex when she screams, "A cd burner! Alright!" I smile. I knew she'd like that one. Susie has opened a guitar, some sheet music and some stuff for the piano she already has. Kris has obtained some craft stuff, paints, and a set with markers, pastels and such, and an easel. They each got some clothes. From me and Alex they got a pair of skates each. I plan on taking them skating a lot this winter. Alex has also told both of them they can pick a room upstairs and decorate them.

I open some more presents from Alex. The last one I opened was a new little stereo, even smaller than the one I already had. It was perfect. The next one was very small, but Alex pushed it into my hands with a smile on her face. I open it to find a pair of keys. I give Alex a puzzled look. She takes my hand and leads me to the door. We lock ourselves outside and she makes for me to try them. They work. She then leads me downstairs to the basement. We pass the rec room and her office to go into another room. There, all my office supplies are set up, except for the new stereo. In place of my old chair is a new one. My laptop is on the desk. Alex turns me around and takes my hand and says, "Susan, I love you. I would be honored if you would live with me, and be my partner in life."

I don't know what to say. I'm standing there with tears streaming down my face. "I only have one request."

"What's that?"

"We're going to have to open this up so our offices are together."

Alex smiles and kisses me; a kiss I think is going to escalate into more, except there are people upstairs waiting. We make our way back up where I inform everyone I'm going to have to get myself a budget truck right after the holidays. Susie is playing from her new Christmas book on the piano and Kris is already drawing a picture with her new pastels. Alex lies down on the sofa to watch and I go in to find Carol in the kitchen making the turkey.

"So I guess we're going to be family almost." I say as I take stuff out for stuffing.

"Susan, we were family the minute you stayed with my daughter while she was sick. The minute you admitted to being her girlfriend, something not many people do, we became family."

I let out a sniff and Carol comes over to hug me. "She's going to be okay isn't she? Tell me she's going to be okay."

Carol lets go of me and looks into my eyes. "She's going to be okay. I know she is and mothers know these things." I smile and go back to the stuffing. We get the turkey into the oven and I check the clock. "Well I'm going to take Alex over for her Chemo. We should be home in about two hours." Carol nods and gives me another short hug. I go up and get dressed and then call Alex to do the same. She comes up and I notice she looks very pale. "Honey, are you okay? You look pale." Alex looks like she's about to says she's fine, then her face falls, "I didn't want to say anything down there, but no. I think something's wrong."

I feel her head and it feels hot. I try not to panic. "Well let's get some clothes on you and we'll see what they say." Alex nods and I get her dressed. The process of getting dressed wears her out and I have to carry her out the door. I succeed in sneaking her out because I don't want the others to get worried, and drive her to the hospital fearing the worst.

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